First cases in the book are from years 1933-1937 when hundreds of citizens in the Finland saw mysterious phantom aircrafts or ghost fliers. It was probably a second wave of unusual mass sightings in the World, which was officially studied. Although some private investigators have found and published much of Finnish UFO folklore regarding to incidents before Second World War, including even more than couple hundred years old events, it is not sure if any other than phantom planes were really investigated or even known by the military at the time.
Official explanation for the phantom plane incidents was that most of them were in fact astronomical objects, meteorites, electrical phenomena or even hoaxes, but still some cases remained unexplained. However, because of the public hysteria, late in the 1937 military concluded that planes are product of overactive imagination and country had no evidence for the Soviet spy-plane regularly breaking into our air space, which was main concern back then. This was the last time when Finnish Defence Forces was publicly interested in unidentified flying objects, although the truth behind the scenes was quite different. Soviet hysteria even increased before the war, which led Illegal executions and things like that (as has been revealed in the case of “Petsamon vakoilujuttu“).
Now released modern UFO reports covers mainly period from 1965 to 1973. After the present UFO era began in 1947, first years were apparently quite silent time in the Finland, because only few documents is released from the official records regarding to flying saucers as they were called at this time. Interest in UFOs among the civilian population was also very low at the time, since first private UFO research organization in Finland was founded as late as 1960. Probably one reason was the war recover and political atmosphere. However, even the Finnish prime minister and later president Urho Kekkonen promoted publicly early UFO research. Yet many of the relevant reports after year 1972 are still waiting for releasing and some are even burned. Because of so strict classification procedures in the Finnish Defence Forces, any of the possible UFO related documents after year 1980 is not yet officially released – except for leaked infrared UFO-film, which famously led to internal investigation at Finnish Border Guard Service in the summer 2007.
Finland’s most prominent official UFO incidents include case where Finnish Air Force was trying to chase seven bright UFOs over Pori airport, Western Finland. In April 12, 1969 about twenty pilot and ground staff of the Air Force witnessed the objects, which were 2000-3000 meters above the ground, as the same time they were tracked by the radar. When the fighters were getting close to the unidentified flying objects, objects climbed above the nearest fighter while its pilot was taking a closer look. After the short dogfight, objects started to move very fast towards the north and only minute later they were picked up on the radar about two hundred kilometers away from Pori, where objects disappeared towards Northern Sweden as the same time their altitude was increased more than double. The Pori UFO incident has been part of public knowledge for years before this current release, because of the testimonials by brave pilots, who played part in the famous UFO chase. In the 1993 Air Force officially released the incident. After that also Rauno Meriö, the former head of the Finnish Air Force finally openly confirmed the existence of this case, although it has been now revealed that as a commander, he has also tried to cover it up, which was kind of conflict with his well-known civilian interest in UFOs.
Another interesting reported sighting happened in the Suomussalmi near Soviet border where local people saw a saucer-like object flying just above the ground. Device was brownish, it had diameter not more than 80 cm and it caused little hum. After first witness tried to get close to the object, he sensed weak electrical shock in his body after the object started to move and three antennas arose from it. He wasn’t able to get much closer as the device was moving and his hat, which he threw towards the UFO, fled almost 15 meters away from it because of the strong whirlwind as the device was moving. Couple weeks after the first occurrence in the summer of 1967, the same UFO was seen again, not far away from first spot. Incidents caused governmental investigations, which ended up to the official conclusion that this particular flying saucer was indeed real, but instead of extraterrestrial origin it was probably man-made!
In the case of the military UFO reports, this new book studies also other sources than official documents, like affidavits of inside sources, retired officers or even lucky civilians. For some independently reported military UFO sightings at the end of sixties and more in the seventies, even if they have more or less plausible explanations, lack of released official documents became soon clear – it means that either reliability of original sources is questionable in such cases or then documents are not yet fully released, they are missing, or even destroyed. There are strong indications for still classified UFO evidence even before 1980 while in Finland, automatic declassification happens after 25 years. There are even some officially confirmed older cases (like the Pori UFO chase in 1969) where documentation is not released. It is also known for sure that in 1968 Finnish Air Force ordered their personnel in various units to officially report any unusual aerial sighting they’ve made, even in the free time and holidays, which indicates that there should be much more the yet unreleased material.
Interesting example for such independently reported case is recently revealed 1974 incident in the Air Force base near Rovaniemi in the Northern Finland. Main source of this incident came to top of the hill when he was guarding the area – there was large storage facility beneath of him, with second guard inside. Soon he noticed that a strange metallic device with blue glow around it was landed near the facility and finally he fired his machine gun towards the unidentified object when he was only about 30 meters away from it. Shooting caused that the UFO immediately started to glide away and it disappeared behind the ramparts. Afterwards he suffered severe burn marks in his skin and it was told that during the confrontation, a large electromagnetic disturbance was detected in the area. Before this bizarre shooting there was also rare accident with Draken fighter where its generator burst to fire spontaneously, which put driver’s life at risk until almost miraculous landing – evidently there was also radar contact with unidentified target following the damaged fighter. Hoaxes, rumors and merely coincidences or something more, nobody really knows without availability of the official documents. Unfortunately it has been revealed that the Intelligence Office of Finnish Air Force has burned all the relevant documents it had, which leaves researchers with quite empty hands, at least until the release of survived documents from the other units.
In spite of many really unexplained reports, large majority of the released sightings has been explained with quite general causes. Still some of suggested explanations are more surprising, as the nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, U-2 spy plane or conjunction of three bright planets. Regarding to some rare Finnish cases, military also has got the opportunity to study physical evidence like landing traces, radar data and photographs. Majority of this material is still classified and some are even burned. Besides the burning of important data, published book exposes also other questionable actions within military forces.
Introduction in finnish: Puolustusvoimien ufohavainnot 1933-1979
Finnish analysis and discussions regarding the release: Salaako puolustusvoimat ufotapauksia
Presentation of private investigator Atso Haapanen in UFO debate: Ratkeaako ufojen arvoitus
Military Command of Northern Finland: Ensimmäinen raportti ns. salaperäisiä lentäjiä koskevista tutkimuksista
Finnish UFO Association sighting database: Tapaus n:o 91 (Case number 91)
Contact to FUFON for more information