Haunting of Twentieth-Century America, The
The Dark Side of the Paranormal: The Nazis and the Occult
If a way to the better there be, it lies in taking a full look at the worst.
THOMAS HOOD (1799-1845)
There has long been speculation about what causes people to engage in evil. Is there a relationship between an actual devil or dark occult practices and killers and murderous dictators? Is the occult by its very nature evil? Is one of the most evil acts of the twentieth century, the Holocaust, explainable as a manifestation of evil occult forces or does that so demean it by removing culpability from Adolf Hitler and those who worked for him? Can we rationally explain Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts exterminating six million Jews? Could "a conscious entity actively seeking entry into our world account for the nightmare of Nazism ...? " author Paul Roland asked in The Nazis and the Occult. The issue is "whether Nazi ideology was ... rooted in occultism," Roland said.1 In this chapter we'll examine the dark side of the paranormal and the effects it has had throughout history, with emphasis on the atrocities committed by the Nazis and what the connection was between the Third Reich and occultism.
At the core of Roland's thesis lies the question, "Do we consciously or subconsciously choose to commit harm or ruin when the opportunity presents itself, or is evil based on some malicious or egotistical motive?" Is it possible that some of us are caught up in evil because of somethinginnate or in our genes or upbringing? That would imply that any one of us, at least in theory, is capable of committing a heinous crime against another person. Might there be cases in which malevolence is a supernatural force that attacks some people, so that a monstrous act can be attributed to the work of the devil? Are there individuals who encourage evil spirits or demonic forces to possess them? Therefore, is the power of evil beyond their control, or do we have the freedom to resist or reject wrongdoing? This, too, lies near the center of the theory of criminal law, a presupposition about the human capacity to consciously choose good over evil. This supposition goes all the way back to the Old Testament upon which much of Western criminal law is based. Rationalists believe that humans can choose and that there is no such thing as evil from birth. Recent brain research is contradictory, suggesting, on the one hand, that we may not have as much free will as we think, yet, on the other, demonstrating that the brain is plastic and can be trained to resist genetic predispositions.
Whether certain people are predisposed to evil or learn evil ways from their parents or teachers, society itself has its own demands. For society itself to function, the words of the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) still ring true: "Morality is an indispensable part of being human." Those who cannot discern right from wrong or who can make that distinction but cannot comport their behaviors to the law as a result of mental illness and commit violent crimes against innocent people are defined as criminally insane according to the federal penal code. However, that still leaves the question, is there an external agentsuch as Satanthat can influence human actions? Many people believe exactly that, although most of us accept that the responsibility for crime belongs with the perpetrators, regardless of the underlying cause.
From the 1960s on, with a stepped-up interest in so-called New Age ideas, curiosity also turned toward the dark side of the paranormal. The turbulent '60s concluded with a savage crime that shocked the nation, the so-called "Manson killings," the work of a brainwashed cult led by the "devil-worshipping" and "Nazi-loving" Charles Manson, who had an admitted interest in the occult. Manson, imprisoned for life, went so far as to carve a swastika in his forehead. The bloody Tate-LaBianca slayings in Los Angeles left seven murder victims in all. The crimes sent waves of fear throughout the country, and incited debate about the psychologyof evil, and whether an actual satanic force might have caused such savagery.2
Manson himself said that he was trying to create violent chaos to overthrow the established order. He described his mission as "helter skelter," a violent rage against the machine,3 he told author and psychologist Joel Norris (Serial Killers: The Growing Menace, NY: Doubleday ). Yet he also said that he was a child of Satan, born evil and destined to do evil throughout his life. He also said that he was contracted by dark forces inside the government to perform acts that no member of any governmental agency could be connected with. He admitted to being driven by the occult and occult practices. Is the occult, therefore, necessarily evil or is it deemed evil because it is so misunderstood even by those who adhere to it?
As the paranormal has become more accepted and understood in recent yearsmainly since the 1970sserious parapsychologists and a growing number of scientists have delved into what for centuries was wrongly called the "occult," as derived from the Latin word for hidden, secret, or mysterious. Too often it has been associated with phenomena that is considered evil, frightening, even satanic. The result has been media portrayals of psychic events that are heavily fictionalized and sensationalized. Adding to the confusion, mass media, some conservative theologians, and professional debunkers have lumped together ESP, astrology, UFOs, ghosts, Eastern philosophies, cults, paranormal research, monsters, witches, demons, mediums, and satanists into one category, inaccurately branding them all occult, and nearly always insinuating something malevolent. In this chapter, we'll largely limit our exploration of the occult to its dark side, the side most people associate with it: black magic, some forms of witchcraft, demonic or satanic worship and its rituals.
Few people doubt that evil exists. We see or read about evil people and sinister deeds in the news every day and night, the criminals, killers, and predators in our midst. There are terrorists who kill innocent people, many for invented political causes. There are the dictators whose monstrous acts live on in infamy: Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Vlad Tepes, Genghis Khan, and too many more to list.
In fact, evil dates back to the beginning of recorded human history. In the Old Testament, we are told that Eve succumbed to the serpent'stemptation to eat an apple from the Tree of Knowledge. In turn, Eve tempted Adam. Later, Cain murdered his brother, Abel. In ancient Egypt, long before the birth of Jesus Christ, exorcisms were held to purge evil spirits, and in early Rome, many people were fearful of dangerous specters of the dead that lurked in the shadows. Some argue that war is always evil, while others, including President Obama in his acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, insist there are "just wars."
We like to believe what the Bible tells us: that all of us are born innocent. What then turns a young child into a murderous dictator, killer, or predator? Is there a genetic predisposition? Some studies have tracked criminal behavior within families from generation to generation so as to suggest some credence to predispositions toward criminal behavior. Other studies point to nurture, not nature, as the cause of criminal behavior. The truth is, we do not know. There are undoubtedly environmental reasons to explain why a number of people turn to evil, and there are genetic factors that may contribute to abhorrent behavior. Is it possible that some people are innately villainous? On the other hand, to borrow from Christian fundamentalist religions, and occult beliefs, might there be a genuine Satan and demonic forces that infest certain people who embrace evil or allow it to enter? Should we take the "dark side" of the paranormal seriously? Skeptics, of course, scoff at the occult, and the idea of Satan with his pitchfork in the fires of hell. Should we dismiss them as superstition? Or is there more to the subject than that?
Parapsychologists tell us that psychical phenomena are neutral. In other words, how we use the paranormal can be either positive or negative. Other researchers, especially those who worked in the army's remote viewing and remote influencing programs during the 1970s and 1980s, tell us that what people call the "paranormal" is less para than it is normal. By that they mean that the paranormal is simply an aspect of normality that we really haven't yet fully understood. For example, when Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, he used the character of Jekyll/Hyde to represent a spiritual duality in human nature, illustrating that both good and evil can exist inside the same person.4 It was a magic potion that Dr. Jekyll devised to liberate his animalistic spirit, a concept of pure science fiction to enable the Faustian protagonist to reach for something that humans should not touch, just as Mary Shelley's Dr. Frankenstein did in her early nineteenth-century story.
Both Shelley and Stevenson are regarded as very early science-fiction writers. However, by the second half of the twentieth century, Wilder Penfield's experiments in Canada and later medical procedures in the United States showed that Stevenson's vision of a human spirituality duality was not paranormal at all, but very real science. In fact, in trying to treat serious grand mal patients whose seizures were so severe that they threatened to wipe out portions of the brain, doctors used a radical surgical procedure. They severed the thick bundle of neurons called the corpus callosum that runs from front to back between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, whose function it is to connect the two hemispheres. In the human brain, the left and right hemispheresnotwithstanding the plasticity of the human brainhave different gross functions. Connected by the corpus callosum, the two hemispheres communicate with each other internally. However, once the corpus callosum is severed, internal communication is cut off and the two hemispheres function as separate entities.
In research done on grand mal patients who, because their symptoms were so severe, received operations severing their corpus callosums, doctors found some astounding reactions. In one case of a Vietnam War veteran, it seemed to doctors that his logical, socially correct, and lawabiding left hemisphere had kept a more violent and impulsive side of him in check. In one instance, during a fight with his wife, he grabbed a knife with his left handthe right hemisphere controls the motor functions of the left side of the body in right-handed peopleand attempted to stab her. However, his right hand, governed by the left hemisphere, grabbed his left hand and stopped it before it shook the knife to the floor. What this told doctors was that he had become, in effect, two different people, each one governed by a different half of the brain. Does this not resemble the two different people chained together in Stevenson's novel, Jekyll and Hyde, freed from each other by the strange concoction brewed up by Jekyll?
Robert Louis Stevenson was writing a horror novel about a paranormal event. However, real science and medical research showed that what was paranormal and evil in the nineteenth century had become understandably normal, albeit bizarre, by the second half of the twentieth century. In addition, if stem-cell research continues and interspecies breeding is not made a criminal act by the federal government, who's tosay that by the middle part of the twenty-first century Victor Frankenstein creations will actually become commonplace? If that comes to be, as it has with Jekyll and Hyde, then the paranormal will not be necessarily evil, only a lot less strange.
The paranormal became associated with evil because organized religion, beginning with Judaism, saw the paranormal as harking back to a pagan polytheistic past. Judaism differentiated itself from the pagan cultures the Israelites encountered by proscribing certain pagan practices, such as body piercing and painting, sorcery, soothsaying, divination, or prognostication. These were evil because the cultures within which they flourished could contaminate the culture of the Israelites as they traveled through the wilderness to the Promised Land.
What was in the Torah and the original Holy Bible found its way into the New Testament. As the world's three great religionsJudaism, Christianity, and Islamtook shape in ancient times it did not take long for the pagan ideas that preceded them to be branded evil, sacrilegious, or the belief of infidels and therefore prohibited. But the dissenters and nonconformists found a way to survive, by organizing into secret groups.5 We should hasten to add that not all the clandestine assemblages were malevolent in nature or intent. But for centuries, the power of the Roman Catholic Church forced competing religious and mystical practices underground throughout Europe. Those who dared to step publicly outside Church-approved dogma risked being branded heretics and subject to torture and even execution.
It was not until the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the "two major secret societies ... revealed themselves ... in a public form," explained Michael Howard in The Occult Conspiracy.6 The best-known covert societies were the Freemasons and the Order of the Rosy Cross or the Rosicrucians. A German mystic calling himself Christian Rosenkreuz, who had learned "magical arts" such as conjuring spirits and alchemy from North African occultists, founded the order. Alchemy was considered by many to be a form of magic, and some thought it was satanic in origin.
"Magic" as a concept is derived from the Zoroastrians, the priests, called the Magi, who performed supernatural rituals by means of various implements, such as wands. There is a rich cultural connection between the Zoroastrians and the Egyptians in terms of ritual and invocation ofsupernatural forces. Even the use of a magic wand harks back to the rod that Moses used to demonstrate to Pharaoh a far greater power than even Pharaoh's wizards could wield. Magic, whose history is far too involved and detailed to narrate here, transformed through the Christian Middle Ages and into the Renaissance and Reformation as a demonic force, purely evil, and ultimately anti-Christian. Even today, it connotes fraternization with the Devil or a demonic presence.
Freemasonry, according to one version, received its start in Germany with a guild of stonemasons contracted to build the Strasbourg Cathedral. Other sources place the start of Freemasonry as early as the late fourteenth century. Official histories place the beginning of the lodges in England, Scotland, and Ireland in the seventeenth century. Still other histories suggest that because Masons were also responsible for constructing magnificent Gothic cathedrals and churches throughout Europe in the late Middle Ages, they had to rely on Euclidian geometric equations even though Euclid, because he was pre-Christian, was banned by the Church as a source of information. Accordingly, Masons had to keep secret the fact that their brotherhood was relying on proscribed scholarship in order to do their work. The secret bonds of the Masonic society grew from simply sharing proscribed information to a fraternal organization with humanitarian goals. Freemasonry, therefore, was not to be confused with witchcraft or sorcery, which had its own separate source of influence in Europe and, especially, Germany.
Germany's interest in "magical beliefs and witchcraft" can be traced to ancient Teutonic mythology, a time before there was a single German national state.7 Cathedrals and chapels contained numerous relics used to exorcise evil spirits. One example, dating back prior to medieval times, was the acceptance that the devil caused storms.
By the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, witchcraft had been pronounced a crime of heresy by both the Protestant and Roman Catholic churches, and punishable by death, a decision that prompted widespread fear among most people. For a time, Germany led Europe in the number of alleged witches who were burned at the stake, and trials continued into the seventeenth century.
Following the Church's decree, a papal bull in 1484, that witchcraft was a capital offense, two German inquisitors, Jakob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer, published a handbook titled Malleus Maleficarum,a comprehensive guide for witch hunters that all but guaranteed to prove the accused were guilty regardless of their actual guilt or innocence.8 The German Lutheran Church agreed with the Catholic hierarchy in condemning sorcery and witchcraft, proclaiming them a grave threat, the Reformation's and Counter Reformation's version of political terrorists. It was only as the seventeenth century wound down that some critics mustered the courage to speak out against the Church's excesses and the torturing of countless innocent people.
Germany was also home to a number of mystical societies, and one of the most powerful mystics was Jakob Boehme (1575-1624), who wrote prolifically and then was censured as a heretic by the Lutheran Church. "Gnostic magical beliefs were espoused by secret societies," many "founded on those of the Middle Ages," according to the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology.9 In Gnostic belief, "spirit and matter were opposed to each other, matter being an interruption of the order of the cosmosand therefore evil," explained Dusty Sklar in Gods & Beasts: The Nazis & the Occult.10 "Matter was not the creation of the supreme god but of ... an inferior divinity." Gnostic doctrine stated, "The ... Jewish god was really the devil, responsible for all the world's evil." And so it began.
In the fifteenth century, occultists began employing a new name, the Illuminati, a reference to individuals "who claimed to possess light directly communicated from a higher source or because of abundant human wisdom," noted the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology.11 In modern ufological research and adjacent conspiracy theory, the Illuminati were also associated with a group called "The Nine," those in touch with an extraterrestrial race, which provides them with great insight, knowledge of the future, and the power to control events. The Illuminati are at the center of many modern conspiracy theories, but it's interesting to see that they had their beginnings in the very late Middle Ages and at the dawn of the Reformation, a time of great turmoil, pestilence, and social and intellectual foment in Europe.
Even as new scientific discoveries emerged in Europe, the occult continued to grow in strength and popularity throughout the eighteenth century. For example, by the mid-1700s, Rosicrucians and Freemasons were familiar in Russia, and "holy men and mystical cults" had become part of Russia's religious landscape. At the same time, scientists and philosopherswho considered themselves rationalists angrily discredited occultism as the accumulation of centuries of superstition and ignorance.
In Europe, the years following the American and French revolutions were marked by new and shifting political alliances that would affect millions for generations to come. "Conditions were created that allowed the rise of the three major superpowers of the nineteenth century," according to Michael Howard in The Occult Conspiracy. They were "the Romanovs of Russia, the Habsburgs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Hohenzollerns of Prussia who became the Kaisers of Germany. Between these great European dynasties [what followed was] bloody conflict" that also involved Britain and France and the pressures ultimately led to World War I. However, history books typically omit or neglect the influence of occultism and secret societies on the rulers of that era. Howard pointed out "only by revealing ... the occult conspiracy ... can events be fully understood and placed in their true historical perspective." 12
Russia was under the rule of the Romanov family for some three centuries, beginning in the 1600s, until the Bolsheviks ousted them in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Their adversaries accused the Romanovs of taking part in witchcraft and having "occult powers." For example, a century earlier, in 1805, when Czar Alexander I ruled, he considered war against Napoleon to be a "divine mission" since it had been predicted by a well-known psychic named Madame de Kruedener. The czar also joined the Habsburg emperor to prevent revolution in Italy. Both leaders were convinced such a revolution was spurred by a secret society named the Carbonari.
Michael Howard explained that Alexander's reason for invading Italy was "to counteract the empire of evil which is spreading by all the occult means at their disposal the satanic spirit which directs it."13 Ultimately it was Austria that ended the Italian uprisings and sent the Carbonari back into hiding. In 1822, Czar Alexander I converted to Christianity, and believing there was danger to Russia from secret societies, banned Freemasonry and shut Masonic lodges.
After Alexander's death in 1825, his brother Nicholas, no friend of mysticism, assumed power. In 1855, Nicholas's son Alexander II became czar. Unlike his father, he was drawn to religion and the popular interest in spiritualism that had spread from America and England across theEuropean continent. By 1861, the czar and czarina participated in séances conducted by the famed medium D. D. Home, and joined by author Alexandre Dumas. Home later told of noticing that Czar Alexander had a personal library with "thousands" of books about spirituality and the occult.14
In 1872 the czar, Emperor Franz Josef, and Kaiser Wilhelm I joined in a pact that would eventually spell calamity for all three and take Europe on the dark and disastrous road toward World War I. Many historians have suggested that modern Germany was born when the German "nationalist movement" came into being in 1871. As Michael Howard explained, it was a dangerous jumble of "anti-Semitism, extreme nationalism, occult, anti-capitalist, and anti-liberal" dogma. By then there had been rumblings to unite "all German-speaking peoples of Europe."15
Also in 1871, King Wilhelm of Prussia became kaiser of the Second German Reich, which intensified the growth of a "pan-German nationalist movement" with its underlying mystical and occult beliefs, many drawn from secret societies. That, in turn, gave birth to National Socialismthe Nazisduring the 1920s. There is "unmistakable evidence of a direct relationship between the Nazis and occultism," Howard maintained.16
A strong impact was made on the German ultra-nationalistic and racist movement by Theosophy, founded by Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891), the Russian immigrant and controversial medium who settled in New York City and founded the Theosophical Society in 1875. Plump, hot-tempered, and untidy, Blavatsky cared little about Victorian-era propriety. She smoked cigars, used profanity as well as any man, and was obstinate but determined. Those who knew her agreed her outstanding physical feature was her penetrating and hypnotic eyes that people said entranced them.
As a teenager she'd been forced into an arranged marriage with an elderly Russian general whom she quickly left. Blavatsky then roamed through Europe and the East, especially India and Tibet, learning new philosophies, "ancient wisdoms," and taught herself to speak a number of languages. It was during her travels that Blavatsky learned of the Great White Brotherhood, "superhuman adepts or masters," believed by many Theosophists and occultists to have directed the development of humankind.
Blavatsky prophesized a future in which a "spiritually-developed type of human being" would come to be, Michael Howard explained. German nationalists embraced her racial ideas and distorted them into a combination of the occult drawn from Theosophy, virulent anti-Semitism, and the principle of Aryan racial superiority.
When Madame Blavatsky moved to the United States in 1873 one reason was to examine the widely popular interest in spiritualism that had captivated the attention of millions of Americans. Whether she had mediumistic gifts to the extent she insisted is questionable. Some psychic researchers considered her a fraud. Others maintained she had genuine powers. However, few could argue with her singular achievement: the creation of the Theosophical Society. It was a concoction of Hinduism, Tantric yoga, Gnostic belief, Western occultism, and the principles of the secret societies, and it ultimately attracted a substantial following and international influence, particularly in bringing Eastern beliefs to the West.
Among her best-known writings were Isis Unveiled and her voluminous The Secret Doctrine. She claimed spirit masters dictated her books from a higher plane. But there were those who criticized Blavatsky's occult philosophy for its unyielding hostility toward Christianity. Although she could not have known it in her lifetime, Theosophy was destined to exert a strong influence on the German nationalist movement that became the Nazi Party some thirty years after Blavatsky's death in 1891.17
What would attract some in the Nazi leadership to Theosophy? German nationalists eagerly embraced Blavatsky's racial prediction and distorted it into the infamous Nazi belief of Aryan racial superiority or "supermen." They also welcomed Darwin's theory of evolution which, when combined with Madame Blavatsky's racial beliefs, concluded that certain races would survive and evolve, while for other races, such as the Jews, their days were numbered. For the virulently anti-Semitic, racist theories couched in pseudomystical wrappings that supported their twisted thinking were well received.
Also inspiring Blavatsky were popular occult mysteries by author and occultist Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). Not only did the Bulwer-Lytton novels influence Theosophists, they also had an effect on the "mystical aspects of German nationalism," according to Howard. Bulwer-Lytton, a Rosicrucian, was a close friend of British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli who had a strong curiosity about the occult, secretsocieties, and conspiracies. In 1856, Disraeli cautioned the House of Commons that secret societies posed a threat to Europe.18
That brings us to the Vril Society.19 In 1871, Bulwer-Lytton wrote an occult novel, The Coming Race. The book's plot concerns a "subterranean, socialist utopia ruled by superior beings who had mastered the so-called vril, or life force," Howard explained. As Bulwer-Lytton imagined it, vril was an inexplicable psychic energy that could be controlled by its masters to achieve skills including telepathy and healings. It was not unlike chi, the life force believed in by the Chinese, or prana, subscribed to by Hindus. The vril could also be used for "destructive" purposes such as a "death ray," not unlike the laser or the telepathic force made fun ofbut all too real, according to its practitionersin Jon Ronson's Men Who Stare at Goats.20 The idea of a vril-like death ray also inspired the Serbo-Croatian and later American genius Nikola Tesla to design his own concept of a death ray, beaming high-energy power to distant locations. Tesla's death ray became so popular a concept in the 1930s that it was one of the inspirations for the death ray beamed at Earth from the planet Mongo in the 1936 Flash Gordon movie serials.21
It was the Vril Society that is credited with being among the early German nationalist organizations to employ the swastika as a symbol or emblem. But even before the vril became co-opted by the Nazis, it existed as a kind of pre-Wiccan society, created by a group of Russian women, who were the adherents to the supernatural theories of Madame Blavatsky. The vril, Bulwer-Lytton's mystical force, was the binding element of Vril Society founders, who claimed to have telepathic powers, and who also advocated the theory of the supremacy of the Aryan race.
As the group of German über-nationalists turned to mysticism and the occult for a source of power, the future Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler, looking for extrinsic evidence that the Aryan race was supreme and destined to rule the world, created the Thule Society, the grouploosely portrayed in the first Indiana Jones moviesought to find evidence of the superiority of the Aryan race in distant corners of the world. They traveled to the Middle East, to India, and to the Arctic, looking for clues to the origin of the Aryans. And it was through their explorations into the mystical beginnings of the Aryans that they would later seek to blend occult with science in their attempt to develop the wunderwaffe, the super weapon that would guarantee them victory in the war.
Another one of the better-known occult groups was the Armanenschaft originated by Guido von List (1848-1919) who fancied himself a descendent of a long heritage of "Nordic warrior magicians ..." wrote Paul Roland in The Nazis and the Occult.22 Von List had concocted his own premise of a "mysterious ancient race" called "Armanen," explained the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology. Von List's society also used as its emblem the swastika, and began a "secret occult lodge." Numerous members were fanatical anti-Semites who were part of the "occult underground" that encouraged distorted Nazi racists ideas and fantasies of the Aryan übermench or "superman" of Nordic looks and ancestry with blond hair and blue eyes.
Von List also had an association with the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), the Order of the Temple in the East, begun between 1895 and 1900 by a pair of German Freemasons. In England, the occultist and magician Aleister Crowley became the leader of the OTO in the early 1900s.23 Another occult association of note was the Ordo Novi Templi (ONT), the Order of New Templars, started in 1907. It also held malevolent racist attitudes. During the 1920s, as Hitler climbed to power, the ONT was the international coordinator for "far-right groups" in Europe and America. In the 1930s the ONT acted as a "front" for the outlawed National Socialist Party in Austria. Despite that, the ONT was banned by the Nazis in 1941 following the mysterious, failed "peace mission" undertaken by Hitler's Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess, a fervent devotee of astrology. The flight by Hess to Scotland in May 1941, and his capture by the British, infuriated Hitler who ordered a crackdown on occult practitioners throughout the Third Reich.
A branch of the Armanenschaft and the ONT was an occult group known as the "German Order," that began right before the First World War.24 Like other similar groups, the German Order embraced virulent ultra-right, nationalist, and occult societies, anti-Semitism, and racist beliefs. The German Order was the model for the Thule Society that became a source of influence for the Nazi Party in its early days.25 There was also serious interest in what was believed to be the "lost continent of Thule," described as the "Nordic Atlantis," supposedly where the Teutonic race began. Not surprisingly, the Nazis coalesced around the "mystical tradition of racial purity, neo-paganism, and Theosophical occultism," and targeted their evil, warped ideas at the masses of ordinary people inGermany, and then throughout nearly all of Europe as their iron-fisted grasp increased.26
This occult tradition blended with the ultra-rightist political movements of the early twentieth century and with a political philosophy of German philosophers, who suggested that in order for the state to preserve its national identity, individual rights must be subsumed to the needs of the state. Foremost among the proponents of this view was German jurist Carl Schmitt, who ultimately became the president of the Nazi jurists, justifying the concept of the autocratic state under the führer as a political necessity, especially in the two decades after the Treaty of Versailles.
Before he left Germany and eventually wound up in the United States, teaching at the New School for Social Research and then at the University of Chicago, where he influenced a generation of American Neoconservatives such as former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Leo Strauss was one of the intellectual political philosophers behind National Socialism. In fact, it was Strauss's political legacy regarding the supremacy of the state over the individual that lay at the heart of the Neoconservative movement which drove much of the political policy of the early part of the last decade.
Even before political philosophers Strauss and Schmitt laid the groundwork for National Socialism, it was the secret occult societies that were surreptitiously at work to overthrow the "old European empires" that dated back to the early nineteenth century, Michael Howard explained. Historical events aided them at every turn. Between 1900 and the start of the First World War, Europe was thrown into turmoil. "The old alliances which had held nineteenth century Europe together" were collapsing. By the time World War I began, Russia and Germany were "bitter enemies," Howard noted. Efforts at various alliances to avoid war had failed, and Germany reached out to Rumania and Serbia hoping to secure itself.
But Serbia's participation resulted in the assassinations of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo in June 1914. The assassins all belonged to a secret nationalist group fighting for Serbian independence. The consequence of the murders was global pandemonium and the outbreak of the First World War.27
Dr. Gérard Encausse was both a physician and occultist (1865-1916), born in Spain, and schooled in Paris. He'd briefly been a member of theTheosophical Society, and was also a student of magic and alchemy. Before the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, he conducted séances for the Russian rulers, Czar Nicholas and his wife, the czarina. Encausse was said to have communicated with the spirit of Czar Nicholas's father, Alexander III. Nicholas sought his late father's advice on how to cope with the rash of growing civilian and military disturbances in Russia. The spirit of Alexander III advised his son to be tough with the strife or it would worsen and endanger the czar's power.
Czar Nicholas was part of a growing trend of aristocratic occult enthusiasts. During the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Russia's upper class was enthralled by spiritualism. Thus mediums, healers, prophets, and occultists were especially popular. However, Encausse came to the conclusion that Czar Nicholas was becoming over dependent on occultism. He was especially troubled by word that the czar and czarina had fallen within the spell of the mesmerizing and enigmatic Russian monk, Gregory Rasputin (1869-1916) who'd found his way into the royal court. Rasputin, the dark and brooding monk with the hypnotic stare, has become a legend and was popularized in motion pictures.
In 1912, the Tsarevitch, the hemophiliac young son of the royal couple, was accidentally injured and Rasputin miraculously healed the boy. While that endeared him to the czar and czarina, many people feared Rasputin had occult abilities. The eccentric, wandering, and disheveled monk went on to wield tremendous influence in the royal court of Nicholas II. Foes spread rumors that Rasputin had evil powers, favored Germany, and was a "secret agent" for the German kaiser. The mysterious monk apparently had a premonition that his life was in danger, and what that would mean for the fate of the Russian royal family, the Romanovs. True to his intuition, Rasputin was the victim of a conspiracy that assassinated him in 1916. Following his death, the Russian people regarded Rasputin as a martyr. The next year, Czar Nicholas II was overthrown in the Bolshevik Revolution.28 The Romanovs were murdered and Russia evolved into the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union itself collapsed in the late twentieth century.
The defeat of Germany in 1918 by the British, French, and Americans ended World War I, but left Germany thoroughly demoralized. The country was in ruins, physically, emotionally, and financially. Returning soldiers, many of them wounded, barely recognized their devastatedhomeland. These were lost and disgraced men, hungry for a livelihood and purpose in life. In addition, the Versailles peace treaty that ended the war not only brought Germany to its knees, but the harsh terms of reparationsfive billion dollarsa staggering sum to be repaid as punishment, which was overwhelming for a conquered country on the brink of starvation.29
The armistice, signed in 1919, called for Germany to disarm, eliminate nearly its entire military, agree to new border limits, acknowledge a new, independent Poland, and relinquish its colonies in Africa and elsewhere. "Germany [was also required] to acknowledge responsibility for the war and for all the damage caused by it," explained Edward Keleher in Great Events from History. It was known as the "war guilt clause." As a footnote, neither the United States nor Russia "officially recognized the treaty and [thus] played no role in upholding the peace" agreement, Keleher added.30
Both Germany and the Allies were bitter in the wake of the bloody and destructive war. American animosity toward Germany showed itself in small ways when the New York Philharmonic Society banned the playing of musical works by "living German composers." Politically, however, German Americans were subject to new scrutiny by the Justice Department under the supervision of J. Edgar Hoover. Called the "Palmer Raids," suspected German sympathizers were rounded up and investigated as agents provacateurs trying to establish a fifth column in America. Hoover would have similar fears about Germans just after World War II when former Nazi scientists were brought to America to carry on the German rocketry program.
The First World War had taken an enormous toll on populations in Europe and America. In all, 8.5 million people were killed, another 21 million were wounded, and 7.5 million were prisoners or missing. The total cost of the war was nearly $338 billion. The four allied nations that drafted the peace treaty hoped to thwart future German aggression by forcing the terms on Germany. But the humiliating loss and the conditions demanded by the treaty opened the gates that would unleash the fury of a group of right-wing military officers who sought as their spokesman a young and charismatic Adolf Hitler.31
Who was Adolf Hitler? How did he rise from virtual obscurity to becomeone of the most powerful, despised, and intriguing dictators the world has ever known? And as he emerged as the spokesman for a beaten German population, what part did the occult play in his ruthless climb to German chancellery and his ultimate step as the most infamous mass murderer in human history? Was Hitler actually psychic? Did he engage in the dark arts of satanism and black magic?
Many people believe Hitler was the work of the devil, while others concluded he was a psychopath who surrendered to his most primitive and evil impulses without any supernatural input. Did the devil grab Hitler or did Hitler reach out for the devil? Strangely, Hitler would later say he did not believe in the devil or the concept of evil.
What about the miscreants, misfits, and thugs who surrounded the warped dictator? Did they delve into the occult and the paranormal? Might they also have been creations of some demonic force? Or were they acting out of the darkest, most negative parts of their psyches? Is the relationship with Satan a psychiatric disease, a conscious or willful decision, or have some people allowed themselves to become portals for evil or negative entities? As the late Father Malachi Martin one showed, people can, indeed, turn themselves into portals for evil, allowing their bodies to be taken over in demonic possessions.
Adolf Hitler was born near Linz, Austria, on April 20, 1889, to Klara and Alois Hitler, whose last name is sometimes given as Schicklgruber. Alois, a fifty-two-year-old Austrian customs official, was twenty-three years older than Klara, his third wife.
According to Klara, Adolf was a "sickly baby," and a source of worry to his doting mother. However, a family maid recalled that Adolf was a "healthy and lively" child. Hitler's health in his early years may seem insignificant. However, if he suffered a childhood trauma to his head or an illness accompanied by one or more high fevers, it is possible that a part of his brain was activated or rerouted to cause or enhance psychic power. It is not unusual in the study of those with psychic or mediumistic abilities to find that some injury or insult to the brain has triggered ESP or some other form of paranormal aptitude. How the abilities are usedfor good or evilis another question.
Adolf was just three years old when his father, Alois, was given a job promotion that required the family to move from Austria to Germany."Living in a German city and playing with German children made a lasting mark on [young Adolf]," wrote John Toland in his highly acclaimed biography Adolf Hitler.32
Hitler's relationship with his mother remained close, until her passing from breast cancer in 1908 when he was nineteen. Klara's death left Hitler devastated. His relationship with his father, Alois, was another matter. Various authors and historians have described Alois as "authoritarian," "very strict," "exacting and pedantic ... most unapproachable," Toland noted. Needless to say, father and son were not close. Alois wanted Adolf to make a career in civil service, as he had. But when Adolf was only eleven years old, he spoke up to his stern father in a confrontation that made it clear the boy had no intention of life as a government employee. In fact, Adolf was not motivated toward school or a serious livelihood, and resisted his father's wishes.33
As a youth, Adolf was already described as "resentful [and] discontented," wrote Robert Wistrich in Who's Who in Nazi Germany. What's more, Adolf was "moody, lazy, of unstable temperament [and] deeply hostile" toward his rigid father.34 Hitler stopped attending school when he was sixteen. His dream then was to become a painter. Around 1908, he left home for Vienna, one of Europe's most cultured and cosmopolitan cities. He would remain there until 1913. His plan was to attend the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts but he was turned down. It was a refusal he took badly, blaming the school rather than what was viewed at that time as his lack of artistic talent.
Hitler's next five years in Vienna have been described in conflicting ways, depending on the historian or author explaining the events. The most common version is that Hitler's time in Vienna was spent in "misery and woe," leading to what Robert Wistrich described as a "bohemian, vagabond existence." Living from "hand to mouth," Hitler eked out a meager living by selling his sketches and postcards of Vienna's impressive architecture. When he wasn't selling his drawings in "low taverns," Hitler, discouraged and alone, found sleep in wretched men's hostels.35
He already was virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist, and when able, he would visit inexpensive coffee shops and cafés where he'd expound his warped political beliefs to anyone willing to listen. Foremost was his hatred of Jews and mania with "purity of blood"a lifelong obsession.36 Whatever Hitler found wrong with German society, be it"corruption, prostitution, democracy, Marxism, culture, politics, or the economy," Wistrich wrote, it was the fault of the Jews for whom Hitler's "pathological hatred" shaped his worldview. In his disturbed mind, it was the "Jewish conspiracy" that would weaken Germany and destroy Aryan purity. Toland pointed out that Hitler had a morbid fear that one of his grandparents might have been Jewish.
The other, lesser-told version of Hitler's life in Vienna is not quite as desperate and poverty-stricken as the first description. According to this account, Hitler had sufficient money after his mother's death to live well. In fact, Hitler had considerable time to lie around, and indulge his distorted political positions and anti-Semitic vitriol. He also had ample income so that he was not forced to sell his postcard pictures.
We don't know which is the more accurate depiction of Hitler's Vienna years. However, author John Toland pointed out that Hitler preferred his cohorts and the masses, as he called Germans, to believe the first scenario. Why? It sounded more inspiring for people to believe that their leader struggled and starved on his climb to becoming the tyrannical leaderthe Führer. In either case, Hitler finally left Vienna in May 1913 and headed for Munich, Germany, a hotbed for the German nationalist movement.37
In 1914, when war erupted in Europe, Hitler joined the Bavarian Infantry Regiment, and proved his bravery in battle. He was no coward, John Toland pointed out. Although Hitler received the Iron Cross for his courage, the highest rank he achieved was lance corporal. His military service was not without its dangers and injuries. He was wounded twice, seriously gassed, and hospitalized for three months as a result. As well, for a brief time he lost his sight.
On the other hand, Hitler's own psychic ability saved his life on more than one occasion, according to Toland, who shared the following incidents with coauthor Joel Martin in a rare interview years ago.
Toland said that one night during the First World War when the military unit Hitler belonged to bunked down for the night, Hitler moved a good distance from his comrades. He had a strange sensation that he'd face serious danger if he stayed with the other soldiers, as he usually did. As they all slept, a loud shattering noise shook the ground and awakened Hitler. When he looked in the direction of his fellow soldiers he saw the destruction. An allied shell had struck where the group slept, killing them. Hitler's prescience saved his life, as it would often in the years ahead.
Parapsychologists define such experiences as premonitions, while skeptics dismiss them as coincidental. Toland believed Hitler had a lifesaving premonition, one of many Hitler had until nearly the end of his life. For those who associate such psychic incidents with religious belief, there is surprise that someone as hate-filled as Adolf Hitler would receive supernatural help. However, history and paranormal research have shown that many psychic events are neutral, and may occur to people whether their intentions are good or bad.
On an earlier occasion, when Hitler was still in Vienna, he went one day to a public lavatory, Toland explained. Once again, "something" inexplicable suggested to Hitler to move from one urinal to another. Hitler was proven correct in his caution. Moments later, a bomb or some form of explosive device detonated. Had Hitler not moved, he would have been seriously injured or killed. It appears Hitler's experience was a premonition.38 In the years following the war, and through the 1920s, Germany's lot did not improve, its strength and resources sapped by four years of bloody fighting. In this climate of physical and psychological humiliation, many Germans were ready for a mystical, mesmerizing, and strong nationalist leader to take advantage of the shambles that once was the great German nation of such notables as Beethoven, Bach, Schiller, Goethe, Planck, and Einstein. Now it faced unemployment and hunger. Hitler fumed about Germany's loss, as well as the failed German revolution at the time. He "was convinced that fate had chosen him to rescue a humiliated [Germany] from the shackles of the Versailles Treaty and from Bolsheviks and Jews," explained Robert Wistrich.39
Hitler's early sense of destiny has long been a subject of debate. Was he fated to rule Germany by some larger mystical or supernatural power? Or was his ultimate control of Germany caused by his own vision and will? As we shall see shortly, a number of psychics and astrologers had predicted that a powerful leader would emerge to raise Germany from the ashes of defeat. Was Adolf Hitler the one chosen for the monumental task of rebuilding the shattered nation? He certainly thought divine intervention had destined him to lead Germany. A number of world leaders and dictators have revealed having such sensations, but whether they are genuine or delusions is debatable.40
In Munich in 1919, Hitler, still in military service, was given the task to spy on political parties that were considered "nationalistic," a problemespecially in post-war Munich. One of the gatherings Hitler was assigned to surreptitiously observe was a small group known as the German Workers Party. It had fewer than fifty members. Hitler was enthralled with what he heard, and soon after joined the group rather than spy on it. He soon changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) and by July 1921, forced his way to the position of chairman. He also introduced a new salutation, "Heil," and a party symbolthe swastika. The groundwork was laid for the Nazi Party.
Meanwhile, with Germany in chaos, a new constitution was drawn that created a "liberal democratic regime," wrote Edward Keleher. It provided for a German president and a two-house legislature. It was the president who had the right to name the chancellor, Keleher explained. Because the constitution was written in Weimar, Germany, it adopted the name the "Weimar Constitution" and the "Weimar Republic."41
At the same time, in Munich, Hitler discovered that he had a commanding gift for public speaking. By November 1921, Hitler had become the leaderführerof the group that had grown to a more imposing three thousand members. He also organized "strong-arm squads" for maintaining order within the party and to intimidate and disperse challengers and rivals. From these bands of coarse thugs developed the notorious Nazi storm troopers, and the dreaded SS in their menacing black shirts. When Hitler spoke to those assembled, he mainly railed against the Versailles Treaty, Marxists, and of course, his most hated enemy, the Jews on whom all of Germany's crises could be blamed.
The NSDAP priority was to merge "the myth of Aryan race supremacy and extreme [German] nationalism," explained Robert Wistrich.42 Hitler's next goal was to overthrow the Weimar government that he believed was on the brink of collapse due to its own inability to instill a sense of national self-respect among the German people. Hitler also saw German society sinking into what he said was a moral decay of debauchery and sexual scandal.
In November 1923, with his sense of self-importance firmly in place, Hitler joined with other nationalist groups to lead what was known as the Munich Beer Hall Putsch, or violent uprising, hoping to bring down the Bavarian government in Munich. When the huge mob burst into the beer hall, Hitler shot his gun in the air and hollered that he was now incharge of a new interim government that would lead a revolution in opposition to what Hitler called "Red Berlin," a reference to the much-hated Marxists.43
But Hitler's plans went awry when the German nationalists were confronted by a large contingent of police who opened fire, leaving sixteen people dead. Hitler's Munich Putsch had failed. He was arrested, brought to trial in early 1924 and took the occasion to make a party line harangue in which he blasted the prosecutor and predicted he would emerge victorious. Then he was sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison. This time it appeared that either no premonitions helped himor he ignored them.
It was there that Hitler began work on a book that would become widely known as the "Nazi Bible," Mein Kampf [My Struggle]. In Landsberg, he dictated his manuscript to his obedient follower and sycophant, Rudolf Hess (1894-1987), an astrology buff, who would rise to become the deputy leader of the Nazi Party, even though he was described as "colorless and unassertive," by author John Toland. Hess joined the party in 1920 after hearing a speech Hitler gave and becoming deeply impressed. Hess, who had been with Hitler for the abortive Putsch, slavishly copied nearly every word for Mein Kampf that most historians have described as an unsophisticated, ill-considered jumble of primitive "Social Darwinism, racial myth, anti-Semitism, and lebensraum [living space] fantasy," in the words of Robert Wistrich. It was Hess who took the idea of lebensraum from a college professor. By 1939, Mein Kampf had sold five million copies, in a dozen languages, earning Hitler enough in royalties to make him a millionaire. Every German soldier was given a copy as "inspiration."
Hitler served only nine months of his prison sentence and then was released. He emerged from Landsberg quite differently than when he entered. He'd become astute, notably in the art of political strategy, a far cry from the vagabond that once wandered aimlessly through the streets of Vienna. Hitler now had made grandiose plans to control Germany. But this time, he told confidants, he would gain power by political means, and not by the kind of clash that ended in the failure of the Munich Beer Hall Putsch. Hitler's idea was to legally undermine the Weimar government. Then, as Hitler foresaw it, the government would be in his control. He could then assemble a "mass movement," combining legislativepower with fear and intimidation enforced on the German people by his Nazi brutes.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler warned the world of his sinister plans. He was going to "destroy the German Republic, abolish democracy, stamp out workers' free-trade unions, establish himself as supreme dictator, and would 'settle' the Jews," famed author William L. Shirer wrote in The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler. Unfortunately, few world leaders bothered to read Mein Kampfand they certainly did not take Hitler, with his Charlie Chaplin mustache, seriously. If they had, would world history and the coming carnage of the Second World War and Holocaust have been avoided?
One of the more credible prophecies in those years was offered by an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1917 to three children in Fatima, Portugal. 44 During the famed event three predictions were made. One prophecy warned of a Second World War or conflagration to come unless people turned back to their faith in the Church. Obviously, the prediction fell on deaf ears. Interestingly the second prophecy concerned the spread of Communism, and the third, revealed by the Vatican in the past decade, described the assassination of the pope.
During the 1920s, the German economy rose and fell, then rose again. At times when life seemed to be improving, the Nazis' grip on the country weakened. It was when Germany's financial system plunged, resulting in steep unemployment and high inflation that Nazi policies seemed more appealing to the masses. So, "the world-wide depression which began with the Wall Street crash in 1929 gave Hitler the opportunity he'd been waiting for," Shirer noted. "The economic life of the West became paralyzed. Banks failed. Business firms went under. Trade came to a stop. Millions were thrown out of work."45
It was worse in Germany than in the United States, and that was precisely what Hitler needed. He was able to take advantage of the abysmal conditions with his plea to desperate Germans. Hitler countered efforts for a moderate German government by declaring that a Nazi government would refuse to pay reparations and what's more, it would shred the hated Versailles Treaty. He also promised that every German would have a job, and businesses would come back. The German masses were misled by Hitler's deceit, which elevated the Nazis to a position of political power they'd not known before.
However, in 1932 when Hitler ran for president against the popular elderly German war hero, Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, who faced reelection, Hitler lost. That only knocked Hitler down, but not out. Hitler would never gain the majority of votes he required to become Germany's chancellor, thus he resorted to trickery and pressure instead. The shadowy political deals he made eventually led von Hindenburg to legally name Hitler the chancellor of Germany in January 1933.
Hitler's dream had come true, and it would prove to be the world's nightmare. A month later, in February 1933, the German parliament or Reichstag was set ablaze. The Nazis blamed the "great Reichstag fire" on the Communists. It is generally assumed that it was the Nazis who set the Reichstag fire, however they managed to persuade the majority of Germans that the Communists were to blame.46 Amazingly, Hitler believed God was on his side. In an odd synchronicity, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated U.S. president on March 4, 1933. The next day, Hitler won absolute power over Germany.
Through more chicanery and coercion, Hitler soon purged his political enemies and became the sole ruler of Germany so that by summer 1933 only the Nazi Party remained. However, there was unrest and dissension within Nazi ranks. The storm troopers (officially the SA) were pressing for a "radical Nazi revolution," and then wanted to become the "new German army," Shirer explained. There were an estimated four million storm troopers by the close of 1933, too many to ignore.47
Finally, during the summer of 1934, Hitler beat back the disobedient storm troopers through a series of political machinations and initiated a "Nazi Blood Purge." He ordered the leaders of the storm troopers, including Ernst Röhm (1887-1934) and other enemies, to be executed. By the end of 1934 Germany was in the hands of only Hitler and those he deemed loyal. The Nazi Party could now get on with its other insidious goals, particularly persecuting Jews, promoting the concept of the "Master Race," Hitler's obsession with Aryan superiority, and planning for world domination.48
In the United States, there was relatively little interest in Hitler or Germany's internal politics. America, desperately trying to survive the Great Depression under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's leadership and "New Deal" programs, gave scant thought to the problems of Germany. In fact, many Americans considered themselves isolationists and wantedno part of "entanglements whatsoever with foreign powers," wrote Robert Goldston in The Great Depression. Even in the late 1930s, "neither the Congress nor the American people were prepared to support a ... program [to] contain European fascism," Goldston pointed out.49
The isolationists could boast such prominent names as Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr., Henry Ford, and Joseph P. Kennedy. FDR, however, was an "internationalist," and the Neutrality Act of 1935 became anguish for him and those wise enough to sense disaster ahead. Many American industrialists, business leaders, and bankers despised FDR for his New Deal programs. There was more than one attempt to overthrow the Roosevelt administration, and at least one attempt on FDR's life.
What's more, anti-Semitic and racist sentiment in Germany hardly caused a ripple in the United States. We had more than our share of both on this side of the Atlantic. Hitler didn't invent anti-Semitism; he merely took advantage of it. Even those in the United States who condemned Hitler's anti-Jewish edicts were reluctant to impose any sanctions against Germany. Names like Henry Ford and Joseph P. Kennedy, along with many Southerners in the Congress, fervently supported anti-Semitism and anti-Black racism. On radio, there were several anti-Jewish commentators in the 1930s, notably the out-of-control Father Charles Coughlin, the "radio priest."50 In fact, the Nazi-leaning German-American Bund had many followers. Even in New York City with its large Jewish population, the Bunds could attract thousands to their anti-Semitic, pro-Hitler rallies and lectures.
For those who delude themselves in thinking the atrocities committed by the Nazis were unique to Germany, they could not be more mistaken or badly informed. In fact, John Toland told us that Hitler's evil plans for the "Final Solution," the extermination of millions of Jews, Gypsies, and homosexuals, "were inspired by the U.S. government's suppression of the American Indians."51
Throughout the 1930s, Hitler expanded his power. Anti-Semitism increased to a fever pitch, Jews were viciously persecuted and deported to die in newly built concentration camps, and German industry was secretly assembling a vast war machine, in defiance of the Versailles peace treaty and financed in part by loans set up by American financiers such as John Foster Dulles, Herbert Lehman, and Prescott Bush. In fact, Wall Street liked investing in Hitler's building of his war machine.52
As Hitler flexed his muscles in Europe, one after the other, European countries fell: Part of Czechoslovakia and Austria were the first to collapse under the Nazi terror in 1938, while England, France, and the United States looked the other way, buying into Hitler's claim of lebensraumthe need for more living space for German-speaking peoples in those countries. Appeasing Hitler's madness seemed safer than another war. It wasn't. Finally England laid down the ultimatum. Inasmuch as Chamberlain's "peace in our time" mission to Germany had failed, if Hitler invaded Poland, England would go to war against it. Hitler took the dare.
When Poland fell to the Nazis in 1939, it finally marked the start of World War II, just as the apparition had predicted in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917. Then Holland, the Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France fell under the steel fist of the Nazis, and on it went. Not since the Roman Empire had so many nations been under the domination of one power.
To secure his eastern flank, Hitler made an agreement with Josef Stalin for peace with the Soviet Union. In exchange, the Soviets would receive part of Poland. With his eastern front no longer a threat, Hitler was free to march west into France, flanking the Maginot Line by invading France through Belgium. France crumbled and England had to retreat, pulling its soldiers out at Dunkirk.
Hitler said that he never really trusted his general staff, calling them lazy, elitish, and cowardly. The German general staff had an equal contempt for Hitler. Hitler maintained throughout the war that his prescient abilities enabled him to see outcomes that his generals could not. For example, his general staff strongly advised him not to invade France, citing the weather and the terrain that would slow up the panzer division's armored columns. Hitler persisted, however, and forced his generals to invade. France fell very quickly.53
But if Hitler's self-described ability to see the outcome of his decisions well in advance succeeded in France, it failed utterly when he contemplated an invasion of the Soviet Union. His idea was to succeed where Napoleon had failed by advancing across a long front running north to south and seizing the European section of the Soviet Union. Even the timing, which Hitler thought would win him a victory before the winter of 1941, was a miscalculation. Stalin was quoted as saying that even asHitler advanced toward the Ukraine, Stalin's two strongest alliesJanuary and Februarywould eventually defeat the Wehrmacht. And by the time the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the United States declared war on Japan, Hitler, who then declared war on the United States, had calculated himself into his greatest blunder. If he had relied on any occult abilities, perhaps he had forced them or had led himself to believe that what he wanted was what his visions were telling him. By 1942, in what Winston Churchill had called "the hinge of fate," the tide had turned against the Germans on the eastern front, Montgomery was pushing Rommel back across North Africa, and Patton's army had joined the fight and was about to invade Sicily from Africa. By 1943, the German general staff knew the war had been lost.
John Toland shared with us several of Hitler's prescient experiences.54 In 1939, a bomb exploded in a beer hall, right after Hitler had a feeling he should leave. A notable premonition occurred in July 1944, when the end of the war was only a year away and Germany had not yet been able to deploy any of its "wonder weapons." Hitler could not stand any criticism of his decisions, and it was obvious to those near him that he was in failing physical and mental condition, and the war was a lost cause. A group of Nazi officers secretly planned to blow up the table in Hitler's Reichstag war room where the führer obsessively pored over his battle plans with generals and other aides by his side. Thus, the Nazi regime would topple, and the agonizing war would finally end.
The explosive devices were placed in a briefcase near where Hitler always stood, and when the case detonated, Hitler would be killed. On the day the plot was to be carried out, for some inexplicable reason, Hitler walked to the other side of the large wooden table. The explosion ignited on time; however, Hitler suffered only minor injuries since his premonition told him where to stand in order to be safe. This is a version that traditional history books rarely allow to be presented. Such is the fate of the paranormal.
Even in the final months of the war, however, the German military machine was still hoping to deploy its most powerful new weapons: the atomic bomb, the guided missile, the sea-launched missile, and a weapon shrouded in mystery but colored, still, by the occult beginnings of Nazism on the Vril and the Thule societies. This weapon was called "Die Glocke," or "the Bell."55
As historian and World War II researcher Igor Witkowski explained to History Channel's UFO Hunters in their episode about Nazi UFOs, the Bell, or Die Glocke, is one of the most mysterious stories coming out of the Wehrmacht's attempt to develop the ultimate weapon. What was it? According to Igor Witkowski in his book Truth about the Wunderwaffe , and author Nick Cook in The Hunt for Zero Point, as well as author J. P. Farrell, who cites Witkowski, the Bell was either a craft or an actual time machine that was powered by counterrotating cylinders containing a substance called Red Mercury. The Germans referred to it as Xerum 525. The radiation produced by the counterrotating cylinders was so intense, or created a torsion field that was so intense, that the German engineers had to enclose the device construction chamber deep inside the Riese Mine in the Owl Mountains in Poland, far away from Allied bombing raids that were destroying German factories and weapons plants.
There is much conjecture concerning just what the Bell was supposed to do or what kind of weapon it was or even what it looked like. Witkowski described the object as a ceramic-covered bell-shaped object about nine meters in size that enclosed two counterrotating cylinders. The energy field generated could have been strong enough to serve as an antigravity field, allowing the object to fly in completely unconventional ways. Witkowski also hypothesized to the UFO Hunters team that the energy field could have generated a time warp allowing the object to travel in time. Was that its true function? Could a weapon whose development consumed so many lives of concentration camp slave laborers and Nazi scientists themselves and still under development during the final weeks of World War II as the Soviets closed in on Berlin have been the very weapon that could have won the war by destroying the enemy before the war had actually begun? Imagine traveling back in time to assassinate Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, or Franklin Roosevelt.
Or was the Bell an escape mechanism, a pod capable of space travel to evacuate the top Nazi leadership to the extraterrestrial home of the Aryan race, the planet Aldebaran? This planet, the Vril and the Thule speculated, was the real genesis of the Aryans. As the war closed in on the Germans and the scientists sought to preserve the secrets that they had so carefully protected during the final years of the war, escape to a distant planet, had that planet actually existed, might have been the plan.
Igor Witkowski suggested that the idea for the Bell arose from theThule Society's study of the ancient Vedic texts as they looked for clues to the origin of the Aryan race. They found the stories of the Vimana, ancient flying machines whose appearances dominate the epics of Indian legend. These two-storied windowed craft are so prevalent in Indian epic poetry that one has to wonder whether the poets actually saw these craft or learned stories in an oral tradition from those who had seen them. According to Witkowski, these craft were powered by Red Mercury, the heavy metal liquid that generated a radiation or torsion field so powerful, those inside the field were killed.
The members of the Thule Society actually traveled to India to study the Sanskrit and to examine the poetry for clues to the origin of the Aryans. Thus, the development based on the concept of the Vimana and the legends of Aldebaran, which, according to the Thule, was the real home of the Aryans. From Aldebaran, the Aryans migrated to Earth and made their home beneath the planet's surface in "inner Earth" and could be reached by secret passages beneath the poles. The Nazi Bell was said to have been the vehicle based upon these ancient legends.
There are so many theories regarding the real purpose of the Bell that even the researchers can't come to a single conclusion. Nick Cook suggested that it was turned over to the United States as part of a deal with Nazi scientists. Witkowski suggested to the UFO Hunters that it was an antigravity device that could deliver weapons of mass destruction to any enemy capital in the world. Farrell suggested that it was a time machine that turned up in rural Pennsylvania twenty years after the war. Still others suggested that whatever it was meant to be at its inception, the Bell, because it disappeared shortly before the end of the war, was an escape capsule. However, not even the Nazi scientists managing the project described the particular function of the Bell. The only complete description of the importance of the Bell was left by an SS officer who was tried by the KGB in Poland for war crimes. This officer, Jakob Sporrenberg, provided details of the Bell to Polish intelligence and was the only source of information regarding the Bell.
If the Bell was indeed the wunderwaffe with trememdous power, what happened to it? Did the Allies capture it? Did the Soviets get it? The fact that it seems to have simply disappeared without a trace also seems to belie its existence. Or does it?
While Igor Witkowski also maintains that the Bell was smuggled toSouth America on board a huge Junkers transport plane, a German scientist named Axel Stuhl suggested to the UFO Hunters that the physics of the device would have lent credence to its function as a time machine. But if it were a time machine, where did it go? One clue might lie in the identity of one of the Bell's project managers who was secreted out of Germany as part of Operation Paperclip at the end of the war and turned up working for NASA in the 1960s.
This scientist and SS officer was Kurt Debus, an engineer by training, who was reputed to be one of the project managers on the Bell project in the Riese Mine. Debus was a developer of the army's Redstone rocket, the Atlas rocket, and the Saturn booster and became one of the officers at Cape Kennedy in the 1960s. He was a high NASA official during the time when a bell-shaped, violet-blue glowing object suddenly appeared in the skies over Canada in December 1965. The object, seemingly under intelligent control, crossed the American border and came to a crash landing in a rural town outside of Pittsburgh called Kecksburg. Many residents saw the object land and more than a few rushed to the spot where it came to rest. One truck driver, who talked to the UFO Hunters about his experience, actually stood next to the object, saw the violet-blue glow, and said he could make out strange lettering around the base of the object. He said that from the moment he stood next to that object to this very day, he experienced serious medical problems as a result of radiation exposure.
On the night of the Kecksburg landing, residents say the army arrived in great force, closing down the area and even turning away local firefighting and police units. A truck driver using one of the rural routes on the way to an early morning delivery said that he was stopped at gunpoint by a soldier and told to turn away. The other odd aspect to this entire incident is the reported presence of NASA personnel. More than one resident said that he could see NASA insignia on the jumpsuits people on the recovery team were wearing. They supervised the loading of the object onto an army flatbed truck and escorted it, with emergency lights flashing, out of Pennsylvania toward Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in nearby Dayton, Ohio. The NASA Cape Kennedy launch supervisor at that time was Kurt Debus, the very individual who was the supervisor of the Nazi Bell project in Poland. That doesn't seem like a coincidence.
Could it be that the Nazi Bell was never physically removed from the Riese Mine but, under its own power, managed to slip away through time, going forward twenty years until it was recovered by NASA in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania? If so, perhaps Kurt Debus, a prized asset in Operation Paperclip, was finally reunited with his project after twenty years, this time back in the United States where he could shepherd it through development. It could mean that the United States has had a time machine in its possession for over forty-five years, a machine so deadly, with such exotic technology that we don't dare use it. Or do we?
Despite the existence of Nazi superweapons, the Germans ultimately lost the war. Peace finally returned to a devastated Europe in May 1945 with Hitler's defeat, followed by Japan's surrender three months later. Hitler and his longtime mistress, Eva Braun, whom he married only the day before on April 29, took their lives in the führer's bunker under wartorn Berlin on April 30, 1945. Hitler shot himself. Braun took poison. She was thirty-three at the time. Their bodies were cremated and, it's believed, the Russians took the charred remains. The Third Reich, supposed to last a thousand years, collapsed after only twelve years. About that prediction, Hitler was dead wrong.
Obviously Adolf Hitler did not act alone. While the German people suffered mightily as a result of the Second World War, most Germans paid little attention to growing rumors of atrocities against the Jews. As John Toland explained, any questions were answered with Nazi lies created by its vast propaganda machine. But who were those deputies who conspired with Hitler? Who were his closest aides, and what was their connection to or involvement with the occult?
One of his close allies was Rudolf Hess. When Hess was still in college, he wrote a prize-winning paper detailing "how must the man be constituted who will lead Germany back to her old heights?" "Hess found his ideal in Hitler," Toland said.56
There is no secret that the reclusive Hess was a strong believer in astrology and the "influence of the stars on his personal and political life," according to Paul Roland, quoting a former professor of geography, Karl Haushofer (1869-1946), who taught Hess at the University of Munich.57 Hess also had a fascination with ESP, especially clairvoyance, and was interested in alternative medicine. Some of his Nazi collaborators secretly laughed at Hess, tagging him "odd." Hess once asked for soilsamples from throughout Germany in order to spread them under his baby's crib; it was supposedly a very old "magical blessing ritual," explained Roland. Hitler largely ignored Hess's paranormal interests as long as they were held privately. That later changed.
In May 1941, Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, one night covertly borrowed a Messerschmitt 110 airplane and flew it to Britain. Hess crashlanded in Scotland and was immediately arrested. He explained he was on a self-appointed mission hoping to forge peace between Germany and England. No one has ever determined with certainty what prompted Hess's deluded plan, especially at a time when Britain was fighting for its very existence in the wake of the deadly and destructive Nazi air attacks on English cities. Hess was charged as a POW and imprisoned. He would spend the remainder of his long life in Spandau Prison in West Berlin, never repentant for any of his behavior. At the Nuremberg war trials Hess asserted, "I regret nothing." He died at Spandau in 1987, at the age of ninety-three.58
But, there still lingers the question of what motivated Hess to fly to Britain? An enraged Hitler snarled that Hess had "gone crazy," and blamed the bizarre event on astrologers who, because they opposed the Third Reich, purposely duped the gullible Hess. One possibility is that his former professor influenced Hess. Karl Haushofer claimed he'd experienced a vision of Hess in an English castle "bringing peace between the two great Nordic nations," as Paul Roland explained the strange story.59 Haushofer had become disenchanted with the Hitler regime and that might have been the professor's intention for deceiving Hess, and embarrassing the Third Reich, but that was never proven.
After Hess's flight to England, Hitler became indifferent to astrology. Nonetheless he brooded about Hess's betrayal, and a month later declared a ban on every type and kind of "non-Aryan occultism." "Hundreds of occult booksellers, fortune-tellers, alternative medical practitioners, Theosophists," and others were dragged off by the Gestapo in the dead of night and grilled for hours to determine their loyaltyor lack of itto the Nazi regime. Books, files, divination tools, and other psychic supplies were taken away. Some of the occult practitioners were freed but others whose answers did not satisfy the Gestapo were sent to concentration camps to die.60
Professor Karl Haushofer was also a clairvoyant. His wartime predictionsincluded providing the exact time and place of Allied bombings that helped impede several attacks. Trevor Ravenscroft may not be a familiar name to most people. He was a controversial author who described Professor Haushofer as much more sinister and important to the Nazi cause than is generally recognized. "Haushofer awakened Hitler to the real motives of the Luciferic Principality which possessed him so that he could become the conscious vehicle of its evil intent in the twentieth century," Ravenscroft was quoted as saying.61
Some researchers and writers have described Haushofer as a "clandestine satanist" who taught Hitler a "secret esoteric doctrine," obtained, in part, from Theosophy and also from those German occult practitioners who particularly venerated the pagan deity Wotan.
However, in Mein Kampf, Hitler disparaged the "pseudo-pagan revivalists" whose satanic ceremonies included the burying of wine bottles in the shape of a swastika on a mountaintop, and swearing allegiance to the ancient gods. Hitler wanted action taken against Germans who dwelled on "mystical musings about the past," Roland noted.62
Also in Mein Kampf Hitler stated, "So-called religious reformers of the ancient Germanic type, I have the feeling, are sent by dark forces who do not desire the rebirth of our people. For their entire activity leads the Volk away from its fight against the common enemy, the Jew ..."63
However, Roland writes that Professor Haushofer likely did not initiate Hitler into an "occult brotherhood." It is more probable that Haushofer influenced Hitler to become more pragmatic in his use of geopolitics. Remember, it was Haushofer who "introduced" Hitler to the theory of lebensraum, or living space, Hitler's pretext for expansion into other countries in his insatiable grasp for world conquest. Many historians suggest that Haushofer prepared Hitler for "public office," and through his student, Rudolf Hess, also swayed Hitler toward better personal habits. As a result, Hitler abstained from meat and alcohol. Curiously, Haushofer's wife was half-Jewish.
Another demented and slavishly loyal aide to Hitler was Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), a genius at developing and ramming Nazi propaganda into the heads of the masses. As with other close supporters, Dr. Goebbels looked nothing like the mythic Aryan supermen the Nazis so worshipped, the fantasy of physically fit Nordic young men who were muscular, with fair skin, blond hair, and blue eyes. Self-conscious about his small statureand a lifelong limp from a childhood bout of polio, his inferiority complex made him a bitter and cynical person. His resentment of others was matched by their dislike of him. As was the case with his Nazi cohorts, Goebbels was a vicious anti-Semite whose career was entirely devoted to promoting Hitler's image. In 1922 he became a member of the NSDAP, and by 1926 he was a follower of Hitler. It was Goebbels who later created the "führer myth of the image of the Messiah-Redeemer," noted Robert Wistrich. To
Goebbels, Hitler was "deep and mystical."64
Was Hitler's reign of terror predicted? When the famed sixteenth-century seer Nostradamus wrote in one of his enigmatic quatrains about "Hister," many modern translators of the prophet quickly thought the word was a corruption of the name Hitler. Could Nostradamus have predicted the rise of Hitler four centuries before he lived?
Hitler became personally interested in Nostradamus when Frau Goebbels, the wife of Dr. Goebbels, came upon Nostradamus's quatrains that seemed to apply to Hitler and showed them to her husband in 1939. Hitler seemed to recognize himself in the quatrains.
Beginning in May 1940, German planes were "dropping ... forgeries of various quatrains ... which predicted that Hitler would be victorious," Erika Cheetham wrote in The Prophecies of Nostradamus. "In retaliation, British Intelligence ... spent an enormous sum on anti-German propaganda, carefully composing and imitating selected German Nostradamus quatrains which Allied pilots dropped over France and Belgium ... as late as 1943."65
Cheetham continued, "One of Nostradamus's most remarkable series of quatrains [are those] with the name Hitler given in an anagram as Hister." In her opinion, "There can be little doubt that Hitler is implied." Goebbels put the quatrains to great propaganda purposes before World War II. Some researchers, however, concluded that Hister was from an old Latin name for the Danube River.
The following Nostradamus quatrain has been frequently quoted over the years:
"Hunger-maddened beasts will make the streams tremble Most of the land will be under Hister In a cage of iron the great one will be dragged When the child of Germany observes nothing."66
The quatrains, of course, are open to different interpretations. However, more than one Nostradamus student has remarked that Nostradamus seemed to imply Histeror Hitlerwas "some kind of Antichrist," Peter Lemesurier noted in Nostradamus: The Next Fifty Years. The manipulation of Nostradamus's writings by both Germany and Britain represent what has been described as a good example of "psychological warfare."67
Hermann Goering (1893-1946) was second only to Hitler in power in the Third Reich. Goering held several top positions in the Nazi hierarchy, including head of the Luftwaffe, Reichstag president, and Hitler's "designated successor." Reichsmarschall Goering was a man with an enormous ego, but little if any conscience, typical of sociopaths. As with the others close to Hitler, he virtually worshipped the führer. Goering's anti-Semitism likely was the result of a deep concern that his mother had once had an affair with his godfather who was believed to be Jewish, John Toland explained.
No one ever accused Goering of being as good-humored or cordial as his smile made him appear, for behind that was a cruel and spiteful man who had distinguished himself as a fierce fighter and ace pilot. It was Goering who instituted the much-feared Gestapo, and put into effect the building of concentration camps.68
Strangely, Goering allowed his name to be associated with one of the most spurious occult theories to ever come down the pike, the so-called "Hollow Earth." It was in the seventeenth century that British astronomer Edmund Halley hypothesized that planet Earth was actually a unfilled globe surrounded by the "Earth's crust." Halley was serious about his theory, which he thought might help him understand the variation of the Earth's magnetic poles. He thought that perhaps there were two interior layers that rotated or revolved at dissimilar velocities. Halley conjectured that the Earth's poles were located in the inside layers.
By the twentieth century, the theory of the Hollow Earth had no scientific credibility. Nonetheless, a friend of Goering named Peter Bender, who'd been a World War I pilot, believed a race of people lived within the Earth. Goering, among other top Nazis, had little or no problem believing the preposterous story, which, according to legend was also ascribed to by U.S. Admiral Byrd.
In 1942, a group of scientists actually set out to the Baltic Sea toinvestigate the idea. They set up an experimental radar station that was supposed to propel infrared light beams to the sky, and then rebound to Earth at an angle in order to create a radar likeness of ships at a distance from the craft carrying out the test. Of course, the foolish experiment failed. When Hitler learned of it he was furious, for it had squandered personnel and supplies that were supposed to go toward the war effort. Bender and several of his associates were sent to concentration camps. As for Goering, he remained silent, apparently too humiliated for words.69
The second most influentialand fearedman in the Third Reich was the dour Heinrich Himmler (1900-45), commander of the dreaded Gestapo, the Secret State Police prior to the war, and head of the Waffen-SS, an elite force. It took only a mention of the name Gestapo to send terror through anyone within the Nazi sphere. Humorless and grim, Himmler had taken part in the failed Munich Putsch in 1923. Himmler fantasized "a race of blue-eyed, blond heroes," "supermen" who would be developed by the "laws of selection," explained Robert Wistrich.70
But Reichsführer Himmler also had a strong attraction to "philosophical mesmerism," the occult, homeopathy, and herbal medicine. In his insanity he boasted that concentration camps, where millions were ultimately murdered, were a means to "prove" genetic and racial laws, since the camps were designed to eliminate "inferior people," such as the Jews. Like other Nazi leaders, he was an uncompromising anti-Semite, and proud of it. He'd set up the first Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in 1933, and was the ultimate overseer of the "Final Solution." He also believed in racial selection by which women with Nordic qualities would produce offspring with SS men. But for all his crazes, Himmler could not bear to see an animal suffer, and he despised looking at blood, although he had no conscience about ordering the murder of millions.71
Himmler told of his interest and practice of the occult in Zodiac and Swastika by Wilhelm Wulff: "In the Third Reich we have forbidden astrology. We cannot permit any astrologers to follow their calling except those who are working for [the Reich]. In the Nationalist Socialist state astrology must remain a 'singular privilege'"; it is not meant for the "masses," according to Dusty Sklar in Gods & Beasts, who added the "Nazis took the occult seriously" and considered it a "potential threat," especially information that countered Third Reich propaganda, or predicted bad news for the Nazi regime.72
There is no disputing Himmler's strong interest in the occult. He found time to search for the Holy Grail, the cup Jesus was believed to drink from at the Last Supper, and which many believe caught drops of Jesus' blood at the Crucifixion, Paul Roland explained. Himmler's interest was based on the Nazi myth that Jesus was Aryan, rather than Jewish. To Himmler, the Holy Grail was a "vessel of occult power."73
He consulted astrological charts, and even had a favorite astrologer, Wilhelm Wulff, who'd also prepared astrology charts for Hitler.74 Himmler considered the SS "the resurrection of the ancient Order of Teutonic Knights, and he was the grand master," wrote Robert Wistrich.75
Himmler once tried to ferret out unfaithful and traitorous individuals within the Nazi Party. Unable to find them, a troubled Himmler sought help from an Austrian psychic who described three men who'd conspired with a foe of Hitler, Otto Strasser, who had Communist leanings. When the British captured the once highly ranked Nazi at the end of the war, he committed suicide.
Himmler's interest in astrology and the occult was not an isolated circumstance. Many top Nazis shared similar interests. Skeptics who considered the occult to be "pseudoscience," blamed the fascination with paranormal subjects on either superstition or the dearth of strong scientists, such as Einstein, whom the Nazis forced to flee Germany. The occult, according to this somewhat cynical conclusion, filled the void left by the scientists who'd left Germany.
However, there is possibly a deeper and more insidious reason for the Nazis being drawn to occult practices. It is a theory suggesting that the Nazis were reaching deeper into the dark side for increased powers, especially from evil sources. They also wanted prognostications that promised victory over the Allies, something they were not always told. The masses were not to hear anything but triumph over the enemy. Although rationalists reject that supernatural hypothesis, it is worth exploring. There is no question that the Nazis delved seriously into the occult from the very beginning of their founding.
By 1919, when the Treaty of Versailles was signed and imposed on Germany, the Bolsheviks controlled Russia and were focused on inciting revolution anywhere they could in war-ravaged Europe. Meanwhile, President Woodrow Wilson's idea of the League of Nations he naïvely believed could someday handle any failings in the peace treatywas presented. By 1922, Benito Mussolini had become the Fascist dictator of Italy, and later would become an ally of Hitler. By now the Soviet Union was taking shape as a Communist regime under the rule of Nikolai Lenin. Banning "private ownership of property, nationalizing industry, and socializing state services," were all part of the new Soviet system that would remain in place for more than sixty years, George F. Putnam explained in Great Events from History.76
There has long been debate about the underlying causes of Hitler's "hypnotic hold over the German people," Paul Roland noted.77 Some historians and researchers concluded that a supernatural reason was possible. One Swiss writer, Denis de Rougemont, felt that some force beyond our understanding could only explain Hitler's magical powers of oratory. If Hitler were a medium or channel for some supernatural force or discarnate entity it would not be unheard of in paranormal history. Could there have been a magical element at work?
Some of the reactions of Germans to Hitler's oratory remind us of the impact the CIA and other intelligence agencies hoped for in their mindcontrol experiments during the Cold War years in which attempts were made to hypnotize subjects for secret military and intelligence functions, such as spying.
The authors of this book have also studied several excellent psychic mediums who have been closely observed and tested. The differences in the medium before and during a period of spirit contact are often dramatic. The medium acts as a vessel for a spirit communication. However, when that occurs, the medium's manner of speech, personality, ideas, even vocabulary changes so that the spirit temporarily seems to take over. It's as if we are dealing with two entirely different individuals.78 German politician Hermann Rauschning was one of Hitler's contemporaries who said, "One cannot help but think of Hitler as a medium."79
On the other hand, rationalists have concluded that Hitler's oratorical gifts were based purely on reason, with the Nazi leader drawing entirely from his own conscious thoughts or ideas. In our interview with John Toland, he suggested that Hitler's riveting and passionate speeches were often carefully planned beforehand, and then always analyzed afterward for their effectiveness. Hitler's well-known architect of the Third Reich, Albert Speer, attributed "Hitler's hypnotic hold over the German peopleto purely rational means."80 The author, William L. Shirer, wrote that he'd heard "many of [Hitler's] speeches and perceived the magic of his spoken words. I saw him hold huge audiences in his spell. Only Winston Churchill in England was his equal."81
It is no secret that some mystics have been able to manifest the capability that Hitler could apparently produce subconsciously. One example was George Gurdjieff (1872?-1949), a mystic and spiritual teacher of Greek ancestry, born near the borders of Russia and Persia. He spent some twenty years in a search for the "esoteric truths of life," by visiting Tibet, India, and Arab countries. Although a somewhat baffling figure, the goal of his system was "to break habits of thought and emotion and awaken a higher consciousness, it was a kind of Westernized Zen," according to the Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology.82 Gurdjieff was able to imitate Hitler's rhetorical wonders.
Did rationalists unfairly dismiss the supernatural explanation, as they so often do with paranormal explanations? Might those who were in the business of "Nazi myth-making" as Paul Roland called it, have been the creators? Or, is the original assumption correct, that Hitler's powerful and mesmerizing speeches to thousands of Germans at a time in giant theatrical and riveting rallies had help from some external supernatural, mystical, or demonic source?
There is an interesting footnote that adds to the mystery about Hitler's psychic ability. Even in childhood, Hitler could "change into another voice, whether from his own subconscious or an external source," Paul Roland wrote.83 If true, that is a suggestion of mediumistic power on Hitler's part.
During the war years, the Nazis were secretly at work building rockets. Their efforts took place in Peenemünde, Germany, led by the brilliant scientist and rocket engineer Wernher von Braun (1912-1977) and his team of five hundred men. The rockets were to be developed as part of the Nazi weapons program. Von Braun's real interest, however, was in working on space flight, and as a boy was inspired by the writings of Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.
By 1930 von Braun was participating in a German group exploring the possibility for space travel by experimenting with small, "liquid fueled" rockets. When money ran out during the Depression, in 1932 vonBraun agreed to work for the German military where he continued to develop liquid-fueled rockets. In 1934, at the age of twenty-two, von Braun earned his doctorate in physics.
As the Nazis increased their power and laws against Jews, von Braun and his group moved to Peenemünde on the Baltic Sea in 1937, the year von Braun joined the Nazi Party and later became an officer in an elite unit of the SS. At Peenemünde he continued work in new quarters. By then, larger rockets were being designed, including the infamous German V-2. It was a highly determined effort, for the V-2 was designed to send a one-ton warhead a distance of 160 miles. The missile was 45 feet long. There were setbacks and technical problems before the first launch at Peenemünde in 1942. More unsuccessful launches caused more delays, and not until September 1944 was a "fully operational" V-2 rocket successfully fired. Between then and 1945, when the war ended, slave labor built six thousand rockets in an underground location known as Mittelwerk. Thousands of V-2 rockets were targeted at England, Belgium, and other locations in the Allied nations. Although the rockets von Braun developed killed many people, for the Nazis it was too late for strategic purposes, since Germany was losing the war. Still, the V-2 rocket demonstrated immense progress in rocket science.
Despite his Nazi background, von Braun planned his next move in 1945 when Germany lost the war. He and his workforce of hundreds surrendered to the Americans, rather than the Russians. It was a wise decision. The Americans were willing to employ former Nazis to work on U.S. "rocket development" at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. They had at their disposal captured Nazi V-2 rockets.
When he moved to Huntsville, Alabama, von Braun continued his missile research that ultimately helped launch American astronauts Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom into orbit around the Earth in May and June of 1961. Von Braun continued to direct the design and development of missiles that continually advanced the U.S. space program.
"Another group of rockets developed under von Braun was the Juno series. "Juno 1 ... launched America's first satellite Explorer 1 in June 1958." In 1960 von Braun joined NASA and was director of the Space Flight Center until early 1970.
Von Braun and his team achieved their greatest claim to fame with the powerful Saturn family of rockets that launched two Americanastronauts into orbit around the Moon and landed twelve of them on the lunar surface between July 1969 and January 1971. He is largely credited for developing the Saturn and Apollo programs.
In 1970, von Braun was moved to NASA headquarters in Washington, DC, where he was named deputy associate administrator. He eventually resigned from NASA for private industry and for the remainder of his life, von Braun continued to "promote human spaceflight." In 1975, he helped begin the National Space Institute and became its first president.
But, according to author Wayne Biddles, von Braun was no hero. In a new book on von Braun titled Dark Side of the Moon, Biddles demonstrates that von Braun, his devotion to rocketry and his love of science fiction notwithstanding, was nevertheless an SS officer and the overseer of a slave labor camp in which thousands of prisoners died even as they assembled the missiles that would drop out of the sky onto Allied cities. Unlike other concentration camp officers, von Braun was spared answering for his crimes because the Americans needed his rocketry expertise in the coming technology race with the Soviets.
Von Braun was one of many Nazi rocket scientists that the U.S. repatriated in order to build its missile program after the war. It was ironic, because according to Wayne Biddles, von Braun had an almost romantic attachment to rocketry because of the German fascination with it, but it was the American rocket scientist Robert H. Goddard, whose experiments in New Mexico on liquid-fueled rockets, who inspired a generation of German rocket scientists.84 In a way, although von Braun and his colleagues are considered the fathers of modern guided-missile technology, it was Robert Goddard who was the grandfather, having launched the first liquid-fueled rocket in 1926. It was Goddard, also, who foresaw the liquid-fueled rocket as a potential weapon and a method for launching unmanned probes into space to circumnavigate the Moon, distant planets, and send messages through space to extraterrestrial civilizations. That was why it is even more ironic that in July 1947, not far from the very places where Goddard experimented, a strange craftor twocrashed in Roswell, setting off the modern fascination with flying saucers and UFOs.85
The twentieth century began with a fascination for secret societies, a belief in the supernatural powers that membership in secret societies conferred upon its devoted members, and a very real belief that theworld as people saw it through their own two eyes was not the real world at all. In art, science, social science, and politics, the world of the unseen became more important than the world perceived through the five senses. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Franz Mesmer showed that his subjects would react to things real in their minds if not palpable in the world of extrinsic reality. In the early twentieth century, Sigmund Freud demonstrated that events buried deep in one's psyche and not even perceived by his patients as extrinsic phenomena, could influence their behaviors in maladaptive ways. So began the modern medical practice of psychiatry: a delving into the universe of the unconscious mind that affected the world of the seen by a therapist's interpreting surface symbols as keys to what might lie beneath them.
All of this history considered, look at the rather peculiar timeline that took the world from secret societies, notably Theosophy, through occult and nationalistic groups, two world wars, and Nazis horrors that brought us several brilliant scientists such as von Braun and Willy Ley who played major roles in developing the U.S. space program. It is ironic that from the depths of the Nazis came rocket scientists who elevated us into outer space. And in outer space, not only lies our human future but the encounters with other life forces whose presence and existence will forever change our own.
Copyright © 2011 by William J. Birnes and Joel Martin