Whenever UFO reports contain pictures, those lamenting their quality, fuzziness and pixelization would be wise to remember the photos submitted to the public by Billy Meier. They were (and still are) some of the sharpest and clearest UFO photos ever – immediately rendering them to the category of hoaxes despite (or perhaps because of) his incredible tales of a lifetime of contacts with extraterrestrials. Despite numerous debunkings, the photos are back in the news once more. An auction was held this week at Sotheby’s and a set of four of Meier’s pictures sold for … well, take a guess. Let’s hear the story of Billy Meier one more time first.
Eduard Albert “Billy” Meier is a 80+ year old, one and a half armed, Swiss farmer. He was born in 1937 and he claims to have been in contact with extra-terrestrials named the “Plejaren” or, formerly known as, the “Pleiadians”.
His claims of extra-terrestrial contact were first published in the late 1970s/early 1980s. What made Meier different from previous UFO contactees is that his photographs were of, what appeared to be, structured craft rather than the blobs or streaks of light that were the most common types of UFO photographs up to that time.
The biography at billymeierufocase.com gives this introduction to Billy Meier, who was born in Bülach, Switzerland and claims to have had his first contact with an elderly-looking alien named Sfath at age five. He claimed Sfath took him on trips around the world and through time on his spaceship until his teen, when Billy turned to committing crimes and serving time in prison. The contacts eventually resumed when he met Semjase, the granddaughter of Sfath, and other aliens he called the Plejarens from the planet Erra. In the mid 1970s, he claimed he received permission from the Plejarens to photograph them and their ships, which he called “beamships.” Those beamship photos (look like classic flying saucers – disc-shaped, domed and metallic. Meier also released photos that appeared to be dinosaurs which he claimed he took while time-traveling with Sfath.
As expected, with such clear photos (see some of them here) and such an incredible set of stories, Meier was criticized and debunked on many counts. His ex-wife (it’s always the ex-wife) revealed that he made the ships from trash can lids, pans and other household objects. The photographs of Plejaren women, who Meier said took on human forms, were actually real human women who danced in a group known as The Golddiggers and performed on television. The dinosaur pictures were identical to those found in picture books. The photos are expertly deconstructed on the billymeierufocase.com website.
Of course, none of this discouraged Billy Meier, who established a UFO religion called the “Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien” (Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) and continues (he’s now 82) to preach to his followers the ways of peace, love and truth he was given via contacts, telepathy and transmissions from the aliens. (Link to Meier’s website.) Despite the debunkings, there are people who still believe at least some of the photos to be real and Meier manages to hold and attract religious followers with his predictions – he alleged correctly foresaw the Iraq wars, the AIDS epidemic, climate change and the rise of terrorism. So have a lot of other people, but they don’t have UFO photos too.
Which brings us back to the Sotheby’s auction. (You can see the photo set here.) The estimated value of the photos was $4,000 – $6,000 US. Why so much? One of them was the inspiration for the famous “I Want to Believe” poster featured in The X-Files TV series. As a result, the lot sold for $4,375. The Sotheby’s site doesn’t identify the seller nor the buyer.
Whether you believe the photos and Billy Meier’s stories are real – even with the debunkings, there are still many who do – or not, it’s an interesting set of events that still resonate today in the new age of disclosure.
Was the buyer Tom DeLonge?
Was it you?