Mediums and Martians:

The Strange Romance Between Greek Spiritualists and Extraterrestrials

By Thanassis Vembos

In the early 1950s Greek mediums were conveying messages not only from the souls of the beloved dead, but from alien beings too. This strange angle of Greek Spiritualism has always been ignored or degraded by nuts-and-bolts UFOlogists –but then again, nuts-and-bolts UFOlogy is a dismally myopic approach to the phenomenon.

In Greece there was always a strong undercurrent of Spiritualism –communication with the spirits of the departed via human mediums- permeating society and manifesting in various times. During the 1920s and the 1930s Spiritualism was not exactly fashionable, since scientific Parapsychology (named “Psychophysiology” back then) championed by the legendary physician Angelos Tanagras, was dominating the scene (see my articles on Tanagras' investigations here). But after World War 2 conditions in Greek society were ripe for Spiritualism to come back with a vengeance. Moreover Tanagras was getting old and becoming less and less active. Many spiritualistic groups sprung in Athens and in other Greek cities and towns. However this was not a plain revival of an old idea; postwar spiritualists were claiming contacts not only with souls of the departed but with some other strange entities too.

In the late 1940s the new phenomenon of flying saucers started to appear in the Greek newspapers; at first very few if any paid attention. A little after WW2, Greeks were occupied by much more important issues. The country was in shambles, society was deeply divided and political unrest had culminated in a bloody civil war that ended in 1949, claiming thousands of lives, further ruining the country and creating deep discord in society. It is no surprise that there was a strong wave of religious resurgence right after the war; peasants were having religious visions and dreams, Blessed Mary Virgin and various saints were appearing in various cases, calling people to repent or else dire things would happen. Miraculous healings and religious wonders were reported on a nearly weekly basis from all around Greece. The spiritualist revival in urban centers must be viewed through that prism.

Nevertheless, in some spiritualist circles, mediums were claiming that they were making contact not only with departed souls but also with “flying saucer pilots”. Back then it was not sure if these aerial objects –if real- were crafts from outer space or secret weapons of the Americans or the Soviets. During a seance that took place in the city of Piraeus sometime between 1947 and 1950, medium E.F. was asked if these “flying saucers” were of terrestrial origin or coming from neighboring planets. She answered:

Flying saucers are real and not a hallucination, as some people claim. All the same you are making a mistake. You call all these luminous fast vehicles ‘saucers’, but not all of them are disk-shaped. Neither all of them originate from Earth […]. True flying saucers are terrestrial and their speed is slower compared to the others. Apart from the real saucers, huge cylindrical crafts are speeding in the atmosphere, coming from nearby planets. Because of their great speed they appear as saucers. Crews of these interplanetary crafts have repeatedly crossed the atmosphere of Earth and have transmitted to their base a complete description of the atmospheric conditions of your planet and its geography. They have full data on the population distribution on earth’s surface; they are preparing and studying intensely the landing of these interplanetary objects on the land or the sea. One morning you will be astonished to see their mass arrival. But fear not; this arrival will be benevolent for the progress of mankind […]. [1]

After that, there was a wave of descriptions of flying saucers and their occupants. During one seance in 1952, medium Nitsa D, [2] (shown partly in the photo below) completely clueless about the existence of flying saucers, described a “pilot” of one of these vehicles:

He was a man, but not a man, short, one meter tall, with no hair, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, with eyes small and dark. He had no nose, no ears, no mouth, only holes instead. His fingers were very short. His flesh was hard like wood and he was stark naked. He sat in the center of the saucer –that looked like a top- having around him something like luminous rods; these rods powered the saucer. The saucer landed on another world, full of rocks and mountains, with no trees, without water. Many similar creatures surrounded it. The vehicle had landing extrusions and had an opening below. It was egg-shaped, deep yellow and made of metal. The other creatures were black and naked. There were women and children also. They did not speak but made faces and whistled. These creatures did not live in houses; the slept on the ground and ate with chopsticks. The creatures did not let the medium to enter the factory where the saucers were constructed –this factory was inside a mountain. The saucers were powered by a force coming from the Sun [3].

Nitsa D's saucer pilot according to her description

It is important to emphasize the short height of the pilot; reports on UFO landings and short humanoids were practically unknown back then, especially in Greece, even though flying saucer crashes and alien body retrievals were sometimes reported in Greek newspapers. The resemblance of the vehicle with a “spinning top” is also important as a psychosocial factor as Martin Kottmeyer nicely shows [4].

Nitsa’s description is neither the first, nor the last and of course not the only one. Yet not even two of these descriptions are identical –in the same way that not even two of UFO sightings are identical. In 1949 during some seances with an automatic writing medium, spiritual guide “Alexandros” transmitted the following

People rightly worry about the paradoxical appearances of these mysterious objects in Earth’s atmosphere. Much is said about them but definitely human history is about to change because of the imminent mass landing of the residents of Mars who will affect your future.

The Martians proceed cautiously, fearing that they may accidentally reveal a horrible weapon of destruction; also they are accustomed to a much colder and thinner air and less gravity, so they take their time […]

Regarding heavenly bodies, you talk about action and reaction. But the truth is that these bodies spin and rotate in the void; the latter becomes space because of their spin and rotation […] it becomes solider than material background. Matter is based on negative energy rotation; thus it is transformed initially into positive energy and then into matter [5].

Cover of #5 issue of Hyperfos (Hyperlight) spiritualistic magazine

Imminent landing of the Martians is a disenchanted Second Coming during a time when Otherworldly is confused with Outer Space. This basic pattern was to be continuously repeated the next decades. These vintage aliens came from Mars, Venus or other planets, known and unknown; they were always friendly and peaceful, conveying messages of brotherhood, peace and love. The pseudoscientific teachings of these communications are also of great interest. In a later seance “Alexandros” revealed: “Another major issue is that these mysterious aircrafts managed to abduct Earthmen; some of them perished, some of them are still living on Mars thanks to scientific means. In the near future [the Martians] will be able to create human life on their planet” [6]. This is one of the first hints of what forty years later became widely known as “alien abduction’. In later seances the same spiritual guide revealed:

The mass landing of the Martians will be accomplished by many and various types of aircraft, of every shape. On this day, a feast day of a Leader Orthodox Saint, myriads of flying objects will cross the skies of Earth. Your atmosphere will be vibrating with every kind of awe-inspiring sound made by these aerial behemoths. The so weird and illustrative images of Saint John’s Revelation will be actualized. Earth’s flaming skies over your heads will become a genuine hell, seething with Monsters of Apocalypse. […] This unforgettable day, a landmark in Earth’s history, a world hideous in shape but spiritually handsome will be born on your blood-stained lands. Thus you will be taught what it means to be a conscious and sentient creature, what are the rights and the obligations to your fellow humans and what your duties to Creation are. Two separate tribes will participate in these mass landings.

The Martian of the first and superior tribe is short, astonishingly broad, with voluminous head and short arms, ugly but of higher spiritual power. The Martian of the second and inferior tribe is very tall, black and skeleton-thin, like a huge ant walking upright. This tribe has not even the rudimentary spiritual development; but it possesses tremendous psychic powers; it can literally zap a group of people from afar. These creatures are surrounded by a noxious spiritual field made of invisible lethal rays. This second tribe, despite possessing these tremendous psychic powers, is controlled by the first which governs the planet and has advanced technology and science [7].

These insectoids strongly remind Gerald Heard’s flying saucer pilots. In The Flying Saucer Riddle/Is Another World Watching? published in 1950, Heard proposed that flying saucers only could be from Mars and their pilots were a kind of "super-bees": "[...] of perhaps two inches in length [...] A creature with eyes like brilliant cut-diamonds, with a head of sapphire, a thorax of emerald, an abdomen of ruby, wings like topaz..." . [8]. It is remarkable that Heard’s book was serialized in Ethnos newspaper in October 1950. Therefore Greek readers were in some way already exposed to the notion of insectoid aliens.

First part of Gerald Heard's book in Ethnos newspaper, 18.10.1950

Also planet Mars appears continuously in Greek newspapers and magazines of the 1950s, in headlines, articles and cartoons, being the most probable abode of life outside Earth –something that is reflected in the science fiction movies of the time, shown in Greek theaters. During a seance on September 18, 1953, entranced medium Filio Karakasi [9] traveled to the Red Planet. While traveling to Mars, she made a stop on the Moon where she saw “huge mountains, gorges and deep ravines. There is no life, because there is no oxygen”. But later on Mars there is “greenery, much greenery, everywhere is green” and “light, much light”. There are “people made of spiritual essence inside an external material shell that constitutes their bodies”. These people resemble humans but they labor more with the spirit than with the body. “I see electric switches everywhere. Martians devote most of their time working on the problems of the Universe and on planetary explosions that put the neighboring stars in danger [reference to atomic tests]. They travel between planets a lot, not only for research but for recreation also.” Karakasi emphasized that Mars was “an evolutionary planet”, like Earth and Venus. When the trip ended she did not want at all to come back, because on Mars “everything is green, there is light, there is civilization, love. There is no war. Leave me alone, I do not leave Mars! I do not leave, I will stay here forever” [10]

.

Medium Filio Karakasi during a seance

Two months later, on November 12, Filio Karakasi was hypnotized with a mission to travel to a place in England where flying saucers had appeared a month ago, and collect information. She reached a place in Wales near the sea and she saw three funnel-shaped flying saucers, made of metal. She entered in one of them; on its front there was a device collecting “many, many atmospheric waves, condensing them and then emitting them intermittently from the rear. Thus the spinning of the saucer becomes possible and the saucer moves with incredible speed. In its front there is a rod; upon it there is a metallic index showing the Polar Star. The saucer’s metallic shell has a lot of portholes. Inside there is a large box (cabin). I enter. I cannot see anybody. I can see a bag full of condensed gas. This is the shell [of the pilot]. Inside I can see eyes, nose, ears, a man. On his nose he wears a device like an elephant’s trunk. Sometimes he squeezes the bag to inhale gas. He’s got devices on his ears too. His cheeks are too protruding. He resembles a Mongolian. He is fat and short. Obviously he is very healthy […] He breathes very slowly but powerfully. In the window of the box I can see Earth, like a globe! It is so beautiful!” Later on it became apparent that they had landed on Siberia [11].

Note the “Mongolian” pilot and remember the “chopsticks” used by the Martians to eat, according to Nitsa D. Asian attributes is the leitmotif of many early flying saucer occupant reports. Combined with the “Red Scare” of the time (Siberia) constitute a main shaping factor of the phenomenon.

Next year, 1954, was the year of the great UFO flap in Greece and elsewhere (see my article here). Mediums’ alien contacts continued. During autumn of 1954, medium Kate Constantinidou described to journalist Nestor Laskaris flying saucers, their occupants and their place of origin. According to Constantinidou, flying saucers came from a planet called “Mid-heaven Light” by its residents. It has been a long time since these aliens wanted to come to Earth, which was known to them thanks to their advanced telescopes. One of their scientists had managed to perfect a machine capable of reaching our planet. These aliens possessed an extremely developed brain and were communicating telepathically. As a result they all lived in harmony; crime was unknown in their society. These aliens did not possess paper; they wrote on plaques made of black crystal on which they inscribed geometrical shapes, thus communicating. They were also communicating with higher worlds and the Supreme Being. They were organizing a conference during which they would announce their observations of Earth and discuss the means of contacting us. But the latter would not happen soon. According to the medium, travel between Earth and Mid-heaven Light would take six months. Regarding their physiology, the aliens slept only 2-3 hours, reproduction was similar to human but pregnancy was of short duration, birth was easy and the children were born with higher perception and grew very fast. These aliens lived in shacks made of light wood and ate a special cream-like food. When they died, their body disintegrated immediately, the soul escaped and travelled to a higher world [12].

Medium Kate Constantinidou with journalist Nestor Laskaris

On October 27, 1954, medium Irene Panopoulou communicated with a flying saucer crew during an experiment in the Society of Metapsychic Studies, one of the larger spiritualist groups. She was asked to go to the site of “the first flying saucer crash”. She claimed that this crash happened on June, 27, 1950; the site was dark, it was a very dark sea. There were many big mountains. She reached a plateau and saw a buzzing object falling. It had “black-greyish” color, was made of “forged petals. It is forged iron. Round, larger than the room. It is a big circle”. Inside was a strange little man, a “miniature monkey”, one meter tall, very hairy, with hairy hands but not hairy palms, with long eyelashes. She felt that the creature was kind of hostile but later she considered it to be very clever and friendly. The occupant was dressed in a grayish suit, made of synthetic stuff. It was visible through the transparent lower part of the saucer. On the circumference of the craft there was a tube made of thick, yellow glass. Inside there were seats; the whole thing could accommodate ten people. The humanoid opened the door for her and she entered the saucer. Around the pilot there were many multicolored switches on a panel; behind the panel there were thousands of wires. Behind the pilot there was something like a “loudspeaker” and a glass tube inside it. Inside the tube some liquid was sloshing; it was silver, like mercury. This liquid was circulating in the tube around the saucer. Later the pilot approached the medium annoyed and with gestures showed her that she had to abandon the craft.

Medium Panopoulou communicates with a flying saucer pilot during the peak of the great Greek UFO flap of 1954 (Apogevmatini 28.10.1954)

In a way Panopoulou managed to remain in the saucer. The vehicle took off, flew off and approached the Moon. It landed in a base complex; other saucers and cigar-shaped crafts like airships were there. Thousands of little humanoids were around them, and also very tall men, very handsome, with large eyes, dressed in plastic opaque uniforms with many keys. The sky was white and the trees miniscule. The creatures, dwarfs and giants, surrounded her with curiosity; one of them, a giant, spoke in her tongue and gave her to eat something like “a fruit pudding”, quite tasty. The giant, named Koundi, said that they were launching saucers to Earth for many years; one of them was crashed beyond Siberia, in the Arctic. He also revealed her that the giants were Martians, using Moon as an intermediate base station and that the monkey-like dwarfs were Selenites –residents of the Moon. The Martians had arrived because of the dangerous experiments by Earth people, resulting to imbalance of Earth’s axis. The Martians had decided to restore the imbalance and were preparing for mass landings [13].

These “handsome giants” are reminiscent of Adamski’s Venusians, but they come from Mars. The “fruit pudding” strongly reminds John Keel’s “ambrosia factor”; during many close encounters the aliens (or fairies, or other otherworldly denizens) offer an edible stuff or potable liquid to the witness. This “communion” seems to play a crucial role to the culmination of the encounter.

In this particular case we see also reference to the now legendary story about a crashed flying saucer in Spitzbergen (Svalbard). Reports about crashed flying saucers and retrieval of their “pilots” had already appeared several times in Greek newspapers.

One of the first reports on flying saucer crashes and alien bodies retrieval (Acropolis, 3.1.1950)

Two years later, 27-year old male medium Dimitrios Symeonidis (photo right) travelled to Mars. Reportedly he was a medium with remarkable powers; he had acquired them ten years ago when, playing football, had hit his head. Symeonidis landed on Mars equator. He saw some pine trees and very tall houses made of plastic. They were so tall that he could not see their top. He felt dizzy and fainted. The air was very thin and he nearly could not breathe. When he came around he saw the Martians; they were tall (1.80 m) blonde and incredibly beautiful. A Martian girl approached him and volunteered to show him around. Her name was Nes; she was 275 years old –women on Mars lived until 300-1,000. Practically Martians lived as much as they wanted because on Mars there was no death. Martian year was divided in 900 days. “Noret” was the Martian name for the planet (it meant ‘eternal life’); “Nartsa” was the Martian name of Earth (meaning ‘dark star’). There were other tribes on Mars except the blonde giants –short and dark haired ones, less advanced. Another Martian, a male named Rak, joined them. He was 260 years old, but he seemed less than 70. Medicine was so advanced on Mars that there was no death. When one was bored of living he would take a pill and die painlessly; his body would disintegrate in 24 hours. On Mars there was no money, no material possessions and food was coming in pills. There were no nations, nor armies, only a small inactive police force. Telepathy was the means of communication; there was no crime since each and everyone’s thoughts were known to all the others instantaneously. The famous Channels of Mars were in fact giant superhighways where vehicles were moving with tremendous speed. Interestingly, Martians told Symeonidis that the “flying saucers” seen in the skies of Earth were not alien spaceships; they were atmospheric phenomena, high altitude airplanes or crafts launched from Siberia. Nevertheless, the Martians showed Symeonidis one of their spaceships, a 65-meter wide disk, thick at the center and thinner at the rim. Around the disk there was a rotating rim used to propel the saucer into space. Interestingly, the rim was made by matter 100 times thicker than the usual matter on Earth. But in spite of their high space technology, Martian saucers could not reach Earth since they were inhibited by the Martian magnetic field which was different from that of Earth [14].

Many spiritualists considered flying saucers to be of ectoplasmic nature. A pioneer in this field was the Thessaloniki-based physician and spiritualist Argyrios Kouzas. In October 1952 he proposed that this new flying saucer phenomenon was not about vehicles –secret aircraft or alien spaceships- but about “ectoplasms of psychogenic ontogeny” [15] –psychically generated ectoplasmic globes. Kouzas formed his hypothesis impressed by the huge UFO flap over Washington during the summer of 1952 and the general anxiety it caused –Red Scare was at its peak back then. He composed a report and sent it to the American Department of Defense. In this he referred:

So I have the feeling that the souls of dead worrying about the alarming developments on this earth, are symbolically showing us “wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath" […] Flying saucers, visions in the sky, ectoplasms on the earth, all these were observed in Greece since years ago. It is possible that these supernatural phenomena […] will persist […]. At Lycabettus hill in Athens and at the [military] airports of Tatoi and Larissa and elsewhere, “shadows” were seen at night, something that put sentries on alert; nevertheless subsequent search […] yielded nothing. It is most probable that these shadows, about which a lot was said in the Parliament, were not men but ectoplasms, materialized ghosts. Such phenomena originate from the psychomental realm […] I think they will continue and will be spread to other countries […] [16]

Kouzas' theory presented in Embros newspaper (24.5.1953) with a very characteristic sketch

Kouzas’ hypothesis was cited in New York based Psychic Observer magazine (probably in 1953). His reference on the “shadows” was based on real reports. On September 9, 1952 a sentry at the Air Force military base at Tatoi, Attica, heard suspicious noises from a nearby gully at 10:45 pm. His calls and warnings were not answered, so he opened fire. Other sentries started shooting too and the Air Base was in red alert. This was recalled a few hours later; nothing suspicious was found [17]. A few days before a similar incident had taken place in Lycabettus hill, in the heart of Athens. Mind you that in early 1950s Greece was coming out of a decade of bloodshed and destruction; political fanaticism was at its peak; Communist rebellion (1946-49) had been crushed but a general fear about subversive acts and Communist spies was permeating the military and Greek society. So it was not unusual that the issue was hotly debated in the Greek Parliament [18]. Two days later, similar phenomena upset the Air Force base at Larisa, Thessaly; heavy machine gun fire and flares rained on an unknown and uncaught intruder after a report of a sentry about a suspicious “shadow” [19].

Kouzas’ theory is similar to the claims of the American Meade Layne (1883 - 1961). Layne, a medical doctor who had studied Kaballah and physics of ether worked with medium Marc Probert and concluded that UFOs did not come from other planets but from a spectral world he named Etheria. “Ether ships” were traveling between Etheria and our world which consists of “denser matter” [20]. Later, John Keel followed Layne’s trail and proposed the similar Superspectrum Hypothesis as a solid basis of interpretation for a wide range of paranormal phenomena [21].

The spiritualistic approach to the phenomenon of flying saucers in postwar Greece was ostensibly novel –completely different from the usual approaches of “Martian spaceships” or “secret weapons”. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the psychosocial factors of the era, this approach was compatible with the zeitgeist, as strange as it may seem to us, sixty years later. But it was novel; today we know that UFOs are connected with ectoplasmic stuff like “angel hair” and are very rarely solid, metallic vehicles. Usually they are globes of light or seemingly made by some exotic quasi-physical substance. Furthermore, we know that the UFO phenomenon has a strong psychic component, as was shown by Jacques Vallee and others, decades ago. But all of this was unknown country in early 1950s.

Notes

(1) Alexandros Bellos, World without Death (Athens, 1950?), p. 108
(2) It is reported that Nitsa D. was an illiterate girl from Crete, nice of one Lefteris Kn. (Knithakis most probable –a known Cretan healer and hypnotist back then)
(3) “I Traveled on a Flying Saucer”, Embros newspaper, 4.9.1952
(4) "Should Saucers Spin?", Magonia Supplement #23, January 2000. As Kottmeyer notes, reports of spinning saucers turned up immediately and repeatedly in the reports of the 1947 Wave. He remarks that there are at least 37 cases of people describing spinning, whirling, or twirling saucers among the 853 reports collected by Ted Bloecher. (Report on the UFO Wave of 1947, 1967)
(5) “Martians Prepare to Land”, Hyperfos magazine, #7, March 1953
(6) “Martians Prepare to Land”, Hyperfos magazine, #8, June 1953, p. 125
(7) “Martians Prepare to Land”, Hyperfos magazine, #9, November 1953, p. 150.
(8) Gerald Heard, Is Another World Watching?
(9) Karakasi was a gynecologist and personal medium of Queen Anne-Marie of Greece (1964-1974) and of Farah, Queen consort and Empress of Iran (1959-1979); she had official letters confirming this (“Greek Woman Physician and Medium in the Service of Two Queens”, Acropolis newspaper, 14.10.1966)
(10) “She Claims that she Traveled to Mars… via Moon!”, Embros newspaper, 8.11.1953. Also see Dimitrios Ambelas’, “A Medium Travels to Mars via Moon”, Hyperfos magazine, #9, November 1953, p. 146. For a full description of the trip see Ambelas’ book, Psychics, pp 117-121.
(11) Dimitris Ambelas, Psychics, pp 125-126
(12) “Flying Saucers Come from Mid-Heaven Light – A Medium Describes Them”, Vradyni newspaper, 14.10.1954
(13) Theodore Drakos, “Entranced Medium Communicates with Flying Saucer Crew”, Apogevmatini newspaper, 28.10.1954
(14) “Impressions of an Athenian after a Trip to Mars”, Ta Nea newspaper, 6.9.1956, 7.9.1956
(15) “Flying Saucers are Psychomental Phenomena”, O Kosmos tis Psychis magazine, Year IV, #6, 1953, pp. 330-331
(16) “Report on Flying Saucers Sent by Doctor Argyrios Kouzas to the Department of the Air Force in Washington”, O Kosmos tis Psychis magazine, Year V, #4, 1954, p. 58
(17) Embros newspaper, 10.9.1952
(18) Embros newspaper, 11.9.1952
(19) Eleftheria newspaper, 13.9.1952, Embros newspaper, 13.9.1952
(20) Mead Layne, The Coming of the Guardians, 1954
(21) John Keel, The Cosmic Question, 1975

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