"Sixteen," the rancher reckoned beneath stale coffee breath.
"Is that possible?" the grizzled man queried himself, marveling at the lifeless bodies in the ravine below. From this lofty vantage point, the victims appeared childlike in stature. The glow emanating from the crashed spaceship provided an unnatural amount of light for this hour.
"Could some of 'em still be alive?" the cowhand wondered. The living piece of shoe leather squinted. Crow's feet the size of pterodactyl talons emerged. Dark silhouettes scurried across the corners of the man's vision. The opaque shadows clarified into the shapes of coyotes.
The old Paint beneath the rancher shifted uneasily.
"Damned predators," the man grumbled to himself. "Nobody alive, nor dead, deserves this fate." The cattle herder gingerly dug spur-less heels into his steed's sides. The horse sidled forward, cresting the precipice of an unstable cliff.
"What the hell're you doin'?" the man's mind raced. "You wrangle cattle, you old fool. Martians and flyin' saucers is government business--"
Before the thought completed its journey from synapse to synapse, the earth about the aged vaquero exploded. Night became day. Racing overhead, helicopters cleared the ridge behind the frightened cowpoke.
The man's terrified nag retreated up the slope, as the terrain beneath it's hooves gave way.
In the distance, more helicopters than the herder had seen on television, or otherwise, converged on the defunct, saucer-shaped craft. Trembling, the cowboy slid down his mount, collapsing beneath a pair of useless knees. The man's horse turned wild-eyed from the scene, disappearing into a field of jumping cholla.
The gaucho watched as Jeeps appeared from all directions in the ravine below him, like ants swarming something sticky and sweet.
"This is big," thought the herder. "Too big for one old cowpuncher and his beat-up horse." It appeared as though the entire United States Army was assembling in the gully.
"It's a wonder they ain't spotted ya', you damned idiot--" With that, the sound of falling metal emanated behind him. The man spun, expecting to come face-to-barrel with a military rifle wielded by some trigger happy, 18-year-old recruit. Instead, the rancher spied vague figures in the distance. A handful of men and women in civilian clothing.
A light blue dress and medium-heeled pump were the last images the cowboy saw before whomever was behind him disappeared into the inky blackness.
"Witnesses," was the ranch hand's initial thought. "I ain't alone," reasoned the man. Had they seen the same things he had? The flying saucer? The aliens? The army below? The cowpoke opened his mouth, preparing to signal to his fellow onlookers. His thoughts raced back to the mobilization for D-Day goin' on in the ravine. He fell silent. Would the military be able to hear his shouts from here? He didn't care to find out. In fact, the only thing he did care to find was his damned horse.
Taking a last look at the chaos below, the man crawled from the cliff into the cover of night. He could discern the faint outline of his grazing mount in the distance.
"The short memory span of less intelligent animals," thought the cowboy. This was one instance in which he envied his horse. The rancher knew he, himself, would never forget this incident, no matter how hard he tried.
The strength returning to his arthritic knees, the man stood, approaching his weary steed. In mere moments, both he and his horse would vanish from the scene.
By daybreak, so would sixteen extraterrestrial bodies and a downed alien spacecraft.
The excerpt above is a fanciful description of what some ufologists believe to be an actual anomalous crash in 1952 Ely, Nevada. Details concerning the alleged event are more difficult to uncover than hair on Dr. Phil's head. Nonetheless, the legend persists.
Did a massive, inexplicable craft wreck in Ely? Were sixteen deceased alien bodies recovered by a military Operation Blue Fly-type team?
Located in the far eastern portion of the Silver State, Ely truly resides amongst desolation. Nestled at the intersection of Highways 93 and 50, the minute hamlet is neither north nor south, but rather centrally positioned within the context of the state. Smack dab in the middle of mining country, rolling hills interspersed with deep valleys offer the perfect environment for a clandestine UFO crash and retrieval.
According to tale, it was a sultry August night in the desert. A local resident was hosting a dinner party when she noticed an aerial, saucer-shaped craft plummet to Earth. It's been asserted first hand witnesses of the event were immediately aware that whatever crashed was otherworldly. Allegedly, sixteen extraterrestrial corpses littered the locale prior to the military's cleanup efforts. In accordance with legend, the deceased aliens were transported to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, where they now reside in deep freeze storage.
Should you find yourself traversing the wide-open expanse of eastern Nevada, point your trusty, metallic thoroughbred in the direction of Ely. Word has it, locals continue to speak of the crash in question, as well as the subsequent retrieval of alien bodies.
© 2010. Hugh Mungus
Oesterle, Joe; Cridland, Tim. (2007). Weird Las Vegas and Nevada: Your Alternative Travel Guide to Sin City and the Silver State. pp. 63-64. Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 13: 978-1-4027-3940-8