I enjoy a good joke as much as anyone. When I came across the story which is the subject of this post, I did a double take. Was it a joke; an expensive joke, or was there more to it?
Veteran researcher, Jacques Vallee ( click here) tells the story in "Revelations," published in 1991 by Ballentine Books of New York (click here.)
"...a curious advertisement in the Parisian magazine Nouvel Observateur for the week of March 11-17, 1988" (p.195) started the story. One of the magazine's classified ads read in part:
" The trustees charged with the estate of A.P. Teesdale, Esq. of Durham county in England are attempting to enter into contact with those responsible for organisations that may be able to meet the requirements of his will."
The groups in question are "serious organisations that have as their goal the establishment of the maintenance of relationships with extra-terrestrial beings."
Those concerned may bring their existence to the attention of the trustees by sending a brief summary of their organisation and its activities to the paper, reference 1001, before March 31, 1988." (p.196.)
One French investigator answered the query; got a reply telegram from London, but it then took a year before anything else happened. He received a telephone call and was invited to a meeting in Paris, which was held in a private dining room of a Paris restaurant.
Hosted by representatives of a firm named Theard, Theard, Smith & Theard; besides Vallee's colleague, there were two other candidates. These were "Francois Raulin (click here,) a distinguished chemist from Paris University, who has done research on the nature and origin of life, and Claude Vorilhon (click here,) a notorious sect leader who has claimed contact with extra-terrestrial beings..." (p.197.) Fifteen people in total were present that night.
The will of the late Teesdale told how he had been born in 1899 and underwent a near-death experience, in World War One; plus a similar incident in World War Two.
In the first incident he woke to find an unusual object in his hand, and a voice told him "All that is required is that you place this in the hands of your best scientists." (p.199.) Despite trying to do so, he apparently never succeeded, hence the need for this Paris meeting.
The three candidates all spoke on their backgrounds and qualifications. The Theard, Theard, Smith & Theard (TTS&T) representatives then announced that Claude Rael-Vorilhon was the successful candidate.
"Vorilhon received a large laboratory cryogenic container measuring about twelve inches at the base and fifteen inches high. The frost on its walls made it impossible to see the material. Presumably it contained the mysterious extra-terrestrial talisman. And Teesdale's fortune would go to the sect." (p.200.) Vorilhon assured Raulin and the French researcher that he would turn over the specimen to them for analysis. They never received the artifact and a representative for Vorilhon said he never received the inheritance.
The residential address given by TTS&T in London, turned out to be non-existent. No one could confirm, the existence of a Teesdale inheritance. Vallee asked all the questions which blog readers would like to know "...why the attorneys for the alleged estate went all the way to Paris to find suitable candidates, while London is filled with groups doing similar research. Why did they hand over the container to Vorilhon, who was clearly preselected...why the elaborate charade of a dinner for fifteen people in a Paris restaurant..." (p.201.) Of course, there were no cryogenic containers in 1916.
Vallee's conclusion was "The Teesdale inheritance is pure theatre. The restaurant scene could have been dreamed up by John Fowles, the master novelist who has described similar theatre in The Magus, played out in pursuit of the esoteric pleasure of hidden masters." (p.201.) (Click here.)
Vallee ended with the words "The Teesdale Inheritance is only the latest in a series of such manipulations." (p.202.)
Susan J Palmer:
In the book "Aliens Adored: Rael's UFO Religion" ( click here) published by Rudgers University Press; New Brunswick, NJ. ISBN 0-8135-3475-5, on pages 55-56 and 190, I found comment on the Inheritance saga.
Palmer (click here) cites Vallee's "Revelations" account, and then continues with "The third unexplained mystery in Rael's life concerns the covert clone," Baby Eve. (p.56.)
On page 190, Palmer writes "The tale of the Teesdale inheritance bears many of the lineaments of the Baby Eve story...Although the first "hoaxer" was never exposed, if one were to ask who would gain from the Teesdale charade, the answer would have to be Rael. To win the prize of alien artifacts would support his charismatic claims to be the Elohim's chosen prophet..."
Palmer continues by citing Jerome Clark's 1998 views on Vallee's work, finishing with "Thus, it is not unreasonable to imagine that Vallee may have concocted the whole story to support his conspiracy theory regarding UFOs, and to discredit Rael."
In May 2007, Vallee responded in a post on Amazon (click here,) where he wrote:
"Researchers of alternative religion who would welcome a well documented study of Claude Vorilhon and his Raelian religion will be disappointed by this book, which is flawed in content and methodology. For example Ms Palmer implies that I concocted a particular incident known as the "Teesdale Inheritance " because supposedly I was motivated by a desire to discredit Vorilhon. She makes this accusation which amounts to defamation of character - essentially attributing to me the behaviour of a fabricator and liar - based on innuendoes from another ufologist that she never bothered to check.
I have a full research file on the Teesdale Inheritance, complete with first-hand testimony from people who could shed light on this episode and its relationship to Rael's career, yet I was never even contacted by this supposedly "scholarly" author - or by any fact-checker from Rudgers University. If the author is so careless in this one episode, where she does not hesitate to cast doubts on the ethics and integrity of a fellow researcher, can we trust anything else in her book?"