The Truly Bizarre Ann Dolphijn Humanoid Encounter

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
January 6, 2024
Estimated Reading Time
9 min read
Posted in
Aliens, Encounters

The humanoid encounter of Ann Dolphijn in the Netherlands in the winter of 1973 is one of strangest and most thought-provoking on record, not least because of some of the bizarre details of the encounter – details so bizarre that they lend a certain amount of credibility to the case. It is also an incident that, while not so well-known outside of the Netherlands, was one that received considerable media coverage by the Dutch press at the time.

The encounter is perhaps all the more credible as it took place during a wave of humanoid sightings taking place right around the planet, some of which, as we shall see, shared remarkably similar details to the encounter of Ann Dolphijn. Indeed, it appears that the events in the Netherlands that evening are not only unique, but could contain important revelations about many of the humanoid encounters, not only in 1973, but before and since.

The encounter has been investigated and studied on multiple occasions by a variety of investigators and researchers. And while several explanations have been put forward, none of them can explain all aspects of the events that evening. Indeed, the Ann Dolphijn encounter remains of interest to UFO researchers and enthusiasts today over half a century later.

A Strange Scene Outside The House

At around 2:15 am in the early hours of November 10th, 1973 in Uden in the Netherlands, 55-year-old Ann Dolphijn was on her way to the front of the house to the bathroom after waking. [1] Although she didn’t fully process it until later, as she made her way from her bedroom to the bathroom, she noticed “something white” outside of the window in her peripheral vision. She ignored whatever it was and went into the bathroom.

As she was making her way back to her bedroom, however, she cast a glance outside of the window once more. And this time, she didn’t ignore what she saw. A short distance from her house she could see three figures, each dressed in a strange white robe. What’s more, these bizarre figures were making their way towards her property.

With a mixture of concern and curiosity, Ann stepped toward the window to get a better look at this curious scene. She would later recall that the robes appeared similar to a monk’s robe, stretching right the way down to the feet. Over their heads, the figures had a large white hood that hung down to each shoulder, while each had a belt around their waist with an array of strange instruments attached to it.

The figures were approximately three feet tall and walked in a formation of two figures at the front and one behind them (Ann later recalled that the trailing figure appeared to be slightly shorter than the other two). Even stranger, they appeared to shuffle along the ground, with Ann noting that she didn’t see their feet actually move or leave the ground.

She continued to watch from the window.

A Sudden Disappearance

As she looked on, she saw that one of the figures had some kind of device in its hand that very much resembled a vacuum cleaner. It was sweeping this instrument from side to side along the ground, similar to how a person might use a metal detector.

What is interesting about this detail is that another encounter in Vilvoorde in neighboring Belgium unfolded only the following month at around 2 am on December 19th, when Mr. V awoke to visit the outside bathroom. However, as he entered the kitchen to open the door to the yard. However, before he could do so he heard a strange sound coming from outside.

Upon looking out of the window he witnessed a humanoid figure, around three feet tall and wearing a one-piece suit, who was sweeping an instrument resembling a vacuum cleaner around the ground. The figure eventually disappeared over a wall before entering a bizarre object that rose into the air and disappeared into the night sky.

At this point, Ann began to feel decisively unsettled and briefly contemplated waking her husband. However, due to him having a heart condition, she feared the bizarre events might cause him to have a heart attack. Instead, she remained where she was. Around five minutes passed before one of the figures turned in her direction, making it clear that they were now aware of her presence.

The figure turned to the others and appeared to be communicating with them. Instead of heading toward the property, the trio suddenly turned and shuffled off in the opposite direction, eventually disappearing behind one of the school buildings down the road.

Ann then turned around and ran back to the bedroom, now having decided to wake her husband and tell him what she had seen. However, before she could say a word, she happened to look through the bedroom window – and what she saw made her stop in her tracks.

Further Bizarre Events

There, across from the backyard, around 130 feet away, she could see a red, spherical object – approximately seven feet across – hovering just above the pavement. She would later recall that the light from the object was so bright that she could only look at it for brief moments before having to turn away. We might also recall, although the descriptions differed slightly, the witness in the Vilvoorde case also witnessed an aerial object outside their house shortly after witnessing the strange figures in their yard.

By this point, Ann’s husband had woken up. When he asked Ann what the time was, she automatically turned away from the window to answer (telling him it was nearly 3 am). By the time she had turned her attention back to the window, the glowing red sphere was no longer there.

She then told her husband what had happened and what she had seen. Despite the surreal nature of the affair, he believed what his wife was saying. The pair eventually returned to bed, each doing their best to fall asleep, despite the surreal nature of the last few hours.

When Ann awoke the following morning, she made her way to the police station in order to report the encounter. She did so with the hope that other people in the town might also have seen them and made their own reports. However, not only was this not the case, but the police failed to follow up on her report in any way.

Sudden Media Attention

Eventually, the following year, she happened to speak of the encounter to a friend, Bob Muyen, whose son, Edmund, had a great interest in UFOs. When Bob informed Edmund of Ann’s encounter, he eventually passed on the details to the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS) in the United States. The account was eventually discovered by Dutch UFO researcher, Douwe Bosga. And upon returning to the Netherlands from America in February 1978, he decided to investigate Ann’s encounter further.

Ann Dolphijn

Ann Dolphijn

Over the course of the following months, Bosga met with Ann on several occasions. He would find her to be a credible, reliable, and serious-minded witness. And certainly not somebody to concoct such a story. What’s more, not only did she have no reason to do so, but she had not sought any publicity in the months that followed her report, not something a person looking to perpetrate a hoax would do.

Following Bosga’s investigation and reporting of the encounter, the wider public became aware of the incident, which eventually led to a surge of media interest in the account. During this time, many investigators and journalists spoke with Ann about what she had seen. All of them came away believing her to be a credible witness.

Nothing But Partygoers From A Local Carnival?

As the years went on with the increased media coverage, as we might imagine, several theories and suggestions were put forward to explain just what Ann Dolphijn had seen that night in November 1973.

One of these was put across in the 1980 book Spooklicht by Hans van Kampen, who put forward that Ann Dolphijn had seen three people who had attended a local carnival. [2] And while that explanation might sound preposterous to some, especially those in the UFO community who were familiar with the case, the date of November 11th is when carnival season begins in the Netherlands. What’s more, one of these carnivals – the local Prince Carnival – features many people wearing white hats that point down to each side in a point, much like the description Ann gave of the figures she had witnessed.

Artist's impression of what Ann Dolphijn saw that evening

Artist’s impression of what Ann Dolphijn saw that evening

Could it really be possible that what Ann had seen that evening was three people who had attended the carnival and just happened upon her house? When we consider that part of the costumes of these partygoers features a walking stick (to represent the “intoxicated prince”). Could it be that this stick was what Ann had seen? If so, had she imagined the attachment at the end of it that reminded her of a vacuum cleaner? Or perhaps it was the way the figure swept the ground with it that brought forth such a comparison?

As fascinating as this explanation is, there was another intriguing suggestion thrown into the public arena to explain just what Ann Doplhijn saw that evening.

Nothing But Gas Engineers?

Another explanation was put forward by Mr. Maas, who did so in a letter to the Study Group for Strange Air Phenomena magazine in 1984. He offered that several years previously, he had lived in a similar new estate to Ann – one where the streets were yet to be paved.

He claimed that one evening, a De Gasunie van had arrived on the street and several men, wearing uniforms had gotten out. What’s more, these men wore belts that clearly had several tools or instruments hanging from them. Of even more interest, some of the men carried instruments that looked, at least from afar, very similar to a vacuum cleaner or floor sweeper. Even the way they moved, Maas claimed, was similar to how Ann described the figures moving in front of her home.

Maas went further, claiming that he had ventured outside to politely ask the men what they were doing. They informed him that they were checking the street for gas leaks. Furthermore, this was a task that had to be done at night due to there being more pressure in the pipes during this time, which made leaks easier to detect. Could it be that what Ann Dolphijn witnessed that evening was nothing more than a gas check on her street?

Although this explanation is perhaps plausible, investigators were unable to back up the claims with official records as they are, generally speaking, only kept for 10 years. And as this suggestion was put forward in the mid-1980s, any records of gas checks on the street in 1973 had all been destroyed. Furthermore, it would later come to light that the instrument used to perform these gas checks was not in use in 1973, and so the explanation suddenly becomes unlikely.

An Incident Without Explanation

While each of these explanations addresses the figures themselves, it doesn’t explain the red spherical object that Ann witnessed through her bedroom window. After all, it is one thing to suggest that the figures were nothing more than public workers checking for gas leaks and that Ann, perhaps due to being half asleep and tired, had mistaken them for something otherworldly, but to suggest that these workers then disappeared in a strange, red orb-shaped craft is another.

Furthermore, while the carnival explanation, at least in theory, might explain the strange clothing the figures had on, such attire is not, generally speaking, worn by people checking the streets for gas leaks.

Even stranger, if the figures were checking for gas leaks that evening outside of Ann Dolpijn’s home, why did they run away and hide when they realized that Ann was watching them? Surely they would have just gestured a greeting to her and continued with their work.

Ultimately, despite many attempts to find a “rational” explanation for the events of that November night half a century ago, the encounter remains largely unexplained. Before we sum up the Ann Dolphijn encounter, though, it is worth turning our attention to another very similar incident that took place a little over a week later.

The Strikingly Similar Sorel-Tracy Encounter

We examined earlier a similar encounter to Ann Dolphijn’s that took place around a month later in Vilvoorde in Belgium. However, only eight days later on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Sorel-Tracy near Montreal in Quebec, Canada, yet another similar encounter is on record.

According to the report, late in the evening of November 18th, 1973, four women were driving toward Montreal when they witnessed a bizarre ball of light appear in the sky ahead of them. They would eventually pass beneath this strange, spherical object and head away from it. However, after a few moments, it became clear to them that the object was following them.

At some point during this journey, a bizarre, pink haze appeared out of nowhere, engulfing the women’s car (as well as others on the road). They drove into this pink fog, eventually coming out of it a short time later. Much to their surprise, upon emerging from the haze, they could see a strange “man” that appeared to be “shuffling” across the road. What’s more, he appeared to be carrying some kind of instrument that he swept back and forth, very much like a vacuum cleaner.

Even stranger, the witnesses claimed to have seen a parked car at the roadside with three men, all dressed in black, standing next to it, as if watching the strange events unfold.

Was the figure witnessed somehow connected to the figures reported by Ann Dolphijn? And who were the strange figures dressed in black by the parked car? Might we contemplate if they were the Men In Black, which would add yet another layer to these strange encounters?

Yet Another Alien Race With Another Specific Agenda?

Just who, or what, did Ann Dolphijn witness that November evening in 1973, and, perhaps of more importance, just what were they doing? And were the events in the Netherlands connected to the similar encounters reported in Belgium and Canada around the same time? Were these figures – whoever or whatever they were – carrying out some kind of specific agenda? And are they an alien race – if indeed they are extraterrestrials – separate from other races people claim to have encounters such as the greys or reptilians?

Was this some kind of fact-finding or intelligence-gathering mission? There are, for example, many close encounters on record that feature apparent alien entities gathering samples of vegetation, fruits, and water, as well as conducting similar sweeps of the respective environments where these encounters took place. Is what Ann Dolphijn witnessed another one of these missions?

Although the encounter unfolded half a century ago, it remains of interest, and of potential importance, still today, not least because of the other similar, corroborating cases that occurred around the same time. Indeed, we might find as more and more encounters are reported, including ones from decades ago, if other further similar cases don’t also surface.

The short video below explores the 1973 humanoid wave a little further.


1 The experience of Ann Dolphijn, 1973, UFO Zaken
2 Spooklicht, UFOs, Wezens & Menson (Ghost Light, UFOs, Creatures & People), Hans Van Kampen, ISBN 9789032 500795

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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1 Comment

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  • Andrew Borg says:

    Interesting. I admire the courage of the contactees that reveal the truth to a very skeptic public. Although things seem to change now people are being more open minded.
    Thanks for sharing this.

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