According to an article written in the History of Wise County
Land near Aurora was first preempted in 1861. Some of the earliest settlers were Major Slimp, C.C. Leonard, Johnny Teague, John Prunty, John G. Boyd, Jack Stephens, and Lucian P. Lowery. Doctors among the early settlers were Blenton, Randle, and later Barr, Davis, Burch, Fralin, Roark and Roberts.
An outbreak of spotted fever (cerebrospinal meningitis) did much to deplete the town of citizens, some by death, others by flight. When the Dallas, Pacific and Southwestern railroad abandoned Aurora as a right-of-way location, Aurora became the "town that might have been."
Then the following happened:
UFO story that appeared on page 5 of the April 18, 1897 edition of the Dallas Morning News:
"Aurora, Wise County, Texas, April 17, 1897---About 6 o'clock this morning the early risers of Aurora were astonished at the sudden appearance of the airship which has been sailing throughout the country.
It sailed directly over the public square, and when it reached the north part of town collided with the tower of Judge Proctor's windmill and went to 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 are badly disfigured, enough of the original has been picked up to show that he was not an inhabitant of this world.
T.J. Weems, the U.S. Signal Service Officer at this place and an authority on astronomy, gave it as his opinion that (the pilot) was a native from the planet of Mars.
Papers found on his person--evidently the records of his travels--are written in some unknown hieroglyphics, and cannot be deciphered. The ship was too badly wrecked to form conclusions as to its construction or motive power.
The town is full of people today who are viewing the wreck and gathering specimens of strange metal from the debris. The pilot's funeral will take place tomorrow. Signed: S.E. Hayden"
After Hayden's yarn got the pilot buried in the little cemetery in Aurora, many people believed he may have written the story in a vain attempt to create an interest in the town and swell the population of the dying town.
From time to time the Aurora UFO story resurfaces. In 1967, many curious people visited the small town wanting the story verified.
Hayden wrote many articles for publication, but the one outstanding work of Mr. Hayden was the beautiful piece of fiction about the space ship, outliving anything else he may have written.
Three particular things stand out to refute the article:
Judge Proctor had no windmill for a spaceship to hit.
T.J. Weems, who was reported to be an authority on astronomy and a U.S. Signal Service Officer at Aurora, was only a blacksmith.
And the cemetery association has no record of a man from Mars having been buried in Aurora.
A retired railroad engineer confessed some years ago that train employees were responsible for spreading the airplane stories. It started in Iowa and spread over the midwest and throughout Texas. In Texas, a railroad conductor, Joseph E. Schully, nicknamed "Truthful Skully" was selected to report the Martian ship sightings.
In 1967, a university scientist, Dr. Alfred Kraus checked into the story, using a metal detector on the supposed crash site. What he found were old stove lids, horse bridle rings and 1932 license plates. No metal from a spaceship was found.
In mid-March, 1973, the UFBO from Oklahoma City came to Aurora digging for metal. A few pieces of metal which they claimed were unidentifiable created an interest among newsmen internationally. After further study, the head of the UFBO at Oklahoma City finally came out with their report that the metal found at the reported crash site was not foreign. They ended their investigation, only to reopen it with a request to exhume a body which they believed to be the space man buried there in 1897.
Members of the Aurora Cemetery Association made a stand and blocked their efforts. Local residents kept a vigil at the cemetery, but the tombs, handmade ones with no inscriptions, were stolen and carried away. The cemetery was desecrated, time and again, by the mobs of people coming from far and near seeking something for souvenirs.