Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The problems in introducing esotericism

The student or interested reader who for the first time, in books or on the Internet,  begin searching for information on esotericism or the Esoteric Tradition will be faced with a plethora of conflicting claims and a seemingly endless stream of fanciful and fantastic messages from ”Ascended Masters”. Scientifically and philosophically educated students soon realize that the naive platitudes and simple mysticism presented in much of this literature is of little interest, except to scholars of Religion or Cultural History.

The problem is that hidden in this mass of popular occultism and mysticism there is to be found a treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom of a very different quality. A profound philosophy and Science of the Multiverse that should be of interest to every intellectual humanist and academic scholar looking for a worldview and lifeview that can present relevant and reasonable answers to the deeper existential questions not given by orthodox theology, science or philosophy. Furthermore this Science of the Multiverse or paradigm is a useful tool as a working hypothesis to the investigator of UFO and paranormal phenomena.

A complicating factor, even for those students who have found The Philosopher´s Stone, is the difference in the level or quality of presentation given by different authors. To my knowledge the best and intellectually most articulate introduction to The Ancient Wisdom is written by the Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency. In his writings he often laments the mistakes made when esotericism was first publicly introduced to humanity, beginning in 1875 with The Theosophical Society:

After 1875, esoteric facts have been publicized. But just very few of these facts have yet been put into their right contexts. Loose facts are worthless and too few facts will easily be misleading. It is very deplorable that this “secret knowledge” at its first appearance was given such an abortive presentation… The various theosophical attempts at esoteric world view are incomplete to the extent of being misleading (Sinnett and Judge), or all too one-sided (Leadbeater) to meet the demands of intellectuals for an all-sided mental system. It is true that Blavatsky publicized a great number of esoteric facts, but she did not bother to put them into comprehensible contexts. Her writings (Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine) are certainly gold-mines of facts, more resembling voluminous encyclopaedias, but are largely inaccessible for those who have not acquired a system. Her inability to find a terminology suitable for Western language usage makes it even more difficult to study her writings…  The concepts used must be clearly defined. They must be part of Western language and scientific mode of presentation. If you want to give knowledge to people, you must do it in such a manner that they are able to comprehend it. Instead, there was a monstrous mixture of symbolic sayings and unintelligible terminology with Sanskrit words already misunderstood. ” (Henry T. Laurency, Knowledge of Life Two, online ed. 3.4:1,3,7)

For the novice in esoteric studies it is important to have a clear understanding of the source of this knowledge, to realize who are the actual custodians of the Ancient Wisdom. Although they are far ahead of humanity in general in the evolution of consciousness and belong to the next or fifth kingdom in nature, they are no hazy spooks in the astral world but most of them men and women, presently incarnated in physical bodies working together in a hidden or secret organization that has been given various names in literature; Planetary Hierarchy, Inner Government, White Brotherhood, Elder Brothers, Great White Lodge. The Tibetan adept D.K. who is the official secretary and organizing contact man of this organization made this statement in one of the books dictated to his amanuensis Alice Bailey: ”We who watch and guide on the inner side, watch with loving care all of you who struggle in the thick of the fray. We are like the General Headquarters Staff who follow the course of the battle from a secure eminence. ”Alice Bailey, A Treatise of White Magic, clothbound ed. p. 371).

Some of the books by Alice Bailey

Another important fact to consider is that this organization has since 1775 made plans to reveal part of their knowledge for the benefit of humanity and also decided that from 1875, as a test, disclose the fact of their, hitherto unknown, existence and work on our planet. Eventually they hope to be able to live openly in our society as teachers and guides. To the mainstream intellectual and cultural elite, immersed in and limited by the materialist, reductionist worldview such ideas are anathema or irrational fantasies, unless they have entered the path of the scientific heretic and discovered that there is a Forbidden Science.

In popular occultism the members of the Planetary Guardians have often been presented in unrealistic and ridiculous ways, uttering meaningless platitudes to spiritist mediums and channelers worldwide. The critical and discerning student will immediately notice the difference in intellectual quality between these messages and the teachings presented in esoteric volumes. But we still have to contend with the limited knowledge, ability and idiosyncrasies of the authors in contact with and working together with members of  the Planetary Guardians. Especially as the information is not always dictated but ”inspired” in various ways.

Alice Bailey is in this respect an interesting example. Although she physically met and corresponded with her teacher, the Tibetan D.K., her books were dictated clairaudiently or often only inspired where Bailey used her own knowledge and terminology. As she early in life was a Christian missionary many of her books use ideas and expressions from Christianity but with an esoteric explanation. This can be very confusing and frustrating at times, especially to readers with a scientific and critical mind who simply want the facts without Christian symbols or quotes from the Bible.

Alice Bailey

Esotericist Henry T. Laurency makes some critical comments on this problem when reading Alice Bailey: ” Everywhere the former Christian missionary shines through who could never divest her mind from old Christian fictions and who makes this colour her presentation… If A.A.B:’s intention was to meet with approval among Christians by using their terminology, she counteracts this effect by unnecessarily disclosing the import of the symbols and depriving these readers of quite a few cherished illusions and fictions. When A.A.B. speaks it is now the esoterician speaking, now the Christian missionary who knows her Bible.” (Knowledge of Life Five, online ed. 7:2, 39). This comment is not made to belittle the tremendous work done by Bailey but simply to explain the problems encountered by the teachers. The Tibetan is very well aware of these shortcomings regarding his amanuensis and also that a new and more adequate terminology is badly needed in esotericism.  

The teachers belonging to the Planetary Guardians I have sometimes, in a humorous mode,  referred to as the Higher Intelligence Agency (HIA). Theosophist Henry Steel Olcott, who knew several of them personally often called them “the boys”. This attitude can be a useful antidote when confronted with the often ridiculously devotional literature attributed to the adepts. There is a quote regarding the lives of ”Masters” in Alice Bailey´s book The Externalisation of the Hierarchy, that gives a good perspective of this issue: ” They will stand forth as living examples of goodwill, of true love, of intelligent applied wisdom, of high good nature and humour, and of normalcy. They may indeed be so normal that recognition of what They are may escape notice… I would here remind you that many of the Masters are married and have raised families". (p. 699, clothbound ed.)

Referring to the Planetary Guardians as the Higher Intelligence Agency is in several respects an appropriate description as their work in many ways resembles the activities of the global Intelligence organizations. The Elder Brothers have their "safe houses" and are the custodians of an inaccessible library, archive and museum where the real history of our planet of sorrow can be studied. Possibly they also have a secret Vimana technology at their disposal. But most important of all, their work is a constant fight for the good, the true and the beautiful.  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Homage to an old friend

On the beautiful and sunny Spring day May 24 I visited the grave of my old friend and UFO colleague Kjell Jonsson. His gravestone can be found at Södertälje Cemetery, not far from the house where Kjell in his small, one-room apartment created and for several years in the 1970s maintained the first AFU library. His father Henry is buried at the same place. I have written about Kjell and our UFO interest and work in many blog entries but here I simply wish to pay homage in pictures to my old friend.

It was our common interest in books and reading that resulted in our acquaintance. As teenagers we both, beginning in 1967, worked part time evenings and Saturdays at Södertälje Public Library, where we soon discovered that we studied at he same school. Our friendship deepened as we both in different ways were outsiders. Kjell had a very poor health since childhood, a.o. severe asthma and had been heavily medicated, which was probably the reason he stopped growing when quite young. Being very short and different from his classmates he was the constant victim of both verbal and physical bullying and abuse at school. We spent much time together and soon discovered a common interest in spiritual searching and mysteries.

Kjell Jonsson May 1968

Fun times working at Södertälje Public Library 1969

Walking home from library work, Spring 1970

Celebrating New Year´s Eve together 1970

As a young teenager I had read all the UFO books found in my parents library and when I introduced Kjell to these books he immediately became intensely fascinated by the subject and entered a subscription to Flying Saucer Review. In 1970 we contacted UFO organizations active at the time which resulted in our founding a local UFO group, UFO-Södertälje, later Södertälje UFO-Center. We were of course naive and idealistic and spent many evenings skywatching and waiting for the space people to appear in their craft.

Ready for a bookshop tour to Stockholm August 29, 1971

Skywatching with members of UFO-Södertälje May 1971

When our UFO interest became more realistic and research oriented we founded an informal working group Arbetsgruppen för ufologi (AFU), later Archives for UFO Research, together with UFO colleague Anders Liljegren, Norrköping. As I mentioned in an earlier blog entry, The man who created AFU, it was Kjell who in 1974 came up with the idea of building a UFO lending library. Practically as a one man enterprice he maintained and expanded the collections until the AFU was instead located at Norrköping.

Kjell working with his Swedish UFO bibliography at my apartment June 1976

One of our many discussions of his UFO bibliography

The first two AFU bookshelves August 1977

The first AFU librarian October 22, 1977

In the 1980s Kjell´s health problems worsened and he died on April 30, 1986, only 34 years old, caused by a heavy fit of asthma. His short life was in many respects an incarnation of suffering, poor health, pain and loneliness. In spite of all these hardships he was an idealist, caring, cheerful and full of good spirit. A great and beautiful soul in a miserable body. Kjell was a pioneer who made the AFU venture more than a dream. I cherish and honour the memory of my dear old friend and hope we will meet again. 

July 30, 1978

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Secret of the ages

Knowledgeable and experienced ufologists will recognize the theme of this blog entry as the title of book written by British ufologist Brinsley Le Poer Trench (1911-1995) published in 1974, Secret of the Ages: UFO´s From Inside the Earth. Coming from one of the mainstream ufologists of the 1960s and 70s this was of course a very controversial book. The idea for this work  may have been inspired by esotericist Millen Cooke, married to Brinsley Le Poer Trench 1961-1969.

Brinsley Le Poer Trench

In 1981 I made a short summary of the inner earth theme in relation to ufology and esotericism, published in AFU Newsletter (The Inner Earth Theory – A Source Study, AFU Newsletter, no. 22, August-December 1981). At that time very few ufologists were interested in these ideas, but today there is a plethora of more or less fantastic conspiracy theories and claims of inner earth contacts, especially from various channelers. For a serious ufologist or esotericist to separate the wheat from the chaff in this underground djungle of conflicting information is an undertaking worthy of a Sisyphos. An agnostic or interesting-if-true-attitude is the best option when dealing with the these controversial ideas and experiences. In this blog I present some of the data from my files that I personally find interesting.

Who are these people, was the question I posed in a former blog entry, referring to contact experiences with aliens who look like us and mingle in our society. In their discussion of theories in The Edge of Reality, Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee used the term earth-bound aliens for this group of visitors. Mac Tonnies called them Cryptoterrestrials in his book, published in 2010. A group of people with an advanced technology, sharing our planet but who have kept themselves hidden and unknown for various reasons. According to some contactees and esotericists they have developed an advanced civilization in large caverns, deep inside the interior of the earth and this is the ”secret of the ages”.

The first pre-Adamski contactee, Eugene H. Drake (1889-1973) mentioned this civilization in his first book Visitors From Space (1950): ”There is an ancient civilization living underground with entrances in Mexico, and not such a great distance from Mexico City. They often come to the surface and mingle with the people, but aside from a few mystics, the people of Mexico do not know this, and they would have a difficult time, if they did,  to locate the entrances to their underground cities.” (p. 26)

There is also a very cryptic statement in Howard Menger´s book From Outer Space to You. When discussing a conspiracy of ”others” operating on our planet a space woman relates to Menger: ”They use people not only from this planet… but ”Also other people of your own planet – people you don´t know about. People who live unobserved and undiscovered as yet. It is a kind of ”underground” in your popular terminology.” (p. 144)

I 2015 I asked my American contactee friend about these claims. He divulged some rather startling experiences:
”At first, there were the people, who since ancient times, have lived inside our planet… I have met some of them, fine people.
Håkan: Do the people living inside our planet have saucers? Do they look like us?
X: Yes, they have craft. Yes, they look like you and me, although they have other sizes among them because of the gravity variations over the centuries I would assume.
Håkan: How do you know which people are from inside the earth and which are the friends upstairs?
X: Friends upstairs are light beings, they have one hundred percent control over light, people inside our earth, just Human. The types of craft, the methods of travel and communicating, all telling signs. Friends upstairs can go invisible at the snap of a finger, walk thru walls, levitate by thought travel.” (Email, October 21, 2015).

From The Hollow Hassle, vol. 2, no. 1, 1981

Very little is said about the inner earth in the Esoteric Tradition, although a few hints are given by some authors. The reason for this scarcity of information is also in esotericism ascribed to the extreme secrecy of the subject. It is truly regarded as the ”secret of the ages”. This was explained by Theosophist Charles Leadbeater in the 1895 classic The Astral Plane: ”… there are two other great evolutions which at present share the use of this planet with humanity; but about them it is forbidden to give any particulars at this stage of the proceedings.” (p. 91) But he did give a few hints in a later work, The Inner Life I, originally published in 1910: ”The conditions of the interior of our earth are not easy to describe. Vast cavities exist in it, and there are races inhabiting these cavities, but they are not of the same evolution as ourselves. … One of these evolutions… is at the level distinctly lower than any race now existing upon the surface of the earth… the other is more nearly at our level, yet utterly different from anything that we know.” (p. 231, 1967 ed. Theosophical Publishing House).

Meade Layne, founder of Borderland Sciences Research Associates (BSRA) had a deep fascination with the inner earth enigma. He had a conversation on this issue with one of the Inner Circle members on November 22, 1947. Medium Mark Probert hearing the answers clairaudiently and relaying them to Meade:
”Yes, indeed, there are vast underground regions (caverns) that stretch from equatorial Africa to the North Pole, and also to Venezuela., where there is an opening… The opening in Venezuela is in the southern tip, in the region north of Loreto…
(Q. of size of underground population) I would say several millions. Oh, yes, they are humans. Yes, there is some contact, but mainly through their secret organizations. These people as a whole are much more healthy than those of the surfaces… Yes, in some parts of the underground world people possess a high degree of culture… Yes, there are openings in Mexico, and one in the region of Alberta, Canada.” (Those Underground Regions, Round Robin, vol. 18, no. 2, March 1962, p. 17).

Irene and Mark Probert

In 1871 one of the most famous classics in esoteric literature was published, The Coming Race, by Edward Bulwer Lytton. He was a member of the real and secret Rosicrucian order and obviously decided to disclose the ”secret of the ages”, but using a fictional form. I am somewhat surprised that, to my knowledge, no ufologists, nor esotericists have noticed the close resemblance between the people described in The Coming Race and some contactee experiences. It is even mentioned that the inhabitants of the inner earth travel in ”air-boats” (p. 56) All quotes are from the edition published by Wesleyan University Press, 2005. Ufologists who have made an in depth study of contactee cases will surely associate these quotes with various observations made in another context:

”It was the face of a man, but yet of a type of man distinct from our known extant races… Its colour was peculiar, more like that of the red man than any other variety of our species, and yet different from it – a richer and a softer hue, with large black eyes, deep and brilliant… The face was beardless… They seemed as void of the lines and shadows which care and sorrow, and passion and sin, leave upon the faces of men, as are the faces of sculptured gods…  I never met one person deformed or misshapen. The beauty of their countenances is not only in symmetry of feature, but in the smoothness of surface, which continues without line or wrinkle to the extreme of old age… ” (pp. 12, 14, 60)

”A figure, in a simpler garb than that of my guide, but of similar fashion, was standing motionless near the threshold. My guide touched it twice with his staff, and it put itself into a rapid and gliding movement, skimming noicelessly over the floor. Gazing on it, I then saw that it was no living form, but a mechanical automaton…  Four automata (mechanical contrivances which, with these people, answer the ordinary purposes of  domestic service) stood phantom-like at each angle in the wall.” (pp. 13, 19).

”These subterranean philosophers assert that, by one operation of vril… they can influence the variations of temperature… that by other operations, akin to those ascribed to mesmerism, electro-biology, odic force but applied scientifically through vril conductors, they can exercise influence over minds, and bodies animal and vegetable, to an extent not surpassed in the romances of our mystics. To all such agencies they give the common name of vril.” (p. 27)

These are only a few of the quotes in the novel, but ufologists and esotericists can find many more that give very clear associations to the contactee cases of our time. Probing into these areas can of course be somewhat mind-shattering and unnerving. Suppose you really find out that there is a secret war going on, on this planet, a power-struggle between secret groups of various motives cooperating with, or manipulating, hitherto unknown intelligences and that the UFO phenomenon is only the tip of the iceberg of this cosmic Watergate. A phenomenon cleverly used by both the alpha and omega groups.  Few ufologists, not to mention the public, could take such a revelation without developing at least a mild form of paranoia. How about stamp-collecting?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Who are these people?

Writing in Ivan T. Sanderson´s magazine Pursuit 1991, American UFO investigator R. Perry Collins presents a group of very intriguing and controversial close encounter cases. (Unseen, Unspoken, Unknown, vol. 22, no. 1, First Quarter 1991, pp. 28-32). Observations of UFOs landing and normal looking people leaving the craft to enter parked cars or cars lowered from the UFO.  The British Blue John case of 1963 is one example, though not mentioned by Collins in his article. He definitely has a point in his initial remark that ”There are aspects of the UFO situation which are completely unrecognized by the public and generally ignored even among those people intrigued by the subject.” 

One of the select examples documented by Collins was reported to him by a newspaperman on the Miami Herald staff. No date is given.  ”In a town near Miami, Florida, the owner of a small supermarket was closing for the evening when he noticed a large, dark UFO hovering low over a field at the rear of his building. He immediately called the police and within minutes a cruiser arrived. Two officers stepped out and the owner hurriedly took them to the rear door where all three men clearly saw the object hovering less than fifty feet over a nearby field. As they watched the object began lowering two large cylinders to the ground below. Both cylinders landed and began splitting open and ”dissolving” at the same time. One continued a large Sedan. The other contained several men, dressed in business suits, carrying briefcases. Within minutes the two cylinders had completely disappeared and the UFO had moved off into the evening sky.  The men got into the Sedan and drove off the field, onto a nearby road and away.”

The next case is from Puerto Rico ufologist Jorge Martin´s book Evidencia OVNI. The observation occurred in the afternoon, March 1992 at El Cayul Sierra Bermeja, Puerto Rico:
”A man out testing a new video camera in an isolated wooded area suddenly caught sight of a flash of light overhead. He hid behind some bushes as he saw a small silvery disc-shaped object land in a clearing on three leg-like supports. A section of the object resembling an elevator was lowered to the ground and a door opened. Two short 4-foot tall beings then emerged from inside the object. The beings had gray skin and had large heads and large black eyes. They wore gray colored one-piece suits. They looked around for a few moments then re-entered the object only to emerge a few minutes later this time accompanied by a tall human, very pale and thin. He had short platinum-blond hair and wore a pair of dark sunglasses. He also wore a new black suit and pants with a white shirt and a red tie. The tall human looked around and walked towards a nearby path there he was met by two soldiers in a military jeep. He sat in the jeep and it then drove away disappearing into the woods. The two short humanoids then entered the disc-shaped object, which then shot, away into the sky at high speed.”

Similar cases like these are documented in the books by Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke. The encounters experienced by the witness called Leland are especially fascinating. (Encounters With Star People, Chapter 6, They are among us). He describes what has happened during several nights at his ranch near the Nebraska border: ”They come at night. They hover over the field. They lower automobiles to the ground. They´re filled with people. The craft goes away and when the car returns the next night, only the driver returns. They take the car and the driver on board their spacecraft and then they´re gone again.”

Leland especially remember one night when he noticed that the car had a flat tire. The driver got out and walked to Leland´s cabin. ”He was a strange looking fellow… He wore a black suit with a white shirt and kept pulling at his necktie like he was not used to wearing it. He avoided looking at me so I never got a good look at his face, but he had a short thick neck. Almost no neck. Like his head sat directly at his shoulders. Maybe that´s why he struggled with the necktie. He just stood there. I got the feeling he wanted me to follow him”.

Leland follows the man and find three men and two women waiting in the car. None of them spoke. Leland help them change the tire and for this work he receives ten real silver dollars. Asked by Ardy Sixkiller Clarke what makes him think they are not humans his comment is: ”Well, they came in a spacecraft for one thing. They weren´t friendly. None of them spoke to me. They acted strange. Like they were scared or they didn´t belong here. The women were wearing those high heel shoes and had trouble walking in them like they had never worn them before.” As an indian Leland is familiar with stories of Star People but he is intrigued by these aliens who do not appear to be of the Star People group. ”These star travellers are different. They´re not our ancestors. They´re here for another reason.”

The man described by Leland has a certain resemblance to the mysterious Ben Austin, who invited Anna and her husband to dinner in Guatemala 1959. He obviously had an organic physical body as he enjoyed an ordinary dinner together with the couple. In my interview with Anna she gave a description of Ben Austin:

Håkan: Did Ben Austin work at the same company as your husband?
Anna: No, not at all and what would such a person be doing out there in the bush? He said he was keeping an eye on what humanity was doing. I believe he had this place as some sort of station or base. He was small, shorter than me. Maybe 150 centimenter, stocky and heavily built, not nice looking. He wasn´t fat but muscular. He was courteous and companionable. His hair was dark, more brown that black and no beard.

Håkan: What nationality did he look like?
Anna: Well, I asked about his nationality and he didn´t answer but claimed he had a Scottish passport. I asked how he got it? Well, he said, if we can build flying saucers we can also arrange such small details. As for Scotland he said: I have some difficulties with languages and there are so many Scottish dialects... We are checking what humanity is doing so you don´t set this planet on fire or other stupidities as this would make problems for us... When he spoke I don´t know why I felt this terrible fear. My whole being indicated that something is wrong here.

Håkan: You mentioned that he wasn´t beautiful. Did he have any physical defects?
Anna: No. He was dressed in a white shirt. You know in the tropics when you are invited for dinner they use a tie. His neck was not long and his hair short but I noticed he had beautifully formed ears. Well-groomed but his skin colour was not nice. Not as dark as the Indians of Guatemala but rather as a suntanned white person. But the tan didn´t look healthy under that brown colour.”

Trying to present some sort of taxonomy of alien visitors, based on contactee cases is difficult and speculative. The original group of benevolent visitors who contacted George Adamski, George Van Tassel, Howard Menger a.o. was probably extraterrrestrials but not from our part of the physical multiverse. We also have the small humanoids, sometimes associated with normal looking aliens. These small entities are in many cases obviously robots or androids used to perform various duties and menial work. But who are the people encountered by Leland and Anna? They are physical like us and most probably earth-based. If this is the case, where is their hiding place on this planet? Could some covert intelligence group have discovered who these people are and trying to deal with the issue in their own way?

Very few of the scientific mainstream ufologists try to uncover the truth in these controversial area. In his article R. Perry Collins comments on this situation: ”The facts that such reports are very seldom submitted and are scarce in the literature indicates that such direct activities are usually carried out in a completely covert manner. These reports do exist, however, and we must consider them in any complete analysis of the UFO situation.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Empirical evidence in the Richard Höglund case

In the American magazine UFO Report 1977, John Keel wrote a very interesting article, The Contactee Key, presenting some of his conclusions and advice from several years of field investigation. He noted the great mistake made by the early UFO organizations, APRO and NICAP,  in regarding all contactees as hoaxers and consequently missing a lot of valuable data: ”Had these groups applied some fundamental logic to the situation they might have realized their approach was wrong… By publicly dissociating themselves from the contactees, the early ufologists left this fruitful aspect entirely in the hands of the government.” (UFO-Report, vol. 4, no. 4, August 1997).

John Keel (in the middle) during his visit to Sweden 1976

What John Keel discovered during his field investigations was that some contactees were actually genuine and did encounter visitors from somewhere and that this aspect of the UFO enigma required a different approach than ordinary mainstream UFO research. Jacques Vallee, in his Messengers of Deception, let the character Major Murphy define this problem facing ufologists: ”What makes you think UFOs are a scientific problem?... science has certain rules. For example it has to assume that the phenomenon it is observing is natural in origin rather than artificial and possibly biased. Now, the UFO phenomenon could be controlled by alien beings. If it is, added the Major, then the study of it doesn´t belong in science. It belongs in Intelligence. Meaning counter espionage.” (p. 68).

During my many years of contactee investigation I discovered that in a few physcial contactee cases there was independent or circumstial evidence that the contactee really was meeting ”strangers”, whoever they were. Lou Zinsstag found this out regarding George Adamski and ufologist Ted Bloecher changed his mind on contactees when he discovered a similar situation in the Woodrow Derenberger case.

Based on these experiences what I find rather frustrating in mainstream UFO research, at least in Sweden,  is the large amount of time spent by field investigators on ordinary UFO observations and misidentifications. In my view a complete waste of time and money that will never solve the UFO enigma. I have for years tried, without much success, to convince active ufologists in Sweden to forget misidentifications and reports with very little empirical data and concentrate one hundred percent on close encounters and contact cases. My advice is as ever, try to be more of a UFO detective or intelligence agent than investigator of lights in the sky.

One of the most intriguing and complicated UFO contacts I have ever investigated is the Richard Höglund case, summarized by Timothy Good in his latest book Earth - An Alien Enterprise. I will not repeat the summary here as you can find the case here and on several of my blog entries. But I would like to give a few details of the circumstancial evidence indicating a genuine contact.

Richard Höglund

1.  Disappearance of kidney stones.
Richard claimed to have been healed from his kidney troubles with an instrument placed on his back during the first contact on December 9, 1965. The pain left him instantly when the alien visitor held an instrument to his back. There were x-rays taken both before and after this incident. I received written statements from three medical doctors involved with the x-rays. They confirmed that no stone was visible on the plates after December 9, 1965, but there is a possibility that the stones could have left the body in a natural way. According to one of the doctors, Karl Erik Swenson,  the later plates after the incident seems to indicate a man who never had any kidney stones.

Karl Erik Swenson M.D. Richard´s physician

2. Telephone interference
Two of Richard´s friends Gösta and Sture Johansson many times experienced strange telephone problems talking to Richard. Often when Gösta Johansson called Richard on the phone, the line was broken and a harsh voice simply said ”it is wrong”, always the same voice. Sometimes when talking on the phone a clicking sound was heard and then Richard became very nervous and wanted to end the conversation. Once the clicking sounds could be heard after the conversation had ended and the phone was dead. Then a call came and when Gösta answered the same voice only said ”it is wrong”. Gösta Johansson was convinced that Richard´s phone was tapped.

Gösta Johansson 1986

3. Invisible entities
Once on the Bahamas Richard was sitting on a bench talking with one of his alien visitors. Some people are passing by and suddenly Richard find himself talking aloud alone and the visitor is gone. He felt very embarrassed of the situation. Obviously the aliens could make themselves invisible. In the beginning of the 1970s the couple Sture and Turid Johansson become involved with Richard´s activities. On a Monday evening around midnight when the couple have gone to bed Turid is awakened by the sound of their front door opening and someone walking around with heavy steps in the apartment. Believing she has forgotten to lock the door Turid goes up only to find the door closed and no one there. She goes to bed again and then the heavy steps are heard once more, like someone is walking around in the rooms. She wakes up her husband. They look for some intruder to no avail and after a while no footsteps are heard.
During a telephone conversation with Richard a few days later Turid mention the name Var de Cartino, the name of one of the alien visitors. Richard answers: ”Yes he was here for three days and he visited you one evening and said you had a nice apartment”. Then Richard gives a detailed description of Sture and Turid´s apartment, although he had never been there.

Richard Höglund in Nassau, Bahamas

4. Travels
Richard was often gone from home, sometimes for months. He claimed that the space people picked him up in their craft, often visiting the base hidden in the Bahamas and also Mexico. Richard complained once to Gösta Johansson that he was not allowed by his contacts to visit the Olympic Games in Mexico in 1968. Gösta noticed that sometimes in the middle of the Winter he found Richard with a deep suntan when he returned to Sweden. Richard was a retired rock blaster with very little money. He couldn´t  have gone on regular flights around the world based on his meager income.

5. Gunvor Höglund´s Bahamas encounter
Richard´s wife Gunvor was not allowed to participate in the meetings with the alien visitors but she observed them many times when they came to their home. But once, at a restaurant in Nassau, Bahamas, she was introduced to one of Richard´s contacts: ”It was a small and crowded premise. Richard recognized one of his contacts and they came to our table. I watched this man and he looked at me.. He had a brown suit, a sort of suntan, not very tall and rather thin, a southern look in appearance. And he wasn´t very tall. My God, I thought, your suit is too large. He greeted me but we didn´t shake hands… His gaze was very intense and hypnotic. He smoked and left the rest of the cigarette on the table and then went away. I saved the cigarette butt as evidence.”

Gunvor Höglund

6. Reluctant contactee
Richard was a reluctant contactee. He was given no message but ordered to start a Peace Movement in Sweden. This failed and he was reprimanded because other contactees had succeeded in founding organizations that made a lot of money. Richard didn´t trust the alien visitors and noticed that they were not of high morals. He was actually afraid of them but felt compelled to continue working for them. From a psychological viewpoint his thoughts and reactions are interesting, speaking in favor of a genuine contact.

When investigating contactee cases like Richard Höglund it is important to be aware of different alternatives in interpretation and try to find corroborative evidence supporting the claims. In my book on the Höglund case I presented several possibilities: The contact claims as a cover story for criminal activity or espionage, a hoax for making money from gullible followers, fictional story as a result of drug abuse, mystic visionary experiences with no physical evidence, the contactee a mental case, mythmaker or fantasy prone personality. During one period Richard´s friends, Sture and Turid Johansson, speculated that because of his many travels, he was a courier in the international drug trade, but they later came to accept his contacts as genuine.

When ufologists become involved in contactee cases like this the advice and experiences of John Keel and Jacques Vallee will prove invaluable. This is a world very different from investigating and documenting misinterpretations of Venus and airplanes.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Sven Magnusson, a unique voice in Swedish cultural history

My wife Margaretha and I are often visiting the town of our birth, Karlstad, beautifully situated by the river Klarälven. Strolling in the charming old city we usually pass a house with the adress Östra Kanalgatan 18. This place was for many years the home and editorial office of Sven Magnusson (1930-2008), author and editor of the Swedish magazine Sökaren (The Seeker) 1964-2008. For more than 40 years his magazine published serious articles on alternative spirituality, UFOs, paranormal phenomena, parapsychology, healing, philosophy and religion.

Östra Kanalgatan 18, Karlstad. Sven Magnusson´s mother Hildur in the window. Photo by Sven 1978.

Sven Magnusson as teenager

Sven Magnusson was born in Karlstad 1930. As a teenager he observed a UFO in the Summer of 1946, the year of the Swedish Ghost Rockets. He commented on this incident in his magazine Sökaren 1996: ”I was sitting at a window in an office, rather bored, when suddenly I had the feeling that something was going to happen. Looking out of the window I observed a small round object passing across the sky at high speed… The object was not luminous. I got up and watched through the window how the object disappeared among the clouds. At home I told my mother of the incident. She had also observed the object when out in the garden… I can´t find any natural explanation to my observation. At the time I believed it could have been a craft from another world.”

Sven Magnusson 1964

As a young man Sven moved to Stockholm, working as a clerk in various companies. It was here his spiritual quest began and he read everything he could find on UFOs, parapsychology, spiritualism, healing etc. During evenings and weekends he visited various religious and spiritual groups: Mormons, Baptists, Salvation Army, Christian Science, Theosophists, Rosicrucians and many other organizations in the Stockholms area. Sven became a member of the one of the first UFO societies, Ifologiska Sällskapet and read all the classic contactee books by George Adamski, Daniel Fry and others. During these years he also became a vegetarian. After many visits to spiritualist mediums he became rather disillusioned with the simple messages and was instead attracted by oriental philosophy, especially as presented by Paramhansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi.

As Sven Magnusson was fond of writing he began formulating ideas for a new magazine, covering his own interests. After a short period of skepticism he renewed his spiritual quest and founded the Magazine Sökaren (The Seeker) in 1964, ”much as a form of personal therapy”. With no journalistic experience the beginning was hard and demanding, economically as well as practically. But with idealism and tenacity Sven succeeded in recruiting many of the best writers on philosophy, religion, parapsychology, UFOs, New Age and also authors from the mainstream cultural elite like Alf Ahlberg and Werner Aspenström,  Even the conservative, Catholic writer Sven Stolpe expressed in 1976 his admiration for the somewhat heretic magazine: ”Sökaren is a serious and fine magazine, excellently edited by Sven Magnusson. He is interested in parapsychology, unusual psychic experiences, the borderland of science and the possibilities of higher and more profound knowledge.”

The first issue of Sökaren 1964
From very humble beginnings Sökaren´s circulation increased and by 1975 the magazine received an annual grant from KulturrådetThe Swedish Arts Council. This made it possible for Sven Magnusson to work full time as editor. The income was still very meager but Sven was a vegetarian and lived a simple, almost ascetic life in his small apartment. This simple life was no problem as he loved his work. In the 1970s several freelance writers published their articles in Sökaren. I was one of them. Sven also bought and translated high quality articles from many foreign magazines.

Sven Magnusson at his home and office 1977

Sökaren reached its circulation peak in the beginning of the 1980s, with 3.000+ subscribers. Sven Magnusson published articles both by skeptics and ”believers”, something he was often criticized for. The open debate and dialogue between opponents was an important policy and Sven had the, today unfortunately not so common, tolerance of other views than his own. During my rabulist, secular humanist period I wrote several very critical articles in Sökaren which resulted in a suggestion that I should be banned from publishing. Although at that time my views were definitely not in line with Svens` personal philosophy he defended me officially with this short sentence: ”Håkan Blomqvist will continue writing in Sökaren”.

In 1982 Sven Magnusson moved back to Karlstad, combining editorial office with his home at Östra Kanalgatan 18. During the 1980s he was now and then interviewed by the local newspapers as it was regarded as somewhat unusual that a specialized magazine had a larger circulation than one of the local newspapers, Karlstads-Tidningen, which then had 2.800 subscribers compared to Sökarens´ 2.950. When the amount of subscribers decreased in the 1990s Sven for a couple of years merged his magazine with the more popularly oriented publishing company Energica. But the more market oriented ideology of Energica did not appeal to Sven who wanted a more intellectual, quality magazine and the cooperation ended in 1994. In his editorial he wrote: ”Too me the spiritual quest is something deeply serious. I cannot and will not make popular journalism of this searching”.

Besides his editorial and publishing venture Sven wrote several books on alternative religions, the new age movement, paranormal experiences and UFOs. Books that received favourable comments in the press and can be found in most libraries in Sweden. He was deeply fascinated by the UFO enigma and corresponded with ufologists and contactees around the world, Daniel Fry, Ray and Rex Stanford, Allen Hynek, Jerome Clark and John Keel.

Sven Magnusson in 1996

Sökaren was often regarded as the voice of the New Age-movement in Sweden but it was not an uncritical and naive forum. Instead Sven Magnusson traced the new age ideas to philosophers and psychologists like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Carl Gustav Jung and Abraham Maslow. As editor he wanted to present the more profound and intellectual new age ideas and was critical of the popular, mass market new age underground with its unfounded claims and focus on money and easily attained happiness. 

The last issue of Sökaren published by Sven in 2008

In his personal lifeview Sven was the eternal seeker. He was both open minded and critical, referring to himself as an agnostic, attracted by Vedanta philosophy and the ideas of unity mysticism. Although he didn´t define himself as an esotericist he often wrote about Theosophy and the Ancient Wisdom. Convinced that we live in a much larger reality, a multiverse, his life and publishing venture was a one man crusade against the reductionist, materialist worldview which he constantly challenged with new intriguing data from the Forbidden Sciences. Sökaren influenced a whole generation seekers and investigators and represented a unique voice in Swedish cultural history.

I leave the last word to the bold, wise and humble philosopher from Karlstad as expressed in his magazine Sökaren 1996:
”Ignorance is natural. We are not born with knowledge. But you can enter a wise journey of seeking, listening to knowledgeable and critical persons, reading good literature and not naively accepting everything. Choosing a wise journey of seeking is to increase your knowledge, sharpening your reasoning ability and after in depth study leave the views who are not grounded in experience and reason. The critical mind is the number one instrument for the seeker.”