Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Edith Nicolaisen - Elizabeth Klarer correspondence

In the voluminous Parthenon correspondence file at AFU is preserved letters from almost all the wellknown public contactees of the 1950s and 60s. Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the Parthenon publishing house, had the ambition to translate and publish as many contactee books in Swedish as possible. One of her close friends, although they never met, was Elizabeth Klarer (1910-1994) a South African woman with contact experiences that eventually would prove quite shocking to Edith and many of her colleagues in the UFO and New Age community. The Nicolaisen – Klarer correspondence file consists of 23 letters, written between 1956-1976.

Elizabeth Klarer

The original UFO observations and contact experiences of Elizabeth Klarer were published in Flying Saucer Review, Nov-Dec 1956. The first close encounter occurred on December 27, 1954, in the Drakensberg Mountains of Natal, when Elizabeth observed a flying saucer hovering close to the ground. She observered a man in one of the portholes: ”The most handsome man I have ever seen”. It was not until July 17, 1956 when she again encountered the same saucer, but this time it was landed and the man, Akon from Venus, stood beside the craft. He invited her to enter and she was given a short trip and offered water, a red apple and other fruit similar to bananas. The tall Venusian spoke perfect English and claimed to have lived a short while on our planet. He had a fair golden-hued skin while another member of the crew was short, stocky with olive skin. After some conversation Elizabeth is returned to the same spot. On July 17, 1956 she succeeded in taking seven photographs of the flying saucer. Edith Nicolaisen read the Flying Saucer Review article and immediately wrote a letter Elizabeth and received a reply February 7, 1957.

In her second letter to Elizabeth, Edith Nicolaisen gave a detailed summary of her own life and experiences. She was usually very reluctant to reveal personal details of her life, especially to her Swedish correspondents, but were somewhat more open when writing to contactee friends around the world. This is the only letter I have found, so far, mentioning possible meetings with extraterrestrials: ”You know, George A., has often written that ”the Brothers” from other planets walk among us, and I do believe that I have met one at Stockholm and one at Copenhagen, George told me once that they have a very characteristic feature – and I believe that I have recognized this particular feature. The latter at Copenhagen could have been 40 years but also 400 years! Next time I shall try to get the courage to address this type of gentlemen.”
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to Elizabeth Klarer, Feb. 23, 1957).

Edith and Elizabeth continued a friendly correspondence and in 1959 Parthenon published  the small booklet I rymdskepp över Drakensberg. This was essentially the material from the Flying Saucer Review article, with some updated information from Elizabeth. A second edition was published in 1967.

Photo by Elizabeth Klarer, July 17, 1956

Backside of photo

In a letter August 29, 1961 Edith asked Elizabeth about another South African contactee woman, who had published a small book, Transvaal Episode – A UFO Lands in Africa. The author, Anchor, was the pen name of Ann Grevler. In her reply Elizabeth told about the strange vendetta between these two woman contactees, a controversy followed up in the local press.

Elizabeth became a very well known contactee in South Africa and also claimed that members of the military and intelligence community was interested in her experiences. But she was also rather suspicious of the motives of many of her friends and correspondents: ”You see, Nic, I have always been wary of the men who worked behind the Flying Saucer Review in London (this in confidence) and my manuscript was posted to Neville Spearman at their request and Col. Botha told me that he knows some of them and that they are British Intelligence (MI5).” (Letter from Elizabeth Klarer to Edith Nicolaisen May 12, 1964). Editor of Flying Saucer Review in 1964 was Waveney Girvan. He died on October 22, 1964 and was replaced as editor by Charles Bowen.

The manuscript mentioned was first published by the German organisation DUIST in 1977, Jenseits der Lichtmauer. The first English version, Beyond the Light Barrier, published in 1980 by Howard Timmins, Cape Town, South Africa. Elizabeth had worked on this manuscript since around 1960, adding and updating experiences that would prove to be very controversial. She had fallen in love with Akon and she had given birth to their son, Ayling, when taken to the new home of Akon on Meton, one of the planets orbiting Proxima Centauri: ”I am at present rewriting my whole manuscript and hope to complete it as soon as possible. I received the copy back from Karl Veit in West Germany. I think my manuscript shocked them – but I cannot hide the truth in these matters.
(Letter from Elizabeth Klarer to Edith Nicolaisen, Feb. 7, 1966).

That Edith also was chocked to hear about this new revelation is evident. Her views on sex were very strict and ascetic, influenced by the teachings of Rudolf Steiner and Max Heindel. In a letter to another of her South African friends, ufologist Philipp Human, she made her views on the manuscript very clear: ”With thanks received your letter of 22 June 1966, and for your information about Mrs. Klarer. Don´t be afraid, we shall never publish E. Klarer´s story with her Venusian lover, long ago I heard about the contents of her book from our friends Veits in Germany. But I would like to reprint her little booklet about her contacts. I do believe that she has had some sort of contact.”
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to Philipp Human, July 4, 1966).

Edith corresponded with Philipp Human 1958-1967. He was in the 1950s a close friend and admirer of Elizabeth Klarer: ”Meeting Mrs. Klarer and getting to know her has been the biggest event yet in my life. Her knowledge about the universe is phenomenal and she has been kind and helpful to me. I was thrilled to hold a small stone her friend brought to her from Venus during his last visit… He actually visited her home.”
(Letter from Philipp Human to Edith Nicolaisen, April 17, 1958).

Philipp Human

Philipp Human´s admiration for Elizabeth would soon end when she criticized his views on psychic contactees and revealed that Akon was her lover: ”With regard to Mrs. Klarer, I´m afraid I shall have to disappoint you. Our correspondence came to a halt when I told her how a space man had contacted me through a trance medium. She gave me a severe telling off. No space man would stop to such methods… Ever since then Elizabeth and I have parted ways. You will be horrified to hear that I do not believe one word of her supposed to be contacts and it was a standing joke the way she was helped to photograph an ordinary motor car hubcap. So much for her photographs… I typed the original MSS. That was before she added additional material to tell of her pregnancy caused by her Venusian lover, and how he had taken her to Venus to give birth to this blue-eyed fair-haired Venusian baby who would never be allowed to visit this planet but was being reared by Akon´s sister. I pray that this book will never be published.”
(Letter from Philipp Human to Edith Nicolaisen, June 22, 1966).

Trying to make an assessment of all the claims of Elizabeth Klarer today is exceedingly difficult. To my knowledge there was practically no detailed, serious investigation made during her lifetime. One of the few ufologists who tried to document the Klarer case was Cynthia Hind from Zimbabwe. She reflects on what could have been checked at an early stage in the contacts: the relatives who could have confirmed Elizabeth´s pregnancy are now dead. Cynthia personally held the ring in her hand that Elizabeth claimed was a present from Akon. No examination made. No geological analysis was made of the rock from Meton, kept by Elizabeth. And to my knowledge there has been no study of the photo negatives showing the flying saucer.

Elizabeth Klarer at the 1967 DUIST congress, Wiesbaden

There are several classic cases where there are more or less independent confirmation that the contactee really did meet "aliens" - whoever they are. Ufologist Cynthia Hind reports in her UFO Afrinews, January 1999, that this scenario also came up in the Elizabeth Klarer case. The owner of a hotel in Natal, South Africa suddenly finds an unusual man standing in the reception area: "... tall, blond, very good-looking guy, rather strange, but with good features and high cheekbones." He asks for Elizabeth Klarer but is told no one with that name has been booked at the hotel. He then disappears in a strange way. About a week later Elizabeth Klarer did arrive and booked into the hotel. The owners mention the man and Elizabeth shows a photo of a bust of her space man Akon. He is immediately recognized as the strange visitor. Cynthia Hind, who was quite sceptical of Klarer and did a lot of investigations, still had this conclusion: "All these factors need examination and it is time we stopped casting aside cases like Elizabeth Klarer and Edwin which, although sounding like hoaxes, are not obviously so."

In her last letter to Edith Nicolaisen (Nov. 27, 1976), Elizabeth Klarer wrote  regarding Beyond the Light Barrier: ”This book is a must for you and I hope you will be able to publish it at Parthenon.” But Edith never replied and ended twenty years of friendship and correspondence with silence. She published a second edition of Klarer´s first booklet I rymdskepp över Drakensberg, but never mentioned the second book. Instead of trying to understand what had happended to Elizabeth and openly expressing her disappointment and doubts, Edith simply ended the contact.

This attitude epitomize the dilemma of the New Age contactee-oriented UFO movement: researchers or missionaries? To Edith Nicolaisen the spiritual message of the space people was of the highest priority. Research was interesting if it could support the spiritual message. Edith was to learn the hard way that research and spiritual messages not always worked together. This was probably one of the reasons why she, beginning in the 1960s, became more and more oriented towards mysticism and the doomsday prophecies of Richard Graves and Yul Verner. She could have avoided these pitfalls and developed a more balanced view if she instead of relying on Rudolf Steiner and Max Heindel had followed in the footsteps of the core Esoteric Tradition of Helena Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency. Inspite of her intellectual training and academic credentials she never appears to have found the works of Laurency. Edith Nicolaisen was and remained all her life the New Age missionary.