Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Advice To A Young Ufologist

So, you want to become a ufologist, dedicating your life to researching one of the most fascinating enigmas of our time. Then you are in for a life journey of a most unusual kind and I can guarantee that you will many times feel like a stranger in a strange land. I assume your ambition implies ”real research”, not just writing some post-modernist, mainstream academic monograph about myth and superstions in society. If you mean business with your endeavor the road ahead is that of the intellectual heretic and pathfinder.

If the first book on the subject you happen to find is The Edge of Reality by J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee a good idea is to listen to their introduction: ”The UFO phenomenon calls upon us to extend our imaginations as we never have before, to think things we have never dared think before – in short, to approach boldly the edge of our accepted reality and, by mentally battering at these forbidding boundaries, perhaps open up entirely new vistas. To many, such thinking is both frightening and a threat to their intellectual security.” (p. 1)

Often, when walking around in the AFU library and watching the thousands of books, magazines, clippings etc I wonder how I would react to all of this if I was a young, ambitious ufologist? The amount of documents today is gigantic and it must be quite frustrating to find out where to begin. In his third book, published in 1972,  Tefaten är här (The Saucers Are Here)  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. Forget the lights in the sky and the ”ordinary” UFO reports and go for the real enigma – close encounter and contact cases. Concentrate on making detailed , in-depth investigation and documentation of the most complicated and challenging encounters. Many times you will find wild and whacky individuals with various psychological problems, drug related or simply people with fantasy prone personalities. But you will also stumble upon really intriguing cases that will represent a definite challenge to your investigative efforts. I will present a few old cases of the type that you as a serious UFO researcher should follow-up.

One of three AFU libraries

A good example of how to proceed is No Return. The Gerry Irwing Story. UFO Abduction or Covert Operation? By David Booher. This is the story of the young soldier Gerry Irwin who stopped his car on a lonesome road in Utah, 1959, observing a blazing object, who he theought was a plane, seemingly about to crash nearby. He leaves a message in his car and decides to investigate. Gerry was later found by a local sheriff lying with head face down at the site.

While browsing through some older issues of Fate magazine I found an interesting early abduction report, closely resembling the Gerry Irwin case. It was published as a Report from the readers in vol. 25, no. 11, November 1972, pp. 160-161. The witness, Mimi Gorzelle, relates an experience from August 1967. She was driving on an unfamiliar, dark, lonely road in the middle of the night and suddenly notice a light swinging from side to side beckoning her to stop. She stops, expecting to find an accident. Leaving the car she find three other cars parked ahead. A man leaves one of the cars and another man is coming towards her, wearing a white coverall, like hospital orderlies. He takes her by the arm, leading her into the prairie, where she can see a spaceship.

Mimi observeres three men dressed in business suits also being escorted into the spacecraft, led by several men i white coveralls. Mimi and the other men are led up a staircase and into the craft. The men in white coveralls look alike, all in their 30`s and baldheaded. Mimi is not afraid, only curious. One of the spacemen tell her: "You will have no memory of anything you saw or experienced here. You will awaken with no memory of this experience." Her next memory is being led down the steps and escorted to the car, like the other men. She notice them drive away one by one and she also drive on home. "I awakened in the morning very muich aware of what I have related but with no knowledge of how I drove to that site or what else transpired in the spacecraft."

There are hundreds of these types of close encounters found in UFO literature and magazines including the report archives of UFO organisations, but very seldom investigated thoroughly. I found a good example in Ray Palmer´s Mystic Magazine no. 9, April 1955, originally documented by first generation ufologist Tom Comella.

One of the great mistakes of the scientifically oriented ufologists of the 1950s was to discard the classic contactees as frauds and impostors without in-depth investigation. In these type of close encounter cases appearances and first impressions can be very deceptive, in several ways. A good example is Florida contactee Lydia Stalnaker. The mainstream scientific ufologist who finds her ad in UFO report 1980 selling the Cross of Antron, would probably dismiss her as just another cultist. In this ad Stalnaker claims to have met people from another galaxy and given a mission by the spaceman Antron.

But when you take a second and deeper look into Stalnaker´s story you will find some very intriguing and disturbing details. These were presented by Judith and Alan Gansberg in Direct Encounters. Personal Histories of UFO Abductees (1980). The case was investigated by then APRO respresentative Dr. James Harder, University of California. On January 23, 1985 I wrote a letter to Dr. Harder to get more data on his study but unfortunately received no answer.

In August 1974 Lydia Stalnaker was driving north from Jacksonville, Florida when she saw a bright light coming out of the sky. She stopped the car at a parking area and got out to have a better look. Suddenly another car pulled into the area and a man that Stalnaker thought she vaguely knew joined her by the side of the road. They stared at the light hovering over some trees, assuming it was a helicopter and noticed it descending as if crashing behind the trees. They decided to drive toward the region to see if they could be of help.
”I asked the man if he had seen what I had seen… He said, ´Yes, and its right on time´. The man was short, less than five feet five inches, and had a dark, Italian or Jewish look… He coaxed me into his car, and we drove off to find the spot.”

When they got closer to the area of the assumed crash Stalnaker felt un uncomfortable sensation of being suffocated. ”Then it seemed like just a moment passed and we were heading back towards Jacksonville on another road. It was midnight and Stalnaker´s forehead was hurting and she felt nauseated. After this incident she was having frightening dreams of being on an operating table surrounded by people wearing masks, sticking painful needles in her sides. Eventually she sought professional help and was hypnotised. During hypnosis she recounted a classic abduction scenario. After the missing time incident Stalnaker developed telepathic and healing powers and received messages from the spaceman Antron.

What makes this case especially interesting is the physical meeting with the strange man in the parking area. Stalnaker tried to find him again but found out he had disappeared from the town. He had quit his job and no one new where he was. ”His employer said that the man had appeared in town one morning looking for work, but they did not know where he had come from.” I have not read of any ufologist who have followed up on these important clues. But this is the kind of data ufologists should look for.

To delve into these aspects of the UFO enigma the ufologist has to be both a meticulous, critical investigator and a detective. In-depth research of close encounter and contact cases of this type is time-consuming and can be quite unnerving as you will discover facts very difficult or impossible to publish. Ufology at this level is very far from writing reports of lights in the sky or being entertained by fake videos on YouTube. You have all the chances of entering Forbidden Science. But then remember the motto of Riley Crabb, the late director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation: ”If I have one goal in life it is an uncompromising search for Truth, whatever that might be, and wherever it may lead.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Gustaf Fröding and Esotericism

In the introduction to The Philosopher´s Stone, Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency writes: ”There exists a vast literature of which, amazingly, the general public appears to be entirely ignorant.” That this statement also includes most academic scholars becomes very obvious when reading Gustaf Fröding – och jag (Gustaf Fröding – and I) by the author Rolf Erik Solheim. This is a pioneering work about the famous Swedish poet, an in-depth study of the lifeview and worldview of Fröding and how it relates to ideas in The Esoteric Tradition.

Rolf Erik Solheim is a Norwegian engineer (M.Sc.), writer and lecturer who, besides his interest in natural science and technology, for many years has been deeply fascinated by esotericism in literature. When in the Spring of 2013 he, at a hotel in Värmland, found the book Frödings mystik (Fröding`s Mystique) by Olle Holmberg, Solheim ”borrowed” this volume and it was the beginning of a long journey of discovery. Very early on in his research Solheim realized that almost no writer or academic scholar had studied the worldview of Fröding, nor had any understanding of its foundation and sources. Solheim regularly update his findings at the website, Framtiden är din (The Future Is Yours) created together with his wife Anne.

Rolf Erik Solheim during a lecture at Kristinehamn Public Library October 8, 2016

In 2016 Solheim published a summary of his research in the yearbook of the Gustaf Fröding Society now later extended in the latest work Gustaf Fröding – And I. The title has been changed several times as the author also wished to include how his own spiritual search has been affected by this study: ”The journey with Fröding is also a personal journey where I narrate how I wrote the book and how the established Fröding scholars regarded my project almost as a molestation of the mainstream view of Fröding.” (p. 19) Since the Olle Holmberg study, published in 1921, no in-depth study has been made of Fröding´s esoteric worldview. Solheim found out the hard way that all writers including academic scholars are metaphysical illiterates. Hopefully this will change because of the renaissance of academic interest in the once taboo subject Western Esotericism. It is slowly been recognized that The Esoteric Tradition is the third intellectual force or pillar in cultural history besides religion and science.

Yerbook of the Gustaf Fröding Society 2016

Gustaf Fröding spent the latter part of his tragic life at different mental institutions and hospitals. His most precious possession during these final years was a portrait of Goethe. His friend, poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt, visited Fröding and noted: ”Goethe´s ´Geist´ was to Fröding something much more than spirit in the ordinary sense, an all-consciousness. In his Graal poetry the Divine Spark, which according to Fröding exist in every human being, is connected to this all-consciousness.” (p. 46). This deep attachment to Goethe reveal a spiritual affinity as Goethe was a member of the secret Rosicrucian fraternity which he disguised as The Fellowship in the Tower in his second novel Wilhelm Meister´s Apprenticeship.

Gustaf Fröding 1910

An important discovery was made by Solheim in the Fröding archive at Uppsala University Library. Among the 133 volumes many are filled with notes and comments by Fröding himself, especially in the collected works of philologist and Orientalist Max Müller. The comments give many clues to Fröding´s worldview and spiritual quest. When Solheim found these comments he took no less than 600 pictures as reference to his book. Of interest is that one book in the Fröding archive is the Swedish edition of Theosophist Alfred Percy Sinnett´s Esoteric Buddhism.

Gustaf Fröding wrote three small booklets presenting his worldview. The most important bears the title Om lifsmonader. Ett lifsförklaringsförsök (On Life Monads. An attempt to Explain Life), privately published in 1898. The idea of the evolution of consciousness that Fröding tried to formulate in his booklets was usually misunderstood or completely ignored by later scholars and writers, revealing their ignorance of The Esoteric Tradition. Solheim give many examples from literary reviews and books how mainstream academics viewed these works, often referring to Fröding´s mental illness: ”balmy”, ”a curiosity”, ”hocus pocus”, ”reduced capacity for reasoning power”, ”a low point in Fröding´s production” etc.

A major part of the book consists of Solheim´s quotes and references to various historical and contemporary authors who from different viewpoints discuss the same ideas and problems as Fröding. Here we find Plato, Pythagoras, Leibnitz, Goethe as well as Roger Penrose and Max Tegmark. But there is also a few quotes from esotericists Roberto Assagioli and Henry T. Laurency. This may be a bit confusing to the reader as there is no summary of the basic ideas in the core Esoteric Tradition – Helena P. Blavatsky, Alice Bailey, Henry T. Laurency. Italian psychiatrist Roberto Assagioli was the founder of Psychosynthesis but also secretly a disciple of the Tibetan adept who dictated the works published by Alice Bailey. Regarding his connection to the Tibetan, Assagioli kept a strict ”wall of silence”.

Three pages are devoted to Pythagoras and hylozoics with some short comments on the writings of the erudite Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency. To fully understand the unique contribution of Laurency to esoteric philosophy, a more extensive chapter should have been included. Especially as Solheim recognize Laurency as an expert esotericist: ”If Fröding had known that the worlds foremost monad thinker a few years after his death would study philosophy at Uppsala University he had possibly asked the All-Consciousness permission to live a few more years to meet him.” (p. 208). Henry T. Laurency studied philosophy at Uppsala University in the beginning of the 20th century.

Together with the author at Kristinehamn Public Library 2016

These few critical comments are not meant to dimish the importance of Solheim´s work. Hopefully new generations of scholars will continue this line of investigation and fully realize how ideas in The Esoteric Tradition has influenced our culture. Gustaf Fröding´s contemporary author Selma Lagerlöf was  also very much influenced by esotericism, which fortunately several scholars have discovered. Next in line is Gustaf Fröding and here Rolf Erik Solheim has laid the groundwork with his excellent and pioneering research.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Akualele Research Group

For the UFO historian and sociologist the 1950s is a period of special interest. As a result of the frequent and global reports of unknown craft in the sky coupled with claims of contact with space people the decade witnessed the emergence of the first civilian UFO societies. They ranged from scientifically oriented research organizations to more or less religious or cultist groups. If you happened to live in Hawaii during the 1950s and had an interest in UFOs there was one man you couldn´t miss – Riley Hansard Crabb, founder of the Honolulu-based Akualele Research Group in 1956. Akualele is a local Hawaiian word for ”fire spirits” or ”flying gods”.

Riley Crabb with friends in Honolulu April 1949. Probably photo from workplace

Riley Crabb (1912-1994) was especially well equipped to deal with unexplained phenomena. His mother, Mrs. Eunice Crabb, was a student of esotericist and philospher Manly Palmer Hall. As a young man growing up in Minneapolis, Riley, in 1934, discovered the very extensive library of the Theosophical Society in Minneapolis. This collection of Esoterica he ”tried to read through in record time”. Interest in psychic research led to co-operation with  Mrs Nellie Thompson, a clairvoayant lady whose talents were sometimes used by the detectives of the Minneapolis polis force. During these years he also married his first wife Marion Crabb (Marion M. Strese) who was a materialisation medium. It must have been a very special learning experience for Riley living together with a medium with such unusual abilities. At times presumably quite upsetting if Marion didn´t have control of her psychic powers.

Military service took Riley Crabb to Hawaii in 1944. After the war he continued living in Honolulu, marrying his second wife Judith (Judy) Crabb in 1950 or 1951. Interested in both Eastern and Western esoteric traditions Riley, during these years in Hawaii, became a student of the local Kahuna philosophy and magical practices, learning from Kahunas Charles Kenn, Kino Lau, David (Daddy) Bray.

David (Daddy) Bray

In a Round Robin article 1962 Riley Crabb reminisced about these times: ”During the four years I worked at the Naval Supply Center, Pearl Harbor I became well acquainted with one of the safety engineers, a Caucasian-Hawaiian from the island of Molokai. He knew of my interest in Flying Saucers and told me of his own early childhood experiences with Akualele. He had an uncle who was one of the 57 varieties of Kahunas. By appropriate rhythmical breathing and chanting this uncle could call up an Elemental and give it a temporary form in the shape of a glowing ball of light. Another Kahuna across the valley had similiar abilities. They were probably initiates of the same Mystery School. They were friendly rivals, too, and to entertain themselves - and show off their prowess - in the long Molokai evenings, these pagan sorcerers would create highly charged globes of electrical ether and send them back and forth between them! The engineer told me of those long-remembered nights there in the tropic darkness of his home island, sitting at a respectful distance from the Kahuna, and watching open-mouthed as the ghostly, glowing globe came floating down out of the darkness.” (Round Robin, vol. 18, no. 3, April 1962, pp. 30-31)

Interest in flying saucers started in 1950 and in 1951 Riley became a member of Borderland Sciences Research Associates (BSRA), founded by Meade Layne in 1946. He became intensively fascinated by the subject and began lecturing on UFOs in Honolulu 1954. This led to many TV and radio appearances and lectures to both civilian societies, clubs and military personnel. On January 27, 1955 he was interviewed on the popular TV program Betty´s Guest Book, the CBS outlet in Honolulu:

”Betty Smyser: We have a guest who is an expert on a very unusual subject, Flying Saucers. His name is Riley Crabb. This is so nice of you to come down and tell us about a subject which is so fascinating. And, is it believable?
Riley Crabb: Yes, that´s what we´ll find out during your show.
Betty Smyser: First Riley, how did you become interested in inter-planetary travel?
Riley Crabb: One of the radio engineers here in Honolulu, back in 1950, gave me a copy of True Magazine which had one of their first articles on the subject. Prior to that I dismissed them as hallucinations, but the factual material in the article startled me. Shortly after that I had a chance to join the Borderland Sciences Research Associates, a group with headquarters in San Diego. We compile material of this kind and analyse it to see what truth is in it.”

Combined with his lecturing, media appearances, UFO and Kahuna studies Riley was elected President of the Theosophical Society in Hawaii 1955. This combination of interests, esotericism and UFOs, would become the hallmark of Riley Crabb´s continued work. The Esoteric Tradition was the worldview, theory or paradigm he always referred to in his writings and lectures. He explained this background in a letter to Hope Troxell, March 2, 1959: ”I take factural data as reported by contactees in newspapers, magazine articles and books and try to correlate it with the known or accepted teachings of the wise men of our race. I established this method of arriving at understanding when I began lecturing in Honolulu in June, 1954 and also used it as the basis for the work of the Akualele Research Group which I organized two years later.”

It was almost inevitable that Riley would also found a UFO group in Hawaii. He organized a first presentation on February 26, 1956 at Reef Hotel, Waikiki, naming the meeting The First Honolulu Space Convention. Riley suggested the name Saucer Research Group but changed it to Akualele Research Group. During 1956-1957 meetings, or conventions, were held around once a month. Although interest was great it was obviously not so easy to form a research group as evidenced by this leaflet about the Convention April 1, 1956.

But the Akualele Research Group was eventually formed in 1956 and a small newsletter was published regularly, the Akualele Research Group Bulletin. From what I can understand of the newsletters there was very little field investigation of UFO reports. Activity was concentrated around meetings with lectures and social gatherings. Riley Crabb gave a summary of the group meetings in a letter to Morris Jessup, June 10, 1956: ”… space conventions. We´re having about one a month at the Reef Hotel in Waikiki… We expected 20 or 30 people and over a hundred showed up. There were 160 at the last convention. I givet hem reviews of books, analyses of newspaper clippings, and slide illustrations of Flying Saucers and related material. If you ever come out this way we can guarantee you a pretty good audience for whatever you might want to say.”

Honolulu Star-Bulletin January 19, 1957

First page of Akualele Research Group Bulletin, April 7, 1957

When Riley and Judy Crabb left Hawaii, moving to California in August 1957, it seems that the activity of both Akualele Research Group and the Theosophical Society in Hawaii more or less ceased. This was probably due to the very active and dominant personality of Riley Crabb. His message in the last Bulletin August 1, 1957, indicates that their move will be the end of the group. In the BSRF archive I have only found an incomplete collection of Akualele Research Group Bulletin. There are several issues missing. If anyone of our colleagues reading this blog have access to this newsletter, physical or digital copies would be much appreciated.