Other contactees of the 1950s
Truman Bethurum (1898–1969)
One of the more unusual contact stories came from Truman Bethurum, who claimed to have encountered a UFO and its captain, a lady named Aura Rhanes (“tops in shapeliness and beauty”), whilst working on a construction site in Nevada (USA). According to Capt Rhanes, she had come from the planet Clarion, which is unknown to astronomers because its orbit keeps it permanently hidden from the earth by our own moon. Unlike Adamski’s ‘Nordic’ aliens, the Clarionites had a Latino appearance and black hair. In a statement to a reporter from the Daily Breeze newspaper on 24 September 1953, Bethurum’s first contact took place on 7 July 1952 or, according to his 1954 book, Aboard a Flying Saucer on 27 or 28 July of that year, in the Mojave Desert (USA). Altogther he claimed to have eleven encounters, which included a trip to the idyllic – and Christian – Clarion, where war is unknown and where people live to be a thousand years old. He was told that Mars is a hive of heavy industry, that the correct name for a Clarionite flying saucer is scow and that humans will not be able to explore space until they have eliminated conflict on earth. Alas for Truman, he was unable to eliminate personal conflict: his wife cited Aura Rhanes in her divorce petition! His later contribution to spreading the message of Universal Brotherhood was the foundation of The Sanctuary of Thought, suggested by Captain Rhanes, that would be a focus for ten thousand Friends of Peace; it was promoted in Daniel Fry’s Understanding 1 (5) (May 1956), page 15 but it is not clear if it was ever established.
George van Tassel (1910–1978)
George van Tassel
His encounter happened at Landers (California, USA) on 24 August 1953, where he and his wife owned and airstrip and café; in the dead of night, four visitors, led by Solgonda, showed him around their flying saucer. He explained that experiments with nuclear energy had come to the attention of the rulers of the universe, as the destruction of hydrogen in bombs was the destruction of the most important life-giving element. To spread the word of the dangers, van Tassel established The Ministry of Universal Wisdom and began to hold annual Flying Saucer Conventions, beginning in April 1954. Unlike most earlier contactees, van Tassel used astral travel, telepathy and other forms of psychic communication to converse with the aliens.
In 1958, he began work on a structure he called The Integratron, to designs supplied by Solgonda. It is a domed building that is supposed to work as a time machine using principles of energy generation derived from Nikolai Tesla and the crossing of three ley lines. It was designed to rejuvenate the cells of the human body in preparation for a coming “Space Master”. Unfortunately, van Tassel never committed Solgonda’s design to paper and when he died in 1978, the building was still unfinished. A conspiracy theory has grown up around van Tassel’s death, suggesting that he was deliberately silenced before the Integratron was ready (he had announced shortly before his death that it would be finished within three months and he was apparently in good health); when the building was vandalised a few months later, this added to suspicions about his sudden death.
Daniel William Fry (1908–1992)
According to Fry’s book The White Sands incident, published in 1955, his encounter with a Martian named A-Lan took place at White Sands (New Mexico, USA), where he worked as a civilian on the missile proving ground, on 4 July 1950 (although he later changed his mind and said it was in 1949). A-Lan proved to have a good command of contemporary (not to say colloquial) English: his first words to Fry were reportedly “Better not touch the hull, pal: it’s still hot!” He was taken for a ride on board the craft to New York (the return trip taking 30 minutes) and was told that the Martians are descendants of a race that once inhabited the lost continent of Lemuria, a place first mentioned by the Theosophists in the late nineteenth century. Altogether, he claimed, he had four separate encounters with the aliens. Fry later became the guru of a Theosophical group called Understanding, which was founded in 1955 (and issued a Newsletter from January 1956 to 1989).
Orfeo Angelucci (1912–1993)
Orfeo (Orville) Angelucci
Orfeo Angelucci claimed to have had his first sighting of a UFO in 1946, but his first contact with aliens came on 23 May 1952 according to his book The secret of the saucers, published in 1955. He was driving home from work, having left early because he felt ill, when he saw a flying disk over Forest Lawn Drive. Driving into a field, he watched the disk shoot off into the sky, leaving two smaller balls behind. A “kind, gentle” voice came from between these two balls, telling Angelucci how the craft were powered by magnetism and how evolution on earth was endangered by humanity’s tinkering with forces beyond its control. Exactly two months later, he entered what looked like a “ghostly igloo” hovering over a bridge, where he found himself in a domed room made from a substance that resembled mother-of-pearl. He was taken into space and given an alien’s-eye view of the earth. Over the years, he was contacted numerous times by angelic seeming aliens, all with messages of love and peace, who assured him that although there was a universal law forbidding beings from one planet to interfere in the development of another, they would do all they could to help. He was also given the news that Jesus had been an alien who had come to help us.
George King (1919–1997)
Began receiving “telepathic messages” in the summer of 1954.
Buck Nelson (1894–1982)
In his book My Trip to Mars, the Moon and Venus, published in 1957, he claimed that a swarm of UFOs had flown over his farm in Mountain View (Howell County, Missouri, USA) on 5 March 1955, where one of them had struck him with a mysterious ray that cured his bad back and restored his failing eyesight. On a subsequent visit, one of the UFOs had landed and its occupants took him on a trip to Mars, where he was presented with a Venusian dog called Bo, which tragically lost all its hair on the return trip to Earth as a result of exposure to cosmic rays. He organised annual Flying Saucer Conventions, at which numerous other contactees spoke to the faithful (although George Adamski pointedly refused to attend).
Last updated 19 March 2006