Public interest in UFOs in Romania began with the 1968 „flap”, when several interesting reports reached the mass media, among them one of the crew of the commercial airline TAROM in August 17, and several other encounters in the next time period, until the end of September. The most spectacular sighting – of a si lvery daylight disc – was proved by three excelent photos made in August 18, near Cluj-Napoca (in the Hoia-Baciu forest) by Emil Barnea, in the presence of other three witnesses.
The first Romanian books about UFOs were written by the SF writer and critic Ion Hobana (Bucharest, 1971) and the engineer Florin Gheorghita (Iasi, 1973), both of them involved in the investigation of the 1968 cases. Ion Hobana, together with Julien Weverbergh, published also several UFO books abroad, among them the Ufo’s from behind the iron curtain(1974), translated in several languages. In the early seventies, some UFO research groups were organized, the most important, estabished in 1971, at the Cultural House of the University Students in Bucharest, was lead by Ion Hobana himself.
In 1977, one of the members of this group, Calin Turcu (1942-2006), living in the small town of Valenii de Munte (100 km north of Bucharest), organized an informal, nationwide team named “Romanian UFO Researchers (RUFOR)”, that published a samizdat UFO bulletin (27 numbers, 1979-86). Turcu established, in time, in his house, the greatest archive of written records, photos and films about Romanian cases, as well as the greatest UFO book library in Romania. The same team published later the only printed UFO periodical in Romania, named “RUFOR” (1994-1996). It had 21 issues, the first 8 in a tabloid form, and the rest as an A4 magazine. The chief editor was Peter Leb from the Transylvanian city of Targu Mures. All important Romanian UFO researchers contributed to this magazine. Presently, there is no printed UFO periodical in Romania.
A dozen of UFO books, translated or original, were published in Romania in the seventies and eighties, but their number increased dramatically after 1990. Among the authors were: Ion Hobana, Calin Turcu, Florin Gheorghita, Dan Farcas, Doru Davidovici (fighter pilot 1945-1989), Gyorgy Mandics (now living mainly in Hungary), Dan Apostol and Adrian Patrut (President of the Romanian Society of Parapsychology; he also wrote about some other strange phenomena in the Hoia-Baciu forest near Cluj-Napoca).
The Association for the Study of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (ASFAN) – Romania was set up in 1998 by a group of persons known for their achievements connected with the UFO phenomenon and was conceived as an organization of well established specialists in various directions relevant for the UFO research. ASFAN is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. It is the only Romanian organization focused on UFO research, having juridical personality,obtained with the legal decision of the Court of the Municipality of Bucharest in September 28, 1998, taking into consideration the approval of the Ministry of the Research and Technology and that of the General Mayor of Bucharest.
The elected board was: chairman Ion Hobana, vice-chairman Dan Farcas (Ph.D., mathematician, IT specialist), executive director Harald Alexandrescu (Ph.D., mathematician, astronomer, 1944-2005), treasurer Alexandru Musat (physicist), speaker Alecu Marciuc (radio programs producer).
The organization’s purpose is the rational study of the unidentified aerospace phenomena in keeping with the knowledge and the hypothesis of the contemporary science, with emphasis on the Romanian cases. ASFAN intended to resort to the support of the institutions which hold specific information, and laboratories endowed with modern equipment. A special objective was to estimate the social and psychological effects of the unidentified sightings, having in view correct information of the public at large, through the mass media and the internet.
Since 1998 ASFAN has received many reports, which were introduced in its archive, mainly through a specific standardized form. ASFAN maintains contacts with the witnesses and makes field investigations for the most interesting cases. There are some restrains, because the organization has no sponsors and members act on voluntary bases, after finishing their main job. Therefore ASFAN from Bucharest cannot investigate directly all interesting cases. Some investigations are accomplished by the ASFAN members living in other cities.
The ASFAN members have been keepint contacts with several UFO research organizations and specialists abroad. An example is the activity of Dan Farcas with the editorial board of the European Journal of UFO and Abduction Studies (2000-2003).
For three years (2000-2003) ASFAN had organized public conferences on monthly bases in some central places in Bucharest. The ASFAN members were invited to virtually all nationwide Romanian TV channels and radio stations, for debates on current UFO events and related issues.
Some UFO specialists, as Emil Strainu, became notorious after being member of the ASFAN.
Although ASFAN has not a printed periodical, several ASFAN members have regular UFO columns in Romanian popular science magazines.
A main place of interest is intended to be the website of ASFAN, where results of current investigations are exposed and contacts are maintained with people interested in UFO issues. In the near future, basic information about the main Romanian UFO cases and UFO researchers will be posted on this site, as well as other related information.
ASFAN address: Blvd. Lascar Catargiu 21, 010662 Bucharest, Romania. The building of the “Admiral V. Urseanu” Astronomical Observatory of the Municipality of Bucharest.
Telephone: (+4021) 212 9644, (+4021) 310 2563, Fax: (+4021) 310 2573