Sunday, August 23, 2020

Swedish Women Ufologists

Perusing the biographies in any UFO encyclopedia it becomes evident that ufology has to a large extent been the occupation of men. I did a fast check in Ronald Story´s classic The Encyclopedia of UFOs (1980) and found 98 biographical entries on male ufologists and 5 (five!) entries on female ufologists. I have no good answer for the cause of this difference, but the situation is somewhat similar in Sweden. In this blog article I would like to present and honor some prominent Swedish women ufologists.

Edith Nicolaisen
Although not a ufologist in the ordinary sense I would not hesitate to designate Miss Edith Nicolaisen (1911-1986) the Mother of the Swedish UFO movement. Her pioneering work inspired thousands of people. Together with three ladies from the Theosophical Society (Adyar) Edith Nicolaisen founded the publishing house Parthenon in 1957 and moved from Copenhagen to Hälsingborg, Sweden. In spite of a severe car accident, periods of illness and many other obstacles Ediths succeeded in publishing many of the early classics in UFO contactee literature.

Several years later she described the heureka moment in her life when she decided on her life´s mission: "The first book I read was that of Leslie-Adamski´s Flying Saucers Have Landed and something in me recognized the truth, however fantastic it all sounded to my intellect and narrow-minded teaching, we all have received. I am a Danish citizen, who in 1954 was faced with the difficult choice either to accept the doors suddenly flung open for an additional three years college-training in USA for a future career under WHO Geneve... or, to volunteer for the SAUCER-cause here in Sweden, which meant to chose the "thorny and stony" road of the lonesome pioneer. After a fierce fight between intellect and heart, the latter gained supremacy."
(Letter from Edith Nicolaisen to Basil van den Berg, September 1, 1963).

Edith Nicolaisen 1962

Edith Nicolaisen succeeded in founding Sällskapet för interplanetariska studier (The Society for Interplanetary Studies) at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg on March 19, 1958. This group of UFO-interested technology students soon disbanded but it was the first attempt to found a UFO society in Sweden. She also inspired the founding of Malmö Interplanetariska Sällskap (MIS), a UFO society still active today.

Edith Nicolaisen corresponded with hundreds of ufologists, contactees, esotericists and new-age activists from around the world between 1950-1986. The Parthenon archive was donated to UFO-Sweden and AFU and is a treasure trove of valuable data for research on the early UFO and contactee movement.

Kerstin Bäfverstedt
Kerstin Bäfverstedt (1909-2000) became fascinated by Theosophy, reading Helena P. Blavatsky in her early teens. This initiated a lifelong spiritual quest involving Spiritualism, esotericism, paranormal phenomena, alternative healing practices, UFOs a.o. Kerstin was married to Bo Bäfverstedt in 1936, MD, later Attending Physician and Professor at Södersjukhuset 1946-1979 (Stockholm South General Hospital).

In March 1958 the society Måndagsgruppen (The Monday Society) faced the predicament of having no lecturer for the coming week. A suggestion was then made to invite Mrs Kerstin Bäfverstedt for a lecture on flying saucers. The lecture was a huge success and was held once again a week later, when enrollment lists were circulated for those who wanted to participate in the formation of a UFO society in Sweden. On March 23, 1958 Ifologiska Sällskapet (The Ifological Society) was formally founded and announced in the press. This society folded in 1969.

Kerstin Bäfverstedt

During her many travels around the world Kerstin visited researchers and leaders of various societies involved in UFO and paranormal investigation. In the United States she became a good friend with several members of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF): Riley Crabb, Trevor James Constable and Dr. Ruth Drown. She was for many years Regional Director of BSRF and her letters and comments were sometimes published in RoundRobin. The Journal of Borderland Research. During the 14-15 October 1961 Kerstin participated in The Giant Rock Space Craft Convention, organized by George Van Tassel.

In 2013 the archive of Kerstin Bäfverstedt was generously donated to AFU by her daughter Eva Sundler Malmnäs. From a historical viewpoint it is interesting to notice that the ideas of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation, because of Kerstin Bäfverstedt, influenced the Swedish UFO movement.

Barbro Magnusson
One of UFO-Sweden´s best field investigators was Barbro Magnusson (1944-2008). For many years chairman of the the local group UFO-Nyköping and board member of UFO-Sweden 1987-2007. She was an enthusiastic and meticulous researcher and one of the first ufologists to establish contacts with Swedish Military Intelligence. During 1983-1987 Barbro was very active in the Hessdalen Project in Norway and visited the area on twelve  occasions for interviews and field investigation.

Barbro Magnusson, March 25, 1996

Birgitta Andersson
For many years active in the local group Enköpings UFO-förening, Birgitta Andersson was in 1979 elected chairman of UFO-Sweden. She was succeeded in 1980 by Christer Nordin. Birgitta is the only woman to have been chairman of UFO-Sweden.

Birgitta Andersson, April 7, 1979

Gudrun Andersson
In 1975 the local UFO-Sweden group Bärke UFO-förening was founded by five women, with Gudrun Andersson as chairman. In 1976 this group merged with Ludvika UFO-förening and adopted the new name Västerbergslagens UFO-förening. Gudrun was the leader of this group for many years and it was one of the most active UFO groups in Sweden, with some 150 members. Between 1977 and 2012 they published 147 issues of the magazine UFO-Nytt.  Gudrun Andersson was board member of UFO-Sweden 1986-1988, 1997-2013 and also very much involved in field investigation and the Hessdalen Project.

Gudrun Andersson, August 29, 2009

Irre Bredin (Grytdal)
In 1978 Irre Bredin (today Grytdal) observed a triangular object passing overhead. This was the beginning of her intense UFO interest and in 1978 she founded the local group Vetlanda UFO-förening together with Stig Olsson. This group arranged the annual UFO-Sweden meeting in 1983. Irre was a hard-working enthusiast in UFO-Sweden until she moved to Norway in 2012. For many years a board member she has been resposible for several projects and activities, including the Hessdalen and Martebo field investigations. Chairman of UFO-Köping 1995-1999. 

Irre Bredin (Grytdal) with a drawing of the UFO she observed in 1978

Berit Bergqvist
In 1991 Berit Bergqvist, together with Kurt Persson founded the UFO-Sweden magazine Rapport-Nytt and they also headed the reporting centre for the national organization 1991-1993. Berit was UFO-Sweden board member 1990-1994 and participated in many activities and projects.

Berit Bergqvist and Kurt Persson visiting AFU September 21, 1991

Inga-Lill Wallin
In 2000 the book Marteboljuset – myt och verklighet (The Martebo Light – Myth and Reality) was published. Written by Inga-Lill Wallin it was a thorough documentation of the the mysterious lights observed for many years at Martebo, Gotland. Inga-Lill was for many years chairman of Stockholms UFO-förening and an active field investigator. Member of the UFO-Sweden board 1991-1992, 2001-2006.

Inga-Lill Wallin at Martebo, Gotland 2002

Eva-Maria Malmqvist
A very active UFO-Sweden group was UFO-Z, based in Östersund in the north of Sweden. Between 1978-1998 this group was engaged in many research projects, field investigations and local exhibitions. For many years chairman and the driving force was Eva-Maria Malmqvist. She was often interviewed in local media and worked hard to inspire the founding of local UFO-Sweden groups.

Eva-Maria Malmqvist at Expo-Norr, Östersund, Summer 1991

Eva-Maria Malmqvist interviewed in Östersunds-Posten, Nov. 13, 1991

Jennie Backman
One of the new and active women ufologists in UFO-Sweden. Board member since 2014. Proficient in social media work, Jennie is responsible for UFO-Sweden´s FaceBook site.

Jennie Backman at AFU, November 15, 2014

There are of course many more Swedish women ufologists that should have been included in this list. But with these examples it is evident that the Swedish UFO movement has in many ways been founded, inspired by and progressed because of the active women ufologists.

Notice to readers

I have been writing this blog since 2009. From the beginning in Swedish and since April 2013 written in English. In recent years I have tried to produce three articles every month but from now on will reduce it to one or possibly two articles every month. The reason is to have more time for AFU archival work. Perusing the shelves in our 14 premises at AFU I am constantly reminded of the existential problem – so much work, so little time. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

AFU Memories - Road Trips With Clas Svahn 1992-1993

During the early AFU years in the 1970s and 80s we became increasingly aware of that any type of serious UFO research required an extensive and easily accessible archive, covering all aspects of the phenomenon. Not just reports, books, magazines etc. but also private correspondence and organizational files, facilitating a thorough study of the history of the UFO movement, including the psychological and sociological aspects. From the Heureka Moment when we became aware of the importance of saving archives the AFU team has consistently ”pestered” old ufologists with requests to donate their collections. No wonder Robert ”Bob” Rickard has named us The Viking Raiders.

Clas Svahn ready for our first road trip, Mariestad June 25, 1992

In the 1990s we began a systematic effort to locate old Swedish ufologists and representatives of UFO groups no longer active, to salvage and retrieve as many archives as possible. In this way much of Swedish UFO history was saved for future research. Practically all people contacted generously donated their archives but now and then our inquiry came to late and we were informed that all material had been burnt or dumped not long ago. A sad message when the collection was especially large or valuable. But many times we could celebrate a happy ending to our efforts when travelling home to AFU with still another archive in the car.

During the Summers of 1992-1993 Clas Svahn and I made two memorable road trips to the south of Sweden, combining field investigation with archive retrieval.  

June 22, 1992
Clas Svahn pick me up by car in Norrköping and our first stop is Mariestad, birthplace of Clas. When 16 years old he began his ufological career by founding the local UFO-Sweden group UFO-Mariestad in 1974.

Mariestads-Tidningen, May 3, 1974

June 23, 1992
We head south towards Ängelholm and the home of pioneer ufologist and science fiction author Henrik Nanne. He wrote several sf-novels using the pen name Carl Henner. Henrik was a close associate of Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the publishing house Parthenon and he was the translator of the Swedish edition of Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski. Together with Henrik Nanne we first make a visit to the UFO monument outside Ängelholm sponsored by Swedish close encounter witness and contactee Gösta Carlsson. We spend the rest of the day in Henrik´s small one room apartment listening to his memories of the early UFO movement and also packing part of the Parthenon archive donated to AFU by Henrik. He offer us to stay the night in his small apartment but there are no beds for us so we try to sleep on the kitchen floor with only some sheets underneath. Not much sleep of course. We wake up every half hour with aching limbs. Luckily we were offered a couple of Whiskys before bedtime.

Clas Svahn and Henrik Nanne at the Gösta Carlsson UFO monument, Ängelholm June 23, 1992

Science fiction novel by Henrik Nanne (Carl Henner) published 1958

June 24, 1992
Tired and with aching limbs – but with high spirits - we continue our journey to Ebbe Johansson, another of the Swedish UFO pioneers, chairman of Malmö Interplanetariska Sällskap (MIS), founded in 1958. We also met Gert Carlsson and his wife. Gert was one of the founders of the magazine Arcanum, with articles on esoterism, UFOs and ancient mysteries. Arcanum also had a large library, which was now to be donated to AFU so we loaded the car with books and magazines. After saying godbye to our friends we returned to Norrköping and AFU with our latest donations.

Interviewing Ebbe Johansson at his home in Malmö

From left: Håkan Blomqvist, Ebbe Johansson, Gert Carlsson and wife

As we were promised further donations from several ufologists Clas and I made another road trip to the same southern part of Sweden during the Summer of 1993.

July 11, 1993
I go by train to Stockholm where Clas, together with his young son Niklas, pick me up by car and we travel to Enköping, loading the latest issue of UFO-Aktuellt. Crop circles was a big issue in the 1990s. Before going south we visit a field outside Sala to study a reported crop circle. Here we are met by UFO-Sweden board member Mats Nilsson and Ingrid Roxhed.

Looking for the crop circle. From left: Ingrid Roxhed, Mats Nilsson, Clas Svahn with Niklas

After having documented the crop circle the journey continues to Mariestad where little Niklas is taken care of by Clas´ parents and we head for Gothenburg and dinner with two UFO-interested ladies Louise and Wiweka.

July 12, 1993.
After breakfast at a Gothenburg hotel we spend a few hours visiting antiquarian bookshops. I bought a biography of French esotericist René Guénon and then our next stop was Henrik Nanne, Ängelholm.

July 13, 1993
As we had been promised further donations from the Arcanum library we travel to the home of Yngve Freij. Here to our great joy the entire library is given to AFU so now the car is once again filled with books.

Yngve Freij in front of the Arcanum library

One of the real pioneers of the Swedish UFO movement was librarian, translator and writer Roland Adlerberth (1923-1993). We had been promised a donation of his extensive collection of UFO and Fortean clippings. At his home we are met by his wife who helped us load the clipping collection, now housed at AFU.

Roland Adlerbeth interviewed in Morgon-Bladet, August 3, 1957

The Roland Adlerberth clipping collection at AFU

Before returning home our last visit was Gösta Carlsson at his home in Ängelholm. We waited a long time before he appeared but finally he let us in for an extended interview. The result of this interview and many others done by Clas Svahn resulted in the by now classic Mötet i gläntan (Meeting in the Glade). Already published in two editions, a third edition is in the planning.

Clas Svahn interviewing Gösta Carlsson July 13, 1993

Back at AFU Clas and I could once again celebrate a successful journey, resulting in new donations and joyful memories.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

"They Have Hidden Behind the Extraterrestrial Myth"

The quote in the title of this blog article comes from a letter from John Keel to my AFU colleague Anders Liljegren, August 10, 1982. And Keel continues: ”Forget the flying saucer propaganda. We are dealing with something very close to home.”. During my many years of investigation of contactee cases I have now and then pondered whether this could actually be the answer to some of the very physical contact experiences reported worldwide. If we are partly dealing with one or more groups of earth-based and undiscovered aliens we are faced with an even greater enigma than extraterrestrial visitors.

To delve into these aspects of the UFO enigma the ufologist has to be both a meticulous, critical investigator and a detective. In-depth research of close encounter and contact cases of this type is time-consuming and can be quite unnerving as you will discover facts very difficult or impossible to publish. Ufology at this level is very far from writing reports of lights in the sky or being entertained by fake videos on YouTube. You have all the chances of entering Forbidden Science.

There are contactees who have doubted whether the aliens they have encountered really come from Venus, Mars etc. as they sometimes claim. An interesting example is Enrique Castillo Rincon from Costa Rica, author of UFOs. A Great New Dawn for Humanity (1997). Enrique meet a businessman, Cyril Weiss, of Swiss nationality and they become friends. Later he encounters this man aboard a UFO, as he actually belongs to an advanced group of extraterrestrials trying to help Earth. Enrique is taken to their secret retreat or base in the Andes. Enrique is given secret code keyes to be used to identify agents of the organization but also as a protection against "the opposition". Whether it is the "opposition" or a real intelligence group, in 1974 Enrique is contacted by three foreign-looking individuals offering to take him to Washington D.C., all expenses paid, for a test in "regressive hypnosis". He accepts the invitation: "Outside, two men were waiting with a luxurious, dark-coloured Cadillac. I started feeling like a star in a suspense movie." (p. 113) After this visit to Washington D.C. and interrogation Enrique has several doubts: "What were the true identities of those obscure agents who could take me and return me to Bogota, with arrangements made with a complete network of people, all so well coordinated? What were their true motivations?" (p. 119)

Enrique Castillo Rincon

Rincón is very puzzled of what it all meant and who the aliens actually were. One of the chapters of his book is named "The Venusians - are they Venusian?" In the preface he states: "I am not a mystic nor a religious fanatic... Neither have I considered myself a "chosen one" to save humanity, and I detest those "contactees" who pretend to have been appointed by some divinity to carry some message to the suffering and almost disgraced human race...Over twenty years have passed and I still don´t know why I was contacted. Was it plain chance?... Why was an individual belonging to the "sandwich-class" (middle-class), such as myself, assigned such an "ungrateful" task as this one, which has meant jeers, calumnies, epithets, and nick-names against my person and my dignity?" (p.xiii-xiv)

A case of very physical and partly normal contact with aliens is reported by a man named Leland and documented by Dr. Ardy Sixkiller Clarke (Encounters With Star People, Chapter 6, They Are Among Us). He describes what has happened during several nights at his ranch near the Nebraska border: ”They come at night. They hover over the field. They lower automobiles to the ground. They´re filled with people. The craft goes away and when the car returns the next night, only the driver returns. They take the car and the driver on board their spacecraft and then they´re gone again.”

Leland especially remember one night when he noticed that the car had a flat tire. The driver got out and walked to Leland´s cabin. ”He was a strange looking fellow… He wore a black suit with a white shirt and kept pulling at his necktie like he was not used to wearing it. He avoided looking at me so I never got a good look at his face, but he had a short thick neck. Almost no neck. Like his head sat directly at his shoulders. Maybe that´s why he struggled with the necktie. He just stood there. I got the feeling he wanted me to follow him”.


Leland follows the man and find three men and two women waiting in the car. None of them spoke. Leland help them change the tire and for this work he receives ten real silver dollars. Asked by Ardy Sixkiller Clarke what makes him think they are not humans his comment is: ”Well, they came in a spacecraft for one thing. They weren´t friendly. None of them spoke to me. They acted strange. Like they were scared or they didn´t belong here. The women were wearing those high heel shoes and had trouble walking in them like they had never worn them before.”

The alien covert activity theme was discussed in an article, Unseen, Unspoken, Unknown, by R. Perry Collins, published in Ivan T. Sanderson´s classic magazine Pursuit vol. 22 no. 1, 1991. Collins mention several cases involving aliens leaving UFOs and entering ordinary cars. "There have been UFO reports that may be directly representative of actions that are not staged, that are not demonstrations and may have not been intended for our perception." A newspaperman from the Miami Herald told Collins of a case involving a man in Miami, Florida. One evening he noticed a large, dark UFO hovering low over a field at the rear of his building. The object began lowering two large cylinders to the ground below. One contained a large Sedan and the other several men dressed in business suits, carrying briefcases. The UFO moved off into the evening sky. The men got into the Sedan and drove off the field, onto a nearby road, and away.

But who are the people encountered by Leland and Rincon? They are physical like us and seem to be earth-based in their activities.. If this is the case, where is their hiding place on this planet? Could some covert intelligence groups have discovered who these people are and trying to deal with the issue in their own way? Disclosure of such a fantastic scenario would probably not be regarded as an option by the people who have a need to know.

Very few of the scientific mainstream ufologists try to uncover the truth in these controversial areas. In his article R. Perry Collins comments on this situation: ”The facts that such reports are very seldom submitted and are scarce in the literature indicates that such direct activities are usually carried out in a completely covert manner. These reports do exist, however, and we must consider them in any complete analysis of the UFO situation.”

Another case illustrating the complexity of the contact experience case was investigated by then APRO respresentative Dr. James Harder, University of California and Dr. Evelyn Brunson. On January 23, 1985 I wrote a letter to Dr. Harder to get more data on his study but unfortunately received no answer. It is documented in Direct Encounters. Personal Histories of UFO Abductees (1980) by Judith and Alan Gansberg, pp. 19-23.


In August 1974 Lydia Stalnaker was driving north from Jacksonville, Florida when she saw a bright light coming out of the sky. She stopped the car at a parking area and got out to have a better look. Suddenly another car pulled into the area and a man that Stalnaker thought she vaguely knew joined her by the side of the road. They stared at the light hovering over some trees, assuming it was a helicopter and noticed it descending as if crashing behind the trees. They decided to drive toward the region to see if they could be of help.

”I asked the man if he had seen what I had seen… He said, ´Yes, and its right on time´. The man was short, less than five feet five inches, and had a dark, Italian or Jewish look… He coaxed me into his car, and we drove off to find the spot.”

When they got closer to the area of the assumed crash Stalnaker felt un uncomfortable sensation of being suffocated. ”Then it seemed like just a moment passed and we were heading back towards Jacksonville on another road. It was midnight and Stalnaker´s forehead was hurting and she felt nauseated. After this incident she was having frightening dreams of being on an operating table surrounded by people wearing masks, sticking painful needles in her sides. Eventually she sought professional help and was hypnotised. During hypnosis she recounted a classic abduction scenario. After the missing time incident Stalnaker developed telepathic and healing powers and received messages from the spaceman Antron.

What makes this case especially interesting is the physical meeting with the strange man in the parking area. Stalnaker tried to find him again but found out he had disappeared from the town. He had quit his job and no one new where he was. ”His employer said that the man had appeared in town one morning looking for work, but they did not know where he had come from.” I have not read of any ufologist who have followed up on these important clues. But this is the kind of data ufologists should look for.

In his series of articles Science, Counterintelligence and UFOs Val Germann recommends that the ufologist study the techniques and history of Intelligence work including counterintelligence and apply this knowledge when dealing with the more complicated and controversial UFO cases. From the flood of material and documents the researcher must sift out what is a) interesting, b) significant, c) correct information. The social and psychological problem of this endeavor is that the ufologist may find himself in pretty deep water, discovering aspects of reality that are exceedingly controversial and almost impossible to communicate to the general public.

”He can steep himself in the subject, try to collect everything relevant, and then be fearless in where that material leads him. This may sound like ”no big deal”, but for those who take the work seriously it is anything but trivial. In many cases the information relevant to the UFO can lead down rabbit holes where no respectable person would want to go. But down the hole the investigator he must go or he will not have the perspective needed to judge the relevance of information.”

What better way to finish an article like this than a quote from John Keel:

 ”Suppose a strange metallic disk covered with flashing colored lights settled in your backyard and a tall man in a one-piece silver space suit got out. Suppose he looked unlike any man you had ever seen before, and when you asked him where he was from, he replied, "I am from Venus. " Would you argue with him?”
(John Keel, Operation Trojan Horse, p. 214).