The Burbank UFO Landing: A Forgotten Encounter In The Middle Of A UFO Wave

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
April 3, 2024
Estimated Reading Time
9 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

What is interesting about an apparent UFO landing encounter in Burbank, California in late 1973 is that the only witnesses were a four-year-old boy, his two-year-old brother who could not yet speak, and their family dog. However, the witness’s father – a serving police officer – managed to obtain a surprising amount of detail from his son, and, in part, because it happened during one of the busiest waves of UFO encounters in United States history, the incident was regarded as more credible than it at first appeared.

MUFON representatives in the California area investigated the case in the days following the event, and while the information they could glean was limited, the case proved to be of great interest and regarded as very credible. Perhaps because of the sheer number of UFO reports at the time – a great many of which also involved apparent landings – as well as the fact that only a week earlier, one of the most famous alien abduction encounters, the Pascagoula case, the incident is one that is in danger of being lost to time, which would be a shame, as each encounter contributes something to the big picture of the UFO and alien question.

With this in mind, as well as there being similarities with many of the other UFO reports that took place throughout the United States during 1973, particularly the latter part of the year, there are also details, albeit basic details, that resonate with other brief landing encounters from years past and after.

“Something Is Happening In The Backyard!”

A police officer in Burbank, California – referred to as GN in the subsequent report – was awoken at around 11:30 am on October 16th following a night shift on patrol by his wife informing him that “something was happening in the backyard. [1] If that statement didn’t bring him out of his much-needed sleep quickly, the frantic, worried look on his wife’s face did. What’s more, after taking a moment or two to come to his senses, he could hear their pet dog barking agitatedly, something quite out of character.

He immediately jumped out of bed and made his way to the back door to the backyard where the dog’s frantic barks were coming from. Once there, he could see his two-year-old son standing in the garden, “pointing up towards the sky with wonder and amazement on his face”. Meanwhile, their pet dog continued to bark, seemingly focusing its attention at a specific spot in the middle of the garden.

As the young boy was still unable to speak, the only witness who could offer any kind of verbal information was GN’s other son – named “Eddie” in the report – who himself was only four years old. When GN asked him what had happened, he offered that “something big” had landed in the yard. Eddie appeared largely unfazed by what he had seen, and so GN asked just how big the object had been. To answer, Eddie outstretched his arms as far as they would go.

GN then asked Eddie to come inside and draw a picture of the object, which he duly did. He produced an image of an oval-shaped object with a “pointed dome” on the upper side. Even more intriguing, from the bottom of the craft were several “rays” being projected downwards. These rays ended in some kind of smoke below them. While his father studied the picture, Eddie offered that he could also remember the object making a “buzzing” noise.

“Monsters Got Out Of The Object!”

Immediately intrigued, and with some knowledge of UFO sightings, GN went on to ask Eddie if he had noticed anything inside the object. He drew two figures that appeared to have curved-shaped heads which he referred to as “monsters” (his father later offered that, to Eddie, anything that wasn’t human, was a “monster”).

However, Eddie continued that the “monsters got out of the object”, and even more remarkable, they let him “look in”. He claimed to have seen a large chair and then felt immediately scared and ran inside to tell his mother that something was happening in the yard (his exact words were that there was “magic” in the yard).

While this was taking place, the family dog continued to bark furiously at the patch of the garden where Eddie had stated the object had landed. In fact, it had barked for at least two minutes without let-up before finally calming down. NG eventually made his way to the spot in the yard, but he couldn’t say anything to indicate anything out of the ordinary had been there. However, he knew that Eddie wouldn’t have made up the account, and he certainly couldn’t have influenced their dog’s behavior. Ultimately, although he didn’t know what, he knew that something out of the ordinary had indeed taken place.

A Discreet Report To UFO Investigators

For a brief time, NG considered reporting the incident to his own superiors. However, he soon thought better of this, stating later to UFO investigators that he was more than aware of how law enforcement, in general, and certainly in Burbank, treated such claims (usually with ridicule and contempt). He did, though, speak to a fellow officer who was a little more open-minded about the encounter and who would put him in touch with the California UFO Research Institute. Through them, he was put into contact with Ann Druffel of MUFON who contacted and met with NG, although due to a vacation NG and his family had taken, it would be over a week before they finally met.

Diagram of the sighting area by UFO investigators (c) Flying Saucer Review

Although NG was happy to speak with Druffel and for her to investigate the case, his wife was much more hesitant, specifically so with Druffel speaking with Eddie, who she believed would become frightened by the recollections of the mystifying experiences. However, both parents were eventually reassured by Druffel that she would be able to speak with Eddie about the encounter without making the experience in any way harrowing for him.

On the day that Druffel arrived at the family home only NG was at home, and so Druffel spoke with him in-depth about the incident. She was immediately impressed by his level-headedness and found him to be a highly credible witness in terms of relaying what his son had said to him and the aftermath of the event that he had seen for himself. Druffel also saw for herself the true nature of the family dog, who after a few barks of excitement when she first arrived, was quietly playful with the investigator, and certainly not showing any signs of anxiety.

A Case Of “Considerable Merit”

Druffel would carry out further examinations outside the property, particularly in the yard where Eddie claimed the object had landed. However, she detected none of the usual signs that often show up in such cases, such as increased radiation or electromagnetic levels. She also asked whether NG’s neighbors might have seen the event unfold, but NG told her that he had already spoken to them and neither of them had.

Ultimately, Druffel felt there was nothing to gain from speaking to Eddie, particularly in light of how uncomfortable it made his mother. She had gotten all that he knew through her conversation with NG himself. She did, though, ask if she could take copies of the sketches he had made. However, MG’s wife had thrown them in the bin as they reminded her, and she feared would remind her son of the terrifying ordeal.

Several days later, Eddie drew the object for his father from memory, and NG himself reproduced the sketch Eddie had done of the apparent beings from his memory. You can see both of those pictures above. The craft certainly appears to have a disc shape to it while, although it is a reproduction by NG, the apparent beings could be seen as a youthful interpretation of a typical large-headed grey alien entity. Indeed, it would be easy to see why such a small child would refer to such a creature as a “monster”.

Druffel would offer in her report of the incident in Flying Saucer Review that numerous UFO experts (of the time) had examined the case, and numerous discussions had taken place between them about it. Ultimately, it was largely agreed that “despite the tender age of the witnesses, the case seemed to have considerable merit, and possibly provided clues as to the motives and methods employed by UFOs”, both during the 1973 wave, as well as before and beyond.

A Peak Wave Within A Wave

As part of her report, Druffel not only drew attention to the 1973 UFO wave, in general, but she highlighted several specific encounters that occurred the day after the Burbank incident, October 17th, 1973, the “peak number of occupant reports in the United States”. On this date, according to MUFON figures, there were six UFO occupant reports. Two of these were considered “doubtful” by the organization but the remaining four were designated worthy of further investigation.

One of these occurred just outside Danielsville, Georgia, when salesman, Paul Brown, was driving home. As he made his way along the road, a “blindingly bright craft” suddenly appeared only several feet in front of his vehicle, forcing him to apply the brakes as hard as he could, bringing his car to a screeching halt.

As Brown looked on in complete shock, an opening appeared in the side of this glowing object, and two “white-haired, red-skinned creatures”, each around four feet in height and wearing a type of silver suit, came into view. It is not clear if there was any interaction between these humanoids and Brown, but there is a record of Brown’s report to the police, which stated not only was the witness a man of “good reputation”, but that he was very clearly “shaken” by the events that had taken place.

A short time later, somewhere between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida on Interstate 10, electrician, Clarence Ray, encountered a strange object hovering over the top of his moving truck. Then, things got even stranger.

The curious craft remained at the same pace as Ray for several moments before the truck was suddenly “pulled” upward and into the “spaceship” itself. The next thing he knew, at least six “strange-looking creatures” were taking him out of the truck. He elaborated that these creatures were “short” – certainly shorter than a human – and that they had an almost robotic nature to them.

A little later, in Falkville, Alabama, Jeff Greenhaw saw very similar humanoid figures, all dressed in shiny, silver, mirror-like suits.

Of all the humanoid encounters cases that day, however, it was one in Tennessee that appeared most like the incident in Burbank, and so offered the case a little in the way of corroboration.

An Attempted Alien Abduction In Tennessee?

In the town of Watauga, Linda Green and Ruth O’Quinn were standing outside their homes when a bizarre copper-colored round object appeared overhead. To begin with, the object hovered harmlessly over a nearby hillside. Then, however, it suddenly made its way to a field opposite where they were standing, and where Linda’s son was playing with another child. To Linda’s immediate concern, the object landed on the field near to the children.

Moments later, an opening appeared on the side of the object and a “man about six feet tall with blinking eyes stepped into the doorway and reached out with two claw-like hands attempting to snatch the children”. The boys, though, immediately turned and ran from the object towards the house where the two women had been standing.

The next thing the witnesses knew, the humanoid figure returned inside the object, which then shot directly upwards and disappeared in no more than a second. When this sighting was investigated it came to light that several other sightings of an almost identical object had been made the previous day – the same day as the Burbank landing. It is also worth noting the claw-like hands and the similarities to the entities involved in the Pascagoula abduction a little over a week earlier.

Druffel would further highlight two more cases that occurred the next day – October 18th – that might very well be connected to the sightings we have explored here.

The first unfolded in Russell County in Kentucky, a housewife was coming out of her farmhouse to feed her dogs when she noticed two strange “men”, each around three feet high a short distance away. She later described these figures as having a red color to them, very similar, we might note, to the descriptions of the strange figures reported by Paul Brown only the previous day.

Later that day in Effingham County in Georgia, multiple residents witnessed and reported a “tiny silver man” at the roadside. According to one anonymous witness, “a line of traffic slowed to gape at the little creature”, although, they added, that “no one dared leave their car” to take a closer look.

An Unexplained Encounter In An Unexplained Wave

It would appear clear, then, that whatever the two young boys in Burbank witnessed that morning in October 1973, given the abundance of similar encounters taking place around the same time, it was most definitely something real. Of course, just what the purpose of this landing and brief interaction might have been, like the many other cases of the 1973 UFO wave, remains unknown.

Unlike humanoid encounters of the 1950s, of which there were many, the humanoid occupant encounters of 1973, much like many other, albeit, more sporadic encounters of the 1970s, were seemingly of two distinct, and different entities – a taller, large-headed figure that we would typically refer to as a grey alien, and shorter, more robotic-like creatures. Are these two figures somehow connected? Or were there two different forms of alien life landing across the United States in 1973?

And, if we take the 1973 humanoid UFO wave, in general, we might also ask, as well as why such a wave of sightings began in the first place, and why did they come to a sudden halt as 1973 handed off to 1974? Was there something special about that particular point in time? Was some kind of portal open temporarily near or over the United States, and so allowing these visits from intelligent life from elsewhere? Perhaps, as wildly speculative as this might be, these temporary portals were the result of some kind of top-secret experiment, which might explain why many of the encounters occurred in America.

Whether we such a wave of encounters occurs again, either in the United States or elsewhere, remains to be seen. The wave of 1973, however, remains of immense interest today, over half a century later.

The short video below explores some of the most interesting UFO and humanoid encounters on record.


1 The Burbank Landing And Occupant Report, Ann Druffel, Flying Saucer Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, June 1975

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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