Click here to support the Daily Grail for as little as $US1 per month on Patreon

[Review] Raël, the Alien Prophet

Netflix has recently added one of the best documentaries on UFOs they have available on their platform. It has nothing to do with Disclosure or unconfirmed rumors regarding crashed saucers and dead aliens kept hidden away in some secret facility. Instead, it deals with a topic which, despite being a continuous embarrassment to those who want the UFO phenomenon to finally attain full respectability in the eyes of the media and academia —something which hasn’t quite happened yet, despite how much progress there has been in the last six years— it will always remain a part of UFO culture… for better or for worse.

I’m talking about Contacteeism: The claims made by individuals over the decades that they are in direct contact with the beings controlling UFOs, and have been appointed as their official emissaries here on Earth to transmit their wisdom to the rest of us, in order to prepare the path for that fateful day when the visitors (‘Space Brothers’, in the old Contactee parlance of the 1950’s and 60’s) finally deign to land and walk among us in plain sight, ushering a new era for humanity.

Contactees are rare nowadays. Even rarer still are the religious cults which sometimes emanated from these claims of UFO contact; one of the last examples of both is Claude Vorilhon, a.k.a. Raël, the subject of this limited documentary series.


The series was a real eye opener for me since I always kept a mild interest in Raelianism, and their beliefs that all life on planet Earth had been the result of genetic experimentation conducted by the Elohim: a race of extraterrestrial beings which our ancestors wrongly confused as gods. Since these beliefs seemed to be also an excuse to indulge in libertine sexual behavior (nude parties and such) as far as UFO ‘religions’ went I used to place the Raelians somewhere between the totally negative cults like Heaven’s Gate and Aum Shinrikyo, and the totally innocuous like Unarius or the Aetherius society. “Vorilhon is probably a wacky mix between Hugh Heffner and the Dalai Lama,” I thought, “but he’s not ordering his disciples to commit suicide or kill people, right?”

Now, after finishing this documentary, I would place the Raelians closer to the negative side of the scale…


The series, which is divided into 4 parts, does a good job of following the rise and fall of Rael as a spiritual leader. From his humble beginnings in 1973 when he was appearing on TV shows to tell the story of how he made contact with the Elohim while taking a hike (late night shows and the media was an important tool to disseminate his message despite the inevitable mockery he confronted from the audience and the shows’ hosts); to the stratospheric growth of his followers, which enabled him to build a resort-like compound where hundreds of adepts would gather to pray and frolic, free of their middle-class Catholic morality; how the movement had to be forcibly relocated to Canada and the US when it was chased down by scandals and accusations of pedophilia (not aimed at Raël directly, even though he did marry a 16-year old girl with her mother’s consent); the Raelian rise culminates with their claims that, following in the footsteps of their extraterrestrial ‘creators’, they had successfully cloned a human baby through the expertise of Dr. Brigitte Boisselier (who was not really a geneticist but held a PhD in chemistry), which resulted in Congressional hearings in the United States and Raël getting a photograph raising his hand in full white ‘stelar’ attire, after which he proceeded to explain to members of Congress how cloning technology was a crucial step humanity needed to take to attain immortality.

It all finally comes crashing down after Boisselier, who is featured prominently in the series, fails to provide any evidence that Eve —the child she supposedly cloned in 2002 and was supposedly living happily in Israel with her parents— even existed. Debunked and disgraced, she sought refuge in Mexico while Rael took an indefinite leave of absence in Japan, where his trail of womanizing and financial frauds apparently wasn’t able to reach him. Living comfortably as a ‘retired guru’, the series manages to capture the essence behind the venerable beard and the beatific smile: a control freak who got addicted to being the center of attention.

What had always fascinated me about Raelianism were the bizarre contradictions in their thinking: It was a religion that negated spirituality, offering prayers and rituals to flesh-and-blood extraterrestrials even though Raelians claim their ‘true’ religion was ‘science’. Raelians were incredibly sympathetic to the plights of minorities like homosexuals or girls in developing countries which suffer the mutilation of their genitals, but they ended up treating women in their ranks like cattle. The Elohim, who were so powerful they had even managed to conquer death itself, and kept previous prophets like Jesus and Mohammed still alive through cloning, still needed humans here on Earth to build a special ’embassy’ for them (complete with a swimming pool!) so they could show en-masse and bring forth the new golden age; but the fact that the initial plans for this Jetsons-like Playboy mansion was to build it in Israel ,of all places, seemed to me so absurd that to this day I still wonder if Vorilhon’s experiences were not complete fabrications —nothing yells ‘Trickster’ like demanding you build an embassy with the symbol of the swastika smack in the middle of the Jewish State.

Because herein lies something I have come to realize after all these years of UFO studies, which most people in UFOlogy will never care to admit: Hoaxes play an important role in this mystery and society in general, whether we like it or not. Watching the historic footage filmed in the 90s when Boisselier was in the eye of the hurricane, one wonders what would have happened with legislation that ended up banning all research in human cloning, had Raël not decided to exploit the controversy surrounding this disruptive technology and its disturbing implications for his own personal benefit.

(As an aside, I’m struck by the dichotomy between how many governments strongly reacted against the prospect of human cloning back in those days, versus how most of them show an appalling passivity against the risks of AI today)

I watched Raël, the Alien Prophet as I was taking a break from reading Diana Pasulka’s latest book, Encounters, which I am planning to write a review of in the future. Briefly, Encounters can be summed up as the description of several individuals’ beliefs in their alleged contact with non human intelligences. Pasulka gives special emphasis to these claims, given the impressive professional achievements of the people she interviewed, which (according to her in both the book and interviews she’s given) “helped shape history.”

Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, like the ‘Invisibles’ Pasulka is so fond of, also shaped history. She joined in the ranks of many illustrious scientists like Nicola Tesla, Jack Parsons, John Lilly, Kary Mullis —and perhaps even a ‘Tyler D’ or a Garry Nolan— who are a stark reminder that being a brilliant researcher in your field does NOT in any way turn you immune to delusional beliefs. Or to the influence of charismatic individuals like Claude Vorilhon.

The series should also be watched by UFO enthusiasts who think having someone like Dave Grusch swearing under oath the United States have crashed disks is a huge step toward ‘Disclosure’. Big deal! 30 years ago Congress had Raël swearing under oath that we are all the science project of some short green-skinned sex pervs from outer space, and the only thing that came out of it was that it predicted how a man bun would make anyone look like a douchebag —even without a swastika medallion.

Mobile menu - fractal