Did A UFO Crash In Max, Nebraska?
By James Donahue
The name Max, Nebraska, doesn't sound as nifty as Roswell, New Mexico, when it comes to crashed UFO
junk hunting. But there is an old news story dating back to 1884 that suggests that something happened there that strongly
compares to the Roswell incident.
It seems that a number of cowboys working in a roundup observed some kind of fiery machine fall out
of the sky and crash. One of the herdsmen, Alf Williamson, got too close to the wreckage and got burned.
Remember that the Wright Brothers didn't get their "flying machine" off the ground for that first
official historic flight until 1903, over 21 years after this incident. While balloon flight was going on in Europe as early
as the 1750s, and glider experimentation was occurring long before 1884, nothing that was being tried in those days quite
fit the description of the machine these cowboys said they saw crash on June 6 that year.
The newspaper of the day, The Nebraska Nugget, reported that rancher John W. Ellis and three
of his herdsmen "and a number of other cowboys" were out on the range, rounding up cattle, when "they were startled by a terrific
whirring noise over their heads."
"Turning their eyes (they) saw a blazing body falling like a shot to Earth. It struck behind them,
being hidden from view by a bank."
The story told how Williamson was burned after getting too close to 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 burns.
There apparently was metal wreckage that remained on the site after the crash. A story in the Nebraska
State Journal in 1887 said: "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 lightness."
While people of the area, in and around the little Nebraska community of Max in the southwest corner
of the state, have heard the story, there is no wreckage from that crash site available today for anyone to examine. Some
believe it was carried away by local souvenir hunters and may be stashed in various barns and storage sheds. With the passing
of generations, current property owners may have no idea what these objects are, or where they came from.
People who research this kind of stuff note that after the Max crash story appeared in print, numerous
stories about other mystery crashes of fiery objects appeared in newspapers all over the country. They included the Aurora,
Texas incident where four alien bodies were found and said to have been buried in the local cemetery.
That was a peculiar phenomena that occurred among newspapers of that period. It seems that papers
were passed widely around, and editors who often worked alone, setting lead type castings by hand and often writing their
stories as they set the type, were fond of either copying stories from other papers, and even putting local spins on them.
Thus a lot of the stories that appeared in the old newspapers were fiction but presented as if they were factual. It made
good reading and we have to assume that the locals knew they were being spoofed.
The problem we have is that contemporary researchers have trouble determining face from fiction..
Since the crash at Max, Nebraska, appears to be the first of that rash of crash stories, it was either
a true account of an event that really happened, or the editor of the Nugget was utilizing a wild imagination when
he composed that article.
We may never know the truth.