Over the years there have on occasion appeared remarkable and sensational stories of UFO crashes in which the bodies of the occupants have been captured or otherwise obtained by shady government forces. Undoubtedly the most well known of these is the case of Roswell, New Mexico, but while this may be the one most ingrained in popular culture there are other more obscure reports as well. One of these supposedly occurred in a small, backwater town in Texas, where a strange visitor would purportedly come from some other realm to crash and find its final resting place in a crude grave that has been lost and remains a mystery to this day.
The setting for this bizarre story comes amid a UFO flap that was sweeping the nation at the time. From between the years of 1896 and 1897 some outlandish stories were starting to make the headlines. Beginning in California and working their way east there began to be reported numerous accounts of what were described as mysterious, metallic cigar-shaped “airships” appearing in the skies, said to be slow moving and with powerful spotlights that could pierce the night with great precision. The reports were remarkable because this was an era before airplanes, when even balloons and blimps were not a particularly common site in the skies of these regions, so for so many people to suddenly start reporting giant mystery airships of an unknown design was cause for great concern, making the news on a regular basis.
One town that would be visited by one of these ship was the small, rural farming town of Aurora, Texas. This was an unassuming place that would normally be just another dusty town out in the badlands, nothing remarkable about it or particularly special, a place one could pass right on by without really noticing. Yet according to the Dallas Morning News, on April 15, 1897 one of these mysterious ships allegedly appeared to come sailing down out of the sky to go floating over center of town. This would have been an otherworldly, awe-inspiring sight to begin with, but things would apparently get more spectacular still when the ship meandered off and seemed to experience some sort of mechanical difficulties, purportedly colliding with a windmill on the rural property of a Judge J.S. Proctor, and causing a “terrific explosion” that wrecked the windmill, a water tank, and the airship, sending debris raining down everywhere.
When the wreckage was investigated by stunned locals, they apparently found that much of the debris was a strange, light metal that none of them had ever seen before, like a “mixture of aluminum and silver.” According to the report they also found the pilot of the craft sprawled out on the ground dead amongst the wreckage, and although there was no really detailed description it was described as a petite humanoid figure and called “a Martian,” with the report stating of its appearance, “while his remains are badly disfigured enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.” On the creature’s person were supposedly sheets of a paper-like material upon which were scrawled some sort of strange symbols like hieroglyphs, the meaning of which was as enigmatic as the pilot and his weird ship. So, now there seemed to be an actual crashed mystery ship and an alien body, so what did the locals do? Well, according to the tale they tossed the wreckage into an old well, sealed it off, and then had the tiny “alien” given a Christian burial in the nearby Aurora Cemetery in a grave with a small, unassuming headstone with a crude etching of the alien’s ship on it. Newspapers at the time ran with this story, and before long it was being talked about all over the place while curiosity seekers came to town to see the area and its cemetery for themselves.
While it might be easy to say that the Dallas Morning News report, which happened to have been written by an Aurora local, must surely have been a made-up joke piece, there were soon numerous other witnesses coming forward to corroborate the story, saying that they had also seen the craft or had even witnessed the crash and the dead alien body, giving weight to the strange account. There was also the odd claim from the new owner of Judge Proctor’s property, a Mr. Brawley Oates, who claimed in 1945 that he had found pieces of the alien ship buried in the well, which had made him ill and forced him to cover the site with cement to seal it away.
As amazing as all of this was at the time, it oddly all sort of faded away and became sort of an obscure historical oddity for decades, the location of the grave forgotten until the account was picked up on by UFO enthusiasts. The case quickly became popular with the UFO hunting crowd in later years, with many investigations of the claims launched over the years. One of the first of these was carried out by Bill Case, an aviation writer for the Dallas Times Herald and the Texas state director of Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), who interviewed surviving witnesses and checked out the cemetery. He would claim in 1973 to have found the gravestone of what he believed to be the alien’s grave, not much more than a rock, really, small in size and half-broken, carrying what appeared to be part of an etching of a “saucer shaped structure.” Using a metal detector, it was determined that there seemed to be large metal pieces buried down there in the ground, and the excited investigator tried to get permission from the city to exhume the grave with no success. Making the story more bizarre was that he would claim that upon his next visit the metal pieces had seemingly disappeared, possibly moved by someone. Not long after this the gravestone itself was stolen, and the location of the body lost once more.
Another notable investigation was carried out by the television show UFO Hunters in 2008. The team approached the current owner of the Judge Proctor property Tim Oates, nephew of Brawley Oates, the one who had sealed the well. Oates gave them permission for the well to be unsealed, but no pieces of alien wreckage were found and the water tested was fairly normal except for heightened levels of aluminum present. If there had ever been pieces of an alien airship in there they had since been removed and lost. UFO Hunters also investigated Aurora Cemetery, looking for the lost unmarked grave with ground penetrating radar. It seems they found a promising spot and tried to get permission to dig it up but were denied. Without being able to exhume the remains it was impossible to determine if they were human or not, and so the mystery has remained. To this day the location of the grave, or indeed if it ever existed at all, is unknown, although the cemetery itself still bears a plaque listing the alien as one of those interred there.
The tale of Aurora’s UFO crash and its lost alien grave has been much discussed and picked apart in recent years. One prominent idea is that this was all merely a publicity stunt to get more people to come to the town. They had been suffering from a string of calamities such as a disease epidemic, a devastating fire, and lost crops, so it is possible that the original article was a ploy to get people to go there. After all, at the time it doesn’t seem that any one really ever followed up on the original report, and there is also the fact if there was a dead alien of all things, how could it possibly be buried and then its resting place forgotten about? Wouldn’t someone desecrate the grave or even rob it? Other ideas are that the crash really was an alien craft and the grave is either still out there waiting to be found or the body whisked away by the government Roswell style. There has also been the idea that this might have really happened, but rather than some alien or interdimensional traveler it was perhaps some mad scientist testing out his own airship contraption. Considering the verifiable facts are thin and no evidence has ever really been found that any of this happened as described we are left to wonder. Did a UFO crash at Aurora and is there an alien buried in the cemetery there? Whether it is true or not, it is an strange little historical oddity that stokes the imagination.