When I first saw the previews to the movie Cowboys and Aliens some kid that was in the audience yelled out “that’s lame.” I was not only annoyed by this, but I also thought the idea would be really cool. There really hasn’t been too much coverage about the possibility of UFO’s, and aliens on the wild frontier, however I knew better. I have read so many stories about alien or celestial events recorded by cowboys but the one that is most impressive is the story of the airship crash in Aurora Texas in the 1800’s.
It probably would have been terrifying for the people in that small town to see something flying in the air and crashing to the ground, especially when the Wright Brothers wouldn’t get off the ground for at least another seven years.

We take UFO stories for granted now. We dismiss them as hoaxes, tricks of film, unconventional aircraft but back then there was nothing like that. There was no photo shop, no alien memes being pumped into the zeitgeist through science fiction and movies, no black ops experiments. It was just an airship, cigar shaped and coming down to the ground eventually crashing and killing its pilot.
On April 19th, 1897 the Dallas morning news reported that a large airship had hit a windmill on the property of a Judge J.S. Proctor and crashed. After the townsfolk investigated the scene, it was found that the pilot, a small disfigured man with a large head was killed in the crash. The little being was given a Christian burial. Before the being was buried it was determined by a Fort Worth army officer that the creature was “not of this world” and it was determined that the man was from Mars.
Wreckage from the crash site was dumped into a nearby well located under the damaged windmill, much of the debris was also buried with the alien in the grave. A man named Brawley Oates, purchased the property in 1945. Oates improved on the property and decided to clean out the debris from the wells so that it would be drinkable. In 1957 Oates had developed a debilitating disease from drinking the water. There were others who drank from the well that developed hideous growths on their joints. The disease disfigured the people.

Oates decided to seal up the hole with concrete and built a small building on top of it. There have been many investigations into the incident and the Texas historical society has forbidden anyone to dig up the grave of the alleged spaceman. Jim Marrs who has written about the story extensively interviewed three living witnesses. One claimed the entire story was a fabrication to bring money to the town, while the other two witnesses said that the story is very real and that many people felt so sorry for the dead occupant in the ship.
Prior to this story –sightings of airships were reported in newspapers in San Francisco to New York that metallic cigar shaped airships were sighted in the sky. Airships were reported in Sacramento, Tacoma Washington, Hastings Nebraska, Chicago Illinois, Springfield Missouri, Decatur Michigan, and Waterloo Iowa.
Here we have a case of multiple sightings; over 108 were in Texas alone all at the end of the 19th, century. Texas UFO researcher Noe Torres and New Mexico historian John LeMay have recorded many encounters of aliens and airships in the old west. They claim that cowboys and farmers of the Old west had a hard time describing what they saw because spaceships and airplanes didn’t exist. In 1864, a fur trapper named James Lumley claims to have seen an airship crash. He told a Cincinnati newspaper that the airship crashed. it was ‘divided into compartments’ and parts of it had been ‘carved’ with hieroglyphics, similar to the writings of ancient Egypt.”
The sand surrounding the craft had been superheated to the point of creating what appeared to be glass.
Alien encounters have also been reported in the late 19th century. Although many of these encounters were described as angelic, there are at least two famous stories of being encounters that sparked major religious movements.
Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith, at age 14 claims to have been visited by beings on numerous occasions. Smith told stories of encounters with angels, even God and Jesus. His first vision was in a grove of trees where a bright line beamed down from the sky and told him to organize a new religion. Joseph Smith’s encounters sound like typical alien abduction experiences you hear about today.
Smith was visited by an entity that said he was an angel. He told Smith to dig up Golden Plates and translate them from Egyptian Hieroglyphs. This translation eventually became the Book of Mormon the foundation for the Mormon Church’s beliefs.
In the 1880’s an American dentist, named John Ballou Newbrough claimed to have been visited by the Ambassadors of the angel hosts of heaven. The ambassadors told Newbrough to change his diet and write a book through automatic writing called the OASPE.
This book reveals that these Ambassadors come from the presence of the most high in heaven and come to earth in 3000 year cycles to teach mankind.
Later there would be another type of biblical work written by celestial beings called the URANTIA, however this book allegedly was revealed to a group of mediums in 1911.
If aliens were to arrive in the old west I am sure it would be the equivalent of God showing up and speaking. They had their bibles and their religion to try and interpret the experiences.
While UFO historians may have overlooked the old west as a time of UFO activity, there seems to be a lot of stories of angelic encounters and airship sightings that are anachronisms for the time.
Meantime we can sit in a movie theater and see the what the mainstream may call an outrageous idea on the Hollywood screen.

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