Thursday, November 15, 2018

Contactees And Channeling

”I don´t know what has happened , George, but all the mediums have suddenly disposed of their Indian guides, etc., and have replaced them with space people traveling in Vimanas.” This is a very intersting comment made by British ufologist and esotericist Desmond Leslie in a letter to George Adamski, soon after Flying Saucers Have Landed was published in 1954. Adamski was critical of the many mediums (channelers) who in the 1950s proclaimed to be in contact with various space people. Although he was not generally adverse to the idea of telepathic or psychic communication he did give this advice to his co-workers: ”You can never check on the sender of a trance message. Every mock spirit or evil impersonator could come and tell you that his name was Ashtar or Aetherius and that he lived in a space ship. I think that these entities are having a heyday leading astray the gullible mediums and their public… This is not to belittle mediums in any way, but it is to say that most of them have much to learn before they can be sure of just what they are receiving, and from whom and where.” (Lou Zinsstag & Timothy Good, George Adamski - The Untold Story, pp. 55, 57).

The UFO contactee movement of the 1950s was a colorful spectrum of fascinating individuals. Besides the classic physical UFO contactees there emerged a wide assortment of mediums, often with a background in various spiritualist and metaphysical groups. There were no clearcut demarcation lines between physical and psychic contactees. Some belonged to both camps. GeorgeVan Tassel is a good example, starting as a channeler and later having physical contacts with space people.

Although the UFO contact movement of the 1950s certainly was of a mixed quality the core group of physical contactees had a definite sociological impact on society in a positive way, not often mentioned by researchers. The movement conveyed a general message of hope, peace, goodwill and inspired members to contact and friendship with people from all over the globe, regardless of race, creed or color. George Adamski initiated the International Get Acquainted Program (IGAP) and Daniel Fry founded Understanding, Inc.: ”… a non-profit organization dedicated to the propagation of a better understanding among all the peoples of the earth, and of those who are not of the earth.”

Daniel Fry in Sweden 1970

By the end of the 1950s the contactee movement reached its high tide when Gabriel Green, President of AFSCA (Amalgamated Flying Saucer Clubs of America) arranged the First National Convention on July 11 and 12th, 1959 at Statler-Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles. This two-day convention amply demonstrated the problems of the contactee movement. Only two of the classic (and in my view genuine) contactees were present – Orfeo Angelucci and Daniel Fry. Almost all the other 40 speakers were channelers with more or less far-out and bizarre claims and messages. The movement was now so contaminated by psychic racketeers and sincere, but self-deluded mystics that by the end of the 1960s it faded into obscurity. 

Daniel Fry and Gabriel Green at the AFSCA Convention 1959

Journalist Cleve Twitchell wrote a summary of the program and speakers for Daniel Fry´s Understanding magazine, July-August 1959. Here a few ”highlights”:

”LeRoy Roberts, channel from Oregon, one of whose mentors came through and stated the the Master Jesus, before coming to Earth, had visited Mars and had taught its inhabitants to conserve their dwindling water supply – by building canals.

Wilbur Miller, who received a transmission from the being Mentar, giving unbelieving Eartlings a well deserved kick in the pants.

William Suther, young teenager, who said he had recently toured a universe separated from our own in his astral body”

The audience of around 2000 could also listen to:
Monka of Mars and a galactic tour by Hatonn, channeled by Dick Miller
Prince Neosom (Lee Childers), who claimed to have come from the planet Tythan.

When adressing the controversial issue of the possible validity of channeling messages it is interesting to compare the ideas and experiences of Meade Layne who discovered and for many years worked with the unique deep trance medium Mark Probert. Meade Layne discovered Probert´s unusual gifts as medium in 1946 and it was through him that the etheric or 4-D interpretation of ”flying saucers” was first formulated. But Mark Probert never channeled any ”space people” as so many of the other mediums. Instead the communicators presented themselves as ordinary individuals who had lived on earth before.

Meade Layne was well acquinted with all types of paranormal phenomena and had already in 1936 published an article, Experiments in Evoking Images, published in The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research (vol 30, no 9). After three years of work together with Mark Probert he published the booklet Mediums and Mediumship in 1949. Regarding the question of spirit identity he concluded: ”Much importance is attached, in some quarters, to establishing the alleged identity of spirit communicators. The question seems of little importance to the present writer, except when spiritism is considered only in its consolatory and religious aspects. The basic question is whether any intelligent and excaranate operator is present; and beyond this, the importance of the communication lies in its content, whether it is intellectually and morally profitable, and whether it conveys any information not easily aviable by normal means.” (p. 14).

Mark Probert

Like Meade Layne I personally, during more than a decade, had the privilege to investigate and become good friends with the Swedish contactee couple Sture and Turid Johansson. In the Autumn of 1976 Sture became a deep trance channeler. The first individual to come through was named Simeno later to be replaced by Ambres, who claimed that his latest incarnation was as an Egyptian merchant, Rameno Charafez, living around 1,000 years B.C. The teachings of Ambres became very popular and soon a group formed around the couple. In the 1980s Sture och Turid moved to the north of Värmland, building a center attracting many followers who came from all over the world to listen to the Ambres teachings. Sture became very famous in the 1980s when celebreties like Shirley MacLaine and Dennis Weaver visited the center in Sweden. Sture and Turid travelled around the world and I have letters and postcards posted from California, Hawaii and Mexico. Sture also figures in the miniseries Out On a Limb from 1987, based on the bestselling book by Shirley Maclaine.

Out On A Limb, Swedish edition

In 1976-1977 I participated in several trance sessions at the home of Sture och Turid and hade many long conversations with Ambres. I taped these sessions and they became important as they taught me a lot of how trance communication works and the problem of interpretation. During the seven or eight seances in 1976-1977 when I participated there was no really new or unknown facts regarding UFOs or paranormal phenomena presented by Simeno. It was essentially a summary of the views discussed in the meditation group we belonged to, although expressed in a somewhat novel form. I do not state this fact to belittle the Sture Johansson channelings. The teachings of Simeno and Ambres are in many respects inspiring and beautiful, a combination of Theosophy, spiritualism and Advaita mysticism. There is no fanaticism, life-negating ascetiscism or political extremism in the messages.

Sture Johansson channeling Ambres, with wife Turid

As it is actually more or less impossible to determine the real identity of the ”spirits” in channeled communications I agree with Meade Layne that the only option left is assessing the philosophical and intellectual quality of the messages. Mainstream academic, materialist, reductionist psychology usually regard the channeling phenomenon as the effect of a subconsciously created personality. This may be the answer in some cases. The esoteric explanation is somewhat different. Here are quotes from three esoteric sources of interest as alternative paradigms:

” And, you have heard of and read about a good many Seers, in the past and present centuries, such as Swedenborg, Boehme, and others. Not one among the number but thoroughly honest, sincere, and as intelligent, as well educated; aye, even learned… Tell me, my friend, do you know of two that agree? And why, since truth is one, and that putting entirely the question of discrepancies in details aside — we do not find them agreeing even upon the most vital problems..." (The Mahatma Letters to A.P .Sinnett, Letter 48).

”Unless regularly initiated and trained — concerning the spiritual insight of things and the supposed revelations made unto man in all ages from Socrates down to Swedenborg and "Fern" — no self-tutored seer or clairaudient ever saw or heard quite correctly." (The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett, Letter 40).

In Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle by Alice Bailey (pp. 76-77) the Tibetan adept D.K. givet these interesting figures regarding channeled messages:

”1. Messages emanating from the relatively nice, well-trained subconscious nature of the recipient. These well up from the subconscious but are regarded by the recipient as coming from an outside source…These messages are normally innocuous, sometimes beautiful, because they are a mixture of what the recipients have read and gathered from the mystical writing or have heard from Christian sources and the Bible. It is really the content of their right thinking along spiritual lines and can do no one any harm, but is of no true importance whatsoever. It accounts, however, for eighty-five percent (85%) of the so-called telepathic or inspired writings so prevalent at this time.

2. Impressions from the soul, which are translated into concepts and written down by the personality; the recipient is deeply impressed by the relatively high vibration which accompanies them… This accounts for eight percent (8%) of the writings and communications put before the general public by aspirants today.

3. Teachings given by a senior or more advanced disciple on the inner planes to a disciple under training or who has just been admitted into an Ashram. These teachings bear the impress and conclusions of the senior disciple and are frequently of value; they may—and often do—contain information of which the recipient is totally unaware. The criterion here is that nothing (literally nothing) will concern the recipient, either spiritually or mentally or in any other way connected with his personality, nor will they contain the platitudes of the religious background of the recipient. They will account for five percent (5%) of the teaching given, but this is in relation to the entire world and the percentage does not refer to some one occult group, one religious faith or one nation. The recognition of this is of vital importance.

4. Communications from a Master to His disciple. This accounts for two percent (2%) of the entire telepathic receptivity, demonstrated by humanity as a whole throughout the entire world. Western students would here do well to remember that the subjective Eastern student is far more prone to telepathic receptivity than is his Western brother…”

Alice Bailey

Finally a comment from the Swedish esotericist HenryT. Laurency:
”What most characterizes spiritualists is that they permit themselves to be guided by beings in the emotional world, highly developed “spirits in the spiritual world”. The only comment necessary here is that even the most highly developed beings in the emotional world lack a true knowledge of reality and life. That knowledge cannot be acquired in the worlds of man… Spiritualists think that the medium is protected by so-called controls, who see to it that no unworthy beings use the physical envelopes of the medium. However, these “controls” have never reached beyond the emotional stage, the stage of the mystic, and they lack the requisite esoteric knowledge. They have no other knowledge of reality than the one they acquired once when in physical incarnation, and the one they receive through “pupils” who have studied esoterics. Usually, these “controls” are old Indian yogis who are detained in the emotional world through the philosophical systems they have accepted.” (Henry T. Laurency, Knowledge of Life Three, chapter on Spiritualism).

None of these esoteric authors mention the possibility of communicating with extraterrestrial visitors. In this area we find another problem not addressed: psychic communication with the help of technological instruments as mentioned by George Van Tassel and Daniel Fry. But whatever the form of communiction, the problem of identification is just as relevant when it comes to physical contacts. How do we know the visitors are what they claim to be? My favourite heretic among ufologists, John Keel put it this way: ”Suppose a strange metallic disk covered with flashing colored lights settled in your backyard and a tall man in a one-piece silver space suit got out. Suppose he looked unlike any man you had ever seen before, and when you asked him where he was from, he replied, "I am from Venus. " Would you argue with him?” (Operation Trojan Horse, p. 214).

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sven Schalin 1925-2017

Today there are not many ufologists left of the first pioneers from the 1950s. Recently the AFU board members were informed that one of Sweden´s real oldboys in our movement, Sven Schalin died on October 13, 2017. It is unfortunate the this sad message didn´t reach us until now as we stilll don´t know if Schalin´s UFO archive has been saved. Many years ago we were allowed to copy some of his material but as for all the original reports, photos, correspondence etc. we fear it has ended up in the local dump. The tragic fate of many rare and unique ufo archives.

Sven Schalin in 2014

Perhaps even more frustrating was the information that Sven Schalin in his will donated around four million SEK to the Swedish Anthroposophical movement. Schalin had for many years been an AFU supporter and we had of course hoped he would remember AFU in his will. With four million SEK we could have realized our old dream of having one large archive facility instead of the present 14 premises, scattered in different buildings. But we have been around since 1973 so we just keep on hoping that someone on this little planet find our work and efforts worthy of a major donation or remember us in his or her will.

Sven Schalin was born i Gothenburg 1925. He studied aerospace engineering at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg and in 1954 moved to Linköping, working for SAAB, the Swedish aerospace and defense company, founded in 1937. During his engineering career at SAAB, Schalin worked in developing famous Swedish fighter aircraft Saab J 35 Draken,  Saab 37 Viggen and Saab JAS 39 Gripen. He retired in 1990.

Sven Schalin lecturing at the UFO-Sweden annual conference, Jönköping 1974.

It was during his work at SAAB that Schalin first heard of flying saucers. In 1956 a colleague at SAAB asked if he had read Flying Saucers From Outer Space by Donald Keyhoe. Schalin read the book and became deeply fascinated by the subject. Even more so when a man from British Intelligence visited SAAB and related further information. This man later sent a list of UFO literature to Schalin who read all he could find on the subject and also became a member of NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena), headed by Donald Keyhoe.

The first major UFO case investigated by Schalin was the Domsten close encounter. On the evening of December 19, 1958, two young men, Stig Rydberg and Hans Gustafsson claimed to have encountered a landed saucer outside Domsten in southern Sweden. They were attacked by three or four formless creatures who try to drag them into the saucer. After a fierce fight the boys escaped, the creatures entered the craft and it took off. This sensational story was printed in several newspapers and was even investigated by the Swedish police and military. Sven Schalin interviewed the boys assisted by Dr. Ingeborg Kjellin (MD) but although skeptical they found no natural explanation. But in 1989 my AFU colleagues Anders Liljegren and Clas Svahn disclosed, after years of  in-depth research and detective work, that the case was a simple hoax inspired by the Tom Trick science fiction series published in a Swedish magazine.

Sven Schalin (left) and Ingeborg Kjellin interviewing Stig Rydberg and Hans Gustafsson

Much because of articles in the magazine Se, 1959 and Såningsmannen 1960, Sven Schalin became a well known figure in Swedish ufology, resulting in public lectures and many contacts with UFO witnesses. In 1959 he also began working together with Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the Parthenon publishing house and for a few years was also a board member of Parthenon. Nicolaisen published several of the classic contactee books on the 1950s and 60s. She was a demanding and hard working woman, not easy to get along with as she expected co-workers to be totally devoted to the Parthenon spiritual mission. This, coupled with different opinions on the UFO problem, made Schalin leave the Parthenon board in 1963.

Part of article in Såningsmannen no 4, 1960.

The close co-operation with Dr. Ingeborg Kjellin, during the Domsten investigation, also influenced Schalin in another respect. Kjellin was a theosophist and inspired Schalin to study theosophical classics, Blavatsky etc. for a few years. Influenced by a working colleague at SAAB he soon changed his interest to Rudolf Steiner´s Anthroposophy which led to a break with Kjellin. Schalin became of member of the Anthroposophical Society, and would conintue to advocate the Steiner worldview all his life. In a letter to Edith Nicolaisen July 4, 1962, he tried to explain his shifting position regarding UFOs and spirituality:

”I am still very much interested in the UFO/IFO issue but I don´t share the same views as previously. My assessment has changed and I am rather confused regarding the implications of the UFO phenomena and contact stories. I don´t believe that the basic human problems and our relation to Christ involves UFOs. No such phenomena are required in understanding spiritual values and what is important in our life. This has been clearly evinced by Rudolf Steiner. Forgive me if I am wrong but I simply cannot view things as Miss Nicolaisen. Maybe I am not spiritually mature. My interest in spiritual matters has developed rather all at once, probably because too much has happened which has been difficult to digest. Then it is necessary to seek solid ground beneath the feet or your life will be a total chaos. And for me Anthroposophy is that solid ground. I also hope that via this teaching come to a better understand of UFOs and what they imply.”

The influence of Anthroposophy on the UFO movement has been quite extensive but so far very little documented. A list of ufologists more or less influenced by Rudolf Steiner would include Allen Hynek, Gordon Creighton, Trevor James Constable, Gordon Allen, Dan and Eileen Lloyd. Personally I find it rather surprising that so many leading ufologists have been inspired by the rather odd mixture of Christian mysticism and esotericism advocated by Rudolf Steiner. The Ahriman-Lucifer demonology of Anthroposophy is reminiscent of ideas presented by fundamental Christian groups where UFOs are usually interpreted as demonic. If these ufologists had instead followed the more balanced approach, interpreting UFOs from the core Esoteric Tradition (Blavatsky, Bailey, Laurency) as exemplified by Desmond Leslie, Meade Layne and Riley Crabb the result would have been different.

Sven Schalin did not personally investigate many UFO incidents but one case he found of great interest was the Kolmården close encounter August 23, 1967. In the small community Kolmården, close to Norrköping, two teenagers observed strange lights and a small, skinny figure carrying some sort of instrument. Schalin never revealed the identity of the witnesses but some time ago investigators from UFO-Sweden found and interviewed the woman involved, who confirmed the incident.

On June 8, 1992 Anders Liljegren and I interviewed Sven Schalin at his home in Linköping. Here a few quotes from this interview:

Håkan Blomqvist (HB): How would you summarize your view of the UFO problem today?

Sven Schalin (SS): In the beginning I believed it was space ships. Further on I became more suspicious when reports of objects formed and dissolved appeared. There were many such cases and then I realized this was something different.

HB: But you didn´t interpret these cases as manipulations of a higher technology?

SS: I became convinced there is a spiritual world and from this world entities can manifest. I began to suspect they are deceiving us. I believe there are both negative and positive forces involved in all this. Today I favor the theory of materialisations.

HB: Why did you end your active involvement in ufology?

SS: When you realize that there are very treacherous things involved you want to study the spiritual aspect more. I didn´t want to dig deeper into ufology but chose to study Anthroposophy instead. But I am very confused about all this talk of crashed saucers. Where do they come from?

HB: Anthroposophists generally have a very negative view of UFOs?

SS: I had expected to get some answers to the UFO enigma through Anthroposophy but I didn´t. There is a man called Hans Mändl, a leading anthroposophist. He meditated on this enigma and I received a very brief answer. He implied that this were some form of cosmic jokers. That is all the information I got this way. Anthroposophists are reluctant to have anything to do with UFOs.

Sven Schalin wrote very few UFO-articles during his active years. He did present a summary of his views in the magazine UFO-Information no 8, 1971, Ännu gäckar de oss (They still elude us). Schalin advocated continued serious research also involving the non-material aspects. I admire his courage to publicly stand up for UFO reality in 1959, especially with regard to his position as engineer at SAAB. He was once ordered to come to the then technical director at SAAB, Hans Brising. Schalin feared a reprimand because of his UFO interest but instead Brising told of his serious interest in the subject but didn´t want this information to be made public. Sven Schalin was a brave pioneer in the Swedish UFO movement.