Who's Behind Listverse?
Jamie founded Listverse due to an insatiable desire to share fascinating, obscure, and bizarre facts. He has been a guest speaker on numerous national radio and television stations and is a five time published author.More About Us
10 UFO And Alien Encounters From America’s Early Years
The history of the “New World” of North America, from the arrival of the Pilgrims to the establishment of what would become the United States, is already one full of intrigue. It is also one that is awash with strange sightings of flying objects long before anything mechanical should have been in the skies. Even more bizarre, some of these early accounts seem to tell of “interventions” that ensured the success of the “experiment” that was the United States.
It would appear that UFOs, and the intelligence behind them, have had an interest in North America since European settlers first set foot on its shores. And if the accounts of the Native American tribes are to be believed, said interest existed a long time before that. Here are ten otherworldly accounts from the early years of the United States.
10 The Aurora Alien
Aurora, Texas, 1897
According to the April 19, 1897, edition of the Dallas Morning News, a strange metallic craft screamed out of the skies over Aurora, Texas, early one evening, eventually crashing into a windmill on the land of a local judge, J.S. Proctor. Furthermore, an alien body was recovered from the craft, reportedly the pilot. It goes on to say: “Papers found on his person—evidently the records of his travels—are written in some unknown hieroglyphics and can not be deciphered.” The article concluded with, “The pilot’s funeral will take place at noon tomorrow.”
The funeral apparently did take place, and the alien body was buried in the local cemetery. The townsfolk would place an unmarked stone to mark the site, and the incident was largely forgotten. That was until the 1970s, when journalist Bill Case took an interest in the account.
Case would claim to have found the grave in the Aurora cemetery and even conducted basic tests which indicated a small coffin below. As he was in the process of applying for rights to exhume the grave, the stone marker mysteriously disappeared—as did the contents once hidden below it. Case believed this was the government removing the evidence of the alien body, an opinion he didn’t hold back on voicing.
9 Joseph Smith And The ‘Angel’ Moroni
New York, 1823
One evening in New York in September 1823, 17-year-old Joseph Smith was awoken by what he would later describe as an angel dressed in clothes that were a “brilliant white.” According to this mysterious visitor, who called himself Moroni, it was his mission to direct Smith to a location where he could retrieve sacred golden plates upon which were historical writings from long ago.
Smith did as the visitor requested, and if the story is to be believed, he did indeed recover these sacred golden plates and set about translating them. It would take him 15 years to do so, and the writings would go on to form the basis and ideology of the Mormon religion. Conveniently or not, the plates were taken back by Moroni once the translation was complete.
Whereas there is obviously serious doubt as to whether the account even happened, some believe Moroni to be not an angel but an extraterrestrial being. They point to claims he apparently made of being a “former inhabitant” of the Americas long ago, which coincide with many ancient astronaut claims of an intelligent civilization present in the United States thousands of years ago. The descriptions of Moroni’s appearance being a “brilliant white” also matches other descriptions of alleged contact with alien beings.
8 ‘The Storm That Saved Washington’
In 1814, after battling for two years, the American soldiers were looking rather decisively beaten at the hands of the British in the War of 1812. They could only look on in despair as British soldiers began to set fires in Washington, DC, which soon spread, thanks in part to the particularly hot, dry August weather.
As even the White House went up in flames, however, a sudden and drastic change in the weather brought gray clouds and an absolute lashing of rain. So heavy was the downpour that the flames were soon extinguished. Even more bizarre was the sudden formation of a tornado, which was said to head straight for the British on Capitol Hill. Those who didn’t retreat were killed in the freak weather incident, which was also seen as a crucial turning point in the conflict. Tornadoes are rare in Washington, DC.
Some people, retrospectively, claim the incident to be the work of an intelligent force—which leaves it to be one of either divine or alien interference.
7 Washington’s Visitations At Valley Forge
If the above incident wasn’t strange enough, then the one that George Washington apparently recounted to Anthony Sherman certainly was. According to Sherman, who was present at Valley Forge during the fighting with the British, Washington informed him of “green-skinned” warriors who would visit him during the night. These green visitors would provide Washington with key information regarding British troop positions as well as the best places for him to launch his attack to take advantage.
Further to this, Washington also claimed to have been visited by an angel who showed him visions of the future—a future that showed America growing into the nation it is today. Washington would state, “I cast my eyes upon America and beheld villages and towns and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them.”
Many believe the visitors to possibly have been Native Americans with green war paint or more likely hallucinations experienced by Washington, who, like his troops, was battle-weary and increasingly disheartened at the predicament. However, some, such as researcher and author Quentin Burde, believe the accounts are obvious signs of alien intervention.
6 James Lumley Sees A UFO Crash In Montana
According to several newspapers of the time, trapper James Lumley witnessed a strange craft come crashing to the ground in Montana in the summer of 1865. Furthermore, he managed to track down the wreckage and inspect it up close.
A pathway had been cut through the trees of the woods where the UFO had eventually come to a stop. After Lumley found the object, he would claim that it felt like “stone” to the touch and that it had broken in to several large pieces. He would also describe what looked like “broken glass” around the area as well as a “dark liquid,” presumably from inside the craft.
Perhaps even more bizarre are Lumley’s claims that when he looked closely at some parts of the craft, he could see symbols that looked like hieroglyphics on the side of them. Newspapers theorized that the occupants might be wandering around Montana and were likely from Mercury or Uranus, noting how astronomers had “long held that it is probable the heavenly bodies are inhabited.”
5 Native Americans And The Star People
Like many other cultures around the world, many Native American tribes have creation stories that speak of beings who came from the sky (in this case, Star People or Star Nations) and kick-started their society as well as teaching their ancestors wisdom and knowledge.
The Hopi, who have called Arizona home for thousands of years, are just one example of this. In addition to passing such knowledge as crop-growing, astronomy, and building, these Star People helped the Hopi tribe survive various cataclysmic events in antiquity.
They would even call these beings the Ant People, who some, rightly or wrongly, have likened to the Anunnaki, an alleged group of “star people” who came from the sky and kick-started civilization in ancient Sumer. Zecharia Sitchin wrote about the Anunnaki in his Earth Chronicles book series and speaks extensively of the Anunnaki traveling to the American continents. His theories match well with the legends of many tribes of not only North America but South America as well. Needless to say, his work is almost entirely rejected by mainstream historians.
4 Thomas Jefferson Describes A UFO Sighting
Baton Rouge, 1800
In 1800, Thomas Jefferson, soon-to-be third president of the United States, sent a most intriguing message from Natchez. In it, he described the sighting of a bizarre aerial object by a local man, William Dunbar, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Furthermore, Dunbar was not alone when he saw this strange craft above. It was allegedly “the size of a house” and the “color of the sun near the horizon.” As it made its way overhead, from the southwest and heading northeast, the ground below lit up fantastically, and a considerable heat was felt by all below.
Jefferson writes, “Immediately after it disappeared in the north east, a violent rushing noise was heard, as if the phenomenon was bearing down the forest before it, and in a few seconds a tremendous crash was heard similar to that of the largest piece of ordnance causing a very sensible earthquake.” To many reading that today, it would appear that Jefferson is describing an object breaking the sound barrier—something he would have been unfamiliar with at the time of writing.
3 The ‘Silvery Serpent’ Of Texas
During a typically hot afternoon in Bonham, Texas, in 1873, workers in the cotton fields were toiling in the heat when a strange object came into view above them. It moved with great speed and shone a “bright silver” in the sunlight. Workers would liken the object to a “silvery serpent” and quickly worked themselves into quite a panic, rushing in all directions to take cover from this mysterious metallic beast.
Many would describe the object as circling over the cotton fields, moving quickly in the afternoon sun, so fast it appeared to be a blur against the blue sky. Although the UFO disappeared shortly after, the following day, an object matching the description of that in Bonham was seen over Fort Scott in Kansas. Numerous sightings occurred over the Midwest over the following years of these “silver serpents” or “silver birds,” with some panicked residents even firing their guns at the objects in an attempt to ground them.
In an incident that may or may not be related, in 1892, two cowboys in Tombstone, Arizona, would claim to have chased and shot a “winged reptile” that was 49 meters (160 ft) long with a wingspan of 28 meters (92 ft).
2 John Martin And The Large Flying Saucer
Denison, Texas, 1878
Another account from Texas, this time in Denison five years later, would see a farmer, John Martin, make a report of a strange sighting to the Denison Daily newspaper. Furthermore, he would describe the object as being like a “large saucer”—a description that would capture the imagination of the American public over half a century later.
Martin was hunting at the time of the sighting. Out of nowhere, a “dark object” sped across the sky, moving faster than Martin had ever seen anything move. He had to keep refocusing his sight on the strange object, and although it was clear in his vision, he had the impression it was extremely high up in the sky. Perhaps indicative of the open-minded approach by such publications (and possibly the public at large) to the subject at the time, the newspaper would conclude that Martin’s report and others like it “deserve the attention of our scientists.”
1 Objects Off The Coast Of San Francisco
According to the report, there appeared to be a “lead” object that was an oval shape, while the two that followed were a perfect round shape. The craft would ascend, descend, and then repeat and arrange themselves back into formation, meaning that the incident was not a meteor or comet falling to Earth and breaking up. The objects then ascended continually, remaining in sight for nearly two minutes before finally disappearing from view.
Over three years later in July 1907, on the other side of the United States in Vermont, came an extremely similar sighting. A “torpedo-shaped” object moved across the sky at considerable pace before a round, silver craft appeared to follow it.