Friday, October 4, 2019

AFU - A Unique World Heritage

During the last year I have spent between two and four hours every day sorting, organizing and scanning the very extensive Parthenon archive at AFU. This collection is especially valuable as a research source for a study of the contactee movement of the 1950s and 60s. Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the Parthenon publishing house in 1957, corresponded with many of the well known first generation contactees and organizations. I have scanned 3260 documents from the Parthenon archive, whereof about 1900 letters. The main correspondence file has been scanned earlier by our AFU colleague Leif Åstrand. My estimation is that the total correspondence file must exceed 10,000 letters.

Perusing the various correspondence collections at AFU I notice that very few writers have made and saved copies of their own letters. But Edith Nicolaisen was exceedingly meticulous in all her work and also saved copies of all her own letters. This makes the Parthenon correspondence archive even more unique and complete. I assume this must be one of the largest collection of letters giving the inside view of the contactee movement. With the thousands of documents in the Parthenon archive there is enough material for at least two or three doctoral dissertations, besides being a treasure trove for ufologists.

Letter from Elisabeth Klarer to Edith Nicolaisen 1957

Another treasure trove for ufologists is the AFU Downloads website. AFU has around 80,000 magazine issues on paper, from 57 nations across the world. Of these 22,500 issues are digitized and many of these are aviable to download for free at the our website. Isaac Koi, of AFU’s International Advisory Board, is making an herculean effort to trace editors and publishers of journals and newsletters asking for the rights to scan the contents of old magazine volumes and making them available as PDFs. This is an ongoing work with new magazines added on a regular basis. An invaluable reference source for all types of research into UFO history.

Here you can find complete volumes of many rare old UFO and Fortean magazines: Australian Saucer Record 1955-1962, Saucers, Space & Science (Canada) 1957-1972, Topside (Canada) 1960-1971, Ouranos (France) 1952-1980), Flying Saucers (New Zealand) 1953-1957, Approach (South Africa) 1958-1960, Weltraumbote 1955-1961, Flying Saucer News (United Kingdom) 1953-1956), CSI Quaterly (USA) 1952-1954, Saucer Scoop (USA) 1966-1969 – to name just few.

While I am writing this blog post AFU chairman Clas Svahn, together with Håkan Ekstrand are touring England, visiting ufologists and authors who have promised to donate collections and archives to AFU. In a couple of weeks we can expect another Schenker lorry filled with thousands of books, magazines, organizational archives etc.

313 boxes in London 2012 on their way to AFU

To get an excellent overview and summary of AFU history and collections I suggest reading Clas Svahn´s recently published book Files of the Unexplained, with hundreds of unique photographs. It is almost impossible to give a detailed exposition of all that is happening every year at AFU but you get  a fairly good estimation of our work by reading some of the AFU Annual Reports.

All this work would be impossible without the generous donors from around the world. Take a look at the impressive list of donors at our website, who all have contributed to AFU. On behalf of AFU I once again would like to express our deep gratitude to all our idealistic friends worldwide. After all these years I can still experience a profound fascination, looking back to our humble beginning in 1973, when we started with two bookshelves in the small one room apartment of our late friend, librarian and AFU co-founder Kjell Jonsson.

Kjell Jonsson at our two bookshelves in August 1977

AFU is not only about thousands of books, magazines and documents but essentially an organized effort to understand the nature, origin and implications of the many types of intriguing phenomena, hitherto not generally recognized by mainstream science and society. In a couple of decades when we oldtimers have left this strange planet, or at least left our physical bodies, we hope the torch of research will be carried on by a new generation of  heretic, non-conformist investigators and scholars, who dare to cross the threshold into what Jacques Vallee has named Forbidden Science. And we hope that AFU will be the international center for this inquiry.