Ghost Rocket Sightings Over Scandinavia After WW2: Soviet Missiles Or Alien Ships?
The UFO sightings did not start in America with the 1947 case by Kenneth Arnold. In 1946, just one year after the Second World War ended, a wave of UFO sightings hit Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland, where they were called Ghost Rockets.
The Swedish government covered up the entire incident and started releasing information only 40 years later. One interesting case happened on the night of June 9, 1946. A bright light streaked over Helsinki, Finland, with a smoke trail and the sound of thunder. Its luminous trail lasted for ten minutes. The same incident repeated the following night, except in this case the Ghost Rocket turned and went back in the direction from which it had come which certainly ruled out the possibility of it being a natural phenomenon like meteor or asteroid.
“Ghost Rocket” photographed over Sweden on July 9, 1946 – probably, in reality, a daylight meteor. While this photo became the most famous image of the supposed guided missiles seen over Scandanavia in the summer of 1946, it is not representative of most of the reports, which actually described low-altitude objects flying on horizontal trajectories and emitting either intermittent flames, like WWII German V-1 cruise missiles, or no trail at all.
Interestingly, the sightings from the 1930s seemed to be more about strange lights in the sky rather than some solid craft. After the end of the Second World War, the sightings of cigar-shaped craft began in-depth, and although it was reported that the phenomenon disappeared by the end of 1946, the sightings continued until the 1990s.
On June 12, 1946, the Swedish Defense Staff asked military personnel to report their sightings through official channels, admitting that they had been aware of the phenomenon since May. Only during July 9, more than 200 Ghost Rocket sightings were reported, many of them being described as tubular or spindle-shaped objects flying low and slowly, with little or no sound. Soon the Swedish government established a special “ghost rocket” committee to look into the matter. A week later, an American Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal traveled to Stockholm to meet with the Swedish Secretary of War.
Karl-Gösta Bartoll searching for a crashed Ghost Rocket on Lake Kölmjärv, 1946. Public Domain image from the Swedish Air Force. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.
On August 11, 1946, more than 300 reports of strange sightings were observed in the Stockholm area. Soon the Swedish newspapers started censoring most reports of ghost rockets. However, the reports continued to come from other Scandinavian countries like Norway, which provided some of the best reports.
In 1984, when the Swedish Government finally opened its “ghost rocket” files, UFO researchers found more than 1,500 reports had been secretly collected during this period.
Among these UFO phenomena, the reports of rockets dropping into lakes around Sweden were fascinating. One of the best accounts is “Ghost Rockets and Phantom Aircraft,” by Anders Liljegren and Clas Svahn in “Phenomenon: Forty Years of Flying Saucers.”
According to Swedish Ufologist Clas Svahn, they were seen to hit the water and caused huge splashes. Comprehensive searches by military divers failed to find wreckage or evidence of these events. He said that there were no crashes onto land, contrary to what had been reported by others.
Clas mentioned that he had seen the military files about the Ghost Rockets. He heard that the Swedish government tried to blame the UFO sightings on the Soviet Union accusing the Soviets of testing the captured German V 2 rockets.
According to Clas, there was a serious attempt by the military to find an answer. Unlike the situation there, in Sweden, there was good cooperation between the military authorities and the civilian researchers. Having had access to more than a thousand reports made over the years, Clas found no evidence of the sort of sloppy and biased work done in the United States by the Air Force, the CIA and the Condon Committee.
November 1948 USAF Air Intelligence Division Offensive Branch (OI/OB, the department responsible for compiling data on the Soviet “air order of battle”) document informs US Air Force Europe of emerging Swedish theory that the Ghost Rockets may be extraterrestrial vehicles and asks, “What are your reactions?”
Forty years later, Swedish Air Engineer Eric Malmberg, who was the secretary of Sweden’s Defense Staff committee that dealt with this matter during 1946, stated that everyone on the committee including the chairman knew that these Ghost Rockets did not originate from the Soviet Union. No evidence pointed towards that.
On the other hand, based on the reports acquired it appeared that some kind of a cruise missile was fired on Sweden. But the problem was no nation had sophisticated cruise missile technology in 1946. By the end of 1946, reports of Ghost Rockets from Scandinavia began to diminish, but reports of similar sightings from Hungary, Greece, Morocco, and Portugal started coming in, making this a truly global phenomenon.