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Nebraska's Own Roswell In 1884

From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 08:42:57 -0400
Fwd Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 08:42:57 -0400
Subject: Nebraska's Own Roswell In 1884

Source: The Daily Nebraskan - Lincoln, Nebraska, USA



Nebraska May Have Had Its Own Roswell In 1884
By John Wenz

Very few people have heard of Max, Neb. A cursory look at the
Google Map of the town shows just how small it is - under 20
blocks, a blip in southwest Nebraska. It's just eight miles from
the seat of Dundy County: Benkelman, population 914.

But Max, the blip it may be, is the closest town to an incident
in that occurred 1884.

The Nebraska Nugget reported, "About 35 miles northwest of
Benkelman, Dundy County, on the 6th of June (1884) a very
startling phenomenon occurred. It seems that John W. Ellis and
three of his herdsmen and a number of other cowboys were out
engaged in a roundup. They were startled by a terrific whirring
noise over their heads, and turning their eyes saw a blazing
body falling like a shot to Earth. It struck beyond them, being
hidden from view by a bank."

One of the herdsmen, Alf Williamson, was burned as he approached
the craft, which had created a split in the ground as it dragged
to a stop. He was taken back to Ellis' home and treated for his

E.W. Rawlins, the brand inspector for the district, came to
inspect it.

The Nebraska State Journal reported on the event in 1887,
saying, "One piece that looked like the blade of a propeller
screw, of a metal of an appearance like brass, about 16 inches
wide, three inches thick and three-and-a-half feet long, was
picked up by a spade. It would not weigh more than five pounds,
but appeared as strong and compact as any known metal. A
fragment of a wheel with a milled rim, apparently having had a
diameter of seven or eight feet, was also picked up. It seemed
to be of the same material and had the same remarkable

The lack of physical evidence means there's nothing much left
today, and John Buder, a field researcher with the Mutual UFO
Network of Nebraska, said that the people of Dundy County shy
away from talking about the event.

Most of his investigation into it has been research. He first
stumbled across the story in a tourist's guide to Nebraska. From
there, he's found it in multiple books on the subject.

"There has been a lot of studies made on UFO crashes," Buder
said. "The people who I would claim know the most have not
identified it as a hoax."

It was the second UFO crash Buder knows of, and the first to be
recorded in newspapers of the time. But once the story came out,
it started a worldwide wave of similar stories - some more
reputable than others.

One such case is the 1897 crash near Aurora, Tex., where four
alien bodies are supposedly buried in a graveyard. Eyder
Peralta, a reporter for the Houston Chronicle, investigated that
crash and turned up nothing.

But the Nebraska crash is the first reported. It was only after
the incident near Max that it became a sort of mythology.

"That means that all these other hoax crashes that started seem
to have gotten their start at Max, Neb.," Buder said.

It's a piece of Nebraska history only occasionally touched on,
Roswell before there was a Roswell to speak of.

"I'd say right now there's only a few dozen people in Nebraska
who even know about it," Buder said.

But how does a craft just disappear, just dissolve in a crash?
What about the "cogs" that the craft threw off as it approached
the ground? Did those, too, simply disappear?

It's a legend taken more seriously than most of the era in
ufology circles, which is not to say there aren't skeptics. Alan
Boye even wrote in his recent book, "The Complete Roadside Guide
to Nebraska," that "there are, of course, many people who do not
believe the story, and others who claim it is yet another UFO
story neglected and laughed at by skeptics."

But skeptical or not, Buder asserts that it was the beginning of
the wave of stories, ground zero for what would turn into
airship sightings as time went on.

He sees the building of the railroad coinciding with the
sightings of the era. In fact, the crafts were often described
as "railroad engines without wheels" at the time.

"It's ironic that this same story, this being the first, was
repeated many more times worldwide at later dates," Buder said.

And as for the remnants, Buder thinks there might be some things
tucked away in the Republican River valley.

"I wouldn't doubt that out there in one of those tool sheds or
barns out there, there's a piece of metal that no one knows
where it came from," he said.

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