Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Space Cadillac

"The Unexplained: UFO Cults" is a documentary about two very different UFO-centered religions, the suicide cult Heaven's Gate and the kooky but harmless Unarius Academy (the guys with the Space Cadillac).

People interviewed include ex-members of Heaven's Gate, a man who still (!) believes in the cult's twisted message, and the daughter of one of the cult leaders. We also get to meet Brad Steiger and Hayden Hewes, the authors of "UFO Missionaries Extraordinary", the first book ever published on this particular cult. (I think "Inside Heaven's Gate" is the same book, re-titled for a post-suicide edition.) Other people interviewed are Christian apologist Hank Hanegraaff and all-round pro-cult apologist Gordon Melton. The second section of the documentary is mostly about Unarius, who have absolutely no intention of committing suicide or leaving any time soon. A well-known UFO religion *not* featured on the show are the Raëlians.

"The Unexplained: UFO Cults" wasn't as interesting as I expected. The section on Heaven's Gate was rather weak, despite interviewing all the right people. The part about Unarius was somewhat better, but overall the program felt boring and uninformative. Those interested in Heaven's Gate should read "UFO Missionaries Extraordinary" and "The Gods Have Landed", reviewed by me elsewhere. The latter book also contains a chapter on Unarius. The documentary *did* contain some additional material not mentioned in these books, so if you are doing your own research, I suppose watching "The Unexplained" won't do you any harm, but I don't think those new to the subject got much wiser.

For the effort, I'll give it three stars.

And yes, it was funny hearing Hanegraaff complaining about the lack of evidence for UFOs. Presumably, the evidence for the virgin birth of Jesus or the sack of Jericho is much stronger? And where *did* Cain's wife come from, brother Hank? I have no intention of starting a Biblical polemic, but I just couldn't help myself...

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