Born: 30 September 1946
Best known as: Founder of the Raëlian Movement
Name at birth: Claude Vorilhon
Raël is the founder of the Raëlian Movement, an "atheistic religion" which he created in 1973. Formerly a race car driver and racing journalist named Claude Vorilhon, Raël says he founded the movement after being visited by space aliens on 13 December 1973 in the crater of a volcano near Clermont-Ferrand in central France. The aliens allegedly explained that they were the "Elohim" referred to in the Bible, and that they had created mankind themselves by cloning. Vorilhon said the aliens renamed him Raël and sent him to spread the truth. By 2002 the Raëlian Movement was based in Geneva and claimed to have 55,000 members in 84 countries. In 1997 Raël founded a company, Clonaid, dedicated to cloning humans. Clonaid's CEO, Brigitte Boisselier, claimed in December 2002 that Clonaid had successfully cloned a human baby, named Eve.
Extra credit: According to the Raëlian official site, the aliens created humans and left them to progress on their own, but "maintained contact with us via prophets including Buddha, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, all specially chosen and educated by them"... The site reported that the alien who met Raël was "about four feet in height, had long dark hair, almond shaped eyes, olive skin and exuded harmony and humour."
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