Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ralph Holland and the Venusians

”Holland was an ET who chose to come to earth by birth through an earth mother, another volunteer from Venus to help uplift benighted mankind.” With this short biographical note Riley Crabb introduce the writings of American medium and UFO contactee Ralph Holland, pen name Rolf Telano (UFOs and the Martyrdom of Frank Scully, p. 8). Although quite well known in UFO history from Meade Layne´s The Coming of the Guardians, his life and channeling work has, to my knowledge, never been thoroughly studied and documented. Based on files in the BSRF and Parthenon archives at AFU I have tried to uncover data giving a more detailed picture of this fascinating contactee from the 1950s. In the BSRF correspondence file there are 28 letters written to and from Holland between March 24, 1951- November 14, 1955.

Ralph Holland at his home in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio April 1, 1960, photograph by Meade Layne

Ralph Meridette Holland was born August 29, 1899 in Youngtown, Ohio. His family moved to Akron, Ohio in 1914. He received an engineering degree, worked in the plant at the Akron Beacon Journal, and later for B. F. Goodrich Rubber Company. While in Detroit, Michigan he studied journalism and became a freelance reporter, sometimes writing stories under a pen name. In 1932 he moved to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, employed by Vaughn Machinery Company, where he worked until the time of his death. Ralph Holland never married and lived for many years together with his sister, Miss Dora Holland, at their home at 2520 Fourth Street, Cuyahoga Falls. He was a member of the local Methodist Church. Ralph Holland died of a heart attack January 26, 1962.

In a letter to Meade Layne, May 5, 1952, Holland revealed some of his earlier political activities: ”As you may or may not know, Steinmetz was an ardent Socialist all his life, and I happened to be the same, so long as it was in existence in this country. At various times (and under various names, due to the legal persecution of the Party in its early days) I held positions as State Chairman and State Secretary in three different states (at different times, of course)”. This background may have been one of the reasons why, in his contacts with Meade Layne, he often pointed out that he didn´t want to make any money from his publications or channeling. For many years a member of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation he often donated money to the organization.

An ardent science fiction enthusiast he joined the National Fantasy Fan Federation (N3F) in 1950 and was president from 1958 until his death in 1962. In 1955 he published several issues of his own fanzine The Science Fiction Review and in 1958 compiled Ghu´s Lexicon, a book of fannish terms. There was even a N3F´s Ralph M. Holland Award, named after him. First winner of the award was Juanita Coulson.

Holland became deeply fascinated by the fantastic tales of Richard Shaver. Partly because of his engineering background Holland found the Shaver stories enigmatic: ”Many writers have featured fantastic mechanism in their stories… but Shaver described so many different kinds of mechanism that, to quote the analysis of one professor, he would have to be a master at a dozen different sciences to even imagine them in the detail which he had in his stories. It is at this point that the real ”mystery” comes in… it is utterly impossible that he could have dreamed up his ”mech” in his own head. The question was: where did he get his information? He claims that he got it from his cavern friends.”
(A Voice From The Gallery, no. 28, Spring 1958, p. 1).

In order to study the mystery Holland joined a small group, the Circle Letter Club, circulating letters discussing Shaver. Many members were technicians of some sort. This procedure became too complicated and time consuming so Holland, around 1949, instead started publishing a small bi-monthly newsletter, A Voice From the Gallery. But the zine failed to serve its intended purpose and he continued the newsletter as a sort of personal editorial affair with this policy: ”A Voice From the Gallery is merely the voice of its editor and publisher, and does not represent any organization, group or ”school of thought”. It does not have any idea or theory to sell, and is not attempting to prove anything.” It became a sort of Fortean newsletter covering subjects like paranormal phenomena, Richard Shaver, the Koch Treatment and other alternative medicines, flying saucers, A and H bombs. 28 issues were published until Spring 1958. We have only three issues in the BSRF archives at AFU.

I have not been able to find out when he began channeling or why, probably around 1949-1950. In early 1952 Holland sent his first channeling document, Flying Saucers, to Meade Layne, director of Borderland Sciences Research Foundation (BSRF) and it was published as BSR Release 1-B-52, an 11-page brochure. In later editions of this document Meade Layne made this comment: ”The Intermediary or ”Receiver” of the foregoing material, ”Rolf Telano”, is an electronics engineer by profession and a resident of the Middle West. He has never publicized or exploited his psychic gifts. The above material was received by a kind of inner dictation or clairaudience, with partial control of the hands on the typewriter. I have found no reason, during my near-decade of contact with him, to question his integrity or the authentic nature of the psychism involved.”

In a Round Robin article 1952, The Telano Communications, Ralph Holland made a few comments on his channeling: ”The method of receiving the communications was both mental, and a form of automatic writing. That is, it was written directly on my typewriter, and although I was fully conscious at all times, I often did not know what was going to be set down next. Also, my ”control” used the touch system of typing, and could write as well in the dark as in the light. I myself have never learned the touch system and write by the ”peck and hunt” method. I can receive replies via the pendulum and alphabet card… but do not regard it as being as reliable as other means.”
(Round Robin, vol 8, no 1, May-June 1952, pp. 2).

After this brief introduction Holland gives the rather surprising revelation that one of the communicators, Borealis Telano, is actually his wife ”on the Venusian etheric plane”. She is working as a priestess on Venus. Holland explain that he has ”many hasty memories” of his former life on Venus and ”only a few clear ones”. The people behind the communications is a group of etheric Venusians, who function as interplanetary Guardians. In a letter to Meade Layne, January 21, 1952, Holland present the names of some in the group:
Gerald Peterson, chief of operations of the various craft here.
Ollie Rolson, technical officer
Portia Norton, historian
Mira Peterson, psychologist
Nels Gordon, interplane communications officer
Borealis Telano, priestess

Anyone familiar with the unique and high quality channeling by deep trance medium Mark Probert will immediately notice that the messages received by Holland appears to be a reflection of the teachings given by the Inner Circle, communicating through Mark Probert, and the Richard Shaver stories. Although the worldview and philosophy presented by Holland in several ways is in accordance with the Esoteric Tradition I would suggest the theory that the information comes from his own subconscious, from many years of reading BSRF writings, Richard Shaver and science fiction. He is certainly honest and wrote to a friend: ”I have no special powers or wisdom of my own. I was just the ”stenographer” who wrote down what they said, and the ”messenger boy” who sent it where I was told.”
(Letter from Ralph Holland to Joseph Magenta Feb 23, 1952).

It is interesting to note that the Mark Probert communicators were somewhat doubful regarding the authenticity of the Ralph Holland contacts as evidenced by this quote: ”I see no reason why this communication from your Associate known as Rolf Telano, should not be made public, since a few will profit by it and others will not be harmed. It should, however, be presented with the utmost circumspection.”
”Meade Layne, the Coming of the Guardians, p. 54).

To my knowledge Holland never claimed any physical contact with his Venusian friends nor to have made any UFO observations. He was actually very skeptical about physical UFO contacts and and even regarded George Adamski as a fraud, a position contrary to Meade Layne and the Mark Probert communicators:”For myself, I long ago made up my mind about Adamski” (A Voice From the Gallery, no. 28, Spring 1958, p. 4). Even if Holland was not a naive believer in psychic communication he never seems to have considered a psychological explanation for his own experiences. And he was very critical of another of the BSRF UFO contactees Gerald Light (Dr. Kappa): ”Regarding Dr. Kappa: have you ever considered the possibility of impersonation? Not by him, but by his ”Etherians”. There are many details which does not ”ring true” for an Etherian on any level. You mention that they seem to be ”non-human”, but I get the feeling that they are a very perverted form of human, with a very vicious form of  sadistic insanity.”
(Letter from Ralph Holland to Meade Layne, January 30, 1952).

I do find it a bit surprising that neither Meade Layne nor Riley Crabb ever seems to have considered the possibility of a psychological explanation for the Ralph Holland experiences. They were both erudite esotericists and should have remembered the common sense approach to psychic communications as expressed by the Tibetan to Alice Bailey: ”Messages emanating from the relatively nice, well-trained subconscious nature of the recipient. These well up from the subconscious but are regarded by the recipient as coming from an outside source. Introspective people frequently penetrate into the layer of subconscious recollection and are quite unaware of so doing. Their interest in themselves is so intense. Not knowing that they have done this, they regard what they find as unusual, beautiful and important, and then proceed to formulate it into messages, which they expect their friends and the general public to regard as spiritually based. These messages are normally innocuous, sometimes beautiful, because they are a mixture of what the recipients have read and gathered from the mystical writing or have heard from Christian sources and the Bible. It is really the content of their right thinking along spiritual lines and can do no one any harm, but is of no true importance whatsoever. It accounts, however, for eighty-five percent (85%) of the so-called telepathic or inspired writings so prevalent at this time.” (Alice Bailey, Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle, pp. 75-76). Ufologists and investigators of paranormal phenomena may be a bit surprised to find that in this respect esotericism actually side with mainstream materialist, reductionist psychology in the general interpretation of channeling.

Meade Layne´s compilation The Coming of the Guardians (first edition 1954) is today a minor classic in UFO literature, published in many editions. This first manuscript, The Flying Saucers, was later (1963) published Gray Barker´s Saucerian Books, with a few additions and an In Memoriam by his sister Mis Dora Holland. In the middle of the 1950s Ralph Holland gave a new manuscript, A Spacewoman Speaks, to Meade Layne. Harriet P. Foster, for many years secretary of BSRF and associate editor of Round Robin, then became a sort of literary agent for Holland and succeeded in getting his MS published by Daniel Fry´s Understanding Publishing Company in 1960. She commented on this project in a letter to Daniel Fry: ”I might mention that one of the main reasons why Ralph wished to remain anonymous was that he had been president for four or five years of an international science-fiction writers club and his association with sf-circles might have imperiled the authenticity of the Spacewoman in the minds of some of his readers. That was why I undertook the task of finding a publisher for the book.”
(Letter from Harriet P. Foster to Daniel Fry, April 10, 1962).

First edition of The Coming of the Guardians

Edith Nicolaisen, founder of the Swedish publishing company Parthenon contacted Harriet Foster and succeeded in getting the publishing rights free ”for the benefit of Parthenon”. Nicolaisen also contacted Miss Dora Holland to get further biographical data on Holland and a photograph. She never received a picture as Ralph´s anonymity was important for Dora. But she did give some interesting biographical data of her brother in a letter June 1, 1964. A Swedish edition of A Spacewoman Speaks (Vänner i universum) was published by Parthenon in 1964.

There are still many unanswered questions regarding Ralph Holland and his life and writings. As he was very much involved in science fiction, Richard Shaver and borderland sciences much data could possible be found in different archives. During his active years he claimed to be corresponding with some 200 people, so correspondence files could possibly be located from many sources.