Sunday, June 5, 2016

Field investigation in Sweden

Every autumn UFO-Sweden arranges a weekend seminar for field investigators. Since 2013 at the charming Föllingen Hotel situated in the southern part of the Swedish province Östergötland. Weekend seminars for field investigators was introduced already in 1977 by former UFO-Sweden chairman Bevan (Thorvald) Berthelsen. This was an important innovation in the history of our national UFO organization, aiming at improving the quality of empirical data and documentation of Swedish UFO-reports. These annual weekend seminars are also important and pleasant social gatherings, a meeting place for old and new ufologists. A newsletter is also produced, Rapport-Nytt, with Swedish UFO cases, articles and organizational news for the active field investigator.

Håkan Ekstrand and Clas Svahn at Föllingen Hotel 2013

Beginners at the seminar recieve basic training in field investigation techniques, misidentifications, witness psychology, UFO-history, UFO-Sweden ideology and policy and often a lecture on a specialized theme by an invited guest speaker. With my 40+ years of active involvement in the UFO movement I have often pondered on the best way to introduce new field investigators to the exceedingly complex and controversial world of ufology. How do we inspire and motivate new field investigators to seriously begin their own research and documentation of UFO encounters?

Launching of Chinese lanterns during seminar 2011

In his third book Tefaten är här (The Saucers are Here) 1972, 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. With the stubbornness of a drunken old parrot I have reiterated: concentrate your efforts on detailed investigation and documentation of close encounter cases with much empirical data and forget the ordinary misidentifications of simple lights, digital camera effects, sensational YouTube movies etc. – or ufology will get nowhere. It is with a certain sadness and frustration I notice all the very intriguing close encounter and contact cases found in the UFO-Sweden/AFU files, but only briefly mentioned and not thoroughly investigated. It is these cases that represent the real scientific and intellectual challenge – the true UFO enigma.

K. Gösta Rehn

There is also a psychological aspect to this problem. When I began serious field investigation at the beginning of the 1970s I was immediately catapulted into the fascinating underground world of close encounters; landings, observation of humanoids, physical contact claims etc. If I would only have been confronted with investigating mere lights in the sky or undetermined objects caught on cameras I would probably have lost interest in ufology. Instead I was confronted with the controversial claims of a.o. Sture and Turid Johansson, Sten Lindgren and Richard Höglund. These cases inspired me to really try to find out the truth behind all these observations, experiences and claims.

In UFO-Sweden we have often given new field investigators simple and easily explained cases as a start up. Based on my own experience I would advice quite the opposite - let the new field investigators begin with a really complex close encounter. This will function as a stimulating intellectual challenge, besides being very exciting. Much more so than studying misidentifications of Chinese lanterns, planets or airplanes. If no new cases are aviable hundreds of older close encounter reports can be found in the UFO-Sweden report archives.

The extensive UFO report archive at AFU

A close encounter that would be a good start for any field investigator is the Siw Fester landing and humanoid observation at Haverdal, near the city of Halmstad, August 21, 1983. Several UFO observations were reported in the area during the same night and there is also rumours of a second landing. A re-examination of this case would probably yield more and relevant data. As often happen during field investigations one case will lead to another. 

Illustration of the Siw Fester landing case

Another case that would be a real challenge for a new field investigator is the Sören Broman close encounter and contact experiences. I interviewed Sören Broman on October 23, 1994 but here is a case with many dimensions: close encounters with several witnesses, abductions, physical contact with Nordic type alien, messages and claims of aliens among us. A thorough study and documentation of this case is simply waiting for a bold field investigator.

Sören Broman visiting AFU on October 23, 1994

There are hundreds of challenging close encounters and contacts briefly mentioned but lacking investigation and documentation in the UFO-Sweden report files at AFU in Norrköping. This is the real UFO enigma. I can but repeat the words of K.Gösta Rehn to Swedish ufologists: Concentrate on the close encounters!