by Noe Torres and John LeMay, with illustrations by Neil Riebe and Jared Olive. Available from Amazon
“Hey, Hollywood. If you’re going to make a big-budget movie about extraterrestrial contact with Wild West cowpunchers, can’t you at least try to get it right? … Of course spacemen explored our planet in the days of saddle-sore lawmen and swinging saloon doors. But it wasn’t the cartoonish picture of evil planetary invaders, complete with hideous teeth and slimy hands emanating from their reptilian bellies that is portrayed in this Hollywood blockbuster…. The Real Cowboys & Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West, sets the record straight, using information gathered from yellowed newspaper clippings from the 1800s to tell of numerous close encounters between farmers and cowboys on the range and mysterious visitors in flight.” — Albuquerque Journal. Aug. 18, 2011, Page A1.
Long before graphic novels and Hollywood blockbusters, Cowboys and Aliens really did encounter each other, according to newspaper accounts and other historical documents of the 1800s. These unusual stories about UFO sightings in the Old West are revealed in a new book by Texas UFO researcher Noe Torres and New Mexico historian John LeMay. Titled The Real Cowboys & Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West, the book examines fourteen bizarre incidents, including the reported recovery in 1897 of a spaceship and its alien pilot in the Texas frontier town of Aurora.
“Cowboys meeting aliens seems to be a theme strictly for comic books and blockbuster movies,” LeMay said, “But in reality, there exist many newspaper and magazine accounts from the 1800s telling of strange sightings and encounters from America’s cowboy era.” A native of Roswell, New Mexico, LeMay has authored several books about the history of New Mexico and serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico (HSSNM).
Torres, a member of the Mutual UFO network (MUFON), said, “What is especially interesting about these historic UFO sightings is that they took place before airplanes were invented and before flight of any kind was common. Although hot air balloons had been around since the 1700s, it was closer to 1900 before balloon airships became widely known.” Torres has written three books about historic UFO cases.
“It seems likely that UFOs were quite common in the 1800s,” Torres said, “We have found hundreds of newspaper and magazine accounts about people seeing strange objects and lights in the sky. We have also found articles that mention face-to-face encounters with creatures that seemed human but were clearly not.”
According to Torres and LeMay, because airplanes and spaceships were unknown concepts in the 1800s, people who saw strange things in the sky usually described them by comparing them to known objects like “cigars” and “balloons.” The term “flying saucer” was not widely used until the 1940s, although The Real Cowboys & Aliens includes an account of an 1878 UFO sighting by a Texas farmer who described what he saw as a “large saucer.”
Since this was long before the era of jet planes and spacecraft, the cowboys and farmers of the 1800s often struggled to put into words what they had witnessed, Torres and LeMay said. Unless a UFO slowed down enough to where they could observe it carefully, most of the Old West residents probably didn’t take much notice. Vapor trails in the daytime and streaks of light at night likely did not make much of an impression on these hardened pioneers. These sights were just part of the “signs and wonders” that often appeared in the heavens.
Torres and LeMay said that after researching many UFO sightings from 1800s, they picked the most interesting cases to include in the book. Torres said, “We’ve included many bizarre stories, such as the one about a being from outer space whose spaceship crashed in North Texas and whose body was buried in a lonely Texas cemetery where it may still remain today. You will also read about a flying monster shot by two cowboys outside of Tombstone, Arizona. There is also a tale about an underwater UFO that came up to the surface and nearly electrocuted two men. Another story tells of a mysterious ‘airship’ that lassoed a calf and then flew off into the sky with it. You will also hear the tale of a strange flying beast that terrorized a small Midwest town. Did these strange encounters really happen as recorded, or were they the products of overworked imaginations? We’ll let you, our readers, decide for yourselves …”
The Real Cowboys & Aliens is beautifully illustrated by a number of talented individuals. The artist whose illustrations appear at the start of each chapter, Neil Riebe, is an author and illustrator living in Madison, Wisconsin. Shane Olive is a retired firefighter living in Roswell, New Mexico. He has worked in illustrating for over 30 years. His past works include book covers, VHS box art, and illustrations for various magazines, including TV Guide. His son, Jared, who also contributed several illustrations for this book, is a firefighter in Roswell. He has previously designed t-shirts and logos for products sold in Roswell gift shops.
Authors/researchers Noe Torres and John LeMay spoke about “True UFO Encounters of the Old West” on the Ground Zero radio program with Clyde Lewis, on Friday, August 12, 2011. Ground Zero, which has been on the air since 1995, is an award-winning radio talk show originating from KXL AM/FM Radio of Portland, Oregon. Torres and LeMay spoke about the Aurora, Texas UFO crash of 1897 and other fascinating encounters between people of the Old West and UFOs. To listen to this outstanding program, simply click on the link below: