Friday, May 08, 2009
By Gay Schlittler Storms
The Aurora UFO in 1897 was the first UFO sighting in Texas. A cotton buyer, S.E. Haydon, saw a slow moving space ship crash into a windmill, bursting into pieces. As the debris was searched through, supposedly the body of a small alien was discovered.
The lifeless "little green man" was buried in Aurora Cemetery. The crash occurred 60 years before the Roswell UFO Incident and for that matter, six years before the Wright Brothers became a household name.
News of the UFO crash appeared in the April 19, 1897, edition of the Dallas Morning News. Aurora resident S.E. Haydon wrote that the alleged UFO hit a windmill on a local judgeís land. Haydon described the pilot as "not of this world," and a "Martian," who didnít survive the crash.
The victim was buried at the Aurora Cemetery, which now bears a Texas Historical Commission marker. Wreckage from the crash site was dumped into a nearby well, and some ended up with the alien in the grave.
A follow-up story in 1945 in the Dallas Morning News added more facts about the well. A man named Brawley Oates bought the property with the well and cleaned it out to have it as a working water well. But Oates developed a severe case of arthritis.
He felt his illness was caused by the well water, which he concluded was contaminated from the UFO wreckage. To prevent anyone else from drinking the water, he sealed the well.
Unlike the Roswell incident, the government never showed any interest in the Aurora UFO. But the Aurora Cemetery Association was adamant that no one disturb the deceased visitor from space. They refused all requests for exhuming the alienís remains.
"UFO Files" investigated the Aurora UFO event in 2005 and actually uncovered two new so-called eyewitness, neither of whom actually saw the alien. Their parents wouldnít let them go near the site. The wreckage was composed of 95 percent aluminum and 5 percent iron, TV investigators reported.
No earthly alloy of that type existed in 1897, but plenty of modern men could have left the metal since the crash. In 2008, "UFO Hunters" aired another television documentary.
Tim Oates, the new owner of the sealed, contaminated well water, allowed the investigators to unseal the well. Investigators found large amounts of aluminum in the water content, but no wreckage was found.
The probable explanation for this UFO sighting was that the whole story was a hoax dreamed up by Haydon, the Dallas Morning News contributor.
Stories have circulated among Aurora citizens that Haydon, a big practical joker, made up the entire story. The hoax theory is primarily based on historical research performed by Barbara Brammer, former mayor of Aurora. Her research revealed that, in the months prior to the alleged crash, Aurora had fallen upon hard times. The cotton crop was destroyed by boll weevils.
A fire in the town had claimed lives and buildings, and a spotted fever epidemic nearly finished off the rest of the citizens. To top those misfortunes off, a planned railroad got within 27 miles of Aurora but never made it into the town. Few small towns can survive such a series of disasters.
The hoax theory seemed even more believable when you consider that Haydon never performed any sort of follow-up on the story, not even to report on the alienís burial. Haydon would have been thrilled when Highway 114 was constructed in 1937. The town is smaller than it was in 1897, but it is still alive.
See the UFO Casebook case file, The Aurora, Texas Crash of 1897.