Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

UFO Cults

  • Justin E. Lane
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1498

Related Terms


The terminology “UFO cult” can be misleading in that the groups do not worship UFOs (unidentified flying objects), rather the beings that they believe control or create UFOs. Religions based around beliefs in UFOs and extraterrestrial beings are mostly a product of the past 150 years. Such beliefs are oftentimes similar to those of New Age religious groups, and one could say that UFO cults are a form of New Age religion (Albanese 2008). Although theological ties between the two are similar, social structures of UFO cults are more discernible.

Emanuel Swedenborg’s publication claiming that he communed with spirits from other planets in 1758 (Swedenborg 1758/2006) is accepted as the first claim of communication with  extraterrestrials, but otherwise the idea lay fairly out of the public eye until the advent of spiritualism in the late nineteenth century...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Anthropology, St. Peter’s CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK