Over the next several weeks, I’ll be conducting interviews with leading UFO researchers from countries around the world in an effort to paint a picture of global UFOlogy today.
This week, our global UFO trek takes us to Denmark, and to Pia Knudsen. Pia has had an interest in UFOs since a childhood sighting in British Columbia, Canada. In 2009 Pia co-founded Exopoltics Denmark, which now operates as UFO Denmark. Pia has been interviewed on national radio and for the National Geographic channel; she has written articles on the UFO topic and lectured in both the UK and Norway. In her current role as director of UFO Denmark, Pia says that she "strives to make the best research and documentation available for the Danish public."
RG: Who have been the defining figures in Danish UFOlogy over the past 70 years (for better or for worse), and why?
PK: Major H. C. Petersen was a pioneer in Danish ufology, founding the first nationwide UFO group, Scandinavian UFO Information (SUFOI), in 1957.
As a captain lieutenant in 1952, Hans Christian Petersen was sent to Wright Patterson Airforce base in Ohio for training. During his stay, Petersen became astonished to learn that the Americans took the UFO topic seriously. Project Blue Book had headquarters at the base and the young officer became convinced that UFOs were real. In the mid 1950s, Petersen had his own UFO radar sighting at Skydstrup Airforce base, which fuelled a lifelong interest in UFOs. Due to disagreements regarding George Adamski, H. C. Peterson left the SUFOI group in 1965 and went on to create a second group, IGAP (International Get Acquainted Program) to promote Adamski’s teachings. Both UFO groups still exist. While the SUFOI group has become increasingly skeptical of the topic and refers to UFOs as a myth with earthly explanations for all sightings, the IGAP group is slowly diminishing and now has very few members. H. C. Petersen passed away in 2013.
Early Danish UFO groups include UFO-Fyn, DISC and Nordisk UFO Organisation. FUFOS (Frederiksberg UFO Studygroup) had quite a following in the 1970s, promoting not only UFOs but a mix of topics. The group eventually changed its name and focus; it seldom focusses on UFOs nowadays.
In 2009 I co-founded the Exopolitics Denmark group, focussing on political and environmental activism surrounding UFOs. Each year we invite leading researchers to Denmark. In 2014, you [Robbie Graham] joined George Knapp and Terje Toftenes in Copenhagen to speak about UFOs and the media. Other speakers have included Richard Dolan, Robert Hastings, Timothy Good, Suzy Hansen, Gary Heseltine, Jeremey Corbell, Mary Rodwell, Steven Bassett, A. J. Gevaerd and more. In May 2018, Grant Cameron visited both Copenhagen and Kolding.
In late-2017, Exopolitics Denmark voted to change its name to UFO Denmark. We now have a broader focus to create debate and provide information surrounding the UFO topic.
RG: What do you consider to be the most compelling Danish UFO incident on record, and why?
PK: Police officer Evald Maarup Hansen twice spotted a UFO above his police car on a romote country road in 1970, and again in 1973. Both the car and police radio shut down during the event, but Evald Maarup managed to take three pictures of object. He reluctenly spoke about the event after collegues had contacted the media. In 2010 I located a radar operator, Nis Krog, who had been on duty at the nearby Skydstrup Airforce Base and had seen an unidentified object on his radar at the time and in the area Maarup had his encounter. This case was included in a National Geographic documentary I worked on in 2013 and Nis Krog went public for the first time confirming his radar observations.
RG: What is the Danish government’s official stance on UFOs? When was the last time it issued a statement on the subject?
PK: The Danish airforce released their UFO files in january 2009. There was a big hype in the press. The airforce stated that they had collected 15,000 files since the mid fifties but in fact only released 228 cases on the day. They claimed all files from before 1978 had gone missing. On average, 250 cases were rapported each year, so I estimate that 7,500 cases should have been released in 2009. No members of the press or the SUFOI UFO group questioned why so few cases were released. The airforce’s offical website recommends all new incoming cases be reported to the SUFOI group. I have done much more research into the file release and have an article on the subject. The governement no longer comments on the topic.
RG: Has the Danish government shown more or less transparency on the UFO subject than the US and British governments?
PK: Early on, in the late 1950s the airforce were quite open and even defended Major H. C. Petersen’s right to have a hobby studying UFOs when questioned about his abilty to work as an airforce officer. Since the 1970s the airforce has become much less open regarding UFOs and, since 2009, no longer comments on the subject.
RG: What is the role of your organisation, UFO Denmark (previously Exopolitics Denmark)?
PK: UFO Denmark does not collect UFO reports or do field work. Our role is to create a platform for information and debate. Some indiviuals in our group do independent research and we provide an email address so people can share their sightings.
RG: How many smaller Danish UFO groups or organisations are you aware of?
PK: There is one small UFO group and others who organize CE-5 events. Nowadays social media plays a key role in connecting peole who seek information. UFO Denmark is the only group organizing events and inviting reseachers to speak.
RG: What are the most active regions of Denmark for UFO sighting reports (hotspots)?
PK: I am not aware of any hotspots at the moment. Sightings seem to be spread equally across the country. Very rarely do people see disc-shaped UFOs; it is mainly orbs being reported. There seems to be an increase in contact cases.
RG: Have you personally had any UFO sightings?
PK: Yes, I have had three sightings. I had my first in 1971, together with four other people. It was a daytime sighting of a silver disc (approx. 30 meters away and 40-50 metres in the air). This happened in Surrey, B.C., Canada.
In 2012, together with Gary Heseltine and my Norweigan friend Ann, I had a sighting of a large white glowing orb close to Bergen in Norway.
My last sighting happened in Denmark in 2016 at my summer cottage on the outskirts of Copenhagen. My husband and I saw five white orbs, the size of a frisbee, flying silently opposite the wind pass by our house. I managed to take six pictures (the camera elongated the orb, but it was completly round. You can see the flagpole in the picture).
RG: How long have you been involved in the UFO subject; roughly how many cases have you personally investigated; and what conclusions, if any, have you drawn about the underlying nature of UFO phenomena?
PK: Since my first sighting at the age of 10, and also hearing about my mother’s sightings, I’ve been intrigued by the subject. I have seriously studyed the topic for the past 15 years, and since 2009 together with UFO Denmark members. I have investigated very few cases in a nuts and bolts fashion, but many have shared their experiences with me. The brightest minds in this field have not been able to conclude much about the nature of the phenomena and nor can I, but I do agree that it is much much more than just lights in the sky.
RG: How can Danish UFOlogy better itself?
PK: Judge less and listen more.
For further information, visit UFO Denmark.