February 10, 1977
Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States
Lois Stovall was sitting on her couch when she noticed
a light, like a bright star. It curved toward her house,
approaching at a low level. Lois and her grandmother went
out into the yard, less than 50 feet from the hovering
object and watched. The object was almost capsule-shaped.
Inside crouched a human-shaped figure, all over gray in
color, that looked puffed up, like a balloon.
The Tucson object and occupant.
APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 8 (Feb. 1977)
new and spectacular kind of close encounter UFO case took
place on Thursday, 10 February 1977 in Tucson, Arizona.
It was about 19:30 in the evening and Ms. Lois Stovall,
living at 2150 Poquita Vista, just south of Lillian Cavett
Elementary School, was sitting in the middle of the couch
on the south side of her living room, which faces the
school, easily visible through the front window of her
living room. She noticed a light, like a bright star,
or flame, rising just to the left of the school, like
an airplane appears to rise as it comes over the horizon.
Her attention was captured by the strange beauty of the
light which seemed to rise and come around the southwest
corner of the school, passing over the corner of the building
and behind the two trees which stand to the south of the
structure. It then curved toward her house, approaching
at a low level, below the tops of the two trees, and descended
to within a few inches of the ground almost directly in
front of her house and on the school side of the school
fence. It hovered in that position momentarily, almost
directly over a bare spot on the school lawn, and then
began to move again. Lois told her grandmother, also sitting
in the living room, and they both got up and went to the
door for a better view. They both saw it begin to rise
and move south towards the school fence and their house.
It came over the fence and into their yard and slowed
again almost over the small tree nearest the street, where
it hovered for a couple of minutes. Lois and her grandmother
went out into the yard, less than 50 feet from the hovering
object and watched. It seemed to move slowly closer as
object was almost capsule-shaped, cylindrical with blunt
rounded ends on both top and bottom. The top was a little
more rounded than the bottom. The object seemed to be
facing them directly. The cylindrical side, between the
top and bottom end curvatures was transparent, and they
could see the bright light which first attracted their
attention sitting on the bottom of this transparent section,
behind the transparent surface. The light was kind of
like a beautiful flame, with leaping or flowing streamers
of red and blue fire in the overall mass of bright but
not brilliant white light. The transparent front section
of the capsule had dark vertical bars running from top
to bottom of the space enclosing the fire. Behind the
bars crouched a human-shaped figure, all over gray in
color, that looked puffed up, like a balloon, except it
had ridges or rings of the same substance running around
the appendages, like padding, or like some space suits
have. No facial features were observed and no hands or
feet were noticed at the ends of the appendages. The figure
was standing in the small, close fitting cabin in a crouched
position with his hands (or where the hands should have
been) slightly forward and just above the knees, as though
he were holding some kind of controls in each hand. No
controls were seen, however.
Alice Buckner, the grandmother of Lois and owner of the
house, went directly up under the craft and was able to
reach up with her right hand to within two feet of the
bottom of the small craft. She wanted to touch it to see
what it was, but it was just out of reach. As she did
so, it began to rise and it went up vertically a little
ways and then changed course and continued ascending at
an angle up and toward the south. Lois said she heard
a "click" just before it started to move
up, but Alice, who was directly under the front of the
craft said she did not hear any "click".
As she reached up, Alice said, "There's a man
in there!" She could see the small puffy figure
crouched behind the "flame", and she
could see that it was a suit, seemingly inflated, like
a balloon, and there was a window in the front of the
head part, and she thought she could barely make out a
face behind that, but was unable to distinguish any particular
detail of that face. Then it began to rise and all she
could see was the bottom, which was completely smooth.
She did not see any features of the cabin such as seat,
controls, lights, dials, etc. She does think that the
bars were in front of the glass cabin "windshield",
however. She saw that the strange light was on the floor
in front of and between the little figure's feet. The
little figure was about the size of a 6-year-old boy,
and almost completely filled the cabin space. She thought
the figure was standing in a crouch more than sitting
down. She never saw it move in any way. Nothing in the
cabin changed before it began to ascend.
it ascended, it passed over the corner of Mrs. Turner's
carport and the roof of her house and continued its ascent
smoothly until it passed above the top wires of the telephone
lines that run down the alley behind the Buckner and Turner
homes. It continued its climb to the south until it just
looked like a star in the night sky. Lois stayed out in
the yard and followed it around to the back of the house,
watching it pass over the telephone wires and away to
the south. She says she could follow it easily because
it had a golden color to its light while the rest of the
stars looked a silvery-white color. She could look away
and back again and pick it out immediately because of
this strange color.
of the more puzzling aspects of this case is repeated
references to helicopters over the schoolyard at the time
of this sighting. This in itself is not strange except
that there were, at first, 3 helicopters with glowing
red cabin lights flying at very low altitude over the
schoolgrounds while the small capsule was being observed.
One of them passed almost directly over the small capsule
at less than treetop level and flew on to the west, as
though it didn't see the capsule at all, something that
seemed impossible to the various observers. The others
criss-crossed the school grounds while the small ship
was hovering. Then, when it was climbing away to the south,
as Lois followed it around the house, she saw 5 or 6 helicopters
in that direction. The Police Department advises that
they have only 3 helicopters in all, and one of those
is a trainer and is not used at night. The other two are
seldom operational at the same time. They have never flown
all 3 together at night, and they had no mission or calls
of any kind from that area on that night. Davis Monthan
AFB has 5 helicopters, but they say it would take an exercise
operational order to put that many in the air at the same
time on any day, and that they would have to be "stood
down" (grounded) and prepared to get that many
ready to fly at the same time. The area Air Traffic Control
Center has no record of any Army helicopter flights through
Tucson airspace on the evening of that date. The Air Force
and the Police had no joint helicopter exercises at any
time during the month of February.
Dessie Turner, who is Mrs. Buckner's neighbor to the east
at 2202 East Poquita Vista was standing in her bathroom
brushing her teeth at 19:30, when she saw what she thought
was a car turning around in the street in front of the
house. She thought it was taking a little too long to
turn around and went to the front door to look out the
security peephole. She saw a strange light too high above
the ground to be automobile lights and went to the front
window and pulled the curtain back for a better view.
she saw the source of the light to be a brilliantly luminous
oblong object on the floor behind the glass front of a
large capsule-shaped craft hovering at treetop level over
her driveway and in front of her neighbor's house. She
estimated the capsule-shaped craft to be about 6'6"
high and about 2'6" in diameter. The front half of
the cylinder-shaped body seemed to be transparent, and
she thought she could see a shadowy figure behind the
"glass". The "glass"
front was turned slightly away from her at an angle facing
her neighbor's, Mrs. Buckners house. She saw Mrs. Buckner
and her daughter Lois out in the yard looking at the strange
craft low over the trees between the two houses. Mrs.
Turner watched the light for a moment and then saw it
ascend out of sight over her carport and the roof of her
house as it moved south and away. She went back in, at
that point, and did not see it disappear. She went to
the telephone and called a TV station and reported what
had happened and expected them to come out to check but
nobody showed up. She also called another neighbor to
tell her to look out to the south to see it, but it was
too far away for the neighbor to pick it out in the stars
by the time she got outside. Mrs. Turner also saw helicopters
maneuvering in the schoolyard and thought they were looking
for the strange object.
location of the sighting places the object 3½ miles
west-northwest of Davis-monthan Control Tower and 4½
miles due north of Tucson International Airport Tower,
on a course line coming from downtown Tucson and proceeding
southeast directly between the two large airports, the
towers of which are within sight of each other.
Tower registered, recorded, reported nor received reports
of anything unusual in the area that night at the times
in question. The RAPCON (Radar Approach Control) office
said that they did not paint anything unusual on radar
that night, at those times.
this is truly the case, then who is operating all the
helicopters with red lights and the unidentified capsule-shaped
craft with the 4-foot pilot in Tucson's airspace?
19:30 on Washington's Birthday, Monday, 21 February 1977,
in the evening, Ms. Dorothy Sanders and her friend Ms.
Trudy Clayton, were in Ms. Clayton's car in the vicinity
of Cherry Avenue and 13th streets in Tucson, just northwest
of Tucson High School, when they noticed what looked like
a silver airplane to them, toward the east and moving
southwest. Only this airplane didn't behave like an airplane.
Its motion was jerky and flitting, without smooth curves
as it changed direction, and it moved all about in the
immediate vicinity. The sky was dark and the stars were
out, no moon, yet this silver shape was easily visible
in the dark sky. It had no lights of any kind, no breaks
in contour or ports or windows. No mating lines or markings
of any kind were observed. The silver was likened to the
silver paper color of some silver book dust covers, or
like brushed silver.
shape was more "cross"-shaped, like two
cylinders crossed slightly ahead of center. The "wings"
were equally as large and cylindrical with rounded ends
just like the "fuselage", and they seemed
to be of the same diameter, and rounded off similar to
the nose of the craft. Ms. Sanders felt that the aft part
of the "fuselage might have been slightly smaller
in diameter than the front and 'wings'". The
object turned all directions but retained this cross shape
throughout this part of the sighting. There was no tail
or aft structure of any kind. The "fuselage"
just rounded bluntly off.
first seen, it was high, about the height of an airplane
flying over the city. Then it came down lower, to a little
over twice the height of the telephone wires along the
side of the road and flew along one side of them and then
came back along the other side of them. At this point,
the object was estimated to be about the size of a small
airplane. Ms. Sanders shut off the car engine and rolled
the window down and leaned out, at which time she noticed
a low whining sound, very low, like nothing she has ever
heard before. It flew so low over the wires that Ms. Sanders
thought it might hit them, but it didn't. At that time,
she also heard a double "click", only
Ms. Sanders started the car and they drove over to South
Park and 31st Street for about 15 minutes, and then they
drove back to Cherry and 13th Street again and they saw
the strange object once more. It flew over them a couple
of times again as they watched. This time, it flew right
over the wires, so low at one point that they thought
it would hit the wires. Again, they compared the size
to a small airplane. They watched it 2 or 3 minutes again
as it maneuvered around the area. It did not manifest
any particular interest in the car or the wires, or anything
else for that matter. It just flew all about the area.
Then they decided to go on home and forgot all about the
arrived at Ms. Sanders' house at 733 East Lester Street
about 15 minutes later, at 20:30 and were astounded to
see the same, or an identical object flying around above
the Sanders home but quite a bit higher than before. They
pulled into the driveway and shut off the engine but couldn't
hear any sound at all this time. They got out of the car
and watched the object as it circled above. Ms. Sanders
called out her niece and her nephew and her grandchildren
and they all came out into the yard. They all stood and
watched as it flitted and bounced around in the sky. The
motion was described as something like the light you see
when someone is walking with a flashlight, kind of advance
and slow down and advance and slow down. After a few moments,
they all gave up and went inside except Ms. Sanders niece,
Carolyn Howard, who remained out in the drive and watched.
The object was still quite high at that time, and still
Howard, Ms. Sander's niece, who was in her room studying
said she was first distracted by the sound of fire sirens,
and was going to the door to look when the sirens stopped
and she saw her aunt and a cousin, David Howard, in the
yard with Ms. Clayton, and they were looking up, over
the house and to the north. She went out too, and looking
up saw a strange little silver airplane-like object flying
around in a kind of jerky motion. She described it as
sort of cross-shaped, brushed-silver-colored, and very
plainly visible in the moonless dark night sky. She insisted,
however, that it was not luminous or fluorescent, just
very plainly flat silver colored. This characteristic
puzzled her some because she had never seen anything quite
like it before.
watched it circle the house twice after the others went
in, thinking it was so pretty, the way it stood out sharply
in the sky, and kept looking at it. Suddenly, she saw
it begin to descend directly over the house. It came down
at a very steep angle, but it didn't dive as much as it
seemed to "float" down rapidly right
at the house. It was now shaped like a torpedo, or a large
capsule, and DID NOT HAVE THE "WINGS".
It came down fast and got much bigger as it came down,
seeming at the last moment to be larger than the cabin
(actually meaning nose) of a Boeing 747 Jet she had once
seen. She stepped back, thinking to avoid it but wondering
how, since it seemed so large that she was sure it would
crash and wipe out her block and the one behind and the
next one over. In a demonstration of its apparent size,
to her, at this point, she held her arms out wide, big
enough to put a washtub between them. Instead of crashing,
the nose came up and it curved out at the bottom of the
maneuver and climbed back up to its circling altitude.
Her sketch of the "torpedo shape" as
it went by was in the same proportions but larger as the
cylinder shape of the fuselage when it was flying above
with the other cylinder-like "wings".
As it resumed circling again, she noticed that the "wings"
were back on it again.
appearance, it was a brushed silver in color and had no
marking, seams, windows, or ports, or anything to break
the surface finish. She tried to scream but couldn't make
a sound. Then, it suddenly stopped its descent and in
the same motion, curved back up and around to its previous
position and resumed flitting around in the sky above.
She then went inside.