Aurora 1897

In 1897, a very strange incident occurred in the tiny North Texas town of Aurora, on Saturday, April 17, 1897 at 6 o’clock in the morning.

A cigar-shaped UFO, metallic silver in color, appeared suddenly in the sky above Aurora. It was moving from south to north. Unlike the balloon airships of its time, this UFO was built of “an unknown metal, resembling somewhat a mix of aluminum and silver.” A witness guessed that the ship weighed “several tons.”

The sighting occurred during a time when many strange airships were being seen all over the United States. For this reason, the UFO is called an “airship” in a newspaper article written later by Aurora resident S. E. Haydon.

Haydon told the Dallas Morning News that the strange craft seemed to be having some kind of mechanical problems. It slowed down to about ten or twelve miles per hour and began settling toward the ground.

Haydon said the townspeople watched in amazement as the slow-moving airship drifted over the town square and then moved north toward the property of Judge J. S. Proctor. Next, the UFO collided with a windmill on the judge’s land and “went into pieces with a terrific explosion, scattering debris over several acres of ground.” The crash destroyed the windmill, the adjacent water tank and the judge’s flower garden.


Cigar-shaped UFO Strikes Windmill (Neil Riebe)

It seems likely that the explosion and crash drew many spectators to Judge Proctor’s land. Among the wreckage, the townspeople found the dead body of the ship’s pilot. Then the story got really weird. Witnesses said that the pilot was not a human being.

Haydon said that, although the pilot’s body was damaged severely in the crash, it was clear that “he was not an inhabitant of this world.” The pilot may have been from Mars, said another witness, Mr. T. J. Weems, an officer in the U.S. Signal Service and an “authority on astronomy.”

In the case of the UFO that exploded in 1891 over Dublin, Texas, papers were found containing strange writing on them. The same thing happened in Aurora. When the townspeople checked the pilot’s body, they found that he was carrying papers written in an unknown language. The papers may have contained a record of the pilot’s journeys, but they were “written in some unknown hieroglyphics” and could not be understood.

As word of what happened reached surrounding towns, many visitors arrived to look at the crash site. Haydon commented, “The town is full of people today who are viewing the wreck and gathering specimens of the strange metal from the debris.” It’s possible that some of that mysterious wreckage that was carried away from Aurora still exists today, stored away and forgotten in attics or storage rooms. No trace of it has ever been found, though.

After the crash, the townspeople tried to find out more about how the UFO was constructed and what made it fly. However, Haydon said that the ship was “too badly wrecked to form any conclusion as to its construction or motive power.”

Below is the original newspaper article about the case. Click on image to enlarge:


Actual Newspaper Article from Dallas Morning News, 4-19-1897

The Dallas Morning News article, published two days after the crash, said that the pilot’s funeral would take place on April 18. Another newspaper, The Fort Worth Register, said, “The pilot, who was not an inhabitant of this world, was given proper Christian burial at the Aurora Cemetery.”

When the pilot was buried, a marker was placed on his grave. In 1973, newspaper reporter Bill Case described the marker as having a strange design on it resembling a flying saucer with portholes. Shortly after Case wrote a story describing the grave marker, somebody stole it. Today, nobody is sure exactly where the pilot was buried.

In 2008, an unmarked grave dating back to the 1890s was found at the Aurora Cemetery during the filming of a television show called “UFO Hunters” for the History Channel. Since the owners of the cemetery will not allow anyone to dig up the grave, nobody knows if it is the grave of the strange pilot.

Although some people claim the story is not true and was created by Aurora residents to boost tourism, many other people do believe that a spaceship crash-landed there.


State Historical Marker at Aurora Cemetery (Photo by Noe Torres)

The case of the alien that fell from the sky in Aurora, Texas, continues to fascinate people to this very day. It still remains as much of a mystery today as it was back in 1897.

The Google map below shows the town of Aurora as it looks today, including the Aurora Cemetery in the lower right quadrant:

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The Aurora Incident is included in Noe Torres’ book of famous UFO stories from the American West of the 1800s called The Real Cowboys and Aliens, co-written with John LeMay.