Sunday, August 12, 2018

Alan - The Enigmatic Man From Space

Daniel Fry is one of the most well known of the 1950s contactees. Besides the ride in a saucer on July 4, 1949 he told of several messages received by an inner voice. Not until 1961 did Fry actually meet the spaceman, named Alan, who landed with his spaceship in a secluded area in Merlin, Oregon. Later Fry would help Alan to work covertly as an international businessman while engaged in work for peace. In the cold war era of the 1950s this type of contact claims made some researchers speculate that Soviet spies used space people as a cover to infiltrate the U.S. In 1957 zoologist and Fortean Ivan T. Sanderson said: ”Some of these who tell such stories can´t be dismissed as liars, psychotics or conscious charlatans… So there is a definite possibility that some form a craft have landed here, unknown to the authorities.” There is no indication however that Daniel Fry´s contact Alan was a Soviet spy. But he is definitely an enigma.


In the former blog post I made a brief study of Understanding, the organization founded by Daniel Fry in 1955. There are still some unanswered questions regarding when Understanding was dissolved. In October 1978 Dr. Lloyd Sellman was elected President and Daniel Fry President Emeritus. But already in February 1979 Dr. Sellman resigned because of conflicting views on a lawsuit of which Dr. Sellman had not been informed. This conflict also resulted in the resignation of several other long time members. The last issue of Understanding magazine was published in September-October 1979. The organization was now falling apart, even physically because in September 1978 an arsonist had burned down the kitchen and library at the Understanding center in Tonopah, Arizona. They were never rebuilt. As a additional blow Daniel´s wife Florence died in 1980. At the age of 72 Daniel Fry was now a widow with the Understanding organization in ruins.

Many idealists would have given up under such circumstances. But Daniel Fry came back and on August 22, 1981 he married Cleona Castle and they settled in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Together with his new wife Daniel began publishing a small, two or three page, monthly Newsletter in November 1982. It was essentially a sort of editorial comments on world events, politics and the problems of peaceful co-existence between nations. The first part of the Newsletter was written by Daniel and the second part, often poems and Christian themes, written by Cleona. I have read all the Newsletters published between 1982 and 1989 to try to find out what really happened to the organization during its last years.

Daniel Fry in conversation with Swedish ufologist K. Gösta Rehn 1970

There was obviously a deep conflict among the new board members of what was left of Understanding. This was mentioned in the Newsletter for November 1983: ”At the July board meeting, we were very aware of duplicity, (so thick one could cut it with a knife,) of persons appearing as friends. We KNEW there was undermining and plotting, but we said nothing…. Now we know their plot, which was to overthrow Pres. Daniel W. Fry… They planned to run it in their questionable ways. With `friends`like these, who needs enemies?... They are out.”

In the same Newsletter is mentioned that three new Understanding units had been formed, in Puerto Rico and Texas. But there are no names of Presidents nor any address given to the new units. This kind of presentation continues in the Newsletter March 1984 where Daniel inform the readers of new units in New Orleans and Texas: ”As soon as we get to it, they will receive charters, and become full fledged units of Understanding.” But nothing more is heard of these or other units. Understanding as an organization is now in practice run by Daniel and his wife Cleona. He continous lecturing around the country and the couple distribute the pamphlet The Area of Mutual Agreement to politicians and world leaders. On March 27, 1985 Understanding, Inc. is re-incorporated into World Understanding, Inc. But nothing more is said about the fate of the 90+ Understanding units founded since 1955. ”The Sad Time of Parting” is the title for the last issue June 1989. I have not been able to determine whether World Understanding, Inc. was officially dissolved as a corporation.


Daniel Fry claimed that all this activity and work for world peace and understanding was inspired by the spaceman named Alan. What I find somewhat puzzling is the scarcity of information about this man. Very few ufologists, journalists or even members of Understanding seems to have been interested in finding out more about this individual and his activities on earth. Daniel himself gives very little information, often just clues and hints of the covert work he does together with Alan.

In April 1954 Daniel was contacted several times by inner voice. He had been given much information and Alan now wanted to know whether Daniel would accept the offer to help his group with their projects on earth. Alan made it clear that it would be almost a mission impossible: "The time has come when you must make the final decision as to whether you will be that person. It is a free choice on your part and there is no penalty for refusal. If you do not wish to assist us, you will be permitted to return to your quarters at once. All memory of this meeting and the previous one will be erased from your mind but everything else will be the same. You will be no worse off than before we came. If, on the other hand, you do decide to assist us, you may find yourself in a situation that is not easy to endure. You will have thankless tasks and seemingly profitless investments of time, effort and money. Your reputation will probably suffer, at least in the beginning and you may find yourself much worse off than before. The only reward we can promise you is the inward satisfaction of having assisted in the survival of your race and the acquisition of considerable knowledge and understanding that you would not otherwise be able to gain." (Daniel Fry, To Men of Earth, p. 88).


Why it would be necessary to erase Daniel´s memory of his contacts if he didn´t accept the offer is not explained. But Daniel did accept and he made his first public appearance on April 4, 1954 at the Giant Rock Spacecraft Convention organized by George Van Tassel. On September 18, 1954 Alan helped Daniel to get a picture of one of their spacecraft. He told of this episode in a letter to Dorris Andre (later Dorris Van Tassel). She was a secret or silent contactee who helped other individuals who had been contacted as a sort of booking agent and also healer.

”I have some interesting pictures, or rather seven different views of an interesting object. I took them two weeks ago Saturday near Balwin Park. I had started to drive out to the little shop in Balwin Park where I work on instruments in my `spare´ time. Midway down Garvey Blvd., I was told that if I would get a camera and film, I would get some pictures… I loaded the camera, in the car, and twenty minutes later I had the pictures. The craft is shaped somewhat like G.A.´s but not so streamlined. I will send you a copy but please don´t show it around too much, as I don´t know yet, just what I am supposed to do with it.” (Letter from Daniel Fry to Dorris Andre, October 13, 1954). Daniel mention seven photos but to my knowledge only one has been published.

Photo by Daniel Fry, September 18, 1954

Beginning in 1954 Daniel Fry entered a new life cycle as a public and controversial person. Besides founding and operating the Understanding organization there were endless meetings, lectures, radio- and TV appearances. But it was not until 1961 that Daniel met Alan in person. This encounter was never described by Daniel in his books. The first public mention I have found is from journalist Cleve Twitchell´s article A Conversation With Daniel W. Fry, Scientist Living in Merlin, published in Medford Mail Tribune, January 6, 1963: “In the first part of 1961, Fry said he went up to his cabin in the Merlin area “on an impulse” and met A-Lan face-to-face. The spaceman’s craft was on the ground in a clearing next to the cabin. A-Lan was an ordinary looking person wearing casual clothes, Fry reported. After a conversation of about 20 minutes the visitor got back in his craft and took off. Fry hasn’t said a great deal about the contents of that 20-minute conversation with A-Lan, but from that point on he began making frequent trips to Merlin.” Cleve Twitchell was a good friend of Daniel Fry and President of Understanding Unit no. 1 in El Monte, California 1960-1961. He later wrote The UFO Saga (1966), a 94-page book about the 1950s contactees.


There has never been a description of the craft Alan travelled in when he landed in Merlin and very few details mentioned about Alan himself. When Daniel Fry visited Sweden in 1970 the journalists did ask some relevant questions and were told that ”Alan is a middle-aged gentleman with an appearance that does not disclose his origin. But if a doctor examined him he would probably make some shocking discoveries.” (Helsingborgs Dagblad, Sept. 9, 1970).

Some further details were presented by journalist Ingmar Kommonen in an article September 17, 1970. Fry was asked to describe Alan: ”He is about my height with light brown hair. He looks like us, has blue eyes but is not as fat as I am. You will not notice any difference between Alan and us unless you try to give him a blood transfusion. Our blood types don´t match. He appears to be 45 years, but to him age doesn´t have the same meaning as to us.”

Swedish article published during Fry´s visit to Sweden 1970

As there was no legal way Alan could get a birth certificate, passport and drivers license Daniel helped him in this respect with some special contacts, obviously pre-arranged by Alan. (To Men of Earth, p. 100). Daniel Fry must have been involved in several secret activities and projects with Alan, who found work at an import/export company and in this way could travel all over the world. In his Fry biography Sean Donovan relates this episode:

”In a 1983 trip to Puerto Rico, Daniel stated that Alan had lived and worked in Cairo, which might explain why Fry and his future common-law wife, Tahahlita took a rather impromptu and mysterious trip to Cairo in 1965:
Many people have wondered why your editor and his wife should suddenly take off for Europé with almost no advance notice, and then, after a few days, with no notice at all, to depart from London, bound for Egypt, Jordan, Greece, etc. What were we looking for in Cairo, Sakkara, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Athens, Rome or Paris? The answer to these questions cannot as yet be given in full, not because the answer is a secret from our readers, but because we ourselves do not as yet comprehend the full significance of the trip or why it was necessary to do the things we did. We only know that the trip was urgent, and that the tasks were accomplished” (p. 152). The last time Alan is mentioned in Understanding magazine is 1978: ”There has been a brief message from Alan this Summer. He beamed in one evening at the Fry residence and stated that he might possibly see us in Japan. (He didn´t say we would see him).” (Vol 23, no 6, July-Aug. 1978, p. 24).

Given that Daniel Fry told the truth, who was Alan and the group he was working with? Some of his activities could as well be associated with an emissary from some of the esoteric lodges on earth, especially is this evident in Fry´s last book When In Cairo. Whatever his origin the work he implemented became an inspiration for thousands of people. A message of goodwill, peace and understanding: ”We have expended considerable time and patience in the effort to light a few candles among the many nations of your planet.” (To Men of Earth, p. 95).

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Rise and Fall Of Understanding, Inc.

In the 1950s and 60s a remarkable social phenomenon emerged, basically concentrated in the State of California. It was organizations founded by UFO contactees, individuals who told of physical and telepathic contacts with space people. Three of these contactees, Daniel Fry, George Adamski and Gabriel Green, succeeded in creating large organizations with local units in many U.S. states and even abroad. Understanding was founded in 1955 by Daniel Fry, El Monte, California, with only nine members at the beginning. In September 22, 1960 the organization was registred as a non-profit corporation in the state of California, Understanding, Inc. By 1975 no less than 86 local Understanding units had been registred, the last one documented, founded  in Tonopah, Arizona.

Daniel Fry

In depth research and documentation is still very much lacking regarding the history and development of these organizations. This is probably partly due to the problem of finding archives with easily accessed original documents: newsletters, correspondence, photos etc. At Archives for the Unexplained (AFU) in Norrköping, Sweden we have for many years been working hard trying to salvage organizational archives from around the world, digitizing documents and making them aviable free on the internet. When it comes to Daniel Fry´s organization Understanding we must commend the excellent efforts of Sean Donovan in Canada who has salvaged and preserved the Understanding archive and making much of the data accessible on a website dedicated to Daniel Fry.

Sean Donovan

Based on documents from the Daniel Fry website, Sean Donovan´s excellent Fry biography and data from AFU I have made a small study of Understanding and the life of Daniel Fry. In every issue of Understanding magazine is to be found a department called Bulletin Board with news of Understanding units but also information on lectures, conferences social gatherings etc.by various ”Spacecraft Clubs”. By studying every issue of Understanding magazine I have been able to compile some statistical data that may be of interest. These figures should not be regarded as exact. Understanding magazine never mentioned when units had folded and sometimes units were given the same number.

Between 1955 and 1975 altogether 86 Understanding units were registrered in the Bulletin Board. A unit could be formed if there were five members. The organization was to a large extent California-based. Unit locations in the U.S. states: California (48), Oregon (7), Arizona (4), New, York, Oklahoma, Washington (3), Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin (2), Nevada, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota (1). There were also three units in Canada and one in Nigeria. In 1963 Understanding Sweden Unit no 1 was founded by Sven-Erik and Ing-Marie Asklund. The unit had some twenty members and during 1963-64 gathered at the Asklund home at Bandhagen, a suburb of Stockholm. The unit was discontinued in December 1964.


Daniel Fry in Sweden 1970

Usually between one and four new units were founded every year between 1955-1975. Understanding had its peak activity years in the beginning of the 1960s. In 1960 there were 24 new units registrered, 1962 eight new units and in 1965 ten new units. Directors were named Presidents and represented people from all walks of life, some with a Dr. attached to the name. Of Presidents mentioned in the Bulletin Board 70 were men and 55 women. In May 1963 a unit was formed at Stanford University, California by J. Lynn Mason. Generally members were people involved with various metaphysical, theosophical and UFO contactee groups.

Several of the local Understanding units initiated an impressive amount of activities, lectures and social gatherings. Lecturers were often the well known UFO contactees of the period such as George Adamski, Orfeo Angelucci, George Van Tassel, Dana Howard, Wayne Aho and of course Daniel Fry. A frequent guest and lecturer at the local units was Riley Crabb, from 1959 director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF). As the entire BSRF archive has been donated to AFU I have been able to study the correspondence between Riley Crabb and several of the local Understanding units in the 1950s and 60s. So far I have scanned 757 letters in the Riley Crabb file often giving interesting background information about Understanding units and activities.

Charlotte Sullivan was founder and first President of Understanding Unit no 6, San Fernando, California


The most extensive documentation of Understanding as an organization has been published by Sean Donovan in his excellent biography Contactee. Was Daniel W. Fry Telling the Truth?, published in 2013. Some 60 pages are devoted to the history of Understanding. Donovan relates the ups and downs, successful endeavors and projects, conflicts and crises during the four decades of organization activities. There are still some unsolved issues regarding the final years of Understanding. The last issue of Understanding magazine was published in September-October 1979 (vol. 24, no 5). But in November 1982 Daniel Fry began publishing a one-page newsletter with its final issue in June 1989. Beginning with the May 1985 issue the newsletter was published by World Understanding, Inc. On March 27, 1985 Daniel Fry had re-incorporated Understanding, Inc. As World Understanding, Inc. And the newsletters were published with this name until the last issue in June 1989. I have not been able to find out whether Understanding, Inc. Or World Understanding, Inc. were ever formally dissolved? Recently I sent a request to California State Archives whether there were any documents indicating that Understanding, Inc. or World Understanding, Inc. had been officially dissolved. According to the reference archivist I corresponded with no such documents were found.


Understanding Unit no 15, Inglewood, California was founded already in 1958 and was a very active local unit. In September 1985 newly elected President Bill Hamilton sent out a leaflet announcing a lecture by Al Synder. In this leaflet is also mentioned that ”In the future, we will be changing the name of the group to the Association for Universal Understanding as we are no longer connected to the now defunct Understanding, Inc.” But as the original organization was still functioning with the new name World Understanding, Inc. why not simply rename the unit World Understanding Unit no 15? Perhaps some of my blog readers in the U.S. can solve this mystery?


Daniel Fry wrote of his contact experiences with the spaceman Alan and the philosophy he received in several books. Essentially it is a message of goodwill and peace: ”… creating a greater degree of understanding between all the peoples of the earth, and of bringing to them some of the understanding of those beings who are not of earth.” (Understanding, vol 1, no 1, Jan. 1956, p. 1). Alan explain that humanity will not survive if we do not succeed in reaching a balance between the physical or material science, the social science and the spiritual science. ”Understanding is the key to survival for your race. There is little value in a treaty, a pact or a guarantee between governments, if understanding is lacking between the people” (Daniel Fry, To Men of Earth. Including The White Sands Incident, p. 115).


There is much of philosophical and spiritual value in the messages given by Alan to Daniel Fry. Words of wisdom and inspiration that became the core teachings presented in the Understanding units. As I have stated many times before I have advanced the theory that behind some of the 1950s contactees was a benevolent group of aliens visitors from somewhere who initiated a cultural and psychological influence test, at a critical moment for our civilisation. Some of the people contacted tried their best to implement the projects and ideas received by the visitors. Others couldn´t stand the psychological strain of the experiences or invented fake stories when the real contacts ended.

Alan´s basic message that understanding is the key to survival for humanity has an immediate appeal but still fails to adress the problem of evil. We may understand the ideas and motives of a Hitler, Stalin or ISIS leader but we will still be killed or imprisoned if we have a different idea. No amount of understanding will help us in this respect. Only force or power will do the job. Many of the members in the Understanding were mystics, who often fail or refuse to recognize the problem of evil or admit that an individual can be totally evil. Dag Hammarskjöld, 2nd Secretary-General of the United Nations learned this lesson during the Congo-Katanga crisis in 1960-61. His best friend, Bo Beskow, related a conversation he had with Hammarskjöld in 1961 when he asked whether Dag still believed in the good in man, that there is something good in all people? ”That Summer, 1961, Hammarskjöld was very serious in his answer. You know I have concluded something I never thought possible. I have discovered that there really exist completely evil people.” (Documentary, Swedish TV October 29, 2005).


In the last book published by Daniel Fry, When In Cairo, there are indications that Alan was really very aware of the problem of evil. This is a strange, unfinished book by Fry which he claimed was 70% true. It is a sort of spy novel where Alan is the leader of a secret group fighting an evil society in Egypt (The Shukran), trying to find and use hidden  technological treasures from the Atlantean civilization: ” We simply must find some way to stop this insane organization before they take over all of Egypt and plunge the nation into a hopeless war of conquest. The three leaders are the most dangerous of egomaniacs, whose ambition has absolutely no limit. If they succeeded in conquering the entire earth. they would immediately set up a huge space program just so they could go to other planets and conquer them too!” (p. 12)

Another fundamental idea presented by Alan is the necessity of balance between physical, material science, social science and spiritual science. In the human being this could be compared with balance between the physical, emotional and intellectual/spiritual part of man. The problem is that humanity on this planet has no generally recognized spiritual science, only various religions and more or less obsolete belief systems. The custodians of the science of the multiverse (Esoteric Science) have only recently made some tests in giving this science to humanity. But mainstream academic scholars will probably not take an interest in esotericism until definite empirical evidence of the etheric worlds and their inhabitants can be presented in the form of photos and films. An elementary outline of The Esoteric Tradition was presented by Daniel Fry in his book The Curve of Development. This is actually an excellent, easy to read, introduction to the science of the multiverse but as usual, unfortunately, mostly introduced in old religious terms.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding the contact experiences of Daniel Fry. Who was actually Alan? Is he or his group still around? Why didn´t such a large organization as Understanding survive the death of Fry in 1992? There were many capable local leaders who could have continued Daniel´s work. Further in-depth research on the history of the Understanding movement could perhaps give more clues to this enigma?

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Interview With Rene Erik Olsen

Recently a deeply fascinating and challenging UFO book was published by the Danish painter, photographer and researcher Rene Erik Olsen – The George Adamski Story – Historical Events Of Gigantic Implications. By doing digital enhancements from copies of the original negatives taken by George Adamski, Rene Erik Olsen has succeeded in presenting unique and unknown details in the photos and films. Details which give a whole new dimension to the controversial George Adamski case.


Rene Erik Olsen was born in 1956, educated in the military and spent 30 years in the financial world. Painting has been his interest for many years and he is now working as a professional photographer doing lots of photoshoots. Special interests are research into UFOs and their technology. Visit his beautiful and inspiring website here.

Håkan: What started your UFO interest?
Rene: An observation 1966, together with my family, when I was 10 years old. A disc, around 8-10 meters, moving close to our house – maneuvering in an erratic way, standing still, moving again and disappearing extremely fast upwards.

Håkan:  Are you a member of any UFO group?
Rene: No.

Håkan: Most mainstream UFO researchers are very skeptical of George Adamski. How come you decided to study his experiences, photos and films?
Rene: I know that many people are skeptical of the Adamski case. I am not a ”believer” of everything about this case (at least not at face-value) but the photographs has always looked real to me. That is why I thought it worth while to study some of the images closer. Those first photos of the mothership and the objects around it (taken in 1951) looked hard to fake to me (double exposures could be one way to fake such photos, but it takes a really good knowledge of how to do double exposures and I understand that Adamski did not have such specific photographic knowledge)) – but they look real. Also the images in Flying Saucers Have Landed – are particularly good. I do consider these real as well. As it happened I was sent these four Brownie photos by Glenn Steckling in 2001 for another project (animation of the desert landing). I then had them on a hard disk for 16 years – until I considered them worthy of a good look. Had always thought that two of them looked like something could be enhanced and details brought forward.

Rene Erik Olsen

Håkan: When did you begin to consider Adamski´s case as genuine?
Rene: Well, as stated previously, I am not a fan of everything Adamski – or for that matter other contactee-cases, as a clear pattern in contact-cases is that the contactee often times embellish in – shall we say – less than truthful ”stories” to keep the ”fans” interested. A reason for this could be that they no longer are in contact with the ”aliens” and therefore ”make up” their own stories to keep people interested in the case. It is often seen – unfortunately (The Meier case for instance). But the Adamski photos and films – these can be forensically researched – without being influenced by the case as such. Everyone can do it. Nobody should be scared to do so. Unfortunately most researchers are scared of everything that has the name ”Adamski” on it – including the photos and films.

Håkan: What, in your view, is the strongest evidence in favor of Adamski?
Rene: The photos and films (those of them which I have been enhancing) and the witnesses to the first contact on 20th November 1952. Those things will always – to me – be the strongest evidence.

Håkan: Has anyone duplicated your efforts in enhancements of Adamski´s photos and films, to check your results?
Rene: I have no idea. Nobody has contacted me in this regard – even though it would be easy to check the results (you need a good knowledge of how to use Photoshop). It could be that nobody really has the inclination – since ”the Adamski case has already been proven a fake” by all the big players in Ufology. Or maybe there is nobody who is sincere enough, who wants to put their name to anything ”Adamski”.

Photo by George Adamski, December 13, 1952

Håkan: Today it is very easy to fake UFO photos and films. What would be your answer if accused of faking the enhancements?
Rene: I will agree that anything is possible with all the software available today, but the original films – your eyes (especially when you see the films) cannot ”fake” what you see in front of you. Especially the Mexico film and the Silver Spring film – they are just so ”bizarre” that your eyes and brain just need time to understand what is going on in front of you – and no ”software” can ”undo” what is really there in front of you. The photos which I have researched are from 1952 – they are NOT double exposures or anything of the sort. Anybody can investigate the same films and photos and get the same results – that is my answer.

In support of my findings it was actually Michel Zirger who discovered some of the things in Brownie frame 1 (the one with the mothership in the upper left corner and the three crafts) and not me. I just enhanced what we both agreed we saw in the frame. The enhancement process anybody - with a good knowledge of photoshop – can do. Enhancements do not bring out what is not there from the start.  I am actually surprised that at least the skeptics of the Adamski case has not come forward to dismiss the enhancements, but nothing of the sort has happened. Maybe because the enhancements are showing the real thing.

Håkan: What has been the response to your book The George Adamski Story?
Rene: Very positive. A few people have told me that had been waiting a long time for a closer look at the Adamski material. No skeptics have contacted me at all. 

Håkan: Are there any photos or films by Adamski that you regard as dubious or not genuine?
Rene: I cannot claim to have seen all of the Adamski material – I wish I had that opportunity.  I have only been asked to enhance a few things for Glenn Steckling of the Adamski Foundation. And that does not include the Brownie photos – they were done of my own interest. What I have enhanced I can clearly say – the raw material (film and photos) is real. I cannot remember having seen anything which would make me say that ”they were of dubious nature” – but again, I have not seen all of the Adamski photo and film evidence.

Rene Erik Olsen

Håkan: Will you continue researching the Adamski case?
Reen: Oh yes, there are so much material that another book is in the works. I only hope that Glenn Steckling will keep sending me material to be enhanced. In so many ways the Adamski case  and the material is very unique.

Håkan: What do you hope to achieve with your research?
Rene: I hope to inform other researchers and people in general about the extraordinary evidence for another form of intelligence outside of the Earth, who actively are visiting the Earth – both in the past and now and that George Adamski produced some evidence for this ”extraordinary technology” both in photos and films.

Håkan: Do you favor any specific UFO theory?
Rene: No. Certain is it though that ”the visitors” need some form of transportation surrounded by shields to move around in the Earth atmosphere. This is what is being photographed and filmed and also observed.

Rene Erik Olsen photographing a "Venusian beauty"

Håkan: Have you had any other personal UFO or paranormal experiences?
Rene: Two other sightings. One with multible objects, more than ten, moving high in the sky at sunset. Another sighting, daytime, with a single object moving erratically

Håkan: What is your general worldview?
Rene: I think we are here on Earth to do the best we can, in any given situation with the aid of our knowledge of what is good or bad, right or wrong. Pure and simple. I assume we have one chance in life. So do your best in all situations. That is my life philosophy.

Håkan: Are you a member of any spiritual group or church?
Rene: No.

Håkan: What advice would you give to new UFO researchers?
Rene: Look at every aspect of this field with an open mind (just like life itself). Never judge anything because it is ”beyond-your-understanding” – It could be you just need to ”adjust” your frame of mind.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Åke Franzén And Mothman, Part 2

This is the second part of the interview Anders Liljegren and I did with Mothman investigator Åke Franzén, May 19, 1973 and originally published in our Swedish magazine Ufologen, no 12, Nov-Dec 1973.


Åke Franzén: ”I also talked to a woman from New Haven. She and her husband were part of the group that investigated the ruin looking for traces. The walked around checking the various rooms. When she was about to leave a small room ´it´ appeared, crouching in a corner. She screamed and the others – Keel was there – hurried to the place, but saw nothing. The husband made fun of her in front of the others, which of course made her upset.

On the was home – now Keel was not there – they crossed a field and the woman noticed the creature standing in the field. Now her husband also observed ´the bird´ and became very pale. ´The Birdman´ disappeared straight up with a terrific speed, like a robot. It simply spread out the wings, but did not flutter with them, like an ordinary bird. Another woman I talked to was one of the few witnesses who had seen the face of the creature. She had observed an incredibly ugly, scaly head leaning towards one side.

Åke Franzén at AFU, May 30, 1989

Håkan Blomqvist: Did you estimate how many within the TNT area who had witnessed ´the bird´?

Åke Franzén: It is hard to say as I didn´t have time to visit all the witnesses. I talked to around thirty witnesses. I found it peculiar that they lived so far away from each other. It was pretty large distances. In spite of this they told the same story, with insignificant variations. Another common factor was the poltergeist phenomena. Something strange always happened in the house right after someone had seen the ´bird´. It was somehow connected. Certain witnesses received strange phone calls, any time day or night. When they picked up the phone all that was heard sounded like metallic clicking. Four of the witnesses I talked to – among them Marcella Bennett and Linda Scarberry – had experienced this.

One of the weirdest experiences was related by the Lilly family. One evening they were together conversing in one of the rooms. Mrs. Lilly happened to look in the direction of a bookshelf with a large vase. Suddenly the vase began moving, leaning outwards. Slowly, slowly, like in slow motion it fell over the edge of the shelf towards the floor where it shattered in two parts. Not in small parts, but straight edges! It was only the wife who observed the vase falling through the air and she felt paralyzed. She told me it wasn´t like the vase fell through the air, but rather ´sailed´.

Åke Franzén at AFU, May 30, 1989

No one could explain this incident but it was associated with the strange noices heard in the house. Several times it sounded like a woman or child crying in the house in the middle of the night. There were no children in this house and they found it impossible to locate from where the sound was coming. The sound was ´everywhere´. It was heard but they were unable to find out from which direction it came. The area seemed ´infected´ in some way. After a couple of weeks so much had happened that the family were forced to move. Nothing happened on the new adress.

Håkan Blomqvist: Did anything happen during your visit?

Åke Franzén:  I don´t know whether you believe me, but it continued all the time. Even during my visits, now and then. But it seemed hopeless to have a personal observation. During these five weeks, I never got a chance to visit a witness directly after an observation, although I asked the people in the neighborhood to call me at the hotel any time day or night. It looked like ´the bird´ simply appeared in the most unexpected places.

Åke Franzén during a field investigation to a presumed landing site outside Södertälje, Sweden, Winter 1973

There were lots of theories about all this, but no one actually knew what it was. Some believed it was a sort of robot sent out and the large ´eyes´ were cameras that registred what happened. Then there appeared several rare birds in the area e.g. storks and a Turkish Snowy Owl. They were small birds compared to the ´Birdman´, but were used by summoned experts as excuses. The experts of course depricated the occurences and this was presented in the American media, and even in Vietnam.

Håkan Blomqvist: Before your return journey to Sweden you had a short meeting with John Keel. What were your impressions?

Åke Franzén: Keel appeared as a really honest, serious person. Above all he had humor and a natural distance to his work. This is my impression of him, both from correspondence and our meeting. I received the adress from his girlfriend. Because of various reasons he had been forced to change residence now and then. From what I gathered both known and unknown people were looking for him. Maybe it is not good to know too much… .


He lived in East End. One of the most notorious parts of New York, where you kill a man for ten cent. This was not because of economic causes but simply the place where he felt most secure, with all of the criminal underworld around. Few dared to enter this area. I barely had time to pay the cab when various gangs appeared from both the beginning and the end of the street. I rushed to the doorway.

I arrived at ten in the evening and stayed until two o´clock. Then I had to leave his tea to get in time for the plane to Sweden. Four hours with such an interesting person was of course too short. I only had time to get fragments of all his experiences. On one occasion Keel and a few others spent the night in one of the water towers in the TNT area. ”The Birdman´ did not appear but they watched saucers now and then. Keel once used his flashlight towards an object that passed overhead and it tipped back and forth, like answering. This happened twice together with several witnesses.

Håkan Blomqvist: Finally, what is your opinion on what´s going on in West Virginia?

Åke Franzén: After all I have read on the subject and talked with the witnesses my conclusion is that this is something non-physical. No one has ever found any feathers or markings.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Åke Franzén And Mothman, Part 1

Because of the renewed interest in Mothman and John Keel I have decided to translate the original interview Anders Liljegren and I made with Åke Franzén on May 19, 1973. It was published in our Swedish magazine Ufologen no 12, Nov-Dec 1973. I have written some blog entries on Åke Franzén before but here is the complete interview as transcribed from our tape recording. Åke travelled to West Virginia in the Summer of 1969 and spent five weeks in the area around Point Pleasant and also a few days in New York where he met John Keel. From a research point of view it is interesting that this interview was published before Keel´s classic The Mothman Prophecies, 1975.

Anders Liljegren and I interviewing Åke Franzén, May 19, 1973

What was planned as an ordinary field investigation proved to be much more. Åke fell deeply in love with Mothman witness Linda Scarberry and soon became a close friend with several people in Point Pleasant, including journalist Mary Hyre who was his chauffeur during these weeks, visiting witnesses and observation sites.

Åke Franzén, October 22, 1977

Åke Franzén: ”I was surprised by the openness I met from these people. Whether this was because they felt I believed them and wanted to listen to what they told me, or if it is an American characteristic I don´t know. Anyhow there were no closed doors.”

We asked Åke if there was any connection between Mothman and UFOs:

Åke Franzén: ”To my knowledge there is only one case where saucers have been observed together with ´the bird´. I have promised not to reveal the names of the people who witnessed this but they were out cruising late at night  and observed a saucer and a ´birdman´ with the characteristic luminous eyes, melting into one object and disappearing in the sky.”

Åke then related some of the encounters with Mothman:

Åke Franzén: ”One of the main witnesses, Linda Scarberry, had moved from Ohio when I came to Point Pleasant, but 2-3 weeks later she moved back to her parents home. I asked Mary Hyre to contact her and she drove me there. Linda Scarberry told that she and her husband, and another young couple, had gone to the TNT-area one evening. This place is a sort of nature reserve and ´lovers lane´. They were about to park their car behind a ruin of a closed power plant when one of them suddenly shouted ´look there in the corner´. They watched a creature, about seven feet tall, with glowing eyes or rings.



Linda´s husband, who was driving, tried to start the car real quick to get away from this horrible sight but because of excitement gave too much gas. The two young girls were hysterical and shouted ´drive´. They finally succeeded in getting away and when looking back they noticed how the creature turned around wobbling, and went towards the building like a clumsy duck. They reached the road, route 2. Halfway home one of them happened to look behind the car. Above them they could see the creature flying and its wing tips on either side of the car. The wings didn´t flutter, but were completely still. It was so low above them that the frightened witnesses could observe its legs hanging and dangling right above the windshield. I especially remember Linda saying she could see ´veins´, thick as rope, around the legs. They didn´t see any feet.

When they saw the first lights from Point Pleasant the ´bird´ made a turn and went in the opposite direction. The couples went straight to the police station where the chief of police listened to their story. He believed them as these young people were considered well-behaved and reliable. In spite of their fear they immediately returned to the spot accompanied by the policeman. On arrival there was nothing to see but the communication radio in the policar was turned up like listening to a 45 rpm record at 78 rpm. According to rumors a senior police officer made an investigation of the observation area and got a glimpse of the creature. After this encounter he refused to talk about this event. If anyone mention ´the birdman´ he withdraws from the conversation.


Linda Scarberry had to seek medical help because of the psychological trauma caused by the encounter. None of those traumatized by close encounters with this creature have recovered completely. Previously they were calm and harmonious which has changed to nervousness. Linda Scarberry woke up at the hospital one morning with her arms and legs badly scratched. She had large scars after this. The witnesses nervousness was above all evident in how much they smoked. My God, how they smoked. Even I who was a non-smoker when I arrived started. One witness, Marcella Bennett, 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 me of her observation.

It was like they watched a movie when they told of their observations, talked like they experienced it again. I told them ´you don´t need to recount what happened of you don´t want to´ but they insisted on relating the event anyway. Maybe they noticed I believed them and felt confidence in me. I think it is important to the witnesses to behave in such a manner. It was fascinating but made me ill at ease listening to their encounters. When I talked to relatives they always said ´it is not the same old…´ and then the name of the witness.

Åke Franzén reading John Keel´s the Mothman Prophecies 1978

Marcella Bennett didn´t want to relate her experience to anyone else but John Keel and me. She said she had confidence in me. The night after Linda Scarberry´s encounter Marcella and some of her acquaintances were planning to visit friends living near the TNT-area. Because of what had happened the night before they decided to spook their friends by knocking on the window. They parked their cars on a slope and walked towards the house. Mrs. Bennett was just about to take her two year old daughter out of the car when she heard a sound like a wet sack had fallen behind the car. She turned around and noticed something gray rise up behind the car. What she especially saw was the shining red ´circles´. She felt like paralyzed by them.

Håkan Blomqvist: Was this some kind of eyes?

Åke Franzén: Yes, that´s the theory, but they are placed very low, shining with a hypnotic glow. The witnesses often talked more about these ´circles´ than the creature. Mrs. Benneett was unable to move when she saw the ´bird´ coming between the cars. Her arms were sort of straightened out and she dropped the little girl on the ground. Not until the child began crying did Marcella ´wake up´. She picked up the girl and together with the others started running towards the house. They were hysterical when they knocked on the door and rushed in. Only three of the children were at home. Their parents had gone to Point Pleasant on an errand. They locked the door. Mrs. Bennett was speechless from fear and the others hysterical. Suddenly they heard something moving on the porch and how the ´bird´s´ wings hit against the logs holding the porch. Someone picked up the phone and called the police but when they arrived there were no traces, nothing. Only some hysterical witnesses. They were five grown up people so it could hardly be a misinterpretation.

Håkan Blomqvist: Could they observe how it disappeared?

Åke Franzén: No, it´s understandable that after the chock of having seen the creature and hearing it hit the logs with its wings. They crouched, didn´t want to see. The girl Tina, who was only two years when her mother dropped her, was five when I met her. We became good friends and in spite of her age she was better in giving a clear and coherent picture of what had happened than her mother.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Advice To A Young Ufologist

So, you want to become a ufologist, dedicating your life to researching one of the most fascinating enigmas of our time. Then you are in for a life journey of a most unusual kind and I can guarantee that you will many times feel like a stranger in a strange land. I assume your ambition implies ”real research”, not just writing some post-modernist, mainstream academic monograph about myth and superstions in society. If you mean business with your endeavor the road ahead is that of the intellectual heretic and pathfinder.


If the first book on the subject you happen to find is The Edge of Reality by J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee a good idea is to listen to their introduction: ”The UFO phenomenon calls upon us to extend our imaginations as we never have before, to think things we have never dared think before – in short, to approach boldly the edge of our accepted reality and, by mentally battering at these forbidding boundaries, perhaps open up entirely new vistas. To many, such thinking is both frightening and a threat to their intellectual security.” (p. 1)

Often, when walking around in the AFU library and watching the thousands of books, magazines, clippings etc I wonder how I would react to all of this if I was a young, ambitious ufologist? The amount of documents today is gigantic and it must be quite frustrating to find out where to begin. In his third book, published in 1972,  Tefaten är här (The Saucers Are Here)  the grand old man and pioneer of Swedish ufology, K. Gösta Rehn, gave this advice to the new generation of young ufologists: "Concentrate on the close encounter cases". This is a message I have for many years tried to convey to new and old field investigators at the UFO-Sweden seminars, lectures, articles, blog and books. Forget the lights in the sky and the ”ordinary” UFO reports and go for the real enigma – close encounter and contact cases. Concentrate on making detailed , in-depth investigation and documentation of the most complicated and challenging encounters. Many times you will find wild and whacky individuals with various psychological problems, drug related or simply people with fantasy prone personalities. But you will also stumble upon really intriguing cases that will represent a definite challenge to your investigative efforts. I will present a few old cases of the type that you as a serious UFO researcher should follow-up.

One of three AFU libraries

A good example of how to proceed is No Return. The Gerry Irwing Story. UFO Abduction or Covert Operation? By David Booher. This is the story of the young soldier Gerry Irwin who stopped his car on a lonesome road in Utah, 1959, observing a blazing object, who he theought was a plane, seemingly about to crash nearby. He leaves a message in his car and decides to investigate. Gerry was later found by a local sheriff lying with head face down at the site.


While browsing through some older issues of Fate magazine I found an interesting early abduction report, closely resembling the Gerry Irwin case. It was published as a Report from the readers in vol. 25, no. 11, November 1972, pp. 160-161. 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."

There are hundreds of these types of close encounters found in UFO literature and magazines including the report archives of UFO organisations, but very seldom investigated thoroughly. I found a good example in Ray Palmer´s Mystic Magazine no. 9, April 1955, originally documented by first generation ufologist Tom Comella.


One of the great mistakes of the scientifically oriented ufologists of the 1950s was to discard the classic contactees as frauds and impostors without in-depth investigation. In these type of close encounter cases appearances and first impressions can be very deceptive, in several ways. A good example is Florida contactee Lydia Stalnaker. The mainstream scientific ufologist who finds her ad in UFO report 1980 selling the Cross of Antron, would probably dismiss her as just another cultist. In this ad Stalnaker claims to have met people from another galaxy and given a mission by the spaceman Antron.


But when you take a second and deeper look into Stalnaker´s story you will find some very intriguing and disturbing details. These were presented by Judith and Alan Gansberg in Direct Encounters. Personal Histories of UFO Abductees (1980). The case was investigated by then APRO respresentative Dr. James Harder, University of California. On January 23, 1985 I wrote a letter to Dr. Harder to get more data on his study but unfortunately received no answer.

In August 1974 Lydia Stalnaker was driving north from Jacksonville, Florida when she saw a bright light coming out of the sky. She stopped the car at a parking area and got out to have a better look. Suddenly another car pulled into the area and a man that Stalnaker thought she vaguely knew joined her by the side of the road. They stared at the light hovering over some trees, assuming it was a helicopter and noticed it descending as if crashing behind the trees. They decided to drive toward the region to see if they could be of help.
”I asked the man if he had seen what I had seen… He said, ´Yes, and its right on time´. The man was short, less than five feet five inches, and had a dark, Italian or Jewish look… He coaxed me into his car, and we drove off to find the spot.”


When they got closer to the area of the assumed crash Stalnaker felt un uncomfortable sensation of being suffocated. ”Then it seemed like just a moment passed and we were heading back towards Jacksonville on another road. It was midnight and Stalnaker´s forehead was hurting and she felt nauseated. After this incident she was having frightening dreams of being on an operating table surrounded by people wearing masks, sticking painful needles in her sides. Eventually she sought professional help and was hypnotised. During hypnosis she recounted a classic abduction scenario. After the missing time incident Stalnaker developed telepathic and healing powers and received messages from the spaceman Antron.

What makes this case especially interesting is the physical meeting with the strange man in the parking area. Stalnaker tried to find him again but found out he had disappeared from the town. He had quit his job and no one new where he was. ”His employer said that the man had appeared in town one morning looking for work, but they did not know where he had come from.” I have not read of any ufologist who have followed up on these important clues. But this is the kind of data ufologists should look for.

To delve into these aspects of the UFO enigma the ufologist has to be both a meticulous, critical investigator and a detective. In-depth research of close encounter and contact cases of this type is time-consuming and can be quite unnerving as you will discover facts very difficult or impossible to publish. Ufology at this level is very far from writing reports of lights in the sky or being entertained by fake videos on YouTube. You have all the chances of entering Forbidden Science. But then remember the motto of Riley Crabb, the late director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation: ”If I have one goal in life it is an uncompromising search for Truth, whatever that might be, and wherever it may lead.”