Wednesday, September 4, 2019

K. Gösta Rehn And George Adamski

Continuing my organizing and scanning of the Parthenon archive at AFU I now and then come upon fascinating and historically unique documents. Sometimes I also discover documents that make me raise my eyebrows in astonishment. A real surprise this week was finding the early correspondence between two pioneers of the Swedish UFO movement, K. Gösta Rehn and Edith Nicolaisen, discussing translations of the books by George Adamski and Desmond Leslie. Rehn was a hardline intellectual rationalist, advocating a materialist-reductionist worldview and a fierce opponent of the classic contactees, whose writings he regarded pure fantasy. Imagine then my surprise when finding correspondence where Rehn present himself as a fervent supporter of George Adamski and his philosophy.

K. Gösta Rehn

K. Gösta Rehn (1891-1989) was an intellectual and erudite scholar. He was well acquainted with the latest works in Humanities as well as Natural Science and wrote articles on economy, neurology, sematics, philosophy and psychology. In 1954 he read Donald Keyhoe´s classic Flying Saucers From Outer Space and became intensely fascinated by the UFO enigma. Rehn made a Swedish translation of the Keyhoe book which was published in 1955.

K. Gösta Rehn was 60 years when he became an APRO representative in 1958. In spite of his age he was in good health with an exuberant intellect and soon engaged in field investigations, documenting Swedish close encounter cases and regularly sending manuscripts to be published in The APRO Bulletin. He introduced himself in a letter September 12, 1958: "I am grown-up, all right, 60, not a crank or crack-pot, ex-American with 20 years stay in the USA, since 1939 amanuens in the Swedish State Power Board, Stockholm. I have been writing some articles for a Swedish magazine, engaged in cultural debate. I am a Batchelor of Law and Batchelor of Arts (Fordham)."

In 1956 Miss Edith Nicolaisen (1911-1986) was heavily engaged in planning for the founding of the Swedish publishing house Parthenon, which started in 1957. She had spent eight years studying at the universities of Copenhagen, Paris, Berlin and Heidelberg. Her academic credentials are impressive: Modern languages such as English, German, French, Latin, Russian but also Philosophy, History, Science, Mathematics a.o. Fluent in several modern languages she worked as a translator, after the Second World War, for the United States Armed Forces in the European Theater and also in the Civil Censorship Division. Always with excellent ratings in work and personal qualifications. Between 1953-1957 she worked as a saleswoman for the Swedish publishing company Diana Bildreportage AB, Hälsingborg.

Edith Nicolaisen

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. She succeeded in getting the publishing rights for Swedish editions of Flying Saucers Have Landed and  Inside The Space Ships. As K. Gösta Rehn had translated Keyhoe´s Flying Saucers From Outer Space she wrote a letter to Rehn in 1956, asking for his help. Rehn replied in a letter May 25, 1956, which is a real surprise: ”I have read Inside The Space Ships by Adamski and found it very interesting and worthy of an elaborate translation. I am also in total sympathy with the outlook both Adamski and you represent and have studied the booklets (Graal a.o.) lent by you.” In the letter Rehn also mention that he is very well qualified as a translator with a profound knowledge of philosophy, psychology etc. In her letter May 26, 1956 Edith Nicolaisen asked if Rehn would like to translate Inside The Space Ships.

Rehn answered that he was very interested in undertaking the translation and continued: ”I find Adamski´s book fascinating and well written. He convinces us of this ”invisible reality of a magical, romantic and spiritual quality”, as related by Ingeborg Fjellander in the ”Grail Legend”. It is noble-minded in its presentation of mankind´s discord and inability to live in peace. It is evident that beings on other planets have developed a technology and wisdom far superior to ours. Yes, it is only natural to suppose that some of these beings are here unnoticed among us on earth, continuing the message of Jesus. The electromagnetic vibrations is the force of nature used by the saucers, which is in accordance with Cramp´s book ”Space, Gravity And The Flying Saucers”… This book, which is in my collection, is also in need of translation, as Adamski´s first book ”Flying Saucers Have Landed”, which I have read. That Adamski has been allowed to visit and see the inside of the saucers is a wonderful experience.” (Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to Edith Nicolaisen, May 29, 1956.

Maybe because of her female intuition or because she ”smelled a rat” Edith Nicolaisen was somewhat apprehensive regarding Rehn´s enthusiastic support for Adamski and she expressed this hesitation in the correspondence. Rehn was obviously somewhat offended by these remarks and wrote in a reply: ”I don´t quite understand how you beforehand can doubt my ability to translate the inspiring, sublime expressions used in ”the three Masters speak”. I believe we are on the same wave-length here… I hope you will look upon me as a kindred soul, tender-hearted, loving, cherishing our common interests. (Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to Edith Nicolaisen, June 2, 1956).

To decide whether Rehn was the best person to translate the Adamski books Edith Nicolaisen wrote that she listened to ”my inner voice”. Edith also reiterated that she did not work for personal gain but for the cause of humanity, serving the Master and his work on this planet. Her final decision regarding co-operating with Rehn was expressed in a letter July 27, 1956: ”My answer to you in my letter dated Copenhagen 26.6.56 had the intention to find out, if your enthusiasm was inspired by entire unselfish love to your fellow man, - eager to enlighten him and warn him against all the disasters mankind is going to encounter, if our so-called civilized world is continuing on the road of materialism and atheism, - or whether your enthusiasm was inspired by selfish interests, just as 95% of all enthusiasts and footballfans etc. you meet today everywhere. By selfish interests, I mean just to nourish your own curiosity-hunger and to get as much joy out of it for your own personal benefit – without running any risk at all or undertaking any responsibility whatsoever. So I had my reason, when I proposed that some high spiritual-minded person should undertake the translation of the Masters´speeches… it seems to me that you take the attitude of an American business man, for whom the money-question and the security is the deciding factor and not the cause for which we are going to work.”

The correspondence continued for a few more weeks but in September 1956 Edith Nicolaisen realized that co-operation would be impossible as she and Rehn were too far apart in ”wave-length” to attain a harmonious and positive communication. In this respect her intution would prove to be correct.

In 1958 K. Gösta Rehn became the APRO representative for Sweden and from now on his attitude to George Adamski and other contactees was completely changed. Whenever possible he heaped ridicule and sarcastic comments on contactees and the contactee movement. A complete about-face compared to his former views as expressed to Edith Nicolaisen. In a letter to J. Allen Hynek, October 6, 1961, discussing the theories of Dr. Leon Davidson, Rehn wrote: ”There is a lot of arguments against Davidson´s fancy idea. I grant there may be some truth in his idea that CIA played a sort of Disney-land hoax upon poor psychopathic Adamski – just in order to spread his crazy stories and to discredit the saucer problem in USA and elsewhere. All the world laugh at flying saucers just because of the great number of nut stories disseminated.”

Jim and Coral Lorenzen

Rehn naturally received a lot of criticism for his hardline, black and white attitude towards George Adamski and other contactees. To some of his correspondents he did express doubts about these conclusions: ”I received information from America on Adamski that appeared correct, but maybe they are wrong. So many have objected to my writings on Adamski that I think I repent. You claim to have evidence that his photos and contacts are valid, so I guess I will have to revise my opinion. But you also know that scientists are not happy with occultism and Adamski.” (Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to Lars-Uno Bernhardsson, August 22, 1969).

These doubts were soon forgotten and when Daniel Fry visited Sweden in 1970 Rehn was back at his usual scathing criticism of contactees, Parthenon and Edith Nicolaisen. Here a few quotes from various letters:

”Adamski and Menger are superstitious fantasy products. Several of these have been translated and distributed in Sweden, to the detriment of the saucer cause.”
(Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to N. Ericson, July 30, 1969).

”Parthenon is leading you astray with their twaddle about superstitious fantastic stories. Most of the UFO pilots are 120 cm short and not at all as Adamski describes them.”
(Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to Mats Nilsson, March 3, 1970).

”Dear Coral,
Help… Help!!! Daniel Fry is in Sweden… What will happen if faker Fry succeeds getting time on TV – irreparable damage!!... he has written three masterpieces of drivel (yes some translated here by the occult, shitten, little woman publisher here)… Believe me, I shall feel his pulse. Coming up here, thinking he can fool stupid Swedes.”
(Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to Coral Lorenzen, July 28, 1970).

”I met Fry at a gathering. ”Doctor” Fry looked like a somewhat dilapidated, shrunk little heap of a middle-aged man, face like a red, wrinkled apple. It is beyond me how he could talk – very fluently, breezily, in cultivated intellectual-technical terms – for hours.”
(Letter from K. Gösta Rehn to Coral Lorenzen, August 24, 1970).

Daniel Fry (left) in conversation with K. Gösta Rehn 1970

What made K. Gösta Rehn change his mind so definitely regarding Adamski and other contactees? Or did he really change his mind? Could the 1950s letters to Edith Nicolaisen have been just a front to make some money on translation, as hinted by Edith - who later would be referred to as ”the occult, shitten, little woman publisher here”.

Rehn could have adopted much of the generally critical opinion on contactees from Donald Keyhoe and Coral Lorenzen. In a letter to Rehn, August 5, 1970 Coral wrote: ”I don´t know what to do about Fry – we generally ignore characters of his ilk. They like attention of any kind, good or bad, and we don´t want to get drawn into any kind of debate or verbal exchange. I can tell you one thing; he was not any kind of a scientist at White Sands… Fry was a lousy electrician, and that was all.”

K. Gösta Rehn was, in spite of his materialistic philosophy, a visionary. In the 1972 book, Tefaten är här (UFOs. Here And Now, English ed. 1974) he writes: "The saucers give us inspiration, a promise of contact with cosmos." He used to say the he experienced the mystical in his love for music. In the Rehn files at AFU I found a document from a Swedish employer giving this assessment of his character: "Hard working but something of a dreamer".