Cowboys, Indians, & Aliens Out West

‘Cowboys & Aliens’: UFO Sightings in the Wild West

Benjamin Radford, Life’s Little Mysteries Contributor
Date: 29 July 2011 Time: 12:28 PM ET
Cowboys and Aliens
Still of Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig in Cowboys & Aliens.
CREDIT: Photo by Zade Rosenthal/Universal Studios and DreamWorks II – © Universal Studios and DreamWorks II Distribution Co. LLC

The new film “Cowboys and Aliens,” starring Harrison “Indiana Jones” Ford and Daniel “James Bond” Craig, opens today and is likely to snatch the top spot at the box office this weekend. The anachronistic sci-fi thriller tells the story of extraterrestrials who attack a small New Mexico town in search of — well, I won’t give away any spoilers.

Cowboys and aliens? Why not? Many people believe that alien contact is nothing new, and that Earth has been visited for millennia. Some, such as best-selling Swiss author Erich von Däniken, have suggested (based on flawed evidence and logic) that aliens built the pyramids in Egypt. Others believe that the giant drawings in the Nazca desert of Peru, in South America, were created by (or for) extraterrestrials in space ships. In fact, there’s good evidence that the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca Indians, probably as part of ceremonial rituals.

But what about sightings and reports of aliens in the Old West? Surprisingly, there actually are a few reports of extraterrestrial encounters in the 1800s.

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