The Night the UFOs Didn’t Land in North Hudson Park

On pages 236-240 of Shockingly Close to the Truth, Jim Moseley tells about  he tells about a New Jersey UFO case  that led him to cross paths with Budd Hopkins. Here’s a different, contemporary account of the events from Genevea Hagen.

The Night the UFOs Didn’t Land in North Hudson Park

by Geneva Hagen

from Crossroads Quarterly, Summer 1976 (Vol. 1, No. 1)

Economopoulos/The Star-Ledger

At least twice during the past two years, UFOs did land in North Hudson Park—a site in North Bergen, N.J., just across the river from Manhattan. The first sighting took place around 3:00 a.m. during the middle of January 1975, by a 72-year-old man named George O’Barski. The second sighting took place at the same spot almost exactly a year later, on January 15, 1976, also at 3:00 a.m. The clock time is of passing interest, since statistics show that, especially considering the small number of people outdoors at that time, a large percentage of UFO sightings do take place at 3:00 a.m.

Details about the second sighting are being kept quiet, but the first has become fairly well publicized. George O’Barski was driving home from work one night, and his usual shortcut took him through North Hudson Park. He noticed a lot of static coming over his car radio, and the station began to fade out. He slowed the car while he tried to adjust the radio, and then he heard a droning sound, similar to a refrigerator’s hum. He saw a large bright object fly past, behind a row of trees, going in the same direction he was. The object stopped and hovered about 10 feet off the ground. O’Barski’s friend Budd Hopkins later wrote up the story for THE VILLAGE VOICE and gave this description:

“The UFO was about 30 feet in diameter, flat on the bottom, with vertical sides and a domed top. Its maximum height was about eight feet. It was surrounded with regularly spaced vertical windows, about a foot and a half wide and an equal distance apart. The object itself was dark, but intense light shone from the windows, illuminating the ground nearby.”

George O’Barski saw a vertical door open on one side of the UFO, and about 10 figures came down some kind of ladder or stairs. They were tiny, about 3½ feet tall, wearing some kind of helmet and light-colored coveralls. Each carried a bag and a little spoon or shovel. They quickly dug in the soil, filling their bags with dirt. The whole thing happened very fast, as though they had planned exactly what to do and wasted no time about it. In less than four minutes they were back inside their craft, which then flew off to the north. O’Barski had continued driving slowly in his car while he watched all this, and was 60 feet away at the closest point.

Well, needless to say, George was a little shaken up over the whole thing. He did what you or I probably would have done under the same circumstances. He went home, took two aspirins, and pulled the bedcovers over his head.

The next morning he returned to the park. There, in the spot where he had seen the UFO land, he found about 15 little holes in the ground, several inches deep. Even then he could hardly believe his own experience. He put his hand into one of the holes, just to make sure it was really there. Then he went home and took two more aspirins.

In spite of all this, George O’Barski didn’t assume he had seen little green men from Mars. He thought maybe the government was experimenting with a new type of aircraft.

Almost a year later, O’Barski and three other men—Budd Hopkins, who later wrote about the sighting for the VOICE, and Ted Bloecher and Jerry Stoehrer of the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON)—went to North Hudson Park and attempted to re-enact the encounter.

The UFO had landed in a large, flat field used as a ballpark. It is about 1,000 feet away from the huge, round Stonehenge apartment building. When the researchers checked the site, it was covered with thick grass—except for 15 or so small bare circles. These areas were not holes, but they showed no sign even of grass roots. It was later discovered that the holes had been filled in during the summer by the park custodian.

On questioning the doorman at the Stonehenge apartments, Hopkins discovered that sometime in January, in the early morning hours, a plate-glass window in the lobby had been mysteriously shattered. Bill Pawlowski, the doorman who had been on duty that night, was no longer employed there. On tracing him down, Hopkins learned that something very odd had happened on the night the window broke.

Pawlowski had looked toward the park and seen some very bright lights shining toward him. There was a regularly spaced horizontal row of about 10 to 15 of them, apparently about 10 feet off the ground. He could see a dark form around the row of lights, and knew that this was something out of the ordinary.

He was in the process of telephoning a tenant in the building, when he heard a high-pitched noise and a sudden crack, as the window glass shattered near his feet. When he looked up again, the lights were gone.

He called the police, who discovered an indentation on the outside part of the glass, from which radiated cracks. No projectile was ever found in the nearby area, and apparently whatever had struck the glass had not passed all the way through. Pawlowski didn’t mention the UFO to the policemen at that time, but a few hours later he did describe it to another policeman with whom he was friendly.

The response? “He must’ve been drinking or something.”

Pawlowski’s story backed up O’Barski’s in every detail, although there had been no communication between the two men. The March 1, 1976, issue of THE VILLAGE VOICE carried the story by Budd Hopkins: “Sane Citizen Sees UFO.” It caused quite a stir, because it is very unusual to have such a major UFO sighting so near a metropolitan area.

Although Hopkins published no details of the UFO sighted on January 15, 1976, some investigations by James W. Moseley, a researcher from Fort Lee, N.J., disclosed that it had also been witnessed by employees of the Stonehenge apartment building. In fact, Moseley found that almost all the staff of Stonehenge had had unusual sightings recently, as had a few of the tenants. Some were unwilling to talk about it, because of fear of ridicule. But some new information did come to light. I quote now from Jim’s own small-circulation UFO newsletter, which changes its name from issue to issue:

“On at least three different nights in February, a mysterious figure was seen very late at night, wandering in the part of North Hudson Park which is nearest to Stonehenge. We interviewed three witnesses among the night staff, one of whom described the figure as about five feet tall, wearing a helmet with a light coming out of it, like a miner’s helmet. The figure avoided the streetlights, walked in a robot-like manner, and was constantly bending down in an awkward way, apparently to pick up something from the ground. His face was invisible because of the darkness, and he seemed to look up at the sky a lot. The police were not called, apparently because of the New York adage to mind your own business unless being attacked; and since the being was not on Stonehenge property, the night staff just stayed in their foyer and watched.

“Whether or not the above has any connection with UFOs, we do not know. But the local papers in recent weeks have been full of saucer sightings from the same area.”

From this point on, the Earthlings got in on the act. It happened that in early March, one Warren Freiberg, a well-known Chicago radio personality who also claims to be a psychic, and his wife Libby, a trance medium, spent some time in the New York City area on their honeymoon. They had come to “deghost” some haunted houses.

The Freibergs held the theory that UFOs are not actual material objects, but are instead telepathic images. That isn’t as far-out as it might sound. Many prominent researchers are now leaning toward the idea that UFOs are manifestations of some force that we can’t perceive directly in its true form—so instead, we represent it to ourselves in symbolic form, with some people seeing spaceships, some seeing angels and some seeing pink elephants, according to their psychological inclination. Such manifestations often appear repeatedly near the same locations, which are theorized to be places where the universal energy fields intersect in such a way that other dimensions, or “alternate realities,” can interact with our own. These locations are sometimes called “window areas”; the Bermuda Triangle is perhaps the best-known example.

Two New York publicists, Timothy Green Beckley and Harold Salkin, were hired to coordinate a UFO séance while the Freibergs were in town. The séance was scheduled for midnight on Saturday, March 6, at which time a small group would convene in North Hudson Park and attempt to make contact with the space people. Since he lives very near the park, Jim Moseley agreed to host a press conference that night at his own apartment.

Unfortunately, the press releases given out several days earlier had been a little too specific. They not only mentioned that a séance was in the offing, but gave the exact time and place. One local paper set the scene by running an article headed: “Saucer Hunters to be Ejected.” Seems there is an 11:00 p.m. curfew in North Hudson Park. Moseley hastily phoned the local police headquarters and was assured there would be no legal problems.

Things started off as scheduled with the press conference in Jim’s apartment. I arrived late, along with denton/Thor, to find the Freibergs talking with a group of reporters. Warren Freiberg was describing some of his discoveries as a psychic.

Yes, he said, there does appear to be life after death, but not necessarily in the conventional religious sense of “heaven or hell.” He had encountered a surprising number of miserable, “earthbound” spirits during his ghost-hunting. He started out as a skeptic, but became a believer in psychic phenomena after a medium was a guest on his radio talk show and enabled him to communicate with his dead grandfather.

Although Warren had developed psychic abilities of his own, Libby Freiberg was also said to be an excellent trance medium, and it was through her that they hoped to establish telepathic contact with the UFO entities. Jim confided to me privately that he had been forewarned that we could expect some sort of environmental message!

Toward midnight, our group headed for North Hudson Park. We had expected to find it almost deserted at that late hour. To our amazement, it was mobbed with people. There was even a problem finding places to park the cars. A milling crowd filled the ball park; many looked like teenagers.

“I don’t believe it,” muttered one reporter. “I even see somebody selling hotdogs.”

At first I wondered if we’d been unlucky enough to schedule the séance at the same time as some sports event. It was hard to imagine that many people had spontaneously turned out on such a cold and windy Saturday midnight to witness a UFO séance that hadn’t even invited public attendance. I remembered how, a year and a half earlier, I had been co-sponsor of a real UFO researchers’ convention that drew far fewer participants in spite of all the publicity we could give it. I estimated well over 500 people were in the park that night. And true to their word, the police were not represented.

“Some people will do anything for publicity,” Jim muttered under his breath. “I thought we were going to have about ten people. And now it’s going to look like I was behind all this. Now I’ll never be respected by serious researchers!”

“Where are the saucers?” the crowd hollered as we made our way toward the “landing field.” I could hardly believe the Freibergs still intended to go through with the séance. Were they masochists, publicity freaks, or just plain stupid?

Warren Freiberg explained the plans as best he could, addressing the crowd in his resonant, authoritative radio announcer’s voice. We members of the “inner circle” held hands and formed a circle in an effort to hold back the masses. The masses didn’t seem too amenable to being held back, however.

The Freibergs spread a blanket on the ground, kneeled on it facing each other, and joined hands. The crowd had been asked to chant “Alpha! Omega!” to aid in their meditation. Some of us dutifully followed the instructions. There were also chants of “Frisbee! Frisbee!” as well as other, more obscene mantras.

As Warren’s voice dropped lower and lower, the crowd pushed in closer and closer. Some of them seemed quite rowdy, and I began to fear for the Freibergs’ safety. I fervently hoped that a UFO would drop out of the sky and scare the shit out of that mob. But no such luck.

At last the pressure from the crowd forced several people to release their handclasps. The circle was broken, and immediately the mob was right down upon the Freibergs. I shudder to think what might have been their fate, had there at that moment not appeared a small figure in a tinfoil suit, carrying a flare. “There’s one!” someone shouted, and off the crowd sprinted in hot pursuit.

The “spaceman” managed to escape, and so did the Freibergs, who quickly ran off in the opposite direction. They took refuge in the car they had come in; the crowd followed close behind, rocking the car and pounding on the windshields, determined to get their full entertainment value. One woman stationed herself defiantly in front of the car, but she jumped aside at the last moment when she Saw that the frightened driver meant business.

All in all, it was as sad a spectacle of human behavior as I ever hope to see.

About an hour later, our party reconvened in the lobby of the Stonehenge building, and from there we proceeded up onto the roof, where it was utterly cold and windy and awful, even worse than the park. Not wanting to let the reporters go back without a message, the Freibergs resumed their séance at that new location. By this time I was thoroughly fed up with the whole scene and did not stay to watch it, but later that night I did listen to a tape recording made then. I’m sorry to say, it was not at all a convincing performance; I’ve heard better on the Late Show.

Libby Freiberg started talking in a deep, groaning, mechanical voice, identifying herself as an entity called Calderin, whose people are called the Grapalins. To the question, “Where are you?” the reply was predictable: “We are here, and yet we are not here…” (In other words, from that other dimension we postulated earlier.)  As we had also suspected, the Grapalins had been taking soil samples in the park and they were concerned about our environment, which they somehow share. And they would soon provide unmistakable evidence of their existence, by appearing over Times Square on July 4th. Dig it, a Bicentennial UFO!

Libby ended her trance on an appropriate note—an earsplitting shriek.

Now, who am I to say the Freibergs are not genuine psychics? Let’s just say that I didn’t see any evidence of it that night. Of course, no real psychic could have tuned in under those conditions—but when you are a public performer, the show must go on, even if you have to fake it.

It will be after July 4th by the time this sees print. Don’t feel too bad if you weren’t around to watch the display over Times Square. I think a better bet might be North Hudson Park, around 3:00 a.m. next January 15th. See you then?