Exploring the Billy Meier Case

Extraterrestrials from another dimension began visiting a young boy in 1942. These visitors imparted wisdom and guidance to the boy to prepare him to become a great prophet. When he became a man, the extraterrestrials permitted him to snap photographs and record video of their spaceships. And they even whisked him away on time-traveling adventures. At least that is how Billy Meier tells the story of his life.

The case of Eduard Albert “Billy” Meier is one of the most well-known and controversial cases in ufology. Meier claims to have personally interacted with multiple extraterrestrials during his life, taken more than a thousand of the clearest UFO photos, and written word-for-word transcripts of his conversations with these extraterrestrials. He even established a church of sorts, called Freie Interessengemeinschaft für Grenz- und Geisteswissenschaften und Ufologiestudien (translation: Free Community of Interests for the Fringe and Spiritual Sciences and Ufological Studies), or FIGU, to spread the teachings of the extraterrestrials. As to where Meier got the nickname “Billy,” according to the FIGU website, the name was given to him by an American woman named Judy Reed: “Eduard Meier, wearing a black hat and a gun belt, reminded her of ‘Billy the Kid,’ the ‘legendary gunman of the Wild West.’”  

Billy Meier and his family circa 1980. Image Credit: Wendelle Stevens from “UFO…Contact from the Pleiades”

A Brief Biography

Billy Meier was born in the small village of Bülach, Switzerland, on February 3, 1937. Meier was the second of seven children born to Julius Meier, a shoemaker, and his wife, Bertha. In the book, Spaceships of the Pleiades, author Kal K. Korff explains that, in Meier’s younger years, he “spent his time working various manual labor jobs, dodging truant officers, and having occasional brushes with the law.” Korff alleges that Meier repeatedly found himself in correctional facilities and repeatedly escaped from these facilities. After escaping from the Aarburg correctional facility in Rheinau, Switzerland, Meier reportedly fled to France, where he joined the French Foreign Legion. Only a few months later, Meier deserted the Legion, but then turned himself over to authorities in Switzerland.

After the “transgressions of his youth,” as Korff puts it, Meier traveled extensively through Europe, Africa, and Asia. He performed a variety of jobs to support himself along his travels, including “chicken farmer, grape picker, nail pounder, snake catcher, truck driver, puppeteer, waiter, German tutor, and ship painter,” according to Korff. Along his multi-continent journey, Meier reportedly joined most of the religions of Europe, Africa, and Asia in search of a “belief system acceptable to him,” according to UFO researcher Lieutenant Colonel Wendelle Stevens.

During his travels, Meier lost one of his arms in a gruesome bus accident. On August 3, 1965, Meier was riding in a bus in Iskenderun, Turkey, when the drunk driver of another bus crashed into Meier’s bus. The impact ejected Meier from the bus and crushed his left arm so severely that it had to be amputated.

Billy Meier

Meier, undeterred, continued his travels and relocated to Greece, where he met Kalliope Zafiriou, whom he married in March 1966. The couple moved to Pakistan, where their first child, Gilgamesha, was born. Then in 1970, Meier returned to Switzerland with his family, where, they later welcomed their second child, Atlantis-Socrates, into the world. Their youngest child, Methusalem, was born in 1973. The family rented a farm house in the town of Hinwil in northeastern Switzerland. And while Meier was a skilled farmer, the loss of his arm limited what he could accomplish. He received a small monthly welfare payment from the Swiss government because of his handicap, but to supplement the family’s income, Meier raised chickens and sold their eggs.

In 1974, Meier placed an ad in the German magazine Esotera seeking, “anyone who might wish to form a group for discussing and studying ‘metaphysical’ or paranormal subjects.” People responded to the ad, and a study group was born. It was at one of these meetings where Meier first made the astonishing claim that he was in direct contact with extraterrestrials.

Meier’s extraordinary claims garnered international attention when Swiss UFO researcher Lou Zinsstag sent some of Meier’s photos to Wendelle Stevens in the United States. Stevens went to Switzerland to investigate the case and, as a result, he published, UFO . . . Contact from the Pleiades, as well as Message from the Pleiades, a four-volume set of books related to the case. As one of the primary researchers of the Meier case, Stevens’s multi-year investigation played a large part in introducing Billy Meier to the world, as well as the world to Billy Meier.

Meier’s UFO and Extraterrestrial Contact

Meier reportedly saw his first UFO at the age of five on June 2, 1942. He continued seeing UFOs, and the sightings increased in frequency. Meier also began hearing a voice in his head, and later that year, Meier experienced his first alleged physical extraterrestrial contact. Wendelle Stevens described this encounter in his book, UFO . . . Contact from the Pleiades:

In November that same year, shortly before his 6th birthday, [Meier] saw a pear-shaped object suddenly drop from the sky, and settle gently on the meadow grass in a woods near their home town of Bülach. An old man took him into the ship and high above Earth, then brought him back to the same meadow and let him out. The ship then shot up vertically at high speed until out of sight.

Meier says that this “old man” who took him for a ride on a spaceship was named Sfath. According to Stevens, Sfath continued communicating with Meier telepathically for a year and half, then returned in his pear-shaped craft to take Meier on another adventure, and “imparted a great deal of knowledge and told of events to come, much of which he did not understand at the time.” The next extraterrestrial to contact Meier was a female named Asket. Meier alleges his contact with Asket began in 1953, and she picked up where Sfath left off. She was apparently responsible for educating Meier, who, according to Kal K. Korff’s book Spaceships of the Pleiades, dropped out of school before finishing the sixth grade. In UFO . . . Contact from the Pleiades, Stevens explains Asket’s role in Meier’s life:

It was she who led him through a series of adventures designed to toughen him for the adversity to come. It was she who led him through Africa and the experiences in the French Foreign Legion, the Desert Caravans, the slavers, revolutionaries and bootleggers; into the hands of the pirates of the Arabian Sea, and across the Indian Ocean as a sailor with the freighters to the sub-continent of India.

It was Asket who led Meier to explore many careers, travel the world, and experience as much as possible.  

In 1975, Meier began his contacts with Semjase—another female extraterrestrial—with whom he allegedly had more than one hundred face-to-face encounters. Semjase lends her name to the FIGU headquarters in Switzerland—the Semjase Silver Star Center. It was she who allowed Meier to begin photographing her “beamship” and other UFOs.

Quetzal, Ptaah, and Nera are three additional extraterrestrials who, along with Sfath, Asket, and Semjase, are the most commonly mentioned characters in the Billy Meier story. But these are only six out of the dozens of extraterrestrials Meier claims to have met. According to the FIGU website, Meier has had more than nine hundred personal contacts with extraterrestrials.

Pleiadeans, Plejarens, Errans, and DALs

Sfath, like most other extraterrestrials that Meier supposedly encountered, was a Pleiadean—a human being (nearly identical in physical appearance to Earthlings), from the M45 star-cluster known as the Pleiades in the constellation Taurus. But this is not the Pleiades observable by Earth’s astronomers. This Pleiades is apparently, “not within our space-time configuration,” according to author and FIGU member Guido Moosbrugger. In his book about the Meier case titled, And Yet . . . They Fly, Moosbrugger describes that, “Pleiadeans exist in a physical dimension that is shifted a fraction of a second ahead of our space-time configuration and is located approximately 500 light-years from Earth’s prospective—an additional 80 light-years beyond our dimension’s Pleiades star system.”

The Pleiadeans reportedly inhabit many planets, but their home world is a planet called Erra. Meier has referred to people from Erra as Errans; and Pleiadeans, in general, are sometimes referred to as Plejarens, because in their dimension, the Pleiades are known as Plejaren.

But Meier’s alleged extraterrestrial contacts were not isolated to Plejarens. He claims to have encountered extraterrestrials from different galaxies, systems, and universes, including the DAL Universe, which is the alleged home of Asket.  In UFO . . . Contact from the Pleiades, Stevens states that the DAL Universe is a “counterpart universe to this of our reality.”

The Evidence

Photograph of “Wedding cake” UFO by Billy Meier April 3, 1981.

From his numerous contacts, Meier claims to have taken more than a thousand UFO photos. Stevens, who, at one point, claimed to own the largest private UFO photo collection in the world, stated that Meier’s photos were “the most spectacular photographs” he had ever seen. Meier’s photographs remain some of the clearest UFO photos to date. But the authenticity of these photos is heavily debated. Stevens and the early Meier researchers claim to have had select photos examined by multiple laboratories, proving their legitimacy. In UFO . . . Contact from the Pleiades, Stevens states that the tested photos, “have withstood all efforts to positively dispute them.” However, Kal Korff identified many questionable characteristics in the photos, and even challenged Stevens’s purported testing in his booklet, The Meier Incident: The Most Infamous Hoax in Ufology. He points out that the tested photos were low-quality copies and not originals. Korff states that, according to Stevens, the best copies that could be obtained “for the purpose of photographic analysis and computer testing were internegatives which yielded anywhere from second through sixth-generation copy prints.” Korff contacted one of the labs where the Meier photos were supposedly analyzed, which resulted in “categorical denial that an analysis was ever done.” But according to Jim Dilettoso who, along with Stevens, facilitated the testing, there is a reason for the denial:

[We] found many professionals, who under secrecy and non-disclosure agreements tested these UFO pictures. This included Jet Propulsion Laboratory, EG&G, and USNRL. The secrecy was critical. These labs were not generally authorized to perform personal projects, like testing UFO pictures. So when other UFO researchers, hell bent on getting into the case, made inquiries into some of the places we had been, they would, (as agreed,) deny any involvement on their part in testing the Billy Meier UFO photographs. 

Photo analysis aside, Korff and other skeptics have suggested that the UFOs in Meier’s photos are simply models. It was not extraordinary in the pre-Photoshop days of the 1970s for someone to hoax a UFO photo by photographing models, Frisbees, hubcaps, and other physical objects. And while some Meier supporters are quick to contend that it would be impossible for a one-armed man to stage UFO photos, Meier himself admits to taking pictures of UFO models. Burned photos of these models were allegedly found in Meier’s trash can by Martin Sorge, who at one time was Meier’s friend. As with many details of the Meier story, there are divergent accounts of this incident. While some accounts claim that Meier’s children created models of the UFOs, other accounts credit Meier with creating the models. In UFO . . . Contact from the Pleiades, Stevens explains, “When I asked about the models of the spaceships he readily admitted trying to model them even though they did not come out well. He even tried photographing the models and the result was so bad that he threw the pictures away.”

But a different account is presented by Guido Moosbrugger in And Yet . . . They Fly!:

One day in 1975, Semjase loaned Billy a model of her beamship for a short period to take a few pictures of it and then be returned. On the basis of these snapshots, Billy planned to construct his own model spacecraft, but this plan never came to fruition. A serious mishap occurred to the negatives of these model photographs—they slipped off the office tabletop into a wastepaper basket and were not found until after the entire contents had landed in a fireplace. Kalliope, Billy’s wife, discovered the more or less burned negatives in the ashes and handed them over to one of the group members to be restored, if possible.

It is interesting to note that Billy and Kalliope divorced, and she has since stated in interviews with Korff and Swiss UFO researcher and author Luc Buergin that Meier hoaxed his UFO photos and fabricated the tales of extraterrestrial encounters. However, this contradicts her previous statements that Meier’s contacts were real and that she, herself, witnessed events with Billy.

Select Meier photos have received far more skepticism than others. Among those are photos that Meier allegedly took during his travels through space and time with the extraterrestrials. Some of these photos show dinosaurs that Meier allegedly took on the planet Neber. But some researchers, like the Independent Investigations Group, contend that the dinosaurs in these photos are simply illustrations from a book that was published in 1972 titled Life Before Man, which was written by Zdenek V. Spinar. The illustrated dinosaurs in this book do appear to be identical to the dinosaurs in the Meier photos.

Billy Meier alleged dinosaur image (left) compared to image from “Life Before Man.”

Another highly criticized set of photos purports to show Asket and Nera aboard a beamship. The women in these photos have been identified as Michelle DellaFave and Susan Lund, who were members of the Golddiggers—a singing and dancing troupe that appeared on the Dean Martin Variety Show. According to a letter posted to the FIGU website by Meier in May 1998, the extraterrestrial Ptaah informed Meier that the photographs of Asket and Nera were actually of their American doubles. Meier went on to explain that the “Men in Black” had intercepted his film, found look-alikes for Asket and Nera, took pictures of them, and substituted these false images for the originals of the Asket/Nera photos. And, he claims the “Men in Black” performed this same trickery with most of his early photos.

Asket and Nera Billy Meier picture (left) compared to image of the Golddiggers on the Dean Martin Variety Show.

One lesser-known Meier photo shows Meier standing in the middle of what appears to be a ring of fiery light. This picture appears in Moosbrugger’s book, And Yet . . . They Fly!, and is explained to be an “energy belt” of “burning static electricity” emanating from Quetzal’s ship above Meier, which does not appear in the photo. Meier’s arm is extended over his head in the photo, allegedly holding a microphone to record the sound of Quetzal’s ship. Multiple researchers have pointed out that the ring of fire in this photo looks suspiciously identical to steel wool being swung overhead by someone.

Aside from his photographs, Meier furnishes other evidence to corroborate his claims of extraterrestrial contact, including metal samples, and even an extraterrestrial weapon. Meier gave these metal samples to Stevens, and Stevens had these samples tested by various labs. According to Stevens, tests showed that the elements in the samples were “put together in a very unusual way from normal Earth technology,” and that most of the elements studied showed “un-Earthly characteristics.” Dr. Marcel Vogel, a chemist, performed several tests on the metals. But according to Kal Korff, Dr. Vogel says the claims made in Stevens’s book contradict his opinions. According to Moosbrugger, analysis was also conducted by a metallurgist from the University of Arizona who, “examined one of the metal fragments and analyzed it as a simple ‘cooking pot metal’ or cheap cast metal alloy used to produce such things as tin soldiers.”    

Meier claims that an extraterrestrial woman, Alena, left a ray gun with him, but cautioned him not to fire it. Unable to resist the temptation, Meier fired the weapon at a nearby fruit tree, burning a hole completely through the trunk of the tree. Meier showed the tree to Stevens, who took photos of the hole in the tree, and examined it with his finger. But to Stevens, the internal wood of this hole did not appear to have been burned.

Billy Meier with the laser gun he allegedly received from ETs, and the hole he says the laser burned into a tree.


The information provided in this article barely scratches the surface of the decades-long Billy Meier story. Meier claims to have much more evidence, including audio recordings, UFO films, and tomes of transcripts from his encounters that are filled with extraterrestrial wisdom. Meier even asserts that, because of his claims, there have been multiple assassination attempts on his life! From this brief overview, it is easy to see why the Billy Meier story is so controversial, and, without a doubt, the most polarizing case in the history of ufology. 

A version of this article originally appeared in Issue #4 (October/November 2010) of Open Minds UFO Magazine. Back issues can be found here.

Further reading:

Beamships Busted

Deconstruction of Billy Meier’s Metal Samples

Interview on Open Minds Radio with Michael Horn, Billy Meier’s US Representative.


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