Thursday, October 13, 2016

AFU people: Sven-Olov Svensson

When you visit the AFU head office the first person you are likely to meet is our devoted and long-standing archivist Sven-Olov Svensson at his desk. He is one of the pillars of AFU who with idealism and perserverance has faithfully taken care of the day to day practical duties at the archive since we moved to our first premise in Norrköping in 1980. Sven-Olov may not be so well-known in the ufological community but without his hard work behind the scenes AFU would not have been what it is today - the worlds largest UFO and Fortean archive and library.

Sven-Olov Svensson at his desk, April 20. 2012

Sven-Olov Svensson, born in 1949, developed an interest in UFO phenomena at an early age. I first met him as a member of the local UFO-Sweden unit, Norrköpings UFO-förening - NUFOF - (Norrköping UFO Society), in 1971. NUFOF had been founded by Anders Liljegren in 1970, the same year that I founded the local group UFO-Södertälje.

Sven-Olov second from left. In the middle Anders Liljegren. April 1972

When the AFU headquarters was moved from Södertälje to Norrköping in November 1980 Sven-Olov began his career as a volunteer archivist after his ordinary part time work at a local company. At that time it consisted mainly in distributing loans by mail from our UFO lending library to ufologists all around Sweden. In 1987 Sven-Olov made the historical decision to terminate his ordinary work at the local firm and engage in full time volunteer service at the then rather small AFU office. Truly a gift from heaven for a non-profit but growing foundation.

Sven-Olov, June 1988, with the Swedish author and artist Eugen Semitjov´s illustration of astronomer Clyde Tombaugh´s observation August 20, 1949

Sven-Olov at the first AFU premise in Norrköping, August 1989

As a research oriented ufologist, meticulous regarding relevant sources, one of the more frustrating experiences in maintaining the worlds largest UFO archive and library is finding documents and data I know should be preserved somewhere among our extensive collections. Then I turn to Sven-Olov, a master detective in locating obscure books, magazines and documents in our twelve premises. Very often he knows where to find what I am looking for.

Sven-Olov at the AFU report archive, July 18, 2008

Sorting magazines, December 29, 2010

An old UFO-Sweden poster July 14, 2010

Like myself Sven-Olov is deeply fascinated by the contactee enigma and he has been collecting contactee stories since 1970 in an international catalogue now comprising more than 1700 cases. He regularly searches incoming materials at AFU for entries to his catalogue and has also corresponded with ufologists worldwide for contactee data. Today much of his time at AFU is spent keeping order in our collections, making copies of requested material and posting books and magazines bought from the AFU Shop by customers in Sweden and worldwide. 

Being an archivist can be pretty tuff. Sven-Olov and the AFU team unloading the Hilary Evans collection on December 13, 2010. Sven-Olov with the hood.

As I stated earlier Sven-Olov Svensson is one of the pillars of AFU, who steadfastly, for more than thirty years, has given his time and money to our venture, following our ups and downs. In 1996 Sven Ove Hansson, then director of the organized Swedish skeptics, suggested in an article that we should cease our activities, close down the archive and instead engage in something worthwhile like bird watching!!! Fortunately we didn´t listen to the Siren song of the organized Swedish skeptics (the new Inquisition) but kept on executing and promoting our Forbidden Science.

August 12, 2010

Sven-Olov has several interests besides UFOs, Swedish literature and folk music, unsolved Swedish crimes and is an enthusiastic supporter of local football and basket ball leagues. Every year he arranges the Åke Franzén Memorial Cup. AFU´s annual miniature golf contest, in memory of our late friend and UFO collegue Åke Franzén. And the winner is very often Sven-Olov himself, a good friend and AFU supporter through all these years.

Golf contest, July 5, 2010