Here is an example of one of the earliest alien abduction cases

An example of one of the earliest alien abductions

In the course of my systematic search for the roots of modern ufological ideas and historical parallels to them, some time ago I came across an article in the newspaper "Jyllands-Posten". In the issue for August 9, 1878, it was reported about the "supernatural" abduction of a small child. I subsequently discovered that in the following days the story was also published in several other newspapers of the time, both local and nationwide. Here is the text of the original article from "Jyllands-Posten":

A child abducted for a few days returned with a mysterious tag

"We were informed that the wife of a farmer from a village near [the city] went to the city on Saturday morning and left her children, an eight-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy, alone in the house. When she returned in the evening, her daughter met her screaming and crying - her younger brother had disappeared. The girl said that her brother had fallen asleep on a chair in the living room and that she had gone out "for a minute" to pick gooseberries in the garden next to the house. She closed the door behind her, but the boy, who could not leave alone, was not there when she returned to the room.

The girl did not see anyone coming to the house or leaving it. The father, who came home from work a little later, immediately went around all the neighbors to ask about the child, but no one saw him and did not notice a single stranger on the street. The mother unsuccessfully searched for her son everywhere, even in the most incredible places. The next day, the search continued, the village headman was notified about the disappearance, but the child disappeared without a trace. However, when the woman came home from work on Tuesday evening to have dinner, she saw that the door was not locked, and there was a missing baby in the room, alone and in good health.

The mother and the father who returned home were happy. Where the child was or who abducted him remained a mystery, the solution of which was no longer so interesting to the parents, since the baby has now returned safely. But the next day, this question became a burning one for the mother; she found a strange mark on her son's right shoulder. The woman thinks that by marking the child in this way, a curse or other enchantment has been imposed on him and is in complete confusion from the frightening sign, which, in her opinion, should bring all sorts of misfortunes. At the same time, it has not yet been possible to find out who took the child and returned him back, or for what purpose this was done. It is reasonable to assume that some vicious person, wanting to scare his parents, committed this shameful act."


Article in the newspaper "Jyllands-Posten" for August 9, 1878.

Article in the newspaper "Jyllands-Posten" for August 9, 1878.

An unusual testimony

This case, as well as its coverage in the press, is notable for several reasons. It is very unusual to read about such episodes in Danish newspapers since the late 1800s. It is generally accepted that some "old superstitions" still flourished among the population in the 1870s, especially outside of cities, but, as a rule, the press did not show much interest in them, unless it was about folklore research or the like.

Based on the few exceptions I know of, the above story should have at least been marked with a sarcastic tone or accompanied by a sharp concluding comment. But in none of the articles about the incident that I found, there is nothing like this. The fact that he passed even this filter tells us that the incident was taken so seriously that no one considered it appropriate to openly criticize the supernatural elements of the story.

A painting by Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) entitled "The Disappearance of Huldra [in Scandinavian mythology, beautiful girls from an elf-like hidden people]".

A painting by Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) entitled "The Disappearance of Huldra [in Scandinavian mythology, beautiful girls from an elf-like hidden people]".

A long and recognizable history

The more general reason why this story is of interest is that it fits well with the phenomenon that is now known as "UFO kidnapping", both in terms of the overall development of events and in some details of the incident.

First of all, it should be noted that stories about abductions by supernatural beings go back to ancient times. They probably existed in one form or another in prehistoric times and gradually became part of our folk legends, which, in turn, transformed into fairy tales, etc.

In many similar stories, widely spread around the world, the abducted person appears after a long disappearance, even if for him or her it lasted only a brief moment. The story of Rip van Winkle, who fell asleep for 20 years after meeting a group of strange mountain dwellers also fits into this tradition.


American writer Washington Irving (1783-1859) wrote a "Book of Sketches" (1819-1920, translated into Danish in 1827) containing the story of Rip van Winkle, an American version of a German fairy tale set in the Hudson River Valley. The narrative recreated the mythological American past for Washington Irving's contemporaries. The painting was painted by John Cuidor (1801-1881) and is called "The Return of Rip Van Winkle".

Missing time and changelings

Now we don't know anything about what the little boy from near Aarhus said about his disappearance. Of course, he was too young to explain anything clearly, but the article gives the impression that the child behaved as if nothing special had happened to him.

But let's return now to the parallels with UFOs. Many so-called abductees could not explain what they were doing in a certain period of time. Subsequently, often during hypnotic regression, it is "remembered" that an abduction took place – usually with the use of some form of pseudo-medical examination conducted by "aliens".

The element of missing time turned out (or, rather, became) so widespread that a new concept of "missing/falling time" appeared. This term gained popularity after the publication of the eponymous debut book "Missing Time" by Budd Hopkins (1931-2011). The book was first published in 1981 and is still widely cited.

In cases of abduction, usually no more than a few hours fall out. As a rule, no one has time to notice that the abducted person was absent during this period. Nevertheless, in the literature devoted to the UFO phenomenon, there are several episodes in which the affected persons were announced only a few days later and their large-scale searches had already begun. The most famous example is probably the 1975 case of Travis Walton, in which Walton disappeared for five whole days after being "abducted by a UFO." To say that this case had inconsistencies from the very beginning would be an understatement, and new details are still emerging that point to an organized scam. But the point here is not whether this episode took place or not, but precisely to illustrate that there were previous narratives that, especially since the 1970s, have become an increasingly important part of the growing sub-myth of "UFO abductions".

In several Danish folk tales you can also find stories about changelings. Changelings were considered unwanted offspring of trolls and other supernatural beings, which they left instead of being taken to themselves for adoption of human children. Judging by some descriptions in the legends, it seems that the so-called changelings had more in common with mentally retarded and ugly children than with supernatural beings. This allows us to touch on a wide range of topics, but here I just want to highlight this as another significant parallel with what we see in cases of "UFO abductions".

What's the point of that?

As you know, the process of reproduction is very important for us humans, and this topic also appears quite often in cases of abductions. Several prominent ufologists who dealt with this issue even claimed that this is the meaning of the abductions and related experiments. This scenario gradually developed into science fiction speculation and was originally described by Budd Hopkins and David Michael Jacobs. Early on in his investigation, Jacobs concluded that the alien abductors' plan was to "create a hybrid race from their and our DNA."

David Jacobs' subsequent ideas boiled down to the fact that aliens are about to infiltrate our world and take it over with the help of these hybrids, and it's too late to do anything about it.

All this sounds very implausible – although, given the many crazy things happening in the world in recent years, sometimes it is tempting to think that they are somehow connected with this plan.


In the peasant community, an unbaptized child was exposed to many dangers, including from supernatural beings, trolls, who could kidnap him and replace him with one of their own disgusting cubs. Such a child, a changeling, will never develop normally. Legends say that changelings could never talk coherently, keep themselves clean, etc. On this fragment of the altar icon of Martino di Bartolomeo "Seven scenes from the Legend of St. Stephen" of the 1390s, the devil puts his changeling in the cradle instead of a human baby.

Witch Marks and Implants

Returning to our Danish abduction case in 1878, it is important to note that the mother expressed no doubt that the returned child was indeed her son. At least not at the time of publication of the article in the newspaper. But the mysterious wheel-shaped "witch mark" that he wore on his body obviously helped to breathe life into the long-existing superstition prevalent in this territory. Mysterious markings are another very common detail that later appears in a number of UFO contacts, including abductions, both in the form of ordinary drawings similar to tattoos, like the above, and in the form of scars after operations carried out by the kidnappers. Again, it is often only after a hypnosis session that the abducted person learns how he had a mark at the time.

In the early 1990s, we saw how a "modernized" version of these modern witch marks became part of the literature about abductions in the form of implanted chips in the body. But no matter how much technology changes the appearance of these narratives, they still follow much the same ancient patterns.


A man rescues his dancing friend from a fairy ring. People often found that even brief visits to the faerie world lasted weeks or even years in the mortal world. Engraving by T. H. Thomas "Torn from the magic circle" from the book by Sykes Wirth "British Goblins: Welsh folklore, fairy mythology, legends and traditions" in 1880.

Who was abductor?

But who then became the kidnapper who held the boy for several days and apparently left this mysterious "witch mark" on him? We haven't found the answer to this question yet. The deeper question, however, is why we in Denmark have never had a single "official" case of UFO abductions, when, apparently, there is such a wealth of material in the form of old legends and fairy tales, as well as subsequent films, comics, etc. - and, we we must now take this into account, to a certain extent, the direct local historical predecessors of the abductions. But this should be a topic for a separate discussion. The problem is that the events are too far away from us, and may have significant distortions. The perception of people of the past is not connected with UFOs, and who they saw, creatures or aliens, we can only guess.

About author:

Ufologist, PhD, blogger, I go on my own expeditions for UFOs. I use scientific methods to investigate the UAP phenomenon

Serg Toporkov

Ufologist, Ph.D., blogger, I go on my own expeditions for UFOs. I use scientific methods to investigate the UAP phenomenon. Write to me

Related tags:

alien  abduction  1878  history  Denmark

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