I first heard the word “contactee” when I was interviewing abduction researcher Budd Hopkins in 1989. For Hopkins, a contactee was beneath contempt, a slap in the face to serious scientific researchers struggling to understand a powerful mystery in plausible, objective terms. A beautiful blonde man taking a wide-eyed contactee on a trip to Venus all the while warning of impending nuclear annihilation strained belief to such an extent that Hopkins dreaded the thought that his own research would be tarred with the same brush of ridicule and sneering that greeted the contactees.
However, Tim Beckley of Global Communications chooses to differ with that point of view as he tirelessly revives and reprints books that have come to be classics of contactee literature. This article/review will focus on the work of a woman named Thelma B. Terril, or as she is more frequently called, “Tuella.” Tuella is best known for channeling various alien entities known collectively as the Ashtar Command.
THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF ASHTAR
The existence of the Ashtar Command was first publicly proclaimed by pioneering contactee George Van Tassel. In a book calledThe Lure of the Edge, written by Dr. Brenda Denzler, Van Tassel is called “the most important person for the propagation and perpetuation of the contactee movement.”
“In 1952,” Denzler writes, “Van Tassel announced in his book I Rode a Flying Saucer
that he had made contact with a variety of beings aboard spaceships circling the earth. The purpose of their interest in Earth was to help raise humanity’s ‘vibratory’ level and thus redeem us from our savage ways.”
While awaiting the fulfillment of that alien promise, Van Tassel was told to build the Integratron, a large fifty-five foot circular structure that was intended to serve as a combination rejuvenation machine and time machine. With donations from his followers, the structure was completed near his desert home at Giant Rock, California.
But, according to Denzler, Van Tassel’s most important role in UFO history was undoubtedly as the sponsor of annual contactee conventions at Giant Rock from 1953 until 1977.
“These gatherings provided a way for contactees and their followers to gather and compare stories, sell books, give lectures and form networks. At the height of the contactee movement in the mid-1950s there were more than 150 flying saucer contact clubs organized in the United States alone.”
The contactee movement’s use of “channeling” would later become a popular form of insight and information for the New Age movement that came after. Denzler quotes Michael F. Brown on the subject, who says channeling can be defined as, “the use of altered states of consciousness to contact spirits or to experience spiritual energy captured from other times and dimensions.”
TELEPATHY AND CHANNELING
While some contactees claimed to have had face-to-face meetings with aliens, other contactees communicated with the space brothers only by using the kind of telepathy made popular by spiritualists and occultists decades earlier.
“George Van Tassel was also primarily a telepathic contactee,” Denzler explains, “who made a distinctive contribution to modern New Age thought. Among the many space people with whom he reportedly communicated, one in particular has risen to prominence among New Agers and remains a source of wisdom in certain UFO circles, Ashtar. Today there is a small but significant number of people who claim to channel messages from ‘Ashtar Command,’ and many more who take these messages seriously.”
The Wikipedia online encyclopedia also offers a history of Van Tassel and his contact with Ashtar. During his weekly channeling sessions at Giant Rock, the Ashtar messages, (which had initially contained a great deal of apocalyptic material, some of which focused on the development of the hydrogen bomb) began to grow more elaborate. Details began to emerge of the purported existence of an extraterrestrial “government” which claimed to closely monitor activities on Earth and offered “material and spiritual support” to its citizens.
“This concept of an ‘Ashtar Command’ was appropriated for use by a number of prominent early channelers, both inside and outside the Giant Rock community, and was soon being utilized by several in the context of their own personal claimed messages from Ashtar, along with the use of the figure of Ashtar himself, originally developed by Van Tassel,” says the Wikipedia posting.
Van Tassel and several other chanelers began to publish accounts which predicted the imminent arrival of an Ashtar-led UFO armada on Earth, intended to guide and protect mankind. When the predictions never came to pass, and when differing messages claimed to be directly from Ashtar created considerable confusion, the overall movement went into decline.
TUELLA AND ASHTAR’S COMEBACK
It was left to Tuella to revive and re-energize the concept of an Ashtar Command. Some twenty years later, in the 1970s and 1980s, Tuella wrote a series of books on the subject based on channeled messages received from the Ashtar Command.
“Her work,” Wikipedia says, “shifted the focus from Van Tassel’s extraterrestrial model to a more ‘spiritualized’ approach. Tuella’s version of the Ashtar narrative tended to play down the necessity of the direct involvement of UFOs in human affairs, with the shift of importance being laid onto purely interior spiritual development as a means of reaching ‘higher dimensions’ and receiving the assistance of Ashtar Command.”
In spite of Tuella’s influence, many channelers continued to insist on a more UFO-based cosmology and maintained that Ashtar was still sending messages about the imminent destruction of Earth and the need for a literal physical evacuation of the planet to be carried out by the spacecraft of the Ashtar Command.
Which, as it turns out, is a concept Tuella would also make her own. Eventually, in a book published by Tim Beckley’s Inner Light Publications, called Project World Evacuation, Tuella lays out in exquisite detail the promise that some UFOs will assist in the “great exodus” of human souls off this planet. She quotes Ashtar as saying, “You will be hosted by us, fed and housed comfortably in a great mother ship.” Another entity, called Andromeda Rex, even volunteered information about the food: “It will be as nearly normal to your accustomed foods as we can arrange it. It will include some drinks and foods that are new to you, but we are attempting a cuisine that will be favorable to all, with personal choices where needed.”
It is comforting to know that the Chosen Ones will be well-fed in outer space, but the most joyous aspect of the great adventure will be “in the mingling of beings from all worlds,” when the evacuated earthlings will be introduced to their galaxy and universe.
The exact time of the great evacuation is not known of course, but is contingent on events on Earth. For example, one message given in Project World Evacuationdeclares that, “We will not allow the entire planet to be destroyed. If atomic warfare does become activated, that will be the point of immediate mass evacuation by us of the prepared citizens of the Earth.”
SOME BIBLICAL CONNECTIONS
That statement echoes similar statements made by Jesus in the Gospel. Jesus says that no man knows the day or the hour of his coming, nor do the angels in heaven. God the Father alone knows when that will be. There have been so many unfortunate attempts to predict that moment, attempts made by both Christian believers and contactees that have resulted in disappointment and increased cynicism among believers and skeptics alike. We are clearly told the moment is not knowable, so it behooves us to quit trying to know it.
Jesus also said that he must return in all his glory “lest no flesh survive.” In a manner similar to Tuella’s contacts, we are told that divine intervention is a prerequisite for man’s survival. Man by himself can never negotiate the kind of lasting peace that will ensure his survival, nor can he by himself extricate himself from the environmental decay he has mired himself in.
The fact that the Bible’s prophecies are in tune to Tuella’s channeled material speaks volumes about their having come from the same source. That source is happily both life-affirming and forward looking. One must look past the frightening predictions of doom and ruin to see that the real point is the salvation of mankind and not his destruction.
FOR WHOM IT IS INTENDED
Tuella also knows her audience. She is not preaching to the masses but rather to a specialized group prepared to understand her.
“Just as many are called but few are chosen,” Tuella writes, “likewise, many who read this book will neither understand nor receive the information. But those special souls for whom it is intended will rejoice in its guidance and accept its timely and imperative revelation.
“This information is not entertainment,” she continues. “It is comparable to ‘sealed orders’ given to dedicated volunteers on a strategic mission. It is dispersed to them, compiled for them and will be cherished by them. It is neither defended nor justified. It is data recorded as given and passed on to those for whom it is intended.”
There is a vaguely militaristic overtone to some of that passage; the phrases like “sealed orders” and “strategic mission” seem to imply that the Ashtar Command speaking through Tuella is extremely well organized and is definitely playing for keeps. But when you’re talking about the rescue and salvation of yourself and your loved ones, who would have it otherwise?
A more recent offering of Tuella’s work as a channeler is Global Communications’ Master Symbol of the Solar Cross. The book attempts to introduce the reader to a higher reality by teaching him to understand a series of visual symbols within simple circles and crosses and other geometrical forms there lies our intimate connection to the divine.
In an early section of Master Symbol of the Solar Cross, Tuella channels the following: “In the ancient history of the people of the planet Terra, sacred symbols were used in teaching all the basic principles of nature. Everything was taught in the simplest, most comprehensive language of symbols, used as object lessons, that could be understood by anyone. All were taught in stages, where sight would supply the absence of spoken words. At every step the student was confronted with symbols of the omnipresent power and wisdom of the Creator.”
Tuella seems to be talking about a system of visual symbols that predate spoken language in people, something more primal and profound than mere words. I remember reading about Whitley Strieber’s experience of encountering alien symbols during an abduction. A simple sign, such as Tuella’s solar cross, would be shown to him, and he realized the little graphic symbol contained countless “words,” limitless depths of meaning, but all contained in a few well placed strokes of an alien “pen.”
I’m also reminded of the experience of Becky Andreasson, the daughter of the well-known, devoutly Christian abductee Betty Andreasson Luca. Becky wrote about a continual educational process in which she believed she was being taught an angelic language, a language perhaps consisting of the same deeply-layered symbols that Tuella is channeling.
It is so encouraging to be able to see the picture that emerges when one combines Tuella’s symbols with the experiences of Strieber and Andreasson. One can see the faint glimmering of the overall master plan and take heart that in spite of the fact that we’re not at the top of the cosmic chain of command, a superior force really is extending a helping hand and maneuvering to raise us to a level comparable to theirs. Strieber once said it’s as though we are being prepared to become friends with God, not merely his infantile, disobedient children.
In the Book of Revelation, Chapter 21, verses 3-4, it is written, “Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God Himself will be with them, He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Perhaps the fulfillment of those verses will come at a time when we have learned to converse with God in a language that is worthy of Him, a system of words much more profound than the one we struggle to express ourselves with now. And maybe the symbols explained by Tuella are part of that bridge between mortal groping and eternal heavenly bliss that is a necessary component of true communication with the divine.
TIM BECKLEY REMEMBERS TUELLA
Though Tuella was somewhat of a recluse -- especially when she became ill and needed hospitalization -- she did get her channeled messages out to as many of her followers through regular newsletters that talked primarily about End time visions. Publisher Tim Beckley says she was the best and most respected of all the channels who claimed to have been receiving messages from the Ashtar Command.
Beckley says he met Tuella only once and was very impressed with her.
"I was the MC of a space convention in Reno and we spent some time together. We even tossed a few quarters into the slot machines on the casino floor-- neither one of us being 'directed' to win by the space brothers as it turned out. I have very fond memories of the few days we spent together. I was impressed by her sincerity. She was not a 'fruit cake' or a nutter, nor did it appear that she was 'in this' to make a quick buck.
"A year or two after the Reno conference, I received a phone call from Tuella in which she told me that she had recently had a heart attack and had been hospitalized and realized that she was not long for this earthly coil. She needed someone she 'could trust' to preserve the messages she had purportedly received from members of the Ashtar Command. She was also in need of financial support that would help get her through the final days of her life. I made what for this field was a ‘nice offer’ to obtain the rights to all her works and have kept them in print to this day despite a somewhat thinning market for channeled material."
Beckley is quick to point out that he neither believes nor disbelieves in the messages themselves. "They stand on their own,” he said. Nor can he prove that the messages are really from aliens. But he does believe that Tuella's works offer a legitimate look at both the contactee and channeling movements, which are most definitely an important part of the history of the flying saucer and New Age movements, regardless of the legitimacy of their content.
"People have the right to make up their own minds based on all the facts,” Beckley said. “And these books will help to clarify your belief or disbelief."
(If you enjoyed this article, please visit Sean Casteel’s website at www.seancasteel.com)
If you would like more information or to purchase this book, simply click on the book's title: Master Symbol Of The Solar Cross (Book and Audio CD)
If you would like more information or to purchase this book, simply click on the book's title: Project World Evacuation: Ufos to Assist in the "Great Exodus" of Human Souls Off This Planet
If you would like more information or to purchase this book, simply click on the book's title: A New Book of Revelations
If you would like more information or to purchase this book, simply click on the book's title: Cosmic Telepathy: A How-To Guide To Mental Telepathy
If you would like more information or to purchase this book, simply click on the book's title: Ashtar: Revealing the Secret Identity of the Forces of Light and Their Spiritual Program for Earth