One vivid memory I have from my youth is sitting by the kitchen table at my father’s apartment, talking to his partner, Gunilla. Even as a child, I was fascinated by UFOs and the bizarre, and I probably had brought a book I was reading with me. Gunilla, who was a very straightforward woman, told me — without much drama — that she had once seen a strange flying object. Now, it has been many, many years since I heard the story, and I’m afraid I didn’t take notes at the time. I mean, I was just a kid, but this is what I remember: Gunilla and her mother had come out from their apartment building in Västerås (I guess that was her hometown) and out into the parking lot. Up there, above them, they saw a metallic sphere hovering. They stood and watched for a while, then got bored and continued wherever they were going. That’s it. Sorry, it’s such a long time ago.
This, of course, fascinated me. Someone as close to me as Gunilla, who allowed herself to get close to hardly anyone, had seen a UFO, and something so modern — it’s all the rage nowadays — a sphere, or an orb as the kids say. This surprised me on several levels, mostly because Gunilla was a practical, nonsensical person, an atheist from what I know, and very far from new age, mambo jumbo, and such things. I wish I had asked her more about her and her mother’s experience, but I guess writing it down here will honor that day in her life. She passed away many years ago, so the rest of the story will forever be lost.
During my years of research and work in paranormal television, I’ve encountered numerous witnesses who reacted the same way as her, with a certain disinterest. It’s like the observation they had was so unreal they just couldn’t process the information and therefore just gave in to the humdrum of existence and went on with their lives.
For my book “Northern Lights: High Strangeness in Sweden,” I interviewed Ulrika Åberg and Jörgen Berg, who in 1985 (or possibly ’84) hit a strange, otherworldly “thing” with their car — a grayish sphere the size of a basketball, with a thick string attached to it, leading up to two wings that reminded them of a dragonfly’s wings. They didn’t even stop the car; they just continued driving and didn’t talk about it in more detail until the days after. It was as if it didn’t happen at first. I’ve always found it amusing, and it wasn’t until quite recently that I realized it had happened to me as well. The more I think about it, the more absurd it becomes.
It was the evening of June 28, leading up to the early morning of the 29th, when my husband, two friends, and I went out to our favorite place for an evening barbecue over an open fire and probably a few beers. We had been there many times before and after, but this evening was a bit special due to something called high strangeness. This is a very calm area, just far enough from civilization to provide a sense of peace, and still just about a twenty-minute walk from home. Behind our chosen spot is an island of rocks and trees on a field, and then a hilly forest. To the front, left, and right are fields — and on the other side, a few farms and even more forest.
As it got darker and the fire burned bright, and the discussions grew more intense, we noticed something strange out in the field, slightly to the right of us. It appeared to be a large circle of light in the middle of a wheat field, just on the other side of a deep ditch that created a divide between us and the circle. We stopped talking and walked out a bit to see it better. There were no visible lamps or any other equipment emitting light, and the circle seemed perfect. There was no beam coming down; it was simply a large circular static spot on the field, like a bright lid on top of the dark ground.
I remember that my husband, Grzegorz, and I were intrigued by it, but our friends seemed uninterested from the start. Grzegorz actually tried to get closer but was stopped in his tracks by the deep water-filled ditch and gave up. It didn’t take long until we lost interest and focused once again on eating grilled Polish sausages and drinking beer. Sooner than we expected, the night was over, and we were on our way home. We’ve never seen anything like it in this spot before or after, but every time I visit the place, which is often, I think of the circle.
Two things struck me much later. During this evening, we also had visitors by the fire, or at least above it: owls. They were flying over our heads, by the treetops, screeching and seemed a lot closer than usual. I believe that was the first thing that happened before we saw the circle of light, , and owls are, as you know, present at a lot of episodes of high strangeness. Another thing is that all of us had cameras, cell phones, and no one took a single photo of the phenomenon. I still have the photos from the evening, and all of them (there are a few examples below) crop the view so the circle is right outside the frame. I mean, what the heck?
Below, you can see a reconstruction of how I remember the observation (including a daytime photo), taken from the same spot where I stood watching it. Memory, as we all know, is unreliable, but I think this is pretty close to what we saw. Of course, there might be a natural explanation for this, perhaps some equipment used by a farmer for one night only, but once again, this is the only day we’ve seen it, and we know the area very well.
So, what the heck was this? I have no idea, to be honest, and there’s a chance I’ll never get an answer. Something I keep coming back to is how important the environment and silence are. I can’t say that this evening was quiet, but the area, with its fields and forest and lack of traffic and crowds of people, fits well into my thoughts of the perfect place for high strangeness. The field as a liminal space, a zone between inhabited areas, a zone of peace — at least at night — feels more powerful than ever. In 2023, we’ve visited this place many times to study the fox cubs that come out every evening at 7 pm to play, free from the distractions of annoying people and dangerous cars. It’s a magical place, and it might soon be cut down and covered by a new road and apartment buildings, and all of it will be lost. I hope the owls, foxes, deer and high strangeness that roam out there will be safe because, as usual, it’s not the hunter that’s their biggest enemy; it’s civilization.
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer, researcher and writer with over twenty years of experience in commercial television and the author of four books. He lives in Märsta, outside Stockholm, with his photographer husband Grzegorz and two overly active cats. Join him on Twitter and Instagram.