Welcome Space Brothers Image

Welcome Space Brothers

By Alan Ng | May 30, 2024

If I didn’t know Jodi Wille’s film, Welcome Space Brothers, was a documentary, I’d swear it was a WTF, insane, sci-fi tale of weirdness. Let’s get into it.

Welcome Space Brothers takes me not too far down the highway to the city of El Cajon. There, near a retail strip mall, stands the Unarius Academy of Science. The academy was founded in the 70s by its visionary leader, Ruth E. Norman, and her husband, Earnest. Ruth and Earnest believed in aliens and built an entire religion around them.

Taking on the title of the “Archangel Uriel,” Ruth spread her message to her small cadre of followers and her wildly popular public access television show broadcast to over 35 cities. She taught that we are not alone in the universe and that there were alien spirits known as Space Brothers who communicated through her in a higher state of consciousness. They believed in reincarnation and past lives therapy.

Like a church, Ruth held weekly services dressed in elaborate outfits and makeup provided by her followers and guided many of them to a clean life away from drugs and alcohol. The church soon began making alien sci-fi movies starring Ruth as a way to educate and entertain the public about the world of the Unarius.

“…not alone in the universe and that there were alien spirits known as Space Brothers who communicated through her…”

Let me just say that after watching Welcome Space Brothers, I’m not a believer in Unarius and the Archangel Uriel. I am a Christian and have attended church since my high school days, and I’d be lying if I didn’t see similarities between church and Unarius. Weekly meetings in a makeshift retail space, choirs singing songs, religious leaders with a message, and a message of hope for the lost. To be fair, I should also include the cold readings, healing services, and stories of the invisible aliens planning their visit to Earth.

Unlike most documentaries, because the academy had a cable show, there’s a lot of video footage to draw from of Ruth and her followers. Unarius is still active today, even after Ruth’s death in 1992. Most of Ruth’s original followers run the academy and get pretty in depth about her teachings and the impact she had on their lives. They also speak about two significant excommunications in the organization’s history.

As a Christian who has seen many stories about Christ’s work in the world and the lives he has changed, Welcome Space Brothers doesn’t feel that far off from those films. Simply replace Jesus for the Space People and the Bible for the stacks of alien literature, and we have a one-for-one match. That said, I couldn’t help but think these people are crazy…in my humble opinion. There is a lot of documentary here with lots of footage of Ruth and her followers going in-depth into their beliefs. If you’re not following the story or buying into their message, Welcome Space Brothers is going to be a tough watch.

As a film, it’s a well-crafted documentary here in how it organizes the history of Unarius and the life of Ruth Norman. The film’s subjects are earnest as hell and sincerely believe everything they say. The story of Ruth is fascinating and told well, which is enough to give her story a recommendation. It will also be a nice flex of that healthy skepticism muscle in your mind.

Welcome Space Brothers (2024)

Directed and Written: Jodi Wille

Starring: Ruth E. Norman, Earnest T. Norman, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Welcome Space Brothers Image

"…If you're not following the story or buying into their message, [this] is going to be a tough watch."

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