Nov 01, 2022 I Nick Redfern

Space Sisters and Contactees: Ignorance of Some Important Facts

While doing radio last week, someone asked me why there were hardly any female Contactees and Space Sisters, rather than just males during the 1950s and onward. What a pile of total garbage that was. Talk about ignorance of the past. It's very unfortunate that someone would say that, because if they only just took a look they would realize there were numerous female Contactees and Space Sisters. And they played significant roles in the matter of 1950s-era Ufology. So, with that said, let's have a look at some of them. One of them was an alleged alien named Diana, who had repeated encounters with a Contactee named Dana Howard. Regan Lee is a UFO researcher who has spent a great deal of time looking into the claims of Howard. Lee provides the following: “While I’m intrigued by the Contactees in general, and realize there are many perspectives and theories surrounding ‘what really happened,’ I’d like to focus on the symbolic [aspect] of Howard’s experience, rather than attempt to prove or disprove her experience. What stood out for me as I read about Dana Howard’s accounts were the similarities to Marian Apparitions. Howard’s experiences seemed to be a blend of space age Contactee encounters, complete with flying saucers, and some of the characteristics of appearances of the Virgin Mary.”

(Nick Redfern) Contactees: face-to-face alien encounters

Dana Howard said that he first encounter with Diana took place in the final year of the 1940s: “Still wrapped in the warm intoxication of the spirit, my vision was directed to a gnarled, old tree overlooking the antediluvian hills. Leaning casually against the grotesque trunk was a woman being of unsurpassed loveliness. Her head was radiant with a crown of fire, strands of golden hair cascading gently over her beautiful, slightly olive-tinted shoulders. The strange mystic light flooding her dark, prophetic eyes, added a wistful something to all her other charms.” Lee says this is “similar in ways to reports of seeing the entity, Mary.” However, adds Lee: “the sighting turns space-age.” Indeed, it does. Howard also saw “a beautiful rocket-shaped ship suspended in mid-air about three hundred feet from the earth…In the main it seemed to be constructed of some sort of translucent materials, but trimmed in gold, and gem-studded. An almost invisible ‘ladder’ extended from the ship to the earth, and I obediently followed the radiant being up the filmy stairs without questioning. Once aboard, my sacrosanct companion vanished, and I never saw her again.” 

Moving on, there is Margit Mustapa. She was born and raised in Finland and, in her youth, performed with the Helsinki National Opera. Margit reportedly viewed an immense, cigar-shaped UFO in the skies of Seattle, Washington, while visiting the city in 1950. As a result, she finally settled in what we might call definitive Contactee territory: California, specifically in Santa Barbara. Mustapa was the author of two books (written in 1960 and 1963 respectively). They were Spaceship to the Unknown and Book of Brothers. With chapter titles like "Toward the Universal Brotherhood," "Tall Venusian Brother Appears," "Brother of Electricity Explains," and "Cooperation with Brotherhood," these are classic books that easily rival the written output of the aforementioned Contactees listed above.

And, take a look at the publisher's blurb about Margit's claimed experiences. It appears on the jacket of Spaceship to the Unknown, a book which echoed some of the claims of Contactee Truman Bethurum, namely that back in the 1950s the Space-Brothers and Space-Sisters were operating clandestinely in our cities: "Mrs. Mustapa's men and women from other planets are not the queer, bug-eyed creatures usually pictured. Her first 'contacts' with space people were a gentle-appearing woman in an ordinary car, and a bronzed, black-haired motorist in sports garb (including a colorful Hawaiian shirt) - both encountered on a road near Los Angeles. No words were exchanged. None were necessary. Telepathic vibrations carried their message."

The messages and data said to have been given to Margit Mustapa were certainly significant, if the Contactee issue is your thing, of course. In Book of Brothers, she notes: "The brothers of the book are Venusians. They have influenced thousands of minds to understand how to grow inwardly, spiritually, and mentally toward extraplanetary dimensions in thinking...In the universal concept, each individual, through meditation and study, must find his place. But first he must free himself from traditional thinking and open his mind to the implications of the Space Age which the whirling satellites of today symbolize. To this goal the Brothers offered the spiritual key...We can become as gods, living in a new era of harmony; we can penetrate to outer space and the promise of the future...a future of love, understanding and peace."

(Nick Redfern) The Integratron: Dana Howard visited this legendary structure

And, at The Anomalist, there is this: "Margit Mustapa did some dictation for a Venusian Brother around 1958 that revealed the Earth was 'destined to become a sacred planet.' The process would take some decades and would involve elimination of the self-pride of mankind. Thought reading would have to become common as well. One prediction now testable was that the children of her time would become representatives of a 'new race' that would bring in a culture founded on fourth-dimensional thinking. To the extent this was connected with the inner man and his growth, it was arguably a correct prediction. To the extent these new age individuals should have felt increased spiritual speed and velocity in a vortex of radioactive love calling from the planet Venus, it appears certainly wrong. A later prediction that Mustapa relayed from Saint Germane also seems wrong: 'An immediate release from the evil powers will be introduced during the Xmas time of 1959.'"

Now, onto Aura Rhanes. Truman Bethurum was a Californian, born in 1898, who spent much of his early years working jobs that never seemed to last. His first marriage both began and crumbled during the Second World War. He entered into a second marriage only several months after the war ended, and ultimately wound up working out in the harsh, hot deserts of Nevada – specifically in the highway construction game. It was while Bethurum was out in the desert, in 1952, and while his second wife, Mary, was stuck at home in Santa Barbara, that Bethurum claimed he had an extremely close encounter with extraterrestrials on Mormon Mesa, a near-2000-foot-high foot high mount in Nevada’s Moapa Valley. On the fateful night in question, and after the working day was over, Bethurum climbed the mountain, primarily to search for shells, something that Mary particularly enjoyed collecting. The story goes that Bethurum was rendered into a strange, altered state of mind, during which advanced aliens suddenly manifested before him, having arrived in a huge, gleaming, flying saucer. Although only around five-feet in height, the aliens were eerily human-looking and claimed to come from a faraway planet called Clarion. Not only that, their leader was one Captain Aura Rhanes, a shapely, Pamela Anderson-type that Bethurum described as being “tops in shapeliness and beauty.” All thoughts of Mary – back in Santa Barbara – were suddenly gone from Bethurum’s mind.

Bethurum’s story continued and grew at a steady and controversial pace, as did his relationship with the flirty Captain Rhanes. While Bethurum does not explicitly say so, there are more than a few nuggets of data in Bethurum’s collective work that suggests on a couple of occasions the pair had just about the closest and most intimate encounters, of all. It’s hardly surprising that many students of Ufology outright dismiss Bethurum’s story as either a hoax, or a fantasy born out of Bethurum’s unhappiness with both wife number one and two. There is, however, a very intriguing aspect of the Bethurum affair that is seldom touched upon or even noted. One person who did take note of it was Whitley Strieber, whose 1987, best-selling book, Communion, brought the world of alien abductions to a massive, mainstream audience. During the course of investigating his experiences that prompted him to write Communion, Strieber discovered something remarkable: the name, “Aura Rhanes,” was extremely similar to “Aerach Reann,” a Gaelic term that translates approximately to “heavenly body of air.” It must be said to that the fashion by which Bethurum became entranced by Aura Rhanes mirrors to an almost identical degree with those centuries-old cases of hapless and helpless Gaelic men falling under the spell of the fairy queen, as can be found if one digs deep - as Strieber did.

Onto another case: Then there are the far lesser-known experiences of a young man named Bob Renaud. On one particular night in July 1961 (just two months before the Betty and Barney Hill abduction), Renaud picked up an extraordinary message while "browsing around the shortwave bands" in his small, Massachusetts town. It began with a series of bleeps but was soon replaced by a female voice, which later identified herself as one Linn-Erri. So the story goes, the eighteen-year-old Renaud was told: "I am called Linn-Erri, and my associates and I come from the planet Korendor. We are speaking to you from our spaceship many miles above earth." As was the case in so many Contactee-themed cases of the 1950s and 1960s, Renaud had repeated and extensive chats with his newfound alien friends, many of which were focused on the aliens’ fears that we, the Human Race, were on the verge of destroying ourselves. Also closely following the trend of so many Contactees, Linn-Erri and her comrades took Renaud on trips to secret, alien installations, and taught him to create complex machines, one of which was somewhat akin to an old-style television set. It reportedly allowed Renaud to see Linn-Erri in the flesh, so to speak. She was a ravishing blond, who looked to be about nineteen years of age, but who claimed to be closer to her mid-seventies – in human years.

Greg Bishop and Adam Gorightly brought the story to a new generation in their 2018 book, "A" is for Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees." The pair wrote: "...Renaud received instructions on how to adjust his television set to receive visual transmissions from outer space and soon Linn-Erri materialized on the screen, a beautiful, statuesque blonde possessing the all too earthly dimensions of 37-22-36!" The adventures didn't end there. Still with Adam and Greg: "In the early morning hours of December 22, 1962, an average-looking car carrying some average looking fellows (Korendorians in disguise) picked up Renaud and took him for a ride to an isolated area where he was treated to a demonstration of an anti-gravity device that levitated a huge rock one hundred feet into the air and then disintegrated it with a ray gun." Not only that, in quick time Renaud channeled no less than twelve books - all of which were focused on the philosophy and science of the Korendorians. The story is, indeed, fascinating - just like so many other similar experiences that occurred in the 1950s. And finally...

In the most recent and relevant batch of material that the FBI has declassified on the Contactees, there is an interesting Q&A between the FBI and Mrs. George Van Tassel. Much has been said and written about George Van Tassel, but far less about his wife, Eva. Until now. The three-pages-long document provides us with some interesting data on Eva and her husband. Dated November 13, 1954 the FBI document begins as follows: "Mrs. Eva Van Tassel, wife of captioned subject [George, of course] was interviewed by SA [Special Agent, name deleted]and the reporting agent in the absence of her husband. Mrs. Van Tassel advised that her husband was in Los Angeles contacting a printer who prints a magazine named 'Proceeding' of the College of Universal Wisdom. She declared while in Los Angeles Mr. Van Tassel sleeps in a truck. Mrs. Van Tassel could not furnish the name or location of the printer."

The FBI documentation continues: "Relative to her husband and herself, Mrs. Van Tassel claims that she and her husband practice a metaphysical religion. She declared this religion is based on an occult principle in that she and her husband sit in a room in dead silence and receive thought transfers from one another and from other individuals who are not psychically present in the room. She declared that it was through this type of practice that her husband has learned or prophesied the coming of World War III and a gigantic explosion on the East Coast. She mentioned that at the present time she and her husband have undertaken a special project. This project is the founding and organizing of the College of Universal Wisdom."

The FBI agents made notes concerning what Eva told them: "The purpose of the college is to promote and carry out interplanetary communication and the dissemination of Universal Wisdom gained through the median of space beings. She advised that her husband has contacted many individuals concerning his plans for the college. She mentioned that he has contacted professors and students and various colleges throughout the United States. Mrs. Van Tassel could not furnish the identities of any of these individuals that her husband has corresponded with. She also advised that this college would operate under the state laws of California as a place of learning pertaining to religion. She advised that her husband through his periodical mentioned above has solicited donations for the advancement of this college. She further advised that the college is to be located adjacent to the Giant Rock Airport at Yucca Valley."

The FBI had much more to say: "Mrs. Van Tassel declared that on August 24, 1953, at approximately 2:00 A.M. while she and her husband were sleeping out of doors adjacent to the Giant Rock air strip, her husband was awakened by a person from outer space in a flying saucer which had landed on the air strip. Mrs. Van Tassel was quick to point out she was not awakened and did not see the spacemen or his means of transportation. Mrs. Van Tassel declared that her husband related that the spaceman took her husband aboard the flying saucer which was occupied by three additional spacemen. Mrs. Van Tassel declared that her husband failed to mention the color or the size of this space craft. She stated that the spacemen were similar in every description to earth men. She advised that the spacemen did not carry weapons nor was there any armament noticed on the flying saucer. She declared that according to her husband, the saucer and spacemen spent approximately twenty minutes on earth after which time they departed into outer space. The spaceman who woke up her husband was the leader or spokesman for the group. He spoke in English and informed her husband that earth men should give up using metal as they are ruining radio frequencies with the over-use of metal."

(Nick Redfern) Mrs. Van Tassel was interviewed by the FBI on her encountrers and thoughts of UFOs and aliens

There was this, too, regarding Eva and George: "Relative to her husband, she stated he was born in Ohio, city unknown, March 12, 1910. She mentioned that it is possible her husband was born in Ashtabula. He failed to receive a high school diploma as he lacked three months schooling. He left Ohio in 1929 for California. Mrs. Van Tassel declared she married her husband on January 31, 1932, in Yuma, Arizona; her maiden name being Eva Meek. She declared that her husband, prior to 1947, worked as a Flight Test Engineer at Lockheed Aircraft, Burbank, California, and lived on [illegible] Street in Los Angeles. She declared that in 1947 she, her husband, and her daughter, Darlene, moved to Yucca Valley. She stated her daughter is Secretary-Treasurer of the College of Universal Wisdom. She also pointed out that her husband presently operates the Giant Rock Airport under CAA regulations. She advised her husband is not a pilot, but does hold a mechanics certificate with CAA." It all got a bit surreal and amusing as the FBI concluded: "It was noted by the reporting agent that the air strip known as Giant Rock is a flat, dry, lake bed. The area surrounding being noted. The writer and [Special Agent deleted] interviewed Mrs. Van Tassel in an underground cave like room which was excavated from the base of the Giant Rock. Mrs. Van Tassel advised that this room is presently the headquarters of the College of Universal Wisdom. The area surrounding the air strip was in every respect very primitive."

Who says there were hardly any female Contactees and Space Sisters in the 1950s? I'll tell you: the ignorants said it, that's who.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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