Written in the stars

2012-07-02 00:00

IT’S one of the great love stories of the 20th century, one to put next to John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor — the love between Elizabeth Klarer and Akon, the being from the planet Meton, and the birth of their child, Ayling.

More prosaically, Klarer was born Elizabeth Woollatt on a farm in the Mooi River area in 1910 though, perhaps significantly, it was the same year that Halley’s Comet streaked across the skies.

Klarer claimed to have her first sighting of an unidentified klying object (UFO) at the age of seven, in 1917. According to her book Beyond the Light Barrier, she and an older sister were playing when they saw a meteor heading out of the sky towards them. Suddenly, a spaceship appeared, intercepted the meteor and saved their lives. Klarer had a second sighting several months later, when another spaceship intervened to save her from a tornado.

Cape Town-based science-fiction writer Lauren Beukes, author of the award-winning Zoo City, featured Klarer in her earlier non-fiction book, Maverick: Extraordinary Women From South Africa’s Past, where she outlined her story prior to the meeting with Akon. Klarer was educated at St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton and after matriculating, went to Italy to study art and music in Florence. She then did a four-year diploma at Cambridge University in meteorology. Klarer returned to South Africa in 1932, and married RAF pilot Captain W. Stafford Phillips, who taught her to fly.

In 1937, the couple experienced a UFO sighting. According to Beukes, “they were en route from Durban to Baragwanath airfield in a Leopard Moth, when a huge pulsating sphere with a slightly raised dome pulled level with their plane over the Drakensberg … [Stafford] immediately launched into evasive manoeuvres, ducking and banking away. The ship paced them easily, cyclically flashing through white, blue and yellow, before it flipped on its side, rolled away like a wheel and then, with a burst of light, vanished. As soon as they landed, Stafford filed a detailed report to headquarters in Pretoria. Unfortunately, the South African Air Force has no record of it.”

The couple subsequently relocated to England, when Stafford was redeployed to the DeHavilland Experimental Station in Hatfield. Klarer was employed by the RAF as a meteorologist. In 1943, she moved back to South Africa, and she and Stafford subsequently divorced. In 1946, she married Paul Klarer, an engineer, and gave birth to her son, David, in 1949. Their marriage ended in the mid-fifties.

Klarer still holidayed on the family farm and in 1954, she saw another flying saucer, this time close enough to see the occupants. Two years later, on April 6, 1956, a saucer landed on the farm, and she was taken aboard. There, she met Akon who, according to her, was the most beautiful man she had ever seen, with grey eyes and swept-back hair, silvery at the temples.

Akon took Klarer to his home planet, named Meton, in the star system Alpha Centauri. There, they became lovers and a child, a boy named Ayling, was born.

“An exhilarating happiness filled those days of quickening life within me,” wrote Klarer, “halcyon days filled with joy, with a life so precious, a part of Akon to be nurtured and loved, a life from another planet to be encompassed with the essence of love and joy that a woman knows and gives to the quickening child within her womb, when the embryo stems from the seed of love. This is the spark which creates the divine soul in human life, a divine soul born in the offspring of a true mating between a man and a woman, that true and complete love of a man for a woman and a woman for a man, which is so rarely found among human beings on Earth, who misunderstand the functions of mating and procreation in the higher octaves of sensual delight.”

Ayling remained on Meton when Klarer returned to Earth and thereafter, she met Akon every year until 1963, during the month of April. They subsequently maintained contact via telepathic communication. Every year, she would make a pilgrimage to the family farm at Rosetta, and visit what had become known as Flying Saucer Hill.

The only apparent evidence of this extraordinary liaison was a ring. “On the middle finger of her left hand,” according to a Witness report, “Klarer wore an unusual silver ring with a large crystal stone. She said it was given to her by Akon.”

Klarer detailed her experiences in her book, Beyond the Light Barrier, published in 1980, though she had earlier attracted public interest and become internationally famous. According to some sources, the British Ministry of Defence showed interest in her experiences and in 1983, she addressed the House of Lords in England and a paper by her was read at the United Nations.

Klarer was feted by UFO societies around the world and in May 1992, she spoke in Pietermaritzburg at a meeting of the Unidentified Flying Object Club, which saw hundreds turn up and many turned away because of a lack of space. According to a Witness report, “tea was cancelled ... when the crowd grew too big to cope with”.

At the meeting, Klarer gave Akon’s views “as if she had just spoken to him on the phone”. According to Klarer, Akon was “very, very angry. And his wrath knows no bounds. All this fighting among the barbarians in our society is wrong. They fight their tribal wars and Akon does not like it. Fighting is not allowed in space.”

The tone of the meeting was quasi-religious. Most present hung upon Klarer’s every word, but there were some sceptics present: “One member of the audience requested her to produce photographic evidence of life on Meton at a future meeting, and observed that it was a little odd that having travelled 4,2 million light years to another planet, Klarer met someone who looked ‘exactly like a white South African’.”

In 1963, Klarer married Aubrey Fielding, an ex-British intelligence officer, artist and art dealer. According to Klarer, “he had seen the spaceships and was 100% behind me in my work on UFOs. The flying saucers brought us together.”

Apparently, Fielding was not bothered by his wife’s love for Akon. “That’s all right with me — as long as he stays in space where he belongs,” he was reported as saying.

When Fielding died in 1981, his ashes were scattered on Flying Saucer Hill. Klarer died in 1994. Her death has not diminished interest in her. There are numerous websites featuring her experiences, and Beyond the Light Barrier remains in print, while every year, April brings stories of possible sightings of UFOs in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

In 2006, Rosetta, Kamberg and Nottingham Road residents held an outdoor party to mark the 50th anniversary “of the area’s favourite daughter absconding with Akon”. They even prepared a special runway in anticipation of Akon’s possible return for the celebrations. Alas, he didn’t appear, though a prankster launched a home-made UFO that saw many claim to have seen the real thing.

In April this year, The Witness reported the sister of Pietermaritzburg ufologist Kitty Smith, a good friend of Klarer, as seeing a UFO in the skies over Swartberg. Doris Scott of Franklin, eastern KwaZulu-Natal, described how six friends saw the object in the clear night sky.

Speaking to The Witness about her sister’s sighting, Smith recalled the fly-by she herself witnessed in January 1984, that she believes Akon did for her benefit at Champagne Castle.

Smith, who until then had never seen a UFO, despite her fascination with them, said Klarer had told her to go to Champagne Castle, where she had met Akon. Smith said she had seen a silent, blue silvery pulsating light, which at first appeared behind a lit-up cloud. It then moved into view, and “just came across the sky, hardly moving”.

Klarer told Smith she had spoken to Akon about doing a fly-past. “She told me that I had done research all my life, but had never had a personal sighting. She said Akon said I deserved one, and they had arranged it ... I like to think they are together now.”

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