Sunday, October 22, 2017

Kerstin Bäfverstedt, Pioneer of the Swedish UFO Movement

1957-1958 were the formative years of the Swedish UFO movement. Before 1957 there were no formal societies dedicated to the UFO enigma, only a few isolated individuals with a personal interest. Behind the Flying Saucers by Frank Scully was published in a Swedish edition 1951 (De flygande tefaten) and in 1955 Swedish ufologist K. Gösta Rehn had translated Donald Keyhoe´s Flying Saucers From Outer Space (Flygande tefat – observatörer från världsrymden).

In July 1957 Danish-born Ms Edith Nicolaisen founded the publishing house Parthenon in Helsingborg. The Board included three women, all active in the Theosophical Society (Adyar), Brita Rodosi, Rut Lindberg and Sonja Lilienthal. Parthenon published several of the classic contactee books of the 1950s and inspired the formation of UFO societies in Sweden. On March 19, 1958, Sällskapet för Interplanetariska Studier (The Society for Interplanetary Studies) was founded at Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg. It was initiated by the women in the Parthenon board but the the society was a very short-lived organization consisting mainly of university students.

After a visionary experience in 1950 Theosophist Jan-Erik Janhammar, together with his friends Gustaf Adolf Pettersson and Gösta Eklund, founded the lecture society Måndagsgruppen (The Monday Society) in Stockholm, 1951. It became a free and open minded forum where people from various religious, philosophical, esoteric and New Age groups met for lectures and discussions. This rather remarkable society celebrated 35 years of activity in 1986 after having arranged 1336 lectures.

Jan-Erik Janhammar

In March 1958 Måndagsgruppen 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 in 1959

Before the founding date there had in fact been an informal group of UFO interested persons belonging to Måndagsgruppen, calling themselves The International Space Investigators (IS), later referred to as ”The Nine”. According to a an university essay on the history of Ifologiska Sällskapet by ufologist Heikki Virtanen, 1980, the members of the IS group were: Kerstin Bäfverstedt, Eric and Gunnel Nordquist, Greta Berg, Anna Lycke, Richard (?), Karin Lidelius, Britta Ekbom and Hilding Havrenius. Not much is known about this informal group and there is also some different claims regarding their founding. In the March-April 1959 issue of Flying Saucer Review (FSR)  a small note says that The International Space Investigators ”have just been formed”, headed by engineer Eric Nordquist. He also wrote a letter to Ray Palmer´s Flying Saucers, July 1959, presenting IS as ”a small, exclusive group living in Stockholm”. I haven´t been able to find any more data on IS and they were probably a short-lived informal group of friends interested in UFO research.

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 1957 Kerstin Bäfverstedt lectured on reincarnation at Stockholm Spiritualist Society, a lecture that was published as a series of articles in the magazine Spiritualisten: ”Människans liv. Från födelsen – genom döden – till återfödelsen” (The Life of Man. From Birth – Through Death – to Rebirth). The articles are partially based on the works of Max Heindel, founder of The Rosicrucian Fellowship. Kerstin was a member of the Swedish Section of The Rosicrucian Fellowship since 1956. She was also a frequent lecturer to local Spiritualist groups in Sweden.

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 Round Robin. 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.

Trevor James Constable, photo by Kerstin Bäfverstedt 1961

Kerstin´s photos from Giant Rock Convention 1961

Orfeo Anglucci speaking at Giant Rock

BSRF associate Dr. Ruth Drown (1891-1965) became a lifelong friend and they often visited each other in USA or Sweden. ”… she was my dearest friend that I will never forget” Kerstin recounted in a letter to Round Robin, May-june 1976. They corresponded between 1962-1965. Ruth Drown was an American chiropractic and proponent of Radionics which led to many controversies with the American Medical Association (AMA). She was also one of the associates of BSRF and lectured on the Kabbalah, which is evident from the front page of her book Radio-Vision. Scientific Milestone. A Research Activity of Drown Laboratories, published in 1960.

Dr. Ruth Drown

Riley Crabb comment on Ruth Drown in Round Robin

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. It also reinforces my assertion that the ufology in Sweden was to a large extent initiated by persons active in various esoteric and spiritualist societies.

Eva Sundler Malmnäs

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Archives Saved and Archives Lost

It is August 27, 1989. My AFU friend and colleague Anders Liljegren and I are traveling by car to an apartment in Bromma, outside Stockholm, where the late Swedish UFO research  pioneer K. Gösta Rehn spent his last years. He died on June 17, 1989 at the age of 98. Already in 1978 Rehn had donated part of his collection of books and magazines to AFU. He had also told his daughter, Greta Frankel, that the remaining archive, mainly consisting of correspondence, would go to AFU after his death.

K. Gösta Rehn

Eager and expectant we enter the apartment and are met by Greta Frankel. Stunned and surprised we find only a few remaining books and magazines on the shelfs. We naturally ask Greta Frankel where all the correspondence is placed? Shocked and dismayed we are told that, about a week ago, she had dumped all correspondence in a container at the back of the house. Disheartened we walk to the back of the house and in a container filled with lots of trash we locate 32 binders of correspondence, all in good condition. In a state of euphoria we load the binders into our car for transportation to AFU. During the travel back to Norrköping we praise fate for our almost incredible luck and success in this endeavor.

These 32 binders contain, especially for researchers, invaluable correspondence with UFO witnesses, ufologists and scientists from all over the world. A treasure trove of fascinating data giving personal insights into the UFO movement of the 1950s. 60s and 70s. As K. Gösta Rehn was the Swedish representative of APRO there are 220 letters exchanged between Rehn och Jim and Coral Lorenzen. Part of APRO correspondence was an important source of data for David Booher when writing his recently published No Return. The Gerry Irwing Story, UFO Abduction or Covert Operation?

I have never really understood people who find archives dull and unimportant. Perusing a recently donated archive at AFU is for me like entering a new and unknown universe full of fascinating information. In September 1989 I spent a week reading all the Rehn correspondence, resulting in a large biographical article and later a chapter in my first UFO book UFO – i myt och verklighet, 1993 (UFO – In Myth and Reality). By reading the complete correspondence file of K. Gösta Rehn I received an unprecedented insight into the personal life, research and theories of one of the real pioneers of Swedish UFO research.

Another pioneer in the Swedish UFO movement was Ms Edith Nicolaisen (1911-1986), founder of the publishing house Parthenon in July 1957. Edith Nicolaisen began corresponding with George Adamski in 1954 and the first book published in Swedish in October 1957, was Flying Saucers Have Landed by Desmond Leslie and George Adamski. Her second aim was to form as many UFO and new age groups in Sweden as possible. Parthenon published several of the classic contactees of the 1950s: George Adamski, Daniel Fry, Ray and Rex Stanford, Elisabeth Klarer. Edith Nicolaisen corresponded with hundreds of ufologists, contactees, esotericists and new-age activists from around the world between 1950-1986.  

In 1985 Carl-Anton Mattsson and Mats Nilsson, UFO-Sweden, became concerned for the future of Parthenon and the large archive of the publishing house. Mats Nilsson wrote a letter to Edith Nicolaisen resulting in a meeting, October 1985, at Nicolaisen´s apartment in Helsingborg. Edith was by then old and frail and during the meeting decided donating the Parthenon archive and in the future also the publishing house, provided Carl-Anton Mattsson and colleagues continue publishing UFO and New Age literature. On November 9, 1985 Carl-Anton Mattsson and I travelled to Helsingborg loading our hired van with lots of boxes filled with books and magazines. Several trips were made before the entire archive was safely housed at AFU. About three months later, February 28, 1986, Edith Nicolaisen died, 74 years old. The very extensive and voluminous correspondence from K. Gösta Rehn and Parthenon has been digitized by Leif Åstrand at AFU.

Edith Nicolaisen

Carl-Anton Mattsson at AFU, August 14, 2010

In the 1990s I began a systematic effort to locate old Swedish ufologists and representatives of UFO groups no longer active, to 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 my inquiry came to late and I was 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 Anders Liljegren and I could celebrate a happy ending to our efforts when travelling home to AFU with still another archive in the car.

The fate of an archivist. Anders Liljegren working hard with a new donation August 8, 2011

In the 1990s Clas Svahn, together with UFO-Sweden colleagues, expanded the archive retrievals to include several European countries, especially England. As there is no archive institution like AFU in England many British ufologists have donated their collections for preservation in Sweden. Large Schenker lorries are regularly unloading boxes of archival material at AFU, with donations from all over the world. We are especially grateful to be the custodians of the Flying Saucer Review (FSR) and Borderland SciencesResearch Foundation (BSRF) archives. Clas Svahn and colleagues have by now made at least 25 journeys across Europé in pursuit of archives. While I am writing this Clas Svahn and Carl-Anton Mattsson has just arrived at AFU after yet another successful trip to England. We are now expecting the next Schenker lorry with around 150 boxes of material.

Clas Svahn with the archive of Boris Jungkvist

313 boxes in London 2012, on their way to AFU

Although our efforts to save UFO, Fortean and paranormal archives around the world has been a success story we have also experienced failures and listened to the sad stories of dumped and destroyedarchives. Here just a few examples:

Ivan Troeng, first generation Swedish ufologist. We were promised his archive but relatives dumped the entire collection in a container 2004.

Sven Olov Larsson, first generation Swedish ufologist. His brother dumped the archive although we had been promised to have all material.

Bjarne Håkansson (Zacharias Brandt), active in Swedish ufology since early 1960s. He threw away his large personal archive but regret the mistake today.

Kolbjörn Stenødegård (1937-1997), Norwegian ufologist. Representatives from the municipality in Norway emptied his apartment and dumped a very large UFO archive.

Dr. Helmut Lammer, author of MILABS: Military Mind Control and Military Abductions (1999). In an email to me April 2011 Dr. Lammer claimed to have thrown away his entire archive.

My AFU colleagues and I hope that everyone reading this blog will not repeat the same tragic mistakes as shown above. If you do have material of interest to AFU or know of archives in danger of being destroyed, contact us as soon as possible. We will do our best to save the collection for future research.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Enigmatic Men In Black

It all began in late August 1971 in a town in East Midlands, England.  Jim Wilson had observed a white light moving slowly across the sky. Just an ordinary mundane sighting of no special interest but ufologist Derek James, a close colleague of Jenny Randles, made a standard follow up. He was rather surprised to find that two men in smart business suits and driving a black car har interviewed Jim Wilson. The men claimed to be from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and instructed the witness to forget the sighting as it had been identified as the Russian satellite Cosmos 408.

Why would the MoD send two men to interrogate a witness to such an ordinary sighting? Derek James checked the satellite information centre at Farnborough. At the time of the observation Cosmos 408 had been over Canada and had not passed over England at all. Now the witness contacted Derek once more and was rather alarmed because several nights in succession two unknown men in a black Jaguar car had parked outside his house and he was sure they were watching him. Derek James had a relative who was a high ranking police officer and a plan was hatched to check the car as they were perhaps planning a robbery.

A police car was asked to keep a look out and on October 19 and 20 the policemen watched the car outside Jim Wilson´s house. The car waited for about thirty minutes and then drove off. A check of the car registration found out that the vehicle did not exist and now the police became really interested. On October 21 a police patrol was ordered to bring in the occupants of the Jaguar for questioning. Following standard procedure the two policemen walked towards the car, one on either side. They noticed two smartly dressed men inside. They were just about to knock on the window when the car simply disappeared into nothingness in front of the astonished policemen. The area was examined but gave no clue to the disappearance. Neither car nor occupants were ever seen again. For rather obvious reasons a cover story was presented in the final police report.

Jenny Randles in 2016

This unusual Men In Black case was published by Derek James and Jenny Randles in Flying Saucer Review, vol. 23, no. 3, October 1977. A somewhat updated version was later published in Investigating the Truth Behind MIB the Men In Black Phenomenon (1997). These elusive gentlemen and their mysterious black cars have been reported during the whole of the UFO era and observed by both UFO witnesses and investigators. Gray Barker´s classic They Knew Too Much About Flying Saucers (1956) put hem on the ufological map for ever.

When John Keel visited Sweden and my home in October 1976 we especially discussed the Men In Black, which Keel regarded as one of the really intriguing aspects of the UFO enigma. He had investigated many MIB encounters, personally trying to chase their strange cars many times as related in his last book The Eighth Tower:  “On a number of occasions I actually saw the phantom Cadillacs as advertised, complete with sinister-looking passengers in black suits. On Long Island, following the directions given me in an anonymous phone call, I pursued one of these cars down a dead-end road where it seemingly vanished into thin air (there were no side roads or turn-offs).” (p. 141).

During his years of active UFO investigations Keel presented different theories about the MIB. In 1967 he regarded them as definitely a menace, as revealed in a letter, July 18, 1967, to Jim and Coral Lorenzen of APRO: ”The MIB represent a very large terrestrial group who are allied with a very hostile UFO group. They are not connected with any goverment in any way… The people I am concerned with are Androids… manifactured entities controlled by a distant and unknown master… they are quite stupid in many respects.”

This last comment by John Keel is very apt. In many cases these elusive figures behave like some not too intelligent characters from a badly rehearsed amateur play. But the MIB obviously have different origins and agendas as evidenced by the hundreds of cases published. The men confiscating photos, films and other items from witnesses and ufologists are probably intelligence agents. In one of his first letters to me in 1984 Timothy Good mentioned his involvement with the MIB: ”Some of them are from various intelligence branches here on Earth, but other, I feel, are from extraterrestrial or Earth-based advanced groups. I have had MIB experiences myself, and have even taken a photo of a possible MIB and his car (it was rented of course). The photo of the man (who was not actually dressed in black) came out with a black or dark halo around his head, so that one can´t see his face at all… I´ve had my picture taken by shady characters in both the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and had an important notebook stolen from my motel room during one of my many trips to the U.S. Nothing else was taken, although cameras and lenses were in my camera bag on the bed.” (Letter, February 27, 1984).

Timothy Good

Men In Black encounters are not always threatening. Sometimes witnesses simply report odd looking salesmen or persons acting in strange ways in their vicinity. A Swedish ufologist who have reported such an incident is former chairman of UFO-Sweden, Thorvald (Bevan) Berthelsen. Some of these events were mentioned by Thorvald when I interviewed him on October 10, 1992. In the beginning of the 1970s he regarded UFOs as a "ridiculous, laughable" subject. But something happened in the summer of 1972 that was to change his life.

Interviewing Bevan Berthelsen at AFU, October 10, 1992

In the middle of one night in the summer of 1972 Thorvald left his bed sleepwalking. He put on his clothes, left his house and bicycled about two kilometer (1,4 miles) to an uninhabited plateau (Slätängen) with a few deserted crofts situated between the towns of Köping and Arboga. At this plateau he suddenly woke up, wondering what he was doing there in the middle of the night. Rather irrationally he picked a few flowers, found his bike and went back home where his wife naturally was curious to know what he was doing in the middle of the night, as he had been gone for several hours. Thorvald could give no logical answer as he was not a sleepwalker. To this day he is still puzzled by the event.

Thorvald (Bevan) Berthelsen 1992

About a week after this curious episode Thorvald became intensively fascinated by UFOs and borrowed all books he could find in the local library. He soon contacted the UFO-Sweden organization and formed the local group Köpings UFO-förening in January 1973. On March 11, 1973 Thorvald, together with three witnesses from his workplace, observed a cylindershaped object silently passing over Köping. No explanation was found to this observation which was reported in local media.

Thorvald Berthelsen and his wife lived in a country house with good views in all directions. On the same day his UFO observation was mentioned in the local newspaper a man knocks on their door. Bevan is met by a man in his thirties, dressed in a brown suit and white shirt. He has dark hair, appears suntanned and his eyes are slanted but still not Asian looking. The man ask Bevan how he is feeling and continue asking about directions. He says thank you and leave. "I thought, who the hell was that? I ran out and looked for him. The road was straight in both directions. If he had come walking I would have seen him. His eyes were slanted. That caught my attention. Afterwards I felt this experience was weird".

In the January-February 1973 issue of Round Robin. The Journal of Borderland Research, I read about a rather fantastic MIB case in Canada. It was a letter from J.L.S., Victoria, B.C. :
”… the experience of a young man we know personally, who lived in Victoria. He had been an UFO enthusiast for many years and had seen a number, too . Finally he caught one on the ground near the top of a local mountain. The occupants decided to take him into their confidence, and told him how they were getting control of communications, finance , industry and politics. Several of them, they told him, are living in Victoria and are married to earth women.  They are interesting young people in a crusade to " take over" at some future date. Inference was that this was going on in all the big cities. There was a U.S. submarine in port at the time and they invited him to come aboard. This is only a small part of what the young man told us here, but the upshot was that due to the lad's religious scruples he suddenly decided he couldn't go along with them. The result was a series of accidents which befell him. For several months he was in the hospital more than he was out of it! Finally he left town but we heard that he is still being hounded where he went. Can't get anything more out of his parents. They were UFO fans too, but now wont talk. A man came to the father's shop one day - in a  black suit! - and asked for Herman. When told the young man was in the Hospital the man said , 'Well ,we warned him.' These are rather simple people, Dutch immigrants, and this  development has been a severe jolt to them.”

In 1984 I decided to try a follow up on this case and wrote to Riley Crabb, editor of Round Robin, asking for the adress to the man in Canada. On May 27, 1984 I received a reply from Riley including  one of the letters from Canada. When I read Riley´s answer today, I become both surprised and distressed: ”I did find the 1973 file in the attic and am enclosing a Squance letter for you to follow up on. All this old material is going to the dump when I sell out here, hopefully later this year…”. Maybe much of his ”old material” did go to the dump but we at AFU succeeded in saving a major part of the BSRF archive in 2016. To me it is almost inconceivable and a riddle why Riley Crabb would want to dump his extremely important archive.

I wrote to the adress in Canada, John and Dorothy Squance in Victoria, B.C. and received a kind reply on June 21, 1984. John mentioned that he and his wife had conducted a discussion group in their home and about 1970 the young man´s parents started attending the group. The subject of UFOs often came up for discussion. On one occasion the parents told of their son´s experiences so he was invited to talk to the group. The young man attended once and spoke for about thirty minutes of what he had become involved in. ”He spoke of them enlisting a force of several hundred young people who would help them bring about the new dispensation they were planning. It was all to be top secret for a time while their leaders infiltrated finance, economics and industry… The program they said was being initiated in all the larger cities.”

According to John Squance the boy became disillusioned and quit having anything more to do with the ”space people”. It was then that the harassment began. The young man was hospitalized on at least two occasions because of rather inexplicable accidents. The father told John some time later that a man had come into his store asking where the boy was. When the father said ”in the hospital”, the reply was ”Well we told him to keep his mouth shut”. In the letter to me John said that both the young man and his father were now dead. In a follow up letter July 19, 1984 John mentioned that the young man died of ”a mixture of alcohol and drugs. Possibly mental harassment”. This information makes it rather likely that the MIB story was a paranoid fantasy, the result of the young man´s drug abuse and the black suited man who entered the father´s shop some local mafia leader involved in illegal drug trafficking. Unless, of course, this is evidence of covert activities of an unknown mafia group, earth-based or extraterrestrial?

Although the Men In Black is definitely a serious and possibly dangerous aspect of UFO research I must relate a rather amusing story how the Men In Black became a help to UFO-Sweden. It is told in the autobiography of Mats Nilsson, one of UFO-Sweden´s oldboys still active as board member. In the 1970s and 80s a very eccentric old gentleman, Karl-Gustav Porath, always attended the annual UFO-Sweden conferences. He placed himself in the front row with a large tape recorder. Porath always had fantastic UFO contact stories to relate, unfortunately often to the visiting journalists, which gave UFO-Sweden unwanted publicity. One of his stories told of how he could make ordinary flies fly in military formation.

Karl-Gustav Porath

 In 1979 UFO-Sweden arranged a large UFO exhibition and lectures at the National Museum of Science and Technology, Stockholm. When Mats Nilsson and Håkan Ekstrand from UFO-Sweden discovered that Karl-Gustav Porath was there as usual they came up with a brilliant idea. Mats and Håkan approached Porath, who was deadly afraid of the Men In Black, and told him the MIB was among the public, disguised as journalists. Porath was very glad to get this information and didn´t talk to any reporter about his experiences. Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

AFU - A Cultural World Heritage

During this weeks visit to AFU I walked between our many premises, perusing the different libraries and archives. It is an impressive sight to behold this gigantic collection of material from all over the world, in many different languages. After more than 45+ years of study and investigation I can still find books and magazines in the AFU library that I have never seen or heard of. This is a treasure trove of information for all types of researchers and scholars both academic and private. AFU is the custodian of the worlds largest UFO, Fortean, paranormal archive and library. More and more I have come to regard AFU as a true and unique cultural World Heritage.

One of our three libraries

To give a few insights into the work and problems of AFU here are some quotes from our extensive Annual Report 2016, 13 pages in all, compiled by Anders Liljegren.

”A sustainable future for AFU
Creating a sustainable future has, more and more, become the focus for the AFU foundation’s board. The big question remains – how are we to do it? This difficult task is mixed with the frustrating and time-consuming daily routines of trying to find new and creative space-saving solutions for storing an ever-growing collection within the boundaries of slightly more than 500 square meters. Rearranging collections, and performing transports between our thirteen different facilities, has become an almost daily routine. In recent years, we’ve also seen a growing problem of hiring new spaces in the close-by area. And, to top the list of problems, we cannot possibly fit increased costs into our already underfinanced budget.

Part of the Hilary Evans Library

1st Problem: Financing
Everyone who has visited us, and had a tour through our facilities, is overwhelmed by the
quality, quantity and perseverance with which we are working since 40+ years. All this measured against a meagre access to resources. From this fact AFU should – by now – have hundreds of regular financial supporters, worldwide. Visitors here learn that preservation of ufo and phenomena-related memories is not an obvious task for the tax-driven public sector. We must rely heavily on private initiatives. Despite our efforts, we only have about some forty regular monetary sponsors.

One may wonder why there is nearly no support from the international scene, except for a great willingness to donate collections for preservation. For a foundation like AFU to survive and flourish we need much more hands-on support by direct monetary donations, wills and bequests for the future. What will happen to so many important collections in future years is everyone’s responsibility. There is no natural law that any group should tour the landscapes of Sweden, the UK, Europe, and even the United States, hunting down “odd phenomena collections” that are in danger of being dispelled, being sent to waste-disposal dumps, or burnt in ovens. Often, such collections are the results of life-long personal commitments and deep levels of interest in phenomena.

Despite shortage of resources AFU has been able – so far – to sort out incoming collections of printed books, magazines, newsletters and magnetic tape collections (audios, videos). To sort and catalogue this “bulk” of most collections has been our priority.

Main office

2nd Problem: Logistics
The problem of our meagre finances spill over to the physical environment in which we must work daily, creating more problems than any other “normal” archive or institution would ever have had to fight with. Basement facilities are cheap, as compared to ground-level areas. That’s why we are in basements for the most part. On a positive side being in many different basements might be a good spread of potential risks but when measured against “effectiveness” the dispersed facilities are a small disaster. And basements do have a very high risk for flooding by external sources.

Managing the archives requires large sets of many different keys and a durable sack carriage to carry sometimes heavy loads. We depend upon good weather suited for transports, not rain, or heaps of Swedish snow. Storing in 13 different places, behind 13 different doors, is at the maximum of what a human brain can handle logistically (without, maybe, a dedicated computer system to serve memory). Carrying boxes up and down narrow basement stairs is not for the weak, and we are all turning older.

All these problems would be lessened or cease to exist if we were under one single roof. We can spot many alternatives locally for such premises but the cost is mind-boggling to us, often twice or three-times the present cost for facilities.

Hard work when the Hilary Evans archive arrived December 13, 2010

3rd Problem: Human Resources
For the past six years, we’ve had a nearly unrestricted access to work-force through a unique and much-scorned (in the Swedish political debate) government program to keep out-of-work people “going” while in-between-jobs. Besides providing free workforce for us (for instance at our six scanners), working with unemployment programs has provided very good finances for our foundation. We could develop and sustain with government subsidies.

Most of these incoming resources went into salaries for employees, our rents and to costs for
acquiring collections including shipping to Sweden. Job markets are now changing. Sweden suddenly appears to have one of the highest employment rates in Europe. Some statistics say we are heading for a top position in that league. This may not be so in the local area of Norrköping, where there are still quite many non-academic, unskilled members of the population. Local unemployment rate is still at roughly 12 % among the youth.

Keeping unskilled people going with jobs that may motivate them every day is not an easy task. We have seen that. Attendance from some of these people has not been impressive and you must have a good sense of balancing available tasks with selfproclaimed abilities, interests and (particularly) the personal energy (or often lack of same).

Putting qualified files, like the collections from Evans or Creighton, into such unknowing hands will end in disaster. AFU would need at least one full-time “academic” archivist to make good “researchable” files from what is now stored on shelves in random order often within the boxes they once arrived in, or slightly repacked.

Me trying to get an overview of the BSRA archive

Digitizing Projects
During 2016 we digitized an estimated 50.000 new clippings from the Fortean Times editorial files. The total number of digitized clippings in the this collection is now more than 300.000. We also digitized some 500 magazine issues in a project organized by London ufologist Isaac Koi. Isaac – a member of our International Advisory Board – attempts to get releases of copyrights from previous magazine editors so that their old magazines can be scanned and uploaded for public download. 

During 2016 Isaac Koi worked with AFU employees Leif Åstrand and Irene Remberger on this project and the result can be viewed at AFU Downloads.  During the year, we had an inflow of about 300 magnetic audio tapes which have mostly been digitized through our unemployment program. In total more than 5.000 tapes have been digitized through the years. Much of this cannot be put up for public internet download due to copyright and personal integrity.

Books and Magazines
At the end of 2016 we had about 29.500 catalogued books, distributed at three different facilities. Finding space on shelves for new incoming collections was and is a challenge. We now have 197 shelve sections on our floors, mostly of the IKEA “Billy” type. Total library capacity is 885 meters. To save on space, this year we took out the third archival copy of each title in the “P” library (parapsychology and occultism). We temporarily file these copies in boxes kept in a new rented storage close to one of our libraries. This is the 13th facility.

Anders Liljegren busy cataloguing our collections

A new magazine catalogue was produced and posted on our web on October 31. The new catalogue included the main part of the BSRA magazines that arrived here in June. Another quick job done. Our files of magazines, journals and newsletters now amount to 73.845 single issues.”

As anyone can understand from our annual report our greatest challenge during the coming years is financing. We are an international foundation and whether you live in Stockholm, Berlin, Hongkong, Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Moscow, Teheran, Auckland or Tokyo we need your economic help to survive and continue develop as the largest and foremost archive and library in the world promoting, supporting and initiating research covering all aspects of UFO, Fortean and paranormal phenomena.

But 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 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. It is your economic support that can make this dream come true.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Ted Owens - The PK Man

As a young ufologist in the 1970s I read How To Contact Space People by the American contactee Ted Owens. He told of his work with Space Intelligences (SIs) and how he with the help of these beings could produce strange weather events, lightning, hurricanes, drought, earthquakes, UFO appearances and assorted paranormal phenomena. Owens described the Space Intelligences as resembling small grasshoppers standing on two legs. Naturally I found the claims absurd and not worthy of any further study. But as is often the case with contactee appearances and claims, they are very deceptive. A second look and a more thorough investigation can reveal surprising information.

This problem is very well documented by parapsychologist Jeffrey Mishlove, Ph.D. in his biography of Ted Owens, The PK Man. A True Story of Mind Over Matter. Mishlove wrote his doctoral dissertation Psi Development Systems at the University of California, Berkeley, released as a Ballantine paperback in 1988. The PK Man is actually an updated version of an unpublished manuscript called Earth´s Ambassador, written together with journalist and author D. Scott Rogo in 1979.

In the 1970s physicists Hal Puthoff and Russel Targ had developed an interest in the paranormal abilities of Ted Owens. But because their research at SRI International was already controversial (remote viewing) they decided that a promising young graduate student should continue the Owens investigation project. ”I was their candidate”, recounts Mishlove. ”But I did not know the price to be paid for opening up this seeming Pandora´s box of mystical powers. It is only now, a quarter century later, that the full story can be told – and, I hope, understood.”

Owens claimed that he had been abducted by Space Intelligences. They had operated on his brain which made him half human and half alien. As proof he used to show a thick crease at the base of his skull. But he did not regard the aliens as evil and affectionately called them Twitter and Tweeter. Because of the operation he was constantly in psychic contact with the Space Intelligences and had acquired paranormal powers which he regarded it was his mission to prove to the authorities and the world. Although in many respects a UFO contactee he never referred to the SIs as coming from another planet but always insisted they belonged to a higher dimensional realm.

Jeffrey Mishlove followed closely the career of Owens and carefully noted his claims and predictions. Although not always correct there were according to Mishlove too many incidents of weather control or influence to dismiss Owens as a charlatan. In the book is related several instances of correct predictions. The extreme weather conditions in Florida 1979 is an example with storms, record rainfall, drought and hurricanes. Mishlove concludes: ”… it certainly looks as though Florida´s 1979 weather was somehow manipulated by Ted Owens. The coincidences between the psychic´s pronouncements and the resultant changes in Florida´s weather are too numerous and exact to be dismissed.” 

Owens himself was uncertain in interpreting the effects that he apparently produced. Whether it was his own psychokinetic powers or the Space Intelligences that was the cause. He made it clear that these intelligences were no ordinary space people. In one of his letters he wrote: ”… I figure that somehow I had managed to contact the essence of the intelligence behind Nature herself.”
Another facet of Owens abilities was producing UFO appearances at will and also teaching others how to make UFOs appear. They usually appeared as glowing balls of light moving in erratic ways. Mishlove presents an alternative theory regarding these manifestions: ”… were the UFOs that Owens and his acquaintances saw so often actually only materializations brought into existence by Ted himself? This possibility, I believe, is the one that must be taken seriously. And it is potentially more awesome than the simple physical presence of alien spacecraft.”

After studying Ted Owens for many years Jeffrey Mishlove concludes that an ”intelligent energy” worked with Owens producing various paranormal phenomena. He also concludes that this ”energy” can be dangerous and destructive in its effect on the psychic in contact with and using it. There are several examples in the book as when Owens in December 1985 warn Mishlove on the phone that the Space Intelligences ”really mean business. The will destroy the shuttle. It´s up to you to prevent it.” Mishlove was ”shaken to my bones” on January 28, 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven members of the crew.

”Science is ill-equipped to explain the phenomena reported herein”, writes Mislove. This is certainly the case, especially with mainstream materialist, reductionist science. When reading about all the paranormal phenomena documented in The PK Man I can only lament that the author hasn´t discovered that there is a science of the multiverse that can be used as a working hypothesis – the Esoteric Tradition. Here we will find all these phenomena described with a detailed taxonomy of the entities and forces involved. In the chapter The Dark Side of the Force, Mishlove does once refer to ”the esoteric teachings of many cultures (reinforce) that the display of psychic powers is detrimental to the path of spiritual enlightenment”. (p. 205)

To me as esotericist it is obvious that Ted Owens had developed a contact with the deva evolution, which is probably the case with many UFO contactees. One good example is Uri Geller. According to the Esoteric Tradition ”The deva and human evolution will, during the next five hundred years, become somewhat more conscious of each other, and be able therefore more freely to co-operate”. (Alice Bailey, Letters of Occult Meditation, p. 182). But in esotericism there are also constant warnings about the danger and risks involved. Especially the devas of the air are high energy beings that can literally destroy the unwary pioneer. ”… it is not safe for the uninitiated to tamper with the parallel evolution of the devas, yet it is necessary and safe to investigate the procedure pursued by the builders, the methods followed by them, in reproducing from the archetype, via the etheric that which we call physical manifestation.” (Alice Bailey, Initiation, Human and Solar, p. 203).

Creating UFO manifestations in the form of balls of light is a paranormal phenomenon more easily performed by anyone acquainted with the modus operandi of concentration and visualization. Possibly I succeeded in creating one of these UFO phenomena myself many years ago. In the middle of the 1970s I participated in a meditation group with Swedish contactee couple Sture and Turid Johansson. We experimented with distant healing, visualizing and concentrating on sending energy. One evening I decided to try this experiment on my then girlfriend, without her knowledge. She had a bad flu. I followed the usual modus operandi and then left it at that. Next morning she called me on the phone to relate a very strange experience. When she had gone to bed she noticed a ball of light that suddenly appeared in her room. This ball of light slowly entered her body and gave her a very good feeling. Of course I don´t know if I created this ball of light but it happened the same evening when I did my experiment.

Creating and sending these balls of light is often described by the Kahunas of Hawaii. The phenomena are called Akualele. Riley Crabb, director of Borderland Sciences Research Association (BSRA) 1959-1985 often described such incidents in his magazine Round Robin:
During the four years I worked at the Naval Supply Center, Pearl Harbor I became well acquainted with one of the safety engineers, a Caucasian-Hawaiian from the island of Molokai. He knew of my interest in Flying Saucers and told me of his own early childhood experiences with Akualele. He had an uncle who was one of the 57 varieties of Kahunas. By appropriate rhythmical breathing and chanting this uncle could call up an Elemental and give it a temporary form in the shape of a glowing ball of light. Another Kahuna across the valley had similiar abilities. They were probably initiates of the same Mystery School. They were . friendly rivals, too, and to entertain themselves - and show off their prowess - in the long Molokai evenings, these pagan sorcerers would create highly charged globes of electrical ether and send them back and forth between them! The enginner told. me of those long-remebered nights there in the tropic darkness of his home island, sitting at a respectful distance from the Kahuna, and watching open-mouthed as the ghostly, glowing globe came floating down out of the darkness.” (Round Robin, vol. 18, no. 3, April 1962, pp. 30-31)

The PK Man is an excellent documentation of the wide variety of UFO and paranormal phenomena and the problems facing critical investigators when confronted with individuals like Ted Owens. It takes courage to enter into this type of research as demonstrated by Jeffrey Mishlove in his book. Allen Hynek, who considered Owens` powers to be subconscious in nature once said  he wouldn´t ”go near him with a ten-foot pole”.