Aurora, Texas is a quiet town in Wise County.
“The city is actually quite small,” Aurora City Councilman Jason Priakos said. “It’s only about six square miles. It goes up the hill and down the valley and that’s about it.”
Priakos said it’s a hidden gem with a population of about 1,700.
“Normally people say, 'Where is Aurora?'” Priakos said. “You have to say, 'Well, it’s between Boyd and Rhome out 287 towards Decatur.'”
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This small town is connected to a story that sounds like it’s from a galaxy far, far away.
“Well in 1897 we had an event here,” Priakos said. “We had an alien crash site.”
That crash happened near a site now dubbed Area 114. It’s now a photo-op landing zone for tourists. But as the story goes, an unidentified flying object and its pilot crashed into a windmill in 1897 -- 50 years before the famed Roswell, New Mexico UFO crash.
“Townspeople heard a big crash and several went to investigate and they found a wreckage of material they’d never seen before,” Priakos said. “They found a being which they called, 'Not of this world.'”
Articles were written about it in local papers. The pilot, described as not of this world, died from his injuries and was given a Christian burial in the town cemetery. The townspeople gave him the name Ned -- Ned the Alien.
People now visit Ned’s gravesite, often leaving behind trinkets.
“Watches, I’ve seen key chains, and I’ve seen electronics,” Priakos said.
Because of the Christian burial, the grave cannot be exhumed for official investigation without permission from next of kin. That permission seems unlikely if Ned was not of this world.
Still, that doesn’t stop people from trying to solve the mystery.
“They’ve brought in ground radar,” Priakos said. “They’ve looked at the gravesite and they’ve gone to other parts of the cemetery and they can confirm something is buried.”
There may not be definitive proof of Ned the Alien crashing and being buried in Aurora. But, it’s definitely a good story for business.
“I would say no less than 20 times a day we get to tell the story,” said Sean Merchant, co-owner of Smokin’ Windmill BBQ.
Merchant and his business partner opened Smokin’ Windmill BBQ about two years ago.
“Our top-selling item, specialty item that we run every day, is the UFO,” Merchant said. “It’s a poblano pepper stuffed with brisket and cream cheese wrapped in bacon.”
They are the anchor restaurant for another business called Martian Margaritas. It’s an alien-themed entertainment venue.
“It’s a cool story and great for business,” Merchant said. “Great for conversation. We like to get to know our guests and everything and it always gives us an opportunity to meet them if they’re new.”
So, the story of Ned the Alien lives on, loved by locals.
“We love the town and we love the history of the town with the alien,” Merchant said.
An alien named Ned putting Aurora on the map.
“Pretty interesting too to know you live in an area known for an alien burial in your city,” Priakos said. “Not a lot of cities can say that.”