Monday, October 15, 2018

The Sten Lindgren Contact Case

In the annals of UFO history there are few issues that have created more debate, derision and enmity in the UFO community than the classic contactee cases of the 1950s. The situation is not very much different today. Few ufologists appear to be able to handle these cases with an open and investigating spirit. The believers believe too much and the skeptics dismiss empirical data without investigation. Finding weak points in the claims of the true believer is usually not very difficult but when dealing with complicated contactee cases it is equally important to be critical of the critic and skeptical of the skeptic.

Sten Lindgren at his home, December 25, 1984
I learned this the hard way during my formative years in ufology. My first teacher or mentor in the strange and sometimes whacky underground world of the UFO movement was Swedish contactee Sten Lindgren. A gentle soul, mystic and idealist who told of both physical and telepathic contacts with the space brothers.  Being a naive teenager I was immensely fascinated by his claims and became a member of his group of eager students and activists, the Intergalactical Federation (IGF). But after a couple of years in this very special social milieu I began asking critical question which eventually led to the founding of AFU.

Still I was deeply interested in the many contact claims of Sten Lindgren and decided to gather as much data as possible to determine what was reality and fantasy in the world of Sweden´s most famous contactee. This endeavor proved to be a tricky problem as the core group around Sten were unwilling to talk. But I kept on turning every stone and after several years had quite an extensive file on IGF and its members.

Sten Lindgren (right) together with Roland von Malmborg 1971

The central contact experience often mentioned by Sten Lindgren in lectures, books,  articles, radio- and TV interviews happened 1965 at lake Nävsjön, south of Nyköping in central Sweden. During the Autumn of 1965 Sten and his close friend Christer Janson are offered to participate in a contact with space people by contactee Daniel Glantz. On a Saturday night in November 1965 Sten, Christer and a third friend Bertil a.k.a. Besic (real name known to me) travel by car from Stockholm to the home of Daniel Glantz and his wife Ingrid in Nyköping. Before leaving for the contact the group have a cup of tea and Christian are instructing them not to wear any metallic objects such as coins, watch etc.  When the group has traveled a few Swedish miles south of Nyköping, entering a small dirt road, the car is stopped and Daniel turn the car headlights on and off a few times and then proceed further. Now Sten and Christer begin experiencing a strange sensation as if faint electrical currents are playing on their heads, like an electric hairnet.

According to Sten Lindgren this is what happened next: Around 9.30 p.m. Daniel find a parking spot close to the small lake called Nävsjön and the group leave the car. From a distance of around 50 meters Sten observe a landed bell-shaped saucer. There are also two craft hovering a few hundred meters above the lake. From the left side of the landed saucer comes a man dressed in ski-type uniform with a wide belt. He looks like a normal human being and have long hair. Daniel signal three times with a flashlight and the man takes something from his belt signalling back. This light stop in mid air at various distances.

Illustration of the Nävsjön contact according to Sten Lindgren

The man start walking towards the group and Daniel, Bertil and Ingrid go to meet him. Sten and Christer are told to stay where they are and just watch.  Sten can hear the group talk for about five minutes. Bertil is carrying a brown envelope that he hand over to the man. The group return, enter the car and take of.  After travelling a short distance Daniel stop and everybody leave the car. The night sky is starlit and Sten observe another saucer coming slowly gliding above the trees. When Sten and Christer look up they get a visionary experience as if the stars are much closer, a sort of zooming effect and they can see many more stars than is normal. It was like a consciousness expansion. After this observation the group return to Nyköping where Sten, Christer and Bertil continue their journey to Stockholm.

Beginning in the 1980s some of the witnesses had begun to open up regarding the incident, giving more and more details of what had happened. I had also began corresponding with Daniel Glantz who claimed there was a genuine contact although I found many of his letters rather far out and deeply religious. In 1985 I finally persuaded Sten and Daniel to be interviewed before writing an article on the case. On August 15 I visited Nävsjön in the company of Sten Lindgren followed by an in-depth interview on August 26. I also interviewed Daniel Glantz at his home in Nyköping on August 24, 1985. During a dinner in November 1985 with the witness Bertil he confirmed to me that he was the one that had carried the envelope during the contact but he insisted on anonymity.

Sten Lindgren at Nävsjön, August 15, 1985

Sten standing beside lake Nävsjön from where he observed the landed craft

By this time I deemed the case so well documented that I wrote an article for the Swedish magazine Sökaren, published in late 1985 (no 9). I called the article ”En svensk Adamskikontakt” (A Swedish Adamski-type contact) and presented it as a possibly genuine contact with benevolent alien visitors. But there were still many questions unanswered. How come that none of the witnesses could remember the exact date of the incident, not even the correct month. Both September and November was mentioned. I was also rather dubious of a statement made in a letter from Daniel, indicating a connection with the U.S. Air Force.  In a phone conversation with Sten Lindgren June 17, 1985 he, to my great surprise, speculated that the whole incident could have  been staged or a bluff arranged by Daniel using a model or balloon.

In the Summer of 1986 I finally succeeded in getting interviews with Bertil and Christer Jansson.  Bertil was according to Sten a key person in the contact as he had handed over the envelope to the spaceman. When I asked about the content of the envelope Bertil said he had a black-out during the incident and couldn´t remember but that he often carried pen and paper and in a sort of calligraphy wrote and made drawings as a hobby. ”It is possible that this so called strange envelope contained some of these drawings but I am not sure… It is also possible that I dropped the envelope, I don´t know.” Bertil was adamant that it did not contain any secret message to some spaceman.  Bertil remember seeing a light in the forest but has no memory of a saucer. His recollections of the incident are very hazy. He does remember that they stopped once more to try telepathic contact but he did not see any saucer coming close as told by Sten.

In an interview August 11, 1986 Christer Janson gave a rather different version of the incident than Sten Lindgren: ”It was a light that was not natural but emanated from some kind of lamp, spotlight or headlight that could have come from a vehicle, boat or car but to me it was obviously not an observation of an Adamski-type craft with clear outlines, but Sten claims to have seen something like that.” To Christer the most memorable part of the evening was the mind expansion: ”The best evidence for me is the mind change because no earthly power could affect that unless they had put drugs in the tea before we left… It was a pleasant feeling, not at all negative.”

Daniel Glantz (left) and Christer Janson (right) being interviewed

To get more facts about the contact combined with field investigation I travelled with Daniel Glantz to Nävsjön on October 11, 1986. He told of three earlier meetings with a spaceman at this place. But what really made me dubious was his claim that the spacepeople had helped him win on the racetrack to get money for travelling to United States and Bahamas in 1971. He was given five digits for the next Swedish Åby galopp and won 50,000 SEK. That space people should visit this planet to help a man win on the racetrack wasn´t exactly credible.  After this meeting I told Daniel I would contact his former wife Ingrid to hear her version of the Nävsjön contact. But Daniel dissuaded me from contacting his former wife because she was now dying from cancer, bone tumor.

Daniel Glantz during a visit to Nävsjön, October 11, 1986

I wrote a letter to Ingrid and mentioned that Daniel had told me of her disease and offered help because my father was a nature therapist. Ingrid called me on the phone October 29, 1986 and this conversation became for me the heureka moment in the whole investigation.  When I asked of her physical illness she didn´t understand what I meant as she felt fine. After mentioning what Daniel had told me of her cancer Ingrid exclaimed ”Oh, not that too”.  And then I was given a completely different story of the Nävsjön contact and what had transpired during their marriage.

Håkan: This incident which you witnessed in 1965, did you see the craft?
Ingrid: No, absolutely not.  I am so astonished that these people have seen something.
Håkan: Didn´t  you notice a man coming out then?
Ingrid: No, absolutely not. I was there all the time and I can clearly state there was no man coming out.
Håkan: Ok, that is strange.
Ingrid: Yes, I find it strange too.
Håkan: But you were a group standing together?
Ingrid: Yes, but there was no man. I must be honest…  as far as I know Daniel has never told me he saw a man there.
Håkan: But didn´t Daniel tell you of his own experiences?
Ingrid: Daniel has not met anyone.
Håkan: So what is this all about?
Ingrid: I believe there are psychological factors behind this.
Håkan: Do you think it is a conscious fake?
Ingrid: No, it can be unconscious wishful thinking. When you say we saw something in the forest I wonder if it could have been someone with a flashlight. The light was like coming from a flashlight. There is a lake there and people are fishing all the time.

Ingrid revealed the during their marriage the couple had lived a sort of ”Sunday-hippie life” using drugs like hash and LSD. She wanted desperately to get away from this life and turned for help to a local Christian church. After having been saved by a life with Christ she regarded everything to do with UFOs as evil.

Ingrid and Daniel Glantz

My investigation of the Nävsjön incident now turned in new directions. Ingrid had provided several names of people who were part of their group of friends in the 1960s. A group that often met to discuss UFOs, paranormal phenomena, mysticism etc. But they were also experimenting with drugs of various types. Could this be confirmed by other members or was Ingrid simply exaggerating to discredit her former husband? Two of the group members were Matts-Gösta Jonsson and Birgitta Holmberg. When I interviewed them they confirmed what Ingrid had stated. The group had experimented with drugs also using Mescaline, a psychedelic alkaloid with hallucinogenic effects. They bought Mescaline cactus at Östgöta trädgårdshall, a local gardener´s supply.  They never heard Daniel relate any meetings with space people and regard these stories as fantasies.

I later received confirmation of Daniel´s drug use from two more witnesses, Monica Ahnkvist and Yngve Freij. Daniel used to smuggle drugs in cookies from Denmark, according to Monica. Yngve Freij claimed to have tried LSD three times together with Daniel but he didn´t believe his UFO stories. With these confirmations the most likely explanation for the Nävsjön incident is that Daniel, without mentioning this to the other witnesses, put some Mescaline or LSD in the tea before going to the contact with the ”spaceman”.  This would explain the strange mind expansion effects attested by Sten Lindgren, Bertil and Christer Janson.

Yngve Freij visiting AFU in 1993

In spite of all this information Sten continued to relate the Nävsjön incident as a real contact on TV, interviews and in the book he wrote in 1997, Dialog med Kosmisk Kultur (Dialogue With A Cosmic Culture). Perhaps he really honestly believe to have witnessed this contact, not realizing the influence of drugs. I have never been able to confirm any of the many claims of contacts and UFO observations by Sten Lindgren. There are a few cases of lights observed by others together with Sten but only of a vague nature. Investigating the Sten Lindgren case was for me a profound learning experience and taught me many lessons. Sten has always been a gentle mystic, a good will idealist and I am grateful for having known him although his stories may be more fantasy than reality.

Sten Lindgren lecturing at a UFO conference

This story is a very good illustration of the importance of in-depth research, turning every possible stone, always checking sources again and again. It is also an illustration of the need to be honest with your own data, theories and convictions. This is why I value researchers, whether skeptics or believers, who after years of field investigation and published writings have, in a public debate, the guts to stand up and say – Well, I may be wrong.