A Position Statement of the Swedish national UFO organization UFO-Sweden
Unidentified flying objects
UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects) as a term was first used in the beginningof the 1950s within the US Air Force. The term UFO has several differentmeanings:
1. From a popular, media related and general sociological point of view theterm is often equated to alien space ships and visitors, an interpretation which at present cannot be proved scientifically.
2. UFO is also - in a wider sense - a collective term for any kind of phenomena seen in the atmosphere and seemingly mysterious to the observer.
3. From the scientific point of view, taken by UFO-Sweden, UFOs are definedas the remainder of reported observations which after investigation and evaluation by experienced investigators still must be regarded as unexplained by conventional known phenomena.
Since the early 1940s the UFO phenomenon has engaged military authorities and private individuals all over the world. Uncountable work hours have been spent on investigating and documenting the phenomenon. The first well known UFO organizations were started in the USA in 1952. Since then attempts to create national and international organizations have been made in many countries.
The religious response to the phenomenon has created difficulties for scientifically oriented UFO organizations. More or less religious groups emerged simultaneously with the serious organisations and these two movements have developed side by side during the course of history. The media confuse these two movements, which has given the subject a suspect status and made the research more difficult.
A people's movement of amateur researchers
Many ufologists (i.e. people devoted to the UFO issue) and UFO organizations have tried to influence military and civilian authorities into becoming more open about their UFO research.
The UN and the European Union have been suggested as responsible organizations for the research. However, the official investigations carried out have made few contributions to the solution of the problem. The complexity of the UFO phenomenon and the politically and military sensitive aspects on it are reasons why it is not realistic to expect an official venture on UFO research at present.
Considering this, UFO-Sweden has chosen to build a national network of local groups and specially trained field investigators as the best way of dealing with the UFO issue initially. Through a serious mass movement of amateur researchers, basic data can be collected, documented and systematized.
UFO-Sweden today try to attract and train critically scrutinising ufologists, striving for greater scientific accuracy and knowledge. This gives confused observers someone trustworthy and competent to turn to, and UFO-Sweden to a great extent takes on the work of the military and other authorities as a recipient of reports. UFO-Sweden acquires a public service function and aims to develop a good and close co-operation with The General Staff, The Military Research Institution (FOA), the police, TheNational Meteorological Organisation (SMHI) and other authorities.
It is essential to point out that UFO-Sweden is not part of the New Age movement, which is a neo-religious phenomenon. UFO-Sweden rejects this faith oriented ufology with its roots in spiritualism, theosophy and other kinds of occultism. Only through an unprejudiced research on a scientific basis can we increase our knowledge of the UFO phenomena and come closer to a solution to this enigma. The subject demands an interdisciplinary working method. It is the national organisation's ambition to engage individual researchers and scholars into taking the matter in hand from different disciplines: atmospheric physics, radiation physics, meteorology, military history, ethnology, sociology, psychology, religious psychology, religious history, the history of the press and so on. As of yet no Swedish doctoral dissertation on the UFO subject has been written. UFO-Sweden is today the only organisation in Sweden with the basis for a research. The strong impact of the subject in the media and in the popular culture and its use in the ideology of extreme political and religious groups makes it important to study it both as a myth and as a mystery.
Theories on the phenomenon
UFO-Sweden has not committed itself to any particular theory on the nature and origin of UFO phenomena. In the popular culture and among the "saucerbelievers" UFO have mainly been interpreted as space ships and visitations fromother planets. In their hunt for "aliens", the ufologists of previous decadessometimes lost perspective and one-sidedly focused on trotting out thepresumed existence of extraterrestrial visitors. This "missionary" approachhas made an unprejudiced, scientific discussion of the issue more difficult.The discussions between "believers" and "sceptics" are often based on amisunderstanding by both parties of the problem, and to an excessive extentthey present their arguments starting from popular myths instead of debatingon the basis of thoroughly investigated and well documented observations.
The approach of UFO-Sweden can be described as "the core hypothesis":there is a core of UFO reports that represents to date unknown phenomena andcraft. These reports are of such quantity and of such a high degree of"strangeness" that they deserve further scientific investigation. In thearchive of the national organisation alone there are hundreds of Swedish UFOreports that support the core hypothesis. These can roughly be divided intothree categories:
1. Fireballs and other optical phenomena.
There are no strict dividing lines between the categories. From a reportpoint of view they often intertwine and they sometimes are observed simultaneously.
These three groups of UFO phenomena are continuously reported throughout the world. Thus, a truly enigmatic phenomenon exists and which should be subject to serious research.
Research and information
During the first decade of the national organisation's existence the activities were aimed at one-sided information ideology. The ambition of UFO-Sweden today is to be more research oriented, whilst the long term aim is to provide information based based on thoroughly investigated reports and facts. As opposed to other groups, who add fuel to the mythical aspect of UFO reports without sufficient evaluation of the sources.
We hope to be able to engage more research minded persons in the nationalorganization and its local groups; persons who alone can make penetratingstudies of separate cases, trying to find statistical and geographical correlations in the database, and providing source material for studies of other phenomena in the UFO field; studies that result in reports of scientific value. The basis for this research has already been laid down through the creation of the Archives for UFO Research.
At the same time the information from the national organization is of great importance to the mass media, the authorities and the public. Not least to enhance the status of the subject and neutralise the constantly repeated media myths about UFO.
A look at the future
UFO-Sweden has during the 1990s managed to acquire a clearer profile as aserious organisation, to which the public, the mass media and the authoritiescan turn with confidence. The ambition of the national organisation is tocontinue this process and thus turn the UFO subject into an established andrespected field of research. This should be done through extensive co-operation and exchanges with researchers and interested persons in other countries.
With a well established and admittedly serious national organisation, thereis a growing possibility of acquiring support from government agencies and to make sponsors interested in supporting the work. With increasing economicmeans and growing personnel UFO-Sweden will be able to establish a centraloffice, that can serve both the members of the organisation and the public.The journal UFO-Aktuellt can continue its development into a dependablesource for UFO interested persons and a forum for wide discussions. Financialresources can be set aside to special research projects. From these premisesand with a collected expertise the national organisation UFO-Sweden has great chances to considerably contribute to increased knowledge about UFOphenomena.
UFO-Sweden 18 May 1996