VIDEO – With more or less naivety, our hosts received Claude Vorilhon on several occasions from the 1970s. An echo which the person concerned made extensive use of.
It was enough for him to break into song… As a young man, Claude Vorilhon imitated Brel and recorded romances on 45 rpm records. He also created an auto magazine, which quickly disappeared. Extraterrestrials, in 1973, were his revelation. He owes them everything. To them, but also on television. The little window was curious about his testimony which, in France at the time, seemed less far-fetched than today. “This traditional society, disrupted by May 68, allowed itself to believe in everything”recall the authors of the documentary series available on Netflix.
A funny zig on the set
Jacques Chancel was keen in “Le Grand Échiquier” to mix leading stars and artists he wanted to make known. But it’s a strange twist that this outstanding interviewer presented on March 13, 1974: “I ask you to listen to this testimony, which I present as a testimony. Some will take it as a fairy tale, but why not listen to it? At the time, the gendarmerie itself had not set up a cell for observing saucers in the sky…
Vorilhon understood that the appearance of truth lies in the details. “As I was walking I saw something shining in the sky, he says. I could have said when I got home “Hey, I saw a saucer”, everyone would have laughed. (…) A staircase unfolded, I first saw two legs, children’s legs, I thought at first, and he spoke in very pure French”, he continues. Chancel tick. “You questioned him and asked how come he spoke French?”. Answer, after a very short hesitation: “Yes, he said he could speak every language in the world.”
At the end of the interview, Chancel starts: “Can you allow us to be skeptical?” Claude Vorilhon assures that he does not want to convince others and puts forward an argument that will often be his own: “Anyway, I would have to have a vivid imagination to invite all that.” We can give him this merit. In the days following the broadcast, the young man received numerous letters from French people who also said they had seen saucers. The beginning of success.
Bouvard rubs his hands
Still looking like a young history teacher, here he is, on May 25, 1974, on the set of “Saturday evening”. He applied to come. No doubt Philippe Bouvard said to himself that Claude Vorilhon was a client of choice. Because the host had the habit of inviting, alongside stars, eccentric characters. Bouvard also brings an extraterrestrial from the outset, one of his collaborators slipped into a green costume, on the set. The future Raël laughs without much conviction.
He once again describes his encounter of the third type, and Philippe Bouvard has a great time: “Oh no, I don’t see any reason to smile.”, “They must not be proud of us, our extraterrestrials”. He questions him, less to verify his inconsistency than to find something to laugh about. Proposal is made to present the actressEmmanuellealso on set, to our creators.
Not embarrassed, Vorilhon returned on September 14, 1974. Same number, the host had fun, gently and bitingly, and his guest took the opportunity to make himself known. “He came in March to explain very seriously, because he has a beautiful honest face which pleads in his favor, that he had met an extraterrestrial”, recalls Bouvard. Before being surprised at the creation of an association by Vorilhon to receive funds. The apprentice guru, who contradicts himself on certain points, finds the opportunity to announce his next conference.
Transformation into a prophet
Change of tone in the third broadcast, a “Dix de der” from January 1975. “He has one of those beautiful, slightly sad prophetic faces that are never forgotten.”, blurted Bouvard to introduce it. Vorilhon now calls himself Raël. He let his hair grow out and dresses all in black. Certainly the sequence remains funny, but the host also pushes it to its limits. And gets annoyed. Perhaps because his interlocutor, who does not lose his deferential air, is not destabilized. Raël knows that he owes the crowds present at his conferences to TV.
The years have passed. The sect grew. And the guru returns to TV. In September 1988 in “Ciel mon Mardi”, an eruptive program on TF1 which featured anonymous people testifying. “I am very happy to be with you. It’s been fifteen years since I went to the “Grand Échiquier” with Jacques Chancel, who was enthusiastic about my message., he assures Dechavanne. Raël, sure of himself, attacks the Bible, which does not “would only talk about extraterrestrials”describes his speech as “revolutionary”, discusses his latest book. The “prophet”, now dressed all in white, says he has 20,000 followers.
But the chosen one of the extraterrestrials on Earth will be treated less well on October 11, 1992, for his third invitation in “Heaven, my Tuesday!”. Christophe Dechavanne attacks it straight away: “Are you suggesting that people have new relationships with their children?” Answer : “Absolutely, we are fanatics of freedom”. “Especially sexual?”, specifies Léa Salamé’s current sidekick on Saturday evening. Accusations of sexual abuse in communities are the focus of the show.
Raël does not see the danger emerging. He is questioned about a case of pedophilia, which he does not strongly condemn. “We’re not allowed to touch children, that’s all! Stop saying we caress, kiss, and all that!”, Dechavanne ignites. It is not finished. An ex-faithful enters the scene: “This man is a scoundrel (…) I assure you that these things happen in this sect…” The follower, at the end of his nerves, comes forward to beat the guru. No doubt this sequence is not unrelated to a rise in public opinion in the rejection of the Raëlians.
Continuation and end. In June 1994, Thierry Ardisson made him sit in the chair of his program “Gone with Time”. The man in black on the small screen asks him to sing a little Brel, then to tell his story. The tone is playful. Raël delivers his speech, which he has rehearsed and modified somewhat. For him, it’s an easy platform. He mentions in particular the “genetic manipulation” which he dreams of, the great fight of the Raëlians in the 2000s.
On this topic, which caused a lot of ink to flow when the sect claimed to have found a way to clone humans, the guru returns in the impressive documentary broadcast on Netflix. “A lot of lying media, which is a pleonasm, say “Raël did cloning”. No way !”, he swears, with a smile on his lips, like a final snub. This ex-journalist, now in his seventies, knew how to make cameras and television his ally. From this point of view, it is not wrong to say that Raël had antennas.