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The Real Cowboys & Aliens: UFO Encounters of the Old West
Did cowboys in America's Old West actually encounter extraterrestrials and UFOs? According to a new book, "The Real Cowboys & Aliens," hundreds of newspaper accounts and other historical documents tell amazing tales of UFO encounters in the Old West.
“Cowboys meeting aliens seems to be a theme strictly for comic books and blockbuster movies,” LeMay said, “But in reality, there exist many newspaper and magazine accounts from the 1800s telling of strange sightings and encounters from America’s cowboy era.” A native of Roswell, New Mexico, LeMay has authored several books about the history of New Mexico and recently released a book called "Roswell USA: Towns that Celebrate UFOs, Lake Monsters, Bigfoot, and other Weirdness" , published by RoswellBooks.com. LeMay serves on the board of directors for the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico (HSSNM).
Torres, a state section director for the Mutual UFO network (MUFON), said, “What is especially interesting about these historic UFO sightings is that they took place before airplanes were invented and before flight of any kind was common. Although hot air balloons had been around since the 1700s, it was closer to 1900 before balloon airships became widely known.” Torres has written three books about historic UFO cases, Mexico’s Roswell: The Chihuahua UFO Crash (2007), The Other Roswell: UFO Crash on the Texas-Mexico Border (2008), and Ultimate Guide to the Roswell UFO Crash (2010).
“It seems likely that UFOs were quite common in the 1800s,” Torres said, “We have found hundreds of newspaper and magazine accounts about people seeing strange objects and lights in the sky. We have also found articles that mention face-to-face encounters with creatures that seemed human but were clearly not.”
According to Torres and LeMay, because airplanes and spaceships were unknown concepts in the 1800s, people who saw strange things in the sky usually described them by comparing them to known objects like “cigars” and “balloons.”
Since this was long before the era of jet planes and spacecraft, the cowboys and farmers of the 1800s often struggled to put into words what they had witnessed, Torres and LeMay said. Unless a UFO slowed down enough to where they could observe it carefully, most of the Old West residents probably didn’t take much notice. Vapor trails in the daytime and streaks of light at night likely did not make much of an impression on these hardened pioneers. These sights were just part of the “signs and wonders” that often appeared in the heavens.
Torres and LeMay said that after researching many UFO sightings from 1800s, they picked the most interesting cases to include in the book. Torres said, “We’ve included many bizarre stories, such as the one about a being from outer space whose spaceship crashed in North Texas and whose body was buried in a lonely Texas cemetery where it may still remain today. You will also read about a flying monster shot by two cowboys outside of Tombstone, Arizona. There is also a tale about an underwater UFO that came up to the surface and nearly electrocuted two men. Another story tells of a mysterious ‘airship’ that lassoed a calf and then flew off into the sky with it. You will also hear the tale of a strange flying beast that terrorized a small Midwest town. Did these strange encounters really happen as recorded, or were they the products of overworked imaginations?
The Real Cowboys & Aliens opens with an eyewitness amazing account of an 1864 UFO crash in the Rocky Mountains, as told to a Cincinnati newspaper by Montana fur trapper James Lumley. The incident is one of the earliest reported sightings of a seemingly artificial object crashing down to Earth. According to Torres and LeMay, after examining the crash site, Lumley was convinced the object was highly unusual. “It was soon clear that the object was not a fallen meteor. Lumley claimed that it was ‘divided into compartments’
The Lumley account of a UFO crash predates by 83 years the famous Roswell UFO crash of 1947, which is a case very familiar to both Torres and LeMay. Torres’ book, Ultimate Guide to the Roswell UFO Crash, has received acclaim as one of the best books on the subject, and LeMay was born and raised in Roswell and works at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico in Roswell. “I’ve helped a number of UFO researchers find historical photos and documents about the Roswell UFO crash,” LeMay said, “And I became curious about whether Roswell was the first UFO crash ever reported or whether there had been others before Roswell. In writing The Real Cowboys & Aliens, we actually found several very interesting reported crashes that took place in the 1800s, including the Lumley case from 1864.”
The Real Cowboys & Aliens also contains an updated account of the famous 1897 Aurora, Texas UFO incident, where a strange flying object slammed into an Old West windmill and fell to the ground in pieces. The residents of the small town recovered the body of the pilot, who was described as “not of this Earth” and gave it a “proper Christian burial” in the town cemetery. Many people believe that the alien’s remains still exist today amidst the shade trees of the Aurora cemetery.
“Of course, UFO sightings have been recorded throughout history,” Torres added, “From the beginning of time, human beings have seen strange things in the sky. For example, the Bible tells the story of the prophet Ezekiel seeing an astonishing flying object landing that blasted off right in front of him. Several paintings of the Renaissance era seem to show flying saucers streaking across the sky. Also, ancient sea farers and explorers reported seeing UFOs hovering above them. So, it’s no wonder that the cowboys and ranchers of America’s Old West also witnessed these strange flying objects.”
As a UFO researcher, Torres has appeared on the History Channel’s UFO Hunters series, Coast to Coast AM with George Noory, the Jeff Rense Program, the Captain Jack show on Badlands Radio, and many other programs. He has also been a guest lecturer at the annual Roswell UFO Festival and at other UFO conferences and events. LeMay has also appeared on radio and at conferences, speaking about his research and his books.
The Real Cowboys & Aliens is beautifully illustrated by three talented individuals. The artist whose illustrations appear at the start of each chapter, Neil Riebe, is an author and illustrator living in Madison, Wisconsin. He has written articles and short stories for G-Fan Magazine, Prehistoric Times, Goldenvisions, Sounds of the Night, Japanese Giants of Filmland, and several short story anthologies. His illustrations appear in "Towns of Lincoln County" by Arcadia Publishing, several role playing games, and "Roswell, USA: Towns That Celebrate UFOs, Lake Monsters, Bigfoot and Other Weirdness". Artist Shane Olive did the front cover artwork and his son, Shane, also contributed several illustrations for this book.
The Real Cowboys & Aliens is available in paperback for $12.95 and for the Amazon Kindle ($9.95) at Amazon.com or at the authors’ web site, RoswellBooks.com.
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