Saturday, May 9, 2015

UFO's Over Copenhagen - A Case Of Hidden Contact?

This post is based on an article I wrote for a 2012 issue of UFO-Mail, the official organ for SUFOI (Scandinavian UFO Information), about a very unique Danish UFO case that I investigated a few years earlier. Besides just translating the article to English I have added some further details and comments to the main body of text, as well as to the conclusion. All names of those involved have been changed, for the sake of anonymity.

I came across the following story about 5 years ago, in the spring of 2010, while I was still at university. At the time I had been working on a larger research project for over a month, together with a fellow student who we can call Christian. On one occasion during a break, the talk turned to UFO’s and what they could be. Looking back, it was probably Christian who brought it up, since I very rarely start conversations about the topic myself. It's not that I’m embarrassed about my interest in UFO's, but simply because there are exhaustingly many layers you have to cut through every time you present your views, to people who mainly have their knowledge of the subject from documentaries etc. Still, I must take part of the responsibility, as he could hardly have failed to notice the many books about UFO’s I had lying around.

Anyway, after having talked about it back and forth for a few minutes Christian suddenly remarks: “Hey! I just remembered that my wife once saw a UFO!”. I was of course surprised and a bit intrigued, but didn’t really expect anything major. For all I knew, and from the little Christian could remember of her story, she might just have seen a strange light in the sky one night. But, as I was soon to learn, it was something a lot more dramatic than that. Furthermore, this came along right when I was most engulfed in reading about such cases. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. At this point, not knowing very much, I asked Christian if he could tell his wife, Marianne, that I had a serious interest in UFO’s, and ask her if she was willing to share her experience with me some day. A few days later he had made arrangements for me to speak with her.

Marianne’s Close Encounter

Marianne’s UFO encounter took place sometime during the mid-1990’s – possibly in 1996. That’s about the closest we have come to putting a date on it. At the time she was living in an apartment on Carit Etlars Vej, in the western part of Copenhagen (actually in the city-within-the-city known as Frederiksberg). Her apartment was special, in that it had one of the only two French balconies on the rear end of the building - Marianne’s being on the fourth floor and the other just below it, on the third floor. In fact those balconies are the only two openings in the building facing in that direction, period.

The building housing Marianne’s former apartment. Her balcony was the top one, on the white facade of the building to the left.

The immediate view straight from the balcony is a medium-sized, red-colored apartment complex which partially blocks the view of a heavily trafficked road, Vesterbrogade. I couldn’t get both buildings to fit properly into one shot, so I took two separate pictures. There is some distance to the complex from the balcony, and in between is a small, cooped-up, ball court which is visible on the photo above and the one just below.

The back of the red apartment complex. You can see the ball court that separates it and the building housing Marianne’s apartment, to the left in the picture.
Although we haven’t been able to determine the exact year of the encounter, there can be no doubt that it took place in the summertime - possibly in June or July – during the the late night/early morning hours. She remembers that it was getting bright outside and the birds were singing. Due to the really humid climate around that time, she had pulled her bed all the way up to the balcony only a few days before, in order to get as much fresh air as possible. 

Suddenly, for some reason she can’t recall – or maybe there was no particular reason - Marianne looked out the balcony window. There, immediately outside, hovering above the ball court, was an object of bright aluminum complexion, without any visible windows or doors or other distinguishable features. Anne says that the “body” of the object was about 5-6 meters long, and the “wings” maybe 1.5 meters each. The things that attached the “wings” to the body seemed to her like some kind of pipe system. She made a sketch of it which you can see just below.

Marianne describes the rest of the experience as if time itself started to fall apart, or as if two different timelines were moving along at the same time. The object was moving, but very slowly. She noticed that all sounds and smells now disappeared, almost as if her surroundings faded away from her, and she felt that her sense of space and time was the only “real” thing present - all tell-tale signs of what British veteran ufologist Jenny Randles has dubbed the Oz Factor

Eventually the object began moving to the right, around the corner of the building. According to Marianne it should have been visible from the kitchen window immediately afterwards, but when she ran out to look it wasn’t there. Marianne isn’t sure how long the encounter lasted altogether, due to the strange state she was in, but she knows that it couldn’t have been that long because the sun hadn’t yet come up when it ended. She remembers that she was a bit scared, but most of all she felt that the object had been curious about her and that it was somehow “just passing by”.

An important part of the story is that Marianne's boyfriend at the time, Marco, was there with her during the encounter. He had been out partying pretty hard all night, but had arrived a short time earlier to crash at her place. Talking with Marianne, and later also with Marco, it became clear to me that the UFO encounter happened shortly after they had had sex that night/morning. Anne says that she remembers being awake for a little while afterwards, in a state of complete relaxation – very different from anything she had ever experienced before or since. Marco had fallen asleep almost immediately and was already snoring. She remembers that she tried her best to wake him up, but he was as far gone as the object now was. Marianne never saw the UFO again. 

Further Experiences

When I asked her about other unusual experiences, prior to or after her encounter, Marianne recalled a few very interesting things. One was an extremely vivid ”alien dream” she had a few nights later, in which she interacted with some very tall, golden ”super women” that looked like normal people, except for their height and large heads. In the dream she was supposed to help these beings with something, maybe a pregnancy. She also found some peculiar markings on her body, but doesn’t remember whether this only happened after the incident, or if it had also happened prior to it. She describes these markings as if they were indentations made by a hair brush. Curiously enough, while we were talking about all this, Christian suddenly broke in and stated that he himself had had those kinds of markings, more than once. He thinks that he may even have had them before he met Marianne. He describes his markings as 5 small dots, in a dice-like pattern. Christian also remembered calling Marianne his “intergalactic star goddess” one of the first times he met her, after falling in love with her. This was before she ever told him about her UFO encounter and he has no deeper explanation for this choice of nickname. 

Later I also found out that Marianne has a thing about owls and has made more than one very detailed piece of artwork involving them. I asked into this and she couldn’t explain why, other than they just had some sort of meaning to her. Although I am hesitant to make a direct connection between this and Marianne’s encounter it bears mentioning, because owls have been appearing under odd circumstance to a lot of UFO experiencers (just ask Mike Clelland, who has been documenting his own and other peoples stories involving owls for years)   

The conversation had turned into something of a surprise for all three of us. Marianne and Christian had very rarely talked about these things before - and certainly never all of them, within a UFO context. For me it was incredible that I seemed to have stumbled upon one of those very cases of “hidden contact” that I had been reading so much about. At least, all of the details I was getting just seemed to fit so well with incidents of that type. At the same time I was cautious and did not try to paint a picture of alien abductions and hybrid programs, although it would have been very easy to jump in head first like that. In fact I tried my very best to not even mention the abduction mythos in that or any of our later talks, except when asked - and then only very hesitantly. Nevertheless the details just kept coming forward.

Next, I felt had to find out if there could be something about Marianne that made her particularly susceptible to unusual experiences. This was very much inspired by reading books by Jenny Randles and Kenneth Ring, which document that certain personality traits make some people more prone to UFO experiences. This also brought forward some extremely interesting details. Just for the record it should be stated at this point, that Marianne has never touched any hard drugs and only occasionally smoked a joint.

About Marianne

Marianne is now in her mid-to-late 30’s and is the mother of 3 children. Christian is the father of the 2 youngest, a son and a daughter, and Marco is the father of the oldest, a daughter named Natalie who is now in her teens. Marianne is a designer, and at the time I spoke with her she worked specifically with furniture design. She describes herself as having had strong creative urges ever since childhood. As a child she was extremely good at visualizing shapes in front of her and when she closed her eyes, she could instantly imagine complex figures retract and expand, almost like fractals, which she felt she had to shape and balance in order to keep them separated. She still gets these images once in a while, but she says that with time it went from being an ability to being more of a “feeling“ which she often gets just before falling asleep. She feels that if she could only train this ability properly she would be able to use it for so many things. She has thought about practicing transcendental meditation to help further this goal.

Marianne has also had several odd things happen to her throughout her life, but nothing that she ever thought of connecting with the UFO encounter. In kindergarten for example, she suffered from an unknown and perplexing condition, where she would periodically experience static in front of her eyes, as if tuning into a dead TV channel. The doctors ran a long series of tests on her, for epilepsy and other disorders, but never figured out what was wrong. After a while it disappeared by itself.

Next I asked Marianne, inspired directly by Jenny Randles' experiencer-checklist, if she often had vivid dreams of flying. She confirmed. In fact, for a long time during her late childhood and early adolescence she believed that she could actually fly, if only she concentrated hard enough on it. She told me that even today this can be a source of conflict to her because, in a way, she still thinks that it can be done, but at the same time she knows it isn’t supposed to be possible. She has to keep her thoughts in check once in a while, so she won’t get too carried away.

Another trait in encounter-prone personalities is the clear recollection of events stretching back to very early childhood, sometimes even late infancy. Marianne confirmed this part as well. For example, she vividly remembers her younger sister’s birth, even though she was barely 2 years old at the time. Natalie, the daughter of her and Marco, also has detailed memories from when she was only 1½-2 years old. 

The story, as it now stood, would have been interesting in and of itself. But as it turned out, it didn’t end there. There proved to be a very definite link between Marianne's encounter and her former boyfriend, which we shall now explore further.

Marco’s UFO Encounter

As you will recall, Marco never woke up in time to see the UFO outside Marianne's balcony. But when she drew a sketch of it one of the following days he completely freaked out, for a very good reason: he had had a sighting of what appeared to be the exact same object, many years earlier. I haven’t been able to find out precisely which date this happened either, but Marco thinks it was probably in the early summer of 1987 or 1988, although it could be as late as 1989 or 1990. What we do know is that on this day he was out rollerskating with a few friends on Eskildsgade, a street not that far away from Marianne’s old apartment (and incidentally, I found out later, also the street where Mike Tramp, who I interviewed not long ago for a completely different purpose, grew up). Marco and his friends had a thing back then where they would grab onto cars and roll with them up and down the street, and they had been at this for several hours when it was beginning to get dark. Marco remembers that around 21.00 he was standing in one end of Eskildsgade, next to the medium-sized public square called Vesterbro Torv, while his two friends were much further down the the street, closer to Istedgade

The street where Marco & friends where rollerskating. Marco was standing approximately where I took this picture, facing the same direction as the camera, when the object appeared.

Around this time all three boys began noticing a loud, roaring sound coming from the air. Marco had trouble describing it to me, but according to him it was different than the sound of thunder. It was more like when a plane breaks the sound barrier, although even more powerful. Then suddenly, a 5-6 meter long grayish object, shaped sort of like a dumbbell or rolling pin, passes over his head, in the sky above the buildings. While the object flew over the street the sky was completely gray, but Marco distinctly remembers a pink, triangular patch of light in the distant sky, somewhere to the right (which could indicate an exotic weather phenomenon, but more about that later). As the object flew by, the streetlights and all other lights in the surrounding apartments went out one by one, and turned on again immediately after it had passed them. The object eventually disappeared into the horizon, but just before doing so it seemed to transform into a light.

A rough illustration (not correctly scaled) showing the object Marco saw, and the manner in which it flew forward. Marco estimated it to be about 40 meters above the buildings, but it kept itself in between them throughout its whole “route” of flight.

As can be seen on the above picture, the object was very similar to what Marianne observed years later, if not nearly identical to it. But the shape of the object is not the only element that recurs in Marianne’s encounter. As it turns out, Marco also tried everything he possibly could to get his friends to see the thing, but without success. They did not notice anything flying above them, although they do remember seeing a light disappearing in the distance. They also observed the electrical lights going off and back on again. In fact, one of them even heard a local radio show a few days later, where the host described an “unexplained blackout” that had taken place the night of the encounter. Even more interesting, like Marianne, Marco also felt as if time was distorted during the whole incident, and that the object somehow “sucked out” all the energy of its surroundings. He believes that, objectively, the whole experience only took about 20-30 seconds, but it felt a lot longer. Marco doesn’t think that there were any other people on the street who actually witnessed the object.

Marco describes the above experience as a turning point in his life. In retrospect he realizes that this was the one event that made him seek out a more spiritual lifestyle at a young age. He became a vegetarian instantly afterwards and has not eaten meat since. He also changed his personality from being a “smartass street kid” into a more sensitive and open minded person. When he saw Anne’s drawing and heard her recount her experience many years later, it felt kind of like redemption to him. Finally, someone had seen the same thing as him and he could know come to terms with the fact that it hadn’t just been a hallucination. One thing that he has wondered about many times since though, is why he never saw the object the second time around and why there was this strange temporal aspect to both his and Marianne's sightings. They discussed this many times afterwards and Marco distinctively remembers thinking that “time was against him” and that “something” prevented him from waking up in time to see the object. He also remembers Anne’s dreams about the aliens and speculated that there was a connection, even then.

Further Investigation

There were several things at this point that merited further investigation, but without any exact years to place the sightings, it was very difficult to approach them. In the case of Marianne I had hoped that at some point, a diary entry or similar would remind her of a more precise date. So far this hasn’t happened. Marco, likewise, who I have spoken to on several later occasions, can’t remember anything precisely about either of the two sightings, except the general time of year. Even after getting in touch with the friends he was skating with on the day of his encounter, we weren’t able to narrow it down much. Concerning his sighting, however, I have been able to work somewhat “backwards”. First I tried approaching local bars in the immediate area of the sighting, but in all of the places that existed back then (which weren’t many) the owners couldn’t pinpoint any power failures which had stood out particularly throughout the years. I did get the impression that it was something they had experienced quite often, though. I also began asking around in local shops, but quickly realized that it didn’t make much sense. Even if some of them did exist back then, they would surely have been closed at the time of the incident.

Next, I set out to look through local newspapers from the late 1980’s/early 1990’s, in order to find articles about power failures in Copenhagen – unexplained or otherwise. I figured that since it was apparently worth mentioning on the radio, there could have been a mention of it somewhere. However, searching both printed newspapers and Infomedia, a database covering a large section of Danish newspapers back to the 1980’s, has not yielded any useful clues.

Parallel to this, I tried locating a recording of the said radio program itself. I suppose I could have put up flyers all over the area of Vesterbro, in hope of finding someone who had an old cassette tape with the broadcast, but I wasn’t quite prepared for that. Instead I tried to find out what local radio station could have been the source of the announcement of the “unexplained blackout”. Marco helped me in the right direction on that one, and we discovered that it was probably one called Radio Ratatosk (now defunkt). After a short email exchange with the former administrator of the radio, a forwarded reply came back to me revealing that a former Radio Ratatosk host named Michael remembered a strange power failure in the late 80's, most likely after 1987 (but not whether he had talked about it on air). In any case, Michael told me that one day around that time, the power suddenly went out. For some reason he thought to himself “this is it. Chernobyl happening all over again”. Even stranger, when he picked up the phone to call a friend, the line was busy and full of voices. Then suddenly, the friend he was supposed to dial up was speaking from the other end. His friend had not tried to dial him either, and this was in the days before automatic callback was a standard feature on telephones. Michael then found out some time later, that the blackout was actually connected to the nuclear power plant, Barseb├Ąck, which is located just across the water from Copenhagen, in southern Sweden. And if that isn’t enough, I also found out that Michael had an interest in UFO’s himself and was in contact with a lot of old characters from the heyday of Danish ufology. He could even tell me, that the last surviving member of a notable 70’s UFO cult lived just around the corner from me.

Eventually, although an interesting coincidence, I came to have my doubts about whether this was really the same blackout as the one during Marco’s encounter. They didn't sound like the same, since all the lights came on again almost immediately after the object had flown past them. But the sense that there was something about this area of Copenhagen that made it particularly susceptible to power failures, was further reinforced after my article was “printed” in UFO-mail. One of the reasons for putting the story out there in the first place, was to see if it would generate any useful clues to understanding the case better. I received a few replies in that regard, one of them an email from a reader who prefers to keep his name a secret. He wrote the following (translated from Danish):

In the 1980’s I became chief administrator for an organization with headquarters close to Vesterbro Torv (the square from which Eskildsgade is connected). From the late 1980’s until the middle of the 1990’s we experienced many short, unexplained interruptions of data transfer, typically during the night. We spent a small fortune trying to solve this problem, which was very damaging to us, but without any luck. The only explanation we were offered was that the interruptions were due to short power failures, despite the fact that we had the best UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) available on the market at the time. What the cause really was, we never found out. One day in the mid 1990’s, the problems suddenly stopped.

In light of Marco and his friends description of the power going shortly off and on during his encounter, the above account is highly interesting. It does indicate very strongly that there were some general problems with the electricity supply in the area around Vesterbro Torv during the 1980’s and 1990’s. I did try to follow this trail as well, but the main electricity provider at the time has long since been absorbed by the much larger company DONG, and contacting them was not very helpful at all. But I doubt that it would bring me any closer to a date for the Marco encounter anyways.  

Map showing some of the different places mentioned. The center of Copenhagen begins less than 1 kilometer to the right of  Vesterbro Torv.

Case Analysis

As readers can probably sense, this is a case that I have spent a lot of time on throughout the years. The reason is, as indicated earlier, that it presented itself to me at a time when I was really opening up to the complexity of the UFO phenomenon. In fact, I can think of no better example than this case to demonstrate just that complexity. I will (and can) not completely exclude that the object seen was some reconnaissance ship from another planet, keeping tabs on certain individuals while at the same time granting them exclusive experiences to further “their” own cryptic goals. I just think that when looking at the full picture - whether or not one accepts that both encounters are connected, which isn’t necessarily a given – the evidence points to several different answers. I also think it makes more sense to look at the individual elements on different levels.

On one level we have the undeniable physical aspects – the light in the distance, the power outage and the loud noise that both Marco and his friends saw and heard. I will go out on a limb and say that I think the odd pink, triangular patch in the distance, could also have been observed by others (in fact I plan on looking into this possibility in the near future). Along with the circumstantial evidence I received later on, this all indicates that something physical did in fact happen - it wasn’t all in the mind of one person. Furthermore it points to the area around Vesterbro Torv as being somehow electricity-sensitive.

On another level there is what seems like a purely individual and subjective part of the experience which, if we boil it down, only occurred to two people (that we know of, at least): Marco and Marianne. This is also where we find the most exotic descriptions – the shape and color of the craft, its movement, the time-warping, the sense of being watched, as well as the aftereffects that manifested (In Marco’s case, a complete change of lifestyle). In a way it seems like these experiences were meant only for these two people, and only one at a time.

But even though most of it seems very individual, how do we explain that so many of the core details can be found in both encounters?  Focusing on the personality traits of UFO experiencers that I mentioned earlier, which Marianne fulfills almost to a tee, some degree of deviation becomes apparent. Marco doesn’t seem to me as nearly the same kind of person. In fact I could only really pinpoint a few elements of experience-proneness that he somewhat conformed to. So if the whole case wasn’t already complicated enough, we also have to explain how Marco could have this experience to begin with, years before meeting Marianne, if he is not even the experience-prone type. Here again I think we should take note of the unusual weather conditions at the time. There are lots of other cases on record involving strange - in fact, often pink-colored - clouds, which include the same temporal distortions as Marco (and Marianne) experienced. Jenny Randles explored many of these in her excellent book Time Storms.

We also need to explain why Marianne suddenly saw what she saw, so many years later. She did not notice anything unusual about the weather, but did mention that it was extremely humid. This humidity could perhaps be linked in some way to a weather phenomenon similar to the one involved in Marco's encounter. Besides this, there is the aspect of Marianne’s experience occurring immediately after having sex with Marco. I left this part out in my original article for UFO-mail, but in fact I think it is highly relevant, whether or not one thinks of the case in “mystical” terms. Of course you might say that there is a good case for explaining Marianne’s sighting as an advanced after-effect of unintended sex magick, but even if this is uncomfortable for the more materialistically-oriented people out there to hear, I will suggest that it is not too far out to simply look at it in terms of an altered state of consciousness.

In addition to the above, we of course can not ignore the fact that Marco could have influenced her with the story of his own experience. In fact it is very likely that he did on some level, although neither of the two remember it. There were also many popular UFO movies, books etc. (X-Files was huge here around that time), which Marianne could have sought out for information. It was not my impression that she had even the slightest interest in those things, though, and the same goes for Marco, for that matter.


If asked to speculate freely, I would connect the dots in the following way:

  • Marco has a UFO experience at a young age that may or may not have been triggered, in part, by an exotic weather phenomenon
  • This phenomenon somehow interferes with both the electricity in the area and somehow also with his mind, creating an altered state of consciousness that makes him hallucinate a metallic object flying over him. It changes him, in fact so much that he becomes an almost different person afterwards, similar to people undergoing a mystical experience.
  • Years later, he manages to affect Marianne – an encounter-prone person who has a unique ability to easily and vividly imagine geometrical shapes , just by closing her eyes –with ideas of this oddly shaped UFO. He might even have told her in detail about it on several occasions, without remembering it.
  • One night, one or more stimulations put Marianne into an altered state of consciousness. During this state she recalls the details Marco’s UFO so strongly that she actually believes she sees it in front of her.
  • This state of consciousness- the Oz Factor or whatever we choose to call it - may be so similar in “feeling” from person to person, no matter what initially triggers it, that both Marianne and Marco were able to have an experience in the same basic way.
  • Marianne, however, being the more encounter-prone type of person, has an even closer encounter with the “object” and experiences even more dramatic effects that Marco did.

There are of course still many aspects that are harder to explain, such as.

  • Why the distinct shape of this object and why did there even “have” to be one in the first place, that moved synchronously with the power outage?
  • Why does it appear to be “shielding” itself from more than one person at the time? One gets the feeling that these episodes happened exactly because no one else could see them, which was noted by both Marco and Marianne. Especially ‘Marianne said that she thought it was noteworthy, how the object could just about avoid detection from other people in the area, by appearing in front of her particular window.
  • Why did Marianne experience so many of both the physical and mental aftereffects that we see in abduction cases from the same period – and indeed still do – such as strange markings, dreams centering on aliens reproductive aspects and a fascination with owls? And more puzzlingly, why should Christian have indications of these too, perhaps even before meeting Marianne?

Whatever the final answer may be, this was the case where I finally realized, that putting only one or two tags on UFO's doesn’t always work. There are a variety of external and personal factors involved that can trigger unusual experiences, made up of imagery that people are not even aware that they have. The case also made me realize that this is actually what makes the investigation of close encounter UFO cases such an interesting – as well as creative – endeavor. As to what the true source of that creativity really is – that, in my opinion, is still not fully explained.

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