Friday, January 23, 2015

Four reasons for private UFO research

Many times on this blog I have referred to the diaries of Jacques Vallee, Forbidden Science, so far published in two volumes. These diaries are absolute must reading for all serious ufologists, including academic scholars interested in “borderland science”. There are several reasons why Jacques Vallee has named ufology the Forbidden Science. He, and collegue Allen Hynek, relates todays study of UFO phenomena to the situation faced by 17th century scientists. They formed what has been called The Invisible College to protect themselves from the Catholic inquisition. The situation for open scientific research changed with the forming of The Royal Society in London 1660.

The underground network of scientists seriously interested in UFO research, created by Hynek and Vallee in the 1960s, was also referred to as The Invisible College. Because of past experience they both realized that qualified UFO research would never be initiated by the authorities or mainstream academic institutions. The only possible option was privately funded research. This is also the view and ideological policy adopted by AFU very early on from our founding in 1973. We realized almost from the start that petitioning the authorities to fund UFO research was a lost cause.

Let me present the four main reasons for privately financed UFO research which are also reflects the AFU policy as a private non-governmental (NGO), non-profit organization.

UFO research is scientifically controversial
The study of UFO phenomena is a complicated multi-disciplinary task with no natural connection to any academic discipline. There are of course academic research on UFOs performed by historians, folklorists, psychologists and historians of religion a.o.. But it is important to understand that these scientists do not address the ontological issue, the basic question of the reality of the phenomena. This requires a different approach and methodology which is not regarded as scientific within these disciplines. Mainstream academic science is intrincically materialist and reductionist and is therefore automatically challenged when confronted with phenomena indicating a multiverse of forces and entities.

Field investigation with the object of determining the reality of UFO phenomena has no natural academic connection. Any academic scholar trying to address to ontological (reality) issue will immediately be questioned by collegues and university administration and face public media ridicule as the strange scholar who believes in little green men. He or she will also be heavily critized by the new inquisition (not the Catholic Church this time) but by the representatives of the Skeptic community, condemning the heretic for promoting pseudoscience and irrationalism. Few scientists are willing to put their academic career at stake when faced with such obstacles. An Invisible College of critical but open minded researchers affords the best option and protection in such a cultural situation. The common media strategy of asking an astronomer or other mainstream academic scholar to comment on the the reality of UFO phenomena is like asking an ornithologist for a view of Byzantine architecture.

UFO research is militarily controversial
The basic mission of the military and intelligence community is to protect the nation from inner and outer enemies. By necessity much of military research and intelligence operations must remain secret. UFO-Sweden and AFU has a productive and as far as possible open communication with military authorities but UFO research sometimes involves cases where the field investigator probably documents activity associated with secret military projects, remotely piloted vehicles (RPV), drones or other forms of covert activity. The possibility of black projects like military abductions, MILABS,  is a case in point. Research into these more or less secret areas will of course be very controversial and only a privately financed institution could hope to achieve results in these areas. Basic research into the reality of UFO phenomena is not a part of military mission.

UFO research is politically controversial
Politicians today are very much at the mercy of various media and often quite defenseless if they happen to make a mistake or say something inappropriate or wrong. Any politician advocating serious UFO research would immediately recieve negative publicity in the press and become an embarrasement to political collegues. Demands for resignation would follow. "We don´t want a UFO nut in our political party". As very few people are aware of the depth and extent of the UFO enigma and the serious issues involved there is no possibility in official funding of UFO research nor of help from politicians.

In 2012 the Swedish liberal activist Torbjörn Jerlerup tried unsuccesfully to discredit AFU by claiming we were engaging unemployed people to hunt for "little green men with antennas". We were compared with charlatans and soothsayers. With this incident in mind I can imagine what would happen if we really were officially funded.

UFO research is religiously controversial
Perhaps this aspect is not so much noticed in our secular Swedish society but for many religious fundamentalists UFO is taboo. This becomes very obvious when studying all the books in the AFU library written by representatives of various religious groups. UFOs are simply regarded as demons or djinns in the islamic world. That UFO research is something you should stay away from was made clear to me by my former physiotherapist. He was active in Seventh-Day Adventist Church and during one therapy session he asked about my interests. I frankly told him about my passion for UFO research. His stern comment was: You know they are demons! This is also the view advocated by Anthroposophists as evidenced by the late Gordon Creighton, former editor of Flying Saucer Review, who was deeply influenced by Anthroposophy.

With these points in mind it is obvious that serious UFO research can only be successfully implemented by private institutions and funding. This has been the AFU policy for many years. If you wish to support our efforts and become a regular sponsor helping us develop what has become the worlds largest UFO and Fortean archive/library visit our Your Sponsorship site.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hotel Lilton revisited

A pleasant UFO-Sweden tradition is the annual board meeting at Hotel Lilton in Ängelholm. A small but very charming 19th century hotel in the center of the city. The UFO-Sweden board has gathered here since 1998 and this weekend we were fifteen participants who as usual were warmly welcomed by the the proprietor and UFO-Sweden member Anna-Michéle Nielsen and her assistant. Unfortunately our chairman Anders Berglund was ill so he had to abandon the trip.

Anna-Michéle Nielsen at Hotel Lilton always makes us feel welcome

Our secretary Mats Nilsson and treasurer Gunnar Karlsson were late for the meeting but we commenced at 2 p.m. with Tobias Lindgren as deputy secretary. With the absence of Anders Berglund vice chairman Clas Svahn conducted the meeting with his long time experience. Clas was the UFO-Sweden chairman between 1991-2012.

Board meeting at Hotel Lilton

Tobias Lindgren and Clas Svahn at the board meeting

Rickard Andersson, Tobias Lindgren and Clas Svahn

The first version of the new UFO-Sweden website was presented by Tobias Lindgren and we hope the site will be officially launched as soon as possible. Tobias has done a great job and the board members were all very satisfied with his efforts. The new website is especially important now as next week the film Ghost Rockets will be shown at the Gothenburg Film Festival. The directors Michael Cavanagh and Kerstin Überlacker has worked with this documentary during four years and we are very excited about the result. Later this year Ghost Rockets is also scheduled for Swedish television.

Tobias Lindgren presenting the new UFO-Sweden website

During the board meeting we also discussed plans and preparations for Project Kolmården 2015. During one week in August this summer a group of UFO-Sweden field investigators will make a detailed study of UFO incidents in the Kolmården area, north of Norrköping. There has been many UFO observations reported from this district and by going from house to house the field investigators hope to document many UFO incidents from first hand witnesses.

The UFO-Sweden annual conference and Expo will be held at the city of Trollhättan on Saturday, May 2. After the board meeting we all relaxed a couple of hours with a good beer, while discussing the new website and exchanging the usual jokes and anecdotes. At 7 p.m. the group strolled to restaurant Telegrafen were we all enjoyed a delicious dinner although this time the chef, to our great disappointment, missed the starters so next year there will probably be another restaurant for the UFO-Sweden board.

Who said there are no tin foil hats in UFO-Sweden! Johan Gustavsson proves the opposite

Johan Gustavsson, Tobias Lindgren and Gunnar Karlsson engaged in intensive discussions during dinner at restaurant Telegrafen

Monday, January 12, 2015

The fantastic world of Johny Lindell

During my many years of investigating and documenting contactee cases I have met a wide assortement of personalities, most of them sincere mystics with diverse forms of inner experiences. There has also been the usual cadre of drug addicts, compulsive liars and fantasy prone personalities. A few, a very few, intriguing cases of physical contact claims are still unresolved and remains a riddle to me. One of these is the Rickard Höglund case which I documented in Främlingar på vår jord. Ufokontakter i Sverige (Aliens On Earth. UFO Contacts in Sweden). A summary of the Höglund experiences was presented by Timothy Good in his latest book Earth - An Alien Enterprise.

Rickard Höglund claimed that on his second contact with the aliens, in August 1966, he was given a small metal plate with unknown script and ordered to go to their base in the Bahamas. He was told to always wear this plate on all his contacts and travels. Sometimes the plate became so hot he had to keep in asbestos. Other times it gave him rashes. This reminds me of the controversial Albert K. Bender who also claimed he received a small metal from his "Men In Black". He mentions in Flying Saucers and the Thee Men (p. 93) that his metal sometimes "got so hot I had to drop it". Rickard showed the metal plate to his wife Gunvor Höglund who affirmed its existence when I interviewed her several times. She also mentioned that once at the Bahamas, Rickard was so fed up with working for the aliens that he threw the plate on the floor exclaiming "to hell with all of this". This same evening the aliens showed up at their apartement and he was given a sharp reprimand for his behavior.

Rickard Höglund in Nassau, Bahamas

The signs on the metal plate given to Rickard by the aliens

Gösta Johansson was one of Rickard Höglund´s very few friends and one of the primary sources during my many years of documenting this case. He also received a copy of the signs on the plate. In January 1968 Gösta happened to meet the famous stage magician Johny Lindell on a parking place south of Stockholm and as he knew Johny was interested in UFOs Gösta showed his copy of the signs on the metal plate and explained that he didn´t know what was up or down in the script. Without any hesitation Johny said "you start reading here" and then he pulled out his business card and wrote down something with similar script, signing the message ZZ, which was the initials for his stage magician namne Zania Zemona. But he also said: There are a few dots missing here. Either it has been copied carelessly or there is some other fault." According to Johny the plate was a sort of identification card and the signs represented mountains and rivers. Later Gösta Johansson showed the message written by Johny to Rickard Höglund who said: "Yes we know of this writing. We have interpreted it fairly well but there are a few dots we don´t understand".

Gösta Johansson at his home September 15, 1986

The Johny Lindell business card with his stage name Zania Zemona

The signs written by Johny Lindell on the back of his card

Johny Lindell was not only a famous stage magician but also claimed to be in contact with aliens and working for them. He had his own metal plate received by the aliens. The Swedish psychometric medium Anna Lykke tested Johny´s metal plate in 1967 by holding it in her hand. According to Gösta Johansson she recieved such a chock that she fainted. When she woke up she said: "This was the most gruesome thing I have ever held. There is a mafia connected to this metal. If Johny tells me to work for him I will have no alternative." According to Johny Lindell the aliens he was involved with were really a form of mafia. There were two extraterrestrial mafia groups operating on Earth, one was called Brothers of the Axe and the other Z. The ordinary eartbound mafia had to pay them money. All this was probably pure fantasy by Johny but a fascinating coincidence is that Rickard and Gunvor Höglund, for a short while in the 1960s, really worked in the home of Mr. Louis (Lou) Chesler in Nassau, Bahamas, having been hired by the Swedish businessman Hans Bratt. Chesler was the front man for famous organized crime figure Meyer Lansky.

So who was Johny Lindell? With good help from Christer Nilsson of Sveriges Magi-Arkiv (The Swedish Magic Archives) and documents from AFU I have been able to ascertain a few facts. Johny Lindell (1922-1979) became fascinated by stage magic already in school. He began a professional career as a stage magician entertaining audiences with spectacular magic tricks. For many years he regularly performed for the Swedish Royal family at Christmas. He toured in Sweden and several European countries and also showed his talents on Swedish television. Johny Lindell was married two times and had three daughters.

Johny Lindell 1963

Johny Lindell med sin fru Maria da Conceica Dos Santos

In 1984 I interviewed one of his old partners, Ann-Marie Jönsson. She was a motorcycle acrobat and between 1958-1963 they had a show together including stage magic. Ann-Marie hired Johny for the show and for several years they travelled together and during these years she came to know him quite well. Ann-Marie didn´t know what to think of all the stories she heard from Johny. He claimed to have been in the Himalaya meditating but also having been a member of the French Foreign Legion. She believed this to be true as he showed her documents from his involvement. He told of having witnessed a UFO landing in the USA and to be in contact with aliens. Ann-Marie believed some of his stories to be fantasies or exaggerations but she sometimes experienced a nasty or wicked "aura" or radiance from him.

Södernyheterna March 22, 1973

The Swedish ufologist Christer Janson was a good friend of John Lindell. They were both members of Ifologiska sällskapet (The Ifological Society) in the 1960s and spent many evenings together where Johny told of his involvement with an alien group called Z (Zäta). When I interviewed Christer Janson in August 1986 he mentioned that Johny openly told him that not everything he said was the truth.

Johny Lindell was a member of UFO-Sweden until his death in 1978. He was active in the UFO group Solna Astronomiska Förening (SAF) and sometimes performed his magic tricks during meetings. On December 1, 1976 Johny Lindell was interviewed in the local newspaper Södernyheterna as a representative of UFO-Sweden. To the journalist he stated: "There is a lot of evidence. We have no idea where they come from but they are real, that is for sure."

There were several people who were afraid of Johny Lindell and his strange tales. Psychometric medium Anny Lykke believed he worked for some mafia organization and he told one of his friends he was involved in the gambling and porn industry. Swedish contactee Rickard Höglund said "Johny was evil". It is hard to determine what was the truth or fiction in the fantastic world of stage magician Johny Lindell. He was a fantasy prone personality and also a riddle.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Books for the new year

Even for a librarian it is almost impossible to keep up to date with new titles, especially for me who try to follow the publishing of books relating to both UFOs and the Esoteric Tradition. Here are a few new acquisitions that I find of interest. First and foremost a book I have been looking forward to read for a long time: Sky People. Untold Stories of Alien Encounters in Mesoamerica by Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke. This is the sequel to her very fascinating Encounters With Star People. Untold Stories of American Indians. A third volume in this series is planned and I predict this trilogy will become a classic in UFO literature.

Between 2003 and 2010 Dr. Clarke travelled through Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico conducting around 100 interviews among indigenous people. The author collected stories of encounters with aliens, sky gods, little people and giants. Because of her unique background as American Indian and a professor emeritus at Montana State University she succeeded in winning the confidence of many local indigenous men and women who related their encounters with UFOs and various entities. One of the witnesses express this sense of confidence: "Occasionally I see someone looking for stories about UFOs, but they do not possess the methods needed to get the local people to talk. You, on the other hand, seem to be able to touch people´s hearts and souls".

Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke is not a field investigating ufologist trying to determine the reality of the various encounters. She has employed the academic scholarly approach usually named the emic perspective. Approaching the witnesses as an insider, simply documenting the narratives not questioning the existence of Sky People or the myths and legends of the indigenous people. The other research method is named etic, or the outsider perspective where the scholar is trying to interpret the encounters and stories within the worldview of the researcher. By using the emic perspective Dr. Clarke has probably succeeded in documenting more unique UFO and alien encounters than if she was a critical ufologist. This touches on the problem of the skeptical movement and its researchers. What close encounter witness would like to be investigated by someone who already "know" that the experience was a misinterpretation or a "myth"?

One of the most expensive books I ever acquried is Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism, edited by Wouter J. Hanegraaff, professor of History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam. The price is 1446 SEK ($182). It was published by Brill already in 2006 and is an indispensible reference work for academic scholars of Western Esotericism and all serious students of the Esoteric Tradition. This massive tome of 1228 pages has excellent indexes of persons and groups and organizations.

A peculiar omission is that there is no specific entry for Pythagoras, one of the most influential philosophers in the Esoteric Tradition. I have not found any explanation for this omission. Six pages are devoted to UFO traditions, written by Jean-Francois Mayer, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. It has the usual references to Swedenborg, Theosophy, the I Am movement, Aetherius Society and the Raelian Movement. Of the classical contactees only George Adamski and George Van Tassel are mentioned. I am still waiting for scholarly studies of Orfeo Angelucci, Daniel Fry and Howard Menger and their presentation of the Esoteric Tradition as told by the alien visitors. Few religious scholars seems to have discovered this connection. Nor have I found any discussion of the influence of Alice Bailey on the UFO movement.

A book I have still not read is Hitler´s Priestess by the late academic scholar Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. The book was published already in 1998 and is an important document of the sad misuse of the Esoteric Tradition to promote rascist and neo-nazi ideas. As I have often noted in my blog this is especially tragic as the Esoteric Tradition is basically democratic, anti-rascist, humanistic and politically left-wing. Unfortunately there are groups who use UFOs and esotericism as a front for ringt-wing politics. This book should be studied in connexion with Black Sun, Aryan Cults, Esoteric Nazism and the Politics of Identity, also by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. Together they are an excellent antidote against esoteric totalitarinism.