2014 November

The Perfect Spot for a Contact

By | Contactees, Filmmaking | 2 Comments

As promised, I did go to Desert Center this weekend.  I missed the 62nd anniversary of George Adamski’s alleged encounter with Orthon by two days, but I figure that’s still pretty good.  I shot some footage for the film up there, but really, I was on a quest to find the actual, magical spot where it all went down.

I should point out a distinction:  Obviously, whether George Adamski actually met a man named Orthon from Venus on that fateful day in 1952 is a controversial notion.  But George was, in fact, in Desert Center that day.  And he did walk off into the desert, alone, and a few minutes later his friends joined him to find him in an excited state.

As such, this must have happened at a particular spot.  After checking with my sources, I found that the exact spot was either unknown or unimportant.  For the sake of this film, I wanted to get as close as possible.  Realizing that this was not going to happen, I decided to just pick a spot and shoot what we were there to shoot.

The thing with Desert Center is that it’s a whole lot of rocks.  There’s very little vegetation, no trees, nothing really to distinguish one spot from another out there.  So, I figured, perhaps it doesn’t matter what spot was THE spot, because all the spots sort of look the same.

Pictured: A lot of spots that look the same.

So we set up the camera and started shooting.  The desert is a strange place, because it gives one a sense that anything can and will happen.  So it’s no surprise that people have mystical experiences out there.  I was thinking this very thing, about how the desert is a strange and magical place, when I noticed something interesting about the area.

Here is a photograph from George Hunt Williamson’s book, Other Tongues Other Flesh, of George Adamski at Desert Center, only a few feet away from where he claimed Orthon stood.

And here I am, where we chose to set up the camera to shoot:

Nailed it.

Okay, granted, it looks like George was standing a little further down the slope, by the old computer monitor someone had dragged out there for target practice.  But I thought the coincidence was remarkable, and I choose to take it as a good omen that this film is on the right track.

We wrapped up our shooting and headed down the road back toward civilization, and we came across this:

Literally, a sign we were on the right track.

Who was Orthon?

By | Contactees, Production Art | No Comments

This Thursday, November 20th, will be the 62nd anniversary of what some have claimed is one of the most significant dates in history.  November 20th, 1952 is the day that George Adamski got the impression that he should head out to the desert, because there was something waiting for him there.

So he, with a group of friends, soon found themselves on the highway toward Parker, Arizona, outside of a town on the edge of Joshua Tree called Desert Center.  Suddenly, George’s impression that he should go out to the desert became an impression that he had arrived.  They pulled over, and the six friends remained by the car as George walked alone into the desert with his camera and telescope, with which he took pictures of a cigar-shaped mothership hovering over the area.  The pictures he he took that day have not survived, and Adamski claimed the photographic plates were damaged by what transpired next.

As a side note, there is an entry in the Project Bluebook archives indicating that on November 20th, 1952, a B-29 encountered a large cigar-shaped UFO in the vicinity of Desert Center, California.  In other words, at the same time that George and his friends claimed to have seen one.  This report was not published until years later.

Seeing a man in the distance waving at him, Adamski walked that way, thinking the man possibly needed help.  After all, who would be out in the middle of nowhere in November?  Aside from, of course, Adamski and his friends.

As he approached, he noticed that the man was not from around here:

After some sign language and trial and error, Adamski established that the man was from the planet Venus.  In later contacts, this man revealed his name to be Orthon.  This contact formed the basis for George’s fame, and the explosion in popularity of the Contactees.  Though even George himself would not claim this was “first contact” with an alien race, it was one of particular significance in that flying saucers suddenly took on a life beyond the pages of pulp magazines and scattered newspaper reports and into the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the years to follow.

George then walked with Orthon back to the saucer craft that was hovering silently in a small cove in the mountains.  There was an energy emanating from the craft, and this energy, George said, fogged all the photographs on the plates he exposed that day.  Then George himself got a little too close to the craft, and his arm was caught in the powerful magnetic field that threw him down to the ground, pulled him up, and back again.  Orthon pulled him out of the field, and George said that from then on, every so often, his left arm would go numb and useless.

Whatever the cause of Adamski’s impairment, it is worth noting that thirteen years later, in 1965, a pain and numbness in his arm indicated the heart attack that would take his life.

Did Adamski really meet a man from Venus in the California desert 62 years ago?  There were six eyewitnesses who signed affadavits attesting to the fact.  One of them, Alice K. Wells, even drew a picture of the man they saw George speaking to in the distance:

 Were these six eyewitnesses part of a conspiracy of a non-sinister nature to spread news of alien contact, or did they really see George talking to a man in the desert?  And if so, who was that man?  What if Orthon really was from Venus?

In that case, November 20th really is a significant date in human history.  But even if it was the imagination of a group of over-excited people listening rapt to one man’s wild story, November 20th still marks the beginning of an under-appreciated movement in American history.  I, for one, plan on heading out to Desert Center this weekend to commemorate the occasion and to get some shots for the film.

Where Are All the Space Sisters?

By | Contactees | One Comment

One of the somewhat uncomfortable aspects of the Contactee movement is the under-representation of women.  There were female Contactees, such as Dana Howard and Elizabeth Klarer, but the field was dominated by the much more famous men, the Adamskis, Van Tassels, and Mengers.

But what about the Space Sisters?

Adamski, in his second book, Inside the Spaceships, claimed to have met two women named Kalna and Ilmuth aboard their mothership orbiting the Earth.

…my attention was instantly absorbed by two incredibly lovely young women who arose from one of the divans and came toward us as we entered.  This was indeed a tremendous surprise as, for some reason, I had never visualized women as space travelers. 

He goes on with his description, vividly describing their clothing and their absolutely exquisite beauty, saying that it was “attempting the impossible” to adequately do so, and that he was “enrapt” by their beauty.  But though he was enraptured, their interactions were rather brief as the story moved on to his meeting with the Master, an aged and inconceivably wise man.

Howard Menger, on the other hand, was initially contacted by a woman, whom he called “The Girl on the Rock.” Not, as one would think, “the woman on the rock.”  As he relates in his first book, From Outer Space to You, he came across her in the woods near his home in New Jersey when he was 10 years old.

Even though very young, the feeling I received was unmistakable.  It was a tremendous surge of warmth, love, and physical attraction that emanated from her to me.

In this case, I think we have to forgive the rather disturbing idea of a 600-year-old alien expressing physical attraction toward a 10-year-old human child, because this woman ultimately turned out to be his reincarnated wife from Venus.  But for Menger, his Venusian women were objects of love, a grand epic romance spanning the solar system and multiple lives.  For most of his contacts, he dealt with men.

Van Tassel stated that in millenia past, when the space brothers initially populated our planet, they left their women behind on the home planet, as you would on an important expedition like this.  (Note, that is the point HE made, not me).  The men, being lonely, then mated with the native ape like creatures to create us, the humans.

But without question the most prominent female in Contactee mythology was Aura Rhanes.

Truman Bethurum met Ms. Rhanes in the Arizona desert, and described her in terms only of complete adoration and heartfelt longing.  The thing that was different about Aura was that she was the Captain of her vessel.  How amazingly progressive those aliens are!  They have female captains! From Aboard a Flying Saucer:

Her smooth skin was a beautiful olive and roses, and her brown-eyed flashing smile seemed to make her complexion even more glowing.  I am sure she wore no makeup, but she certainly needed none.  So this queen of women was the lady captain! 

And that is where one shakes one’s head.  What started as a promising tale of the progressiveness of alien life becomes a subtly sexist commentary, because Bethurum never spoke of Aura on equal terms.  On the one hand, she was set up on a pedestal, a stunning figure of beauty, an absolute perfect fantasy.  But when he spoke of her role as captain, he called her the “little lady captain.”  Her notable achievement was not the fact that she commanded a starship, but that she did so while wearing a red skirt.

While this doesn’t necessarily excuse them, it’s worth pointing out that these men were products of their time–mid-century America.  That was an era when men did all the important things, and women stayed at home and took care of children.  At least that was the idea.  The casual kind of sexism that allowed women to be revered and taken care of while being subjugated was seen in films of the time, and it seems only natural that this attitude would be extended into space.  Though this kind of sexism is certainly still prevalent today, it was definitely much more so back then.

The space sisters, for their part, took this all in stride.  They never got upset or annoyed by this, presumably because they could read the minds of the men to whom they spoke and could understand that no offense was intended.  Or perhaps the men writing the books left out those parts.