The Ether Ship Mystery

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The Ether Ship Mystery refers generally to the corpus of séance memoranda and submitted letters that were collated and published by Meade Layne and Riley Crabb in Borderland Sciences newsletters and mimeographs, and in which is assembled a general working hypothesis for the origins of flying saucers: namely, that they originate in Etheria, which is described as a dimension of spacetime that exists in alongside our own, separated by what is referred to as density or vibration. The sources for the claims made by proponents of the Ether Ship Mystery included channelled spirits of the departed dead and psychically-received information from Etherians themselves.

The Mystery


"Between Earth and the planet Venus, some now said, seven mysterious “planes” of travel through space. One of them, according to the Borderland Sciences Research Associates, is Etheria."

Lawrence Elliott, Flying Saucers: Myth or Menace? (Coronet Magazine, Nov. 1952)

In the aftermath of the Second World War there began a flurry of news reports on the flying saucers, and claims were being made by thousands around the world, creating a wave of public interest in Ufology. While most true believers speculated they were metallic space-craft from other worlds in our solar system (or beyond from other stars), there was another current of thought: that these craft were not from outer space, as we understand it, but from interdimensional space.

Among the first to propose this explanation of the U.F.O. was Meade Layne, the founder and director of a spiritualist organisation called Borderland Sciences. His first mimeographs on the subject explained that, contrary to the general view, these unusual craft were constructed and piloted by entities from a strange vibratory space interpenetrating our world (and extending out to the Moon, Venus, and other planets) called Etheria, and that medium Mark Probert had made psychic contact with them. According to Layne, in his "The Ether Ship Mystery and Its Solution" mimeograph: "The craft are made in Etheria, and Etheria is in and around all visible objects. It is also the home and motherland of our plane, all the objects we see about us derive from that source, and our own bodies also." [1]

The Kareeta Sightings (Oct. 1946)

"Next they will be telling me that it was just a plate of biscuits."

Meade Layne, dismissing claims that Kareeta was a DC-4 airliner [2]

On the evening of October 9, 1946, while watching a meteor shower from the top floor of his San Diego apartment building, Mark Probert saw his first UFO. The observed craft was, he reported to Layne soon after the encounter, "about the size of an extremely large plane, and [carrying] two reddish lights. At first it was moving with extraordinary speed, faster than any plane. I saw it twice. The second time it crossed the face of the moon, and the flapping of its wings was plainly visible. The whole object seemed somewhat luminous."[3]

Soon after the sighting, Layne and Probert sat down to make inquiries into the matter with Probert's psychic contacts. These "controls", through Probert, reported to those gathered at the seance that the craft was "built of balsa wood with a covering of alloy. It navigated through space by use of a 'gravity screen'. In this atmosphere it used wings which were flapped by small, powerful electric motors."[2]

The craft was, the controls said, called Kareeta, and it would return in one year; the occupants came in peace.

The Inner Circle, or Kethra E'Da, Teachers of Light

"I know I should not be sticking my neck out by talking so much about those saucers, as you call them, at least until I have investigated more fully. But they are not craft constructed on your planet, nor is it necessary to assume that they came from any other planet. It seems impossible to get it through the heads of you people, that objects can pass from an etheric to a dense level of matter, and will then appear to materialize there. Then they may disappear by dematerializing – returning to an etheric condition."

Martin Lingford, as channelled by Mark Probert [4]

The primary source for Layne's interpretation of the flying saucers would continue to be the Probert controls, a collective of channelled intelligences, led by E Yada Di Shi'ite, which called themselves the Inner Circle. By Probert's own accounting, and that of his wife Irene Probert, he had been selected as the vessel through which the assorted personalities that formed the membership of the Inner Circle Kethra E'Da (Teachers of Light, in the Yu language of the Yada) would speak to the world, and his earliest controlled sittings were orchestrated by Layne, who took notes and guided exchanges.[5] At first only channelling an American called Martin Lattimore Lingford, Probert eventually became the voice for a dynamic cast of ghosties, including Maharaja Natcha Tramalaki, Ali Ben Casi, Kay Ting, Lo Sun Yat, Lao-Tse, Ramon Natalli, Arakashi, Sukoto Nikkioi, Alfred Luntz, Sister Theresa Vandenberg, Thomas Carlyle, Rama Kaloha, Thomas Edison, and, of course, the Yada himself.

Although claiming awareness of the Ether Ship phenomena, the Inner Circle presented themselves as an astral body of discarnate intelligences, and made no claim of responsibility for the construction or piloting of the mystery craft, which they asserted were of Etherian origin.

"This Cloud-Cuckoo-Land 
Etheria" (1950)

ghostly and 
is We

Schultz, quoted in "The Ether Ship Mystery and Its Solution" [1]

The membership of the BSRA were, naturally, fascinated by the revelations, and the associate mathematicians and engineers, including the likes of Lindy Millard and John A. Hilliard, offered speculations as to what physical laws might explain the appearance, propulsion, and mechanics of the etheric aeroforms, filling in the blanks of the Probert controls with references to grain and vibrational density and mathematical formulas showing the logic of the ether, frequently with an accompanying note of opposition to Einsteinian relativity. This kind of technical contribution, however interesting, nonetheless represents little of the total coverage of the mystery in Borderland newsletters and mimeographic booklets, as Layne gave preferred space to seance reports and esoteric received wisdom.

Rolf Telano Communications (1952)

In addition to the Probert seance reports came the communications of Ralph Holland, also known as Rolf Telano, who claimed to have made contact with the Etherians directly, in particular with Borealis Telano, a Venus Etherian priestess. Per Holland, what was being called "Etheria" by the BSRA was called Heavi'n by his contacts — heavi as in heavy, and 'n as "the abbreviation of a source concept," which he translated "a place of great density, from which we originated" — and the "ether ships" (aeroforms, flying saucers), created by the Nors, were known as Suza (doughnut-shaped), Tonton (cigar-shaped), Fakle (spherical), Olon (crescent-shaped), Oloner (crescent-shaped, smaller Olon), Pomid (spherical), and Pomider (spherical, smaller Pomid).


"It is within the power of these visiting peoples to destroy cities and continents and even the planet itself. We have no guarantee, no reason to assume that they will not exert such powers. We have no right to suppose that they will suffer our attacks without retaliation. It is far more likely and logical that they will subjugate our planet at a single blow."

Meade Layne, 1952 open letter to the U.S. President, Secretaries of the Air Force, Army, Navy, etc., etc.


Eisenhower Meets the Etherians at Muroc AFB (1954)

"The coming and going of an etheric, or spirit, body has been so familiar to me these many years I had forgotten that such a manifestation could snap the mental balance of a man not so conditioned."

Gerald Light, 16 Apr. 1954 letter to Meade Layne

In 1954, the Round Robin published a series of articles received from Gerald Light, his "Etheric Notes," which Layne referred to as "the most important material of its kind which has yet appeared in Borderland Science publications." In the articles, Light describes his own understanding of Etheria from a general occult perspective and details certain of his contacts with beings of that space. During the same time that these articles were being regularly printed, Layne received a letter from Light that would remain unprinted for another four years: in the 16 April letter, Light claimed to have visited Muroc AFB along with Frank Allen, Edwin Nourse, and Roman Catholic Bishop James Francis McIntyre, and acted as an observer while United States Air Force personnel and unnamed scientists handled Etherian spaceships. Further still, Light reported that President Eisenhower had met with Etherians himself, though this claim had been countered by Mark Probert's spirit controls as untrue: only a representative of Eisenhower had met them.

The Guardians


Selected Bibliography

Further Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Meade Layne, et al., "The Ether Ship Mystery and Its Solution" (1950)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Quoted in the Page 8-A story "Parapsychologist Impatiently Repeats, 'Twas Space Ship in Sky" of the Friday, October 18, 1946 edition of the San Diego Union
  3. Quoted by Meade Layne in BSRA Round Robin article "Welcome, Kareeta!" (Vol. 2, No. 10, October 1946)
  4. Quoted by Meade Layne in BSRA Round Robin article "Fly, Lokas, Fly!" (Vol. 3, No. 6, July – August 1947)
  5. Probert, Mark; Inner Circle (1963), The Magic Bag: A Manuscript Dictated Clairaudiently to Mark Probert by Members of the Inner Circle,