“I Want to Believe”

Billy Meier is a Swiss national who in the 1970s claimed he had been in contact with aliens from the Pleiades star cluster – and had photographs to prove it.

Published in a 1979 book by former United States Air Force pilot Wendelle C Stevens, they later appeared in publicity material for US science-fiction programme The X-Files.

Now, they are up for auction at Sotheby’s in the US, as part of a sale dedicated to space photography.

UFO photograph

Eduard Albert “Billy” Meier claims he was first contacted by alien figures at the age of five, in 1942, and maintained regular contact throughout his life.

UFO photograph

This series of images were taken in Switzerland in the spring of 1976.

UFO photograph

This photo was used as the background of the “I want to believe” UFO poster that featured prominently in the office of FBI special agent Fox Mulder, played by David Duchovny, in The X-Files.

UFO photograph

Inexpertly taken and faded, the images show blurry metallic blobs hovering or floating above the mountainous Swiss countryside.

UFO photograph

Though Stevens said the images had not been doctored, other ufologists are highly sceptical about the images.

Eduard Albert Meier (born February 3, 1937), commonly nicknamed “Billy” is the founder of a UFO religion called the “Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien” (Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) and alleged contactee whose UFO photographs are claimed to show alien spacecraft. Meier claims to be in regular contact with extraterrestrial beings he calls the Plejaren. He also presented other material during the 1970s such as metal samples, sound recordings and film footage. Meier claims to be the seventh reincarnation after six prophets common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: Enoch, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Immanuel (Jesus), and Mohammed.

Meier has been widely characterized as a fraud by skeptics and ufologists, who suggest that he used models to hoax photos claimed to show alien spacecraft.

Meier claims his extraterrestrial encounters began in 1942, at the age of five, when he met an elderly Plejaren man named “Sfath”. After Sfath’s death in 1953, Meier said, he began communicating with an extraterrestrial woman (though not a Plejaren) called “Asket”. All contacts ceased in 1964, he said, then resumed on January 28, 1975, when he met “Semjase”, the granddaughter of Sfath, and shortly thereafter another Plejaren man called “Ptaah”. Other Plejarens, including a woman named “Nera”, have since allegedly joined the dialog as well. Photographs of these two women were later proved to have been faked.

Meier founded a non-profit, tax-paying organization based on his alleged contacts with Semjase, called the “Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien” (Free Community of Interests for the Border and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies) in the late 1970s and established his “Semjase Silver Star Center”. The organization’s headquarters is in Switzerland.

Meier’s photographs and films are claimed by him to show alien spacecraft floating above the Swiss countryside. He calls the alleged spaceships “beamships” from Plejaren. According to Meier, the Plejaren gave him permission to photograph and film their beamships so that he could produce evidence of their extraterrestrial visitations. Some of Meier’s photos are claimed by him to show prehistoric Earth scenes, extraterrestrials, and celestial objects from an alleged non-Earthly vantage point. Meier’s claims are widely characterized as fraudulent by scientists, skeptics, and most ufologists, who say that his photographs and films are hoaxes.

In 1997, Meier’s ex-wife, Kalliope, told interviewers that his photos were of spaceship models he crafted with items like trash can lids, carpet tacks and other household objects, and that the stories he told of his adventures with the aliens were similarly fictitious. She also said that photos of purported extraterrestrial women “Asket” and “Nera” were really photos of Michelle DellaFave and Susan Lund, members of the singing and dancing troupe The Golddiggers. It was later confirmed that the women in the photographs were members of The Golddiggers performing on The Dean Martin Show.

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