Started with liquor store owner


Hoboken Reporter

Hoboken, NJ

December 2, 2007

The UFO craze in North Bergen began in earnest on Jan. 12, 1975, when 72-year-old liquor store owner named George O'Baraki was dirivng home through North Hudson Braddock Park at approximately 2:45 a.m.

He began to experience some heavy static on his car radio, then listened as the radio went dead.

O'Barski apparently heard a loud noise from above. When he glanced over his shoulder, he saw a round flat object with glowing, rectangular windows that hovered behind his car, according to what he told authorities.

O'Barski told federal officials that the object came to a stop about 100 feet ahead of his car. It was hovering 10 feet off the ground and was about 30 feet wide, he said. It was flat at the bottom and brightly domed at the top.

O'Barski told the authorities that a ladder came from the object, and between sight and 11 identical creatures emerged. He said they were three to four feet all and all wore dark snow-suit like uniforms with helmets. Each had a small bag and a little shovel. They quickly scooped up soil samples, poured the samples into the little bags, and then immediately got back onto the craft.

So was this a Steven Spielberg film crew, or did it really happen?

O'Barski further told officials that the episode lasted like three minutes. At sunrise, he went back to North Hudson Braddock Park to make sure he wasn't dreaming the incident. There were several holes in the soil where he witnessed the aliens allegedly digging, he said.

And O'Barski was not alone with his sighting.

A doorman who was working at the Stonehenge apartment complex across from the park on the other side of Boulevard East also noticed the glowing object hovering 100 feet over Braddock Park. The doorman, whose actual identity was never revealed, also told both local police and federal officials that when the object started its ascent, it force windows to be shattered in the apartment complex and that a large tree adjacent to the complex was split in half.

"We might have thought he was a little crazy at firs, but he was certain that he saw what he did," said O'Barski's son,, George O'Barski Jr. on an A&e Network special about UFOs that aired for the first time in 2005. "It really bothered my father that people thought he was lying."

It as also later revealed that O'Barski and the unnamed Stonehenge doorman did not know each other, and it was impossible for the two to collaborate on their stories.

The doorman at the Stonehenge also noticed another key point to his sighting. The creature he spotted was not wearing a coat, and the temperatures were in the teens that early morning.


The O'Barski case intrigued two people who are now linked in the world of UFO investigation.

Ted Bloecher, who currently lives in Secaucus, is an experienced stage actor, having performed in "Guys and Dolls," "My Fair Lady" and "Oliver" on Broadway. But as a child,, Bloecher was always fascinated with the study of UFOs and eventually became totally engulfed with O'Barski's tale.

Boecher, now a regular UFO investigator, went to interview O'Barski about his story in the late 1970s.

"Since I'm an experienced stage actor, I know very well what is a staged act and what is real," Bloecher said last week. "The scene of them getting soil samples was fake. It was staged. Their real target was George O'Barski. They weren't interested in soil samples. They wanted him."

Another UFO researcher also intrigued by the O'Barski story was a writer named Budd Hopkins. In fact, both Bloecher and Hopkins were so intrigued by O'Barski's saga - a story that both experts eventually believed to be real after interviewing O'Barski - that they have since teamed forces in the pursuit of other "close encounters." The two currently conduct UFO sighting seminars through the country.

The reason Hopkins was so fascinated by the O'Barski sighting is that Hopkins had just visited a friend inside the Stonehenge apartments in North Bergen a week before the O'Barski sighting.

"It was more than a bizarre coincidence," Hopkins would later say.

Newspaper reports were minimal after the O'Barski incident. Both the local dailies, the Jersey Journal and the now-defunct Hudson Dispatch, barely wrote of the incident, giving it only a few paragraphs each.

According to O'Barski's son, his father went to his grave in 1970 thoroughly believing that what he saw that fateful evening did, in fact, take place.


This incident was classified as a "close encounter of the second kind" because of physical evidence found at the scene, and also as one " of the third kind," just like in the famed 1978 movie starring Richard Dreyfuss, because witnesses describe observing UFOs.

UFO researcher Jerome Clark cites the O'Barski-North Bergen incident as one of the best documented of its kind, because the core story was corroborated by numerous independent witnesses.


As it turned out, O'Barski wasn't alone.

In 1979, North Bergen resident Harold Stith was also driving through North Hudson Braddock Park in almost the same exact location that O'Barski traveled four years prior. Again, it was at night.

"My father was driving home for work, driving on Boulevard East, and he turned into the (Braddock) par," said Secaucus resident Robert Stith, he son of Harold, who is now deceased. "As soon as he turned off into the park, his car just stopped dead. Then the radio went dead. A bright light came on top of the car and then my rather heard some strange things on the radio, some language that he didn't understand. He then noticed it was some sort of spaceship. The doors of the ship opened and these little grey men with big eyes came out. The next thing my father knew as that the door shut and they flew off. He thought it was like 10 minutes, but as it turned out, it was like three hours. My mother said that my father came home three hours late."

Hopkins, who also investigated the Stith case, believes that Stith was abducted.

"He believed that he was abducted," Robert Stith said. "We all thought he was crazy. He didn't want the story to come out because other people would have thought he was nuts."

Two days after Stith had his close encounter, he told his family that he had a dream about the Miss America pageant.

"My father named the winner, what she wore, what she performed, where she was from," Robert Stith said. "No one took it seriously. We didn't have an affiliation with the pageant and we had no idea why he would pick the Miss America winner."

Sure enough, Harold Stith's prediction came true. Two weeks later it all happened just like Stith said it would. Cheryl Prewitt of Mississippi, the one Stith named after his dream, was crowned the Miss America of 1980.

"I don't think he ever had a theory as to why he could have done that," Robert Stith said.

The elder Stith never predicted the future ever again.

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at either or

This article is from the THE UFO NEWSCLIPPING SERVICE, Editor Rod Dike, Bainbridge Island, WA


* Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Aileen Garoutte for this report.