Planetary Travels

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Planetary Travels

Mediums in a trance state claim to travel to other planets. Descriptions of astral travel, inner vision, or spirit enlightenment and life on the planets were first given by Emanuel Swedenborg in the seventeenth to eighteenth century.

Swedenborg claimed the people of Mars were the best in the whole planetary system. Physiognomy, with them, was an expression of thought. They judged each other by it. They were God-fearing, and the Lord sometimes appeared among them. Of the inhabitants of Venus and the moon, Swedenborg said:

"They are of two kinds; some are gentle and benevolent others wild, cruel and of gigantic stature. The latter rob and plunder, and live by this means; the former have so great a degree of gentleness and kindness that they are always beloved by the good; thus they often see the Lord appear in their own form on their earth.

"The inhabitants of the Moon are small, like children of six or seven years old; at the same time they have the strength of men like ourselves. Their voices roll like thunder, and the sound proceeds from the belly, because the moon is in quite a different atmosphere from the other planets."

Swedenborg's accounts of planetary travel was limited to those planets known to exist in the eighteenth century.

Planetary exploration in the form of what appeared to be traveling clairvoyance was first recorded with Fraulein Romer, a German somnambule who in November 1813, at the age of 15, was seized with convulsive attacks and developed medium-ship.

In 1921, C. Romer described how the spirits of dead relatives but more often the spirit of a living companion, Louise, led the medium to the moon. She described its flora, fauna and inhabitant and the spirits of the dead who spend there their first stage of existence in their progress to higher spheres. Romer claimed the descriptions were in accord with those offered by the subjects of Joseph Ennemoser 's experiments.

Andrew Jackson Davis followed in the footsteps of Sweden-borg. Victorien Sardou reportedly drew automatic sketches of houses and scenes on the planet Jupiter. Auguste Henri Jacob executed drawings of fruits and flowers he claimed grew on the planet Venus. Thomas Lake Harris, in Celestial Arcana, described the inhabitants on other planets of the solar system and also some of remote fixed stars. Harris claimed to have had conversations with them.

Statements and disclosures were also exemplified by a revelation of Hélène Smith. Theodore Flournoy in From India to the Planet Mars (1900), traced the origin of Smith's Martian Cycle to chance remarks and the desire expressed by Georges-Henri Lemaitre a Belgian astro physicist, to know more about the planet. On November 25, 1884, Flournoy noted:

"From the beginning Mlle. Smith perceived, in the distance and at a great height, a bright light. Then she felt a tremor which almost caused her heart to cease beating, after which it seemed to her as though her head were empty and as if she were no longer in the body. She found herself in a dense fog, which changed successively from blue to a vivid rose color, to gray, and then to black. She is floating, she says, and the table, supporting itself on one leg, seemed to express a very curious floating movement. Then she sees a star growing larger, always larger, and becomes finally 'as large as our house.'

"Hélène feels that she is ascending; then the table gives, by raps: 'Lemaitre, that which you have so long desired!' Mlle. Smith, who had been ill at ease, finds herself feeling better, she distinguishes three enormous globes, one of them very beautiful. 'On what am I walking?' she asks. And the table replies: 'On a worldMars.' Hélène then began a description of all strange things which presented themselves to her view, and caused her as much surprise as amusement. Carriages without horses or wheels, emitting sparks as they glided by; houses with fountains on the roof; a cradle having for curtains an angel made of iron with outstretched wings, etc. What seemed less strange were people exactly like the inhabitants of our earth, save that both sexes wore the same costume, formed of trousers, very ample, and a long blouse, drawn tight about the waist and decorated with various designs. The child in the cradle was exactly like our children, according to the sketch which Hélène made from memory after the séance.

"We are struck by two points, the complete identity of the Martian world, taken in its chief points, with the world in which we live, and its puerile originality in a host of minor details. One would say that it was the work of a young scholar to whom had been given the task of trying to invent a world as different as possible from ours, but real and who had conscientiously applied himself to it loosening the reins of his childish fancy in regard to a multitude of minor points in the limits of what appeared admissible according to his short and narrow experience. All the traits that I discover in the author of the Martian romance can be summed up in a single phrase, its profoundly infantile character."

New Languages Appear

Flournoy claimed the Martian language, was not only revealed but also translated into French and bore the stamp of a "natural" language. "I will add that in speaking fluently and somewhat quickly, as Hélène sometimes does in somnambulism, it has an acoustic quality altogether its own due to the predominance of certain sounds, and has a peculiar intonation difficult to describe."

Seventeen days later a medium attempted to depict life in an undetermined planet farther away than Mars. Reportedly, medium saw a world, with a different language than the Martian, the tallest people were three feet high, with heads twice as broad as high, living in low, long cabins without windows or doors but with a tunnel about ten feet long running from it into the earth.

Flournoy believed there was an earthly origin of both the Ultra-Martian and the Uranian language and writing.

In August 1895, Hélène Smith found a rival in America. The medium, Mrs. Willis M. Cleveland (generally known as Mrs. Smead ), made several revelations about the planets Mars and Jupiter. After a period of five years, the detailed descriptions according to Flournoy, presented "the same character of puerility and naive imagination as those of Mlle. Smith."

Planetary Visitor

Isaac K. Funk, in his book The Widow's Mite (1904), wrote of a medium who impersonated "a lady eight feet tall from the planet Mars" by the use of a wire bust with rubber over it, and a false face. The wire bust fitted snugly on the shoulders of the medium and was inflated with air when in use. When not in use it could be made into a small package and concealed.

Numerous mediums have given descriptions of Martian life. Eva Harrison's Wireless Messages from Other Worlds (London, 1916) introduced planetary visitors from the constellation Orion. The medium George Valiantine, through "Dr. Barnett" predicted Martians would communicate with us before we communicated with them.

The Martian fascination of Mansfield Robinson should also be mentioned. Through a Mrs. James, the author claimed to have obtained a Martian alphabet, a Martian trance control "Oumaruru," and gave a number of Martian revelations based on trance excursions to the red planet.

Many of the claimed spiritual revelations of life on other planets betray their terrestrial origins by everything being bigger and better than on earth. This is demonstrated in the pamphlet A Description of the Planet Neptune; or, A Message From the Spirit World by Japssa Seniel, Spiritual, from the Planet Naculo or Neptune (London, ca. 1872), from which the following quotations are typical:

"We have horses, which we call nemilis, but they stand nearly as high again as yours, and are very far superior to any that I have seen on this globe. We have a great variety of peculiar animals called denfan; they resemble your dogs; they are quite harmless, but very useful. In the city of Zinting, which is distant from Vanatha about 80,000 miles, is a carnil or match factory, which employs 30,000 hands. These matches are made of wax, and can only be lighted by dipping them in water.

"Now, we will return to Vanatha, and I will describe a grand piece of workmanshipnamely a bridge of metal, which is in length about 59 miles. It passes over two rivers, each seven miles in width, also over corn fields, grazing pastures, and railways; it supporters are black marble pillars. The metal is composed of iron, steel, copper, gold, and silver; but we have another kind of metal we call accelity verua, which far exceeds all the rest in strength and durability. The cross supporters of this magnificent bridge are made of this durable material; they are nine feet in diameter.

"The immense bridge is only for foot passengers; its width is about 2000 feet; it has 2000 lamps of large dimensions namely, nine feet in diameter; they are circular in form, and are lighted with gas. This bridge took 300 years to construct it, at a cost of £300,000,000 sterling; it employed about 40,000,000 workmen. It was laid out by a seraph; it is paved with pantine pardia, which is more durable than any other material we have. It is neither stone nor iron, yet it is harder than the diamond or sapphire. The pavement is all cut in stars; the balustrade is about twelve feet high, and all this stupendous bridge is covered with lemena or glass. There is on this bridge 500 drinking fountains, and about 200 filestres or water closets; these are placed over the rivers. There is about 300 approaches to this bridge, which are ascended by 300 steps, with landings and windings, and seats to recline on. In the ascent to the top, there are small houses built in the centre of this bridge, where the inhabitants can take tea or coffee, or what you call luncheon or meals."

Similar contacts with extraterrestrials and descriptions of their planets appeared throughout the first half of the twentieth century. However, a new era began in 1952 with the public attention being given to flying saucers. Claims of contacts with extraterrestrials and accompanying descriptions of their home planets, almost totally received by psychic means, began to appear with the publication of George Adamski 's first book. Through the 1950s people such as Truman Bethrum, Ernest Norman, and Howard Menger described life on other planets. However, in the 1950s, a new element was added. Space aliens traveled to Earth on space ships thus supplemented their telepathic and related communications with actual physical contact.

These claims of contact with aliens from other planets were concurrent with the exploration of space by improved telescopes and space probes. Such data gave a better picture than previously possible of the different planets in this solar system and disproved the history of contact literature concerning life on the moon, Venus, Mars, and the other planets. By the end of the 1960s, almost no one continued to claim such contact, but claims of contact with planets beyond the reach of contemporary science in other solar system continued. Among the few claims for life on Mars was made by Ruth Norman in her 1977 Martian Underground Cities Discovered!


Clark, Jerome. The UFO Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. Detroit: Omni-graphics, 1992.

Flournoy, Theodore. From India to the Planet Mars. 1900. Reprinted, New Hyde Park, N.Y.: University Books, 1963.

Harris, Thomas Lake. Arcana of Christianity: Celestial Sense of the Divine Word. 2 vols. New York, 1858.

Leslie, Desmond, and George Adamski. Flying Saucers Have Landed. London: T. Werner Laurie, 1953.

Lunan, Duncan. Man and the Stars. London: Souvenir Press, 1974. Reprinted as Interstellar Contact; Communication with Other Intelligences in the Universe. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1975.

Melton, J. Gordon. "The Contactees: a Survey." In The Spectrum of UFO Research: Proceedings of the Second UFO Conference. Chicago: Center for UFO Studies, 1975.

Melton, J. Gordon, and George M. Eberhart. The Flying Saucer Contactee Movement: 1950-1990. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Santa Barbara Centre for Humanistic Studies, 1990.

Romer, C. Ausführliche historische Darstellung einer höchst merkwürdigen Somnambule. Stuttgart, 1821.

Swedenborg, Emanuel. Earths in Our Solar System Which Are Called Planets, and Earths in the Starry Heaven, Their Inhabitants, and the Spirits and Angels There. London: Swedenborg Society, 1860. Frequently reprinted.