'Raël: The Alien Prophet': The story of the cult that claims to have cloned humans

  • Netflix's "Raël: The Alien Prophet" examines a controversial French cult.

  • Started in the 1970s by Claude Vorilhon, the cult believes that aliens created humans.

  • In the early 2000s, a company started by the Raëlian church claimed it had made a human clone.

Netflix's "Raël: The Alien Prophet" is perhaps one of its most gripping docuseries yet.

The show delves into the world of a controversial French cult known as the Raëlian Movement, which claimed that it created the world's first human clone in the early 2000s.

It was founded in France during the 1970s by Claude Vorilhon, who now goes by the name of Raël. He thought of himself as the 40th and final prophet and believed that a scientifically advanced species called the "Elohim" created humanity through cloning.

The Raëlian movement was convinced that cloning humans would lead to immortality. When Scottish researchers managed to clone a sheep in 1997, the Raëlian church saw that as a sign to start trying to make its own clones.

That same year, Raël started a company, Clonaid, with chemist Brigette Boisselier as the company's chief executive.

Attorney Mark Hunt funded Clonaid's initial attempts at cloning because his baby son, Andrew, had died at 10 months old during surgery to address birth defects.

Per ABC News, Hunt paid Boisselier $5,000 a month to start a laboratory with the hope of creating a child with identical DNA to his deceased son.

But in 2001 he explained that he had parted ways with Clonaid and Boisselier because he disagreed with the company's beliefs. "Her interests in the press have been to forward and promote her religion, more than forward and promote the science," Hunt said.

Raëlians claim to have cloned a baby girl named Eve

In 2001, Congress voted to ban all human cloning in the US, which meant the Raëlians and Clonaid had to move their attempts elsewhere. In December 2002, Boisselier claimed that scientists had successfully cloned a baby girl, Eve, who was born via c-section.

During a press conference, per CBS News, Boisselier said: "The baby is very healthy. The parents are happy. I hope that you remember them when you talk about this baby — not like a monster, like some results of something that is disgusting."

But when Clonaid was pushed to prove its achievement, the company declined to offer proof, according to PBS News Hour.

US journalist and scientist Michael Guillen set up a group to try to confirm claims about Eve, but he told CNN in early January 2003 that he was denied access to the baby and the mother.

He explained: "All I wanted to do was to have my team of independent experts have access to the alleged baby and the alleged mother. And we have not been given that access." Guillen added: "So for the time being, I have to accept the possibility that this is absolutely an elaborate hoax."

In January 2003, a hearing was held in Florida to determine whether a guardian should be given to the child, over fears of exploitation.

Brigitte Boisselier at a hearing in January 2003 in Broward County Circuit Court in Florida.
Brigitte Boisselier at a hearing in January 2003 in Broward County Circuit Court in Florida.SUSAN STOCKER/AFP via Getty Images

At the hearing, Boisselier testified that she hadn't seen the baby herself, she had only witnessed videos of her taken in Israel.

Broward County Circuit Judge John Frusciante then threw the case out of court, saying: "At this point, I will not give any more credibility to this situation than it has already been given."

In October 2004, Boisselier claimed in a press release that they had made 13 clones in total. But there isn't any evidence to confirm their existence.

In "Raël: The Alien Prophet," Boisselier maintains that Eve is doing well, although she has little contact with her.

"I think she's well, there's been no news recently. Contact with the parents always happens through third parties. Until recently. And not that often, very rarely," she says.

The Raelian Movement and Clonaid did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

While Raël, Boisselier, and Clonaid all maintain that they have made successful human clones, there has been no evidence to prove that they ever produced anything other than a media firestorm.

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