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A Legendary Western Town

Since the first settlers arrived in the 1850s, Aurora, Texas has been home to unique history and has played an important role in the development of the region. It was William W.O.Stanfield who chose the name “Aurora” because “he felt that it was the dawn of something luminous and beautiful in the new land.”* Through the early pioneer years, of which Aurora saw fortunes gained and lost, it has continued to forge ahead. During the advent of WWII, a Marine Air Base was built in Aurora which was home to a glider program, part of which was instrumental in getting men and supplies to inland areas during the war. However, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Aurora’s history is the legend of a UFO crash that occurred in 1897, which has captured the imaginations of many over the years. Despite Aurora’s small size, its unique history and dedicated citizens have made it legendary.

The History of “Ned,” our Alien.

On April 17th,1897, local lore tells of a “cigar shaped” spaceship crashing into a windmill belonging to a local Judge, a man by the name of J.S. Proctor. The local towns people report discovering a deceased alien creature in the crash debris.  The pilot of this craft was given “proper burial” in the Aurora Cemetery.  A Texas Historic Monument briefly describes the event.  

And the story goes….

“Ned’s” tombstone, with carvings depicting the spaceship seen in the early hours of April 17, 1897

There were several sightings of a “great airship” around Texas, in the spring of 1897. At least one of these flying crafts was reported to have crashed in Aurora, on April 17, 1897. The tall tale reports a “airship” crashing into Judge Proctor’s windmill and bursting into flames. Among the wreckage, Aurora residents found the disfigured remains of an alien creature. The alien, we now call “Ned,” was given “a proper christian burial” in the local Aurora Cemetery.

A newspaper article of the event still exists. Please refer to the front page of the original Dallas Morning News (below) for the article written by S. E. Haydon, a reporter for the newspaper.Dallas Morning News. Excerpts from the article include the following information:

“About 6 o’clock this morning the early risers of Aurora were astonished at the sudden appearance of the airship which has been sailing around the country. It was traveling due north and much nearer the earth than before.”

“Evidently some of the machinery was out of order, for it was making a speed of only ten or twelve miles an hour, and gradually settling toward the earth. It sailed over the public square and when it reached the north part of town it collided with the tower of Judge Proctor’s windmill and went into pieces with a terrific explosion, scattering debris over several acres of ground, wrecking the windmill and water tank and destroying the judge’s flower garden.”

“The pilot of the ship is supposed to have been the only one aboard and, while his remains were badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.”

The original front page of the Dallas Morning News, April 19, 1897. This was provided to us by “Alien Agenda” author, Jim Marrs. Mr. Marrs pointed out, there are multiple stories associated with “flying object sightings” covering the front page.

*Pegues, E. (1975). Aurora, Texas: The Town That Might Have Been. Self-published.