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.
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
(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
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.
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.
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
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
Birgitta Andersson, April 7, 1979
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
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
Irre Bredin (Grytdal) with a drawing of the UFO she observed in 1978
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
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,
Inga-Lill Wallin at Martebo, Gotland 2002
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
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
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.