It sounds like a “mission impossible.” But in a few days’ time a Swedish film crew will dive into a remote lake in search of wreckage from one of the mysterious “ghost rockets” that have plagued Scandinavia since the end of the Second World War.
The ‘ghost rocket’ wave of 1946 preceded Kenneth Arnold’s sighting of flying saucers and the strange projectiles were seen by thousands of people and never satisfactorily explained. There have been intermittent sightings since the forties and a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from UFO Sweden is mounting an expedition to solve one piece of the riddle. You can watch a teaser for the Swedish TV documentary here and join the team’s Facebook page here.
At noon on 31 July 1980, a couple holidaying by a lake in northern Sweden had their attention drawn to a noise in the sky. Looking up they saw a steel grey, elongated cigar shaped object with protrusions on its sides. The rocket-like object descended, turned and landed on the water at the far end of the lake. ”We took the binoculars and looked at the object that was sitting on the water but soon it started to sink with bubbles coming from it”, said Bo Berg, one of the witnesses. The sighting has puzzled the Swedish military and the country’s UFO researchers for decades.
But now a team led by my friend, UFO-Sweden’s Clas Svahn, that includes the original witnesses, divers and a film crew, will spend a week at the lake [30 August-3 September]. Inflatable boats, underwater cameras, a side sonar scanner and metal detectors will be used by the expedition and it is hoped they will be able to locate and film the object.
Svahn believes the Berg’s close proximity daylight sighting to be reliable and thinks the object is still there, at the bottom of the lake. So what if they don’t find anything? Svahn thinks not: “It could mean that somebody has been there removing the object before us. In 1999 an object with similar description crashed in Värmland in the west of Sweden. The Swedish military searched the whole lake and found nothing. In the secret documents from the investigation, it is stated that the ones that sent the object very well could have been there collecting it before the military arrived.”
Some background on the ghost rocket mystery follows, courtesy of Clas Svahn:
Since 1946, nearly 20,000 unidentified objects have been reported by eye witnesses seen in the skies over Sweden. More than 1,000 were sighted during 1946, the year of the Ghost Rockets. The Ghost Rockets got their name from being described as elongated, rocket like, metallic objects with or without wings.
The number of reports on the Ghost Rocket phenomenon caused the Swedish Military to take notice and send out research teams to try and identify the crafts. A special committee was formed with experts working for six months trying to solve the enigma. At first the “rockets” were believed to be Russian tests of captured V-1 or V-2 missiles captured from the Germans during World War Two. [Indeed, a secret report on the ghost rockets released by Britain's National Archives in 2005 says the Air Ministry ‘…felt this demonstration, if of Russian origin, would be intended to counteract the effect of American atom bomb experiments, by implying the Russians also possess a high performance weapon.’ ]
The objects often manoeuvred in unusual ways and several landed or crashed in lakes. To this day rocket like objects, with no apparent source of origin, are seen in Sweden; a modern day Ghost Rocket phenomenon. What they are or where they come from remains unknown.
Since no fragments have ever been found, neither on the ground nor in the lakes, both the Swedish, British and US military failed to find an explanation. When investigating the lakes, the only tangible evidence the military search teams found, was occasional craters in the lake bottom and torn off aquatic plants.
In 1946 the US and British military argued that the Swedish military was ill equipped to handle the inves- tigation adequately and the British Air Ministry wanted to send a RAF team called “Task force 196” which was held on standby near Heathrow Airport. However Swedish Prime Minister at the time, Per Albin Hansson, refused them entry due to the fears that Sweden’s “neutral” status was at risk.
Since 1946 new reports of cigar shaped objects have been reported every decade, fitting the description of a Ghost Rockets. The case that will be investigated this autumn was discovered by Anders Liljegren, Archives for UFO Research, and UFO-Sweden’s chairman Clas Svahn, who will head the investigation team in 2012, in the Swedish War Archive (Krigsarkivet) where it was declassified in 1986.