Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

To all my friends and blog readers all over the planet and possibly also from other planets and spheres in our multiverse
I wish you all
A Happy New Year
May all your dreams come true in 2014

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pre-1947 cases

1993 was a very eventful year in AFU history. From January 23 to February 28 we arranged a large UFO exhibition at Norrköping City Museum. The result was lots of articles in newspapers and several interviews on local radio and TV. We also received many UFO reports. Of special interest were some observations occuring before 1947.

Me showing the exhibition in 1993

One of these observations, which unfortunately I never found time to document by field investigation, was reported by Inga-Lill Emilsson, then living at Sankt Anna, not far from Norrköping. She called me after a TV interview on February 26, 1993 and related the following experience which happened in 1933 when she was five years old, living in a cottage in Östergötland. One day she noticed an object on the ground that looked like a saucer with a dome on top. Two small "people" emerged from the object, walked up to Inga-Lill and told her not to be afraid. They were clothed in dark green coveralls. Inside the object she noticed som kind of instrument panel. I was never told how the experience ended.

Another encounter also made by a very young girl occured in September 1925. The witness, Elvy Jogerö, sent a detailed report to UFO-Sweden in 1980 of what happened to her when she was eight years old. I quote from her own account: "This happened on an early Sunday morning between September 20-30, 1925. The time was around 6.30 A.M. and the location Åbyggeby in Ockelbo. I had just risen and took a walk around our home in the countryside. I followed a small pathway to a bridge and a field where cows used to graze. It was daybreak and the weather was fine. Looking out over the field I noticed something that looked like two saucers put together. This phenomenon had the size of a car. It was blackgrey and stood on four legs in the field.

Artist illustration of the Elvy Jogerö encounter

I don´t know how long I observered this strange contraption when I noticed a ladder being hurled into the object and at the same time a ring around the object started rotating. There was a low swishing sound and it rose slowly. I never observered any creatures. I felt a strange kind of fear and ran home to relate what had happened but no one believed me and my best friend just laughed when I told of my experience."

Drawing by witness Elvy Jogerö

An interesting pre-1947 humanoid case was documented in 1995 by UFO-Sweden field investigators Kurt Persson and Berit Bergqvist who visited the witness, 78 year old Bertil Berg, living in Säter, Dalarna. He told of an encounter that happened in 1932 or 1933. Bertil was an active athletic and one day when he was out jogging not far from Säter he suddenly became aware of a strange aluminium coloured craft on the ground in a forest glade. The craft was around 8-10 meters in length and about 2 meters in height. Bertil´s first thought was that this must be an airplane but he couldn´t see any landing gear.

Berit Bergqvist and Kurt Persson on a visit to AFU September 21, 1991

On top of the craft there were two small people, not more than 1,20 meters, wearing silver coloured attires. Bertil could not see their faces. The small people looked like they were working on something. Bertil felt no fear and started walking closer but was abruptly stopped by an invisible wall. He tried walking around the craft to find a way to get nearer but every time he was stopped by this wall which extended around 75 meters from the craft. After about 15 minutes he gave up and continued his jogging. When he returned, half an hour later, the craft was gone and there was a burned circle on the ground. At home he told his father, but he didn´t believe him. Only his brother became interested and they visited the spot were the ground was burned. Nothing grew on this place for several years afterwards.

Illustration by witness Bertil Berg

Thursday, December 19, 2013

AFU Shop

For several weeks AFU´s most hardworking idealist, Anders Liljegren, has been preparing our new venture the AFU Shop. The site has now been launched. Buying items from our shop is an excellent way of supporting the archive and acquiring rare and exclusive books and magazines on UFOs, Forteana and paranormal topics. The information below is copied from Anders´ "semi-commercial advert".

Anders Liljegren

In April 2013, the AFU board formally decided to change the meaning of our AFU acronym from Archives for UFO research to Archives for the Unexplained. This reflects our widening area of interest within the paranormal field. Awaiting the needed approval from Swedish authorities the new name is, at the moment, in a state of limbo. We cannot fully use the it everywhere until we get the confirmation, but we believe you all know about AFU and what we stand for.

AFU receives donated collections “by the tons” from many parts of the globe. The number of un-needed copies of books & magazines is growing with every new donation. When, for instance, we have three copies of a book we would (generally speaking) waste space by adding copies number 4, 5 or 6 to our shelves. We now have thousands of items that we can offer to collectors and researchers in exchange deals or to sell to create new resources for the AFU foundation. You can rest assured that with the new AFU Shop we will not forget our exchange partners, but organizing exchanges is very time-costly and the AFU foundation urgently needs money to keep everything rolling. We are always open to exchange deals.

So, on AFU Shop you will find some 450 books & magazines, with the number increasing every week. Some items are extremely rare and thus highly priced, even in the 100-150 USD region. Others are offered at the bargain price of just 1 USD. We even sell “reading copies” that barely hold together, if you are just after reading the text and don’t need the very nice copy to display and be proud of. On the other hand, we also have items that are “New” (seemingly never read) or in nearly mint condition. We have looked at what seems to be the market value on sites like Abebooks, Amazon and eBay and then tried, generally, to be a little cheaper, without losing possible income for the AFU foundation.

We decided to always use US dollars and never with cents (thus no “9.99”-type prices), and to always use PayPal for the payments to make it simple for everyone. PayPal can now also handle bank cards so you don’t need to define a PayPal account. If you want to pay in some other way we are open for that.

This is a beginning. In our future plans we will put up a large number of magazines & magazine volumes to create space for incoming collections. Our total catalog as published on AFU Shop will become a permanent list of items that might turn up here, now and then, in new copies. When an item/edition/volume has sold out, for the moment, this will be apparent from the “Sold out" marking in the catalog, but there is always a hope for more copies in the future so we’ll keep the item listed. You can always check back later to see if new copies have arrived, or you can email us a request to be put on our wait list for that item whenever another copy comes in. To be the first in line. We have set up the address to handle e-mails for the shop.

To keep the shop going we are very dependent on some success. When the monthly costs for the shop have been paid-off what’s left will go directly into our monthly budget. For the moment we are looking for money to pay for shipping collections to Sweden from the UK and to pay for a much-needed sign system to guide us - and our visitors - through the shelves of our 20.000+ volume library.

At AFU Shop you will also have the chance to become an international sponsor of AFU. If you like what we are doing you can sponsor us at the level that you choose. You will find AFU Sponsorship at the top of the Book menu. You can use the shop for sponsorship payments without buying books, or you can add a sponsorship when you buy one or several items from us. Please let us know if you would like to become a regular sponsor and we’ll keep reminding you every month, once each quarter or once each year.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Paradigms and intellectual integrity

"Belief is the enemy" is an often quoted maxim from one of my favourite nonconformist authors, american journalist John A. Keel. The actual quote can be found on page 46 in the original 1975 edition of his classic The Mothman Prophecies. Keel´s wonderful humour and refreshingly irreverent attitude to our "forbidden sciences" was a breath of fresh air to me when I first encountered his books as a young ufologist in the 1970s. He became, in several ways, a mentor in the often wacky underworld of cults and strange beliefs you are confronted with as a field investigator of UFOs and paranormal phenomena.

As my new and rather controversial book Gudarna återvänder. Ufo och den esoteriska traditionen ( Return of the Gods. UFOs and the Esoteric Tradition) has just been published I find it necessary to issue a few statements as I anticipate that several readers will miss the point of the book. Skeptics will probably relegate me to the cultist crowd and proclaim that I have lost my intellectual integrity - if I ever had one? Naive new agers will believe they have found a kindred soul and send me their latest communication from master xyz, confirming all I have written. Then I am reminded of a quote from that wonderful iconoclast Charles Fort: "Now and then admirers of my good works write to me, and try to convert me into believing things that I say".

My book can be read on several levels. First and most obvious it is a documentation of the influence of ideas from the esoteric tradition on the development of the international UFO movement. In Sweden this is especially noticeable as the first UFO organizations in 1957-58 were inaugurated by active members of The Theosophical Society (Adyar). Secondly I present a version of Vallée´s esoteric intervention theory as a possible scenario to explain  the experiences of some of the first generation UFO contactees: George Adamski, Orfeo Angelucci, Daniel Fry, George van Tassel and Howard Menger. Finally I use the esoteric tradition as an alternative paradigm or road map studying the totality of UFO and paranormal phenomena. While Vallee in much of his writings concentrates on the "Messengers of Deception" I suggest that there also may be other and somewhat nicer players in the game.

I hope that most readers will understand that to me the esoteric intervention theory is only a theory or alternative hypothesis. As a critical and intellectual humanist I find the only viable attitude to the esoteric tradition to regard it as an challenging paradigm in trying to interpret UFOs and paranormal phenomena. And most important - I may be wrong. That is for coming generations of ufologists, forteans, esotericists, academics and students of paranormal phenomena to decide. Critics will of course also notice that I present a conspiracy theory. But it is something so trend braking and untimely as a conspiracy of the "good guys", what I jokingly refer to as the HIA - Higher Intelligence Agency. A review of my book can be found at the blog Nya il Convito by Swedish poet and author Mohamed Omar

Students of esotericism who happen to be too much of believers will perhaps be surprised to learn that the belief-is-the-enemy attitude is actually recommended by the custodians of the Ancient Wisdom. Alice Bailey, amanuensis for the Tibetan, constantly reiterates that the information imparted is to be regarded as a working hypothesis. "Our attitude should be that of reasonably enquiry and our interest that of the investigating philosopher, willing to accept an hypothesis on the basis of its possibility... Those open minded investigators who are willing to accept its fundamentals as a working hypothesis until these are demonstrated to be erroneous. They will be frankly agnostic..." Alice Bailey, A Treatise on White Magic, 1971 (orig. 1934) pp 6, 32).

In this treatise adjacent to the discussion on hypothesis there is also an interesting comment on paranormal phenomena: "We stand now towards the close of a great transition period and the subtler realms of life are closer than ever before; unusual phenomena and inexplicable happenings are commoner  than at any time heretofore, whilst matters telepathic, psychic and peculiar occupy the attention even of sceptics, scientists and religionists. Reasons for the appearance of phenomena are being everywhere sought and societies are formed for their investigation and demonstration."

Finally some AFU news. Yesterday the UFO-Sweden board held its meeting at the AFU premises. Anders Liljegren presented an interesting offer we have recently received for new and very much larger premises to house the entire archive. The offer looks promising even from an economic viewpoint. Should this become a reality one of our most cherished dreams will come true as the possibility of also building a museum is part of the project. The AFU board will inspect the premises as soon as possible.

Tobias Lindgren (left) and UFO-Sweden´s new chairman Anders Berglund at the board meeting

Friday, December 13, 2013

Colin Wilson 1931-2013

One of the most fascinating authors and philosophers of our time, Colin Wilson, passed away on December 5, 2013. He has been a constant intellectual companion since I discovered his books in the 1970s. My first memory related to Colin Wilson is reading The Strength to Dream during on train journey in 1977, travelling to The Swedish School of Library and Information Science in Borås. His book had a remarkable effect on my state of mind. I felt a kind of bubbling-over of sheer delight or a form of peak experience á la Maslow. Here was a young author with a brilliant mind, presenting an optimistic philosophy and a challenging theory of the evolution of consciousness.

When Colin Wilson´s first book, The Outsider, appeared in 1956 he was hailed as a literary genius by the critics. It was a study of the outsider in art and literature and became an instant best-seller. In subsequent books Wilson developed what he called the new existentialism. The doom and gloom of classic existentialism of Sartre, Camus was to Wilson a blind alley that didn´t recognize the potentialities of human consciousness. "Most Western thinkers seem to agree that the world is in an appaling state, and that the correct attitude is pessimism tempered by cautious hope. For my own part, I believe that man has arrived at the most interesting point in his evolution, and that the future has never looked more promising." (The Essential Colin Wilson, 1987, p. 325).

For an intellectual and inquisitive outsider like Colin Wilson, obsessed with the quest for meaning, it was only a matter of time before he would enter deep water and try to grapple issues like mysticism, occultism and paranormal phenomena. When his monumental tome The Occult (795 pages) appeared in 1971 he had definitely left mainstream philosophy and embarked on a journey the literary critics disliked. The "rise and fall of Colin Wilson" was the theme of an article in The Guardian August 12, 2006. The author, Harry Ritchie, wrote that "his ideas being just far too daft to be taken seriously".

Colin Wilson was an enormously prolific author with well over 100 books of fiction and non-fiction. His bibliography is impressive. Although the quality is somewhat uneven. The basic theme in his writings in that we have a "faculty x", that there is an evolution of consciousness and that reality is much more "magical" than what most people think. I wrote the preface to the Swedish edition of his book on the philosophy of Gurdjieff, The War Against Sleep, (Kampen mot sömnen, 1984) and also a letter to Colin Wilson in 1984 asking him the obvious corollary to his theory. If there is an evolution of consciousness, someone must have climbed the ladder? The esoteric idea of a secret society of adepts, The Hidden Directorate" would then be just a question of natural evolution. I also sent him the English edition of a book by Swedish esoteric philosopher Henry T. Laurency for perusal. I received a kind reply on January 20, 1984, reproduced below.

Although Colin Wilson was open minded to the possibility of "super-human intelligences" I was a bit surprised that he didn´t refer to him own statement regarding the existence of the Thesophical adepts in The Occult: "Olcott and various other theosophists actually saw Koot Hoomi and other masters under circumstances that rule out HPB´s interference. And on several occasions, the masters left behind souvenirs of the visit - a silk handkerchief for example." (p. 440)

Colin Wilson also wrote a couple of books on the UFO phenomenon. The most extensive with the title Alien Dawn. An Investigation into the Contact Experience (1998). An attempt to summarize the vast complexity of the subject. Like Jacques Vallee he was convinced that UFOs were somehow linked to the evolution of humankind.

The books by Colin Wilson are always intellectual adventures. Whether he writes about psychology, philosophy, literature, sex, crime or the paranormal there is generally new insights and challenging theories. He could probable have written a fascinating book about washing dishes from an existential viewpoint. In an interview in Fortean Times, October 2004, author Gary Lachman presented the writings of Colin Wilson as "the most challenging and stimulating of the last half century." I agree.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

An interesting letter

In the extensive collection of books donated to AFU by Hilary Evans I found a first edition (1903) of The Other Side of Death by Theosophist Charles Leadbeater. A comprehensive study of various types of paranormal phenomena. To my surprise there was also an original letter by Charles Leadbeater, written on January 6, 1909, put between the pages and probably forgotten by the recipient. The letter proved to be of special significance from a ufological perspective as it concerns the possibility of a medium visiting other planets. Mr. Leadbeater writes: "You may take it that it is quite impossible that your mediums should have visited other planets, though no doubt they quite honestly they think they did. Any non-human entities engaged would probably be nature-spirits."

The comment by Leadbeater is interesting as it was written sixty years before Jacques Vallee´s classic Passport to Magonia. From folklore to Flying Saucers. What Leadbeater is trying to explain is that nature-spirits have the ability to deceive human beings into observing illusionary scenes and playing various other tricks on the mind. John Keel, with his theory of the deceptive ultraterrestrials, is probably smiling in his heaven if he happen to read this. In the first book from the pen of Charles Leadbeater, The Astral Plane (1895) he has this to say anent these entities: "Their forms are many and various, but most frequently human in shape and somewhat diminutive in size. Like almost all inhabitants of the astral plane, they are able to assume any appearance at will... Under ordinary conditions they are not visible to physical sight at all, but they have the power of making themselves so by materialization when they wish to be seen... in most cases when they come into contact with man they either show indifference or dislike, or else take an impish delight in deceiving him and playing childish tricks upon him." (p. 111-112, 2007 edition).

The nature-spirit explanation appears reasonable in the cases I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, but could this theory also be applied to another somewhat more complicated contact case? The percipient Jorge Z. was born in Honduras, 47 years old with a wife and four kids. On January 20, 2008 Jorge Z. is travelling in his car a few miles east of Norrtälje, north of Stockholm. Suddenly a bright light appears over the road and the wooded area. The light is a combination of yellow, white and blue and is moving quickly. Jorge assumes it could be a chopper. Suddenly there is a voice in his head ordering him to keep on driving. The voice is very clear: "move to the left", "continue". After a couple of miles Jorge enter a place called Norrtäljeviken and he parks the car. Standing beside the car he can hear a sound like a generator. Looking up he observeras a saucer shaped, silver coloured object with a light in the middle. Jorge becomes very frightened and says to himself: "A flying saucer. that´s not possible. God help me".

Photo and drawing by Jorge Z.

A light appears at the bottom om the object, shining down on the ground. In this beam an entity is floating down and start approaching the car. The entity makes a halt about 8-10 meters from Jorge and the beam is retracted into the object. Jorge tries to run but he is paralysed. The entity approaches and Jorge notice its large dark, oblique eyes. It is not more than 140-150 centimeter with a large head and long, skinny arms with four fingers. No nose, only two small holes and no ears. The entity is completely naked, hairless and lacking genitals. Jorge compared the feet to that of a duck.

Drawing by Jorge Z.

 "Don´t be afraid, I will not hurt you", says the entity and put his "hand" on Jorge´s shoulder. The hand feels exceptionally hard.” A short conversation ensues:
Miguel: My God, who are you? A god or an angel?
Entity: "We are neither Gods nor angels. My name is Horos and I come from Reticulum 4, a planet very far from earth. A long time ago you were chosen for this contact. Some of your ancestors were in contact with us and now is the time to bring a message to humanity. You can´t reach all the world but many people. There are already people who have been prepared to help you and with their help you will deliver the message."

Jorge ask if he can touch the entity? Horos says yes and Jorge touches his arm which is warm and feels like hard flesh without a skeleton. After about twenty minutes Jorge is ordered to come back the next day at three p.m. The object appears again and the entity is lifted up in the beam. The object disappears very quick, like turning of a light.

Map of the area

 When Jorge arrives at home he is very upset and find it difficult to sleep. On January 21 he return to the same spot. This time an object comes up out of the water in Norrtäljeviken. Three entities leave the object to meet Jorge. Besides Horos there is now Ziros and Andrak. They want to help earth humanity and claim there soon will be an open contact. Jorge is requested to contact church leaders to explain that they are here. After a rather long conversation the three entities board the object again and it disappears in the water.

Second contact. Drawing by Jorge Z.
Jorge contacts UFO-Sweden and on February 3, 2008 I make a short interview on the phone. He is nervous, upset and don´t know how to handle the situation. Later I receive a short written report and drawings of his experiences. We communicate a few times by phone and mail and suddenly I receive the last email saying that he has left for the United States. After this I have not been able to trace Jorge.

So what do have here, given the story is genuine? Cosmic jokers, deceiving nature-spirits, elementals, biological robots created by a superior technology, alien visitors? Jorge appeared sincere but confused and he was very glad I took the time to listen to what he had to say. Unfortunately I never had a chance to follow up the case and visit him for a thorough documentation. Maybe he is now spreading the message of Horos somewhere in the world.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Who was Paul M. Vest?

Was there a hidden hand, an ancient esoteric society behind some of the first UFO contactees of the 1950s? Were George Adamski, Orfeo Angelucci, Daniel Fry, George Van Tassel, Howard Menger a.o. involved in a test made by this hidden group? This is the controversial basic theme and theory presented and documented in my new book Gudarna återvänder. Ufo och den esoteriska traditionen (Return of the Gods. UFOs and the Esoteric Tradition). The book can now be ordered directly from Nomen Publishing House or Bokus.

I have discussed this variation of Vallee´s esoteric intervention theory in several earlier blog entries. Much additional data and a new dimensions to this theory was provided by the Theosophical scholar Joscelyn Godwin who kindly sent me part of an unpublished manuscript documenting a hidden hand behind the outbreak of the first, very physical, spiritualistic phenomena in the 19th century. He has also delved into this intriguing hypothesis in a four part series of articles, The Hidden Hand, in the academic journal Theosophical History 1990-91. According to official theosophical documents, written by Constance Wachtmeister, Charles Leadbeater and Annie Besant the first 19th century spiritualist phenomena were created by a secret lodge, The Yucatan Brotherhood, custodians of the Ancient Wisdom and a branch of the planetary guardians. The object was to challenge the materialistic worldview by creating “unexplained” phenomena. Was this lodge also the hidden hand behind the 1950s contactees?

An important source of information that made me seriously consider the possibility of an esoteric society behind some of the 1950s contactees was several articles by the american journalist Paul M. Vest. He was a frequent contributor to Fate magazine in the 1950s and 60s. Vest was obviously very well informed on the esoteric tradition and paranormal phenomena. His article on Theosophy and Helena Petrovna Blavatsky in Fate (October 1951) received favourable comments from Boris de Zirkoff, editor of the Collected Writings of H. P. Blavatsky (Fate, February-March 1952).Vest wrote articles on subjects like medium Daniel Dunglas Home, fairies, Alice Bailey, The Count of Saint-Germain and he also revealed several personal paranormal experiences in Fate´s column True Mystic Experiences.

But the most important and really intriguing article from the pen of Paul M. Vest, Venusians Walk Our Streets was printed in Ray Palmer´s magazine Mystic Magazine, August 1954, also reprinted in The Journal of Borderland Research, March-April 1982. One day in the summer of 1953 Vest receives a phone call from a man calling himself Bill, who asks for a meeting to discuss some articles. He appear in a rather mysterious way at a bus station in Santa Monica, California and they travel by car to Vest´s apartment. Bill has dark, almost black eyes, black hair, high cheekbones which give him a somewhat oriental look. His skin is unusually white and the fingers very long and tapering and seem to be without joints. What makes Paul Vest very intrigued is that Bill´s hand feels like it has no bone structure beneath the skin.

Years of research and experience in occult and paranormal phenomena has made Paul Vest something of a skeptic: "I have met swamis, yogis, mediums, clairvoyants, mystics and self styled messiahs by the score, but I have never been duped by any one of them, even those who were sincere but self-deceived. Also I have met several persons whom I know without any doubt to be true spiritual adepts; even as I have known several sensitives, or mediums, who are honest, sincere and able to produce authentic paranormal phenomena." But this person, Bill, "was like no person I have ever encountered before".

Bill wants Paul Vest to contact and write an article about Orfeo Angelucci as he has made a trip in "what is popularly known as a flying saucer." After a skeptical comment by Paul the stranger continues: "Orfeo needs help now! That´s the primary reason They sent me. To request that you aid him in telling his experiences to more people." Bill mention that Angelucci has met highly developed extraterrestrials but that he is not one of them. Bill also give name and telephone number to several other individuals who have been contacted and ask Paul to check the stories. One of these is Maurice Beam, reporter on Los Angeles Times.

Orfeo Angelucci 1912-1993

 When Bill has left, Paul Vest contacts the people on the list and they all confirm meeting this strange man, also known as Mr. Wheeler. Orfeo Angeluccis wife Mabel was not amused by the visit: "Oh, that man gave me the creeps. He rang the doorbell one day and introduced himself with an odd name I can´t remember. He seemed to know everything about us. It frightened me - there was something so strange and downright weird about him." But Paul Vest follows the advice of Bill and write three articles for Mystic Magazine on the experiences of Orfeo Angelucci, published in November 1953, May 1954 and October 1954.

The story of Mr. Wheeler´s involvement with many contactees and ufologists in the 1950s is very well documented in several books and articles. A good source is The Great Venusian Mystery by James Crenshaw (Fate, June 1966). Even the skeptical ufologists James Moseley regarded it as "one of the strangest saucer cases I have ever been involved with" (The Wright Field Story, 1971, p. 13). I have found many new data and documents on this case, presented in my book, indicating an apparent connection with the esoteric tradition and a hidden hand behind the UFO contactees in the 1950s. But I have not succeded in finding any biographical data on journalist Paul M. Vest and find it notable that no american ufologist have followed up on this case or made an interview with Paul M. Vest. Maybe someone reading this blog can provide more clues?

Whoever Bill or Mr. Wheeler was, during the short meeting, he revealed to Paul M. Vest a vast knowledge of the Ancient Wisdom. After his initial apprehension and skepticism Vest noted that his visitor "was a much wiser, gentler and more evolved being than I - and with infinitely greater perceptive ability." Who was this unknown visitor, sent by a secret group to promote the first UFO contactees?

Bill´s very realistic explanation as to why they don´t show themselves openly in our world comes to my mind when viewing the present situation in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico and many other countries: "Upon your earth the mere colour of one´s skin - a slight difference of religious belief - merely belonging to a different race or country - in fact the most trivial deviations precipitate animalistic belligerencies, hideous brutalities and the bloody slaughter of millions of your fellow creatures. Can you then truly be surprised when I tell you the the beings of certain other worlds view earth as earthlings might look upon a den of deadly serpents stinging each other to death."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

AFU festivity and history

AFU has been formally in existence since March 17, 1973. When working together during 40+ years it´s only natural that various traditions develop within the foundation. Thanks to Tobias Lindgren, now living close to the archive, we can add a new tradition to the list. Yesterday fourteen participants celebrated the AFU annual Christmas lunch and party. Tobias, Leif and Li had been working hard to prepare an excellent meal that we all enjoyed. I was especially pleased with the new Fortean beer called Yeti. A good alternative to my usual Hobgoblin.

The first table with the happy AFU gang

Our excellent chefs, Li, Leif and Tobias

The perfect Fortean beer

With my new book now soon in print the next project will be to rearrange the large AFU organizational files which hopefully will result  in an extensive monograph on the AFU history and development. The seven shelves with binders containing various historical documents, protocols, articles and correspondence will have to be better structured. It is only one of hundreds of projects in the archive but this one is high on my priority list.

The AFU organizational files

While perusing some old correspondence I found several historically interesting letters written by our AFU co-founder Kjell Jonsson, who sadly died already in 1986. These letters were written in 1974 when we were still not sure of what direction AFU should take. Our aim was building a foundation for serious UFO research in Sweden but in 1974 both Anders Liljegren and I were occupied with personal and practical issues. Our magazine Ufologen was folded in the Spring of 1974 and in the Autumn I moved to Stockholm and began my studies at Stockholms University.

Kjell Jonsson 1977

The practical work of keeping AFU alive then for a time rested on the shoulders of Kjell Jonsson. And it was in the beginning of 1974 that he got the brilliant idea of starting a UFO library. In a letter written February 12, 1974 to a Swedish ufologist  he tries to explain the situation: "I am now the only active AFU representative. AFU has closed down all former activities, our magazine Ufologen and field investigations. Instead I am presently engaged in planning a lending library of books and magazines and will also serve ufologists with copies of magazine articles." This was the beginning of what later became the large archive and library. So the credit for this idea should go to Kjell Jonsson who kept AFU going during the first years.

Later Anders Liljegren and I resumed our UFO research activites, especially when AFU moved to new premises in Norrköping in 1980. And beginning in the 1980s we were often interviewed on radio and TV and in magazines and newspapers. The collection of articles on AFU is quite extensive and is for me a source of both amusement and fascinating history.

Anders Liljegren interviewed in Teknikmagasinet no. 5, May 1984

Article from the Swedish daily Aftonbladet January 29, 1989

Anders Liljegren and I interviewed in Folkbladet February 12, 1993

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Return of the Gods. UFOs and the Esoteric Tradition

The title of this blog entry is an English translation of Gudarna återvänder. Ufo och den esoteriska traditionen, my new book that will be published in December by the Swedish books-on-demand publishing house Nomen förlag. To my knowledge this is the first extensive study of how ideas and assertions in the esoteric tradition has influenced the UFO movement, both from a scholarly and philosophic perspective. But it is also an attempt to formulate a variation of the esoteric intervention theory, presented by Jacques Vallee in several books and articles. In this respect it will certainly be the most controversial book I have ever written. The eye-catching cover with retro feeling has been designed by Tobias Lindgren, head of the UFO-Sweden report centre.

The ideas presented in this book have actually, in various ways, been on my mind since the end of the 1970s, as evidenced by my article The Esoteric Intervention Theory - a Preliminary Source Study, published in AFU Newsletter 1980. Two profound interests or passions have followed me all my life, the fascination and active field investigative work with the UFO enigma and a vivid search for a tenable worldview and philosophy. Gudarna återvänder (Return of the Gods) is a synthesis of these two interests and subjects. And as Jacques Vallee stated in the preface to Passport to Magonia - this is not a scientific book.

Historians of Religion will find lots of new information on the early contactee movement, folklorists will regard the study as a compilation of ideas from the neoreligious underground, scientifically oriented ufologists will find new avenues of research, scholars of esotericism will probably be delighted by the many new and unknown documents and skeptics will find new data, experiences and ideas that will increase their skepticism. Two of the chapters have in somewhat abbreviated versions been published in UFO-Sweden´s magazine UFO-Aktuellt. A study of how the Swedish UFO movement was started by members of the Theosophical Society (Adyar) (UFO-Aktuellt no. 4, 2012). And in the latest issue of UFO-Aktuellt (no.3 2013) a presentation of the spiritual quest of ufologists Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee and their profound interest in and commitment to the esoteric tradition.

In the history of ufology there have been some attempts to study and interpret the UFO phenomena in an esoteric context. But most of these studies have been made by esotericists with limited knowledge of UFO history and no field investigation experience. Desmond Leslie did an admirable first attempt in Flying Saucers Have Landed and his Commentary of George Adamski in the revised and enlarged edition 1970. Esotericist Dr. Douglas M. Baker in The Occult Significance of UFOs (1979) interpret UFOs basically as deva manifestations. David Tansley in Omens of Awareness (1977) has many interesting data but his interpretation of physical Nordic type contacts is a combination of Castaneda, psychology and John Keel´s elementals.

The books by Australian author Andrew Tomas is something of a treasure trove of unusual data on UFOs, ancient history and esotericism, but he relied heavely on Nicholas Roerich. In my view one of the most interesting investigators of UFOs and the esoteric tradition is Riley Crabb, Theosophist and director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation 1959-1985. All these authors and many more find their place in my book.

As a critical but open minded investigator of UFOs, paranormal phenomena and esotericism I consider it important to give a position statement on the very controversial esoteric tradition. Basically a humanist I regard the esoteric tradition as an interesting working hypothesis or alternative paradigm. But in my view it is a tradition worthy of consideration and investigation. Return of the Gods is a contribution to this study. Coming generations of ufologists, scholars and esotericists will determine whether The Esoteric Intervention Theory is tenable or a myth.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Doris Lessing, UFOs and sufism

On November 17 British author Doris Lessing (1919-2013) died, aged 94, at her home in London. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2007. Once asked what she considered her foremost works she answered that it was the five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argus: Archives, written between 1979-1983. This was a surprising answer to all who were not aware of Doris Lessing´s profound interest in mysticism and esoteric traditions, especially Sufism. That the Sufi tradition was an important philosophy and the ideological basis of many of her later novels was totally missed in the obituaries and articles in the Swedish press. The word Sufism is not even mentioned in the largest newspapers Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet or the local daily, Norrköpings Tidningar. By omitting this important influence the Swedish biographical articles become notably onesided and biased. The reason is probably that mainstream Swedish literary critics and journalists have no knowledge of mystical and esoteric traditions. They are what Theosophist and former BSRF director Riley Crabb used to call metaphysical illiterates.

During the first decades of her literary career Doris Lessing wrote novels with political, social, feminist and psychological themes, often from a radical left wing perspective. For a few years she was a member of the Communist Party, but became disillusioned by the materialism and lack of a spiritual dimension in Marxism. In 1964 she read the book that would change her life, The Sufis, by Idries Shah, author and teacher in the Sufi tradition. Lessing contacted Shah and they became lifelong friends and he her spiritual mentor. Ideas and conceptions from Sufism was incorporated in many of her novels from the 1970s.

In 1979 Doris Lessing, known and respected as a radical and feminist author, provoked the reading public with the novel Shikasta, the first volume in the Canopus in Argus series. Many mainstream literary critics regarded it as incomprehensible and second rate science fiction. But this and subsequent titles in the series were not technological sci-fi stories but a presentation of Sufi concepts and esoteric ideas in a science fiction setting.

The Canopus in Argus novels is the story of interstellar intervention with the aim to accelerate the biological and cultural evolution of Earth (Shikasta). Early in Earth history extraterrestrials from Canopus visited our planet and tried to civilize the the primitive inhabitants with genetic engineering and cultural influence. After a cosmic catastrophe contact is partially broken and another group arrives with evil intentions, spreading violence, hate and destruction. Both groups infiltrate their agents on Shikasta and the story is presented through the eyes of George Sherban, a Canopus agent.

After Shikasta there were four more volumes in the series. Anyone acquainted with the esoteric tradition will immediately recognize ideas and themes from the Ancient Wisdom. Volume three, The Sirian Experients, is especially interesting because of Doris Lessing´s preface: "I think it is likely that our view of ourselves as a species on this planet now is inaccurate, and will strike those who come after us as inadequate as the world view of, let´s say, the inhabitants of New Guinea seems to us. That our current view of ourselves as a species is wrong. That we know very little about what is going on. That a great deal of what is going on is not told to ordinary citizens, but remains the property of small castes and juntas."

In a further comment Doris Lessing´s interest in both UFOs and the esoteric tradition becomes even more explicit: "I would not be at all surprised to find out that this earth had been used for the purposes of experiment by more advanced creatures... and that there might have been a science in the past which we have forgotten... that we may be enslaved in ways we know nothing about, befriended in ways we know nothing about... As for UFOs, we may hardly disbelieve in what is so plentifully vouched for by so many sound, responsible, sensible people, scientific and secular".

Readers who wish to explore the Sufi ideas of Doris Lessing find much of interest in Between East and West. Sufism in the Novels of Doris Lessing.