Children of the Stars
directed by Bill Perrine
starring Ruth Norman
Billingsgate Media and Backyard Green Films
While this disk boldly announces itself as a documentary it feels more like a puff piece or a recruitment video for a group of alien worshiping New Agers who call themselves “Unarians.” They seem nice enough and are convinced the world will be saved by such intergalactic heroes like Dalso of the Pleiades or Cryston of Orion or Yuda of Yu.
Back in the 1950’s Ruth Norman and her husband Earnest met at a psychic fair and soon they were telling everyone who would listen about their psychic visits to distant planets. Sources outside this documentary refer to their organization as a church; and it does have many parallels to Christianity. The main differences include no vengeful God, no hell, easy commandments and all miracles are assigned to advanced alien technology. They also publish a LOT of books. The main church is located in El Cajon, California which one of the church members describes as “The least cosmic and least cosmopolitan place on earth.” I’ve been there; I cannot argue that particular point of theology.
Unlike most documentaries, there is no skeptical voice interpreting what we see; it’s just statements from various church members about their beliefs. Everything is very calm and straight forward; there seems no attempts to proselytize and the Unairians are considerably less creepy than people I attend church with. The whole group seems like a big cosplay group with the ghost of ex-amateur actress and patron saint Ruth Norman presiding over them. Periodically the group announces dates when their alien buddies plan to land and bring us the usual: world peace, unlimited energy, enlightenment and and a 24/7 open bar. Ok, that last one I made up; but isn’t that the point of alternative religions: they will fulfill your wildest fantasies? Of course, the aliens never appear; their tardiness is blamed on one man-made disaster or another. So if they can bring world peace why does another Middle Eastern war scare them?
Ruth Norman is a nicer Tammy Faye: a bit over the top, but more like Glinda, Good Witch of the South. Her temple in a strip center in El Cajon looks like a smaller but equally garish version of Orlando’s The Holy Land Experience. The place is adorned with amateurish sculptures, fake gold leaf and plenty of sparkles. Ruth died a few years ago but we meet some members of the group (and maybe all of them). While you wouldn’t want to be stuck next to any of them on a long flight they are clean-cut, articulate and comfortable in their belief system. It all feels like a low level personality cult, coupled with a complex cosmology. If you’re not on board, that’s cool, but don’t expect a good job in the new regime.