By JOHN PLESTINAThe alleged crash of an alien starship near Ely during the 1950s is remembered in “Weird Las Vegas and Nevada, Your Alternative Travel Guide to Sin City and the Silver State.” The eclectic collection spins strange yarns and tales of Nevada.
The new book by Joe Oesterle and Tim Cridland chronicles weird and not so weird rumors and tales of Las Vegas and most other parts of Nevada in a 247-page hardcover volume. Cridland lives in Las Vegas.
The book looks at Las Vegas' past and present local legends. Notorious gangsters, the Rat Pack and Liberace are not excluded. Neither is Elvis (the Elvis that is buried in Memphis and the living Elvises that are found at wedding chapels along Las Vegas Boulevard). There are numerous other accounts of bazaar happenings including the belief by some people that the ghost of actor and comic Redd Fox haunts the house he lived in on Eastern Avenue in Las Vegas. Other venues include Cold War nuclear testing, divorces, wedding chapels and bodies ending up in the desert during the days when the Mob ran Las Vegas. Many were alleged to have been buried along Blue Diamond Road which runs from Southwest Las Vegas to Pahrump.
Now about Ely, there is a chapter titled Secret UFO Crash at Ely. The preceding chapter is called Nevada UFO Roundup.
The book tells the 55-year-old tale of a young woman (not identified) from Ely who allegedly witnessed a flying saucer crash in August, 1952. According to the book, several local people arrived at the scene before a secret federal (possibly military) team and claimed that they saw the remains of a dead alien crew. Some say the body count was the highest of any crash of a starship that was not of this world. The book also presents accounts that the crash was a U.S. military aircraft (possibly being tested and secret at the time) and the military did not want to reveal its existence or considered the crash an embarrassment. The book also says that the crash might be a reason that a radar station was built on South Ridge after the crash. Of course, the government squashed whatever happened in the interest of national security or to avoid an embarrassment.
Ely Times Editor Kent Harper is quoted in the chapter about the crash in White Pine County.
While no one is implying that a Klingon Bird of Prey might have swooped down to take a close up look at Ely and then crashed in the desert, it makes interesting reading. Most of all, believe it or not, the reader can form opinions while enjoying the book.
No one is trying to upstage Roswell, either. The city of about 40,000 people in southern New Mexico was the site of the alleged crash of a UFO five years before whatever crashed near Ely and the (if you want to believe it) recovery of the bodies of an alien crew.
Ely is not ready for a UFO Festival like Roswell has every summer.