Founded by Ernest L. and Ruth E. Norman in 1954, the Unarius Academy of Science claims that man is by nature psychic. The Unariun belief system—developed by Norman and carried forward by Ruth after his death—holds that as incarnations of “indestructible energy,” each of us carries material from past lives that sways our present and future. Unlike other spiritual groups to appear on the West Coast in the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Unariuns’ worldview is almost bizarrely benevolent and uplifting, holding that “negative acts must be compensated for by positive acts” and never straying into psychosexual or messianic territory.
In 1975, Unarius opened a full-fledged school and center devoted to the “interdimensional understanding” of energy, karma, and past lives through clairvoyant guidance, past-life therapy, and communication with benevolent extraterrestrials. The group came to wider awareness in the 1980s when, after the death of Norman, Ruth went on to produce (and star), with guidance from her fellow “Space Brothers,” in a series of visionary DIY films, which became cult classics among connoisseurs thanks to their regular appearance on public access television. The films featured Unariuns in otherworldly costumes and makeup, incorporating elaborate sets, guerrilla location-filming techniques, and ingenious no-budget special effects, channeling and re-enacting their previous lives on Earth and other planets for purposes of spiritual healing.