Eduard Albert Meier (born February 3, 1937) is a Swiss citizen who is the source of many controversial photographs of alleged unidentified flying objects (UFOs), which he presents in support of his claim that he is in contact with extraterrestrial beings. He also presented other controversial material during the 1970s such as metal samples, sound recordings and film footage. Meier reports regular contacts with extraterrestrials; he calls the Plejaren. Meier claims that the Plejaren look similar in appearance to humans, that the Plejaren homeworld is called Erra, and that it is located in a dimension which is a fraction of a second shifted from our own dimension, about 80 light years beyond the Pleiades, an open star cluster. The Plejaren were given the name Pleiadians by Meier up to 1995.
Born in the town of Bülach in the Zürcher Unterland, Meier joined the French Foreign Legion in his teens, but says he soon left and returned home. In 1965, he lost his left arm in a bus accident in Turkey. In 1966, he met and married a Greek woman, Kalliope Zafiriou, with whom he has three children. The nickname "Billy" came by way of an American friend who thought Meier's cowboy style of dress reminded her of "Billy the Kid." This anecdote was told by Meier himself in an interview with Bob Zanotti of Swiss Radio International in June, 1982.
Meier has accumulated a large collection of photographs showing alleged spaceships that he calls beamships as well as alleged Plejaren. Meier says that the Plejaren gave him permission to photograph and film their beamships so that he could produce some evidence for their extraterrestrial visitations. Meier's claims are both believed and disputed by UFO skeptics and enthusiasts.
Meier began publishing his collection of photographs in the 1970s. His photographs were featured in various newspapers and magazines from around the world, such as the Quick, Blick, Argosy UFO, and Il Giornale dei Misteri.
"Billy" Eduard Albert Meier's claimed his first extraterrestrial contacts occurred in 1942 at the age of five with an elderly extraterrestrial man named Sfath. Contacts with Sfath lasted until 1953, shortly before Sfath died. From 1953 to 1964, Meier's contacts continued with an extraterrestrial woman called Asket, who is not a Plejaren. Meier says that after an eleven-year break, contacts resumed again (beginning on January 28, 1975) with an extraterrestrial woman named Semjase, the granddaughter of Sfath. Meier says that he has also had many contacts with another Plejaren man called Ptaah, starting in 1975 and continuing right up to the present day.
He has claimed that he has also visited other worlds and galaxies along with another universe with these extraterrestrials. Meier claims that he was instructed to transcribe his conversations with the various extraterrestrials, most of which have been published in the German language. These books are referred to as the Contact Notes (or Contact Reports).
Photographs and films
Some of the most important evidence for Meier's claims come from his large collection of photographs. These include images of metallic discs floating above the Swiss countryside, the 1975 docking of Apollo–Soyuz, pictures of celestial objects from a non-Earthly vantage point, pictures of apparent extraterrestrials, prehistoric Earthly scenes, and scenes of a devastated future.
Some UFO researchers such as Stanton T. Friedman and Jacques Vallée publicly dismiss the Meier case, while others believe the Meier case to be the most thoroughly researched and validated UFO case in our history. Some critics have provided examples of faked photos similar to what Meier produced and have pointed out that some of his photos correspond to scenes that were subsequently found in science fiction books, paintings and television programs. Meier claims that some of his photos were altered by intelligence agencies and slipped into his collection in order to discredit his UFO testimony. Kal K. Korff has been particularly vociferous in dismissing the Meier case, pointing to evidence of fakery in his photos, including light-direction and focal discrepancies consistent with cut-and-paste and model techniques.
Photographic analysis was performed on Meier's photographs and films in the late 1970s when Meier first started to publish his photographs. In 1978, a report titled "Preliminary Photo Analysis," written by physicist Neil M. Davis at Design Technology in Poway, California, provided test results of an analysis of one of Meier's controversial photographs. Using microscopic examination, density contour plots, examination for evidence of double exposure, photo paste-up, or a model at short range suspended on a string. They state "Nothing was found to indicate a hoax" and concluded, "Nothing was found in the examination of the print which could cause me to believe that the object in the photos is anything other than a large object photographed a distance from the camera." They also recommended that the print was a second generation photograph and a more detailed analysis of the photo can only properly be made on the original film negative.
Recreations of Meier's images were created by photographic effects specialist and stop-motion animator Alan Friswell for the June 2005 issue of Fortean Times magazine. Friswell had employed techniques used in the pre-digital age of film special effects, as modern processes would, in Friswell's opinion, have been "unsporting." Using "old fashioned" tricks, such as foreground miniatures and photographic cutouts, Friswell crafted copies of Meier's UFO pictures, but claimed that his pictures did not in any way confirm that Meier was a hoaxer, as without personal experience of the events, he had no right to draw conclusive opinions one way or the other.
Meier's relationship with his wife Kalliope ended acrimoniously, and in 1997 Kalliope stated in an interview that the UFO in the photos looked like models that Meier had made himself with items like trash can lids, carpet tacks and other household objects, and that the stories he told of his adventures with the aliens had been entirely fictitious. She has also claimed that one of the pictures taken of an "extraterrestrial female" with a supposed ray gun in her hand was actually an acquaintance covered in a gold-colored tanning foil, and that photos of the extraterrestrial women Asket and Nera were really photos of Michelle DellaFave and Susan Lund, members of the singing and dancing troupe The Golddiggers. A study conducted by the IIG concluded that Meier could have created the photographs using household items.
In Wendell C. Stevens' book UFO—Contact from the Pleiades: A Preliminary Investigation Report (1982), page 424: "Looking at the piece by x-ray diffraction, for elemental analysis, he found a single element deposit of Thulium (Tm, Atomic Number 69, Atomic Weight 168.934), a rare transition element in the Lanthide series, and also of Rhenium (Re, Atomic Number 75, Atomic Weight 186.2), another rare metal." Further down the page is also the following paragraph: "Looking at that part spectrographically, the Thulium, remarkably, showed only the primary band spike for that element — no secondary bands existed. All of the elements examined spectrographically had missing bands in their spectrums which should have been there if they were normal atomic spectra. This indicates that the elements are put together in a very unusual way from normal Earth technology. The spectrographic bands are entirely different, beyond what one would consider an isotope. The bands showed a very high elemental purity and no secondary bands and no catalyst. Most of the elements studied showed the same un-Earthly characteristics."
The Independent Investigations Group (IIG) analyzed data from Marcel Vogel presented in the 1985 video Beamship: The Metal Analysis and in Wendell Stevens' book mentioned above. The IIG concluded the following: the element found was aluminum and not thulium, the evidence for the presence of all elements in the sample is in fact Bremsstrahlung radiation with no bearing on element composition, the structure that suggests exotic micro-manipulation can be found on the surface of metals machined by ordinary cutting tools in a machine shop, and the evidence of crystal birefringence detected using Nomarski and Cross-Polarized microscopy can be reproduced by the topography of a simple metal structure with no birefringence associated to it. The IIG said it did not find data supporting the presence of rhenium or any other rare earth element.
On April 14, 1976, Meier claimed to have made a six-minute sound recording of a UFO in flight that was at the same time being pursued by a Swiss Air Force Mirage jet fighter. In the documentary Contact, Wendelle C. Stevens and his investigation team received a copy of this controversial sound recording from Meier and subsequently sent it off for analysis to various sound laboratories in the United States. One of the sound engineers reported:
- Naval Under Sea Sound Center in Groton, Connecticut: "They first identified all sounds not originating from the target object. Three conventional aircraft were detected, two of which were propeller driven. The third was a single-engine jet. Frequency graphs were prepared and a match was looked for in the 'sound bank' archives... The third airplane was a Mirage single-engine jet fighter. No unusual characteristics were detected with respect to the conventional aircraft sounds. Additional background noises detected included a small barking dog, a crow cawing, a European police siren, and some clicks and vibrations, possibly the clicking of the shutter on the camera. No match was ever found in the 'sound bank' for the target sounds of the spacecraft in this study."
- Stevens 1989, pp. 457–459