A diffuse group of people, mainly active during the 1970’s, who claimed to represent extraterrestrial beings, and who tried to persuaded people (with some success) to abandon their careers and other pursuits in favour of a new life on another planet. Through lectures and other means, these people, who came to be known as ‘Extraterrestrial Travel Agents’, maintained that the Earth was facing imminent destruction, and that benevolent aliens were preparing to evacuate a certain number of humans.

British researchers Peter and Jenny Randles pinpoint the origin of this phenomenon to a man and woman who called themselves ‘The Tow’, and who toured the western United States in 1975, proclaiming to anyone who would listen that they had been sent form the ‘level above human’. They assured their followers that they would all return to that level in a spaceship that was due to arrive shortly.

Throughout the rest of the decade, the movement grew, with other Extraterrestrial Travel Agents popping up throughout the United States, persuading people to sell their homes for, quite literally, a few dollars in anticipation of the aliens’ arrival. While these doom-laden predictions on the future of the Earth, coupled with the assumption that benevolent extraterrestrials would step in to offer help, can be seen as a curious echo of the contactees’ claims of the 1950s and 1960s, they are also significant because they sowed the seeds of much more dangerous philosophies, most notable that of the Heaven’s Gate sect, which also claimed that a spacecraft would arrive to take its members to the ‘level above human’.