Netflix appears to have a new cult hit on its hands with the docuseries Rael: The Alien Prophet, and while you can argue whether or not the group itself is a “cult,” there’s no denying the Raelians’ strong Canadian ties.
Rael: The Alien Prophet is a four-episode series about a French autosports journalist-turned-religious leader who founded a group dedicated to aliens, nudism, free love and human cloning.
The whole documentary is a wild ride and it’s quickly shot up the charts on Netflix, probably because “nudist alien cult” basically sells itself.
But while Rael himself is French and his followers can be found in many countries, one of Raelism’s most unusual chapters played out right here in Canada, and you can still see the remnants — including a flying saucer — today.
Claude Vorilhon changed his name to Rael and founded his movement in the 1970s, after claiming to have been abducted by aliens in France. He went on to build a following of tens of thousands of people, and ultimately moved his headquarters to rural Quebec in 1995 after France dubbed Raelism a dangerous “cult.”
The Raelians took over a large tract of land in Valcourt, Quebec and transformed it into “UFOLand,” a sort of commune built around a giant replica of the flying saucer that supposedly abducted Rael. The whole idea was that it would be an alien embassy on Earth — if those aliens every showed up.
It was during this time that Canadian journalist Brigitte McCann infiltrated the group and then wrote a book about it, thrusting the group into the public spotlight.
A reporter from the Associated Press also visited the compound in the early 2000s and said it was “like strolling onto the set of a bad 1950s sci-fi movie, complete with a replica of the flying saucer that supposedly brought the space aliens who visited Rael, the sect founder. But the display lights don’t work and the inflated plastic pool seats create the command post.”
Rael would call Quebec home for over a decade before posting UFOLand for sale in 2007 and leaving for Japan, as shown in the latter episodes of Netflix’s new documentary.
But what happened to UFOLand after the UFO lovers moved out?
The property is now a Cuban-themed campground called Havana Resort, although the main building and some other signs of the Raelians remain on the site.
The current owners actually posted Rael’s flying saucer on Kijiji back in 2018, although they never sold it.
“We got lots of demands for the flying saucer, lots of people wanted to buy it,” the owners of the Havana Resort told Narcity.
They say despite putting the flyer saucer up for sale, they ultimately decided to keep it and it’s become a “little attraction for our visitors.” They’ve also started transforming the former Raelian HQ into a hotel for visitors, so one day you’ll be able to stay there yourself.
“We are creating a hotel with restaurant, condo and spa in the place where they were living,” the Havana Resort team told Narcity. They added that the restaurant will be in Rael’s old personal quarters.
If you want to visit the Raelians’ former HQ, just head to Havana Resort near Valcourt, Quebec.
Meanwhile, the Raelians are still dreaming up plans for another alien embassy on Earth, although that likely won’t be based in Canada.
Rael himself still lives in Japan and is in his late 70s. VICE World News actually took an in-depth look at his life in Japan in 2021, and you can watch their feature-length documentary about him on YouTube for free.
The Raelians still haven’t shared any proof of visitors from space, nor have they shown evidence to support their claims that they’ve cloned human babies. Still, all that probably falls into the “I want to believe” category, to borrow the phrase from X-Files.
The Raelian Movement did not respond to a request for comment.