The Raelly Late Late Show

On Friday 13th, 1998, Rael of The Rael Foundation popped up on Irish RTE1 TV’s ‘The Late Late Show’ as a guest of Gay Byrne’s (trivia fans take note: The Late Late show is reputedly the longest running TV chat show ever). Rael, who used to be French motor-racing journalist Claude Vorlihon, formed the Foundation in 1973 and claims it to be the largest UFO organisation in the world, with 35,000 members in 85 countries (information culled from Mark Pilkington’s ‘Off the Tracks With British Rael’ from Magonia 60, Summer 1997).

Rael has been on The Late Late Show twice before, four and eight years ago. This is rather interesting, as Byrne tended to treat Rael, resplendent in his immaculate white poloneck and white furs (the Liberace of ufology?), with undisguised and reasonably well formed scepticism.
Why does he keep coming back? I suspect that he gains enough followers each time, despite his host’s derogatory attitude. And perhaps this is also a good time for recruiting in Ireland, with the the current surge in UFO interest.
Rael wasn’t the only guest — on the panel was a very nervous looking Alan Sewell, of the Irish Centre for UFO Studies, an organisation who have been mentioned in this column several times. Seated in the audience was Eamon Ansbro, also associated with ICUFOS.
My tape of the programme begins with Gay speaking to a well spoken middle aged lady (with a slight British accent) by the name of Betty, who resides on a hill above Boyle, Co. Roscommon. At 6am on an October 1997 morning, Betty was looking out of her bedroom window, when she saw three ‘cigar shaped’ objects travelling, at intervals of a few seconds, from west to east. After a longer interval, a fourth flew past. She contacted Sligo regional airport, who told her that there were no aircraft in the area. She concluded that the objects ‘must have been UFOs, because no aircraft can travel at this speed’. More recently, Betty witnessed a red ‘star’ appearing and disappearing some 7 times in different parts of the sky, at around 7pm.
It was at this stage Rael and Sewell were introduced, Rael plunging into a lengthy explanation of his plans to build an embassy at the request of the Elohim, i.e., the aliens, in a demilitarised airspace. This is so that they won’t be jumped upon by the military, and turned into ‘guinea pigs’, instead of receiving the world leaders at their leisure.
Rael had plans to build this embassy in Jerusalem, but has now seems to have changed his mind (to Ireland?). I would have thought that Israeli airspace is perhaps one of the least demilitarised in the world, raising questions about why he ever picked Jerusalem in the first place, other than for religious reasons. Money is not an issue, according to Rael, as he has some $5 million to spend.
The Elohim, according to Rael, are 25,000 years ahead of us — and they are *our creators* — when they created us they were at the same stage as we are now, in a quandary over the cloning of humans. Some radical scientists broke away from their home planet, and created us, the humans on earth (For more on Rael’s cloning shenanigans, see an earlier Blather.
At this point Byrne, interjected with the obvious question – if this crowd are 25,000 years ahead of us, why can’t they just land on the grounds of RTE, and stroll ahead into the studio? Rael became animated, explaining how they would be immediately seized by the police and army, and how instead they wanted respect, and to arrive in a more sociable manner.
The image conjured for me by these statements — Gardai towing away the Elohim’s craft for illegal parking — is now firmly etched upon my mind.
Sewell was not in agreement with these ideas. He said that that whatever’s haunting our skies is, yes, intelligent, but carrying out some ‘surveillance program’. He then more or less admitted that he just doesn’t really know what’s going on with these UFOs.
Gay Byrne then interviewed a member of the audience, a lady by the name of Moya Hennessy, a civil servant, and ‘leading member of the Raelians’ in Ireland. Ms. Hennessy would appear to be on quite the religious experience buzz, telling Gay how Rael’s writings and teachings had answered all of her questions’. She didn’t say what these questions were. For the record, she has never seen a UFO.
Then Gaybo questioned Ansbro, who explained the ICUFOS’s ‘success’ in divining the location and dates of future UFO sightings – he mentioned Bantry in April 1997 and Boyle on December 14th 1997 as examples. Readers of Blather may recall my December 14th trek across north Dublin sand dunes, documented in ‘War of the Wetlands‘, for a predicted Dublin sighting — which didn’t happen. Ansbro predicted another — Tuesday, February 18th, 1998, time, 22:30. Where? Over Dublin. ‘We’ll look out for that’ sez Gaybo.
I was in Dublin, as per usual, on this date. Nothing to report. Dublin City (excluding the extreme suburbs and hinterland) has a population of around half a million people, so I suppose there’s a chance that perhaps someone, somewhere might have seen ‘something’, but I won’t be losing any sleep waiting to hear about it.
Next up was some footage shot in Boyle in December, of a cylindrical light, allegedly hovering in the sky. Byrne was sceptical – he pointed out that it could be a street light, or that in fact, it could be *anything*. Sewell defended the footage, explaining that it was taken in Lough Key Forest Park – away from any electric lighting. Gay Byrne was a man unconvinced (and I have to say, it’s not often that my opinions obviously coincide with his, but in this case, I am less than impressed the evidence). Sewell went on to point out the 15-20 lights appearing around the object, but Gaybo began steering away from the murky waters of Rorschach testing on live TV.
At this point, several members of the audience — normal people began giving their own sceptical opinions, and asking some interesting questions. In answer to a question concerning Christianity versus What Rael Had to Say, Rael had to explain how the Elohim were actually ‘God’, that Mary was abducted and impregnated by the Elohim (like Rael’s mum, or so we’re told) and that Jesus was, like Rael, half Elohim, half human. And that J.C. would be back with a cure of cancer and AIDS, as soon as we build this embassy.
I’ll keep an eye on the newspapers for Planning Permission notices.
(Thanks to both Aonghus de Barra and Monica Walsh for being so good as to record ‘The Late Late Show’ for my dissection)
Isn’t it interesting how people started seeing UFOs in Boyle once the crash story hit the tabloids? — mind you, the ICUFOS maintain the sightings have been happening for years. Continuing the ‘Boyle Crash’ thread , Blather dropped a cautious email to Saab’s PR department, requesting comments regarding rumours of an alleged Gripen crash in Ireland. We received a very cheery answer:

Subject: Svar: Message from the Gripen Website
Hello Dave!
There has been no Gripen crash in Ireland.
During the development of Gripen two test aircraft crashed
but they both crashed in Sweden.
Kind regards
Elin Almér

What can you say to such candidness? I replied to this message, explaining how a kind of rumour and/or myth was springing up about an alleged Gripen crash. Ms. Almér responded explaining how this was perhaps not such a surprise – after all, the gripen is an ‘old mythological animal’. I would gather that gripen is Swedish for Griffin — any comments, anyone?
Dave (daev) Walsh
20th February 1998

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.