Bethurum, Truman (1898–1969)
Truman Bethurum, one of the original flying saucer contactees
of the 1950s, jumped into the spotlight with his 1954 book,
Aboard a Flying Saucer. He claimed contact with inhabitants of
the otherwise unknown planet Clarion. Clarion was a planet in
our solar system, he explained, but had remained undiscovered
because it was always hidden from Earth by the Moon.
Bethurum was born on August 21, 1898, in Gavalin, California.
He had only a minimum of formal education and was a
Besinnet, Ada M. Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
178
blue-collar laborer through most of his life. He was operating
heavy equipment in the Nevada desert in 1952 when first contacted
by extraterrestrials, he claimed. As he was dozing between
shifts, several small creatures awakened him and escorted
him to a flying saucer. Aura Rhanes, the captain of the
spaceship, turned out to be a beautiful female of olive complexion
and jet black hair. Bethurum, then in his 50s, estimated her
to be in her 40s. This meeting was the first of many. Aura
Rhanes came as a representative of those inhabited worlds that
had already obtained interplanetary flight. They were concerned
about Earth’s nuclear capabilities and its potential for
destroying the planet.
Bethurum initially told his story at the flying saucer convention
at Giant Rock in 1952. An abbreviated account then appeared
in the fanzine Saucers, the following year. In the wake
of his 1954 book, Bethurum developed a significant following
within the contactee world, and in 1955 Aura Rhanes advised
him to begin soliciting contributions from the public to establish
what was called the Sanctuary of Thought. It was opened
several years later near Prescott, Arizona, and Bethurum would
remain an active lecturer and exponent of the contactee perspective
for the rest of his life. He passed away on May 21,
1969, in Landers, California. The sanctuary did not survive his
death.
Bethurum’s crude account of Clarion and its inhabitants
generated a spectrum of responses, from the dismissals of most
ufologists to the active support of fellow contactee George Adamski.
Much of the critique originated from the scientific analysis
of the impossibility of the existence of a planet such as Clarion
that remained hidden from Earth due to its following an
orbit similar to but beyond the Moon.
Sources
Beckley, Timothy Green, ed. The People of the Planet Clarion.
Clarksburg, W. Va. Saucerian Books, 1970.
Bethurum, Truman. Aboard a Flying Saucer. Los Angeles DeVorss
& Co., 1954.
Reeve, Bryant, and Helen Reeve. Flying Saucer Pilgrimage.
Amherst, Wis. Amherst Press, 1957.

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