The Aurora Incident
In the late 1890s various reports of mysterious, “cigar shaped airships” came in across the United States. One such such incidence was reported by The Dallas Morning News as occurring on April 17th, 1897 in the town of Aurora, Texas; it would come to be known as “The Aurora Incident”. The original account was written by one S.E. Haydon, a resident of Aurora, who said that around 6 AM a UFO hit a windmill on the property of Judge J.S. Proctor and subsequently crashed. The pilot of the ship was said to have died in the crash, but Haydon remarked that the remains were “not of this world”. The wreckage was allegedly mostly dumped into a nearby well; while the pilot’s body and the remaining wreckage was buried “with Christian rights”, in an unmarked grave, at the Aurora cemetery. Years later, the property would be purchased by a man named Brawley Oates, who cleaned out the well to use it as a water source, and later claimed he developed arthritis from drinking water contaminated by the ships wreckage. To this day, a plaque placed in commemoration of the incident by the Texas Historical Commission can be found at the Aurora Cemetery, but as always speculation remains: Was it the real deal? Or just a hoax?
Those who believe that a UFO really did crash in Aurora that morning are not without evidence to back them up, as investigations have uncovered witnesses and strange “proof” that something extraordinary happened on April 17th 1897. In interviews conducted in the mid 1900s, two townspeople who were children at the time of the incident revealed that they had vivid memories of something crashing in their town. One remembers hearing of the crash and her parents going to look at the wreckage; while the other remembers seeing the ship during it’s decent, and even remembers not being allowed to go see the crash because he had to finish his chores. These interviews were part of an investigation by the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON); an investigation that also found a strange grave marker that resembled a UFO at the Aurora Cemetery (the marker allegedly disappeared shortly after the initial investigation). A later investigation by the show UFO Hunters found an unmarked grave at the cemetery also.
Even with a good amount of evidence to support it’s having happened, the Aurora incident is still believed by many to have been a hoax; done with good intentions, but gone too far. Former Mayor of Aurora Barbara Brammer’s research has become to basis for the hoax theory. She believes that at the time of the incident, the town was in danger of becoming abandoned thanks to crop issues, a viral outbreak, a lack of railroad access, and a large fire that had recently decimated the downtown area. Furthermore, she believes that in an attempt to put the town back on the map; S.E. Haydon, a known practical joker, made up the entire thing. Her theory is supported by a 1979 interview with a friend of Haydon’s in which the friend admits that Haydon fabricated the story to drum up interest in the town.
So who are we to believe? The witnesses that claim they saw a UFO crash in their small town? Or those that claim they witnessed not a UFO, but a man; desperate to save his town, and willing to lie to the world to save it. At this point, we may never know, so the Aurora Incident remains: an Otherworld Mystery.