Monday, December 19, 2016

AFU quo vadis?

On Friday, December 16. 2016 the AFU board held its annual meeting at one of the foundation premises in Norrköping. Detailed annual reports of 2014-2015 were submitted by Anders Liljegren and can be studied at the AFU website. They are an excellent summary of the intense work and far-reaching activities during the last two years. But the prospects for 2017 represent a real challenge for the foundation. The Swedish government has put a complete stop for the so-called "phase three" subsidies from the Employment Office. This means that our economy will be drastically reduced, starting July 1, 2017. We will lose all phase three personnel and perhaps also the three salaried employees? So now we ask ourselves - AFU quo vadis?

The AFU board. Anders Liljegren, Carl-Anton Mattsson, Clas Svahn, Håkan Blomqvist, Tobias Lindgren

We are at present working hard on all fronts trying to secure our economy for the future. Our sponsors and friends of the archive have been alerted to the difficult time we are now facing and I wish to express my deep gratitude to those who have become new sponsors. With enough new sponsors we will be able to pay the rent and electricity for our many premises and keep the basic archival activities going. If you find our work of importance go to the Your sponsorship site, where all information of how to support AFU can be found. At this time we really need all the help we can get - from all over the world.

A minor change in the AFU board was decided. Clas Svahn was elected chairman and I vice chairman. We thought this was a good idea because Clas travel all around the world, representing AFU, trying to secure donations of UFO and Fortean archives to AFU. This activity has rendered him a new title, The Viking Raider. After the annual meeting all the AFU staff enjoyed the traditional Christmas dinner at the Elite Grand Hotel Norrköping.

AFU Christmas dinner

Even though 2017 will be a real challenge for the AFU board we are in good spirits, doing our very best and hoping that The Force will be with us in the future. 

To my friends on this planet 
and on other planets and spheres in the multiverse
I wish you all
A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year

Thursday, December 8, 2016

AFU Downloads

Without libraries and archives we have no history, only anecdotes, myths and hazy memories. Without archives and libraries serious and scientific research becomes very difficult and in some areas almost impossible. When Kjell Jonsson, Anders Liljegren and I founded AFU in March 1973 our primary objective was UFO research. But we soon found out that this venture required large amounts of data, compiled and gathered by earlier investigators - ergo a library as a first priority.

Kjell Jonsson at work with our first two book shelves at his home, August 1977

About 40 years later

In our first AFU Newsletter, March-April 1975 I wrote: "We consider a well-functioning, orderly and extensive library to be one of the most crucial pre-requisites for UFO research. The problem of locating and acquiring specific, often privately published literature, in a short time and without to much expenditure, we found to be a great obstacle in our own investigations. By easy access to a specialized UFO library these problems are greatly diminished. "

Today AFU is the worlds largest UFO and Fortean library and archive. Now we are faced with the challenge in the digital age of making as much of this information easily accessible by researchers around the globe, ufologists, academic scholars, journalists and all who are interested in our subjects, whether "believers" or "skeptics". There are many similar projects going on around the world with subjects close to or connected with ufology. One example is The International Association for the Preservation of Spiritualist and Occult Periodicals (IAPSOP). Another example is FOTA, The Friends of Theosophical Archives, with the object to promote knowledge of, and support for, the Theosophical archives across the world.

At the AFU website you can download our very extensive book catalogue, 26.000 titles and our catalogue of serial publications, including more than 73.000 issues. We are now working hard getting permission to make aviable as many UFO magazines for digitizing and download as possible. Here Isaac Koi from London has made a tremendous effort of which we are most grateful. Isaac also has an excellent website. Magazines for download you can find by clicking Collections at the AFU website.

Swedish ufologists will find digitized versions of several magazines. All the 52 issues of AFU Newsletter and also UFO-Sweden´s first magazine UFO-Information 1969-1980.

There are at present 121 different UFO magazines to download from many countries and in different languages. Here you find classics like APRO Bulletin 1952-1987, Saucers, Space & Science, all 64 issues and Max Miller´s Saucers published between 1953-1960. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

AFU people: Anders Liljegren

If anyone deserves the title Mr. AFU it is my old friend and UFO research collegue Anders Liljegren. The truth is that the archive would never have achieved its present dimensions and renown if it hadn´t been for the persistent determination and idealism of Anders. He is the rock of AFU, working today full time as administrative manager at the archive instead of spending lazy days as a pensioner. While my AFU commitment has had its ups and downs Anders has always steadfastly, through all the years, kept the torch burning since our foundation in 1973. That´s impressive.

Anders Liljegren

Already in 1969 Anders began taking an active interest in ufology, placing an ad in the local paper, looking for UFO interested people. A small informal group was formed, When the national organization UFO-Sweden was founded in 1970 the group was renamed Norrköpings UFO-förening (Norrköping UFO Society) and they had a small habitat not far from the present AFU premises.

Anders at the premises of his local group, October 1971

I met Anders for the first time in January 1971 when entering senior high school studies at Norrköping. We had both of us founded local UFO-Sweden groups and soon became good friends. Already from the beginning Anders was the down-to-earth practical realist in UFO matters and when I now and then went too far out on a limb in the UFO and paranormal world, Anders pulled me back with his critical common sense.

Anders at home, February 7, 1971. He never liked being photographed.

In the autumn of 1972 we both became discontented with the ideology and public image of UFO-Sweden, which was at this time very much information, or ET missionary, oriented. Inspired by Jacques Vallee and John Keel , we wanted primarily to do serious research. So in March 1973 Anders Liljegren, Kjell Jonsson and I started an informal working group, Arbetsgruppen för ufologi (AFU), The Studygroup for Ufology. This eventually developed into a library and archive institution which was very much Kjell Jonson´s  inspired and brilliant idea.

Among the first research projects initiated by Anders was an in depth study of the 1946 Scandinavian Ghost Rockets wave and the very intriguing reports of Ghost Fliers in the 1930s. In 1977 Anders received permission by the Swedish Minister of Defence, Eric Krönmark, to study the so far classified files on the Ghost Fliers at the Military Archives in Stockholm. In 1975 I had started publishing AFU Newsletter, a venture that Anders continued from 1976 until 2008, all in all 52 issues. All issues can be downloaded at the AFU website.

The AFU acronym was changed to Archives for UFO Research in 1979 and we became a formal foundation in 1980 when we also moved to our new premises in Norrköping. From now on Anders Liljegren and Sven-Olov Svensson continued the daily maintenance at the archive. In 1983 Anders designed the first version of our own classification system, Ufocode (later PhenCode), built on mnemonic codes and still in use although very much updated and expanded. Anders´magnificent idealism was exemplified in 1985 when he, from his own economic resources, bought the first AFU computer an IBM-compatible XT at the cost of 50.000 SEK. With the help of this computer he created the first database on Swedish UFO reports, ScanCat.

Anders at our first premises in Norrköping 1983

In 1984 Clas Svahn from UFO-Sweden joined the AFU board. UFO-Sweden had in the 1980s become more research oriented and in 1986 AFU became officially affiliated with our national organization. A pioneering research effort was made by Clas and Anders in 1989 with the publishing of Domstensfallet: en svensk närkontakt 1958 (The Domsten Case. A Swedish close encounter 1958). With meticulous documentation they could prove that this classic Swedish abduction was a fake. This represented a new ideology in Swedish ufology, what later came to be called the third way ufology: neither naive belief nor debunking skepticism but an open mind to various theories and claims based on critical investigation and empirical data.

Beginning in the 1990s AFU received an increasing amount of donations of UFO and Fortean books, periodicals, correspondence and organizational files from all over the world. And it was Anders who worked diligently cataloguing all the incoming collections. A very usual sight at AFU is Anders at his desk comtemplating some tricky cataloguing issue. The catalogue on serial publications today includes more than 73.000 individual issues from 57 different countries. The book catalogue comprises around 26.000 titles.

Anders cataloguing January 2, 2011

Anders cataloguing at the Evans Library March 7, 2011

Today Anders is the principal manager and executive at AFU, taking care of economy and personnel. With 12 premises and a staff of around 15 people his working day can be quite intensive. The continuing inflow of books and other material to AFU sometimes makes Anders feel like he is buried in books. Especially when Clas Svahn (The Viking Raider) has found another collection donated to AFU.

Oh no, not another collection! Anders July 1, 2009

When relaxing from his AFU undertaking Anders engage in his special interest in maritime and aviation history. Anders Liljegren and I have been research colleagues and good friends since 1971, sharing many memories of both hard work and happy times with UFO collegues. Keep up the good work Anders!

Anders Liljegren and I at the UFO-Sweden field investigator seminar 2007

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Gustaf Fröding and the Esoteric Tradition

On October 8, 2016 my wife Margaretha and I attended a very interesting and inspiring lecture, Konsten, poesin och sanningen (Art, Poetry and Truth) at Kristinehamn Public Library. An excellent exposition of how ideas from the Esoteric Tradition inspired the famous Swedish poet and writer Gustaf Fröding. The lecturer, engineer (M.Sc.) and writer, Rolf Solheim has spent several years investigating och documenting the worldview of Gustaf Fröding. A pioneering research effort that will add a whole new dimension to our national poet.

Rolf Solheim

In several blog entries I have mentioned that Värmland is the Swedish province par excellence of poets, authors, artists, mystics and esotericists. A province also rich in folklore on nature spirits, paranormal sites and phenomena, including many UFO encounters. Therefore it comes as no surprise to find that Rolf Solheim and his wife Anne have their home at Arvika, Värmland. From the same magical province comes Gustaf Fröding, world famous author Selma Lagerlöf and artist Gustaf Fjaestad, all of them inspired by the Esoteric Tradition.

Gustaf Fröding

A summary of Solheim´s research on Fröding was recently published in the yearbook 2016 of Gustaf Fröding-sällskapet (Gustaf Fröding Society): Kanhända jag tror att jag vet (Maybe I believe that I know). Solheim writes that he was surprised to find that hardly any academic scholar has made a study of or understood how Fröding´s esoteric worldview was reflected in his writings. Gustaf Fröding had in 1898 privately published a small booklet, Om lifsmonader. Ett lifsförklaringsförsök (On lifemonads. An attempt to explain life). In his 1916 biography on Fröding, Swedish literary scholar and professor of Pedagogy and Psychology John Landquist regarded this booklet as "a curiosity, caused by Fröding´s mental illness", implying "reduced capacity for reasoning power", and "a low point in Fröding´s production". This assessment is ample evidence that John Landquist, like most contemporary academic scholars are esoteric illiterates, with very little knowledge of esotericism as the third pillar in cultural history, along with science and religion.

Fröding´s booklet Om lifsmonader is a remarkable document on esoteric philosophy, especially when we know that it was written by a man who spent a large part of his life in various hospitals because of mental illness and alcoholism. The life of Fröding was an endless journey of sickness, pain and loneliness and still he could write the most beautiful and inspiring poetry, a timeless gift to new generations of readers.

Accomplished esotericists reading Om lifsmonader will immediately recognize reflections of the Ageless Wisdom. With the hypothesis on världsharmoni (World Harmony) presented in his booklet Fröding aimed at creating "a bridge between the materialistic worldview and the trancendental". He envision a cosmic evolution in a multiverse of seen and unseen worlds where the smallest units are named monads, in constant movement and development of consciousness, leading to higher forms of life, above man. At the end of the booklet Fröding acknowledge Theosophy as one of his sources of inspiration.

Om lifsmonader was published in 1898 but Rolf Solheim relates how Fröding already in an article from 1892 had formulated his worldview: "The religion of love and freedom is the oldest of all religions and has inspired the noblest and best of men as long as there are historical records... its main features are always the same, the service to give unto others of the best you wish for yourself and the knowledge that this is the only way to happiness together with the drive to search for the highest truth and beauty... and the courage to proclaim and work for the ideas you have found..."

The literature on Fröding is immense and many studies have been made of his life, poetry and mental illness by various authors, among them several psychiatrists. With the renaissance of academic interest in "Western Esotericism" we will hopefully see more studies on how the Esoteric Tradition influenced Fröding. As to mainstream psychiatry Rolf Solheim has little hope: "Unfortunately Swedish psychiatry still lack open mindedness when it comes to transpersonal or metaphysical man or a psychology and therapy that can accept that Plato´s world of ideas is in fact a reality."

Rolf Solheim

Academic scholars have for several years been studying the esoteric influences in the writings of Selma Lagerlöf. Next in line for this type of research is Gustaf Fröding and Gustaf Fjaestad. Here the pioneering research of Rolf Solheim will be of great help and value.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Field investigator seminar 2016

During the weekend October 22-23 UFO-Sweden arranged the annual weekend seminar with the object of educating and training both new and old field investigators. As this event is also an important social gathering most participants arrived already on Friday 21 for a relaxed get together, welcomed by the gracious staff at Föllingen Hotel.

The nice and friendly staff at Föllingen Hotel

The program was as usual a mixture of theory and exercises: UFO-Sweden ideology and policy, basic training in field investigation techniques, witness psychology, misidentifications and the popular group exercise in trying to solve a complicated UFO case.

Some of the 44 participants listening to Clas Svahn

Carl-Anton Mattsson at the impressive book table.

Special guest this year was journalist Jack Werner who lectured on the problem of checking information on the Internet and the unreliability of social media. This is a complicated issue for all new ufologists and a completely new situation compared to ufology in the 1970s, when I started field investigation.

Jack Werner

Jack also helped us with the tricky problem of getting a good photograph of all seminar participants, in spite of the rainy weather. The ladder he climbed could be somewhat slippery but with the help of Clas Svahn all went well and they succeeded in getting all the group together in one picture.

Clas and Jack arranging for photographs

All the seminar participants

After an excellent dinner and lottery it was time for demonstration of how drones and Chinese lanterns appeared in the dark night. In spite of the rain we succeeded in getting one lanters to a lift off. 

UFO-Sweden chairman Anders Berglund was quite successsful at the lottery

Watching the drone

Johan Gustavsson trying hard to get the lanter lifting

Lift off

On Sunday four unsolved UFO cases were presented by me, Johan Gustavsson, Anders Berglund and Clas Svahn. Very much appreciated was the lecture by Göran Lengqvist on how he after months of detective work could prove that the UFO film, called Orsa-filmen, was a clever fake. 

Göran Lengqvist

Thursday, October 13, 2016

AFU people: Sven-Olov Svensson

When you visit the AFU head office the first person you are likely to meet is our devoted and long-standing archivist Sven-Olov Svensson at his desk. He is one of the pillars of AFU who with idealism and perserverance has faithfully taken care of the day to day practical duties at the archive since we moved to our first premise in Norrköping in 1980. Sven-Olov may not be so well-known in the ufological community but without his hard work behind the scenes AFU would not have been what it is today - the worlds largest UFO and Fortean archive and library.

Sven-Olov Svensson at his desk, April 20. 2012

Sven-Olov Svensson, born in 1949, developed an interest in UFO phenomena at an early age. I first met him as a member of the local UFO-Sweden unit, Norrköpings UFO-förening - NUFOF - (Norrköping UFO Society), in 1971. NUFOF had been founded by Anders Liljegren in 1970, the same year that I founded the local group UFO-Södertälje.

Sven-Olov second from left. In the middle Anders Liljegren. April 1972

When the AFU headquarters was moved from Södertälje to Norrköping in November 1980 Sven-Olov began his career as a volunteer archivist after his ordinary part time work at a local company. At that time it consisted mainly in distributing loans by mail from our UFO lending library to ufologists all around Sweden. In 1987 Sven-Olov made the historical decision to terminate his ordinary work at the local firm and engage in full time volunteer service at the then rather small AFU office. Truly a gift from heaven for a non-profit but growing foundation.

Sven-Olov, June 1988, with the Swedish author and artist Eugen Semitjov´s illustration of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh´s observation August 20, 1949

Sven-Olov at the first AFU premise in Norrköping, August 1989

As a research oriented ufologist, meticulous regarding relevant sources, one of the more frustrating experiences in maintaining the worlds largest UFO archive and library is finding documents and data I know should be preserved somewhere among our extensive collections. Then I turn to Sven-Olov, a master detective in locating obscure books, magazines and documents in our twelve premises. Very often he knows where to find what I am looking for.

Sven-Olov at the AFU report archive, July 18, 2008

Sorting magazines, December 29, 2010

An old UFO-Sweden poster July 14, 2010

Like myself Sven-Olov is deeply fascinated by the contactee enigma and he has been collecting contactee stories since 1970 in an international catalogue now comprising more than 1700 cases. He regularly searches incoming materials at AFU for entries to his catalogue and has also corresponded with ufologists worldwide for contactee data. Today much of his time at AFU is spent keeping order in our collections, making copies of requested material and posting books and magazines bought from the AFU Shop by customers in Sweden and worldwide. 

Being an archivist can be pretty tuff. Sven-Olov and the AFU team unloading the Hilary Evans collection on December 13, 2010. Sven-Olov with the hood.

As I stated earlier Sven-Olov Svensson is one of the pillars of AFU, who steadfastly, for more than thirty years, has given his time and money to our venture, following our ups and downs. In 1996 Sven Ove Hansson, then director of the organized Swedish skeptics, suggested in an article that we should cease our activities, close down the archive and instead engage in something worthwhile like bird watching!!! Fortunately we didn´t listen to the Siren song of the organized Swedish skeptics (the new Inquisition) but kept on executing and promoting our Forbidden Science.

August 12, 2010

Sven-Olov has several interests besides UFOs, Swedish literature and folk music, unsolved Swedish crimes and is an enthusiastic supporter of local football and basket ball leagues. Every year he arranges the Åke Franzén Memorial Cup. AFU´s annual miniature golf contest, in memory of our late friend and UFO collegue Åke Franzén. And the winner is very often Sven-Olov himself, a good friend and AFU supporter through all these years.

Golf contest, July 5, 2010

Sunday, October 2, 2016

When the impossible happens

What do you do if you experience something that according to mainstream science is impossible or encounter entities that doesn´t exist? Tell your friends? Contact the media? Consult your therapist? Thousands of people around our globe face this dilemma. Many simply clam up, They feel intrigued, confused, sometimes frightened and often embarrased to relate the experience or encounter.

I was recently made aware of this problem when a woman acquintance, whom I have known for some time, found out about my interest in UFO and paranormal phenomena, In a subdued voice and almost apologetically she said - I have seen some things. When I asked for further details she hinted that the encounter was so strange and absurd that no one would believe her of she told what had happened. Not even her husband knew of this experience. I explained that whatever happened I would never reveal her name but she was adamant in her silence: "What would people say if this got out?" Still I succeeded in being informed in general terms that she had experienced a close encounter with a UFO on the ground and observered several entities. Unfortunately she was the only witness. Hopefully she will in time change her mind and give me all the details.

On October 4, 2012 I had a telephone call from a woman, Birgit (pseudonym) living in a city in the north of Sweden. She wanted to relate a strange experience together with her husband that happened in 1979, something they had often pondered on. I respect her wish to remain anonymous. In a letter December 12, 2012 I was given the full story.

"That night in January or February 1979 my husband and I went to bed as usual with varm clothes on as it was very cold outside, minus 25 degrees Celsius, and only plus 15 degrees in our room... We both slept under varm duvets. I woke up in the middle of the night and found the room bathed in an orange light and it was very hot in the room. I was laying on my back and when I tried to turn my head to lock at my husband I couldn´t move. This ceased after a short while and then I discovered that we were totally naked and wet through with perspiration. Like in a trance we got out of our beds to take a shower and then went to our bedroom, picked up the duvets from the floor and fell asleep. The light must have been gone when we came back from the shower.

We slept like dead. The next morning we didn´t talk about what had happened. We were like anesthetized. Later we talked about the incident in a low key as we felt somewhat ashamed of it all. Not because we were naked but because it all seemed so absurd.
The room lit up in the middle of the night and we didn´t react to this.
Why were we naked?
Why didn´t we talk to each other?
When I write this down I realize how absurd and fantastic it appears. It was an ordinary night. The children were sleeping in another room."

I discussed this incident several times on the phone with Birgit and received some more details. The house was an ordinary three-storey building and the couple lived on the third floor. But it was obviously not an ordinary building. Both Birgit, her husband, friends, relatives and neighbors had experienced various paranormal phenomena in the house. Once a chair became totally impossible to lift from the floor. A visiting relative suddenly one night found a old man sitting in the kitchen. Frightened she woke up Birgit and her husband but when they checked the kitchen the man was gone. Neighbors told they had heard someone walking around in their apartment when they were not at home and Birgit often felt an invisible presence in her home. Birgit has no idea what could have happened during the night. She does not speculate about abductions. She just contacted me to hear if I had ever heard of similar experiences.

In May 1970 the two witnesses Rolf Gohs and Peter Ingemark were confronted with the impossible, something that doesn´t exist, if you ask the skeptics. The incident happened not far from the village of Stjärnhov in the Swedish province of Södermanland. The two friends waited more than ten years before they dared to openly recount their experience, which I have mentioned in an earlier blog entry.

Rolf Gohs

Here is the version given by Rolf Gohs: "In the spring of 1970 I was for a two days visit at Peter Ingemark, then living at the Solbacka rectory. It was resplendent sunshine och we went for a long walk together with Ingemar´s dog. After about two hours we came to a bend in the road. We stopped and noticed that the dog felt something and he rushed into the woods. We heard it barking at a distance and wondered what had happened.

Suddenly I heard a sound like an angry wasp close to the ear. I turned around and observed a black, flat or round - maybe oval - object fly across the road and over the woods behind me. The top of the fir-trees were flattened by the object´s speed. And then the strangest of all. The object just disappeared in thin air, like you turn of a lamp. There was a eerie silence. We just stood there for a while, staring and chocked. After quite some time the dog came back from the woods. It was totally exhausted. We didn´t say much during our walk back."

UFO-Sweden have a grave responsibility as the only serious organization that witnesses can turn to when confronted with the impossible. Someone who will listen and do an impartial and open minded analysis and documentation of the incident. Someone who will not á priori dismiss the encounter as a misidentification or myth but in the best scientific tradition study the empirical data to find whether this incident can be explained as some form of misidentification or remain unexplained. Science is the pursuit of the unexplained to further our knowledge of the universe and man. So far this type of inquiry it is to a large extent a Forbidden Science but history hopefully doesn´t end with our generation. The coming scientific heretics and iconoclasts should listen to Jacques Vallee as inspiration: "For me the challenge was to find out the very limitations of science, the places where it broke down, the phenomena it didn´t explain."