Thursday, January 8, 2015

UBO's (Unidentified Box-like Objects) - Part 3

Let's take a few steps back from the previous post, to the years immediately before Kenneth Arnold's sighting of 1947. 

Many are not aware of it, but there are several accounts on record from the World War II period (some even further back), that fit the model of later UFO landing cases perfectly. For all intents and purposes, they are just that, but we have to be careful, as the majority of them were told many years after the fact. However, as i have said before, since these posts are more about finding trends rather than ultimate truths, any amount of later confabulation just shows something different about the origin of a given box, than what seems immediately apparent. In other words, as long as the details of how and when the stories came about are made as clear as possible, there should be no problems.

Typically, the humanoids encountered in these WW2-related cases, were interpreted as foreign soldiers at the time of the incident, and many of the accounts come from witnesses who were themselves active servicemen back then. The extraterrestrial hypothesis was a possibility that only dawned on these people years later, as the UFO-ET mythos became more established and popularized. 

Various boxes, during and immediately after World War Two

The first incident worth mentioning involved John Warren, who was a British RAF armourer during the war. It first 
came to light in BUFORA's research bulletin (vol. 4 no. 2, July 1973), in the form of a letter from Warren himself (every word and comma as printed in the bulletin):

In May 1943, I was stationed at R.A.F. Ludham in Norfolk, I missed my last train to camp, so I set off to walk 16 miles back. I was about 4 miles from camp in the country with no houses for maybe 2 miles, the lane I walked up was a slight bending right, when suddenly I saw a person standing at the edge of a field with something strapped non the chest which gave a glow to the face, greenish in colour. Believe me my hair stood on end I was terrified. I walked passed as best I could and half noticed about 20-30 yards away in the field was some kind of object, which seemed alight, in colours. I thought I saw two other persons probing about the ground near the object. I never spoke to the person I walked passed. I was shaking with fright. I never reported the affair to anyone at camp, I was about 2 1/2 hours late. I can describe it more in detail when I told it to my boys 20 years later.

The grammatical errors and inconsistencies make parts of the account hard to decipher. Did Warren mean he was 2 1/2 hours late, thereby implying some missing time, or did he just mean, that because he was late, he was less inclined to report it to his superiors? Furthermore, his last sentence is somewhat cryptic. Warren added more details 15 years later. In an interview with ufologist Philip Mantle from 1988, he recounted that the humanoid he saw most clearly, wore a greyish-white "boiler suit" and what looked like an oldfashioned diver's helmet or goldfish bowl. He described it's face as round, without any noticeable cheekbones or chin, and clearly states that the attached object that lighted it up was a box of some kind.

In this case, the box did not appear to be of superior technology. Instead, it seems to have served no other function than to make certain that the face of the disturbing entity was visible, which in itself is unusual. Warren never specified who or what he thought the beings were at the time, but he makes it quite clear to Mantle, that the idea of spacemen never entered his mind.

Sketch of the grinning entity, made by John Warren in connection with the 1988 Philip Mantle interview. 

The next account is often filed as a crash and retrieval case, and has been covered by Leonard Stringfield and others dedicated to this particular area of ufology. It can be viewed as such, I suppose, depending on how much of the story one reads (and believes in):

A year after Warren's encounter, on the 18th of June, 1944, US Navy engineer Edward Langer claims to have encountered a group of 7 humanoids, including a captain, standing near a spherical craft. This happened while he was walking on a beach near Kaneohi Naval Air Station, in Oahu, Hawaii. The beings were approximately 4.5 feet tall, had short haircuts, dark eyes and eyebrows (one of them had fangs) and wore olive-green, one-piece suits and belts with black boxes attached to themLanger got into a fight with one of them and threw him to the ground, whereafter the rest seized upon their fellow crewmember, and eventually, on orders of the captain, killed him. This apparently earned Langer the respect of the captain, who arranged to meet him the following day

Langer claimed that he managed to steal the belt-box of the dead crew member before leaving, but that it was confiscated shortly afterwards by the OSS, FBI, and Naval Intelligence. Who eventually ended up with the prize is unclear, but according to Langer it was later used in an experiment to melt a cat (!). Again, all this was never officially recounted until many years later, around roughly the same time as Warren broke his story. In Langer's case, he contacted ufologist Don Worley. Worley appears to have lost contact with Langer before getting the whole story, though.

Langer originally thought that the beings belonged to a special submarine unit, so again, the possiblity of unearthly origin did not immediately enter the picture. But in this case, the witness met with the beings the following day, where he was told about their home planet and what they were doing on earth. 

Donald "Don" Worley, the first ufologist to learn of the Oahu incident

On Christmas day, 1945, a farmer on an island off the west coast of Ireland allegedly witnessed his dog being hypnotized by an entity coming out of a silvery craft. This case has been highlighted as an early example of the connection between UFO's and cattle mutilation, but we are more interested in other details: 

The witness was standing on the shore in a blizzard, waiting for a boat to return to the mainland, when a silver dome with a square base descended from the clouds and landed on the water. It was surrounded by purple lights and made a whirring noise like a drill. It rose again & landed in a field, crushing two cattle. The top slid up, & 2 humanoids with “squarish legs,” wearing gray black rubber suits, came out. One of these walked to the shore & onto the sea, where he placed a large phial. The other fired a red ray at a cow, burning through it. A farmer’s dog came up, barking; the humanoid pointed “a box with lights & antenna” at it, and the dog, apparently hypnotized, walked up to the UFO & was put on board. 5 or 6 similar craft streaked overhead. A mist then enveloped the craft & both beings “floated” up into it. One noticed the witness & waved at him; he ran from the scene. The farmer advised him to tell no one about the experienced. (HUMCAT 1945-4, Source: Northern UFO News # 31)

According to Albert Rosales, the case appears in a somewhat different version in the book Conspiracy Of Silence - UFO's In Ireland. Until i get my hands on that book, I'm going to just take a wild guess that this account, like the previous two, was related many years after it happened. It would be particularly interesting to learn if there is a record mentioning the box, from before 1970 (year of the Imjärvi case). In the Warren and Langer incidents we know they came out in 1973 and 1974 respectively, when the box trope (a new term I've learned recently, courtesy of Bob Skinner) had really kicked off. 

The last case for now, is yet another of these late revelations, but it has been so extensively documented that it deserves a long chapter of its own: The Gösta Carlsson encounter from 1946.

The mysterious box in the clearing

Gösta Carlsson (1918-2003) was a nationally famous Swedish athlete and businessman, who in the 1950's founded the succesful company Cernelle, known primarily for producing natural medicine based on pollen extracts. This endeavor earned Carlsson the nickname "The Pollen King". Many years later, in 1971, Carlsson came out and told where he really got his inspiration for the medicine: it could all be traced back to an encounter with a landed spacecraft and its occupants, in the southern part of Sweden, in the summer of 1946.

The Gösta Carlsson story is not really that well known, even in ufological circles, although some may remember it being featured in Jerome Clark & Loren Coleman's classic 1970's book The Unidentified. The definitive investigation into the matter, however, was undertaken many years later by ace Swedish ufologist Clas Svahn, in close collaboration with Carlsson himself. This resulted in the excellent book Mötet i Gläntan ("The Meeting in The Clearing"). The book is only published in Swedish (which is why many of the details still remain obscure), and builds on Gösta Carlsson's own account - with critical interjections by Svahn throughout the book. 

For the non-Scandinavian readers interested in knowing more than what I write here, Svahn talks about the case at some length in a 2009 episode of Binall of America.

THE book documenting the Gösta Carlsson experience from every conceivable angle

The "Meeting In The Clearing" went like this:

On the 18th of May, 1946, at around 22.00 military time, Gösta Carlsson was visiting one of his favorite spots: the beach area called Sibirien (Siberia) near the small town Ängleholm (not far from the city of Helsingborg). This was, and still is, a great place for watching birds, and Carlsson himself had a secret dream of some day making the area into a bird sanctuary. Around 22:45 it became dark, and he began riding his bicycle back towards Ängelholm, through the woods surrounding the beach. At some point he looked towards a large grass clearing which he often visited as a kid, and noticed a strange light. 
Carlsson used a small headlight to make his way through the woods into the clearing. When he reached the area, he was surprised to see a large object, which he at first interpreted as some kind of ride you would find in an amusement park. But it turned out to be something very different. 

The object was saucer-shaped, with some kind of antenna on top, and a ladder coming out of the bottom. Around it, several human-like figures, both men and women, were engaged in what seemed like repairs on the craft. At first, Carlsson tried to convince himself that they might be German soldiers, but deep inside he didn't really believe it. He did wonder whether or not it was a secret weapon of sorts, though. 

There was a smell of ozone in the air and the area around the craft was lit up in a strange manner. For some reason he couldn't hear a sound from anyone inside the lighted area, only from outside it, where he and one of the humanoids was standing. This male humanoid was wearing what looked (in retrospect) like an astronaut suit, and a headpiece like that on a raincoat. Carlsson sensed that he was a guard of sorts, posted to make sure that noone came closer to the craft. Around his neck, hanging in front of his chest, was a black box-like device which Carlsson interpreted as similar to the folding camera's that were popular at the time

Rough sketch of the box, made by Gösta Carlsson (Copyright: Clas Svahn)

Vintage Folding Camera

Carlsson was now standing 10 meters from the craft itself, and about 7-8 meters from the guard. As soon as he tried to get closer, the guard signalled him to stop, and turned the box-like device towards him. Whatever the device's function was, it affected the circuitry of Carlsson's headlight. Carlsson stood back and remained observant, but when a female crew member began handing out what looked like drinks, he once again became curious and moved in closer. The guard now turned to him with a firm look in his eyes and a hand gesture that signalled: "Stop. No further". The rest of the crew were also looking seriously at him by now, as if something terrible would happen if he came too close. As soon as Carlsson took a step back, they resumed their activities.

Illustration by Olle Schön interpreting the scene, with the guard in front (Copyright: Clas Svahn)
After a while, Carlsson did something which seems irrational, but in fact occurs time and time again in these accounts; he left for the beach and decided to come back a while later. From the beach he tried to make out the area of the clearing though the woods, when suddenly a red glowing light appeared. It was the saucer shaped craft, which at first hovered a bit, but then finally shot off into the sky, with a whining sound. Carlsson's first thought was to go back to the clearing, but he discovered that his headlight had been fried, probably due to the box-like device. Instead he goes home, but returns again at daylight, after only a few hours of sleep. 

At the site he finds several traces from the night's event: a large circle in the grass, footprints and the cups that the drinks were served in. In the area he also finds a piece of violet quartz, a green ring and a curious rock. Furthermore, when he returns home to his wife, he discovers that his face is covered in a yellow substance: pollen. From this experience, as already mentioned, Carlsson would embark on a succesful business adventure. But another kind of adventure followed as well, as the characters of his strange encounter would appear to him several times over the years.

In Mötet i Gläntan, Clas Svahn looks into several elements of Gösta Carlsson's later experiences, and devotes many pages to exploring the mysterious box and its origins. Here he compares it to strange boxes appearing in other close encounter cases, including some that I have already covered, and others which will be included at a later pointThe speculations about Carlsson's box range from the technological to the psychological (including a potential unrecollected abduction scenario), ultimately leaning towards the latter. 

One of the reasons for this conclusion, is that after Gösta Carlsson's initial encounter, the camera-like box appeared to him on many seperate occasions, always right around falling asleep, as a kind of hypnagogic "dream-enabler""Sleep" and "dream" are perhaps not the best terms, as it was more like an altered state of conciousness. He would typically have an out-of-body type experience as a precursor, and then suddenly see the guard holding the camera box, transporting him into another setting where he would have further "contacts" with the beings from the clearing. Gösta describes it as if he was "sucked into the objective" and subsequently reappearing in the "dream", like a television turning on. These facts also led Svahn to conclude, that the initial encounter in the clearing was the only of Gösta Carlsson's UFO experiences that could really be attributed to any kind of physical reality. 

Some die-hard abductionists might object to this, but it's important to note that Carlsson himself found his later experiences to be of a parapsychological nature, and was convinced that noone else could have shared in his visions, even if they had been in the same room as him. Nevertheless, they were very real to him and affected him deeply. He also believed that the "original" box could have been the trigger of these visions. Supposing that the meeting in the clearing really happened, and involved extraterrestrials who live lightyears away, they would need a way to maintain contact over vast distances, if they wished to do so. Maybe the box helped establish such a link?

"UFO-Memorial" raised in 1972 by Gösta Carlsson to commemorate his encounter. The monument in the middle is downscaled - the circles around indicate the traces from the landing (that were beginning to fade away at the time) and thereby show the real proportions of the craft. I have visited the memorial many times, even slept there once (without experiencing anything extraordinary, though)

Many of the features of Gösta Carlsson's visionary experiences are found in other "bedtime visitation" type cases that include boxes. I am going to explore these more indepth in a later post. Perhaps already in part 4.

Main Sources:

  • Albert Rosales' Humanoid Catalogue
  • BUFORA research bulletin vol. 4 no. 2, July 1973
  • Svahn, Clas and Carlsson, Gösta: Mötet i gläntan - Sveriges mest kända närkontakt med UFO. NTB/Pantheon (1995)
  • UFO Data Magazine Issue 4, June/July 2006)

- Special thanks to Albert Rosales and Ole Henningsen for supplying material, and to Clas Svahn for the permission to use images.

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