UFO Crash in North Texas
by Mark Murphy and Noe Torres
Source: UFODigest.Com URL: http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0408/north-texas.html

When dozens of people in Erath County, Texas spotted a half mile-long UFO in the skies above them in January 2008, a couple of area residents turned to local history books for clues about what happened. Located 80 miles southwest of Fort Worth, the neighboring towns of Stephenville and Dublin lie in the very midst of what has been, historically, a hotbed for UFO activity. In fact, it has recently come to light that 56 years before the famous Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash of 1947, the tiny town of Dublin was the site of a Roswell-like event, involving an aerial explosion of a UFO, followed by the discovery of strange debris containing mysterious, undecipherable writing.

Saturday, June 13, 1891, was a quiet summer day in Dublin, which had a population of just over 2,000 people. One of town’s major industries, the Wasson & Miller flour mill and cotton gin, had already wound down operations for the week. As evening came, a number of local residents were outdoors near the gin, walking and otherwise enjoying the leisurely summer weekend. Among the persons in the vicinity, the Dublin newspaper later reported, was an unnamed “gentleman” who witnessed an event like few others in the history of human affairs.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
Front page of Dublin Progress, June 20, 1891

The unidentified man, described by the newspaper as a generally trustworthy witness, observed a bright, oblong-shaped object hovering about 300 feet in the sky above the gin. Although referred to as a “meteor,” the UFO’s strange behavior suggested that it was something entirely different. Struggling to describe the strange object in the terminology of an era before air travel, the witness stated that it looked like “a bale of cotton suspended in the air after having been saturated in kerosene oil and ignited, except that it created a much brighter light, almost dazzling those who perceived it.” While the general appearance was like a cotton bale, the observer gave no indication of the dimensions or overall size of the object. Apparently, he was so frightened by the UFO that he hastily withdrew from the scene before making any sort of guess at the object’s dimensions.

Especially striking about this account is the extreme intensity of light that emanated from the UFO. A kerosene-sparked flame would certainly not be bright enough to be said to “dazzle” viewers who stood several hundred feet away. This object, hovering in the sky above Dublin, exhibited a “much brighter light” than a conventional fire. The intense light may have been a sign that the air vehicle was in some kind of distress. Perhaps a fire had broken out on board the craft or something had caused it to overheat and build toward an explosion.

The observer noted that the dazzling object remained in the sky for an unspecified length of time and then, with a tremendously loud sound like that of a bombshell, the UFO suddenly exploded, violently hurtling metallic fragments of a most unusual character to the ground below and burning to a crisp all the surrounding grass and vegetation. The sound of the explosion was so loud that “nearly everyone in that portion of the city” heard it, according to the newspaper.

A more precise description of the object prior to the explosion is not available, we are told, because the observer was so badly frightened by what he saw that he “hastily” ran away and hid. Embarrassed by his fear and lack of scientific curiosity, he did return to the area the next day, but because of the initial instinct to flee, according to the newspaper account, “it was utterly impossible to obtain an accurate account of the dimensions and general appearance” of the UFO prior to the explosion.

The eyewitness must have had a restless night’s sleep thinking about the amazing sight his eyes had beheld that evening. He was certainly still intensely curious, and early on Sunday Morning, June 14, 1891, he returned to the scene of the fiery explosion he had witnessed. What he found was perhaps even more frightening to him than the events of the night before.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
Cotton Gin, Circa 1930s (Library of Congress)

Strewn across a field for many yards were “fragments of the most remarkable substance ever known to explode.” Amidst the completely burned grass, weeds, and other vegetation around the area were numerous fragments of what appeared to be metal of a leaden color. In addition, there were “peculiar stones” resembling the lava fragments thrown out by volcanic eruptions. Clearly, the physical evidence lying in this debris field indicated that what exploded here was something other than a meteor. Still, the most amazing find was yet to be made.

As the witness combed through the metallic and lava-like debris, he came across several small fragments of a paper-like substance with printed writing on them. They almost seemed like scraps from a newspaper, except for one important difference – the language was of a character unknown to anyone. Gazing in wonder at the strange writing, the observer became aware that “the language in both was entirely foreign to him, and, in fact, no one has yet been found who has ever seen such a language before.”

Clearly, this part of the story had a deeply emotional impact on the eyewitness, as the newspaper reporter said he “worked himself up to such a pitch of excitement.” In fact, he seemed in a “bewildered fancy” as he recalled the strange debris that he saw littering the area around the Wasson & Miller flour mill and cotton gin.

In a bizarre twist, the newspaper reporter asked to see the scraps with the mysterious writing on them, but the witness became so emotionally overwrought that he was unable to comply with the reporter’s request. He did not even seem to “grasp” the reporter’s desire to be allowed to see the UFO debris.

Slowly over time, the excitement surrounding this amazing incident in Dublin, subsided, and the local residents went back to the harsh reality of daily life on the Texas plains. Six years went by and then another unearthly UFO crash occurred less than 100 miles away in the town of Aurora, Texas, that certainly caused Erath County residents to remember 1891. In the Aurora case, the Dallas Morning News reported, “About 6 o'clock this morning [April 19, 1897] 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 Aurora UFO crash has been called the Roswell incident of Texas, and yet, one could legitimately argue that the 1891 event in Dublin is likely the oldest UFO crash event ever recorded in modern times. The Aurora event, along with the Great Texas Airship sightings of the middle 1890s, has been well documented and reported often, but the Dublin event remains very much a mystery to most UFO researchers and to the general public.

Some historical facts make the believability and extraterrestrial nature of the Dublin exploding UFO very compelling, even for skeptics. At the time, people did not have concepts of unearthly beings, space craft, or even air craft. One must imagine that any type of contact or witnessing of a possible would be depicted in terms of what people of that time knew or had previously experienced. Simple folk of that time would have explained such an event in terms that they knew, floating cotton bales glowing brighter than burning kerosene or similarly. Such a report would be akin to the way Ezekiel described the biblical “wheel in the middle of a wheel” and “like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps”. This Dublin event was a full seven years before H.G. Wells had written War of the Worlds, and the first widespread depictions of alien beings visiting Earth had emerged to the general public. This event was one year prior to the earliest known version of extraterrestrials first described in The Germ Growers (1892), by Robert Potter. [Ed. See: Wikipedia reference, "Notable invasion literature" in Invasion Literature.]

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
1891 city map section of Dublin, TX showing crash site at W. T. Miller Flour Mill & Cotton Gin in lower left hand corner.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
1896 city map section of Dublin, TX showing crash site at W. R. Wasson Flour Mill & Cotton Gin in lower left hand corner.

The recent sightings near Stephenville and Dublin, Erath County, Texas, have sparked a new or renewed sense of wonder in many hearts and minds not only in the immediate area, but across the country and world. Some of the "old timers" of ufology are a bit amazed that the Erath phenomena are being taken so seriously by the routine media, whereas twenty years ago television reporters would have at least given a humorous wink with their story, if not total ridicule. The times are a changing. The Erath event in January 2008 was witnessed by many conservative Christian farmers and folks in a rural community, but also by university professors, respected business people and law enforcement officers. There are yet many more that will not go on record as witnesses because of past connotations associated with being a "UFO nut" for those with the courage to come forward. However, this latest occurrence could truly be a turning point in how the general public and mainstream science begins to perceive the possibility of extraterrestrial or extra-dimensional visitations, whatever they may turn out to be. In the minds of many nonbelievers, MUFON has proven to be a scientifically viable organization, handling the investigation in a professional manner with no bias and drawing no conclusions as to what it was.

So what about the military flip flop on the recent event? It is also a bit unique for a sighting. Air Force Major Karl Lewis of the 301st Fighter Wing at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Ft. Worth essentially admitted a short-term cover up of the phenomenon. He initially said that it most likely was an illusion caused by setting sunlight reflecting off of two commercial airliners. He stated later that he should not have said anything like that. Lewis also admitted disinformation when professing that the Air Force did not have any military operations in the area at that time. He supposedly wasn't in the loop and later said that a communications error led him to not know that there were ten F-16 fighter jets over Stephenville that night. How often does the U.S. military have ten F-16s in an exercise over a populated area? Being a resident of Stephenville myself for about 25 years, I recall military jets flying over town about three or four times a year, and then only a single plane or two at the most. Nothing has been stated why the military, both large Army helicopters refueling at the municipal airport, confirmed F-14 Navy Tomcats, confirmed F-16s, a possible B-52 bomber and other military craft continued operations in the area were heavy for the week or two following the January 8th event. Major Lewis stated that it was just a military exercise in the Brownwood Military Operating Area (MOA) on that night, after his official initial denials. It can be easily noted on an FAA map that Stephenville and the area to the East toward Selden are well outside the MOA described. This is the area where, as pilot Steve Allen and others have described, F-16s were chasing an approximately 2000 foot long craft that traveled around an incredible speed of 3000 miles an hour, which stopped, turned, disappeared, then reappeared. It is quite understandable indeed how military officials could be confused and suffer communication problems in the wake of something this monstrous and dramatic. Almost half a mile long, a quarter mile wide, and traveling over Mach 4! That was one huge, fast vehicle, and “nothing of this world”, as Allen stated.

A long video of the craft and part of the event has surfaced on the internet, reportedly taken by David Caron. This video is posted on Angelia Joiner's website http://stephenvillelights.com. Angelia is the reporter who broke the story in the local Stephenville Empire Tribune. She was interviewed and featured in international media including Larry King Live and major network news programs, along with Allen, the businessman and pilot who first came forward with the story publicly and several others. Mainly because of my political office on the Stephenville City Council, I also was interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America and for a future episode of History Channel’s UFO Hunters. At least fifty other credible witnesses have been interviewed by MUFON at the time of this writing. Allen and several others state that the Caron video is a true and accurate depiction of what they witnessed, but that the craft traveled very fast at one point. The video seems to show the object prior to the time it was being chased by F-16s and its disappearance. The multicolored lights appear to be laser or plasma in nature, but that is left to interpretation, and they look like neon worms dancing in the night sky. Was this an extraterrestrial craft, plasma craft from our future, inter-dimensional portal ship, or just a bunch of laser lights on some type of cloaking device of a military stealth-type secret weapon? It certainly happened, what ever it was, and may never be fully disclosed or vetted publicly.

There are now other reports of Erath county sightings coming in, or being released to the public. A small, dark oval with multicolored lights traveling up the Bosque river, then hovering over a group of about twenty college students by an evening campfire occurred in March of 1982. There was absolutely no noise or wind as would be expected from even a "silent" helicopter. As the object hovered, it was not an airplane. The object accelerated at great speed up at an angle after hovering for over a minute. Another craft, exactly as described by Allen and the current witnesses, was reported to the sheriff of Erath County in 1969 by several local residents. Nothing was investigated. Other events and crafts have been spotted over the years, some relating to the many diaries in the area (Erath is the largest dairy county in Texas and seventh in the nation). Some events have been tied to Native American activities near the border with Comanche County on Erath's West side, others to the Comanche Peak nuclear plant near Glen Rose, and even more around abandoned military bases in the area. Is North Texas a hotbed of activity? If so, why? How long has this been going on? A follow-up study is being done on events passed down through the ages witnessed by members of the Comanche and Cherokee tribes in the area. Sightings are still reported from these Native Americans today. More to come on this.

The event recently uncovered about the 1891 crash may be the oldest on record in modern times (read attached transcription). This craft was spotted and exploded in Dublin in 1891, a full six years before the Aurora, Texas crash and subsequent burial of an assumed ET entity. The Aurora event, along with the Texas Ships of the 1890s, has been well documented and reported often. It may be surmised by some that the Aurora incident and other sightings around 1897 are attributed to the testing of dirigibles. The Dallas Morning News reported in 1897 that Stephenville farmer C. L. McIlhany (for whom a street in town is now named) actually spoke with the pilot and engineer of one of grounded airships. Their names were S.E. Tilman and A.E. Dolbear, and they were experimenting with the dirigible for an investment group out of New York. "They are confident that they have achieved a great success and that within a short time navigation of the air will be an assured fact," said McIlhany. Between April 13 and 17, 1897, there were 38 reported sightings of "airships" in 23 counties, mostly in North Central Texas, the location of Erath County. The late 1890s were also a busy time for dirigible invention testing across Europe. The “Golden Age” of airships did not actually begin until 1900. The bicycle making Wright brothers first flew in 1903. However, the descriptions of the 1891 incident do not match any possible connection to dirigible testing, and the Dublin crash appears to never have been reported, at least on a widespread scale.

The year 1891 was a busy time for Erath County. The first Dr. Pepper bottling plant was built in Dublin, Texas. Dublin had tried to become the Erath county seat, but the voter began building the courthouse in Stephenville that year alsox. The Miller grist mill and cotton gin was nine years old.

Some other details of interest from the Dublin Progress story need to be elucidated. The description of “peculiar stones and pieces of metal, all of a leaden color, presenting much the appearance of the lava thrown out by volcanic eruptions” is intriguing. The slag description is similar to other crash site artifacts, such as the one in the crash near Chihuahua in 1974. Metal slag appearing to be molten and cooled aluminum was discovered. Should samples of the leaden color metal ever be obtained from the mill site (and they probably still would be around somewhere under the soil surface), they could be tested to determine elemental content, pyrolytic history, and alloy composition.

The Progress witness described the craft first as a meteor and then as a cotton bale suspended in the air. It should also be noted that cotton bales in 1891 were much larger than they are today. Various sizes were used anywhere from as large as 10 x 10 x 10 feet to much smaller or larger, but usually big and bulky. A cotton compactor was patented in 1891 to make the standard bale about 55 inches by 22 inches by 33 inches and about 500 pounds known to farmers later, but this type compacter could not have been working in Dublin at that time the same year it was patented. The craft in question was probably several feet wide and long like the larger bales at the time.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
Cotton Bale in Houston, Texas, Gin, 1939 (Library of Congress)

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
Texas cotton bales around turn of 20th century

The mill in Dublin still stands intact at the crash site. The railroad and depot is no longer on the west side of the mill, but is now replaced by small livestock field and a small creek. Sackville Street on the maps attached is now called West Park Street. The Dublin museum curators say that the mill is schedule for restoration and preservation as soon as funds are obtained. Should there be any excavation of the soil around the mill, it would be a good time to get out the metal detector and look for slag or unusual artifacts. I guess I’ll dig mine out of the garage and be ready. Perhaps some wealthy benefactor might consider giving a restoration grant with first archeological rights to whatever is dug up from the area. Manuscript fragments in the strange language described would long be dissolved, but may be in someone’s attic chest around Dublin. In any case, we can all glean from these events that the area around Erath County has been a source of UFO activity for at least 117 years or more. We’ll keep our eyes on the skies around here.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
Miller Grist Mill site from northern view.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891
Texas cotton bales around turn of 20th century

Transcription of June 20, 1891 Dublin Progress news article (page 4)


A Meteor Explodes in the City—An Eye Witness Describes the Scene to a Progress Reporter—Scared.

Quite a little excitement was created last Saturday night by the bursting of what is supposed by those who were present to have been a meteor, near Wasson & Miller’s gin. Quite a number witnessed the explosion and nearly everyone in that portion of the city heard the report eminating [sic] therefrom, which is said to have sounded somewhat like the report of a bomb-shell. Our informant (who, though a little nervous at times, is a gentleman who usually tells the truth, but did not give us this statement with a view to its publication) says he observed the meteor when it was more than three hundred feet in the air, before bursting, and that it bore a striking resemblance to a bale of cotton suspended in the air after having been saturated in kerosene oil and ignited, except that it created a much brighter light, almost dazzling those who percieved [sic] it. The gentleman in question seems to have been so badly frightened that it was utterly impossible to obtain an accurate account of the dimensions and general appearance of this rare phenomenon, but we are convinced from his statements that his position at the time must have been very embarrassing and that very little time was spent in scientific investigations. However, on the following morning he returned to the scene so hastily left the previous night, to find the weeds, grass, bushes and vegetation of every description for many yards around the scene of the explosion burned to a crisp, also discovering a number of peculiar stones and pieces of metal, all of a leaden color, presenting much the appearance of the lava thrown out by volcanic eruptions. He also picked up some small fragments of manuscript and a scrap, supposed to be part of a newspaper, but the language in both was entirely foreign to him, and, in fact, no one has yet been found who has ever seen such a language before, hence no information could be gained from their examination. At this juncture your reporter requested that he be shown these wonderful fragments of such a miraculous whole, but the narrator had worked himself up to such a pitch of excitement that it was impossible to get him to grasp the significance of our request, and were compelled to leave him a victim to his own bewildered fancy and to ruminate the seemingly miraculous story he had just related. Thus was a repotorial [sic] zealot denied the boon of seeing fragments of the most remarkable substance ever known to explode near Wasson & Miller’s gin.

P.S. Since the above was put in type we learn that our reporter was given the above information by a contributor to the Dublin Telephone, but the information came too late to prevent its insertion in this paper.

UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891 UFO Crash in North Texas, 1891

Bibliography and Acknowledgment

  1. Dublin Progress, June 20, 1891.
  2. Dallas Morning News, April 19, 1897.
  3. Dallas Morning News, February 4, 2008.
  4. Stephenville Empire Tribune, January 11, 14, & 20, 2008.
  5. Abilene Reporter News, January 23, 2008.
  6. USA Today, January 23, 2008.
  7. Torres, Noe and Uriarte, Ruben, Mexico’s Roswell, Virtual Bookworm Publishers, 2007.
  8. Chariton, Wallace O. The Great Texas Airship Mystery, Republic of Texas Press, 1990.
  9. Lattimore, Sarah Catherine. Incidents in the History of Dublin: Gathered from
    Participants and Eye-Witnesses
    , Press of the Dublin Progress, 1987.
    (original date of publication: 1913).
  10. “Air Force Alters Texas UFO Explanation”, National Public Radio, January 24, 2008.
  11. “A Guide for Cotton Bale Standards”, American Cotton Council, 1982.
  12. Depicted Special Use Airspace (SUA), Brownwood Military Operating Area,
    Federal Aviation Administration,sua.faa.gov
  13. en.wikipedia.org
  14. www.texasalmanac.com
  15. www.ufocasebook.com
  16. Holy Bible, King James Version, 1611.
  17. Interviews with Clark Field Airport personnel (Stephenville, TX), January 2008,
    by Mark Murphy
  18. Interviews with Steve Allen and witnesses wishing to remain anonymous, January 2008,
    by Mark Murphy
  19. Interview with Dublin Museum officials, March 2008, by Mark Murphy

Source: http://www.beyondboundaries.org

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