Thursday, January 12, 2012


In her book, Aliens Adored, sociologist Susan Palmer relates a rather obsure incident involving Rael and millionaire's inheritance and alien artifacts in 1988. The incident has never appeared on any mainstream media and is little known outside of French literature. (Aliens Adored, pp. 53-56):

Three enigmatic episodes in Raël’s life have yet to be satisfactorily explained. They are reminiscent of the conspiracy theories that abound in the UFO “cultic milieu.” The first is his period of temporary flight or retirement from running his movement. The second is the singular case of the Teesdale inheritance, a purported hoax. The third is, of course, Raël’s role in the cloning of Baby Eve.
The Teesdale Inheritance

The only source of information concerning the second mystery, the Teesdale inheritance, is Jacques Vallée’s book Revelations: Alien Contact and Human Deception (1991, 212–215). Vallée, a famous ufologist and astrophysicist who was a student of J. Allen Hynek, draws our attention to this enigma in the history of ufology. Vallée claims that in March 1988, an advertisement in Nouvel Observateur, a Parisian newspaper, announced that a British millionaire, recently deceased, had left his fortune to “serious organizations that have as their goal the establishment or the maintenance of relationships with extraterrestrial beings.” Ufologists were invited to send their résumés to the trustees’ office of Theard, Theard, Smith, and Theard in London. Jacques Vallée was intrigued and asked his friend, or “correspondant,” to respond to the ad. A year later, the correspondant received an invitation to an expensive restaurant near Notre Dame in Paris, where six representatives from the firm, in the presence of a group of lawyers, scientists, and a priest, interviewed three candidates for the inheritance. These candidates were Raël; Professor Raulin, a distinguished chemist from the University of Paris; and Vallée’s correspondant. Vallée dismisses Raël as “a notorious sect leader who has claimed contact with an extraterrestrial being [and] has gone on to organize a worldwide movement.”

Before dinner, a trustee read aloud a passage from Teesdale’s diary in which he recounts two near-death experiences during World War I and a later uncanny event at Dunkirk, where he felt a “white and gold” presence and heard a voice identifying itself as “a sentinel for those who set life on the planet.” On both occasions the alien presence gave him a strange object and made him promise that he would pass it on to scientists to analyze. Teesdale confessed he had never fulfilled this promise.

Then the company sat down to a magnificent meal, and after dinner, the commission withdrew to deliberate in private. They returned to announce that Raël had been chosen as the recipient of the Teesdale inheritance, since “he presents the profile that is closest to the spirit of the Testament.” Raël was awarded a large laboratory cryogenic container that presumably held the alien artifact, and everyone left the restaurant. Vallée’s correspondant was soon contacted by a Raelian guide, Dominique Renaudin. He also spoke to Raulin, the chemist. Vallée made some inquiries and discovered that there was no such firm as Theard, Theard; the address on the stationery was erroneous. Moreover, his efforts to trace the late Mr. A. P. Teesdale, born in 1916, suggested that such a man had never existed. To this day, the motives behind what appears to be a hoax remain a mystery.

Later in her book, Susan Palmer compares the Teesdale Inheritance fiasco with the Clonaid announcement of the birth of the first human clone baby "Eve" and speculates on the motives and perpetrators behind the case (Aliens Adored, p. 190):

If one were to pursue the hoax hypothesis, it is interesting to recall a hoaxlike precedent in Raelian history. The tale of the Teesdale inheritance bears many of the lineaments of the Baby Eve story (see chapter 2). In both cases there is a competition (for the inheritance and for the world’s first clone) that Raël wins. The “prize” in each case is a specimen of superior alien technology (an alien artifact and a cloned human). Both conveniently vanish. An apparently old and reputable law firm turns out to be bogus in the Teesdale case, just as Clonaid, described for six years as a “private company,” turns out to have no legal standing. Although the first “hoaxer” was never exposed, if one were to ask who would gain from the Teesdale charade, the answer would have to be—Raël. To win the prize of alien artifacts would support his charismatic claim to be the Elohim’s chosen prophet. In Weberian terms, this might be interpreted as an example of “charismatic display.”

The only two suspects are Jacques Vallée or a ring of hoaxers who gained nothing from the exercise. Jerome Clark (1998) argues that, while Vallée started out as a serious scientific investigator of UFO phenomena, by his fourth book, UFOs had become just one of many guises of a chameleonlike invisible order formed to shape and direct human consciousness. In Messengers of Deception, Vallée fits “sects and cults” into his conspiracy theory: “UFOs are real. They may be in fact terrestrial-based manipulating devices. Their methods are those of deception: systematic manipulation of witnesses and contactees; covert use of various sects and cults” (1979, 21). Vallée points to several NRMs, especially Heaven’s Gate (and this was before their mass suicide), as dangerous organizations that use traditional religious themes and adverse social conditions to dupe gullible people. But Clark notes that “for these sweeping speculations, Vallée offers little of evidence” (1998, 436). Thus, it is not unreasonable to imagine that Vallée may have concocted the whole story to support his conspiracy theory regarding UFOs, and to discredit Raël. 

In response, Jacques Vallée wrote a review of Susan Palmer's Aliens Adored accusing her of defamation and claimed that he has "a full research file" on the Teesdale Inheritance hinting Rael was behind all of this:

Hardly a scholarly work, May 8, 2007 By Jacques F. Vallee

This review is from: Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion
Researchers of alternative religion who would welcome a well-documented study of Claude Vorilhon and his Raelian religion will be disappointed by this book, which is flawed in content and methodology. For example, Ms.Palmer implies that I "concocted" a particular incident, known as the "Teesdale Inheritance," because supposedly I was motivated by a desire to discredit Vorilhon. She makes this accusation which amounts to defamation of character - essentially attributing to me the behavior of a fabricator and liar - based on innuendoes from another ufologist that she never bothered to check. 

I have a full research file on the Teesdale Inheritance, complete with first-hand testimony from people who could shed light on this episode and its relationship to Raël's career, yet I was never even contacted by this supposedly "scholarly" author - or by any fact-checker from Rutgers University. If the author is so careless in this one episode, where she does not hesitate to cast doubts on the ethics and integrity of a fellow researcher, can we trust anything else in her book? 
Dr. Jacques F. Vallee, Ph.D. 

I found another article about the Teesdale Inheritance on a website called Mysterious Britain & Ireland :

The Teesdale Inheritance

This a very obscure and very little known episode of the neverending UFO saga which deserves special mention. On the March 11-17 1988 issue of the Nouvel Observateur, a large format Paris weekly, appeared a very interesting advertisement.

A London-based law firm, the trustees of "the estate of A.P. Teesdale, Esq. of Durham County in England", was appealing for "serious organizations" that may be able to meet the requirements of the gentleman's will. These requirements were "the establisment and the maintenance of relationships with extraterrestrial beings". We don't know how many persons sent their credentials to the P.O. Box address included but three persons were contacted for the final selection: a French UFO investigator, Professor François Raulin, a much distinguished chemist, and Claude Vorilhon, founder of the Raelian UFO cult.

The trustees identified themselves as the law firm of Theard, Theard, Smith & Theard, 31 Sussex Mansions, Old Brompton Road, London SW7 and summoned the finalists to one the best (and most expensive) restaurants in Paris, right next to the Notre Dame Cathedral. Here a commision made up twelve persons awaited the candidates: four representives of Theard & Co, four French lawyers, a man who was introduced as a specialist in computer science, a physicist, an engineer and a Roman Catholic priest. Both the engineer and the priest denied any connection with both the late Mr Teesdale and Theard & Co: they had been just invited to dinner. A much lavish dinner was served and then the man who identified himself as "Mr Bates" started summarizing the requirements of the late Mr Teesdale's will. He also read the so-called "confession", an incredible piece of writing which was allegedly part of the will.

Mr. Teesdale related how in 1916, when he was barely seventeen, had run away from home and cheated on his age to enlist in the Army. He was sent to the Flanders and shortly thereafter was caught in the explosion of a shell. While he was laying dazed in the mud, he heard a voice who assured him that he was not going to die on that day. This voice also told him that he was to be given a "clue" and his duty was to "place this in the hands of your best scientists". Mr Teesdale awoke, practically uninjured with an "object" in his hand. What this object was we are not told.

Of course he forgot about his mission and in 1940 he found himself in the Army and on the Continent again, this time racing against time to reach evacuation beach at Dunkirk. While boarding a boat a German plane strafed and bombed the area. While an explosion was going on, Teesdale again heard the aforementioned voice, scolding him for not fulfilling his duty. When he said that the "object" failed to impress anyone he showed it to, he was said that he was to be given a "second clue". Surely this time he was bound to be believed. When he awoke he painfully discovered that this time he had not been so lucky, since he had been gravely injured in a leg. And now there were two "mystery objects" to be sure.

Back in England, it was discovered that his injury was worse than first thought. After leaving the hospital he was assigned to sedentary duties and when the threat of a German invasion evaporated, he was invalided out. 
Of course after the war he desperately tried to put the two objects in the hands of the "best scientists", but each time he was turned away. Of course nobody believed him. When he died, his mission unfulfilled, he left a "considerable sum" to be handed over to whoever was deemed by his trustees to be the best suited to fulfill the mission.

After this incredibly story was told, each one of the candidates was interviewed and his curriculum vitae examined. There was little doubt that Professor Raulin was the most obvious choice: he was a much respected scientist, he had direct access to extremely advanced equipment, he had academic connections all over the world, he had even spoken openly in favour of life outside Earth.

Yet Vorilhon was named the winner. He was handed over a large cryogenic container, similar to ones used to transport bull semen, which was said to contain the two clues. Raulin offered his help in analyzing the objects and Vorilhon gladly accepted it. A few days later Raulin phoned the UFO investigator to see if he had heard from Vorilhon, which seemed to have disappeared. Of course he hadn't. Three months later both two were contacted on behalf of Vorilhon by a member of the Raelian organization, Dominique Renaudin.

There was no trace of the inheritance, not a single penny. Inquiries made by the London branch of the Raelians failed to discover any trace of the trustees. He declined to comment about the content of the cryogenic container. Raulin and the researcher mobilized their English contacts and then boarded a plane for London, determined to get to the bottom of the fiasco. 

There has never been a registered law firm by the name of Theard, Theard, Smith & Theard, neither in London nor anywhere in England. Even worse, there wasn't even a 31 Sussex Mansions: the uneven numbers stopped at 29. Further research failed to turn out any trace of a Teesdale family in County Durham. 

It had all been a colossal fraud. But who were the perpetrators? Your answer is as good as mine. 

There is little doubt that they were based in England but picked out France willingly as the seat of their "theatrical performance" as Vallee called it. The four persons impersonating the Theard & Co envoys all spoke good French but were native Englishmen (not Americans) without any doubt. They also knew the British UFO scene quite well and surely knew that organizations like BUFORA would have made extensive investigations before being dragged into the picture and it would have been all too easy for a London BUFORA member to pay a quick visit to the nonexistent offices of Theard & Co. They also knew very well the French UFO scene, which is one of the most lively in the world, ranging from contactees like Claude Vourilhon to extremely critical investigators like Aimee Michel, not to mention the GEPAN government program. They also had above average means: they had very high quality stationery printed out, paid a lavish dinner for fifteen persons in one of Paris' most exclusive restaurants, were allegedly quartered in a luxury hotel and so on.

And what was their motivation? If they just aimed at making fun of Vorilhon why involving a respected academic like Professor Raulin? Why inviting an engineer and a priest without any links to the UFO or paranormal scene just to witness their performance?

The mystery lingers on.

Advocatus Diaboli

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