Saturday, November 2, 2013

AFU visitors and conspiracies

Today Anders Liljegren and I had the pleasure of showing the archive to three new field investigators from UFO-Sweden: Sofia and Tomas Cedvén and Thomas Michanek from Linköping. They arrived at noon together with UFO-Sweden board member Johan Gustavsson. Tobias Lindgren, head of the report centre was also part of the welcoming committee. Sofia, Tomas and Thomas attended the UFO-Sweden field investigator training on October 18-20 this autumn. A good follow-up to this weekend course is a visit to AFU to learn of the vast amount of books, magazines and empirical data aviable to field investigators.

From left Tomas Cedvén, Sofia Cedvén, Thomas Michanek, Johan Gustavsson

As usual the tour started with a stroll to our two libraries: the UFO/Fortean library and the Evans library. When demonstrating our large collections I often come to think of the huge difference in entering ufology today compared to 1970 when I started as an active ufologist. In 1970 there was no UFO archive, no report centre, no field investigator training. Only the recently founded national organization UFO-Sweden which was very primitive and amateurish from the beginning. Today the situation is completely different. The amount of material and data is staggering and I assume a newcomer to the field can become quite overwhelmed and get a feeling of information overload. I discussed this problem with our new field investigators. A way to handle this situation is concentrating on some special aspect of ufology or phenomena, while at the same time trying to get a good overview of the entire UFO/Fortean field.

Thomas Michanek inspecting the Whitley Strieber collection

Tomas and Sofia Cedvén

Visitors to AFU are often surprised at the large collections of books on related subjects like folklore, history of religions, parapsychology, esoterica a.o. The Evans library is a treasure trove for students of religion, philosophy, history of ideas, ethnology and all aspects of the paranormal. Thomas Michanek is presently studying ethnology and was naturally very interested in perusing our very extensive collections of books and academic journals on folklore.

Thomas Michanek and Anders Liljegren in the Evans library

The tour of our facilities ended with a short presentation by Leif Åstrand, head of the AFU scanning and digitizing department. After lunch we all enjoyed a delicious Halloween cake, coffee and conversation at AFU headquarters. For us oldtimers it is always interesting and rewarding to meet the new generation of ufologists and investigators of the paranormal. Our hope is that they will be able to keep AFU thriving and continue the work we have inaugurated when we enter our journey to other spheres.

This week I received a copy of The Secret Space Program. Who is Responsible? by Timothy Green Beckley, Sean Casteel and Tim R. Swartz. Conspiracy theories have become enormously popular during the last decades and this book is good example of all the fantastic and sometimes bizarre conspiracies associated with the UFO enigma. Some of them are intriguing like Richard Dolan´s theory of a breakaway civilization, while most of them are more or less outlandish.

Conspiracy theories have followed the UFO movement from the beginning. In my former blog entry I mentioned the early George Adamski correspondence files in AFU. The idea that the American military are secretly building flying saucers is mentioned by Adamski already in a letter to Miss Emma Martinelli September 30, 1951: "As far as space ships belonging to our planet is concerned, there is no doubt in my mind that we are working on something of the kind and even have some flying around on test flights, but I doubt very much if they are able to go out as far as the Moon as yet."

American contactee George Van Tassel expanded on this theme and claimed already in the beginning of the 1950ies that the American military had copied crashed saucers and their anti-gravity technology and had succeeded in reaching the Moon: "I have said many times that the Air Force, and the Navy, have been flying anti-gravity ships since the mid 1950s... The "secret science" has copied the saucers that were taken to Wright Patterson Field in Dayton, Ohio in the early 1950s. I am of the opinion that these secretly built anti-gravity ships already have built a base on the back side of the Moon. We already have many of our missing scientists and industrialists working on the Moon." (Proceedings, vol. 8:3, April-May 1967, p.6-7). Anyone familiar with the classic conpiracy TV program Alternative 3 (1977) recognize the ideas. In 1978 Leslie Watkins wrote a book based on the screeplay for the television episode.

George Van Tassel

As active ufologists we at AFU sometimes also get our share of suspicions of who we are actually working for. Well now it can finally be disclosed. We are not working for amateurs like CIA, NSA or the like, but for a far more secret worldwide organization - HIA - Higher Intelligence Agency.