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UFO Case Report:

Occupant Case in Tucson

Date: February 10, 1977
Location: Tucson, Arizona, United States

Ms. 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.

Classification & Features

Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: CE3
Special Features/Characteristics: Humanoid/Occupant

Full Report / Article

Source: APRO Bulletin, Vol. 25 No. 8 (Feb. 1977)

A 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 they watched.

The 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.

Mrs. 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.

As 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.

One 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 to1 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.

Mrs. 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.

Then 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 "giass" 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.

The location of the sighting places the object 3 1/2 miles west-northwest of Davis-monthan Control Tower and 4 1/2 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.

Neither 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.

If 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?

At 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 Jike brushed silver.

The 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.

When 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 once.

Then 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 manuevered 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 object.

They 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 appeared cross-shaped.

Carolyn 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 flourescent, just very plainly flat silver colored. This characteristic puzzled her some because she had never seen anything quite like it before.

She 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 capsuie, 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.

In 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.

Case ID: 358 edit: 358

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