We paid a visit to the Unarius Academy of Science in El Cajon, run by a group of followers who await the arrival of spaceships from the planet Myton. The landing will signal Earth's entry into the Interplanetary Confederation, a fellowship of planets in our Milky Way galaxy that are populated by advanced beings.
Needless to say, the landing will usher in an era of peace and tranquility on Earth and spark the rise of super-high-tech crystal cities fueled by unlimited sources of energy and filled with gardens of unimaginable beauty.
Don't believe me? Here's a photo of a mural -- on a wall of the academy's parking lot -- that gives us a hint of what this idyllic world might look like.
Unarian's believe in telepathy, UFOs, reincarnation, past-life regression, subterrestrian Martians and the existence of Atlantis, and they are obsessed with late 19th Century physicist, inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla and his ideas about electromagnetism.
The group was founded in the 1950s by Ruth Norman and her husband Ernest. The El Cajon center is filled with pictures and paintings of Ruth decked out in costume jewelry and iridescent robes. Ruth (offering her best Endora immitation above) died -- or, as the Unarians say, transitted to higher planes of the light worlds -- in 1993.
For more on the group's history and beliefs, check out Wikipedia's article on Unarius.
The center is a collection of 1980s suburban America kitsch: Grecian statues, plastic flower arrangements, plaster columns, gaudy chandeliers. There's also a miniature model of the crystal city that is expected to be built after the spacecraft landing.
No one at the center seemed bothered by the fact that the landing didn't occur as expected in 2001.
The Unarians are perhaps best-known for their Interplanetary Conclave of Lights which occurs every year on the second weekend of October. The weekend culminates with the release of 33 doves (representing the members of the Interplanetary Confederation) from a miniature flying saucer strapped to the top of an early 1970s Cadillac.
Last year's conclave included a past-life therapy workshop and a presentation on "overcoming global warming with Tesla technology."
Ruth, also known as the archangel Uriel, laid claim to a long line of past lives as some of history's most important figures including Socrates, Peter the Great, Queen Elizabeth I and Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut.
In one of the 80 books attributed to her, she tells how she was able to bring peace to some of her followers who had lived in the past as Spanish conquistadors and priests by channeling her own past life as Atahualpa, the last Inca emperor, during a series of therapy sessions.
In his book, "Apacolypse Pretty Soon: Travels in End-Time America," author Alex Heard described Ruth as "a true American original who combined the couture sensibilities of a drag queen with the joi de vivre of a Frisbee-chasing Irish setter."
It's too bad Ruthie didn't land in New Orleans. She would have felt right at home with all the other weirdos, eccentrics and malcontents who flock to the city, and she would have loved Mardi Gras.
For more pictures from our trip to the Unarius academy check out Rex's blog.