Professor Eva Lundgren and the Attempts to Burn the Present Book

(Translation to Swedish or other languages >>>)

The bulk of Eva Lundgren's academic training was in theology. Despite this fact, Uppsala University appointed her professor of sociology. I am not aware of a second instance of such a misplaced appointment made by any Swedish university.

However, in 2005 both Lundgren and Uppsala University were under heavy attack by a number of scholars, among others Stig Strömholm who was the Vice-Chancellor of this university 1989-1997. The scholars made two main points. First, Lundgren's prior research was too meagre to justify the appointment. Second, her research during her years as a professor was not scientific at all.

Lundgren asserted (and claimed that this was an empirical research result) that each male is as inclined to use physical violence against females, as any other male. Not even chronic alcoholic addicts are more aggressive than other males.

She also claimed that ritual child murders are frequent in Sweden. She takes the allegations of such events to be valid, even if they emerged during recovered memory therapy, and even if they were completely unknown to the patient before the therapy.

According to her view, the Södertälje case provides excellent evidence of the reality of the child murders.

The Swedish police was already aware of many allegations of child murders, inter alia those postulated in the Södertälje case. However, Professor Lundgren claimed that she knew of a large number of other child murders which were unknown to the police. - If this were true, why did she not report these crimes to the police? She has explained her motive: she believes that the police are allied with the murderers.

Because of the attack, the university felt obliged to appoint a committee to investigate Lundgren's research. The committee consisted of Margareta Hallberg, professor of the history of ideas and the philosophy of science at Gothenburg University, and Jörgen Hermansson, professor of political science at Uppsala University. Their task was not to assess whether Lundgren's research was good or bad, but solely whether it contained deliberately faked data.

They agreed throughout most of the investigation and jointly signed the same text, except that both formulated and signed separate final conclusions. - Among other things they had found that Lundgren had recurrently pretended that she had made a number of separate interviews of the same person over some years. But in actual fact she had "recycled" one single interview and gradually obtained increasingly more extreme statements from the interviewee. For instance, one religious man felt that he was "God's tool" when he beat his wife. But not until after the last recycling did Lundgren attribute the statement to him that he got an erection during these punishment scenes. This was so although she had certainly asked him about the same thing from the very beginning.

Margareta Hallberg wrote the following final conclusions:

"A serious problem is that we have not got access to the sources [= the audio-recorded interviews] we have asked for. [...] The empirical studies are few, and Lundgren recycles again and again a few edited interviews as empirical examples that normalisation is a general phenomenon in relations involving violence. [...] A necessary precondition for being in a position to decide whether a researcher has fabricated the data is that the sources are available. As can be seen from our study, Lundgren has not handed out her source data. For that reason it is impossible to make a decision as regards this question. [...] Summing up, our scrutiny has revealed a number of serious problems in Lundgren's research. There are empirical assertions that are not backed by any empirical basis, ambiguities as regards selection and number of persons interviewed, absence of alternative interpretations, assertions that are contradicted by her own data, generalisations based on too small ground. To me, this means that the trustworthiness of Lundgren's research must be questioned."
I think that the final conclusion of Hermansson is even harder, except for one detail. He states that he dislikes that this kind of assessment of a researcher is performed at all.

It is no surprise that the investigating scholars could not prove the presence of faked data, since all of Lundgren's audio-recorded interviews were not shown to them.

At that point, the intermezzo could have ended. But this was not what happened. When the investigation was finished, Lundgren requested damages because her research had been examined at all. A settlement was negotiated, according to which she got damages of 100,000 Swedish Crown. She also got one extra teacher at her institution for six months. All in all the sum of the damages exceeds 30,000 euro.

Many feminists admire Lundgren, but many others consider her a heavy burden to feminism. Nevertheless, she must have had strong support from some feminist corners to obtain damages of that size.

In 1994, Lundgren published a book in Norwegian, in which one chapter is devoted to the Södertälje case. Elvira is called "Mathilde". Lundgren has taken all her allegations at face value. She has not even checked if Elvira said the same things to the professor, as she had said to the police. - At least since 1994, I knew that Lundgren is a pseudo-scientist. But I knew the bare minimum about the conflict in 2005, and nothing at all about the immense damages.

I had not foreseen that my book would land in a wasps' nest. My proofs that Elvira's narratives were neither self-experienced nor self-invented, but fabricated and indoctrinated by her foster mother, deprived Lundgren of her strongest proof of ritual child murders in Sweden. The subsequent sequence of events revealed how far the university was willing to go. A book that was the outcome of full-time labour during more than three years, and which presents important scientific results and significant methodological innovations, had to be destroyed in order to conceal the pseudo-scientific nature of Lundgren's so-called research.

Neither had it occurred to me that someone at the department which had handled my applications to the Council of Science throughout 25 years, would have the conscience to destroy important scientific research results and important methodological innovations, just for the purpose of saving Lundgren's reputation.

My book was published by the university in early March 2009. Two months later it was withdrawn by lecturer Lennart Wikander at the Department of Education, who also decided that the entire edition should be burnt. Due to unplanned and purely accidental circumstances, I had saved 40 % of the edition from destruction. Wikander ordered me to return not only all copies I had in my apartment, but also those I had distributed to researchers and libraries in more than 15 countries on three continents.

He filled two A4 pages with justifications for the book burning. All justifications are about purely formal errors, which I had supposedly made. He also pretended that I had had no contact with the department since 1984, and that I had, by means of various legerdemains, deceived the Council of Research into believing that I was presently teaching at this department.

In actual fact, during these 25 years, 11 applications for grants sought for by me are registered by the Council of Research. And in all but the last one the department had declared itself willing to administrate the grant if I got it. With one single exception, each and every error attributed to me by Wikander coincides perfectly with my handling of all my previous applications. And no professor or lecturer ever told me that this or that was an error.

I admit that for my last application I have forgotten to obtain one signature. This is the only item in Wikander's error list that is not purely fictive. And if he had really thought that this single mistake were crucial, he would hardly have constructed a long list of ad hoc invented errors. (For instance, Wikander seriously presents it as an error that those copies which I myself should have according to the rules, were transported directly from the printer to my apartment, instead of first being transported to the department and from there to my apartment. Wikander had not even checked that the same thing was done with all my five previous volumes in the series Uppsala Studies in Education.)

He adds that if the editor of this series has not evaluated my manuscript, then the editor cannot guarantee the scientific quality of this book.

Such an argument might seem reasonable to an outsider. However, apart from my doctoral thesis no professor or lecturer at the department has ever evaluated my manuscripts published in the series Uppsala Studies in Education. They have invariably left over this task to the Council of Research. Moreover, Wikander was perfectly aware of the very positive and unusually comprehensive evaluation of my last book, which was made by the expert appointed by the Council.

It may be added that no previous teacher at the department of education in Uppsala has professed to possess the specific knowledge necessary for assessing any of my postdoctoral manuscripts.

Such a trivial error as a forgotten signature would never have any consequence under ordinary circumstances.

By contrast, the decision to burn Scharnberg's book could be conceived of as a signal to other scholars: Do not publish results that may throw doubt on recovered memory therapy or on other ideas held by Eva Lundgren.


[1] My thanks to Dr Sheldon Litt, gestalt therapist from New York (and author of "Humanistisk psykologi och gestaltterapi" 1977), who has translated the epilogue into English.

Uppdaterad: 2011-06-09

Redaktör och ansvarig utgivare:
John Johansson