As a documentary series living up to its title in every way conceivable, Netflix’s ‘Raël: The Alien Prophet’ can honestly only be described as equal parts bewildering, intriguing, and haunting. That’s because it delves deep into the way a UFO-inspired religion known as Raëlism, established by French native Claude “Raël” Maurice Marcel Vorilhon, spiraled into a controversial cult. Yet for now, if you simply wish to learn more about this international leader — with a specific focus on his background, experiences, motives, as well as current standing — here’s what we know.
Who is Claude “Raël” Vorilhon?
Although Raël was born as Claude on September 30, 1946, in Vichy, France, to a devout atheist mother and a Jewish father, he was actually primarily raised by his non-believing grandmother. It thus comes as no surprise his view on religion has been unconventional from the very beginning, especially since he also attended a renowned Catholic boarding school for quite some time. He even caused quite a stir by taking communion without being baptized, just for his family to soon ensure his transfer to another school near their base in the wondrous commune of Ambert.
However, everything turned upside down when Claude was 15 as he ran away from school and hitchhiked to Paris, where he spent the ensuing three years playing music at open mics or on streets. Little did he know that’s how he’d come across a radio director scouting for young talent, resulting in him landing such a record deal that he became a pop star with the stage name Claude Celler. He reportedly released six singles, including a minor hit called “Le Miel et la Cannelle” (“Honey and Cinnamon”), but his rise abruptly halted when this director ended up dying by suicide in 1970.
That’s when Claude decided to switch his career and step into sports journalism — particularly owing to his childhood-turned-lifelong interest in car racing — before evolving into a publisher too. He actually created a sports car magazine by the name of Autopop, which soon enabled him to not only test the latest automobiles but also enter the world of racing as a genuine race car driver. Though according to his debut 1974 book ‘Le Livre qui dit la Vérité’ (‘The Book That Tells the Truth’), every single one of his priorities shifted once he experienced an alien visitation on December 13, 1973.
Claude claimed an extraterrestrial being had come out of a gently deciding craft while he was in a secluded area of a French volcanic crater, just for them to indicate he was a true prophet. They’d apparently told him humanity was a product of their advanced DN A-driven scientific experiments, and now it was his job to inform the world of its origin while expanding everyone’s horizons. As per his book, this being had even gone as far as to identify its race as Elohim before asserting he should anticipate their return by building them a residential embassy in neutral territory.
Claude hence launched the UFO religion of MADECH, later better known as Raëlism or the International Raëlian Movement (IRM), based on certain aspects that were allegedly explained to him. He himself also ended up changing his name to Raël, gave up the entirety of Autopop, and then devoted himself to the task he said the being — apparently his “biological father” — gave him. Then came his public appearances, establishing a hierarchy to have smooth monthly meetings, initiations, and meditation rituals, along with making plans to build the Alien Residential Embassy.
Raël also ensured his organization had a Garden of Eden for their practices in France, that is, until allegations of them being a cult and promoting activities like incest plus pedophilia came to light. They did admittedly encourage sexual freedom in every sense while also having couples maybe exchange partners to curb the emotion of jealousy, yet they deny they ever enabled such crimes. However, the leader did seemingly believe every kind of publicity was good as it helped them spread their message to the world, even if they ultimately had to relocate their base to Canada.
It was in the 1990s that Raëlism found a new home in Quebec despite their struggles to find land for the embassy, soon after which they came under international light with human cloning efforts. According to Raël, per the docuseries, achieving physical immortality through cloning plus having a liberal ethical system with no bounds on sexual experimentation is how they’d please Elohim. Therefore, of course, he created an internal all-female group called Order of Angels for sexual pleasure, initiated Clonaid as an organization for cloning, and even wrote several other books while building a brand to continue his work.
Where is Claude “Raël” Vorilhon Now?
The truth is Raël as well as his religion have faced a lot of backlash over the years for various reasons, including taking tithe or donations for their yet-to-be-built Alien Embassy, being the sole individual accountable for their treasury, having a professional auto racing career plus enjoying the luxuries of life, inadvertently promoting crimes against minors, and asserting they’d succeeded in human cloning without any proof (meaning it could be a hoax). Nevertheless, according to the original, this leader hasn’t backed down from his mission in any way, shape, or form, especially with tens of thousands of active followers.
As per reports, Raël is now based in Japan alongside the young woman he considers “the love of his life,” Sky, from where he continues spreading his message of extraterrestrials being our world’s creators on a global scale. The author of 10 books, journalist, singer, plus religious leader actually does this with the help of all the members of the International Raëlian Movement, the majority of whom are in the Francophone areas of Western Europe and North America as well as parts of East Asia. Moreover, despite being 77, it appears as if he still enthusiastically makes media appearances, holds seminars, gives interviews, and does much more to maintain his/the organization’s public standing.
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