The UFO experience has seemed for many fraught with spiritual or religious meaning. And UFO sects offer a plausible story which, superficially at least, conforms with our knowledge of life in space. They do not require belief in traditional myths such as virgin birth or bread changing into flesh and wine into blood.

While secular organizations were looking for "nuts and bolts" proof. and indeed expected to find it, contactee followers were satisfied with convincing narratives: They captured the flying saucers in mythological interpretations. Channeling is often dated from the late 1940’s when also other UFO enthusiasts began to deliver messages from extraterrestrial beings. And with that also came "prophecy."

The Unarius Academy claims to communicate by telepathy with space beings that are beneficent, like angels, and are to guide humankind into a new era of peace and prosperity. Tumminia's book examines the ability of the group to keep the faith despite failed prophecies about the landing of the "space brothers." The believers "always came up with an explanation," she said. "This is what we in sociology call unfalsifiable knowledge." So, she said, when 2001 came and went without the expected landing of the space brothers, the believers blamed the September 11 attacks and Earth's warlike status.

In the case of Unarius banding together throughout the years, old and new followers have continued to produce confirmations of the prophecy's fulfillment by acting out scenes for filmed psychodramas and giving testimonials at weekly meetings.

For example, during the early part of September 1975, Uriel was prompted by a strong feeling that the landing would occur any day. Pressured by inner urgings. she announced the specific day of the month. As anticipation started to increase. Unarians made plans for the arrival of the massive ships. At the Center, one thousand engraved invitations were ordered, as was a large banner for the front of the building, which read, "Greetings, Space Brothers!!! Love and Peace!!!"

Antares, under Uriel's direction, ordered several charter buses for the event, Antares did what he was told, although he had a sense of deep foreboding. He scheduled a fleet of buses, which would run relays from the Academy so that all those who wanted to greet the Brothers could be been taken to the landing site. As preparation continued, Antares had the road to the property widened and a fence constructed to keep out unauthorized seekers. Amid the exciting activity and frenzied anticipation, Antares tried to contain his growing fear that thousand, of people, would come to view the spaceships. Privately he told Uriel that surely she must make contact with the government and arrange for the National Guard for the safety of all concerned.

But Uriel was sonic" hat oblivious to Antares, for she was in a heightened state of ecstasy, "psychically seeing many of the scenes that were going to take place". She said that when the Space Brothers landed, they would present her with a crown. For this occasion, she had her dressmaker fashion a gown fit for an interplanetary coronation. Other gowns were also hurriedly ordered as the Brother, would surely take her on a world tour. As Uriel saw the future events unfold in her mind, she described the scene to her students. A luxurious stateroom was being prepared for her on a flying saucer. In its enormous closet, she would put the lovely clothes she had purchased for the trip.

Uriel went on extra shopping trips during that time to purchase more trunks and suitcases. Her plans were to move into a spacecraft with style. On the expected worldwide peace mission, she and the Brothers would greet many heads of state. Off they would fly to England. France. and Germany, subsequently visiting the Soviet Union. China, and Japan. After their world tour, Uriel and the Space Brothers would proceed to contact the president of the United States. On the home front, Uriel made arrangements to give away her worldly goods. She wrote farewell notes to her dear students and began the process of incorporating Unarius as a nonprofit educational foundation. To Antares. Uriel gave her "Space Cadillac- with a model of a flying saucer attached to the roof. She began signing over her bank accounts and property to Unarius. As the hour grew near. Uriel gave her farewell speech to her closest students at the dining table in her home. Then later at the Center, she said goodbye to fifty students who softly wept at the thought of her leaving.

According to Unarius. "Finally on Monday, the 22nd. the great psychic bubble exploded". Cosmon, Uriel's close student and fellow channeler, called her from Los Angeles. Cautiously Cosmon told Uriel that he was in tune with the Brothers who wanted her to know that she was not going through a real event. Instead, she was experiencing her life as Isis, Queen of Egypt. some 14,000 years ago. In that lifetime. Isis and her husband Osiris (Ernest Norman) rushed toward the landing site of a spaceship that had come to take them home. As they arrived. they were set upon and murdered by a crowd of people. The Brothers hovered aloft in their saucer. unable to stop the attack. The very murderers had now reincarnated as Unarian students.

The "reliving" started to spread throughout the community, first by word of mouth, then during the Center's night classes. According to testimonials, the students were experiencing considerable stress. They had come to believe that Uriel was leaving them. At the same time, they were prepared to meet the Space Brothers. the extraterrestrial architects of the New Age. Now it was clear that the Space Brothers were not coming. for Uriel was still there among them.

They had come face to face not with a Space Brother, but with the issue of Uriel's credibility. Would they abandon their student roles because of the disconfirmation of the prophecy'? Many had doubts about continuing in Unarius. A few students left immediately. while most struggled with their consciences. now that they heard they were reincarnated murderers. Students Sanosun and Helen reported in class that their bodies ached all over: they experienced terrible physical pains. Crystal. another student. gave this testimonial in class: "I got all mixed up and I thought 'Gee, maybe this means that some of the Science isn't true' but then I thought. 'How can that be'? This is ridiculous: how can you face that'?' That was the battle that was going on.

As 1976 began, Unarians were experiencing another "reliving," the Lemurian Cycle. Crystal was plagued with had dreams. A psychic reading revealed her past life during the destruction of Lemuria. According to the reading, the evil Lemurian Masters had controlled the masses by implanting electronic devices in their foreheads: the people lived as robots. During classes. everyone was drawn into the cycle as they discussed their own experiences. They too had memories of torture and pain from their past lives on the lost continent.

In March 1976, shortly after the first anniversary of the Centers founding. Uriel and some of her students wagered about $4.000 with Ladbrokes. a British bookmaker, that the spaceships would land on Earth within one year. Ladbrokes asked to release the information to the press and Unarius gave them permission to do so. The prophecy of the landing again became news in the tabloid press. Tom Snyder interviewed Uriel on the Tomorrow Show. In Uriel's words.

This half-hour appearance did indeed serve to good advantage. Many persons contacted Unarius, as a result. Moreover, what with all the news media coverage of my activities. especially that of interplanetary communication. things really began to pop. About 70 radio and television stations made contact and many were the recorded tapes that I made for them over my telephone right at home. and which, in most instances. were aired live. as I gave them!... Some remarked of the strong healing powers that were not only sensed but also seen.

In mid-September. Uriel and Cosmon traveled to Canada to make personal appearances and engage in a small-scale media campaign. According to the photographic record, the publicity trip to Canada appeared lighthearted. Back home, the prophecy lived on. Nevertheless. Ruth eventually lost her bet. for after all the preparation to receive the great flying ships, they still did not appear. Unarius simply pushed back the date to the year 2001. I could find no public record of distress over the second failure.

Unarius still touts itself as the "Science of Logic and Reason." In the contemporary social world of Unarians. members carry on their interpretive work by articulating the intelligence of the normal, orderly, invigorating wisdom of the Science. While the society-at-large may scoff at the unreality of Unarian claims, followers will continue to maintain their reality, despite seemingly irrefutable evidence to the contrary through the process of mundane reason. The displays in the other six rooms include audiovisual presentations of the Message, UFO sightings, and conspiracy theories regarding military coverups.

The crop circles in England, the science of robotics. and the human DNA structure are displayed through models and photographs. Room 4, designed to imitate the interior of a pyramid, enshrines the theories of Erich von Daniken by presenting "evidence" that the Elohim visited ancient Egypt as well as many tribal cultures. Room 5 represents the interior of a cell multiplied 200.000 times (representing the Raelians' interest in cloning). The solar system is displayed in Room 6, where a video explains the concept of infinity. and photos and text attacking Darwin's theory of evolution and lauding the rapid strides in cloning line the walls.

Some of the misunderstandings about the prophecy and Uriel's work on Earth. according to students, came from the lies told by the press and by the government. Although the media played a hand in advertising Unarius, it also ridiculed Uriel by mocking her mannerisms and motivations. A local newspaper once ran a headline about Uriel which read, "The Gods Must Be Crazy." Maury Povitch of the tabloid TV show Current Affair equated the Unarian activities to "stupid pet tricks."

Students interpreted these events by pointing out the errors of misrepresentation. They questioned the methods and motives of the media. They took issue with particular journalists and television commentators. explaining their misconduct as evidence of "many negative past lives."

Outsiders often laid claim to hallucinations on the part of Unarian seekers. According to the students, exactly the opposite was actually taking place. By citing the authority of the Science, a competent practitioner could see through the falsity of this claim. Clearly, it was the reporters and so-called scientists. like myself, who were having hallucinations, thereby leading the public astray with false reports. The hallucinations stemmed froth the illusory deception of past-life karma, which distorted the mind and the objectivity of outsiders' assessment of reality. Furthermore. they accounted for any credibility gap with charges of malicious interference by those bent on misrepresentation. Unarians report they had often tried to enlighten the media, and even top levels of government about their "Mission," but the information was intercepted by the Men in Black, the legendary shadowy figures who appear only to whisk away "true" information about dying saucers.

According to Mikael Rothstein Several “UFO religions” are expressions of Theosophical imagination and social entrepreneurship. Rothstein writes that during the  1950s, Theosophically-inclined flying saucer enthusiasts revivified the Mahatmas of classical Theosophy by reinventing them as benevolent “Space Brothers” arriving on  Earth in physical vehicles to teach and protect the self-destructive children of the planet. The notion that the Mahatmas originated from somewhere special, or belonged to a place out of reach, was by classical Theosophical ideas, but distant planets provided a new and fresh realm for Theosophical imaginations.

Another group that deserves a closer look is the by now somewhat in-famous Raelian Movement.  It’s line of argumentation is shaped by millenarian and eschatological reasoning.

The Raëlian Movement or Raëlian Church, is a hierarchical organization with as a symbol that is reminiscent of the Theosophical Society: 

The Elohim they say are many thousands of years ahead of us in scientific understanding and achievement. Therefore their biological knowledge of how we best function can help us design a political. social and economic system adapted to the well­being of every single individual and to the greater good of humanity.

The Elohim would like to help humanity create a world of leisure. creativity and fulfillment, free from the burden of money and need to work, a world where people can exert choice over their lives, discover their own individuality and responsibility and flourish as they wish, thus removing the root causes of suffering, crime and disease.

'They have already given us a philosophy based on love. freedom and choice able to resolve all the problems of today. which the Raelian Religion is living and therefore displaying as a clear example to the world. This also includes a charter aimed at world peace where among other things. everyone has the right to food, shelter and education.

These human values are the only ones, which the Elohim wish to support, which is why they will only land at the Raelian embassy requested and designed by them. ("Benefits to Humanity")

The children of Abraham are partially descendants of the Elohim, and it was especially with them that the Elohim retained contact as a way of progressively educating the rest of humanity. That is why all the main religions are waiting for their messengers to return to Jerusalem. Jesus, who promised to return on a cloud: Muhammad, who said he would return from the seven heavens on AI Burrak: along with Moses, Buddha, and all the other prophets, who are presently living with the Elohim, will return with them.  This will demystify and yet vindicate Jerusalem's spiritual role. Jerusalem, the "city of peace." has always been the privileged point of contact between the Elohim and humanity. Solomon's Temple was the original embassy welcoming Yahweh. and an  Embassy. which is now being prepared, will be the Third Temple.

But if this does not happen, repercussions from above will strike and destroy human civilization. On the contrary, if they meet and behave as demanded, the world will develop into an ideal place. For our purpose the interesting point to be made is that the erection of the Embassy and the actions planned to take place around it have a double perspective: If it is done correctly, it will lead to a glorious future.

If it is neglected or done improperly, things will take the opposite turn. The basic soteriological perspective in Rael's teachings therefore is equally occupied with the individual's metamorphosis through initiations and spiritual development through sensual meditation, on the one hand, and the requirements regarding the building of the Embassy and the activities in that connection, on the other. This, however, does not mean that the performing of sensual meditation or initiation into the inner movement is detached from the Embassy. Sensual meditation is designed to "allow the human to discover his or her body and especially to learn how to use it to enjoy sounds, colors, smells, tastes, caresses and particularly a sexuality felt with all ones senses [sic]" while the formal initiation ("the transmission of the cellular code") links the individual directly with the Elohim. According to the Elohim, life within the Embassy will be quite different from what people normally experience, as no sensual-not to say sexual-limitations will exist. Life is for pleasure, and the Elohim are masters of enjoyment. Further, only people who have worked hard on the Elohim's behalf-in effect, the higher initiates of the movement will get the opportunity to reside in the building. Matters of spiritual development as well as formal initiation are therefore directly related to the Embassy and the conditions that will prevail in relation to it.

So the Raelian Embassy is a kind of mirror reflecting the hopes and visions of the Raelians as well as the social and political reality of the movement.

Rael presents himself as an extraterrestrial half-breed. Similarly. the Embassy represents a unification of things human and superhuman: The Embassy will be built by humans, but on the basis of extraterrestrial instructions. It will house extraterrestrials but welcome humans as guests. Above all, it will serve as the mediating point where creators and those created can meet. In terms of mythology, the building incarnates the very notion of the Elohim and the idea of them as the creators of humanity. Nothing else would justify the construction of it. But then again, no religious building would stand without a myth or theology to support it. Looking forward to a future event of ultimate importance  the erection of the Embassy-the Raelians draw the future into the present. The project is not yet completed, but the belief in its eventual realization makes the future event part and parcel of the realities of the present. The myth about the future-the millenarian prospect of the return of the Elohim-constitutes a reality which is as firm as the notions created by the myths of origin.

By contemplating "the Embassy" and what it stands for, people will automatically reinforce the beliefs, ambitions, and concerns that made the plans for raising the building relevant in the first place. The scale model of the Embassy is a pre-configuration of what is believed will happen in the future. In effect it is a powerful symbol of the millennium-an emblem of all Radian aspirations.

Contrary to what Raelians themselves would say, this means that the actual erection of the building is, in fact, of less importance. What counts is the belief in it. the hopes for it, and the work done to realize the demands of the Elohim. The idea of the Embassy gives life to the social fabric of the Raelian religion just as any religious expectation nourishes those awaiting the return of the gods, the reappearance of the savior, the resurrection of the dead, the coming of the New Age, or whatever. Furthermore, as long as the building does not stand, the Raelians have a solid case. Nothing can possibly prove them wrong. For that reason the postponement of the project, from a strategic point of view, is not a disaster for the movement, no matter what arguments they may present to the contrary.

The dream of the Embassy provides excellent opportunities for communicating about the Elohim if not with them. Indeed, a sacred place (and  in this case, the idea of it) may be a place for interhuman communication about socially constructed divine beings, which is, in a certain sense. what religion is all about.

As we have seen, the idea of the Embassy is in every possible way linked with the notion of the Elohim, which means that nothing regarding the Embassy can be said or done without communicating about the superhuman beings. It is this continuous communication about the Elohim, especially about their eventual arrival, that is the ideological foundation for the projected Embassy and which therefore could be seen as a symbol of institutionalized anticipation. In short, whether projected or realized, the Embassy is a manifestation of the Raelians' millenarian expectations.

From the Raelian perspective. cloning does not represent a moral threat to our society. because members believe that all life is artificial, since it has always been created out of DNA matter in laboratories by extraterrestrial scientists. Raelians would argue that there is an infinite regress-no beginning-so any question regarding "original" DNA would be moot.

In 1978 the Raelians held a press conference to announce their intention of creating a new political party. or " Ie mouvement pour la Geniocratie Mondiale." They presented three candidates for the legislature. and in March 1978, they managed to vote in a Raelian named Michel Terrusse as city councillor in the town of Sarlat.

While Rael was away in December 1977, his house was searched and his files were seized by the police in front of his wife and two children. Some of the top guides were also targeted. For example. Jean Thierry's apartment in Paris was broken into and searched by the police. Jean Gary's apartment met a similar fate a week later. A number of guides were taken into police stations and held for questioning. It appears that the combination of a swastika symbol (which by error was printed backward on one of their posters) and a "fascist" political platform, as well as the usual concern regarding "les sectes" fueled the strong police control measures.

The Raelians' reaction to persecution (actual or perceived) was rational and prudent. Rael has a history of backing down when the public reacts negatively to his projects. He abandoned the pursuit of geniocracy, explaining. "we must choose between spreading the message and the geniocracy. We are not ready to fight on two fronts.... I At any rate] ... thus far we lack a tool to measure the intelligence of an individual."

While the geniocratie was abandoned as a workable utopian project, it did have an enduring effect on the Raelian movement itself. whose internal organizational structure was modeled on the two-class system that Rael said he observed during his alleged visit to the Elohim's planet. Rael describes a two-caste society, the 700 upper-class Elohim living on the Planet of the Immortals, and the 8,400 Terriens. These periodically recloned Immortals cannot reproduce, hut "unite themselves freely as they wish (without] any form of jealousy." On the lower-class planet, the 8,400 people are limited to two children per couple, and all must go before a review hoard to be judged for cloning privileges.''

December 13 commemorates Rael's first 1973 encounter with the Eloha. and October 7 his second encounter and visit to the alien planet. Transmissions are  performed during these ‘ festival’ gatherings at 3:00 in the afternoon, a time supposedly designated by the Elohim.

Then there is the Order of Rael's Angels, a  women's network and missionary project that appears to herald the Elohim's imminent descent.

In July 1998, Rael announced a new revelation from the Elohim that has aroused millenarian excitement among his following, particularly among the women. The Elohim had just asked Rael to create a special women's "religious order" called "the Order of Rael's Angels" to "gather young women who consciously wish to put their inner and outer beauty at the service of their Creators.

Within this order, there arc two kinds of angels. the Pink and the White They can he identified by the white or pink feathers appended to their necklace,. and they may wear up to six feathers, representing different levels in the Order (currently. Rael's wife. Sophie. is the top, four-feathered Pink Angel).

 The Angels have two aims: to "take care of" Rael and the other thirty-nine prophet, and the Elohim when they return, attending to their comfort, dietary needs, and general well-being: second, they must spread the message to women outside the movement. Pink Angels have an additional and more specialized role-to prepare themselves to be the companions and lovers of the extraterrestrials and prophets. and possibly to become the mothers of a new race of "heroes of old, men of renown."

To prepare for this vocation. the Angels must cultivate "religiosity. discipline. serenity. harmony. purity. humility, charisma, and an inner and outer beauty." Beauty is important. for the extraterrestrials told Rae, "we prefer to he surrounded by individuals of great beauty corresponding to the absolutely perfect original models of the different races that we once created on Earth, physical flaws are all due to the errors of generations past, which have damaged our genetic inheritance."

Pink Angels are called "the Chosen Ones" and must take vows of celibacy and save themselves for the extraterrestrials. although they are permitted to have sexual relations with each other or with Rael, as he is currently the only prophet on Earth. White Angels have no such restrictions on their love lives. The Angels have met four times in training seminars with Rael, who instructs them in their mission and conducts meditations. and they have designed a new missionary outreach to bring more women into the movement.

In order to become one of Rael's Angels, the candidates must fill out an application, attach a photograph. and explain why they feel called for this mission. Rael chooses the Angels, who must be of the age of majority in their home country. In 1999 there were 171 Angels. 55 in North America, 63 in Europe, and 45 in Asia. and only 6 of these are Pink. Their ranks are increasing, however.

In 1992 Rael founded FIREPHIM, an organization dedicated to protecting the rights of religious, sexual, and racial minorities. Raelians dramatize their moral imperative to "respect differences" by marching in the international gay parades. Radians are uncompromising in their stand against violence. since according to Rael's radical ethics, "the one holding the weapon is as responsible as the one giving the orders." They believe that this precept would have prevented the Nazi atrocities since Nazi officers could not justify their actions as "just following orders." Rael preaches. paradoxically. that "the life of only one person is more precious than that of the whole of humanity" and that "even if the Elohim (GOD) asked them to kill someone, they should refuse." Many Swiss Raelians have served prison sentences for refusing to submit to military service, since Switzer­land does not recognize conscientious objector status. Raelians have organized demonstrations against nuclear testing and are encouraged by FIREPHIM to write letters of protest against various violations of human rights.

The Elohim's concern over the well-being and sustainability of our planet has galvanized Raelians into handing out free condoms to Quebec high school students, and to stop buying newspapers as a protest against deforestation. All these activities are part of a master plan to raise the awareness of humanity so that it will choose life over nuclear self-destruction.

The utopian dream of the Raelian Religion is the "Geniocracy." a perfect society based upon the rule of geniuses. In 1977 Rael published La Geniocratie. which describes the social system that Rael allegedly observed when he toured the planet of the Elohim; a "geniocracy" of intelligent scientists and creative artists. awarded political leadership on the basis of intelligence test results.

When Rael returned to Earth, he enthusiastically called for support from his followers to establish a geniocracy on Earth: "You will also participate in the creation of a worldwide political party advocating humanitarianism and geniocracy, as they are described in the first message of the Elohim, and you will support its candidates. Only via geniocracy can humanity move forward into the golden age."

Nowhere in Rael's books does an actual date appear for the return of the Elohim, and vet until around the late 1980s. the year 2025 was often mentioned as the final possible date for the arrival of the Elohim and the thirty-nine prophets in Jerusalem." I have this date written, several times, in my notes taken down in the 1980s. This year was later replaced by 2035.

Another reinterpretation of the oral teachings that may be of significance concerns the fate of the boxes of frontal bone (the "third eyes" cut out of the foreheads of dead Raelians) that reside in a bank vault in Geneva, Switzerland. My initial understanding was that these relics were in storage for the Elohim, who would eventually need them for their cloning procedures.

Sociologist Alain Bedard argues that the Raelians have increasingly tended to de-emphasize the extraterrestrial component in favor of the psychological and emotional benefits they receive by working for the goals of the movement.'' He gave as an example his interviews with guides in the 1980s who stressed the importance of feeling a sense of telepathic communication with the Elohim while they were performing the transmission of the cellular plan. He compared this to the recent statements of guides who insist they focus only on the individual's inner potential and try to convey a feeling of love during the ritual."

It seems reasonable to argue that the Raelian religion has begun to resemble a Club Med offering New Age therapies more closely than a flying saucer church. Techniques to promote individual success and well-being have replaced telepathic communication with the Elohim at the meetings, as the original other­worldy goals were increasingly downplayed. If one compares the Raelians of today with those of the 1970s and 1980s, as time goes on they depend less on the extraterrestrials but rely on the Raelian social institutions and networks to provide meaning in their lives. It may be a sign of secularization and maturity that the movement is beginning to place more emphasis on values and guidelines in dealing with everyday life, and less on telepathic communications with the Elohim. Raelian values are explained in a videocassette, Values in the Millennium, and indicate Raelian pride and self-consciousness as a viable culture.

Without doubt an important attraction of UFO belief is rooted in its capacity to synthesize elements and system parts of the esoteric, spiritualistic, and theosophical or Christian-traditions and to reconcile them with science, space technology and modern cosmology. Especially the traditional numinous personnel (for example. the so-called Ascended Masters of theosophy or the esoteric representation of Jesus Christ) surfaces quite frequently in the spectrum of UFO movements and UFO publications with a consistent pattern of functions. However, this personnel is considerably extended by interplanetary newcomers, as in the case of the space fleet commander and universal master "Ashtar (Sheran)" and of other prominent members of the "Cosmic Brotherhood." the light fleet of the star fraternity or the "Galactic Federation." The cosmological map is extended by the existence of intergalactic or multidimensional parallel worlds, and in some cases this is connected with the conception of a spiritual development of souls to a "higher resonating frequency" in other cosmic "spheres" or "realms."  The interplanetary light fraternity from these parallel worlds will help earthly humankind during the imminent immense renewal and purification.

Garry Trompf, comparance between Melanesian cargoism and with UFO movements concentrated  in his case study  on the Sunburst community's founded in California around 1970 by Norman Paulsen.

Norman Paulsen (1929-2006) founded the Brotherhood of the Sun (Sunburst Farms) in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. Paulsen, a disciple of the Indian guru Paramahansa Yogananda (1893-1952), taught a melange of alternative spiritual beliefs, drawing upon ufology, Theosophy, esoteric Christianity, Hopi traditions, Kriya Yoga and meditation. He established a commune on Sunburst Farm near Santa Barbara. After Paulsen’s death in 2006, his widow Patty Paulsen became the spiritual leader of Sunburst. Fifty years after it was founded in 1969, Sunburst continues to exist, an impressive fact given the high failure rate of both new religious movements and utopian communal enterprises.

By the late 1970s, internal disagreements led to the Sunburst community losing members. This in turn caused financial constraints that led to the California property being sold, and some members moved to Big Springs Ranch in Northeastern Nevada and later Salt Lake City, where they began a natural foods businesses. In 1996 Sunburst returned to California's central coast with the purchase of Sunburst Sanctuary.

The cosmological belief patterns of the Brotherhood of the Sun were expressed in among others the belief that there must have been a continent called "Alu" 12,000 years ago in the middle of the Pacific. apart from Australia and New Guinea. This is the lost holy motherland on which all the important events in cosmic sacred history were played out. The ancient culture heroes were beings from other worlds who influenced the evolutionary process in humankind ,rough genetic manipulation. Of course, this idea ancient astronauts being the original (extraterrestrial) culture heroes of a genetically manipulated mankind­, already one of the main "fundamentals" in the emerging discourse on "ancient astronauts" or "paleo-SETI", as is evident in the famous case of Erich von Daniken (Chariots of the Gods, 1968) and many other authors like also Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval, inspired by him , the fantastic legacy of Charles Fort, and the Theosophical Archeology as pointed out by Wiktor Stoczkowski.

According to Norman Paulsen's teachings, about a million years ago the beings from other worlds escaped from an interstellar war and reached the Earth: These have been regarded as gods in earthly religions to this day.

- Each spaceship will be accompanied by "at least one Angel": "Angels will be in charge and Earth is to be a Paradise." With their special "training programs" and their "advanced technology," they will be able to raise people to "full consciousness" within sixteen hours.

- World government will be taken over by "the Spiritual Hierarchy" and all communication systems are to be replaced by their "advanced technologies." With this help, the whole atmosphere of the Earth will be transformed and purified.

-  A photon belt will hit Earth ("like a massive tornado of energy") and within a few years (by 2012), Earth will become a "galactic showcase." The consequences will be ecological and sociological equilibrium, promsess in five dimensions, and immediate awareness of God. (The year 2012 prophecy has since been taken over by David Icke)-

-  The Earth will then become an incomparable paradise: "'We are bringing this creation to its end. We are now creating a galactic society.' This will happen  before the end of this year [1997]!"

-  Finally, the "dormant" pineal gland will be activated and all the bodily DNA of human beings will be altered; an immediate healing process (depicted with biblical allusions) will be brought into play.

-  In the end everybody and everything will attain full consciousness ("The entire solar system will become fully conscious, even the planets"). Human beings will finally achieve a superhuman level, and thus the promise is, "You can make reality whatever you want it to be."

"It is now the Millennium." The Earth will be changed back into its original condition of "Heaven on Earth." Unusual geological and climatic phenomena (e.g., the flooding of the River Oder in Poland and Germany in 1997) are recognizable "signs of the times." Since the changes are going to be dramatic, the friends from other planets will have to evacuate the human beings, at least temporarily, in their spaceships with "holographic" environments. After a spiritual "ascension," complete consciousness will prevail and people will be able to design their own appearance, to be perfectly healthy, to create their own dwelling place and "to live for hundreds or thousands of years "H: "As they say in the film Star Wars: 'the force is with YOU!' " In this critical time, the Galactic Federation and the angels will provide "counsellors, supplies, teachers and new technology."

The logo of the original GCP brought the integration of these various religious and cosmological aspects very clearly into the picture. Under the rainbow there is a UFO, then the dove of peace and two angels with apocalyptic trumpets and, beneath, the Earth held in two protective hands. The wreath surrounding the lower part (including Planet Earth) resembles the emblem of the United Nations and appears to stretch its branches into interstellar space (the "Galactic Society").

In their cosmology, these groups (GCP, GC, and PAO) agree with the spectrum of New Age or esoteric movements and their ufological variants (Ashtar­Command, etc.): a completely new era is coming to birth. This implies a massive transformation of cosmic dimensions. Since everything hangs together, outer objective events interlace with the inner and spiritual. The otherworldly culture heroes and spiritual masters of antiquity ("Ascended Masters," "Angelic Realms," "Spiritual Hierarchy," and so on) will come again and help to set up the paradise on Earth with the help of their spiritual and technological advance. Then the Earth will again he what was intended in its creation: a "Heaven on Earth." In spite of the consistent references to otherworldly life forms, this worldview is decidedly geocentric: The Earth is something special, the jewel among the planets. As if in a "people's pilgrimage to Zion," spaceships are hastening here from all regions of the universe in order to share in experiencing the transformation of the Earth and its civilization. The Earth then will be a "galactic showcase." A great work of multiplication falls to all earthly "light-workers" and "star seeds"'-: humanity must be prepared for the time to come and must be gathered (for example. by world meditation days) until enough "critical mass" of spiritual energy is accumulated to harmonize all earthly vibrations toward the peaceful future. The inevitable woes and symptoms of the end time are registered with anxious but joyful anticipation because a great evolutionary change is imminent just as the spaceships finally land.

Then, a Big Beam will protect humans from harmful consequences of the Earth changes. What the groups say here is not unanimous. Sometimes it appears necessary to he "beamed up" to the spaceships for protection, but, on the other hand, the ships might eventually make a direct landing since the transformation of the Earth will not be so dangerous, but will produce immediate full consciousness and various paranormal capacities. In any event, the Big Beam will only be a short intermezzo, a brief rapture, since life will continue on "Mother Earth," which is meantime being changed into paradise.

The task of the earthly "Ground Crew" is to cooperate with this process or even to hasten it, to hold themselves ready as a mediation and contact team, and to prepare humankind for the revolutionary changes. For the Melanesian Cargo Cults, the consumer goods and commodities of Western civilization became objects of religious concern. However, here it is the supposed superior technology of the aliens (passing between parallel worlds, velocity beyond the speed of light, teleportation or "beaming," and so on) as well as their higher or paranormal spiritual faculties (spiritual awakening, full consciousness, time travel, bilocation, telepathy, etc.) which, together with other gifts and "supplies," exercise an exotic charm. Yet it is fascinating to see how a UFO-believing group can quietly reconstruct its outlook in terms of a simple esoteric "ascension" scenario-even after a phase-off of the strongest millenarian tension with its specific time schedules.

The emergence of the flying saucer as a mystical symbol is virtually unprecedented in the twentieth century. Science fiction films had long presented images of rocket ships and aliens. but their value as mystical symbols was probably limited by history and circumstance, part of the cultural lag that preceded the Atomic Age. But the flying circle, as a symbol, took on tremendous significance as it was caught up in the storytelling of the times.

According to anthropologist Pascal Boyer, who approaches the religious creativity of humans from the field of cognitive science, a prime characteristic of religious ideas and experiences is that they entertain "counterintuitive" elements. These elements transcend ordinary intuitive ontologies (i.e., universally acknowledged ideas of the world and the categories that structure it) which, says Boyer, makes them excellent tools for thought and reasoning.
 Because such ideas are "attention demanding," people are able to remember a myth or another type of sacred narrative better than mundane descriptions of "ordinary things." On the other hand, no religious system is entirely composed of counterintuitive elements. On the contrary. according to Boyer, most religious systems will rest primarily upon an intuitive ontology of the world and the counterintuitive : "Supernatural- dimensions will, in fact, he few. Some kind of ontological balance is needed, and too strong an emphasis on counterintuitive representations may prove fatal for a religious discourse. The cognitive categories that structure the Second, there must he enough incentives to actually recall and tell the story on enough occasions to cause it to he transmitted."

Considering the living saucer myth as developed by contactees. the basic elements of the stories are easily remembered. In this connection it is interesting to note that the content of the space people's proclamations is usually not as emphasised in the stories as their very presence.

Reading Truman Bethurum's tales of his intercourse with people from planet Clarion, for instance, one is astonished by the lack of information about almost everything. What is at the center of the narrative is the fact that he met with them and that the enigma of the living saucers consequently is solved.

Also, from the very beginning, when the flying saucers hit the public imagination in 1947, the issue was a media success. Indeed, newspaper editors and radio broadcasters were very active in distributing flying saucer rumors. When the contactees entered the arena they received the same kind of attention, and their books were circulated in very large numbers.

During the American Civil War, when reports from the battlefields were often unreliable, many newspapers used a headline that warned their readers that the story they were about to read might not be accurate. The headline was "Good News, If True."

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