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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wick

The Mysterious Flying Craft Crash in Aurora

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

The United States has been the host to numerous mysterious UFO incidents. Maybe the most notorious of which took place in New Mexico during the summer of 1947. But this incident of a downed alien spacecraft near Roswell was by no means the first such incident. With an equally mysterious crash having allegedly taken place in the neighboring state of Texas 50 years before, in this post, we visit the mysterious flying craft crash in Aurora.

It was still dark outside with Charlie Stephens had been awoken by an insistent knock on his bedroom door. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, the ten-year-old had wearily risen from his bed, before washing his face in the basin opposite and then pulling on his overalls. Unsteadily making his way to the front door of the house, he had found his father waiting holding his hat out ready for him to wear. Crossing to the barn, the pair saddled their horses, and then commenced their short Journey out to the farm's further most pasture in order to round up the cattle.

As usual, father and son rode in silence, both keen to complete their daily morning routine before returning to the farmhouse, and the hearty breakfast which would be waiting for them, courtesy of Mrs. Stephens. Overhead, the deep dark blue at the nighttime sky was now finally surrendering to a much lighter shade, when both of the horses unexpectedly began to fuss. As Charlie gently kicked at the sides of his mount, trying to encourage it to move on, he could see up ahead that his father was experiencing similar difficulties. They had both dismounted and were in the process of trying to coax the animals forward, when they became aware of a mysterious humming sound, which was gradually increasing in volume. Unable to motivate his horse, Charlie gave up and instead walked over to his father, who was stood looking about himself trying to figure out where the strange noise was coming from.

Suddenly a dark shape seemed to materialize in the skies above them. It was descending slowly out of the clouds, heading in a northerly direction towards the nearby town of Aurora. As the strange object passed directly over them continued on its journey, Charlie found himself staring up at it in wonder. Save for birds and kites, and the one time he had witnessed a hot air balloon at the County Fair, the youngster had never seen anything else that could fly before.

It was long and cylindrical with a bright light situated at one end that seemed to be powering it. As the airship began to move away, the humming also faded, leaving the father and son watching on in stunned silence. With the craft now out of sight, the horses seemed to calm allowing the farmers to continue their journey. But moments later, they heard the sound of a distant rumble to the north and the skies there were suddenly brightly illuminated. Turning to his father, Charlie shouted that the flying craft must have crashed, begging to be allowed to go and investigate the incident further. But Stephen Senior flatly refused: Such matters were best left to the authorities. And besides, if they both rode off on some wild goose chase, then who would round up their cattle. It would not be until the following day after his father had ridden into town that young Charlie would discover the fate of the mysterious airship and its occupant.

Most reports involving unidentified flying objects are often dismissed out of hand due to a lack of supporting evidence. In the instances where there happens to be video or photographic evidence, this is usually of such poor or ambiguous quality that it is rendered almost useless. With the advent of drones, hoaxes are now, unfortunately, far too common. Similarly in cases where there is more than one witness to the incident, they are usually in comparatively small numbers. Often the testimony of multiple witnesses is conflicting, which undermines their overall credibility. It is also common for alleged alien spacecraft to leave little or no physical evidence of their passing, which is why the events that took place in Aurora in April of 1897 stand out from the overwhelming majority of American UFO encounters.

In the early hours of the 17th of that month, something fell out of the skies above the town. Something that was witnessed by multiple residents, resulting in the death of its pilot and leaving a trail of wreckage across the town. Perhaps, one of the more surprising aspects of the Aurora incident is the pragmatic response by the town's inhabitants to the event. Whereas the Roswell incident 50 years later would generate paranoia and National hysteria, to the solicitous people of this small Texas community, the crash was treated like any other tragic accident.

The flying craft crash

The incident took place at roughly 6 am, as the earliest risers of the town were slowly going about their business. All of the witnesses agreed that the flying craft, which they refer to as an airship, was first seen approaching the settlements from a southerly direction. It was steadily losing height as it headed towards the town and making a strange sound which the residents believed was the result of mechanical failure. Finally, as it drew ever closer to the ground below, it made contact with a windmill belonging to the town Judge, Spencer Proctor.

The craft was estimated to have been traveling at a speed of approximately 12 miles an hour when it collided with the structure. It immediately exploded showering the judge's property with flaming wreckage and causing significant damage. Rescuers attending the scene were initially held back by the fires, unable to sift through the devastation until the flames had eventually died down. When they did so, they found a severely burned remains of a single occupant and several tons of twisted metal which resembled a compound of aluminium and silver.

The extraterrestrial origin pilot

The crash was immediately reported to the authorities in the nearby city of Fort Worth, who dispatched a signals officer named Weems to investigate the matter. In his subsequent report on the incident, the military investigator stated that he believed the downed craft was not of an earthly origin. The body of the pilot was too disfigured to give any clue as to its origins. But Weems surmised that it was too small to be that of an adult, more comparable in size to that of a human child. He was also unable to decipher strange markings and glyphs found engraved on material at the site of the wreckage stating that he believed it to be of an extraterrestrial origin.

With nothing further to investigate, the remains of the pilot were buried in the town cemetery with a Christian service administered by a visiting pastor. Several smaller pieces of wreckage were buried along with it, whilst the larger pieces were collected and then thrown down Judge Proctor's well, which had been damaged along with the windmill. Somewhat amazingly, an article written in the Dallas Morning News which directly asserted that the airship had come from another world was met with little interest by the national press. Markers were erected at the crash site in the grave of the pilots commemorating the event, but it would be a further 80 years before there was any significant interest in the incident.

Jim Mars' interpretation

In 1973, local journalist Jim Mars visited the town in an attempt to establish the facts behind the crash. He managed to locate what he believed to be the grave of the pilot and found a stone marker there with what appeared to be a saucer-shaped object depicted on it. He also noted that the marker look to have been desecrated, as it was broken into two pieces. Following on from the Mars article, a fellow journalist named Bill Case initiated his own investigation. He was also the head of the local branch of MUFON and brought a metal detector with him to the site to see if he could locate the wreckage that had allegedly been buried along with the pilot.

From the readings on his detector, Case concluded that there were at least three sizable pieces of wreckage buried within the confines of the grave. But when he applied for an exhumation order to remove the metal, this was refused by the church authorities. In the aftermath of this refusal, the MUFON investigator later found that the grave had been excavated by unknown persons, with the marker removed and the length of metal pipe now buried under the ground. This avenue of investigation now closed: Case began to canvass for Witnesses. He was able to locate Charlie Stevens, then in his late 80s, he related the tale of how he and his father had observed the object traveling north towards the town. A woman by the name of Mary Evans also came forward who was 15 at the time of the crash and whose parents had seen the body and the wreckage.

The following year, TIME Magazine published an article debunking the crash, in which they alleged that the entire affair had been fabricated by the author of the original newspaper story regarding the incident, a reporter by the name of Haydon. This piece was based on an interview with historian and local resident, Etta Pegues. The 86 year old told the magazine that in the years leading up to 1897, the town has suffered a catalogue of unfortunate mishaps. There was an outbreak of weevils which severely blighted the crops of the local farmers, followed by a widespread epidemic of fever, and then a large fire, which damaged several buildings.

Pegues claimed that when a nearby railroad which was under construction had been diverted to avoid Aurora, Haydon had conceived the story as a desperate attempt to keep the town relevant. She further alleged that Judge Proctor had never even owned a windmill and that the journalist had falsified that element of the story as well. In November of 2008, a documentary named UFO Hunters managed to gain access to the judge's property which had been purchased from him in 1935 by a man named Brawley Oates. In an interview with his grandson, they learned that Oates had cleared the wreckage from the well, later claiming that the material had tainted the drinking water, afflicting him with an aggressive form of arthritis.

Timothy Oates stated that as a result of this, his grandfather had blocked off the well with a concrete slab. He allowed the documentary makers to take samples of the water, which contained high levels of aluminium and showed them the foundations of the windmill that had once stood on the site, seemingly undermining the testimony of Etta Pegues.

It would not be until the morning of December the 17th 1903, five years after the incident that the Wright brothers successfully piloted a powered flying machine. And with the witnesses of the Aurora crash adamant that the craft involved was not a hot air balloon, is it possible that it was indeed an extraterrestrial vessel? This question is difficult to answer with any certainty. It is true that at the time efforts to create a powered airship were finally starting to achieve success. Across the world, inventors backed by wealthy industrialists continue to achieve limited and localized periods of flight, which sadly often resulted in accident in death. The manner of the crash certainly seems to suggest that the technology behind the unknown vessel was rudimentary in nature, with the craft traveling in a slow and sluggish manner, unable to correct whatever defect would doom it to its fiery demise.

The area to the south of Fort Worth is particularly well suited for flying and would like to be chosen by the military as the site of one of the country's first airbases. So is it possible that some unknown inventor was killed piloting an experimental airship of some kind, as opposed to an alien visitor?


From 1896 onwards, the world was beset by reports of mysterious airships and their occupants interacting with bewildered witnesses. These incidents originated in the Western United States, but soon spread to Europe and as far afield as Australia and New Zealand, reaching their peak with the outbreak of the First World War. These unknown zeppelins, would regularly be seen shining mysterious lights down as they passed over rural communities, sometimes encountered on the ground as their crews conducted hasty repairs.

Witnesses reported that these flyers often spoken mysterious languages wearing bizarre uniforms and quickly fleeing to avoid detection or capture. With the approach of the Great War, many of these reports were attributed to the German air force, who were suspected of attempting to perfect the zeppelins, which would pound and pummel targets across Mainland Europe during the coming conflict. And yet with the defeat of Germany, it became apparent that no such expeditions had been undertaken and that the technology described by witnesses was still decades away from being created. The Royal Air Force had invested no time or interest in the pursuit. So who on Earth could have been responsible?

The Aurora Airship crash remains a polarizing subject. Many residents there claimed that the event was very real and left a lasting impact on the community. Others bemoan the unwanted attention that Haydon's newspaper article had brought the town, the result of a cynical attempt to obtain national interest and investment. Evidence to support the allegation remains frustratingly as divisive. Recent claims have suggested that Mr. Weems was in fact the town blacksmith and not a signals officer at all. Others claim that in the aftermath of Roswell, the government made efforts to cover up the affair fearing further public scrutiny on the subject. Ultimately, whether you are of the belief that it was an alien or an airship inventor that lost their life in the fields of aurora on that misty April morning, the evidence would suggest that the event did indeed occur. And whilst we may never fully know the whole truth behind it, we can take heart in the very compassionate and humane manner in which the people of the small Texas town responded to the tragedy.


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