I woke up early, which is not unusual for me; the older I get, the earlier I rise from my comfy bed nest. I kissed Grzegorz goodbye, and we exchanged a few messages until the departure of my flight, which felt good. I’m happy to be with such a wonderful man. Thanks to the wonderful friends who have wished me good luck and many other things up until this moment. What’s the moment you ask? As the headline might hint, it’s my return to the United States after many years.
This text is to a great extent written while up in the air, and with minor updates and corrections in the safety of the hotel room (and wi-fi).
Clas (as in Clas Svahn) came to pick me up outside my home, or to be more exact, his son Markus did the driving, and Clas was a passenger. At Arlanda’s Terminal 5, producer John and our host Felix were already on their way, checking in their bags, and so did I — after carefully ensuring that the camera I had in my backpack was still there and not accidentally in the other bag. We needed it for the first filming of the trip. Fia, my agent and also the coordinator in the United States, had arranged for Felix and John to be in the cockpit, talking and interviewing Captain Lars Naur. What a guy, by the way, with a keen interest in science and space, and he hinted, when we met him at the gate, that he had seen some “weird things” during his many years up in the air. I must say that SAS has been exceptionally kind in allowing us to film during the journey, and I hope it ends up in the series.
Felix is in business class (he upgraded it himself), John somewhere else, and Clas and I are obviously working class, the cattle of this trip. However, I have to say that the chairs are quite okay, and I think I’ll survive, at least for now. There are still seven hours left of this trip! Haha. Anyway, Clas, who secretly is a very cruel man, has told me no less than three stories involving airplane accidents and such. Thankfully, John gave me a beta-blocker, so my nervousness has gone down a lot. Very grateful for that, thanks John.
Talking about nervousness, well, we have a very tight day tomorrow, the 14th. I hope it all goes smoothly. However, what’s getting me even more nervous is the problems booking the guests during our stay in Palo Alto. Most of them are attending a very exclusive conference, kind of like the invisible college of the masterminds and insiders in the UFO field. Everyone we want to talk with has agreed to do so, but it’s tricky to find a time and space for them — and that’s from their side. I understand why, as the conference sounds incredibly interesting. Cross your fingers. Thank you.
Last evening, on Sunday, I was a guest on The Noctivagant Podcast. Great people. They asked a lot of smart questions, and I hope I answered as they expected of me. I’ve been terribly stressed the last couple of days, and I felt so sped up — and my English wasn’t up to my usual quality. I repeated the words “etc, etc” too many times during the recording, which I joked about. I need to learn to talk slower and think before I open my damn mouth!
It’s been a few hours on the flight, and I decided to spend time watching some of the stuff I downloaded from the streaming services I happen to pay for, even if I use them very seldom. After watching around half of the new HBO doc Alien Endgame, I decided to watch the rest, and yes, I can confirm it’s truly unadulterated trash. Pure fear-porn in every way possible, with both the talentless host, Rich Emberlin, looking extremely uninterested and emotionally detached when some of the people break down and cry. He spends the rest of his time reading lines fed to him by the director in the stiffest way possible. However, the worst thing is the constant talk about threat, war, retaliation, annihilation, and so on — and every darn case brought up is twisted into a possible alien threat or preparation for attack and world domination. It’s a pity because there are a few interesting stories in there — for example, the interview with Major Milton Torres Jr’s son, Geoffrey, about his father’s 1958 incident, the meeting with Lt Thomas Mantell’s grandchildren, and the first case in the doc, Mario Woods and his strange, eerie encounter at the Ellsworth Air Force Base in 1977 at the November One facility. Fascinating story, and Woods seems like a fine man — and the experience of once again visiting the location gets very emotional for him. Emberlin comforts the crying man with a few manly pats on the back, and that’s all. Yeah, Alien Endgame is a disgrace to UFO docs, maybe one of the crappiest I’ve ever seen.
So did this experience totally mess up the trip? No, because just after writing my comments above about Alien Endgame, Clas suggested we go up and see if we could visit the cockpit, as Captain Lars Naur promised earlier. On the way, we met Felix, who was on his way to suggest exactly this to us, and moments later, we squeezed into the small cockpit of Boeing 787 Dreamliner and sat down with Lars and his Danish co-pilot Kelvin Andersen. It all started quite dramatically as violent turbulence hit the plane even before we had a chance to put on the seat belts, and we fought doing this during the whole incident — and let me tell you, that was really scary. Thankfully, nothing serious happened, and from what we heard, it didn’t cause any damage on the passenger side — but well, the thought of death and destruction actually crossed my mind.
I haven’t been in a cockpit, at least up in the air, since I was six years old — so that’s forty years ago! Not counting the turbulence, it was an awesome experience. Lars is very charming, smart, and funny. For the last 25 years, he’s had the same inflatable ball with him on his flights, mostly to show kids the flight route. But it could be, it’s my guess anyway, a kind of mascot, a good luck thing, as the air has long left the ball and obviously wasn’t able to be inflated again. But the most interesting thing we learned is that Lars 1991 saw a UFO over Denmark: two black “dots,” with a light connected to it, either from the back or around, flying past the airplane very fast. It was a daylight sighting, and he didn’t have any explanation for it. He was willing to talk about aliens and UFOs as it still was pretty close to his interest in space, nature, and science, and to him unidentified didn’ät mean it was aliens or something like that. It was just something unknown. Towards the end of our conversation, the chef of the flight knocked on the door and asked Lars and Kelvin if they wanted food, and he offered me and Clas ice cream. Why ice cream? Because every time Lars flies over Greenland, he eats an ice cream. Wonderful experience and a good start to the trip.
Finally, we landed at Newark for a transfer flight to Las Vegas. The immigration officer was very curious about our interest in UFOs and asked a lot of questions to all of us, but he visibly seemed to tune out when I explained I felt the UFO phenomenon was connected more to ourselves than any kind of extraterrestrial crafts or beings. The second flight was shorter, “just” five hours compared to the first one’s eight hours, but it felt like an eternity or maybe the airline version of Dante’s Inferno, with each row — we were at the back — representing a new, horrifying level of torture. Fia and Marcus, the photographer, met us at the airport, and after some rental car issues, we finally arrived at MGM Grand. I’ll get back to that hotel in the next chapter of this journey, and a lot more about UFOs and weirdness.
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer, researcher and writer with over twenty years of experience in commercial television and the author of Northern Lights: High Strangeness in Sweden, out now from Beyond the Fray Publishing. He lives in Märsta, outside Stockholm, with his photographer husband Grzegorz and two overly active cats. Join him on Twitter and Instagram.
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer, researcher and writer with over twenty years of experience in commercial television and the author of three books. He lives in Märsta, outside Stockholm, with his photographer husband Grzegorz and two overly active cats.