Friday, May 31, 2013

Stockholm and CEI donation

Thursday morning I went by train to Stockholm to spend the day visiting bookshops and enjoying a holiday together with Mr. Karl-Erik Edris. He is the author of several books on philosophy and history, lecturer and also chairman of the board of Stiftelsen Tibetanens bokfond, publishing Swedish editions of the books by Alice Bailey. I was met by Karl-Erik at the Stockholm Central Station and we strolled to our first destination, the new age bookshop Vattumannen. From a ufological viewpoint this shop was a real disappointment. Very few and not very noteworthy titles on the shelves. UFOs are obviously not a very popular subject these days.

The weather was excellent, varm and sunny, presenting Stockholm at it´s best. Before lunch we visited Rönnells antikvariat, one of the largest antiquarian bookshops in Stockholm. But their shelves on Esoterica was a disappointment. Surprisingly few titles. We enjoyed a nice stroll in Humlegården, formerly the Royal Fruit Garden but now the home of the National Library of Sweden. Our next stop was the classic restaurant Konstnärsbaren (artist bar). We were served a magnificent lunch and I can really recommend this place to all visitors.

Two authors at Humlegården. Karl-Erik Edris and in the background a statue of Swedish author Hjalmar Söderberg

Karl-Erik in front of the National Library of Sweden

One of the main reasons for this journey was a visit to the Theosophical bookshop at Karlaplan 5. A well-stocked bookshop and this time I was not disappointed. I found several new titles for my Theosophical collection. Of special interest was a small volume by British Theosophist E. L. Gardner, The Wider View, a collection of articles published between 1944-1959. In several of these articles Gardner tries to understand the UFO enigma from a Theosophical viewpoint. His theory is that they represent either etheric Venusians or deva materializations. There is also a reference to Meade Layne and The Borderland Sciences Research Association (BSRA).

Finally I also found an English pocket edition of Heinrich Harrer´s classic Seven Years in Tibet. I have the Swedish translation but couldn´t resist this pocket in mint condition. On my journey home there was the usual technical problems with Swedish trains and with a one hour delay I had ample time to read the three last chapters of Harrer´s fascinating book. After a day in the large, bustling city with all the temples of commercialism and capitalism I imagine myself coming home to a peaceful library in a hidden monastery in Tibet. Far away from the brutal Chinese invaders. After all his experiences I can well understand Harrer´s last words in his book: "Wherever I live, I shall feel homesick for Tibet. I often think I can still hear the wild cries of geese and cranes and the beatings of their wings as they fly over Lhasa in the clear cold moonlight."

But the second best in coming home to Archives for the Unexplained (AFU) in Norrköping. Especially when we this Tuesday recieved the entire archive of the Spanish group Centro de Estudios Interplanetarios (CEI). This enormous donation consisted of 8 pallets with 93 boxes of books, magazines, UFO reports, artwork and much more. We haven´t had time to unpack much of this collection yet and are looking forward to find many new rare items. AFU is more and more becoming a World Heritage for material on UFO, Fortean and paranormal phenomena.

Part of the CEI collection

Finally my heartfelt congratulations to my friend and AFU collegue Anders Liljegren on his 63rd birthday. He has probably no time to celebrate today as he and his lady Barbro are moving to a new apartment.

Anders Liljegren

Monday, May 27, 2013

Welcome to Alcatraz

Three astronauts walking across a seemingly endless desert landscape. The heat is excruciating. They have just landed on an unknown planet and their spaceship is destroyed. With no opportunity of returning to Earth and facing a slow death if no water and food is found within 48 hours they start discussing what ultimately motivated their decision to join this expedition. The men represent three different psychological types. For one of them honour, fame and bravery is important. He is the power type. The second man is the ultimate scientist. He would enter a burning volcano to get new research data. The third man, captain of the expedition, is regarded as a cynic by his colleagues. What is your real motives they enquire. The captain stops walking, turn his head towards the sky explaining his motive: “I am a seeker too, but my dreams are not like yours. I can´t help thinking that somewhere in the universe there has to be something better than man.”

The scenario is familiar to all fans of science fiction who recognize the scene from the masterful sf-movie Planet of the Apes (1968), starring Charlton Heston. In my view one of the best science fiction movies ever made, based on a novel by French author Pierre Boulle. Charlton Heston´s philosophical response have echoed in my mind since the first time I watched this classic movie.

Moscow, summer 1933. Journalist and author Arthur Koestler is relaxing at Café Metropoles. He has been sent to the Soviet Union to write about Stalin´s first Five-Year-Plan. After a few Vodkas his mood changes and he becomes painfully aware of the acute misery of human existence on this planet. Instead of an article on the Five-Year-Plan he starts formulating a fantasy on the Metropole´s napkins. This fantasy, a drama, was published as Twilight Bar in 1945. Two interplanetary visitors, Alpha and Omega, suddenly arrive on Earth with a mission to find the worst and most unhappy planet in the Universe. They find it - Tellus. Alpha and Omega give the governments three days to change the situation. If not, humanity will be wiped out and another civilization take its place. The drama ends one hour before the three days have expired.

The theme is universal and existential, the problem of evil and suffering. One of the traumatic moments in life is when you suddenly become aware of that this world is not a nice place. You start wondering what strange fate put you on this Dark Star and why the concentration of so much evil on one planet? The orthodox theologies of the world religions certainly has no reasonable answer only referring to the inscrutable will of God.

In 1976 I got some interesting views on this problem corresponding with the erudite English Theosophist and ufologist Mr. T. Bryon Edmond. Although he accepted the esoteric tradition as a good working hypothesis he regarded himself as an agnostic and pessimist: "And where do I stand now? After 50 years study of philosophy I´m afraid I am no nearer a solution of the mysteries of the universe and life and death then when I started. And I am a pessimist. To me the world and physical existence is evil... Certainly Christianity, with its concept of an almighty and loving God cannot cope with the problem. Theosophy does better with the idea of the Imperfect Gods. This explains evil, but does not justify it. In my opinion, it would be better not to create at all, than to create a world in which innocent people have to suffer."

T. Bryon Edmond obviously has a point here. International media presents a daily mix of what´s going on in the world: wars, terror, torture, rape, slavery, international crime syndicates, poverty, famine, greed and egotism.  But although well informed on the esoteric tradition Mr. Edmond has obviously missed a central theme in esotericism, what I use to call the Alcatraz theory. The assertion that our planet is a sort of interplanetary Alcatraz, a quarantined prison world where the scum and criminals of other planets have been placed to work out their own destiny. This assertion has the advantage of being a rational and logical explanation for the miserable situation on this planet. An interesting point is that this claim was also presented by several of the first generation UFO contactees. Academic scholars would explain this fact as influence from ideas in the occult underground. Esotericists could speculate on a somewhat novel method by the planetary guardians of propagating the Ancient Wisdom.

The Tibetan, writing with the help of Alice Bailey, often refers in his books to "...the unhappy little planet of suffering which we call the Earth" (Discipleship in the New Age, p. 649) or "...this planet of suffering, sorrow, pain and struggle" (ibid. p. 385) and that this is part of a large experiment. We are also told that "conditions of agony and of distress such as are found on our planet are found in no such degree in any other scheme." (A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, p. 416).

Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency is even more specific in his tomes:
"In no other place in our solar system and, according to what has been intimated, in our seven-globe of solar systems, is there such a mankind as ours. People arrive here from other solar systems to watch a mankind whose match in stupidity and brutality they have never seen." (The Way of Man, p. 14).
"Regrettably, our very planet is the “slop-pail” of the solar system. Monads of repulsive tendency have been
transferred here from other planets and also solar systems, such hateful types as have caused trouble in planets with individuals of attractive tendency. (Knowledge of Life One, p. 61).

Of the early UFO contactees we find the Alcatraz theory clearly formulated by Orfeo Angelucci, George Adamski, George Hunt Williamson, Kelvin Rowe and George Van Tassel. In The Secret of the Saucers Angelucci writes: "I may tell you that to the entities of certain other worlds Earth is regarded as the accursed planet, the home of the reprobate, fallen ones. Others call your Earth the home of sorrows. For Earth´s evolution is evolution through pain, sorrow, sin, suffering and the illusion of physical death." (p. 43)

And George Adamski, the most controversial of the UFO contactees was told by one of his space people: "...centuries ago, in a meeting among the teachers of wisdom on many planets, it was decided to ship such selfish ones to new planets capable of maintaining human life... Earth in our system was chosen for the new home of these unruly ones from many planets inside and outside of our system. These exiles were what you on Earth call trouble-makers." (Inside the Space Ships, p. 180).

The Alcatraz theory is intriguing but not very comforting, because you are confronted with a rather disturbing follow-up question: What am I doing here?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Abducted - by whom?

While browsing through some older issues of Fate I found an interesting early abduction report. It was published as a Report from the readers in vol. 25, no. 11, November 1972. The witness, Mimi Gorzelle, relates an experience from August 1967. She was driving on an unfamiliar, dark, lonely road in the middle of the night and suddenly notice a light swinging from side to side beckoning her to stop. She stops, expecting to find an accident. Leaving the car she find three other cars parked ahead. A man leaves one of the cars and another man is coming towards her, wearing a white coverall, like hospital orderlies. He takes her by the arm, leading her into the prairie, where she can see a spaceship.

Mimi observeres three men dressed in business suits also being escorted into the spacecraft, led by several men i white coveralls. Mimi and the other men are led up a staircase and into the craft. The men in white coveralls look alike, all in their 30`s and baldheaded. Mimi is not afraid, only curious. One of the spacemen tell her: "You will have no memory of anything you saw or experienced here. You will awaken with no memory of this experience." Her next memory is being led down the steps and escorted to the car, like the other men. She notice them drive away one by one and she also drive on home. "I awakened in the morning very muich aware of what I have related but with no knowledge of how I drove to that site or what else transpired in the spacecraft."

This story was related in 1972, long before the abduction wave of the 1980s. With no corroborating evidence the most likely explanation is a vivid dream. But there are many early documented cases of abductions with similar details that makes it not too unreasonable to speculate on alternative scenarios. I have documented a Swedish case in many ways a copy of what Mimi Gorzelle relates. This incident was related to me in 1985 but the well known Swedish contactee Mr. Sten Lindgren. I have spent many years documenting his contacts and UFO observations which include physical contacts with Nordic type aliens but I have not been able to find any definitive evidence in support of his claims. Still there are a few riddles and ambiguities left regarding some of his experiences.

Sten Lindgren

In the autumn of 1964 Sten Lindgren together with his friend B.J. (known to me) went by car to a mine called Yxkullsgruvan in Västmanland, Sweden. The reason for this excursion was to find Lapis Lingua, sometimes called the psychic stone. The mine was closed and they didn´t find any Lapis Lingua but on their way home a cigarshaped mothership and several small bell-shaped craft appear over the car. One of the small craft makes a landing close to the road and Sten and his friend are led aboard and are then taken to the mothership. Here they meet a group of five or six people, among them two women and a man dessed in a suit. The spacepeople ask Sten if they are allowed to erase his memory of this visit. He believes he was somehow programmed on this occasion. Sten and B. J. are then led back to the car and continue the trip to Stockholm. According to Sten there were several hours missing in their journey. They came home very late. This is corroborated by B. J. but he has no memory of any UFO observation or contact. Sten was later put under hypnosis by an unknown physician and then became aware of what had happened during the missing hours.

A psychological explanation is the most tenable for the larger part of the abduction cases I am aware of. But there is also an interesting alternative theory called MILABS - military abductions. Nick Redfern has documented a fascinating case in his book On the Trail of the Saucer Spies (2006). Alison, a woman living on a ranch not far from Sedona, Arizona claims to have been abducted several times. The abductions always start with a humming sound, loss of electricity in the house and her dogs becoming very distressed. Bright lights envelope the room and in a semiconscious state she is aware of small creatures carrying her to a small craft outside the house where she is examined and then led back to the house.

On her fifth abduction something extraordinary happens. The humming sound stops abruptly and Alison slowly regain her normal senses. The small gray aliens fade away and instead she find a group of large and burly men in black fatigues in her room. According to Alison one of the men screamed "what happened" in a microphone. Another man utters the word "sorry" in her direction and the men leave in, not an alien spacecraft, but an unmarked black helicopter. Alison is convinced she has been used in some form of covert military experiments using advanced forms of psychotronic technology, drugs and hypnosis.

This theory was studied and documented by Dr. Helmut Lammer and Marion Lammer in their controversial book MILABS: Military Mind Control and Alien Abduction (1999). Based on several years of research Lammer concludes that some abduction cases could actually be secret experiments by various military intelligence agencies. A form of black ops, the perfect false flag operation using aliens as a cover.

In April 2011 I wrote to Dr. Lammer asking for more data on his research. He very kindly told me he had abandoned all research on abductions and mind control and had no further interest in the subject. I then asked if he would consider donating his research material and archive to AFU. I was quite surprised when told that his entire archive had been thrown away. Why would a scientist destroy the result of many years of research? Was the subject too sensitive?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Karlstad and Blavatsky

My lady Susanne and I have spent three days in the beautiful Swedish city Karlstad. We enjoyed strolling in the varm sunshine, visiting the local antiquarian book shop and various second hand stores. In these stores one can often find rare and unusual books. This time I found a beautifully illustrated, old Swedish tome on hauntings, ghosts, spritism, magic och mysteries: Bakom naturens förlåt (Behind Nature´s Veil). A book I´ve never seen before and not found in our AFU collection.

In sunny Karlstad. Behind me to the left Karlstad Public Library

Illustration from the Gyllander book

On this three day vacation we also visited Mr. Göran Söderqvist and his wife Sonja in their charming country house in Värmlands Nysäter, about five Swedish miles from Karlstad. Göran is board member of the Swedish Theosophical Society (Adyar) and has a very fine collection of Esoterica. He very kindly offered me to buy, at a very nice price, his sixteen volumes of H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings, compiled by Boris de Zirkoff. But Göran also generously donated several Theosophical classics to the AFU library. Many thanks for this excellent contribution.

Göran Söderqvist with a Swedish edition of Blavatsky´s The Secret Doctrine

Göran with H.P. Blavatsky Collected Writings

My Blavatsky collection is quite extensive, now including also the Collected Writings. In most Swedish encyclopedias, both old and new, Blavatsky is presented as a charlatan and impostor. But the general attitude seems to be slowly changing. Much of this change can be attributed the critical study of the Hodgson Report made by Dr. Vernon Harrison and published as H.P. Blavatsky and the SPR. An Examination of the Hodgson Report of 1885 (1997). A more open minded attitude is also evidenced by Gary Lachman´s recently published biography Madame Blavatsky. The Mother of Modern Spirituality (2012).

From the UFO research perspective Blavatsky, Theosophy and the Esoteric Tradition is a treasure trove of data and experiences waiting for a comparative study. More and more scholars have entered this field of research and I also hope collegues in the ufological community will discover this fascinating subject. One of the first generation ufologists to try this uncharted path was Theosophist Riley Crabb, director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF). As the new editor of Round Robin (The Journal of Borderland Research) in 1959 he wrote: "... my lectures have been concerned with the problem of relating Flying Saucer data, and phenomena, to the teachings of the Mystery Schools. I believe you´ll agree this is no easy task. If I have one goal in life it is an uncompromising search for Truth, whatever that might be, and wherever it may lead."

Monday, May 13, 2013

Contactee research - an alternate approach

"In the last couple of years my scepticism of the more exotic claims has not exactly been broken, but it´s certainly been shaken. Now I find myself listening to people with a straight face and suspending judgement. I no longer can retreat into the security of hard-and-fast rules".

These are the words of ufologist Ted Bloecher in a discussion (p 312) on UFO contactees in the still very readable Proceedings of the First International UFO Congress, published in 1980. He refers to the controversial claims of West Virginia contactee Woodrow Derenberger who despite his later fantastic story had independent witnesses to his first meeting with the "space man" Indrid Cold, as documented by NICAP. So obviously he really did meet someone claiming to be from outer space. This is an important point often neglected by scientifically oriented ufologists who dismiss contactee cases a priori, especially of the Nordic alien variety.

There are several classic cases were there are more or less independent confirmation that the contactee really did meet "aliens" - whoever they are. Ufologist Cynthia Hind reports in her UFO Afrinews, January 1999 that this scenario also came up in the Elisabeth Klarer case. The owner of a hotel in Natal, South Africa suddenly finds an unusual man standing in the reception area: "... tall, blond, very good-looking guy, rather strange, but with good features and high cheekbones." He asks for Elisabeth Klarer but is told no one with that name has been booked at the hotel. He then disappears in a strange way.

Elisabeth Klarer 1910-1994

About a week later Elisabeth Klarer did arrive and booked into the hotel. The owners mention the man and Elisabeth shows a photo of a bust of her space man Akon. He is immediately recognized as the strange visitor. Cynthia Hind, who was quite sceptical of Klarer and did a lot of investigations, still had this conclusion: "All these factors need examination and it is time we stopped casting aside cases like Elisabeth Klarer and Edwin which, although sounding like hoaxes, are not obviously so."

I think it is time to reconsider many of the old contactees of the 1950s and 60s and follow this alternate approach in research, looking for confirmation of the contact from independent witnesses. Some years ago I asked psychiatrist Dr. Berthold E. Schwarz about this problem regarding his investigations of Howard Menger. Schwarz told of the many witnesses who really did experience strange phenomena, including aliens at the Menger farm. In a letter to me May 29, 1986, Schwarz concludes: "Yes, the contact claims or case of Howard Menger is far from being an open and shut or black and white matter."

In my own investigations of contact cases here in Sweden I have also found this interesting independent witness confirmation, that the contactee really did meet some type of "strangers". This, of course, should not be regarded as evidence of contact with extraterrestrials but as indications that we are confronted with an unsolved and deeper mystery.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Åke Franzén, John Keel and Mothman

During our life journey we sometimes encounter exceptional individuals who become the bright and shining stars of our memories and inner world. People we feel privileged to have met. One such person was my old friend and UFO collegue Mr. Åke Franzén (1936-1995) of Stockholm, Sweden. He was one of the few ufologists outside the United States who did field investigations and had a unique knowledge of the famous Mothman, the winged creature that haunted West Virginia in 1966-67.

Åke Franzén, October 22, 1977

Åke Franzén´s interest in UFOs, Forteana and science fiction began in the 1950s and he became an avid reader of all books and magazines he could find in these genres. In 1968 he started corresponding with John Keel, whom he helped with several projects. He is even mentioned in the classic Operation Trojan Horse (p. 127): "A Swedish researcher, Mr. Åke Franzén, has recently been going through the Stockholm newspapers of the 1930`s, piecing together the many fragments of the forgotten Scandinavian flap of 1932-38. He has uncovered more than ninety detailed reports thus far and has tediously translated them into English for us."

I first met Åke Franzén in May, 1973, during the first years of my ufological career and our contact soon developed into a lifelong friendship. His enormous enthusiasm for everything ufological and fortean was a constant source of inspiration. He also had that rare quality of being able to look at our strange, outsider subjects with humour and distance. On May 19, 1973, I interviewed Åke together with my AFU collegue Anders Liljegren. We were then briefed on his field investigations in Point Pleasant, West Virginia  in 1969. Åke spent five weeks interviewing about 30 witnesses and visiting observation sites. This interview is on my webpage, but unfortunately only in Swedish.

From left: Anders Liljegren, Håkan Blomqvist, Åke Franzén. May 19, 1973

Anders Liljegren and Åke Franzén October 27, 1977

Åke didn´t just become an ordinary ufological field investigator in Point Pleasant. During his stay he fell deeply in love with one of the main witnesses, Linda Scarberrry. He later had plans to emigrate to the U.S. but couldn´t find a job. Åke became a good friend of local reporter Mrs Mary Hyre and also several of the local Mothman witnesses and Åke and Mary often went together by car during field investigations. One of the things Åke noticed in 1969 was that several of the witnesses suffered from post-traumatic stress. Linda Scarberry showed the scars she had on arms and legs. After the experience she had suffered from chock and was hospitalized. One morning she woke up at the hospital with arms and legs badly scratched. "I noticed their great nervousness in how much they smoked. My God, how they smoked...  One witness, Marcella Bennet, could not be still. Most of the people who had seen the "bird" had these kind of symptoms.    One witness started crying when she told meof her observation."

The Mothman Issue 1973 of AFU´s magazine Ufologen (The Ufologist)

Åke Franzén never had any personal observations while staying in Point Pleasant but many of the witnesses told him of both UFO and paranormal experiences. His personal theory was that Mothman was not an ordinary physical creature but something from a paraphysical world, a materialization phenomenon. There were no feathers or other objects left by the "bird". This was also the theory proposed by John Keel but he called them "transmogrifications of energy". Before going back to Sweden after his field invesigations Åke had a four hour conversation with John Keel in his New York apartment.

When John Keel visited Sweden in October 1976 Åke had ordered a special UFO cake. We spent several interesting hours discussing all aspects of UFO and Fortean phenomena, including John´s speciality, Men In Black (MIB). He told of his experiences with these mysterious figures. "I´d really like to get one", was his comment.

John Keel with girl friend at Åke´s apartment October 1976

During the later part of the 1970s Åke was often a guest at my place in Stockholm together with UFO contactee Mrs. Turid Johansson and her husband Sture. He later became a world famous trance medium and was visited by celebreties like Shirley Maclaine and Dennis Weaver. He also figures in the 1987 TV miniseries Out on a Limb starring Shirley Maclaine. Together Åke, Sture, Turid and I had many memorable and joyful evenings and we became close friends sharing borderland experiences and views.

A happy trio at my place March 24, 1978. Turid Johansson, Åke Franzén, Sture Johansson

When I moved to Norrköping and the AFU headquarters in 1984 Åke was a regular guest during summers. These varm summer days were a combination of discussions at the archive and visits at our local minigolf courses, one of his favourite hobbies. Åke Franzén died in 1995 and he was deeply missed by all at the AFU foundation. To keep his memory alive we have initiated the Åke Franzén Memorial Cup, a minigolf contest at AFU every summer. Åke´s large collection of books, magazines and correspondence is now preserved at AFU.

Åke Franzén, May 30, 1989

Sunday, May 5, 2013

New chairman of UFO-Sweden

The UFO-Sweden Annual meeting and exhibition was this year held on Saturday, May 4, in the city of Halmstad, on the West Coast of Sweden. It will be remembered as a historical meeting as our chairman for 22 years, Mr. Clas Svahn, had decided to retire to be able to spend more time with his family but he will continue as vice chairman and International Director. The annual meeting participants unanimously voted for Mr. Anders Berglund as new chairman of UFO-Sweden.

The old and new chairman of UFO-Sweden. Clas Svahn and Anders Berglund

As usual members of the board arrived already on Friday to build the exhibition and check the facilities and technical equipment at Sturegymnasiet, the school rented for the meeting. It proved to be an excellent  premises with plenty of space for exhibition and tables for books and magazines. After three hours of hard work everything was in place and we could all retire to the Hotel Amadeus for a beer and relaxation before dinner at Restaurant Norreport.

Tobias Lindgren with the new AFU roll-up

Building the exhibition. Carl-Anton Mattsson, Johan Gustavsson, Håkan Ekstrand

Saturday started with the Annual meeting at 10.00 AM. After ordinary procedures and elections Clas Svahn explained his reasons for retiring as chairman and Anders Berglund was elected and installed as the new chairman of UFO-Sweden. By a funny coincidence Anders is 33 years, the same age as Clas when he was elected chairman in 1991. Like every organization the UFO-Sweden board needs to recruit younger members to continue our work and traditions. Anders Berglund is a skilful field investigator and a worthy successor as chairman. After the regular meeting I and several collegues honoured Clas Svahn with short speeches and he received gifts and flowers for his excellent work during 22 years.

Photo taken during my speech to Clas

At 1.00 PM the exhibition was opened to the public. Three lectures were given during the afternoon. I gave a historic presentation of AFU and the challenges of UFO research. Clas Svahn gave an excellent lecture on the Ghost Rocket phenomenon in Sweden and Tobias Lindgren showed UFO pictures and spoke of the problem of misidentifications. All in all a successful and pleasant Annual meeting.

The exhibition area from above

UFO-Sweden´s new web master Ronny Thörnvall together with Tobias Lindgren

No, this is not from Midsomer Murders but Anneli Åstebro, wife of Clas Svahn, trying to get our alien doll into the car for the journey home

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Theosophy and the Swedish UFO movement

Few in the younger generation of UFO-Sweden members are aware of the ideological and historical roots of  the organization. It may come as a surprice for todays scientifically oriented ufologists that the Swedish UFO movement was in fact founded by active members of the Theosophical Society Adyar. That there was a strong overlap between various esoteric groups and the first generation ufologists is often mentioned by scholars of religion such as J Gordon Melton and Robert Ellwood. In most countries the UFO movement that appeared in the 1950ies consisted of two factions, one with a basically scientific agenda and the other more or less inspired by new age ideas and the early UFO contactees. But Sweden may be exceptional as a country where the formal UFO societies in the 1950ies were exclusively formed by Theosophists.

This unusual historical development is mainly due to one exceptional woman, Ms Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the new age publishing house Parthenon in July 1957. She was strongly influenced by theosophical and anthroposophical ideas and was a good friend of Theosophist and Danish liberal Catholic Bishop Otto Viking. The Parthenon board consisted of three women, all active in the Swedish Theosophical Society Adyar: Brita Rodosi, Rut Lindberg and Sonja Lilienthal. Edith Nicolaisen began corresponding with George Adamski in 1954 and the first book published in Swedish in October 1957, was Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski. A best-seller called "The book that was dynamite" by Flying Saucer Review editor Charles Bowen.

Edith Nicolaisen (1911-1986)

The first book published by Parthenon

Edith Nicolaisen´s second aim was to form as many UFO and new age groups in Sweden as possible. In October 1958 she and her Parthenon co-workers invited the German new age and contactee oriented ufologist Karl Veit to Sweden. With his help Edith was able to inspire the founding of Malmö UFO-Sällskap (Malmö UFO Society) on October 1, 1958. Later adopting the name Malmö Interplanetariska Sällskap (MIS) (Malmö Interplanetary Society), today the oldest still active UFO society in Sweden. Parthenon published several of the classic contactees of the 1950ies: George Adamski, Daniel Fry, Ray and Rex Stanford, Elisabeth Klarer. These books had a strong influence on Swedish ufology in the 1950ies and 60ies.

Karl Veit in Edith Nicolaisen´s apartment in Hälsingborg 1958

The second UFO society formed in 1958 was Stockholm based Ifologiska Sällskapet (The Ifological Society). IFO should here be interpreted as interplanetary flying objects. In 1951 Adyar Theosophist Mr. Jan-Erik Janhammar founded an independent society Måndagsgruppen (The Monday Group) inviting speakers not only from the Theosophical Society but from various new age and spiritual groups. In March 1958 Mrs Kerstin Bäfverstedt was invited for a lecture on flying saucers. Mrs Bäfverstedt had a deep interest in UFOs, paranormal phenomena, Theosophy and alternative healing methods. She was the Swedish regional director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF) in California and a good friend of Riley Crabb,  Trevor James Constable and Dr. Ruth Drown.

Jan-Erik Janhammar

Kerstin Bäfverstedt (1909-2000)

Her lecture was a huge success and she was invited once again the next week to lecture on flying saucers. This time a suggestion was made to form a "IFO society" in Stockholm and members of the audience were invited to a formal meeting on March 23, 1958 and now the Ifological Society was founded. The first generation members were mostly theosophists, anthroposophists and spiritualists. Sweden had to wait until 1966 when representatives of a more critical and scientifically based ufology appeared with the book by Mr. K. Gösta Rehn, De flygande tefaten. Dokument och teori (The Flying Saucers. Documents and Theory). Rehn was Swedish regional director of Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) and his first and subsequent books inspired the formation of the more scientifically oriented UFO societies in the 1970ies. UFO-Sweden was one of these organizations founded in 1970.

K. Gösta Rehn (1891-1989)

With the founding of UFO-Sweden Swedish ufology entered a new era with field investigations and a more critical view of the new age and contactee oriented ufology. Still many UFO-Sweden members were inspired by and active in theosophical groups. A frequent lecturer at meetings and annual conferences were Mr. Jan Fjellander, son of Liberal Catholic Bishop and well known theosophist Sigfrid Fjellander. Very active in UFO-Sweden during the 1970ies and 80ies were theosophically oriented UFO contactee Mr. Sten Lindgren.

Jan Fjellander

It was of course only natural that Theosophists should become interested in ufology. There are many connections and similarities between the phenomena and paranormal contacts described in classical Theosophy and the early UFO contact movement. Very few ufologists have entered this field of study but I hope our collegues around the world will discover this interesting area of research. And I also welcome active Theosophists with a scholarly disposition to join in this venture.