On 27th August 1954
, was a sleepy little town
a mile off the interstate
, whose town sign recorded the population
On 29th August 1954 Elmore, Texas, ceased to exist.
Elmore, a popular truck stop for drivers using the interstate, disappeared off the face of the earth overnight, leaving no trace that the town or its three hundred and twenty seven residents had even existed.
On 27th August 1954 unusually heavy rains swept Texas, and the interstate was closed fifteen miles east and seven miles west of the town. But, when the highway reopened on 29th August, drivers found that there was no longer an exit to Elmore, and that the town signs had vanished. All that lay in the place of the town buildings was a wasteland, acres of drying clay and mud. When people queried the town's disappearance they were firmly told by the State Department that Elmore had never existed, and that they must have confused it with the town of Elsmere, some thirty eight miles away. Even when presented with letters posted "Elmore, Texas" the State Department put it down to Post Office error.
The last truck that can be traced to have passed through the town was driven by Arnold Metman. He passed the town at 7:30am on 27th August; it was raining heavily and he wanted to push on to get out of the bad weather. Metman says:
"I was nearing the turnoff for Elmore when I saw the plane for the first time. It was the fastest moving thing I ever saw till then. It was flying really low, coming from behind me and crossed the sky above the town. It ripped across there like hell unleashed. Just a second or two after it passed I heard the roar from those engines ... as it reached the far side of town it pulled its nose up and started to climb ... and soon disappeared into the heavier clouds. A minute or two I was just about past the town and that's when I heard a loud explosion ... like a massive thunder-crash."
Metman stopped at Purim
, Texas, a little later and, worried about what he had seen and heard, he decided to go back
. As he got into his truck he was stopped by a State Trooper
who told him the road was impassable
, although Metman had seen no sign of flooding
By the time Metman returned to the area, five days later, everyone was talking about the disappearance of Elmore. The State Troopers refused to say anything, and simply reopened the road -- without Elmore.
So what happened to Elmore, Texas? Metman pored over pictures of both civilian and military aircraft with no success, until he was shown a picture in a book on experimental aircraft. The plane he believes he saw was simply designated the JA37. The only known picture of the JA37 shows an opening just below the forward wing which is almost certainly an intake for a jet engine. Metman is also convinced that he heard the airplane crash. The strange plane and the disappearance of Elmore are too much of a coincidence not to be interconnected.
One school of thought believes that the jet may have been involved in secret weapons testing, and crashed after getting lost in the weather. Another theory suggests that there was a military target, built to resemble a town, and in the bad weather, the jet's crew mistook Elmore for the practice target, either crashing or dropping a bomb on the town.
There is another more sinister theory, that the jet crashed, and due to its sensitive top secret nature the town was erased to keep secret any potentially damaging information. The town and its residents may not have been destroyed by the crash, but may have been mass witnesses to the plane and its crash. Unwanted witnesses. Silent witnesses?
No official inquiry was ever launched into what happened to Elmore and its three hundred or so residents. The State Department continues to deny that the town ever existed, despite the vehemence of drivers who regularly used the town and refuse to believe the Elmore/Elsmere explanation. It takes around 45-60 minutes for a truck to trace thirty-eight miles, the distance between the towns, and it is difficult to believe that drivers could consistently miscalculate a distance or mistake one place for another.
There is a last twist to the tale. In 1991 the US Government declassified several thousand photographs, one of which was a picture of a deserted town street, titled only L110-37. Metman has identified this picture as the main street of Elmore, although he can not explain the lack of people, saying that there was always a few people milling about on the street. If this town is Elmore, it could have been one of the last photographs ever taken of the place, and where are all the inhabitants? And why should this seemingly innocuous picture have been classified for the last forty years? Somebody knows, but no one is telling, least of all the townspeople of Elmore, Texas.
Source: the now-defunct AWoL, a UK anarchist/biker magazine. This article came from their "State of the Nation" regular feature from vol 7 no 8. AWoL made a point of not copyrighting any of their original articles.