A bit short on the journalistic basics of "Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How," but a fascinating report:
|Syracuse Herald-Journal, June 15, 1954|
The investigative team here at The Saucers That Time Forgot has been able to identify Mr. Mercurio's mystery mechanic as experiencer Truman Bethurum, the author of Aboard A Flying Saucer, and the female spaceship commander as the lovely Aura Rhanes.
From "Saucer story flew for a time," by Josh Grossberg from the Daily Breeze:
Truman Bethurum from Redondo Beach captivated crowds in the 1950s with his tales of riding in a spaceship and its exotic occupants... And its captain, Aura Rhanes, promised to take Bethurum to visit Clarion in the near future...
Capt. Rhanes was a beautiful woman who had a "slender Latin-type face" and wore a radiant red skirt, black velvet short sleeve blouse and a black beret with red trim...
Coming at a time when flying saucer mania was riding high, Bethurum's tale of olive-skinned, black-haired aliens, quickly captured the nation's attention. He enthralled a capacity (and paying) audience at the aptly named Neptunian Club in Manhattan Beach and, within a few years, was on the lecture circuit, entertaining enthusiasts with tales of intergalactic visitors. He spoke to Lions Clubs, and appeared on radio and television programs. He was especially popular with the Unidentified Flying Object Club of Sacramento and visited them several times. And in 1954, he wrote a book, Aboard a Flying Saucer. Even today, his allure continues to resonate...
|Captain Aura Rhanes|
A 1954 newspaper advertising one of Bethurum's many lectures promoting his saucer story:
|San Mateo Times July 17, 1954|
Truman Bethurum died in 1969, but fortunately, fragments of his lectures has been preserved for the ages. He, Like George Adamski told of how the aliens wanted to bring peace to our planet. From the Long Beach Independent, September 28, 1954:
Scientists the United States are now prying into the secret of flying saucer power – “some kind of anti-magnetic or antigravity force “– but will not be able to gain this knowledge "until we all lose our desire to fight with each other," “Bethurum said.
"As soon as the fighting is over between us and the Rooshians and the Arabs and the Egyptians and everybody else we will have the secrets."
Thomas Mercurio may not have remembered Truman Bethurum's name, but the sensational saucer story he heard from him was unforgettable.