UFO Encounters In The Wild West

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
October 23, 2016
Last Updated
November 10, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

If you have seen the film, Cowboys and Aliens then the idea of spacecraft in the Wild West will not be so, well, alien to you. Although the film, as enjoyable as it is, is one-hundred percent fiction, there are numerous accounts of UFO and alien encounters in the tentative years of the United States.

Although most people credit the term “flying saucer” with an account given by Kenneth Arnold in 1947 for example, in 1878 in Denison, Texas, farmer John Martin witnessed a strange object flying over his land and made a report to Denison Daily News on 25th January 1878.

While out hunting, Martin noticed a dark object in the sky. The strange shape and the speed with which the object appeared to be moving captivated him. He took his eyes off it for a second in order to refocus his gaze. When he locked on it again, it was almost overhead. It was described by Martin as a “large saucer” and although now clear in his vision was still obviously at a great height.

Wild West buildings with UFO flying over.

Wild West buildings with UFO flying over.

Martin could only compare the object to a (hot air) balloon but accepted that it moved much too fast for this to realistically be the case. The Denison Daily News ended their article on the sighting by John Martin by concluding that the event “deserves the attention of our scientists!”

Martin’s report is just one of many that were made and documented during the 1800s in the United States. Before we look at some of the more notable encounters though, check out a quick trailer of the aforementioned film by Universal, Cowboys and Aliens – much of the fiction was inspired by elements of the genuine reports made at the time.

James Lumley’s Claims Of Hieroglyphics On Downed UFO in 1865

Trapper James Lumley stated that he not only witnessed a craft crash into the ground, but he also tracked down the wreckage [1] in 1865 – claims that were printed in several newspapers of the time, including the Missouri Democrat.

Late one evening while trapping in the mountains of Cadotte Pass, Missouri, he saw an object fly across the sky before it separated like “the bursting of a sky rocket in the air!” Seconds later, Lumley heard a huge explosion that made the ground shake and was followed by a rush of air that swept through the forest around him.

The following day, Lumley was witness to the carnage that the craft had left behind as it had crashed to the ground. Trees had been uprooted and a “path” had been cut through them by the object. He followed this path to a “stone” object that had embedded into the mountainside.

Upon closer inspection, Lumley stated that the “stone” had broken into several compartments. Furthermore, there appeared to be shattered glass around it, as well as a dark liquid substance. Perhaps strangest of all is the claim that there were hieroglyphics on some of the compartments.

The newspapers theorized that perhaps the occupants of the craft were from “Mercury or Uranus” and also stated that astronomers had “long held that it is probable the heavenly bodies are inhabited!”

While many cast doubt on the story, the assertion that there were hieroglyphics sighted is of particular interest to those who feel that aliens had a hand in another great civilization – Ancient Egypt.

The Silvery Serpent of Texas, 1873

In Bonham, Texas in 1873, workers in a cotton field noticed an object in the sky [2] above them. Traveling at great speed, the shiny “silvery serpent” (as it appeared to them) caused them all to panic and run for cover from the openness of the cotton field, rushing indoors or hiding under wagons.

The speed of the object was such that it was almost a blur in the broad daylight sky. The object apparently circled the small town twice before speeding off from view.

24 hours after the sighting in Bonham, residents in Fort Scott in Kansas would witness a similar craft. It caused a similar panic as it had done the previous day, causing soldiers to flee the parade ground and seek cover away from the strange machine.

There were numerous sightings made by range workers and cowboys alike across America at the time. Usually involving a “silver bird” flying fast above them that when fired upon, the bullets would bounce off the “creatures” skin.

Perhaps one of the more famous of these was the 1892 sighting in Tombstone, Arizona, when two cowboys claimed to have given chase to and shot at a winged reptile that was up to one hundred and sixty feet long [3] with a wingspan that stretched to over ninety feet.

Winged reptile? Or a flying machine?

Check out the short video below that features a talk from Stephen Andrasko concerning UFO sightings in 1800s America!

The Aurora Alien

In April 1897 in Aurora, Texas, a strange craft came screaming out of the sky. [4] It crashed into a windmill on Judge J. S. Proctor’s estate and exploded into flames upon impact. Many of the local townsfolk would witness the event. And could attest to the destruction of the craft. as well as “the pilot” – who was an extra-terrestrial. A report of the incident appeared in the Dallas Morning News on 19th April. Part of their report concerning the alien pilot reads:

Papers found on his person, evidently the records of his travels, are written in some unknown hieroglyphics and can not be deciphered……….The pilot’s funeral will take place at noon tomorrow.

According to reports, the funeral did indeed take place. And the pilot’s grave was marked with a simple headstone in the Aurora graveyard. It remained there for over seventy years until a journalist from the Dallas Times Herald, Bill Case, took an interest in the account and began to investigate.

He claimed to have located the grave. As well as test results that showed a small coffin that was present under the earth. By the time Case began the process of exhuming the grave, however, the gravestone mysteriously vanished. He would locate the area of the marker. The grave itself, though, was no longer there. And nothing worth examining remained. Case wasted little time is laying the blame for this firmly at the feet of the United States government.

The Brawley Oates Account

In a further interesting twist to the incident and seemingly long-reaching effects, was the story of Brawley Oates. Oates had purchased the land where the UFO had crashed in 1935. According to locals, they would place the wreckage of the craft in a well near to the crash site. They would then cover it over.

Oates would clean out this wreckage from the well. Soon after, he and his family began to suffer from an array of health problems. All of which he believes have a connection to the otherworldly wreckage.

The Aurora alien encounter ran alongside numerous strange sightings over the skies of the United States in the late 1890s. Whether there is a connection or not is open to debate. As are the reasons regarding the tampering with the gravesite.

The Alien Encounter That Began A Religion

Perhaps one of the most bizarre accounts of alien contact is one that would ultimately begin an entire religion in the relatively modern era of the early-1800s. According to the text and account in their own writings, the Mormon Church would tell of an incident that would see a strange “angel” who wore clothes of a “brilliant white” and hailed from a time “long ago” appear to Joseph Smith in the fast-growing city of New York.

The incident in question took place in September 1823 when Smith was but 17 years old. The angel would introduce himself to the teenager as Moroni. He would give Smith instructions to advance into the woodlands on the outskirts of the city. There, he would find a book of “golden plates”. These plates contained ancient texts of happenings thousands and thousands of years previously.

Depiction of Maroni

Depiction of Maroni

Smith did indeed retrieve these plates. And what’s more, despite it taking 15 years, he set about translating them. Following this, Moroni would visit Smith again and take the golden plates back into his possession. The information they contained, however, would become the foundation of the Mormon religion.

It is an intriguing assertion by the Mormon Church that such accounts are true. And while they themselves use the word angel, Moroni’s appearance as well as claims of living on Earth thousands of years before accepted history, and of existing in another world or realm, leans heavily towards such claims as the ancient astronaut theory. Or even of connections between UFOs and aliens, and time-travel.

Although the Mormon Church accepts such accounts as fact, many outside the organization simply don’t. Perhaps, though, for the sake of argument, we should examine the ancient texts of other major religions. In order to seek out similar hints of extraterrestrial origins.

Early President Of The United States’ UFO Encounters

It isn’t merely “everyday Joes” who would witness these bizarre shining flying machines in the early years of what would become the United States of America. Many future and even sitting presidents also had bizarre and seemingly otherworldly experiences. And what’s more, they would speak and write of them.

Although he wasn’t president at the time of the sighting, in 1800, future president, Thomas Jefferson would describe in a telegram a strange object. One witnessed by a local man (William Dunbar) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. According to the correspondence, the object was “the color of the sun near the horizon”. And was approximately, “the size of a house”. Even more bizarre, wherever it was in the sky, the ground below would bathe in its glow.

Jefferson would go on to describe a “violent rushing noise” which accompanied the aerial anomaly, as well as a “tremendous crash”. To the modern-day reader, he is clearly describing something moving through the sky so quickly that it would break the sound barrier, a concept that was likely, and for want of a better phrase, completely alien to him.

Depiction of an "angel" during the Civil War

Depiction of an “angel” during the Civil War

Jefferson isn’t the only one-time president of America to write of such encounters. During his campaigns against the British in the late 1770s, George Washington would claim the assistance of several “green-skinned” entities. According to Washington, they would show him visions of the future. As well as advising him on battleplans and British troop placements.

In short, it would appear that at the very least, the “settlement” of the United States would unfold under the watch of this apparent extraterrestrial presence. And not always from afar.

The Star People – Legends Of The Native American Tribes

We should also make note of the numerous Native American tribes that had already called America home for hundreds, if not thousands of years before the arrival of the Spanish from the southern continents and Mexico and the Pilgrims from the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe on the east coast.

Many of their legends, for example, speak of “star people” who would seemingly exist in another realm. Or perhaps on another planet. These star people would teach the ancient tribes all manner of crafts. From crop growing to producing materials and storing food. They also, according to the legends of the tribes, would help their ancestors survive several cataclysmic events throughout history. Usually by leading them to the Inner Earth and teaching them how to survive in such an environment.

Interestingly, and as we have noted in other articles, the details of these “star people” are remarkably similar to many of the creator gods of what we today call the South American continent. And further still, equally similar to the gods of the Mesopotamian region.

Indeed, the early years of the country we know today as “America” – referred to in the history books as the “wild west” – may prove an interesting link between UFO and alien activity in the old world, and similar encounters in the new one.


1 True UFO Accounts: From the Vaults of FATE Magazine, David Godwin, ISBN 9780738 729725 (page 8-13)
2 The Anti-Gravity Handbook, David Hatcher Childress, ISBN 9781935 487449
3 Alien Empires Ascendant, Neven Gibbs, ISBN 9781300 471646 (page 211)
4 Majic Eyes Only: Earth’s Encounters with Extraterrestrial Technology, Ryan S. Wood, ISBN 9780977 205905 (page 25-32)

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • Andries says:

    God forbid us being attacked by creatures from..Uranus..

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