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Encounters with the Unknown—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, December 2020

The Continued Story of the Imjarvi Skiers

by: Anders Liljegren, AFU Newsletter editor [AFU Newsletter, No. 18, 1980]

In the 1970 Britain’s Flying Saucer Review brought the news of a strange Finnish UFO affair to the attention of the world. The story of Aarno Heinonen’s and Esko Viljo’s encounter with a small humanoid, as they were out skiing, and their subsequent physiological problems, suggestive of radiation poisoning, became the subject of several articles (1), (2), (3), and (4) by Sven-Olof Fredrickson, a member of the Gothenburg team GICOFF. The group had, via a Finnish-speaking member, correspondence with the witnesses and also close contact with a journalist (Bo Ahiqvist) who visited the witnesses and sighting area in Finland, writing up a story for a popular weekly magazine (5).

The story, now a “classic” of ufology, had many interesting sidelights. One aspect was the slowly returning memories of the percipients, of what had happened that day. At first no humanoid was mentioned. Then (in the next version) Heinonen mistook Viljo for a “very small…unrecognizable” man and, finally, all the details of the men’s encounter with a 90 cm midget figure came to light. The pattern of “slowly returning memories” has become a well-known part of our theme, particularly of UFO-abduction lore.

What may not be known so well by researchers outside the “language barriers” that surrounds the Scandinavian countries is the continued story at Imjarvl. For there was a chain of events centering on the witnesses of the January 7, 1970 incident. From what is known the 1970 encounter was not even the first sighting by Mr. Heinonen, who later claimed his first UFO sighting took place in 1964!! Details of the continued experiences of “the Finnish skiers,” in this article, come from two main sources: 1) a series of articles in the Finnish UFO magazine UFOAIKA 1972/73, and 2) the personal correspondence between Aarno Heinonen and a research colleague of mine, Mr. Jorma Heinonen, who in spite of carrying the same surname, is in no way related to Aarno. Jorma also provided translations of the UFOAIKA articles since I am unable to read the Finnish language. Jorma’s correspondence with Aarno ended in 1973 and since then we have no knowledge of his fate, or any further experiences. Admittedly, details of what happened are somewhat sketchy and indistinct, but having searched the international UFO literature – in vain – for details on the “sequel to Imjarvl” I will now submit, for what its worth, what I am told happened, in the hope that someone more knowledgeable will fill me in.

In their issue nr 10/1972, UFOAIKA reported that up to August 15, 1972, Heinonen had had no less than 23 UFO sightings. He had also become a “contactee.” In a letter to Jorma, dated November 8, 1972, Heinonen claimed having seen some 30 light phenomena (at four times being disc-shaped), and he had seen humanoids on five separate occasions, including the 1970 incident. At three times he had then met a “humanoid woman” with whom he had conversations – in Finnish!

First meeting with the humanoid woman

On May 5, 1972, I heard three “sound signals” and then an unknown woman’s voice asking me to come to a meeting at a place behind a red barn near the crossroads to Jaala and Volkoskl. I was to come on my own and was not allowed to bring my camera or my tape recorder. The woman’s voice sounded high-pitched in nature and “strained.”

I went to this place on my motor-scooter. It was 2215 in the evening. As I arrived behind the barn I saw a woman, clad in a bright yellow trouser dress and wearing long hair down to her shoulders. Her hair was yellow and the hair-tops bent upwards. Her dress was close-fitting and glittered when she moved. On her feet she wore silvery shoes with red rosettes. In her left hand she held something that looked like a ball, silver in color and connected to a rod which she held in her hand. On the ball were three antennas (each some 30 cm long), all of which pointed towards me. I was not afraid but went quickly towards her. She came towards me, put out her hand and said, “How do you do?” in Finnish. I took her hand. It felt soft and cool. Then she took two steps back. At this moment, I noticed another figure, a man, standing immovable some 70 meters away. He too was wearing a yellow dress, somewhat lighter in color, and some sort of hat on his head. It was so dark I was unable to see him clearly.

I asked the woman how far she had come from. (I called her “Miss” since I couldn’t see a ring on her hand). She responded: “We come from the other side of the galaxy, from a nice green land.” Then she told me that three different kinds of humanoids had visited Imjarvl. First small humanoids, then people like her (about 140 cm tall) and also a greater race, almost two meters in length. She told me that the small humanoid’s visit at Imjarvl in 1970 had lasted for three minutes, while we had thought it was only a few seconds. The woman also said that she was 180 years old, although she had the looks of a 20-year-old girl.

(Here ends Aarno’s story of his first meeting with the woman. Many details recur from similar cases. The sound signals and the voice calling for Aarno; we are not told whether they are “telepathic” or “exterior”? The young looking (but old!) “fairy-like” woman in tights. She holds a ball in her hand, directed towards Aarno; maybe a “language machine” like the “language-box” micro-computer just released on the world market? And, in fact, conversation goes on in the native tongue of Aarno! ]

Second meeting. Aarno sees their vehicle

On June 18 (still 1972), at the same time of the day, I was once again ordered by this very same woman’s voice. This time I was to come to the crossroads at Antinhaara. From these crossroads leads a path some 100 meters up a hill. There I met the woman. This time alone.

We discussed the same things as on the first occasion. When I asked her with what she had come, she said: “Go home and you will see the beautiful vehicle we have come in.” I did so, and some 150 meters from home I caught sight of this vehicle. It was low, maybe at 100 meters altitude. It wobbled and stopped, hovering above me. I stopped my scooter and watched it from down under. There were no lights from the disc-shaped, silvery object. No windows or portholes. Size some 5-7 meters. Finally, it rose fast into the sky.

On both of these occasions, I had discussions for about five minutes with the woman. She talked very fast and her voice sounded “tensed”; her words coming from her mouth. However, I could see her teeth, twice as broad as those of ordinary human beings. Her face and hands were very fair-skinned. Extremely beautiful she was. Her nose was very much “pointed.” She was some 140 cm tall and wore a two-part dress with a high collar like a polo. Her shoes were not connected to her trousers. She had large perfectly blue eyes.

On both occasions, she held the same object in her hand. There was no sound coming from it. Her withdrawal was very odd. She seemed to “float” away and disappeared. Her gait was stiff. Her knees did not bend.
(Several other elements of UFO-lore are introduced into Aarno’s sage-like story: The disc-shaped object, the fast and tense speech – maybe “computerized” talk? The woman’s “floating” disappearance. And, her beautifulness is further underlined)

The man in Viljo’s house

Aaron and Esko saw a humanoid in the kitchen of Viljo’s home on June 25, 1972. It was 1940 hours when a 140 cm tall humanoid suddenly came out from behind the oven. The figure took two steps from the brick wall and remained standing in the middle of the floor. He wore a gray dress with white stripes. It was impossible to see his face.

The figure remained standing for about half-a-minute, then took two steps back into the darkness behind the oven. A while later two thuds were heard and the whole house was lit up by a bright light which seemed to move in wave-like patterns through the room. Heinonen and Viljo searched the house, but found nothing.

(A rather “spookish” episode, it seems Aarno and Esko are moving into the territory of traditional psi phenomena, and more is yet to come, just read on!)

The green pen

Aarno told Jorma, in a letter, that on March 21 (still 1972) he met a humanoid in Heinola. The male humanoid was more than two meters tall and handed Aarno a green pen. Aarno had intended to ask him questions but the man “floated away” and disappeared. The pen was said to have been left in the care of a Finnish researcher for further investigation, but Aarno regretted he had done so, he wrote in his letter.


(1). S-O Fredrikson: Strange events in the snow. FSR 3/1970, pp. 23-24.
(2). S-O Fredrikson: Finnish encounter in the snow. FSR 4/70, pp. 31-32.
(3). S-O Fredrikson: A humanoid was seen at Imjarvi, FSR 5/70, pp. 14-18,
(4). S-O Fredrikson: More on the Imjarvi case. FSR 6/70, pp. 22.
(5). Bo Ahlqvist: Har motte vi varelsen fran rymden, Fib-Aktuelit 26/1970, pp. 12-15.


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