The Orthon cult – Doomsday in Denmark 19672005, Mar 1st | Emner: Cults, New Age, UFOs
by Willy Wegner, translated by Jens Laigaard
If you want to attract the attention of the mass media, there is no better way than to predict the end of the world.
A few Danes still remember the doomsday cult that built an air-raid shelter in 1967 at Borup in Sealand. The builders envisaged a world-wide nuclear war that would make the Earth bob in its orbit around the sun.
What has that got to do with flying saucers, you may ask? Strictly speaking, not very much! And yet, several elements of UFO lore form part of this borderland between fact and fantasy. A doomsday catastrophe or purge has been expected since the very first days of the UFO movement. Most contactees have mentioned such an event.
This story begins on April 11th 1961.
Richard Grave, an English estate agent, was cleaning up an old house he had recently bought. As he was carrying an old print out he suddenly found that a shape was blocking his way. “I am he,” the shape said, touching the picture. At the same moment the glass splintered and the shape disappeared in a blaze of orange light. The flash was so intense that it scorched Richard Grave’s forearm as he held it up to protect himself.
This ghostly phenomenon developed further when the picture was miraculously restored to its original state – all by itself! No-one had touched the broken picture, it was claimed. The subject was “The first Christmas morning”, representing an angel that informs the shepherds of the birth of Christ. Later on the picture started “weeping” just like lots of Catholic images of saints have been leaking blood, sweat, and tears in the name of Christ.
The unknown shape that disappeared in a flash of light was called the Master. He started dropping in on Richard Grave, and Grave was endowed with healing powers.
The news gradually percolated to the public, and several people got involved, among others a local female psychic named Liebie Pugh who was versed in all kinds of religious matters.
The Master told Grave a lot of things, but a key sentence in the subsequent developments, at least in Denmark, was the message: “I have created seven images in the ray, and by the first second of the first hour of the seventh Christmas morning from now on I will have revealed myself to the universe by means of a nuclear development process.”
In the mid 1960s this cult or movement was described in the Danish magazine Psykisk Forum. Among those who read about it were Jørgen Ellesøe and Børge Jensen of SUFOI (=Scandinavian UFO Information) who got together via a contact ad.
A group of interested Danes, among them some UFOlogists, went to England. They returned with heaps of printed matter and a firm conviction that the Master existed on both the spiritual and the physical plane. A translation of the voluminous material was soon under way, and in its time it was published as two large pamphlets bearing the collective title Den universelle kontakt.
If only people had been content with the original messages from England, probably little more would have happened in this matter. But the good Master also appeared in Denmark, giving us a Danish counterpart to Richard Grave. The name of the Master’s Danish contactee was Knud Weiking. He has given the following account of his first meeting with the Master, here known as Orthon:
“It happened on the 20th of February 1967 at 1.15 a.m. when I returned home from the night’s work; I was a cab driver then. As usual I sat down in my living room to have a smoke before going to bed. All of a sudden I heard a male voice saying, “Put out that cigarette, I want to talk to you.” I looked around in the room but saw nothing. I’m not easily shocked, so I didn’t think any further about it, but calmly kept on smoking. Then the voice repeated its request, and again I took a good puff on the cigarette, like I wanted to show that nobody tells me what to do in my own home.”
One has to compliment Knud Weiking on his steady nerves, or perhaps one should ask what brand he smokes. I for one would get all goosey if a voice belonging to some unseen entity should tell me in a late hour of the night: “No more coffee for you, pal!”
But Knud Weiking thought that by making a few extra inhalations he had told the unknown voice where it got off. Then all the lights in the apartment went out, and Knud Weiking now saw a gleam, and out of this came the voice of Orthon. He now got to know all that Orthon knew about his life, and this finally put Knud Weiking in his place. The following evening, in the company of friends, Orthon began to speak through Knud Weiking. One message followed another, and they were recorded on tape and written down on paper.
Weiking says that he has had many a chat with Orthon while sitting in his living room, and Weiking, who is the only person who has ever seen Orthon, describes him like this:
“Orthon is a big handsome man. He is about 188 centimeters tall, brawny but slim. His face is very finely shaped, his hair is golden brown, and his skin is golden. Orthon is always dressed in a tight shiny golden suit, and over this he wears a cape shimmering in purple, black and scarlet. He is surrounded by a radiant white light.”
The name Orthon had not been picked at random. The Venusian whom George Adamski claimed to have met in Desert Center in 1952 was also named Orthon.
Spread the message!
The news of the universal contact must be spread. As early as 1966 Børge Jensen started with a series of articles on the coming new age in the magazine Ufo-nyt. He was writing under the pen name N.E. Wagenda. This series merged into an account of the happenings in England.
SUFOI seemingly embraced the issue wholeheartedly. They published the entire documentary account of how matters evolved and how Richard Grave first met the Master. The affinity with other religious initiatives such as Meher Baba in India and the Moonies – also known as the Unification Church – in South Korea was also discussed by the author Liebie Pugh. Once more the psychics had gained a foothold in SUFOI. But the former chairman H.C. Petersen would have none of it.
Cooperating with other followers of Adamski, H.C. Petersen was organizing a piece of work outside the framework of SUFOI. On the 5th of July 1966 a letter is put out in which two new magazines of IGAP – in Danish and English respectively – are announced. It says among other things: “The new magazines will carry on the line held by Ufo-nyt until H.C. Petersen handed it over to the present publishers. We guarantee that in the new magazines you will not be presented with articles on invisible beings, “intelligences” hiding behind flames, smoke, or slippers, or other things that are irrelevant to the UFO issue.”
Having thus told off the new committee of SUFOI, H.C. Petersen goes on to maintain that “we are still the same, and we still haven’t turned into a mouthpiece of indefineable psychic research or various cults that predict death and disaster to our planet and its “poor” inhabitants. On the contrary, what we plan to do is – anytime the possibility arises – to report the messages of the Venusians that members of IGAP are in contact with.”
Nonetheless, H.C. Petersen was himself taken in a few years later when he tried to market the religious counterpart to George Adamski, Michel Collin, also known as Pope Clement XV.
Collin too had predicted a world-wide catastrophe, only this was set to happen on February 20th 1969. H.C. Petersen published a large pamphlet of press coverage and interviews with Michel Collin. Subsequently quite a lot was written about this phony Pope in the IGAP magazine Ufo-kontakt. But nothing happened on the appointed day, and, as Collin noted, wise after the non-event: “One shouldn’t quibble over dates.” Indeed, one should not, as the Orthon people too found out.
Notwithstanding the comments of the former chairman, SUFOI and Ufo-nyt continued cultivating the Orthon issue. An angry letter from one of the readers was countered by the chairman of SUFOI, Frank Peder
sen, who maintained that one should not stand in the way of new ideas. In this particular matter he was later to regret his attitude.
In Ufo-nyt 1967, no. 2, Børge Jensen makes it clear that “There is now definitive proof that Universal Link and the flying saucers are two sides of one big operation, as a Universal Link Centre is being established in Denmark under the direct guidance of space people. The name Orthon will be familiar to some readers.”
The “proof” on which this sensational announcement was based was that Knud Weiking claimed to be speaking in the voice of Orthon.
Time went by, and it was not until the 25th of September that some members of the SUFOI committee got cold feet and backed out. At the same time it was announced that Børge Jensen had retired from SUFOI. This more or less coincided with the Orthon group starting to advertise in the daily press. The journalists could smell a good story, and on September 26th Ekstra Bladet printed an article with the caption, “2000 Danes believe world will end in nuclear war in three months”.
How the first incident at Richard Grave’s came to be a doomsday prediction in Denmark is not easily explained. But it is worth remembering one of the first messages of the Master: “…by the first second of the first hour of the seventh Christmas morning I will have revealed myself to the universe by means of a nuclear development process.”
The Orthon group interpreted this in the following manner: a nuclear process had to be something big, something in the way of nuclear explosions; the universe was synonymous with the planet Earth; and finally, what was predicted had not yet happened. Christmas morning 1967 thus had to be the deadline.
On the 28th of September 1967 a Universal Link meeting was held in Dianalund. Through Weiking, Orthon addressed the assembly, and it was evident that a global nuclear war was expected. The copy of Orthon’s speech says among other things: “…not only Copenhagen but other parts of Denmark as well will see nuclear devastation.”
But there is still some hope, of course some people will be saved. Later on, Orthon tells the assembly: “Now some are gathered here who absolutely have to survive. Yes, but how, you ask. Can this be done? Here we must return to the image of transferring a spaceship from one galaxy to another. We simply transfer the human elementary particles by something we call teleportation up into a spaceship. This means that one second the person stands talking to a friend, and he turns around, and then the friend has disappeared. He has already been taken up into a spaceship while the other must remain when the explosion happens. This is how it is. This is the law.”
On November 24th the Ringsted daily had an interview with Børge Jensen on how things were progressing. He was asked what would happen if nothing came of the expected nuclear war. Børge Jensen answered that “it would be a miracle, nothing less! The worst thing that can happen is that the rescue from the universe fails to appear.” Børge Jensen elaborates on this statement:
“According to the messages from Orthon and according to the cosmic laws, those higher beings that often visit us in flying saucers will not permit the Earth to be destroyed. That would disturb the balance of Cosmos. Consequently great rescue missions have been prepared. We have received messages that rescue will come when there is no other possible way of salvation. But only then! Large parts of humanity will be evacuated in spaceships. In some cases they will take people aboard directly from the Earth plane, but in other cases, when necessary, evacuation will be done by teleportation. That is transfer by the power of the mind. This method will be used in places where salvation is a matter of seconds. For instance at the spot where a nuclear bomb is dropped. Immediately afterwards the Earth will be cleansed by being tilted.”
The journalist would like to know who can expect to be saved by the alien spaceships?
To this Børge Jensen says that not even the friends of Orthon can be certain of salvation, and he gives the reason that:
“We all live in a system where no-one has the possibility of living the right way, and therefore it is the good will of a person that counts. Every human being has a so-called aura that radiates the true character of that person. We will be chosen by the quality of our auras!”
Considering all this it may seem strange that Orthon orders his followers to build a nuclear-safe air-raid shelter. Does this stem from the doubts of the followers and Knud Weiking as to the certainty of rescue from space, or is it, as has also been claimed, a symbolic action to show good will? A kind of aura booster? In any case such a project is expensive; built in 1967 by do-it-yourself principle it cost about a quarter of a million Danish kroner.
The shelter was built, and the Orthon people demonstrated their good will in spite of prohibitions issued by both municipality and county.
A hole six meters deep was dug in a field near Borup in Sealand. In this the wooden constructions intended to keep walls, partitions and roof in place were erected – all done in unimpregnated wood. On top of it all were placed 25 tons of lead. The shelter may have been nuclear-safe at first, but by and by ground water and gravity began to affect the construction.
In practical terms it was quite a flop to the building supervisor, a naval constructor of Burmeister & Wain who had obtained leave to serve Orthon.
Madness upon madness
It must be rather peculiar to feel disappointed that nuclear bombs have failed to rain down on your head. But logically that should have been the feeling the Orthon people experienced when the prophecy did not come true.
At an early stage an inventor named Åge Jensen had informed the group that he had in his possession blueprints of a machine that could produce atoms. In his opinion, this was the key to Orthon’s words about revelation by means of a nuclear process. But at first the Orthon people had put Åge Jensen in cold storage.
On Christmas Eve – the day before the day – Knud Weiking met with Åge Jensen and had a look at the blueprints Jensen had been receiving by telepathy through the last ten years.
The same evening a press conference on this new development was announced. Knud Weiking claimed that the blueprints represented one of the engines of a flying saucer. But people wildly disagreed on the meaning of this revelation, and on what the blueprints were supposed to be, only a few hours before doomsday. Asides, one may wonder that a press conference was held at all; should the predictions come true, there would be no newspapers to print the news!
Midnight came and nothing happened. Which meant that the papers, in this case B.T., were able to print:
“Orthon made him [Åge Jensen] phone me on Christmas Eve and tell me about the project, Weiking says. Åge Jensen tells a different story. He rejects Orthon, explaining that it was two dreams that made him contact the Orthon group. The dreams told him that what the Borup people were working on was a diversion and that his own construction is the heart of the matter. He is guided by supernatural powers, but he is unwilling to identify these as a specific personality.”
Åge Jensen stated that his drawings were no less than a world sensation. He had tried to get an objective estimate by nuclear physicists, but they had turned him down, labelling him an idiot. Nonetheless, besides showing the engine of a spaceship the blueprints also contain the key to the riddle of the pyramids! What that riddle might be, we are not told.
In this connection the physicist, Dr. Mogens Phil, stated that he felt sorry for the people who had invested their hopes and lives in this wild nonsense.
One newspaper noted that the case of Åge Jensen’s so-called invention had a certain resemblance to the fairy-tale of the emperor
‘s new clothes. But Åge Jensen got press coverage and had his picture in the papers. The Orthon people, however, found no last-minute resort as Åge Jensen refused to play along with them.
But what of Knud Weiking, the worldly mouthpiece of Orthon? How was his credibility after the fateful date? On the 28th of December a new Universal Link meeting was held. One of the participants recounts:
“At the meeting on December 28th [Knud Weiking] apparently felt his authority to have weakened so much that he, although he was present, did not want to participate in the meeting but stayed in an adjoining room. At the next meeting on the 3rd of January 1968 Weiking had moved back into the conference room, but he sat among the “common” members far removed from the “executive table”. At the meeting on January 10th his position had been re-established. When he arrived, he went straight to the “executive table” and sat down.”
At length, on the 17th of January, Orthon spoke once again, but now the large-scale meetings were a thing of the past.
The followers of Orthon split up into several groups. Occasionally some of them would appear in the dailies to announce new prophecies, however with no fixed date. One Orthon fraction in Fakse used to send out prophecies of doom every now and then, for instance it was claimed that the Earth would somersault in spring 1971. And of course there was an ongoing discussion as to who was the true spokesman of Orthon.
The Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet had on 30th December 1968 an interview with Martinus Kris Petersen. He was spokesman of one of the new Orthon groups. Kris Petersen stated that he and the other members had broken with the Borup-Fakse section, and went on to say:
“We devote ourselves to Orthon on a strictly scientific level and resent the sectarian, Christian touch.”
In their group Orthon was not regarded as a spiritual leader like Christ, but as an ordinary space captain.
The medium of this new group in Copenhagen had revealed that Orthon would materialize in the vicinity of the Swedish town Harparenda on New Year’s morning 1969. If that is correct, Orthon must have kept a very low profile, as nobody has ever heard of it.
What this group understood by a strictly scientific level is illustrated by the following statement:
“The star sign of Aquarius, or the Water Bearer, which has great influence on the 1969, should in our opinion be interpreted in the way that, metaphorically speaking, water will be brought to the souls that thirst here on Earth. It will not happen all at once, but there is no doubt that 1969 will witness some significant events.”
Thus Martinus Kris Petersen.
If you read the closely written 350-plus pages of Orthon messages from the original group, titled Grundmaterialer, you are in for quite a few merry moments. The threats of war and evacuation asides, it emerges that Orthon is an ardent Royalist. He feels a special affinity for King Konstantin of Greece, to whom great importance is attributed in the new age. It is also revealed that Orthon reads the daily Berlingske Tidende, and there are remarks to individual members of the group concerning, among other things, their consumption of alcohol. Thus Orthon makes it clear that not one brewery will be spared in the coming nuclear war. Don’t say that Orthon has no sense of humour!
In the years that followed there have been frequent interviews with the old followers of Orthon, mostly in the weekly magazines, and one notes that a handful of believers are still around. But along the way it has cost money, positions, broken up families and suicides.
In 1980 a member of SUFOI wrote an article on the Orthon issue intended for Ufo-nyt. But the editors were not interested. Instead it was privately printed as a small pamphlet with the title Intern fortrolig rapport, “Orthon-sagen 13 år efter” (Internal confidential report on the Orthon case, 13 years after), written by Benny Grandahl. The copy I’ve seen had a hand-written note on the cover saying that the contents are strictly confidential and that SUFOI has claimed all rights. Author Benny Grandahl has stated that this pamphlet is not to be reprinted or made public in any other way. SUFOI was not particularly proud of this dark chapter in the record of the organization.
At that time Frank Pedersen, who was chairman of SUFOI in the Orthon days, had recognized that “I must take full responsibility for the crisis that began in 1966 and ended in 1967. I wasn’t alive to the problem and so I didn’t act to stop it in time.”
From the book: UFOer over Danmark (1990) – ©1990, 1998 by Willy Wegner