The Odessa Radio Tower UFO Incident

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
September 2, 2019
Last Updated
October 22, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

A sighting of a UFO over a radio tower for around an hour in Odessa, Texas in the summer of 1973 is a case that, according to many UFO researchers who have since examined it, should have a greater standing in the UFO history books. Not least due to the multiple different witness testimonies concerning the incident.

A superimposed UFO over a radio tower

A superimposed UFO over a radio tower

In fact, the incident was largely unreported until the early-2000s with the arrival of the Internet when the main witness along with several others (who were members of the same family) would report the incident to UFO investigators.

The encounter also took place during a year of heightened UFO activity. And while the peak of the UFO wave of 1973 was still several months away, there were enough regular sightings in the first half of the year to have most of America looking skyward on an equally regular basis. That there appears to have been genuine if discreet attempts to keep the incident far from the wider public’s knowledge is perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of all of the incident. And certainly, if true, the most disturbing.

Just what was taking place in the skies over the United States, and indeed the world during the 1970s when UFO sightings and even abductions were coming in waves? And how much did authorities go out of their way to suppress such incidents?

A UFO Is Heading Your Way!

On the evening of 7th July 1973, a little after 6 pm in the evening, Stanley Wilson was napping at his home following a particularly grueling day at work with the state highway department. As he was dozing the phone rang in the Wilson household. Stanley’s wife, Judy answered. It was her husband’s grandmother. Several moments later, Judy was waking her husband and asking him to go outside with her. According to his grandmother, who also lived in Odessa in the southern part of the city, “a UFO was heading their way”.

The Wilsons lived on the (then) outskirts of the growing community. Consequently, theirs was one of the few houses in the area. Knowing his grandmother was not one for prank calls or playing jokes, he got up and ventured outside.

A superimposed UFO over a radio tower

A superimposed UFO over a radio tower

He scanned outside looking for anything unusual. At first, all he could see was the blue of the early evening skies. Then, however, just above the town’s radio tower, a bright, shining, silver disc hovered. He would estimate it was around a mile from his home.

Stanley and Judy both looked at each other, and then back at the hovering craft in amazement. He would recall how they “both knew it was probably an alien ship”. As they were both watching the futuristic craft hovering in the air, Stanley’s sister, Georgia, and her husband, Jim’s car came “flying around the corner”. As they jumped out yells of “did you see it?” punched the air as they both rushed toward Stanley and Judy.

All four of them stood and looked up and mysterious craft as it hovered over the KBZB radio tower.

A Sudden Stop Around Half A Mile Away!

As the four of them stood in the yard of the Wilsons’ home, Stanley suddenly had the idea of tuning into the radio station. When they did so, the disc jockey remarked how “a UFO above the station was causing static”. At one point, Stanley would even call into the station, informing the disc jockey that they were watching the UFO that he was talking about.

A witness sketch of the UFO sighting

A witness sketch of the UFO sighting

After around half an hour, Stanley and Jim decided they would attempt to reach the radio tower by car. However, when they were around half a mile away, on the road that would lead directly to the radio tower, they would bring the vehicle to a stop. There, with the object glistening in the early evening sun, they debated whether or not to go any further.

Eventually, they would decide against driving directly under the UFO. Instead, they sat there and watched the huge disc-shaped craft for several more minutes before it eventually began to ascend. It would begin moving away to the west and eventually disappeared out of sight.

By the time they arrived back home, they were both eager to listen to the coverage of the bizarre craft on the radio. However, they were no longer talking about. In fact, they were not mentioning it at all.

Stanley would reach for the phone once again.

Government “Requests” To Stop Reporting The Incident!

When he got through to the radio station again, he claimed to have spoken to the disc jockey, off-air. He claimed that a “government request” was made that they instantly stop their reporting of the UFO or they would “lose their (broadcasting) license”.

However, he would also inform Stanley that the incident was very real, as he himself already knew. And furthermore, one of the radio station employees was currently in the hospital as he was “so excited and so disturbed” after having seen the craft close up while checking on the reasons for the static.

A depiction of a UFO over a radio tower

A depiction of a UFO over a radio tower

Even more intriguing, however, was the information passed to Stanley by the disc jockey of “hieroglyphics on the bottom” of the hovering craft. A third conversation between the disc jockey and Stanley allegedly revealed that a news crew of a Texas TV station (KOSA TV Channel 7) had captured footage of what appeared to be the same UFO in the downtown area of the city. However, much like the radio station, government representatives would quickly confiscate the footage amid threats of shutting them down.

After this last piece of information, the disc jockey claimed he could no longer speak about the incident, even privately, as he feared “he would get in trouble”.

Was there a silver disc hovering over Odessa, Texas that evening in the summer of 1973? While we must, of course, treat the incident with a pinch of salt, there is good reason to believe the encounter to be likely credible.

Credibility In The Pedestrian Authenticity Of The Account?

That the incident happened in the build-up to a UFO wave of sightings is indeed an important factor. As is the fact that the reporting of the sighting was decades later. In short, there appeared to be no motive to obtain monetary reward or notoriety from reporting the incident. Surely, if that was the case, a report would have been made much nearer to the time, if not straight away.

The fact that a discreet report to an online UFO group was made decades later in order that there was “a record of it before (the witness) died” leans more toward an authentic encounter than not.

Many researchers suggest the incident to be very credible

Many researchers suggest the incident to be very credible

As does the fact that several supportive witness statements also back up the main account – albeit from immediate members of the same family. The fact is, several people put their names to the same account on a public forum.

Furthermore, and while not concrete proof by any stretch of the imagination, the relatively “pedestrian” nature of the account perhaps suggests authenticity as opposed to one manufactured for some kind of personal gain. For example, in a made-up or exaggerated account, would they really stop their car half a mile from the UFO due to fear and uncertainty? Or would they more likely drive right under it and then offer an over-the-top detailed view?

Remember, the details of the hieroglyphics, which we will come back to in a moment, come to us from a conversation between Stanley and the radio DJ and were not witnessed by Stanley himself. Again, a small seemingly trivial detail, but one that perhaps screams notice of a genuine account.

Strange And Suspicious Happenings Continue For Weeks After!

While nothing else was heard of the UFO incident that the Wilsons’ and their in-laws witnessed that evening, around a month or so later, other intriguing activity was taking place in Odessa.

According to Stanley, the Smithsonian Institute had a sudden presence in the area. And furthermore, their purpose was “taking pictures of UFOs at night with infrared cameras”. Once Stanley heard of this, he, Judy, Jim, and Georgia would take to driving around the quiet country roads on an evening in an attempt to locate the group at work. One evening, they managed to do exactly that. The events that would unfold, however, were not at all what they were expecting.

A depiction of a UFO over a radio tower

A depiction of a UFO over a radio tower

The road where they were working, for example, was blocked off at each side with a car. At each car stood a man dressed in a dark suit. It was clear they were not going to let anyone past. Stanley would recall:

…you could see people out in the pasture, with cameras on tripods. You could see little red lights out there! [1]

They were familiar enough with the local stories to not try and enter the area. Instead, they drove on. They all knew the UFOs were real. All had seen them over the weeks since the initial sighting over Odessa. And would continue to do so for several weeks to come. One incident, however, stands out from the rest.

The “Last Main Incident!” Of The Wilsons

Several weeks after the sighting of the silver disc over the radio tower, Stanley and Judy would experience perhaps the most intriguing, and unnerving encounter of them all. This particular evening, Stanley would walk outside and notice a “low cloud that looked like a cigar”.

He would estimate the cloud was around 50 feet long and moving through the air at an altitude of between 100 and 150 feet. The further it moved down the road, the more the clouds fell away. It wasn’t long before Stanley could tell the cloud was some kind “cover”, with the outlines of the craft now clearly visible.

A depiction of a UFO over a radio tower

A depiction of a UFO over a radio tower

He called out to Judy so they could pursue the UFO and see where it went to. He put the vehicle in motion while Judy maintained sight with the craft in front of them. They followed it for several miles before they came to the pasture. Stanley was almost certain it was the same pasture the Smithsonian Institute were working in several weeks earlier. Then, the craft began to descend and landed in the middle of the field.

Stanley brought the vehicle to a stop almost directly opposite the landing area. To his amazement, traffic above them on the overpass was seemingly unaware of the bizarre activity unfolding in the field below. He would turn to Judy and said:

“This time, I’m gonna try to make contact!”

And with that that he began to flash the headlights in the direction of the craft.

Unnaturally Tired And Missing An Hour Of Time!

The next thing they knew they were still sat in their car, but an hour had seemingly passed in what seemed like a few seconds. Even stranger, they both felt extremely tired, unnaturally so. They both looked again at their watches, baffled and disturbed that they couldn’t account for such a lengthy amount of time.

Despite their confusion and a sense that something wasn’t at all quite right, they would drive home. Once there, they would go inside and immediately go straight to bed. Each was asleep almost instantly.

When they awoke and spoke about the incident the next morning, each would agree that they could remember chasing the strange object. And then the next thing they knew, an hour had passed, and they were sat in the parked car with the UFO gone. What happened following Stanley flashing his lights at the mysterious craft remains a mystery.

Another Intriguing UFO Encounter All But Suppressed?

The Odessa Radio Tower incident is indeed an intriguing case. Not only for the sighting itself, but the apparent lengths government agencies went to in order to shut down any coverage of the encounter.

The hieroglyphics are also a particularly interesting detail. Not least as they have surfaced on multiple other UFO encounters. Perhaps most famous of those is the Kecksburg crash in Pennsylvania just short of a decade earlier. While the account is surrounded in mystery and conspiracy, to begin with, many of the witnesses to this bell or acorn-shaped craft insist there were strange hieroglyphics around the bottom of it.

It is certainly an intriguing detail. And one that adds speculative fuel to the fires of the claims of many ancient astronaut theorists in the UFO community. If these same crafts are still appearing now in the modern UFO era, what does that say of the influence of these strange crafts over humanity? And what are the reasons for their continued presence today?

As always, the Odessa Incident might prove to be nothing more than another intriguing case. One in an abundance of intriguing cases. It might, however, prove to be an almost lost encounter that might yet shine its light on to other similar incidents, and so allow desperately sought answers to be revealed.

Check out the video below. It looks at some of the best UFO sightings over the years.


1 The Odessa Event, 1973 – Witness Testimony, Lights In The Texas Sky

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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