Friday, April 20, 2018

The Engineer Who Saw a Flying Saucer... Lecture

Today, it's hard to find a good UFO story in the news, but in the 1950s, almost any flying saucer tale was worth printing, even if it was only second-hand. The Syracuse Herald-Journal from Syracuse, New York, in their June 15, 1954 issue reported that one of their ex-citizens, Thomas Mercurio saw a flying saucer lecture. The speaker was a "mechanic, whose name he did not recall." Mercurio heard the incredible tale of the man's ride in a flying saucer, his meeting the occupants, and the first close encounter with a female spaceship captain. But the man's name? That, he forgot.

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.

1 comment:

  1. LOL!!! I actually HAVE that book and it's SIGNED by Bethurum!!! LOL!!


Frank Edwards: Making UFOs Newsworthy

Dr. J. Allen Hynek on UFO literature (in  The Edge of Reality , 1975): “If I were to recommend anything in the popular category, I would cho...