by Alex Evans
The following article appeared in the November 1978 edition of FATE Magazine.
It happened, the old man recalls, one morning early in May 1913. He was 12 years old and he and his brothers Sid and Clyde were chopping cotton on the family farm 2 1/2 miles west of Farmersville, Tex. There was no reason to believe this day would be unlike any other. Silbie Latham did not know then that he would remember it for the rest of his life.
The first hint that something out of the ordinary was about to occur was the sudden barking of the two dogs, Bob and Fox, who had been frolicking some distance away. It was not an ordinary bark, not the kind of sound they made when they had treed a possum or a polecat. It was, Latham says, “just like they was in a terrible distress.”
The boys kept working but the “deathly howl” continued. Finally Clyde, the oldest, picked up his hoe and said, “Let’s go up and see what them dogs treed. Must be somethin’ pretty bad.”
The three of them started walking toward the dogs, which were about 50 to 75 feet away on the other side of a picket fence.
Clyde got there first. When he looked down, the expression on his face turned to one of astonishment.
“It’s a little man!” he shouted.
“I got there and I saw him,” Latham remembers. “He looked like he was resting on something. He was looking toward the north. He was no more than 18 inches high and kind of a dark green in color. He was the same smooth color all over.
“He didn’t seem to have on any shoes but I don’t really remember his feet. His arms were hanging down just beside him, like they was growed down the side of him. He had on a kind of hat that reminded me of a Mexican hat. It was a little round hat that looked like it was built onto him. He didn’t have on any clothes. Everything looked like a rubber suit including the hat.
“He just stood still. I guess he was just scared to death . . . Right after we got there, the dogs jumped him.”
The dogs tore the little man to pieces. Red blood spilled everywhere and the being’s insides, which looked like human organs, fell to the ground. As the boys stood watching, the animals bit the man’s legs off. If the being made any sounds as he was being killed, the Lathams could not hear them because of the racket the dogs were making.
“We were all just country as hell and didn’t know what to do about it,” Latham explains. “I guess we were just too dumb to think about it.”
The boys returned to their hoeing and discussed the incident among themselves. Two or three times they went back to the spot to check the remains, which lay rotting in the sun. All the while the dogs huddled close by them as if frightened.
Later that day the boys told their parents, who didn’t seem to take them seriously. The next day the three examined the spot where the being had lain but not a trace of it, not so much as a single bloodstain, remained. It had vanished completely. They searched the area for further evidence of what they had seen but found nothing.
Two years later, however, Silbie and one of his brothers saw something else out of the ordinary. While sitting on the porch of their uncle’s farmhouse near Celeste, Tex., the Lathams watched a mysterious object carrying two lights — one in front, the other in back — sail silently by. In the early ‘darkness they could make out a large cylindrical shape ”like an airplane without wings” between the lights.
The report is reminiscent of others from the period. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous persons in Texas and other states said they saw unidentified “airships.”
Three years after that the Latham brothers witnessed yet another odd event. At about eight o’clock one fall evening (Silbie Latham does not recall the exact year, only that it was before the end of World War I) Silbie and Sid saw a “ball of fire” about the size of a washtub fall out of the sky and hit the ground 50 feet behind their house. The two grabbed a lantern and rushed to the spot, where they found a light gray powder on the ground forming a rough circle about three feet in diameter. There was no indentation in the ground, as would have been the case if the falling object had been a meteorite.
The bizarre story of the little green man of Farmersville, Tex., remained unknown to the rest of the world until January 1978 when Silbie Latham’s grandson Lawrence Jones, now of Austin, Tex., wrote the Center for UFO Studies about it. He said, “My grandfather has a most solid reputation for truth and honesty but has never told of this because of fear of ridicule. … He has agreed to tell this only after much prompting and encouragement from me, his history-oriented grandson. He would take a polygraph or be hypnotized or whatever you need. There is no question in my mind that he is telling the truth.” Jones wrote that the subject “has been discussed in my family for many years.”
Douwe Bosga, who was then investigative coordinator for the Center, asked Larry Sessions of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History to look into the case. On April 28, 1978, Sessions interviewed Mr. Latham at length.
Sessions describes Latham as a “neat old man. I wouldn’t mind having him for my own grandfather. A remarkable man.”
But while he acknowledges Mr. Latham’s obvious sincerity, Sessions still finds the story difficult to swallow. “There’s no doubt he believes it happened,” Sessions says, “but that doesn’t mean it did happen. Maybe he has an overactive imagination. Or maybe his brothers played a trick on him and he’s sort of unconsciously embellished the story over the years.”
In his interview with Latham, Sessions even suggested that the little man was nothing more than a big frog — an idea the witness emphatically rejected.
Jones remains convinced that his grandfather saw what he says he saw.
Whatever the case, it appears that Mr. Latham is not the only person who believes he saw a little man during the second decade of the 20th Century. The late Harry Anderson saw 20 of them, according to his widow, Helen Anderson of Fort Atkinson, Wis.
One hot summer’s night in 1919 Anderson, then a 13-year-old boy, was driving with two friends and their father when their car ran out of oil and came to a stop east of Barron, Wis. Not long afterwards a local farmer who had been out fishing walked by. Told what had happened, he said he would give the stranded travelers some oil from his farm if one of them came along with him to the house.
Young Anderson agreed to go. Together he and the farmer walked the two miles to the farm. After getting the oil Harry started back along the one-track road.
The night was bright because of a full moon. So when Harry saw them, they were clearly visible.
“They” were 20 little men walking single file, heading toward him but paying no attention to him. Their heads were bald and the figures were dressed in leather “knee-pants,” held up by suspenders over their shoulders. They wore no shirts and their skins were white. They were “mumbling” but apparently not talking with one another.
Anderson, almost petrified with fear, continued on his way, not once looking back. When he got back to the car some time later, he told his friends what he had seen. They laughed at him.
After that he told only his mother, who didn’t laugh — “after all,” Mrs. Anderson explains with a chuckle, “she was Irish” — and, years later, his wife, who says, “My husband was not an imaginative person at all. He had no imagination whatsoever. This absolutely happened, as far as he was concerned. I mean there was no question about it.”
The story has a peculiar sequel.
In 1969 or 1970, Mrs. Anderson wrote a short account of the incident and submitted it to FATE. She placed a carbon copy of the article in a drawer beneath her typewriter table. Several weeks later FATE’s editors returned the manuscript.
She decided to put the original with the carbon copy. But when she opened the drawer, she discovered the copy was missing — although she knew with certainty that this was where she had been keeping it.
“Then about two weeks later I looked for the original and that was gone too,” she says. “1 certainly never got rid of them because 1 thought that someday I’d submit them to another magazine.”
Neither has ever shown up.
“So I don’t know,” she says with a shrug and a small smile. “Maybe somebody’s telling me not to say anything about it.”