According to a story run in the April 19, 1897, edition of the Dallas Morning News a “mystery airship,” as UFOs were known in those days, came sailing out of the sky, smashing through a windmill belonging to Judge James Spencer Proctor, before finally crashing into the ground.
The debris also destroyed the good judge’s flower garden. Unfortunately, the pilot was also killed in the collision, but locals were able to drag what was described as a “petite” and “Martian” body from the wreckage.
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The body was supposedly buried under a tree branch in the Aurora cemetery, observing good Christian rites.
Reportedly, wreckage from the crash site was dumped into a nearby well located under the damaged windmill, while some ended up with the alien in the grave.
Between April 15 and April 19 of 1897, the Dallas Morning News contained accounts of sightings from 21 different towns.
The occupant of the airship was reported as being humanoid and small in size and the Dallas Morning News said he “was not an inhabitant of this world.” There is mention in some accounts of strange hieroglyphs among the wreckage.
In the 1920’s people wanted to dig up the alien body but were stopped by locals with shotguns. Adding to the mystery was the story of Mr. Brawley Oates, who purchased Judge Proctor’s property around 1935:
Jim Marrs (lecture) was one of the few people who researched this case in depth, and according to his book “Alien Agendas”, Bonnie Etoy Oates and Brawley Hoyle Oates bought Judge Proctor’s property. Mrs. Oates said that nothing grew for years in the spot where the airship crashed.
The Oates family, notably Brawley Oates cleaned out the debris from the well in order to use it as a water source, but he suffered an extremely severe case of arthritis, which he claimed to be the result of contaminated water from the wreckage dumped into the well.
As a result, Oates sealed up the well with a concrete slab and placed an outbuilding atop the slab. (According to writing on the slab, this was done in 1945.)
A strange little headstone was the only marker for the alien pilot but it disappeared in 1973.
In 1973, an investigation led by Bill Case, an aviation writer for the Dallas Times Herald and the Texas state director of Mutual UFO Network (MUFON).
MUFON uncovered two new eyewitnesses to the crash. Mary Evans, who was 15 at the time, told of how her parents went to the crash site (they forbade her from going) and the discovery of the alien body.
Charlie Stephens, who was age 10, told how he saw the airship trailing smoke as it headed north toward Aurora. He wanted to see what happened, but his father made him finish his chores; later, he told how his father went to town the next day and saw wreckage from the crash.
Bill Case used a metal detector at the grave site. He detected three metal areas that might have been wreckage pieces or personal possessions.
The weekend after the gravestone disappeared in 1973, someone removed the metal pieces in the grave using 3 inch pipe and a special tool for that purpose. After the grave was disturbed in 1973, cemetery officials hired a lawyer to fight UFO researchers who wanted the alien body exhumed.
In 2010 an ad hoc “tombstone” with a UFO scratched into it mysteriously appeared in the cemetery, but it vanished just as mysteriously in 2012, said Aurora city administrator Toni Wheeler, a longtime area resident.
The marker was an asymmetrical stone that featured a crude etching of the cigar-shaped aircraft with three holes.
Today, the gravesite is marked only by a boulder, although some visitors to the cemetery have used ink to inscribe the rock with messages such as “Rest in peace, my alien brother.” A small wooden cross and flowers also were seen at the gravesite during a recent visit.
In 2018, A Dallas lawyer is offering $1,000 for the return of a grave marker stolen from a cemetery in the small Texas city of Aurora.
Stratton Horres, a Dallas civil defense attorney, said he doesn’t necessarily believe the reported April 17, 1897, crash in the tiny city about 27 miles north of downtown Fort Worth involved an aircraft from outer space — or that there was even a crash at all.
But he enjoys reading about and researching stories of unidentified flying objects, and wants to see if his financial offer might turn up some evidence one way or the other.