Two individuals have had a seminal influence on the development of the UFO movement in Sweden, Edith Nicolaisen and Gösta Rehn. Miles apart in their ideas and writings they were active during the same era, from the 1950s to the 1970s. Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the Parthenon publishing house, representing the New Age contactee movement and Gösta Rehn the scientific ufologist approach. Both of them developed far-reaching international contacts and consequently the correpondence archives of Nicolaisen and Rehn are very extensive with thousands of letters. A treasure trove of unique data accessible to academic scholars as well as researchers of UFO and paranormal phenomena.
In Sweden we are in the unique position in having been able to salvage these voluminous archives from being dumped in containers. After months of negotiations in 1985-86 Mats Nilsson and Carl-Anton Mattsson from UFO-Sweden were able to acquire the entire Parthenon archive as a donation to UFO-Sweden and AFU. And in 1989 my AFU colleague Anders Liljegren and I succeeded in salvaging 32 binders with the Rehn correspondence, already dumped in a container. These correspondence archives are especially valuable as here we find data not aviable in published books, magazines and articles.
The correspondence between Edith Nicolaisen and George Adamski is interesting in this respect, giving insights into the events, views and controversies of the contactee movement. The correspondence file contain 71 letters, written between 1954-1965. 25 letters are from George Adamski. Edith Nicolaisen (1911-1986) published several of the UFO contactee classics of the 1950s and she corresponded with almost all known contactees and their co-workers. Among Adamski co-workers I have found letters from Desmond Leslie, Alice Wells, Lucy McGinnis, Carol Honey, Sonja Lyubicin, Lou Zinssstag, Madeleine Rodeffer, Alice Pomeroy, Adrienne Munkeberg, Fred Steckling to name just a few.
Edith Nicolaisen 1946
Edith Nicolaisen spent eight years studying various languages and Philosophy at the universities of Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin and Heidelberg. Between 1953-1957 she worked as a saleswoman for the Swedish publishing company Diana Bildreportage AB at Hälsingborg. 1949 was a turning point in Ediths´ life. She read An Outline of Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner, whom she later came to regard as "the greatest Western adept of the 20th century" (Letter to Wilbert B. Smith, February 17, 1959). For several years she devoted much spare time reading books on Antroposophy, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism (Max Heindel), Spiritualism and mysticism. From her American Friend Carl Vett she was told about flying saucers and during the summer of 1954 she read the classic Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski, a book that completely changed her life. She wrote her first letter to Adamski on August 12, 1954 detailing her plans to publish his book in Swedish:
”I have read your description of your experiences in book two of ”Flying Saucers Have Landed” with great interest and before I had finished reading it, I had made up my mind to write to you and to ask your permission to translate it into Danish and Swedish… My purpose with the translation and publishing of your book is the following: … the topic of this book will interest many people in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and it may encourage many a ”lost” and shipwrecked soul stranded either on the rock of orthodox religion or on that of materialism to start searching for spiritual light. Thus your many diligent night- and daywatches on the southern slopes of Mount Palomar may be a great blessing to many souls.”
The letters 1954-1956 deal primarily with practical issues in connection with publishing Flying Saucers Have Landed and Inside the Space Ships but Adamski also recounted some of his recent experiences with the space people:
”Since my first meeting with a man from Venus, as recounted in Flying Saucers Have Landed, I have had the pleasure of a number of other meetings with both men and women from our sister planets, Mars, Venus and Saturn. During the more than 200 hours that I have spent in their company, I have been granted the privilege of visiting in their ships and of being taken on trips beyond our atmosphere where I could personally observe the constant activity of outer space. And they have told me much of their way of life in comparison to ours on Earth.”
(Letter from George Adamski to Edith Nicolaisen January 25, 1955).
During the mid-1950s Edith Nicolaisen made at least three UFO observations, two at close range. In November 1955 she observed the classic bell-shaped flying saucer from her car. Surprisingly she did not mention this incident to George Adamski but to several other correspondents. Here in a letter to Desmond Leslie 1956 and Cosmic Brotherhood Association 1962:
”From the very first time I heard about ”Flying Saucers” coming from other planets, I believed it quite possible - to-day I am convinced! Had , too, the luck to see a ”Flying Saucer" of the Venusian type hovering some hundred meters about my head here in Sweden and last year during my holidays in the Austrian mountains a huge mother ship passed at a distance of about 500 meters and at the same level majestic, soundless and with incredible speed! As it seems as if I belong to those ”elected ones", who always get the toughest jobs to solve in life, I felt it my duty to plant the banner of ”Flying Saucers” on the top of ”Mount Everest" here in Sweden.
”In November 1955 on a moonlit evening between 22-23 p.m. about 15 km south of Linköping while waiting in my car for a train to pass, I suddenly caught sight of a beautiful green-light far above the way-lin´s green signal-light. In order to see better I rolled down the car-pane on the left side and put out my head – and there a few hundred meters above the ground a big bell-shaped ”Flying Saucer” with portholes and landing gears was suspended in the air.. In the clear moonlight it looked like a magnificient silhouette of the world-famous Venusian-scout-design. From one side of the portholes shone a shaft of green light and from the other a shaft of orange light. (The colours and the intensity reminded much about our most beautiful neon-light advertisements.) As I had time to watch this ”silhouette” suspended in the air for 2 á 3 minutes before it disappeaed of sight, I noticed the details as above described. The next day a local newspaper reported that five people south of Linköping had observed a ”Flying Saucer”. The description of the observers tallied with my own observation.” (Letter to Cosmic Brotherhood Association, March 1, 1962).
Being a Danish citizen Edith Nicolaisen needed Swedish board members to be able to found her publishing company in Sweden. Three women, Brita Rodosi, Rut Lindberg and Sonja Lilienthal, all members of the Theosophical Society (Adyar) came to her help and in October 1957 Parthenon, Inc. was founded and Edith Nicolaisen moved from Copenhagen to Hälsingborg, Sweden. Adamski was informed about the happy news of the first book published by Parthenon: ”Finally, we have the pleasure to inform you that your and Desmond Leslie´s book: Flying Saucers Have Landed has appeared on the Swedish book market under the name: Flygande tefat har landat, and tomorrow a free copy will be sent to you and Desmond L… Two ”silver discs” passed Parthenon´s windows the other morning. I hope more will turn up within long.”
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to George Adamski, October 27, 1957).
George Adamski continued to brief Edith Nicolaisen about his contacts with the space people in personal letters. This letter, from November 27, 1957, is a special significance:
”Earlier this months some 6,000 space craft were brought into our atmosphere and simultaneously appeared over every part of our planet so that people everywhere could see them. In some cases they came in so low that they stopped car motors, turned out lights, and radios were silenced… I did not have a meeting with the Brothers again on November 20th because for three days, Nov. 19, 20, 21, our jets were swarming over this territory like flocks of buzzards, making it impossible for any space craft to even come in close without endangering both themselves and those in our planes. But a couple of days later I did have the pleasure of meeting Orthon, who told me about the 6,000 ships coming in earlier in the month.”
Edith Nicolaisen first accepted Adamski´s assertion that the space people he met were physical with organic bodies just like us, but in 1958 she began to doubt this claim and instead adhered to the position of Meade Layne and Desmond Leslie that the space people from Venus, Mars etc. were etheric physical, not normally visible to physical eyes. This was also in accordance with the Esoteric Tradition. She never debated this issue with Adamski but she wrote of her conviction to other correspondents: ”You asked me about my opinion of this ”curious object”. The interplanetarian space crafts belong to the so called ”etheric realm” and therefore they are usually not seen by our physical eyes, unless our interplanetrian friends want to draw our attention to their space-crafts or when they want to contact us – then they slow down the vibratory rates of their ships so that the vibrations can be caught by retina of our eyes and thus seen by our physical eyes. Very few earth-people – exept for the Adepts and Masters – so far evolved spiritually than average people – are able to see the etheric world with its high vibrations and with all its splendour of colours and forms.”
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to Frederick H. Curtiss, USA, September 19, 1959).
Edith Nicolaisen corresponded with Adamski co-worker Carol Honey 1962-1968. When the break between Adamski and Honey accurred in 1963 Edith suddenly found herself with double loyalities and vacillated between different views on who told the truth. She wanted to stay on friendly terms with both her correspondents but made some critical comments on Adamski to Carol Honey in a letter May 2, 1964: ” From past correspondence and G.A.´s strange behaviour during his world-lecture-trip in 1959 as well as during his lecture-trip in 63 during which he made many contradictory statements and let NEW-AGE-co-workers down by not keeping his appointments and promises and thus causing great embarassements – I knew at heart that G.A. was not supported by the SPACE PEOPLE any longer… I agree entirely with your opinion that we must distinguish between the ”OLD Adamski”, who had his experience with the Space people as recorded in ”Fl.s.h.l.” and ”I. the.Sp.Sh.” and the ”NEW Adamski” who seems to be under some sort of psychic control from sources opposing the BROTHERS´ program. For some time it was a problem to me, but it is no longer after having been informed that G.A. started resorting to trance mediumship… we shall support you and your program, because we believe that you belong to the group, which we call genuine co-workers”.
George Adamski explaining his break with Carol Honey in a letter to Edith Nicolaisen
Actually Edith continued to support both Honey and Adamski. The spiritual message of the space people was for her the important issue. In 1963 she had written a ”A personal letter between two New-Age-co-workers”.
As our Brothers and Sisters from space shall need so much our co-operation on both sides of the ocean, let us forget all past misunderstandings and build our future co-operation on a rock of confidence. We have both experienced the detrimental influences of the ”negative forces” on our new-age-work in the past and seen how even the best New-Age-co-workers may fall prey to rumours and rumour-mongers… If my intentions have been business-minded, no doubt, I should have published ”best-sellers” like Bender´s, Howard Menger´s and the Shaver´s stories, as such books could have been sold in large editions appealing to the carnal-sense-mind of the majority and brought a large profit.”
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to George Adamski, July 7, 1963).
What is especially significant in this letter to Adamski is the total deprecation of Howard Menger and his contact experiences with space people. Especially since Edith Nicolaisen corresponded with Howard Menger between 1959-1966. In her first letter to him she wrote: ”Having read your article in the Flying Saucer Review, London, I realize that you have been chosen by our interplanetary brothers and sisters to bring an important New-Age-message to the people on the Earth, therefore I would like to ask you, if I might get your permission to translate and to publish your book From Outer Space To You here in Sweden?
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to Howard Menger, February 10, 1959).
In a reply Howard Menger gave Parthenon permission to translate his book but it was never published in Sweden. Maybe because in 1960 Edith received a letter from Ray Stanford who claimed that Howard Menger was a fake. Still she sold the English edition from Parthenon and in 1966 asked Menger for articles to a coming periodical. I find it something of an enigma that Edith Nicolaisen didn´t notice that From Outer Space To You was actually even more in line with the Esoteric Tradition than Adamski´s Inside the Space Ships. Howard Menger makes it very clear that his space people were not physical in the same sense as earth people and if we visited Venus we would not be able to see them.
In his last letter to Edith Nicolaisen, February 29, 1964, George Adamski wrote: ”I know that people all over the world would like the latest information but it takes a lot of work to get it together and have it published and all involves time, which I have so little of… I deny myself many things to get the work out the best I know, knowledge that the Brothers have given to me. I just had a contact with them recently where they told me that much more deeper could be given but unless the present knowledge given is partially absorbed by applying it in our daily lives the other knowledge will have to wait.” George Adamski died on April 23,1965.
This correspondence is ample evidence of the importance of saving letters in UFO archives. Books, magazines and articles can usually be found again if lost but with correspondence the situation is different. We only have one copy. Once lost it is gone forever. In all types of research letters are an indispensable tool that may open doors to knowledge, impossible to discover in other sources.