Americana: Close Encounters of a Kind

Is it possible that a cigar-shaped spaceship descended over the tiny town of Aurora, Texas (pop. 237), and crashed into Judge J.S. Proctor's windmill? And that a tiny spaceman was buried in the Aurora cemetery?

That was the tale sent to newspapers in nearby Dallas and Fort Worth one April day in 1897 by a local correspondent named S.E. Hayden. It was generally ridiculed at the time, and most citizens of Aurora still scoff. "Hayden wrote it as a joke and to bring interest to Aurora," says Etta Pegues, 86. "The railroad bypassed us, and the town was dying."

But UFO stories, told...

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