The 1977 Close Encounters Of Tucson, Arizona

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
October 17, 2018
Last Updated
September 5, 2020
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

In the opening months of 1977 in Tucson, Arizona, three separate close encounters occurred within several weeks of each other. Whether there is a connection between them or not is open to debate. They would, however, share similar details to each other, as well as to other accounts from UFO incidents past and since.

A superimposed UFO over a night scene of Arizona

Why were so many UFOs spotted over Arizona in 1977?

On the other hand, and just as intriguing, one of the following encounters would see discussions and revelations with apparently extraterrestrial entities concerning such things as reincarnation and life after death. Even the nature of death and what it might be or lead to. Although not exclusively, these are perspectives that are not at all typical of such encounters. This might indeed suggest, if we accept for a moment that such extraterrestrial visitors are real, that different races of such aliens are visiting the planet. And while those we collectively recognize as “the greys” are synonymous with abductions and experimentation, others, although no less mysterious and even dismissive, appear to have a more benevolent agenda. And furthermore, at least some of these “beneficial” cosmic visitors apparently share similar mystical and esoteric beliefs as many people on Earth today.

A Strange Rising Light In The Schoolyard

On the evening of 10th February 1977, at a little after 7:30 pm Lois Stovall, sitting on her couch in her grandmother’s living room, was about to witness the most fascinating of events. Her home sat opposite the Lillian Cavett Elementary School, which was perfectly visible through the living room window and from her position on the couch. It was when she just happened to be gazing out of the window when she suddenly noticed an intense light “like a bright star” near to the school building.

The light had first appeared to the left of the school before it passed around the corner of the building and over the two large trees in the schoolyard. Then, much to Lois’ amazement, the object began a course directly towards the house. It came down to the ground – still on the “school side” of the fence, but it was “directly in front” of the living room window. She watched in awe as the mysterious object hovered just above the ground. It remained there for several moments. Then, it moved once more.

At this point, Lois alerted her grandmother, Alice Buckner, of the strange glowing object outside. She was in the room during the incident, but she was unable to see the window or the events in the school opposite. She came over to where her granddaughter stood. Wanting to get a better view, both would go to the front door of the property. As they opened the door and stepped outside into the elements of the night air, each could see the object rising and moving through the air once more. Only this time, it was coming closer to where the two witnesses stood. It would pass over the fence of the schoolyard and directly towards them.

A witness sketch of the strange occupants

A witness sketch of the strange occupants

“There’s A Man In There!”

Lois and her grandmother watched in amazement as the object hovered directly over their garden. They each went outside and stood directly underneath the strange craft, itself about fifty feet away from them. They would later describe the object as “capsule-shaped, cylindrical with blunt, rounded ends on both top and bottom”. The section between the curved ends was transparent allowing both to see the “light” inside this section. This is perhaps an interesting detail. Was this light the energy source of the craft? The two witnesses would later describe the light as “like a beautiful flame” with “flowing streamers of red and blue fire” which danced in what was a bright white light.

It was as they were taking in the apparent beauty of the light source that they first noticed the humanoid figure towards the front of the transparent section. It appeared to be dressed in a grey “puffed up” space suit. The figure appeared in a crouched position, although the witnesses would state it could have been working some kind of unseen (to them) controls.

At this point, intrigued more than scared, Alice moved forward and attempted to reach upwards in order to touch the craft. She would estimate to have been two feet away from it with her outstretched hand. However, as she was attempting this, the craft began to move upwards and so putting more distance between it and the ground. It then began to move away slowly. Not before Alice got a good look inside the craft, though. She would exclaim to Lois, “There’s a man in there”.

The figure kneeled away from the flame-like light. The puffiness was now clearly visible as a suit of some kind. The head was covered with a hood that was part of the suit.

A Military Presence?

Alice would recall that she could see a face behind the window of the suit but couldn’t make out any particular details. Before she could take in any more, however, the craft was rising and moving away. The underside was completely smooth and glass-like. She could see the figure’s feet, and the glowing light, but nothing more. She would later state that the figure, even in the “space-suit” had a build more akin to a small child. The pair, however, wouldn’t be the only witnesses to the evening’s strange events.

Alice’s neighbor, Dessie Turner, was in her bathroom at the time of the sighting. She saw a light outside that she believed was a car “turning around in the street”. However, after the light remained stationary for longer than should have been necessary she went to take a closer look. She would walk to the window at the front of the house and pulled back the curtains. In front of her, hovering over her driveway and in front of Alice’s house, a little higher than the trees, was a bright “luminous oblong object”.

She noticed that part of the craft was “glass-like” and transparent. To her further amazement, she could make out a “shadowy figure” inside. She could see her neighbors, Alice and Lois, watching the strange object from their yard. Then, it began to rise and moved away and out of sight. She would immediately contact a local television station, notifying them of the strange sighting.

Interestingly, both Dessie, Alice, and Lois all recalled seeing several helicopters flying at low altitude over the elementary school at the time of the sighting. One of them even passed close to the strange object. Does this suggest some type of military test flight? Or some clandestine, monitoring response to objects unknown?

Several superimposed UFOs over an aerial night shot of Arizona

Many of the witnesses reported very similar details

The Strange-Moving “Silver Aircraft” Incident

Just over a week later, at the same time of 7:30 pm on 21st February, came another strange aerial sighting. Trudy Clayton was driving with her friend, Dorothy Sanders, in Tucson, near to Tucson High School. Each of the women noticed a “silver airplane” suddenly come into view. However, the way it moved was anything like any airplane either had witnessed previously. And given their close proximity to Tucson International Airport, they very likely were familiar with all manner of aircraft at relatively low altitude.

This object, far from the smooth motion of a plane, moved in stop-start, “jerky” motions and it moved fast. There were no visible lights on the surface, nor were there any markings. The witnesses would state the silver color was like a “brushed silver”. They would further describe the shape as like a cross, as if “two cylinders crossed slightly ahead of center”. The object changed altitude several times. At one point it was so low it was only slightly above the telephone wires over the road.

The witnesses watched the object maneuver for several minutes. However, given that it simply moved about in the sky with no apparent interest in its surroundings, the two women lost interest in the object and would decide to return home. When they arrived back at Dorothy’s house at around 8:30 pm, though, to their amazement, the object was now above them, as if it had discreetly followed them here.

The two women stepped out of the vehicle and looked up in fascination. Dorothy would shout her niece, nephew, and her grandchildren, who were all in the house. They came outside wondering what the matter was. Then, they turned their attention upwards. They watched for several moments before finally returning inside.

It Became A “Capsule” And It “Did Not Have Wings!”

One of Dorothy’s nieces, Carolyn Howard, would watch the events from her room. Carolyn was studying when she heard what sounded like fire sirens from outside. She went over to the window and then saw her aunty and the small group around her looking upwards. She followed their gaze and saw the “cross-shaped brushed silver-colored” craft above. Carolyn would state later that despite the moonless night and the object not specifically glowing, it was still clearly visible.

She remained at the window when the others had gone inside. She watched it circle in the air twice. Then, it began to descend in a “floating” motion but quickly all the same. The closer it got, the clearer the details were to Carolyn. She would recall that the object resembled a “large capsule” and it clearly “did not have wings”.

She stepped back from the window, thinking a collision was imminent. However, right at the last moment, the capsule-like craft turned upwards and climbed back up to its previous position. As it did so, it appeared the “wings” had reappeared, and the craft resembled a cross-shape once again. It continued its strange motioning and circling before finally disappearing into the sky.

Was this cross-shaped craft that appeared as a capsule upon descent the same as that witnessed eleven days earlier by Lois, Alice, and their neighbor, Dessie? Several months later in April 1977, another close encounter occurred in Tucson.

Superimposed UFOs flying in a night sky

Did aliens intentionally target Arizona in 1977?

“Compelled To Obey” Telepathic Voice And Large Eyes

In the early hours of the 4th April, at a little after 1:30 am, the 52-year-old anonymous witness, who was watching jackrabbits in the grounds of the Veterans Administration Hospital, heard a sudden “whirring noise”. She immediately looked up and gasped as she saw an ellipsoidal object, glowing brightly, and looking very much as though it was descending. She remained in her position and saw the craft land around forty feet away.

The witness would estimate the object to be around fifty feet wide and approximately twenty feet high. The upper part had a soft luminous pink glow to it, with a periscope-type device on one side. As the object came to a stop, the whirring noise would cease also. She remained where she was, watching the now motionless craft. It was much to her surprise, then, when a humanoid figure suddenly appeared directly in front of her, as if out of nowhere. She hadn’t taken her sight from the landed object and was sure nothing had emerged from it. Yet now, standing at well over six feet, dressed in a silver one-piece suit, this strange figure was walking towards her.

Suddenly, it spoke, she later claimed telepathically, saying, “I am Onleel. I want to talk with you, Come with me”.

She couldn’t see any facial details behind the mask he had on, aside from his large, dark eyes. She claimed later she could see what looked like “tiny points of fire deep within (them)”. What’s more, she had the strange feeling that this voice “came from those eyes”. She would also state that she “felt compelled to obey”.

Personal Questions About Reincarnation And Death

With no memory of how she had gotten on board, the next thing the witness realized she was inside the ship. Onleel would lead her to a smaller room. Inside, she could see three or four smaller figures, similar to her host in all but physical stature. They all donned brown one-piece suits and black footwear. All were actively engaged in other activities and paid her little attention.

She looked around her surroundings, noting how everything appeared to be made from “spun aluminum”. Perhaps most notable is her recollection of the lighting, which was bright and all around them, but with “no visible source”. This one detail comes up again and again in such close contact events. This either suggests the same race of extraterrestrial or at least the same technology that provides such source-less lighting.

Then, Onleel was before her once again. She was told that she was to answer some questions, the nature of which showed, at least to her, that this figure knew a lot of personal details about her. Many of the questions would revolve around her beliefs in reincarnation and her thoughts on death. She would claim that she should expect to see them again. It wasn’t however, “for her to know” when.

The next thing she knew, she was outside – the craft gone. She felt confused and with no memory of having left the craft. She eventually arrived back home at around 2:30 am. Although she doubted the experience, a look at her trainers confirmed, to her, that the incident was real. They were caked in desert dust she could only have collected where she had “awoken”.

The below documentary, from 1977, and perhaps gives a “feel” for the UFO community at the time of the above encounters.

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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  • dave says:

    Great read thanks

  • John Doe says:

    That is some horrible Photoshop you suck

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