Aura Rhanes at Giant Rock? (Not!)

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In Aboard A Flying Saucer (1954), Truman Bethurum recounted his amazing interactions with a beret wearing flying saucer captain named Aura Rhanes, who he described as “tops in shapeliness and beauty.”

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Aura Rhanes’ illustration by Carol Ann Rodriguez

Over a three month period starting in July of 1952, Aura visited Truman on eleven occasions, sometimes materializing in his bedroom much to the chagrin of Bethurum’s wife, Mary, who later cited the comely space captain in her divorce petition.

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Truman Bethurum

Bethurum enjoyed another shot at marital bliss in 1960, although unfortunately it wasn’t with shapely Aura, but a weathered old gal named Alvira Roberts, their nuptials taking place on the podium of that year’s Giant Rock Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention.

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Truman and Elvira at the 1960 Giant Rock Convention (Credit: Joe Fex/Ape-X Research)

A couple months back my pal Tim Beckley asked my thoughts about a purported photo circulating on social media that certain people were claiming was an honest-to-Orthon photo of Aura Rhanes herself at Giant Rock! All of this was news to me, and when I finally got a gander of said photo I recognized it immediately as one among a series of photos that originated from the Bob Beck Collection, many of which appear exclusively in “A” is for Adamski: The Golden Age of the UFO Contactees available now from an internet bookseller near you. (Supplies limited!)

Below is the photo in question purported to be Aura Rhanes wearing smoking hot black tights (sans beret) in the company of Long John Nebel and another fellow who I suppose could be Valiant Thor of Stranger at the Pentagon fame.

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Mystery photo of Aura Rhanes at Giant Rock? (Credit: Joe Fex/Ape-X Research)

Not to rain on anyone’s facebook parade, but no, folks, the above isn’t a photo of Aura Rhanes, although I commend the creativity of whoever floated this social media meme-rumor. Those humans actually pictured in said photo are (left to right) Cortland Hastings, Evelyn E. Smith and Long John Nebel.

I have no idea who Cortland Hastings was, and of course we all should know who Long John Nebel was. As for the lady purported to be Aura Rhanes, that was actually Evelyn E. Smith, the author of a number of science fiction and mystery novels, and whose work occasionally appeared in the science fiction pulps of the period, as shown below.

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Below is further documentation that Evelyn Smith was who I said she was, courtesy of the May 27, 1957 edition of Life Magazine with a feature on the Giant Rock Interplanetary Spaceship Convention and a photo of Smith (not Aura!)  described as “The Queen of Space”!

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Now you know the rest of the story!

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