Tue, Sep 27, 2005 - Page 16 News List

Raelians revealed in all their weirdness

A Spanish reporter has gone behind the scenes and exposed the activities of the Raelian sect, which include erotic shows and special baptisms

AFP , MADRID

To register it depends on your sexual proclivities. "If you're up for any kind of experience, you get a green bracelet, and a red one you are `available' but looking for stable partnerships."

So says a reporter from Spain's Mundo-TV in describing her initiation for a documentary into the curious Raelian sect.

The reporter, "May," a specialist in hidden-camera reports, recounted how she was inducted into a "sensual seminar" organized by French guru Claude Vorhilon, alias "Rael," early last month, at a seaside hotel near Barcelona.

Antena 3 television last week broadcast the film showing the lives of the 500 participants, either into the scene or just curious after finding out about the existence of the event on the Internet.

Among the group were several Spaniards, as well as a greater number of French, Italians and Germans.

The cost of the seminar was US$730, or half price for those sharing a room.

In the film, Rael is seen laying out his beliefs, some of them inspired by The Possibility of an Island, the most recent work by controversial French writer Michel Houellebecq.

Among the more peculiar beliefs is that man was created in laboratories by extra-terrestrials. Rael sees himself as their last prophet, while also defending human cloning and sexuality which knows no bounds.

Rael is surrounded by his "angels," a "harem of 30 to 40 very pretty young women who have sworn in writing never to spurn his advances and to protect him, with their lives if necessary, from all kinds of aggression," according to "May," who asked to remain anonymous.

Aside from Rael himself there is psychologist Daniel Chabot and "bishop" Brigitte Boisselier, a French scientist whose Clonaid society announced in 2003 to a barrage of publicity -- but no proof whatsoever -- that it had created cloned humans.

The reporter said that, "Rael promises the return of the extra-terrestrials to Earth is imminent but says they will not come until he has built their future embassy in Jerusalem."

It is not clear whether he intends to build his celestial chancellery near the Wailing Wall or the Esplanade of Mosques in East Jerusalem. But the guru explains in May's words that "it will cost 50 million euros (US$60 million) and so far he has raised only 10."

Joining the movement costs US$481. The membership contract, which can be accessed on the Raelians' Web site, stipulates that each member must then hand over to the movement 10 percent of his or her revenue.

After lessons in the group philosophy, there follows a range of games where participants frolic around blindfolded, girls disguised as boys and vice-versa, in a series of erotic shows on a dance floor.

"May" did not go into the sexual details of what members got up to at night in each other's rooms.

"During the day they get you to caress each other and to make love in the evening. Many are seduced by it all. The most bizarre thing is that almost all of them really believe in these stories of extra-terrestrials," she added.

She stayed the course through to a Raelian baptism, involving the guru pressing his hands on her forehead and neck while a flying saucer reputedly takes a sample of her DNA.

"The guru told me, `You are beautiful, I love you.' I avoided his advances. But all the same he made me the Raelians' representative in Spain, saying he had great plans in the country," she said.

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