But whether you believe in UFOs or are just a fan of the show, many people in New Jersey have claimed sightings through the years, and one state township’s little-known UFO history, beginning with a mysterious 1970s sighting, serves as a reminder that the “truth (could be) out there.”
North Bergen: A little-known UFO history
It was after 2 a.m. on Jan. 12, 1975.
72-year-old George O’Barski was on his way home, after finishing up his work as a liquor store owner in New York City.
Suddenly, as he was driving through a short-cut in North Hudson Park, O’Barski later would say, his car radio suddenly filled with static.
A brightly lit 30-foot-long domed aircraft descended, he claimed.
O’Barski said about 11 3.5-feet-tall helmeted, “uniformed figures” had walked out of the craft and quickly taken soil samples, before the spacecraft flew away within four minutes.
The sighting was later covered covered in The Village Voice, in March 1976.
Evidence existed that O’Barski was telling the truth, Hopkins claimed: marks in the ground, and a mysteriously shattered glass window in the lobby of the iconic Stonehenge apartment building across the street, where the doorman told Hopkins he had seen unusual bright lights about 10 feet off the ground.
The end… or is it?
After that, some people in North Bergen were scared, and others were claiming sightings.
Bose Bozicevic, a retired North Bergen police officer, remembers the commotion.
When he was a high school student in North Bergen, Bozicevic and his 17- and 18-year-old friends thought the UFO stories were hilarious: “UFOs? Yeah, right,” he said.
To test people’s gullibility, his friends once even dressed Bozicevic in tinfoil, gave him a WWII gas mask from one of their grandfather’s closets — and then unleashed him in North Hudson park.
“They start screaming ‘oh there, he is!’ People were freaked out by seeing me. I thought it was pretty obvious this is somebody just (messing) around. The police, they see me in the distance. My buddies take off, but I got tinfoil all over me, as you can imagine,” Bozicevic recalled.
“I start jogging away. I hear one of the bystanders screaming ‘Shoot him! Shoot him! He ate my grandmother!’ As I’m running, I’m ripping the tin foil off. It looked like Forest Gump.”
The irony is that about 10 years later, Bozicevic became a police officer, and he was on duty on Park Avenue near the Guttenberg-North Bergen border when he would have his own seeming UFO sighting.
His story has gotten him more than enough grief from his smirking officer buddies, he says, but he shares it anyway.
At about 4 a.m. one Sunday morning in the 1980s, as he was in the midst of writing a parking citation, Bozicevic heard a whirring in a desolate street, he said, and then saw a “ship, a something,” with bright lights, float over his head, “inches” above the buildings.
“I remember reaching for the radio on the car to call something in. I was holding it and I was looking at this thing and I put it down. I said ‘nah,'” he said. “As I reached 79th Street, the thing made a right and went sideways and just went ‘zsst’ and disappeared right down past the Hudson River… I was like, ‘Wow, nobody can corroborate this.'”
A Stonehenge maintenance worker, who did not give his name because he wasn’t authorized to speak, told NJ Advance Media this past fall that he believed the Stonehenge never learned why that window smashed.
“No rhyme or reason, supposedly,” he said. “It was just a very strange set of circumstances that took place that day.”
North Bergen has an interesting story but it’s not special when it comes to UFO sightings: Based on the New Jersey database from the National UFO Reporting Center, there have been numerous UFO sightings reported all around the state for the past several decades, and counting. (Check to see if your town is a UFO hotspot here.)
However, in some ways, the North Bergen 1970s sighting was relatively unique among New Jersey sightings: the month of January, and a sighting time of around 2 a.m., are relatively rare, based on a National UFO Reporting Center data analysis, through Fall 2015.
Below, a map of all the UFO sighting locations in New Jersey, dated from 1930 through Fall 2015, as reported to the National UFO Center database: