The North Hudson Park UFO Landings – The Alien Encounter Of George O’ Barski

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
June 4, 2024
Estimated Reading Time
15 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

During the early hours of a January night in 1975, 72-year-old George O’ Barski was driving home in New Jersey when a bizarre craft appeared out of the night sky and interrupted his journey near North Hudson Park. O’ Barski would witness several strange figures emerge from the craft, who then went about seemingly taking samples of the soil and vegetation. Eventually, after speaking of the incident several months later, investigations would discover several other witnesses to the strange events, as well as suggestions that something much more than a mere sighting took place.

The account appeared in several newspapers at the time and was also featured in the book Missing Time: A Documented Study of UFO Abductions by Budd Hopkins. As he explains in the book, Hopkins had known the witness for almost two decades before he spoke to him about his surreal encounter. He was the owner (along with another gentleman, Bill Burns) of a liquor store in the Chelsea district of Manhattan opposite the studio apartment where Hopkins lived, and had been selling Hopkins “his dinner wine” throughout that period. Hopkins described the witness as “street-wise, astute, and reflective”, as well as being a “strict teetotaler”, despite his profession.

In fact, it was during one evening when Hopkins stopped at the store to purchase a bottle of wine that he found George “pacing back and forth behind the counter”. Of further interest, he was muttering that “a man can be driving home, minding his own business, and something can come out of the sky and scare you half to death”. Hopkins was immediately interested in what he had to say, and although skeptical of his interest at first (at this point, Hopkins was not widely known as a UFO researcher) he began to regale Hopkins about the strange events of a cold night several months previously.  Customers entering the shop, however, caused long breaks in the account and so, ultimately, Hopkins offered he would return to the shop in an hour or so when it was less busy. When he returned, he heard a most fascinating encounter.

Incidentally, following the encounter, George refused to go anywhere near the park, even stating in one interview that “even if Congress passed a law requiring it, you couldn’t get me into that place at night”.

A Shortcut Through The Park Turns Strange

According to what George told Hopkins, it was somewhere around 2 am when he shut his liquor store for the evening and made his way to his car to drive home. [1] He would work the late shift Monday to Saturday, usually starting at 6 pm and shutting the shop at around midnight. He would then take his dog – a German shepherd called Cognac – for a walk nearby before returning to the shop in order to carry out any relevant paperwork.

As he often did on his drive home, he took a shortcut through North Hudson Park, taking him to a 24-hour diner in the Fort Lee area. Usually, this shortcut was pleasant but uneventful. On this evening, though, his car radio suddenly began to pick up intense static and the sound of the broadcast became “tinny”. He immediately reached for the dial and began seeing if he could tune to another frequency or radio station. As he was doing so, a bright, glowing object suddenly passed his vehicle on his left-hand side, moving in the same direction he was. He estimated the object was approximately 100 feet away from him when he first noticed it. As the window happened to be down (due to the unseasonably warm night), he also became aware of a low humming sound that appeared to emanate from the object.

He continued to watch as it came to a stop in a field ahead of him. Now, slowing his vehicle somewhat, he began to take in details of the object’s appearance. He described the object as being round in shape and around 30 feet in length. It appeared to be hovering around 10 feet above the ground and had “regularly spaced vertical windows” going around the edge of it. Then, as he watched this curious sight, things became even stranger and more surreal.

Strange Figures Gathering Samples

On the side of the object, what appeared to be a panel opened between two of the vertical windows. A moment later, a ladder-like object appeared and stretched out toward the ground. The craft began to lower itself even more, coming to within five feet of the ground before “a group of small figures appeared,” which, one after the other, began to walk down the ramp to the ground below.

These figures appeared to be no more than three or four feet tall, and each wore the same “hooded, one-piece light-colored garment”. George later recalled the Hopkins that they “looked like kids in snowsuits”. He wasn’t sure how many of the figures there were, estimating there were anywhere from nine to a dozen.

He elaborated to Hopkins how scared he was at that moment, something Hopkins himself could visibly see while George recalled the night in question, offering that he had “been held up in the store by men with pistols and knives” but that fear paled in comparison to the fear he felt that night in North Hudson Park. He further recalled that these figures “came down this ladder thing like kids coming down a fire escape. Fast. No wasted motion”.

He continued forward, but his car was now moving slowly so as not to draw attention to himself. As he passed the figures – who seemingly paid him no attention at all – he could see they each carried a “large spoon-like tool and a little bag with a handle”. He watched as they “dug, spooning the dirt into their bags”. Then, in hardly any time at all, they returned inside the ship, which promptly rose and then ascended high into the sky.

This last detail of the figures seemingly taking samples of soil and vegetation is a remarkably interesting detail and one that shows up in many other similar close encounter cases, almost as if these incidents are some kind of active reconnaissance and fact-finding missions.

In total, George estimated that the whole incident, from the object appearing to it rising back up into the sky, took no more than four minutes.

Intriguing Discoveries At The Landing Site

George continued on his way home, arriving there a short time later. He recalled to Hopkins that he “immediately made some tea” and then turned on the television, more for light than anything else, as he was “too frightened to risk leaving any lights on” in the apartment. He eventually took two aspirin and then went to bed, even “pulling the covers” over his head, he was “that scared” by the night’s events, elaborating that he “figured the whole damn world had come to an end” and that he “didn’t know what to think”.

The following morning, unable to get the events out of his mind, George returned to North Hudson Park. When he neared the spot where he believed he had seen the UFO, he brought his car to a stop and continued on foot. To his amazement, in the field where the object had hovered he discovered around 15 small holes, seemingly the holes that had been scooped out by the strange figures the previous evening. He offered to Hopkins that discovering the holes – essentially proof of what he had seen – he felt even more scared.

At this point he got back in his car and immediately returned home to contemplate and try to come to terms with the events of the past 12 hours or so. Although he did his best to forget about the encounter, over the course of the following weeks, he happened upon people who had also seen something strange that January night in 1975, at the same location and at the same time, which would have been “undoubtedly the same UFO”.

George concluded his initial talk with Hopkins that late November evening, 10 months after the encounter had occurred, by offering his suggestion that “the government, or the CIA, or perhaps a foundation somewhere has developed a secret method of propulsion, powering totally unconventional craft like the one” he witnessed that evening. However, at the same time, he reasoned, rather than create such a drama, why wouldn’t they simply “send for the soil samples” through conventional means? What would, for example, be so secret about them performing such a task?

A Very Credible Witness

As we might imagine, Hopkins had his own thoughts about the account and George O’ Barski, which he detailed in the previously mentioned Missing Time. He stated, for example, that “no one making up a story like this would, in effect, leave himself out of the events”, adding that George’s role in the encounter is “strictly passive”, with Hopkins continuing that “never once does a small figure notice him, turn towards him, threaten him, or hand him a message”. This was something that, at least to Hopkins, suggested the account and George O’ Barski were more than credible.

Hopkins also used a similar logic regarding George’s descriptions of the figures, stating that “anyone inventing a sensational encounter with ‘space beings’ would begin by creating a weird, memorable face, huge eyes, pointed ears, or whatever, and then work down to the trivial details”. However, according to George’s account, he saw no details whatsoever of their faces as the hoods or helmets they wore completely obscured them. In the same mindset, George did clearly recall that the boots the figures wore appeared to be part of the overall garment as opposed to being separate footwear, something that someone manufacturing a story might not include.

Perhaps the biggest sign of George’s authenticity in relaying the encounter is his honesty about how utterly terrified he was during and after the ordeal, even admitting to “pulling the (bed) covers over his head” when he returned home after the incident. Once more, we might imagine that someone concocting an encounter would not paint himself in such a manner, rightly or wrongly.

Hopkins also highlights George’s choice of words regarding his descriptions of how the object moved, with George offering that it moved as though “there was a giant magnet attracting it”. Hopkins offered that he had the “inescapable impression that an intelligent, careful man was trying his best to find words to describe an almost incredible experience”. For example, in attempting to describe the object rising into the air and taking off, George stated that he thought there “must be a big fan in there or something that runs this thing”, even though he couldn’t see such a propulsion method.

The Joint Hopkins-Bloecher-Stoehrer Investigation

It was at this point that Hopkins made the decision to contact a “serious UFO organization” in order to plan how best to proceed with the encounter. He eventually contacted the New York state director of MUFON, Ted Bloecher, and several days after George had told Hopkins of his strange run-on in North Hudson Park, he was listening to Hopkins tape recording in his studio apartment opposite the liquor store the witness owned. Needless to say, he was as enthralled and as intrigued as Hopkins, and three days later, on November 23rd, 1975, he, Hopkins, and another MUFON investigator, Gerald Stoehrer, along with George, drove back to North Hudson Park to the exact spot where the mystery object had landed.

As detailed in Hopkins’ book, the landing site turned out to be a multi-purpose athletic field that was used for football and softball, and overlooked the downtown Manhattan area, approximately four miles from the offices of the New York Times newspaper.

The group had decided to reenact the encounter in the hope that doing so might lead to further clues for the investigators, or even further memories from George. George would take the wheel of the vehicle, and drove along the same route he took that January night, driving – as best he could – at a similar speed. Stoehrer recorded George’s detailed recollections on his tape recorder, timing each part of the journey for his records.

The Stonehenge Apartments

Furthermore, following the reenactment, Hopkins realized that a circular apartment block – known as the Stonehenge Apartments – sat at the bottom of the hill close to where the encounter unfolded. Moreover, in this apartment block lived a person Hopkins was familiar with following them purchasing one of his paintings, and of more importance, he recalled that the apartments benefitted from a 24-hour doorman – a doorman who most often works from the main entrance of the apartments which stare directly opposite North Hudson Park, and who very well could have witnessed the strange events that night in January.

Shortly after this realization, Hopkins walked over to the apartment blocks and did indeed find a doorman on duty. He introduced himself, stating he was investigating “an incident” in the park several months earlier in January, although he purposely omitted any mention of the UFO. The doorman’s name was Eddie Oberterbussing. And while he himself hadn’t seen anything unusual, he offered without prompting that one of the doormen had witnessed a strange UFO one night in January.

He continued that the man in question—Bill Pawlowski—had left for other jobs since but had reported a bizarre incident in the early hours of mid-January that involved one of the apartments’ huge glass entrance windows being shattered in seemingly bizarre circumstances. Although Oberterbussing didn’t know any more details about the incident, he provided Hopkins with contact details for Pawlowski.

An ”Incident” While On Night Duty

After several failed attempts, Hopkins contacted the one-time doorman of the Stonehenge Apartments. He immediately recalled the strange events that Hopkins referred to and that “it had been frightening”. He recalled that at some time between 2 am and 3 am on the night in question, he had noticed bright lights shining in his direction from up the hill in the park. He looked in that direction and saw an object with 10 to 15 lights, all spaced evenly apart, hovering above the ground.

At this point, still in the lobby of the apartment building, he walked over to the window to be certain of what he was seeing. Satisfied that he was, he reached for the telephone in order to call one of the tenants who lived in the building. As he began to speak, however, he heard a “high-pitched vibration and a sudden crack”. He turned around to see one of the large lobby windows cracked at the bottom, about the same level as his feet. By the time he returned his attention to where the lights had been coming from, the object had disappeared. He reached for the telephone again, this time calling the police.

They would send out a unit to investigate. When they examined the broken window, the situation became all the more perplexing. Whatever had struck the glass had not come through. Furthermore, upon examining the outside of the window they discovered what appeared as not “an indentation as if a marble of glass had been gouged out of the surface”. The police quickly concluded that whatever had caused the damage had likely come from above in the direction of the park. Incidentally, Pawlowski failed to inform the police of the strange lights, only of the broken window.

The police conducted a quick search around the perimeter of the building and went back on patrol. Several hours later, though, Pawlowski would inform another police officer – one who lived at the Stonehenge Apartments.

A Warning, Not A Miss?

According to Pawlowski, at around 6:30 am, while he was still on duty, police lieutenant Al Del Gaudio returned home from the night shift to his apartment at the Stonehenge Apartments. The doorman immediately told his friend of the night’s events, including of the strange lights he had witnessed coming from the park in the direction it appeared the mystery projectile had come from. Several days later, Hopkins managed to speak with Del Gaudio himself and asked him if he could recall what Pawlowski had told him.

The police officer recalled that upon arriving home, Pawlowski had approached him with “some wild story about this big thing with lights on it that came down in the park”. What’s more, the doorman had told him he was certain this mystery object was somehow connected to the broken window. Ultimately, although Pawlowski was his friend and all-in-all a stand-up person, Del Gaudio offered that “he must’ve been drinking or something” on the night in question.

Hopkins, though, thought otherwise. In fact, he was starting to see that Pawlowski’s version of events resonated nicely with Barski’s – and remember, neither man, at least to the best of public knowledge, was aware of the other.

As Hopkins wrote of all of this new information:

What had begun as an almost incredible story – which I believed – told to be by a man I had known then for seventeen years had just turned into something more complicated, more certain, and more disturbing. An unknown craft of some sort had landed one mile from Broadway and 60 feet from poor George O’Barski driving home from work. The uniformed – and uniform – crew had disembarked and taken earth samples. Why, and why from this spot?

Hopkins also considered if one of the occupants or some other form of intelligence inside the object had “seen” the activity in the apartment buildings at the bottom of the hill. After all, he contemplates, as soon as Pawlowski reached for the phone, “crack went the window”, essentially ending the phone call (Pawlowski hung up immediately). Hopkins even suggests that this “shot seemed more like a warning than a miss”.

It was decided that they would speak with as many of the Stonehenge Apartment residents and staff as possible. And as the investigation progressed, further witnesses would be found.

The Account Of Frank Gonzalez

By chance, when speaking with an employee of the Stonehenge Apartments, the investigative team learned of another doorman who worked opposite to Pawlowski (on his nights off) named Frank Gonzalez, who had told them of his own strange encounter. Unfortunately, Gonzalez had also since left the company and now worked in nearby Riverdale. Investigators, however, managed to track him down, and they met with him and his teenage daughter (who acted as a translator as Gonzalez was not fluent in English) at his apartment.

Perhaps spookily, Gonzalez’s encounter happened exactly “six days to the hour” before Barski’s encounter, at somewhere between 2 am and 3 am on January 6th, 1975. He offered that he was standing inside the apartment building in the main entrance when he noticed a strange light hovering a short distance above the ground of the one of the fields in North Hudson Park. Immediately intrigued, he opened the apartment building door, and stepped outside.

He told Hopkins that he “saw something round, (and) very bright” that had “some windows” and made a strange sound that was not like a helicopter or a plane but “something different”, like a “heavy sound” that even hurt his ears. He continued that he was very afraid and stepped back inside the building. He turned around just in time to see the object “go straight up” into the night sky.

The further descriptions of the object, the shape, size, and the windows around the bottom section all matched with Barski’s descriptions. Hopkins theorized that this earlier sighting appeared very much to be a “preliminary reconnaissance flight to check out the terrain in an almost old-fashioned military sense”. Of course, whether these mysterious visitors were from another world or whether they were some kind of top-secret military operation remains, even now, unknown. There would, though, be further witnesses to this remarkable event who would come forward.

Further Witnesses Come Forward

As detailed in Missing Time, in January of 1976 Hopkins wrote an article about the incident for The Village Voice, published in March of that year. Part of the reason Hopkins wrote the article was to see if any further witnesses would come forward. And with this in mind, he purposely left out minor, but important details so as to be able to judge the credibility of any potential witnesses. Such things as the precise date, the color of the object, and, perhaps of most importance, the unseasonably warm weather on the night in question.

Several weeks after The Village Voice article appeared, Gerry Stoehrer was giving a talk on UFOs in the North Bergen area. At the conclusion, he was approached by a young woman, Alice Wamsley, and her 12-year-old son, Robert. They wished to inform Stoehrer of their own sighting in the North Bergen area, specifically, one that occurred close to North Hudson Park and the Stonehenge Apartments.

They stated that, although they weren’t sure of the date and time, one Saturday in January the previous year (1975), while watching The Bob Newhart Show at their home, Robert happened to glance out of the window. To his utter shock, he could see a “round, domed craft” that was glowing brightly, hovering a short distance away. Robert quickly alerted the rest of the family: Alice, his father, Joseph, his brother, Joseph Jr., and his sister, Debbie. After quickly peering out of the window themselves, the family quickly ran outside to get a better view.

They could see the object was moving slowly and was approximately 40 to 50 feet from the ground. What’s more, they could clearly see multiple rectangular windows along the side. Even stranger, it appeared to be moving at an angle, something Alice later offered “as if it was looking in people’s windows”. As the object continued on its way, the family began to follow it to keep it in view. After two minutes or so, however, the object began to speed up somewhat, and by the time it was close to the Stonehenge Apartments, it was out of sight.

It was, however, a throwaway detail that, to Hopkins, would prove crucial in determining the credibility of the account. Alice recalled that in her haste to get outside, she hadn’t dressed and ventured onto the street in her robe and bare feet. When she realized this, once the object was out of their sight, she remembered noting how warm the evening was, certainly much warmer than a typical January night in New Jersey.

Possible Signs Of An Abduction Encounter?

Ultimately, the North Hudson Park UFO encounter is a case that can be broken into several sightings that occurred in the same vicinity over a period of just short of a week. After seemingly surveying the region somewhere between 2 am and 3 am on January 6th, it returned six days later, at the exact same time in the early hours of January 12th. This time, the crew disembarked the craft and collected several samples of the soil from the ground.

However, as Hopkins and other investigators, as well as Barski himself, just why would such seemingly advanced extraterrestrial entities have such an interest in this particular location when samples of earth could be collected from many other much quieter and out-of-the-way places as opposed to the middle of a residential area of New Jersey. After all, if the first sighting was a reconnaissance mission, we might conclude that they would have been very much aware of the many potential witnesses to their activity.

There is also another point to consider – that the case could have been much more than just a sighting. As Hopkins explained in Missing Time, although both he and Bloecher (at the time) had little experience with alien abduction cases, they both realized “there was a nagging time problem in George’s account”. Hopkins wrote:

If the UFO incident spanned only three to four minutes, and George arrived home at roughly 3 am, then he couldn’t have left his Manhattan store until 2:15 to 2:30 am.

Hopkins continued that the drive from his ship to North Hudson Park is was around 20 minutes, especially at that time of night with less traffic. Although George regularly closes the store at midnight before taking Cognac for a walk and doing paperwork, he “hardly ever” stays behind for two and a half hours. Perhaps strangest of all, though, was that George told Hopkins that he has a sense of “having been told something by the silent figures, something that he can’t grasp or remember”. Despite Hopkins suggesting that hypnotic regression could possibly unlock any potential hidden memories, George remained adamant that he didn’t want to undertake the procedure.

Hopkins concluded that “the North Hudson Park landing…could possibly involve an abduction”. And if that was the case, then it would serve notice that people are not just being taken from quiet country roads or farmhouses, but from the busy urban areas of cities. Ultimately, as Hopkins writes, the North Hudson Park incident “could easily be a more complicated scenario than any of us imagines, though, it will forever remain speculation”.

A Purposeful Scouting Mission?

While it is perhaps not one of the most dramatic UFO encounters on record, the North Hudson Park landing event is unquestionably important enough to keep on the collective mental backburner of the UFO community, not least as some of the details, specifically, the apparent soil and vegetation samples collected by the occupants of the seemingly otherworldly craft resonating nicely with multiple other reports from before and after the case in question.

Furthermore, this case—made up, remember, of several sightings over the course of six days—raises important questions about possible scouting and reconnaissance missions of these potential alien visitors, as well as whether such missions are designed, in part, to drip feed their presence to us by carrying out such missions in public spaces like North Hudson Park surrounded by residential buildings.

The case received a lot of publicity at the time, as well it might. The Travis Walton case was still very much fresh in America’s mind at the time, and the fact it happened just a stone’s throw from downtown Manhattan are just two reasons for this. In the face of this publicity, George O’ Barski didn’t once change his version of events. Indeed, as Budd Hopkins wrote in his report of the case in Missing Time, it was clear to all who met him that the witness had “unmistakable integrity”.

The short video below features the late Budd Hopkins speaking about UFO encounters a little further.


1 Sane Citizen Sees UFO In New Jersey, Budd Hopkins, The Village Voice, Mar 1, 1976,51160&hl=en

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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  • AB says:

    Very interesting as many other stories. Made me laugh when he got home and covered his head in bed with fear; but understandable especially the fact that many think we’re alone in this universe .
    Bud Hopkins made a good investigation around and gathered alit of evidence from other people around. Thanks to him that these stories are given more light.
    Thanks for sharing these too.

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