THE AURORA, TEXAS UFO INCIDENT
I’ve often remarked that some of the best cases are some of the oldest ones. This incident is likely the oldest (well-documented) UFO crash story
there is, and not too long ago, some new information surfaced that supports the story, and dismisses some of the criticisms. Further in the post,
I’ve included links to some of the television show investigations into the case.
In the late 1800’s, just a few years prior to the Wright Brothers’ first flight, numerous sightings of fast moving cigar-shaped airships were
reported across the United States, especially over the skies of Texas.
Sightings of Cigar-Shaped Craft in Texas, between 1896 and 1898
Note the cluster near Aurora in the upper right
Here are some of the other accounts of sightings, also in the April 19, 1987 Dallas Morning News: (courtesy of another post by member
Here is a description from Milam County, Texas.
"The monster had the appearance of the pictures of the great whaleback ships of which so much has been written, with immense wings both fore and aft,
with great fins beneath and on the sides. The noise of its approach was not great, but it produced a humming sound, which he thinks was caused by the
machinery that propelled it."
Here is a description from Hunt County, Texas.
"I saw an immense cigar shaped vessel resting on the ground in front of me. I saw three men walk out of the vessel. Two of them went to work about
the rigging of the ship. The other asked if I would mail some letters for him."
Here is a description from Stephenville, Texas.
"It consists of a cigar shaped body about sixty feet in length to which is attached two immense aeroplanes, and the motive power is an immense wheel
at each end, in appearance much like a metallic windmill. It is driven by an immense electric engine which derives its power from storage batteries.
The crew consisted, as stated, of two men who gave their names as S. E. Tilman and A.F. Dolbear."
Here is another description.
"A. B. Ewing, as he was going home from his store, says he was startled by a strange buzzing noise overhead. Looking up, he saw what seemed to him to
be a mammoth alligator with wings outstreatched and when nearly overhead the lights went out and only a glimmer could be seen all along the side of
the long body."
Here is another description.
"The ship was seen travelling in a southern course, moving at the rate of about forty five or fifty miles an hour. It looked to be from 75 to 100
feet in length, carried what seemd to be a headlight, not unlike those used on a locomotive and was some quarter of a mile from the earth."
Here is another description.
"It seemed to be whaleback in body with bat-like wings, windows with lights inside with a powerful headlight in front. It was not over 500 feet above
the ground, but ascended rapidly until almost out of sight. It had almost meteor like speed."
From the accounts, it almost seems more like some kind of terrestrial invention, and human pilots. However, this was also a period largely considered
to be run by “yellow journalism”, with sensationalized stories made to sell papers. So, was this such a story? Or, did something really crash in
The article states that around 6am local time, on April 17, 1897, it was reported that a flying craft hit a windmill on the property of Judge J.S.
Proctor and crashed, killing the pilot.
Artist Depiction of Crash
The pilot was said to be “not of this world” and buried in the local cemetery, according to correspondent S. E. Haydon.
The wreckage was reportedly dumped into a well on the property. Nothing much happened with the story after this time, as it then faded into the town
Historical Marker in Aurora’s cemetary
Interestingly, there is a mention in the hotly debated Majestic documents that mentions 1897 as a starting point. Seems to be an odd date in
retrospect, but a strange coincidence, don’t you think? (skip down to the last paragraph, where he ordered an investigation of all War Department
files regarding unconventional aerial phenomenon reported since 1897).
Link to the document, allegedly by George C. Marshall.
Around 1945, Mr. Brawley Oates purchased the property, and reportedly cleaned the debris out of the well (it is not known what he did with it). He
later developed a debilitating case of arthritis, which he claimed was due to contaminants in the well water.
Mr. Brawley Oates
Mr. Oates’ hands
The old story goes that he sealed the well for these reasons, however in 2008, during a UFO Hunters investigation, an interview with Oates’ nephew
(and new owner of the property), Tim Oates later revealed the well was sealed due to the pipes being corroded, and the well no longer being
functional. The well was sealed in 1957, and this is indicated in the cement slab covering.
In 1979, Time Magazine did a story on the case, and interviewee Etta Pegues claimed that Hayden (spelled Haydon in some accounts) fabricated the
story, and that it was a joke, to get interest in the town, which was suffering financially. However, later details would illustrate the accuracy of
(the article is easily found in their archives, but you’ll need to be a subscriber to view it)
Interest was then renewed in the case in 1998. KDFW, a Dallas-based TV station did a story on the incident. Our own conspiracy master Jim Marrs was
interviewed, along with locals (and pretty much in all of the later investigations). The reporter, Richard Ray, was unable to find any conclusive
Link to the story by KDFW
In 2005, UFO Files aired an episode about the crash. MUFON was also involved in this investigation. They identified two new eyewitnesses to the crash.
Mary Evans (15 at the time) recalled her parents going to the crash site (she wasn’t permitted to go) and the discovery of the body. Charlie
Stephens (10 at the time) said he saw the ship trailing smoke as it headed north towards Aurora. He said his father went to town the next day and saw
MUFON investigated the cemetery, and found a grave with a marker that appeared to depict a saucer of some sort, and had readings from a metal
detector. They were not able to get permission to exhume the body, however. Soon after MUFON’s investigation, the marker vanished from the grave.
However, pics were taken of it, and a later investigation used these pics to triangulate the position of the grave.
Old photo of the Grave Marker that used to indicate the grave.
The marker was missing after the MUFON investigation.
At this time, Brawley Oates did not allow investigators access to the well. In addition, the earlier report of Etta Pegues still caused doubts and
lent some credence to the idea of a hoax. In addition, she claimed there was never a windmill on the property, which was supported by examining the
plans of the property. However, a later investigation (see the 2008 investigation, later in this article) addresses this issue.
(Continued in next post)