March 21, 1974
Location: Varnamo, Sweden
Sundström was lying in his bed, home from school
with chickenpox. He was looking out the window of his
room towards the neighbour's house. All he could see was
a dark grey sky. But then the impossible happened. A dark
object, which he at first thought was an eagle, started
to circle above the roof of the neighbour's house.
UFO Sweden, Claus Svahn, 2000
saucer photo in Värnamo
By Clas Svahn
certainly had my doubts. Of all the UFO pictures I had
seen, this was one of the more dubious. The object wasn't
even symmetrical. Dark as sin, it hung over the town of
Värnamo in the southern Swedish province of Småland.
And nobody but a 15-year-old boy had seen it.
was around 11 a.m. on 21 March 1974. Christer Sundström
was lying in his bed, home from school with chickenpox.
He was looking out the window of his room towards the
neighbour's house. All he could see was a dark grey sky.
But then the impossible happened. A dark object, which
he at first thought was an eagle, started to circle above
the roof of the neighbour's house. Christer could watch
it make its movements for half a minute before it disappeared
behind the clouds.
a short while, it returned. This time, it was much closer.
Christer grabbed his pocket camera by the window and took
four pictures in a quick sequence. Then the show was over.
Christer Sundström has since told his story to several
ufologists and journalists. Many have doubted him. The
saucer isn't "extraterrestrial" enough.
Boris Jungkvist, the foremost advocate of the spaceship
hypothesis in Sweden, hasn't mentioned the photo in any
of his books.
UFO organisation of Gothenburg Gicoff (now no longer existing)
did its best to reveal the photo as a hoax. Its photo
investigator Gunnar Bunker examined the negatives and
found a lighter area around the edges of the object. He
interpreted this as proof that the UFO was made of cardboard
and taped onto the window pane. He even took a series
of similar pictures himself, that were published in the
20 years later, I drove my car to the parsonage of Tallnäs
to visit Christer Sundström, who now had become a
clergyman. I thought a lot about the hoax theory on the
way to Småland. An older colleague of mine, Henry
Svensson, met with Christer at the time and found him
to be a serious young man with a Christian view of life.
To Henry, it was clear that he had no reason whatsoever
to lie about this.
Sundström greeted me with a firm handshake. He seemed
calm and relaxed about my visit, though I disturbed him
during a summer camp for children waiting to become confirmed.
Once two men from some UFO group tried to hypnotise me,
but without success. Sometimes I myself doubt that the
whole thing actually happened. But it would be strange
if there wasn't life somewhere else in the Universe.
- I don't think it's a good idea to investigate these
things. Not that the objects in themselves are evil, but
the power behind them might be hostile. These phenomena
have produced several cults and I don't think that is
good. I asked him to tell me about the incident once again.
- I was lying home in bed when I caught sight of a strange
object through the window. It kind of circled in the sky.
At first, I thought it was a bird. It moved like an eagle.
I watched it for maybe 1, 5 minutes. It was quite far
away, but I still found it strange. After a while, I got
out of bed and went up to the window. I brought the camera
- When the object got closer, I took five pictures of
it. Afterwards, it turned out that four of the negatives
were blank, but the fifth was good. The object then ascended
and became smaller and smaller until it couldn't be seen
- I felt that this was something unexplainable, something
that I couldn't understand, something not built by humans.
But I can't say if it was a craft.
- I didn't tell anyone about the incident until the pictures
had been developed. Then I talked to my parents. At first,
they laughed, but then my father found it interesting.
He took my picture and through a friend of his, the whole
thing ended up in the local newspaper. Then gradually,
I started to doubt what I had seen. My friends at school
laughed at me.
- I already had my Christian faith at the time. I read
the Bible a lot and tried to find the answer there.
- Some people from Gothenburg examined my experience and
came to the conclusion that it was a hoax. It made me
very angry and disappointed. I, to this day, claim that
the picture is genuine. But after the "exposure,"
I avoided looking up at the sky and I even tried to convince
myself that somebody had pulled a joke on me.
- I lent the camera and the negatives to this Henry Svensson.
It took a long time before I got the camera back, and
he never returned the negatives.
- A lot of people sent me books and phoned me up and wanted
to talk to me. It was both UFO groups and people with
a general interest in the subject. I asked my mother to
throw the books away. I didn't want to read them.
- If I were to see anything like that again, I know what
I would do: run and hide!
Sundström made a very good impression on me. He told
his story in a straightforward manner. He has never backed
from or altered his original story and he claims that
the photo is genuine. I'm sure that whatever Christer
shot that day with his camera, it wasn't a conscious bluff
on his part.