Fester’s Quest: The 1983 Encounters in Haverdal.
Years ago when I browsed through old issues of UFO-Aktuellt, I found an incident which I never have been able to let go of. No matter what’s going on in my life and career, it’s there somewhere in the background whispering seductive words in my ears. I mentioned it briefly in my book Northern Lights: High Strangeness in Sweden, but after looking through the case again, and the material that exists about it, I feel its own deep dive. Is it really that unique? Well, comparing it with cases from the United States and the UK, it might not look that special — but it is magical! Here we can find a dream-like quality — without saying it was a dream — in combination with a very reliable and rational witness (she thought it was the Russians!). However, let me tell you it’s pretty far from a typical Russian experience in my humble opinion.
Siw Fester, a secretary in her profession, and her son were spending time at their summer house in Haverdal, not far from the beautiful beach at Haverdal nature reserve. Stretching out beyond that is the Kattegat sea with Denmark visible on the other side. Her husband, doctor Christian Fester, had gone home earlier because of his busy schedule, and the rest of the family was alone in the house that fateful night of August 21, 1983. She woke up sweaty and thirsty, and glanced at the clock. It was five minutes past two in the morning and she didn’t feel well. Her mouth was dry and she felt an unwelcome migraine setting in. Tired and exhausted, she got out of bed, turned on the light — only to notice the room already felt very bright — and went to the bathroom to drink water. It was a hot summer that year.
Just inside the door of the bathroom she looked outside the window and saw a very unexpected scene. It was hard to avoid, because the bright light flooded both the room and the environment outside. Not far away, some sources say 50 meters and others say 120 meters, a bright, glowing object was hovering 10–15 meters above ground in a meadow. “It was like during mid day!” she told journalist Björn H. Larsson in 1985. She pinched her arm to see so she actually was awake. However, the glowing object was still there in front of her. Then it started to move.
Slowly it began to descend, towards the grassy field below while slowly rotating. Ten or so thin legs sprouted out, like some kind of landing appendices. “It looked like a giant, glowing spider where it stood on the meadow. It measured seven to eight meters in diameter and was maybe two meters thick”. From it emitted a humming sound. It wasn’t until it finally had landed that the paralysis disappeared. From the first view of the object, up until it landed, Siw had an odd feeling:“It was something strange with the light from the saucer. It felt magnetic, and my thoughts slowed down. It felt like I was standing in syrup and I couldn’t move a muscle!”.
When she could move again the fear sat in and she ran to the other end of the house, both to get away from the strange sight but also to see if any neighbor was awake. Everything was dark, no lights were on. She was alone. Siw didn’t want to wake her son, as he was extra sensitive and instead she huddled down in her bed again to try to calm down, but the intense migraine that suddenly appeared didn’t help. Siw had gotten even more scared when the saucer landed, because what would happen if anyone exited from it? “I was terrified of what could happen! The thought of being face to face with some saucer creature filled me with dread!”, she continued to tell Björn H. Larsson. In a later interview with Mikael Grahn, in 1987, she talked more about her fear: “I wish with all my whole heart I didn’t have to go through this. It was like a horrifying nightmare! Just imagine not having control over oneself? Sometimes it occurs to me that I might experience a similar thing again and I get so scared by those thoughts! It’s so difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it themself!”
In hindsight, you can say that Siw got lucky. Because there was someone lurking in the neighborhood the same night, someone that might not have been a human.
One neighbor, let’s call her Bodil, was a 27 year old woman who had just come home from the nearby town of Halmstad, out dancing with friends. It was around midnight, two hours earlier than Siw’s encounter, and Bodil was happy to finally be home. She was tired and desperately wanted to go to bed for a good night’s sleep. When arriving in the area she jumped out of her car and walked towards her house. When getting closer to her destination she felt a strong sense of unreality, or as she described it to researcher Håkan Blomqvist in an interview years later: “it was like I was entering an inflated plastic bag, a vacuum world”. Both this and the feeling Siw described reminds of the Oz factor, an expression coined by Jenny Randles in her 1983 book UFO Reality: “I call it ‘the Oz Factor’, after the fairytale land of Oz. I do not know whether this analogy is helpful or misleading, but it is as if a spell is cast by the famous magician from that land, taking the witness into a new reality. In one form or another the Oz Factor is very common. What we must do is follow the yellow brick road in search of the wizard”.
But this was just the beginning of Bodil’s experience. Outside the house, by the wooden fence, she saw someone. A bright figure was standing or sitting on the fence. She first thought it was her fiance, and was annoyed he didn’t answer — but as she got closer she saw that it was a luminous entity she described as egg shaped, but more or less all sketches of it makes it look more angular — though with a more egg-ish head.
“I didn’t react normally, the egg shaped figure didn’t scare me and I took a few steps towards it to try to enter the house. It was a sudden stop! Kinda like an invisible wall standing in my way. It was like a force field grabbed me! I don’t know what happened after that. An hour of my life disappeared. It just blacked out and I woke up an hour later, still standing in the same place”. Bodil then walked into the house, picked up a book and started to read, something she’s never done before.
Researcher and historian Håkan Blomqvist contacted Bodil around ten years later, and she stood by her story and said it was a very unpleasant and frightening experience. Let’s go back to Siw, who the last time we met her had huddled down in bed, desperately trying to forget what she saw and thinking about who else might be on the outside. It turned into a sleepless night and the next morning she talked with her neighbors and told them about her observation. Out on the field they found a circular impression, about eight meters in diameter where the grass was flattened and burnt. This was also confirmed by Bodil, who’s mother was one of those Siw had talked with, “There was no doubt that there had been a craft or something similar on the spot!”.
Oddly enough, which was a curious detail, they also found a newly made path in the tall grass, leading from the alleged landing site down to a nearby stream. No one had ever seen it before. An example of bad memory or did whatever landed there had some kind of mission beyond scaring Siw half to death? When Carl-Anton Mattsson and Dan Mattsson interviewed Siw for UFO-Sverige in 1984 she still, somehow, after this remarkable experience doubted what she actually saw. From Håkan Blomqvist’s blog:
Siw: Ok, but what do you believe, I want to know your opinion?
Dan: It is easiest to believe that this was visitors from outer space.
Siw: So, that is what you believe?
Carl-Anton: No, but it is the first we come to think of.
Dan: The most simple solution.
Siw: So, that is your belief?
Carl-Anton: Yes, it is a possibility.
Siw: Well, if I am allowed to express my personal opinion on this thing, I believe it is the Russians… I definitely believe it is the Russians, they are doing a lot of strange things down here. I believe the Russians are doing some kind of research here on the west coast.
Siw passed away April 29, 1993, still not knowing what she saw that night, but maybe she’s continuing her quest for the truth somewhere else? That is something we probably never will know. Not long after her death, Håkan Blomqvist talked with her husband, Cristian Fester, who told him that she stuck with her story up until the end. He believed her, and outside of this, she never had shown any interest in the paranormal, was sleepwalking or had signs of some psychological issues. Actually, Christian seemed more convinced than Siw that this had been an out of the ordinary event, as he stated in Hemmets Journal, 1985: “I’m convinced there must have been a craft from another planet that Siw saw, it must have been an intelligent life form that investigated us!”. Cheers to Siw and to every experiencer and their personal quest for answers. Keep your eyes peeled and ears open, one day it might happen again.
Fred Andersson is a Swedish story producer 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. Join him on Twitter and Instagram.
Many thanks to Hemmets Journal for giving kind permission to use material from their magazine and Håkan Blomqvist for allowing me to use illustrations from his excellent blog.
“Närkontakt Haverdalen” (Arne Lundberg and Carl-Anton Mattsson, UFO-Aktuellt, issue 1, 1985)
“Jag stod i sommarstugan och såg ett tefat landa på ängen” (Hemmets Journal, Björn H. Larsson, issue 26, 1985)
“Jag skakade av skräck och kunde inte tro mina ögon: ett flygande tefat hade just landat på ängen!” (Mikael Grahn, Hemmets Journal, issue 52, 1987)
“Svenska Arkiv X-Fall” (Håkan Blomqvist, Pentagram, issue 2, 1996)
“I believe it is the Russians” (Håkan Blomqvist’s Blog, September 11, 2013)
“A close encounter during the war” (Håkan Blomqvist, May 4, 2014)