Truman Bethurum and the Origin of the Demonic Theory of UFO – Part 1

I’ve been researching the roots of Christian Ufology lately. I’ve already written on initial Christian reactions to the advent of the flying saucer phenomenon and how the idea that UFOs were Biblically foretold harbingers of God’s judgment was further developed by charismatic and Pentecostal preachers affiliated with the Voice of Healing magazine.

Ironically, it was (again) the Voice of Healing circle who is largely responsible for the Demonic Theory of UFO.

In the April 1954 issue of Voice of Healing, Gordon Lindsay printed an advertisement for his new book, The Mystery of the Flying Saucers in the Light of the Bible.

Lindsay had previously written about flying saucers in a chapter of The World Today – In Prophecy, but it wasn’t until the publication of The Mystery of the Flying Saucers that he began to suggest that something more sinister was at work behind the UFO phenomenon.

It is generally acknowledged that in The Mystery of the Flying Saucers, Lindsay first connected the Nephilim of Genesis 6 with the UFO phenomenon:

“It is believed that an unnatural and illicit affinity developed between the anti-diluvian race and creatures of another order. This belief is based on Gen. 6:4, and is held by a remarkably large group of sound Bible scolars. […] If true, then this illicit affinity which played a prominent part in anti-diluvian apostacy, may well have its parallel in the days in which we are living.” (p. 87)

Even within the April 1954 advertisement in Voice of Healing, the cause of this shift is evident: “Christians are being told that people from another planet have landed – that these visitors have come to save the world from destruction. A new cult is forming.” Upon investigating the contactee movement, Lindsay uncovered some “strange facts” of “apparently sinister significance.”

The April 1954 issue of Voice of Healing also included an excerpt, the first chapter of The Mystery of the Flying Saucers. After ruling out several theories, he wrote that he felt “the time has come when Christians should have explanation of this phenomenon from  a Scriptural standpoint.”

“Are these ‘Flying Saucers’ of prophetic significance? Are they controlled by intelligent beings from another planet? Does their coming have some relation to events which are to take place at the end of the age? How does the whole thing fit into the prophetic picture? If such intelligences exist, how can they pilot ships through outer space? Are they of different physical nature than human beings?  Is their purpose beneficent? Could they be angelic beings? Or diabolical beings?”

The excerpt also featured an image of one of George Adamski’s (faked) flying saucer photos, mentioning his book, Flying Saucers Have Landed, by name. Once again, the caption suggests a demonic solution to the mystery: “Are the flying saucers a creation of man, are they of Divine origin, or are they something sinister?”

At some point during the 25 service “WV Grant Revival” which began March 14, 1954 at Angelus Temple (Los Angeles, CA), Truman Bethurum, author of Aboard the Flying Saucer (1954), was allowed to speak.

13457598Bethurum was a well-known contactee and a regular at George Van Tassel’s Giant Rock Spacecraft Conventions (In fact, Bethurum mentions the forthcoming Giant Rock convention will be held on April 3-4, 1954; this was the very first Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention held at Giant Rock, which reportedly drew estimates of 3000 to 6000 people in that first year).

Bethurum’s story of multiple trips to a the planet Clarion, a planet hidden by our moon, with the voluptuous, English-speaking female captain Aura Rhanes is hard to forget.

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He claimed that his second wife left him in 1955 over his obsession with Captain Rhanes. Among his other claims was that “There is life on every planet” and that furthermore “planet Earth is the only planet that does not have inter-planetary means of travel,” implying that there was not only life on every planet but civilizations!

Bethurum

And of course unless there is a monstrous astronomical conspiracy afoot, there is no planet Clarion and, thus far, we have only found life on this planet. Even if we do ever discover extraterrestrial life, it does not seem to exist on every planet.

Gordon Lindsay himself singled out Truman Bethurum by name in the June 1954 edition of Voice of Healing in an article called  “Further Developments on the Flying Saucer.”

This is the point where the Demonic Eschatological Hypothesis of UFO truly came into being.

Read Part 2

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