Creak. Pop. Creak.
I love the sound of old floorboards. Like an old man trying to rise from a couch after a lazy Sunday afternoon nap, they moan and creak as their joints adjust to the change in pressure.
It’s the sound that greets you when you enter the majestic ex-campus of the Decatur Baptist College. The massive stone building now houses the Wise County Heritage Museum and thousands of items harkening back to the days of old. I am a history geek. I love old things. I love the feel, and especially the smell of things from a different era. I spent many weekends in the old houses of my grandparents and great-grandparents while growing up, and the strange dusty smell of an ancient heater kicking in still sends warm memories swimming to the surface.
Luckily I married someone who might be more of a history geek than me. So what does this married couple do on a day without children? Head to the nearest museum and poke around a bit! The muesum in Decatur holds thousands of treasures for the historyphile. Faded black and white photos, letters hand-written on yellowed paper, crinkled clothes that seem way too small to have ever covered a human body, and furniture made the way it was meant to be made…by hand.
As I walked around gawking at the odds and ends held within the enormous walls, I came upon something…well, just bizarre. My mind comprehended before my body could comply so I ended up whipping around with the most bewildered expression on my face.
On my way from the horse carriage to the early 1900’s exhibit, I had walked past a drawing of an… alien. There, on a piece of jagged rock, the little gray biped gazed up at me from behind big black orbital eyes. Mouth gaping, I read the inscription: Aurora Alien of 1897.
I am a sci-fi fanatic, but apparently not well versed in alien lore. I had no idea sightings like this were prevelent before the famous Roswell crash of 1947. Apparently, there have been recordings of UFO sightings since 1561!
I must have looked very confused because the museum worker came over and asked if I needed help. I couldn’t seem to get out anything other than a squeaky, “1897?”.
Legend states that an alien aircraft crashed on a farm in Aurora, Texas on April 19, 1897. The farmer was more concerned about the destruction of his windmill than the very dead, little gray man lying at his feet. The man did what any man of 1897 would do, he buried E.T. in the local cemetery with all the Christian rites afforded those with opposable thumbs. Not wanting to cause a scene, the farmer dumped the crumpled wreckage down his water well.
Even more bizarre is the fact that many media outlets have come to dispel the story as a hoax but left with an unsettling feeling that something definetly crashed in the sleepy little town seven years before the first flight of the Wright Brothers.