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Thursday 10 Sep, 2015  
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Enigma Issue 17: Hessdalen - Nordic UFO Mystery

A report by Emma Ojanen

For years we have been talking about Roswell, Area 51 and other Big World mysteries related to UFOs without realising that we have our own enigma in Northern Europe ˜ in a place where everyone can freely travel and, which is openly shown on the Internet. Hessdalen lights have been seen ever since the 1940's and now it is, as we know, the only place in the world, where UFO phenomenon is monitored by a camera around the clock.


Norwegian Enigma

Despite of the lack of interest elsewhere, in Norway the Hessdalen phenomenon appears monthly in the media. Several books have been written (in Norwegian) but they're all sold out and therefore difficult to find. Research of the phenomenon started in 1983 with support from the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and universities of Oslo and Bergen. The project involved three field stations with observers who had all the equipment that can be imagined: radars, Geiger counters, magnetometers, special camerasΠIt was a genuine "UFO laboratory" as J. Allen Hynek said after a visit to Hessdalen. In the year 1985 phenomenon seemed to decrease and the field research stopped for a while.

NATO Interest?

In the beginning of this decade, NATO built an underground radar station in the village area to (as it seems) control the "air traffic". The Hessdalen phenomenon was mentioned in Sturrock Report (on chapter 6) last summer. On 7th of August 1998 a new page of history was turned, as Ostfold College installed an automatic field station to Hessdalen which can be seen in the Net in almost real time (

Constant lightshow

Hessdalen phenomenon includes mainly different kinds of lights, ranging in size from a tennis ball to a beach ball which can be any colour. Lightballs move up and down, make zigzag movements, are able to stop in the air for long periods, disappear suddenly etc. The most interesting form of these lights is a moving line of different coloured lights that move as if they were physically connected. Radar measurements have shown that the lights can move 30,000 kilometres per hour. Many sceptics have already given the answer: earth lights.

As everyone knows, it is a circular explanation: no-one really knows what the earth lights are. The lights are seen (and filmed) mostly in night-time but the local people have also told about grey disc or cigar shaped objects in the air which don't reflect light. There haven't been any observations of aliens and no abductions have occurred though there's been a couple of strange animal deaths that resemble "animal mutilations".

Constant monitoring

The exact technical information about the field station can be read from the Hessdalen web site but the point is that the camera films the area all the time and reacts at the fast changes of light. Though the Oslo-Trondheim air traffic goes above Hessdalen, the lights of the aeroplanes are too high to cause reactions. Some mistakes have yet happened, once the explanation was that boys from the village had flashed electric torches at the camera. Yet there have been over 60 objects during August-December 1998 which have been considered as "interesting" by the researchers.

There is also a magnetometer that measures the changes in the magnetic field. The purpose is to find out if there's any simultaneous changes and camera observations.


As you can see, the village is an ideal place to spend vacations for such people as me and my husband. Inspired by a short document that was shown in Finnish television in September we rented a housecar, loaded a mountain of food and clothes with us and took a short cut through Sweden to Hessdalen with a glimpse of hope to see it by our own eyes. We had a phone number of a local researcher Jan Moen with us and finally we managed to find the place where we were supposed to meet: the only shop in Hessdalen.

Hessdalen 2

Hessdalen is 120km south of Trondheim and the nearest towns are Roros and Ålen. The village is in a 12 km long and 5 km wide valley between 1000 meter high mountains. It has 200 inhabitants, though in summertime the number rises up to 1500. The ground in the valley area has a lot of minerals and there are some of the oldest mines in whole of Scandinavia. The climate is quite rough. At the end of November there was a lot of snow and the temperature fell down to -18 degrees.

The Best Vantage Point

The best place to observe the lights is a mountain of Vårhuskjölen where there is a field at a height of 600 metres. The Station is on the opposite side of the valley. One night in the 80's there were 400 cars and there's no doubt that it is the most probable place to see a mysterious lightball in Europe.

What we saw during our week were obviously curious military aeroplanes: one Avacs flew over our heads so low that we almost could see the pilot. Strangely the Station was silent too. On the Friday morning when we were already driving back home Mr.Moen called and told us that 4 o'clock last night the camera filmed something: we gave up hope around 3 o'clock and left the mountain just before the show started...

After we left there was one Station shot on Saturday, two on Sunday and yet one on Monday. Bad luck.

Funny attitudes

Local people seem to be a little bit embarrassed about the phenomenon and though our visit was definitely known in the village, only two persons dared to ask if we had seen anything. As Mr. Moen told us, people don't want to talk about their observations and some of them even deny the whole phenomenon! No matter what those people say Ostfold College is going to put two more cameras in the area to get more exact measurements for example of the speed of the lights. As Hynek said "whatever it turns out to be it is terrible important".

Jan, Emma and Tommi
Another view

Text: Emma Ojanen
Photos: Tommi Ruuskanen

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