The 1981 Texomaland UFO Sighting

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
September 16, 2019
Last Updated
October 22, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
7 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Sightings

The area of Texoma – sometimes referred to as Texomaland – is an area of the United States that resides along the interstate regions between Texas and Oklahoma. In May 1981, this region would play host to a multiple witness UFO sighting. A close proximity encounter that was seen from multiple different perspectives and locations in the area.

A depiction of a UFO in a cloudy sky

A depiction of a UFO in a cloudy sky

And while the sighting itself was nothing more than a flyover of a craft that apparently defied the laws of physics as we know them, it is another that, when put alongside other, similar accounts, begins to bring a little more clarity to the picture of the UFO and alien question. Just what are these strange craft and where do they come from? And why does the world’s population remain purposely locked out of the examination and discussion on what would surely be life and perception changing for all of us?

Given the overall professional approach of such organizations as the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) in such cases, the fact they would take the time to examine and report on the encounter is a nod in the right direction as to the incident’s authenticity. As perhaps, is the location, with Texas being one of the leading states in America for UFO activity, both before and after the 1981 incident.

The account is one that comes to us courtesy of the 17th May 1981 edition of the Denison Herald and would appear in several UFO publications at the time such as the APRO Bulletin. Thanks to the digital age and the reemerging online of these publications, UFO researchers and enthusiasts today can examine such accounts once more. And in time, place them in their right place in the overall UFO picture.

A Strange Midnight Glow Over The Pastures

At shortly after midnight on the 13th May 1981 when local mechanic, Jim Shelton finished watching television on Channel 13 and was preparing to take himself to bed for the night. His wife had fallen asleep on the sofa next to him. He was just about to wake her so they could make their way to the bedroom when a sudden bright light was visible through the window.

Shelton would recall how “the whole pasture lit up” causing him to jump up completely from the couch and make his way to the window. When he peered out, he was amazed to see a cigar-shaped object moving across the field outside.

At first, Shelton thought a plane or helicopter was about to crash right outside his home such was the low altitude. However, by the time he had stood on the sofa and pushed the window open a little in order to get a better look, he realized what he was watching was nothing like a conventional aircraft.

Witness sketch of a UFO

Witness sketch of a UFO

Shelton would further describe the object as having “several lit portholes” [1] as well as “green and yellow pulsating lights” announcing themselves from its exterior. Furthermore, there appeared to be “fire streaming in sparks from the rear” of the object as it moved along. Perhaps amazingly, however, there appeared to be no sound whatsoever coming from the craft.

He would estimate the object to be around 20 feet in length and moving at a pace of around 30 or 40 miles per hour. Furthermore, it appeared to Shelton that the object had a purposeful course in mind and was not making an attempt to land. Nor was it hovering. As the huge object passed, the lights made the night appear “bright as day”.

It Was Real And I Saw It!

He would continue to stare at the bizarre sight for several seconds before turning away from the window to call his wife. When he turned back around, though, the craft was no longer in sight. Although his wife didn’t see the object herself, she did recall waking up following her husband’s excited cries and of seeing an intense glow from outside.

He would later state to the Denison Herald:

It was real. I saw it, and if they lock me up, I still saw it. It was long. A cigar-shape!

He would remain at the window hoping to see it reemerge. However, when it didn’t, thinking it might have crashed, Shelton would contact the Denison Police Department. Although they would notify the Sheriff’s Office of the incident, Shelton had the impression that they didn’t take his report very seriously. One thing he was certain of, however, was that the craft was most certainly not anything conventional. Nor was it likely terrestrial.

Artist's impression of a UFO

Artist’s impression of a UFO

In fact, so out of this world was the sight that met the technician, he was extremely unnerved by just the presence of it. As would come to light very shortly, Shelton was far from the only witness to these strange events that evening.

At the same time as Jim Shelton was staring out of his living room window at the strange object, another local resident, Karen Robinson, was making her way home from her shift at Texas Instruments, her place of employment.

As she made her way along the quiet highway, she witnessed a strange, long object traveling in a perfectly straight-line overhead. She would describe it as looking “like fireworks trailing behind a falling star”.

The Whole Sky “Seemed To Glow!”

A friend and work colleague of Karen’s, Linda Tingle was also traveling home from work at Texas Instruments at around the same time that evening. She would also witness the strange object while driving home with her husband, Mike along Loy Lake Road.

She would claim that she “thought it was the Moon” initially, but when she saw that it was descending “like it was falling” she realized it was something a little different. Still contemplating more reasonable explanations such as a falling star, she continued to watch the strange objects decent.

She could see that the color of the object was changing from green to yellow. It was then she called out to Mike to look upward also. Although he didn’t see the object itself, he did recall that the night sky “lit up” significantly. Certainly, enough for him to notice while not taking his eyes from the road. He would later claim the whole sky “seemed to glow”.

A newspaper clipping of the incident

A newspaper clipping of the incident

Strangely, and perhaps because of her focus on the object itself, Linda didn’t recall the sky glowing. But she did recall the object as being like a “ball glowing and flashing as it streaked downward”.

Interestingly, one of the other witnesses to the incident was a neighbor of Jim Shelton, the main witness. They were happy to speak with investigators, but didn’t, however, wish to give their name.

They claimed they had gone to bed that evening sometime around 10:30 pm. However, at some point in the next few hours – they admittedly had not looked at a clock – their bedroom suddenly “lit up” waking them. Their first thought was that a car had pulled into his driveway outside his house. When no knocking came at his door, he simply “pulled up the covers… and went back to sleep”.

There Is “No Way” The Silver, Metallic Object Was A Weather Balloon

Back at the Shelton house, however, after waiting for daylight to arrive the next morning, Jim Shelton would finally give in to his curiosity and venture out into the fields outside his home.

He would walk around “every inch” of the 15 acres of his land. However, he would discover nothing untoward that would suggest anything out of the ordinary had taken place only hours before.

A depiction of a UFO over the water

Many witnesses claimed they were sure of what they had seen

Following his extensive but fruitless search of his land, Shelton decided to use his Air Force “contacts” by informing his father – a retired United States Air Force veteran – of the incident in the hope that he might be able to use his contacts to find out any further information about the incident. Shelton, however, would not hear anything from his father or the Air Force concerning the matter.

Perhaps as a final testament to the dismissive attitude of the Denison police was the decision of the switchboard dispatcher to not record Shelton’s phone call to police on the night in question. Furthermore, according to the police dispatcher, Alton Taylor, the police “get a lot of those calls”. He would claim that most were merely “weather balloons”.

Not surprisingly, Shelton would dismiss the notion that the cigar-shaped craft he, and several others witnesses, at close range no less, was nothing more than a “weather balloon”. There was, according to Shelton “no way” that is what he saw.

A Connection To The Tewksbury Sighting?

Whether or not there is a connection, a very similar incident would unfold just over 24 hours earlier on the evening of 12th May in Tewksbury, New Jersey.

That evening, at around 9:30 pm, Earl and Pat Richards, along with their two adult sons, Earl Jr. and Wayne, were watching television when the set suddenly switched off and the lights of the house dimmed.

When the two sons ran to the window, each could see “dozens of green, blue, and red lights” overhead. What’s more, they were seemingly “hovering around a huge airborne vehicle”. This huge mothership-type craft also glowed with dozens of lights. By this time, the older Richards had also ventured to the window to see what the fuss was.

A depiction of a UFO

Are other UFO sightings connected to the 1981 incident

The witnesses would state the object was around the size of “four or five Boeing 747 planes”. And was a definite elongated, or cigar, shape with no sign of any wings. Perhaps of even more interest was how slowly the object moved, especially for its size.

The object made its way over the neighborhood and then out into the city after that. As it did, lights in houses and buildings underneath would flicker, and even turn off. While most properties would have their power back to normal within minutes, others were in darkness for almost two hours. Perhaps of interest are the comments of the Jersey Central Power and Light Company. They would claim that a “transformer had burnt out” but declined to give a reason for it.

For the Richards family, and anyone else who witnessed the aerial anomaly, the reason for the transformer burning out was perfectly obvious. And, in terms of the Texoma incident, it is certainly not that much of a stretch of the imagination that the sightings are of the same craft.

A Suppression Of Advanced Propulsion Systems?

The sighting over the Texomaland region in the early summer of 1981 was one that lasts mere seconds. And was seemingly forgotten about almost as soon as it came to light. This could be a case of an incident in a wealth of incidents before the Internet age simply becoming lost in the ever-falling sands of time. Some of the details, however, make some UFO researchers suspicious as to a purposeful suppression of the incident. And quite possibly because of the advanced propulsion systems on display at such close range.

The detail of the slow movement of the object, for example, is particularly intriguing. And one that comes up in numerous other close sightings UFO encounters. Maybe most notably the Phoenix Lights incidents during the summer of 1997. This “against-the-known-laws” of aviation and physics, such a large object should not stay airborne. And so suggests a highly advanced propulsion system.

Also of interest, is the detail of the lights flickering below as the craft passed. Many UFO encounters report such consequences of these otherworldly craft passing overhead at such low altitude. This, of course, suggests some kind of electromagnetic energy system. Perhaps as part of the propulsion. Maybe this is causing such outages and interference.

We should perhaps remind ourselves of the words of Otto Krause. According to UFO researcher, Timothy Good, he would state that the propulsion systems were “the classified part” of the sightings. In fact, they were “more classified than the atomic bomb!” Might the sighting in the Texoma region that May evening have been a display of such advanced, and extraterrestrial propulsion technologies?

Check out the video below. It looks at the propulsion systems of UFOs and what it might mean for the world in general.

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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