Kevin McClure’s Abduction Watch

 

 

1- Not currently on-line
2 – September 1997  – Driving a stake in the heart of the space vampires
3 – October 1997  Protecting the universe from the scum of the Earth
4 – November 1997  — Remembering that very few wardrobes lead to Narnia
5 – December 1997  — Damning without faint praise
6 – January 1998 – Recovered memory and hypnosis special
7 – February 1998  — Knitting fog around chocolate teapots
8 / 9 – April 1998   — Difficulties with the chosen ones
10 / 11 – June 1998  – Digging up the pavement on the road to Hell
12 / 13 – August 1998  — Gulls and gullibility
14, October 1998  — The crowd of unknowing
15 – November 1998  — Alien implants, a chiropodist speaks
16-17 January 1999  — Are you sure you can’t go back to Kansas?
18 – February 1999  — Superstitious minds
19 / 20 – July 1999  – Dark ages

Making Hitler Magic
Unravelling the Spear of Destiny Hoax.
Kevin McClure

From Magonia 92, June 2006

While attacking the `Nazi UFO’ myth a few years ago, I found that many of the sources assuring us that the Nazis went to Mars, or the Antarctic, or used their ‘foo fighters’ to shoot down 200 Allied bombers in one (oddly unidentified) raid also had much to say about the ‘Spear of Destiny’. This led me to concentrate on what is probably the greatest one-book occult hoax ever – Trevor Ravenscroft’s highly successful, highly influential, The Spear of Destiny (‘Spear‘ hereafter). Ravenscroft died in 1989, so I haven’t been able to check this piece with him.

You’ll probably have some idea of the story, because it’s at the heart of most of the belief in Hitler and the Nazis being involved with the occult, and possessing supernatural powers. Pauwels and Bergier, in The Morning of the Magicians, did some of the groundwork, but it is Ravenscroft who has promoted Hitler as not just fascinated by the occult from his time in Vienna onwards, but hugely knowledgeable about it, and imbued with its power through ritual and through his possession of the ultimate magical object. The object concerned is a tatty, much-repaired old spear, constructed from disparate bits, that Ravenscroft says cut short the life of Jesus on the Cross. It didn’t. The most accurate analysis of the ‘Hofburg Spear’ dates its very earliest component to the seventh century.

Ravenscroft’s Hitler fantasy is complex, lengthy, and when analysed utterly implausible. It is a total fabrication, and even the background history he provides is, as recorded in Ken Anderson’s Hitler and the Occult (Prometheus, 1995) wholly undependable.

Like many fantasists, Ravenscroft pretends that he has a source for his story, a source with a unique, personal knowledge of both Hitler and the occult who, for reasons never explained, told only Ravenscroft about what he knew. The name of the source is Walter Johannes Stein, an Austrian and a devoted follower of Dr Rudolf Steiner, founder of the Anthroposophical movement. He had a Ph.D but was not, contrary to the impression Ravenscroft gave at times, a medical doctor. His thesis appears to have been predominantly mystical, as was most of his life’s work. It is likely that Ravenscroft never met Stein, though he may have met his widow, and may also have believed that he had contacted Stein psychically himself, or through a medium.Stein died in 1957, and the first edition of Spear appeared in 1972. In it, Ravenscroft claimed that:

“In 1911 Stein had found a copy of Parsifal that had been annotated with occult insights by the young Hitler, tracked him down, and was impressed by his vast knowledge of the occult and his desire to own the Spear, which they went together to see. As Hitler rose through the ranks of the Right in Germany he was progressively initiated into magic, and the same day that the German army invaded Austria, he went to the Hofburg to take possession of the Spear, which somehow facilitated his power and his conquests Stein left Germany in 1933 because Himmler was going to force him to join the ‘SS Occult Bureau’.”Stein was a British intelligence agent who brought with him from Germany the plans for the German invasion of Britain [in 1933?], and advised Churchill on occult matters throughout the war.”

And much more besides. But Stein never was, and never did, any of those things.

The Internet is of little use – the Ravenscroft version of Stein’s life will take years to expunge – but Stein’s The Death of Merlin (Floris Books, 1990) reprints the autobiography he published in his own magazine The Present Age in 1936. It covers his time in Vienna, but makes no mention of Hitler or the Spear. In The Ninth Century and the Holy Grail (originally published in 1928 but now Temple Lodge Press, 2001) Stein refers to the ‘Holy Spear’ or ‘Lance’ in its role in the Grail Legend. No mention of it in the 20th century, or of Hitler. And in the substantial W J Stein – A Biography (Temple Lodge Press, 1990), Johannes Tautz makes no reference to any of the key elements of Ravenscroft’s account. Spear might be a biography of somebody else entirely. Actually, it pretty much is.

Spear was first commissioned and published by Neville Spearman, the British publisher responsible for so much core ‘alternative’ writing. In his  ’part-autobiography’ Catching Up with the Future, Neville Armstrong describes Ravenscroft as “rather a foolish, twisted chap who had considerable esoteric knowledge wrongly used”, and notes that the only time he took drugs was when Ravenscroft gave them to him. After receiving a £2,000 advance Ravenscroft disappeared, providing nothing in return. Eventually, Armstrong tracked him down and paid him weekly until the book – clearly not yet written more than a decade after Stein’s death – was finished. Armstrong sold the American rights alone for over $50,000, a great deal of money thirty years ago. The wretched thing has been in print, and making money, ever since.

I found that the story wasn’t even Ravenscroft’s idea. It originated in an article by the well-known journalist Max Caulfield, published in the Sunday Dispatch in 1960, apparently using information from Stein’s archives provided by his widow (presumably this was Yopi, his second wife, of whom his Anthroposophist friends do not seem to have approved). That article, too, is wildly inaccurate. In it, the Spear really is the one used on Jesus Christ, an imaginary ‘SS Colonel Conrad Buch, personal adviser to Adolf Hitler on occult matters’  is heavily involved, and Streicher, Himmler and Goering perform ‘blood lodge’ rituals using Hitler’s blood.

But its headings are critical to Ravenscroft’s later claims. Its title is ‘`The Spear of Destiny’, and the sub-headings read, ‘How Hitler lived by the weapon thrust into Christ’, ’Revealed for the first time the incredible truth about Hitler’s worship of the Devil’, and ‘This talisman, he thought, would bring to his aid all the Powers of Darkness.’

One persistent clue to the standard occult hoax is the appearance of gratuitous, imagined cruelty. Two examples will suffice here. First, Ravenscroft pretends that Stein told him about “… the Jews or Communists … sacrificial victims who were murdered … as part of the ritual magic in which Dietrich Eckart opened the centres of Adolf Hitler to give him a vision of and a means of communication … they were incredibly sadistic and ghastly.’”

Eckart never opened Hitler’s centres, and there is no evidence that any ritual sacrifice was made. Yet Ravenscroft creates an even worse, sickeningly violent fantasy. He claims that Stein discovered that Himmler, wanting to continue the Final Solution and rid Europe of Jews, copied a non-existent pseudo-homeopathic experiment he claimed was conducted by Rudolf Steiner to drive rabbits off an estate in Silesia by distributing across it the ‘potentised ashes’ of rabbit testicles in solution.

trevor-ravenscroft

He explained that The Spear of Destiny had been researched using a combination of empirical techniques and use of a psychic medium

Ravenscroft’s develops his fiction, stating that Himmler ordered experiments in which the ashes of Jews were injected into other Jews. These victims were, he asserts in a cruel, fictional, aside, ”kept inside by the prison foreman Arthur Dietzsche witha cat-of-nine-tails.” The experiments were complicated, says Ravenscroft, because “the potentised ashes only achieved their maximum functional effect at particular times of year, for apparently such potencies were sensitive to extraterrestrial influences in the manner that the phases of the moon affect plant germination and growth.”Then, says Ravenscroft, the potentised ashes of concentration-camp Jews were spread “across the length and breadth of the Reich”. Of the exodus of surviving Jews from Europe he asks, “Was it the result of this diabolical form of pest control?” No, it wasn’t, but the unremitting darkness of Ravenscroft’s fantasies is underlined by this extraordinary passage.

When, in 1980, Ravenscroft successfully sued the horror writer James Herbert for copyright infringement in his novel The Spear (the case reference is Ravenscroft v Herbert [1980] RPC 193), he explained that The Spear of Destiny had been researched “using a combination of empirical techniques and use of a psychic medium”, and was awarded substantial damages.

The 1973 UK edition of Spear says of Ravenscroft,  ”He was captured on a raid which attempted to assassinate Field Marshal Rommel in North Africa.” And he told the court the same. But as the respected war author Michael Asher explains in Get Rommel (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2004), Ravenscroft was already a POW when the raid took place, having given himself up when an earlier reconnaissance went wrong.Recently there have been suggestions that Ravenscroft knew about the importance of Rosslyn Chapel years before the current theories became fashionable, and that his wife had for some unexplained reason had chained herself to the Apprentice Pillar. It’s easy to forget how recent the Rosslyn story is, but even Holy Blood Holy Grail gives it only a brief mention. It will be interesting to see whether Ravenscroft becomes to the Grail/Templar/Mason writers what Stein supposedly was to Ravenscroft.

For anyone who might want to believe that Ravenscroft had the least idea what he was talking about, I’d like to finish by sharing with you his prophecy of the end times, vouchsafed to us at pages 143-144 of the relatively obscure follow-up to Spear, The Cup of Destiny (1982):

“At the end of this century the Order of the Knights Templar will re-emerge to change the whole existing social order. This will take place in the period immediately following the coming world catastrophies, which will commence in 1982 and continue in three terrible waves of destruction up to the year 2001 on an apocalyptic scale. During the struggle to rebuild the civilised world, the anti-Christ and the great dictator will attempt to seize world power. Their adversaries will be the reborn Templars and the souls they shall choose to join them in rebuilding a new world order in which the freedom of the individual spirit will find its true place. Throughout this period, that mighty spirit behind the figure of Parzival will be their heroic and beloved leader.”

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06. The Nazi UFO Mythos: False Histories

THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS
An Investigation by Kevin McClure: CORE 6. False Histories

Project Uranus

In another careful analysis of a dubious element of UFO history, Andy Roberts says:

“We have at least one outright hoax in foo-fighter lore. For years rumours had been flying round that the Germans had been fully aware of the foo-fighter phenomenon and that they had a special study group formed to look into the problem under the name of “Project Uranus”, backed by a shadowy group by the name of Sonderburo 13. This was first detailed in La Livres Noir De Soucoupes Volantes (The Black Book of Flying Saucers – 1970) by French ufologist Henry Durrant. The rumour spread in Europe and eventually took physical form in the English language in Tim Good’s acclaimed book Above Top Secret where it is used to help substantiate further vague rumours of an Anglo/American foo-fighter study. Good had not checked his facts and had in fact just copied the information direct from Durrant’s book.

When I checked this out with Durrant he informed me that the whole “Project Uranus” affair was a hoax which he had inserted in his book precisely to see who would copy it without checking. The hoax apparently had been revealed in France some years before but hadn’t percolated its way through to English speaking ufologists. Perhaps other foo hoaxes await discovery.” [37]

The ‘Schweinfurt Raid’

This tale involves, well, little flying saucers, in a B-17 raid on October 14 1943, aimed at the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt in Germany. It was publicised by popular US author Frank Edwards in Flying Saucers – Here and Now [38] in 1967, but I understand that the original glamourised version comes from one Martin Caidin, in his book Black Thursday, published in 1960. Caidin reports that

“During the bomb run of several groups, starting at about the time the Fortresses approached the Initial Point, there occurred one of the most baffling incidents of World War II, and an enigma that to this day defies all explanation.” “As the bombers of the 384th Group swung into the final bomb run after passing the Initial Point, the fighter attacks fell off. This point is vital, and pilots were queried extensively, as were other crew members, as to the position at that time of the German fighter planes. Every man interrogated was firm in his statement that “at the time there were no enemy aircraft above.”

“At this moment the pilots and top turret gunners, as well as several crewmen in the Plexiglas noses of the bombers, reported a cluster of discs in the path of the 384th’s formation and closing with the bombers. The startled exclamations focused attention on the phenomenon and the crews talked back and forth, discussing and confirming the astonishing sight before them.”

“The discs in the cluster were agreed upon as being silver colored, about one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were easily seen by the B-17 crewmen, gliding down slowly in a very uniform cluster.” “And then the `impossible’ happened. B-17 Number 026 closed rapidly with a number of discs; the pilot attempted to evade an imminent collision with the objects, but was unsuccessful in his maneuver. He reported at the intelligence debriefing that his right wing “went directly through a cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane surface.”

“The intelligence officers pressed their questioning, and the pilot stated further that one of the discs was heard to strike the tail assembly of his B-17, but that neither he nor any member of the crew heard or witnessed an explosion.” “He further explained that about twenty feet from the discs the pilots sighted a mass of black debris of varying sizes of clusters of three by four feet.” “The SECRET report added: `Also observed two other A/C flying through silver discs with no apparent damage. Observed discs and debris two other times but could not determine where it came from.”

“No further information on this baffling incident has been uncovered, with the exception that such discs were observed by pilots and crew on missions prior to, and after, Mission 115 of October 14, 1943.” [39]

Caidin’s account is footnoted “1 Memorandum of October 24, 1943, from Major E.R.T. Holmes, F.L.O., 1st Bombardment Division, Reference FLO/IBW/REP/126, to M.I.15, War Office, Whitehall, London, SW (copy to Colonel E.W. Thomson, A-2, Pinetree)”, but Andy Roberts actively investigated the reference, and reports that

“a letter to the M.O.D at their Air Historical Branch 5 came to nothing, suggesting that either of the documents may be held at the Public Records Office at Kew, London. A professional researcher was despatched to try to find the document. She searched all relevant Air Force records available (some are still bound by various `rules’ with embargoes on viewing of up to 100 years) but could find nothing, despite the help of staff there and noting that “the reference FLO etc. does not correspond with any references at the record office.

In the USA, Dennis Stacy (then MUFON UFO Journal editor) had taken an interest in the case and followed up several leads, aided by the Freedom of Information Act. Firstly the A.F. Historical Research centre at Maxwell AFB searched their 8th A.F. files but could come across no documentary record of the event (interestingly enough I tried the same source and whilst they gave me squadron histories of the 415th Night Fighter squadron and their documented foo-fighter sightings, they could provide nothing on the Schweinfurt raid — odd if the Schweinfurt events were real).

The National Archives (Washington) searched their files but drew a blank. A letter written to French researcher J. M. Bigorne from the National Archives stated “A search in records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), European War, Target Damage File, 11a (2606), Schweinfurt, failed to disclose any documentation or information regarding little flying discs by B-17 pilots.” All this presents us with a quandary. If the Archives are quite free about some foo-fighter info why, if it exists at all, should they be that bothered about concealing the Schweinfurt material? So far three independent researchers over the past ten years have had the same answer — none of the flight records for that day record the event in Caidin’s book. As I have seen other pilots’ logs which mention unusual UFO-type sightings during missions it would be inconceivable for at least a few aircrew on that raid to have mentioned it even in passing – especially as in this case it was obviously something of an item at de-briefing.

Letters in numerous aircrew magazines (UK & US) requesting info on the raid were placed and despite many replies no-one knew anything. Aviation writers Martin Middlebrook and Chaz Bowyer who have written many highly detailed books about the air war, and have interviewed thousands of aircrew, wrote to say they had never heard of the incident, despite having had foo-fighters mentioned to them in other contexts.

Dennis Stacy contacted the 384th Bombing Group survivors association and with no account of the UFO sighting forthcoming from them was put onto General Theodore Ross Milton who led the raid that day and went in first with the 91st Group Formation. He wrote; “I don’t recall seeing black discs or hearing about any strange phenomena from any of my group.” [40]

Roberts and Stacy pursued the source further

Martin Caidin, originator of the rumour also presents problems. His book Black Thursday was first published in 1960 and yet quotes an alleged SECRET report. How did he get hold of it then and why has it not been seen since? As for Caidin himself, several people have tried to get in touch with him without success. Both myself and (then) MUFON Journal editor Dennis Stacy have tried to track him down via his publishers and a UFO magazine he has written for, but to no avail. He last appeared in the dodgy US magazine UFO Universe where he was featured on the front page as having ‘chased bogies at 20,000 feet,’ (an astonishing spectacle no doubt!), but whilst the article gave details of UFOs he’d seen post-WWII, government film of UFOs, cover-ups, and you name it (along with mucho promotion for his many books, including UFO based novels) the Schweinfurt raid was never mentioned. Funny that, really.” [41]

However, with the terrier-like tenacity for which he is renowned, Roberts kept searching, and in September 2000 finally found, in the Records Office at Kew

The document which Caidin obviously based his account on. It reads as follows. All spelling and punctuation is in the original. The file in which the document can be found is: AIR 40/464. At the top right of the document is a rubber stamp giving details of circulation to:

1. Col Kingman Douglas
2. A.I.3. ? (W/Cdr Smith)
3. A.I. 2. ? (W/Cdr Heath)

(Author’s note: the ? refers to a squiggle or letter I cannot decipher, although it could well be ‘to’. Also the background of the stamp on which the above was written says:

“Received 17 Oct 1943″
“Copies sent to A.I.8 (USA))

The rest of the document is as follows:

EKG. TELEGRAM EN CLAIR 4112
Recd. AMCS. 171129a hrs Oct.43

To- OIAWW, OIAJX, OISHL, HBC, AMY.

From – OIPNT

IMPORTANT – CONFIDENTIAL

8 BC 0-1079-E
Annex to Intelligence Report Mission Shweinfurt 16 October 1943

306 Group reporta partially unexploded 20mm shell imbedded above the panel in the cockpit of A/C number 412 bearing the following figures 19K43. The Group Ordnance Officer believes the steel composing the shell is of inferior grade. 348th Group reports a cluster of disks observed in the path of the formation near Schweinfurt, at the time there were no E/A above. Discs were described as silver coloured – one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were gliding slowly down in very uniform cluster. A/C 026 was unable to avoid them and his right wing went directly through a cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane surface. One of the discs was heard striking tail assembly but no explosion was observed. About 20 feet from these discs a mass of black debris of varying sizes in clusters of 3 by 4 feet. Also observed 2 other A/C flying through silver discs with no apparent damage. Observed discs and debris 2 other times but could not determine where it came from.

Copies to:-

P.R. & A.I.6.
D.B.Ops
War Room
D.A.T.
A.I.3. (USA) (Action 2 copies)

“Presumably Caidin must have seen a copy of this document from one of the American recipients . . . The Rubber stamp clearly states it was received on 17 October, pre-dating Caidin’s reference by seven days. But the sheer number of channels through which documents went could be the reason for this confusion and now the original document has been located I don’t think we need get hung up on the original reference any more. I have found no record of most of the personnel listed. However a Squadron Leader Heath was involved in the UK’s investigations of the Scandinavian ‘ghost rockets’ in 1946.”

He concludes

At least we now know Caidin’s reference exists! Besides that there is little to say really. The objects reported are intriguing but not completely mystifying. There were many types of flak being used by the Germans in W.W.II and several files in the PRO refer to coloured flak, flak which threw off unusual fragments, and so on. This explanation is made more likely by the fact that the ‘F.L.O.’ in Caidin’s reference stands for ‘Flak Liaison Officer’, at least suggesting that the Air Ministry were treating it within a flak context. The objects could also have been some kind of ‘window’ dropped by the Germans in an attempt to disrupt radar or radio communication among air crew. The explanation as to what the small objects were is now more of a task for the air historian than it is for the ufologist. What is clear from the original account is that the discs, whilst unusual, were clearly not any type of ‘craft’, under intelligent or purposeful control or dangerous to the air craft or crew.

In my opinion these objects do not belong in the category of sightings referred to as ‘foo-fighters’, both by their physical description and by their behaviour and characteristics. Although often lumped in with foo-fighter reports they are clearly different. This story has been a staple of UFO writers for the past three four decades. Now we have further clarification and I believe that this particular mystery is more or less laid to rest.

Andy Roberts is more charitable to Caidin’s exaggerated and redefined version of the report than I, but Caidin is nowhere near as foolish as those who put together the second block (1998 release) of ‘Majestic 12′ documents. Nevertheless, Nick Redfern and Jonathan Downes present a copy of a section of these silly documents, which says

“Aerial interference with military aircraft has demonstrated the ability to observe our air operations in war and peacetime conditions. During the war over 900 near-miss incidents were reported by allied pilots and crews in all theater of operations. One of the most dramatic near-miss encounters occurred on 14 October 1943, 8th AF Mission 115 over Schweinfurt, Germany, B-17 crews reported many formations of silvery discs flying down into the B-17 formations. Several times during the bombing mission, large objects were seen following the discs descent into the formations. Unlike previous reports, no engine failures or airframe damage was reported. After the surrender of Nazi Germany, GAF fighter pilots were interrogated by AF intelligence concerning Mission 135. GAF did not have any aircraft above our bombers at that time.” [42]

I’ve never found the whole ‘MJ-12′ idea credible, but at least the first release of documents was prepared with sufficient care to provoke meaningful discussion. This ridiculous exaggeration of an already elaborated tale makes the second release of documents look absurd. I would also point out that the Nazi UFO mythos and MJ-12 are essentially incompatible: if the Americans had already gained the ability to build high-performance flying discs from the Germans, why would they have become so excited about crashed ET discs? And why didn’t all those portentous ‘first-release’ documents mention them at all?

The Massey Project

Redfern and Downes continue to publicise another claim made by Frank Edwards, just before his account of the Schweinfurt Raid. Despite being aware of the negative outcomes of research conducted by both Andy Roberts and Tim Good, they say

“As far as the British Government is concerned, there is strong evidence to show that extremely rigorous investigations were made into the Foo Fighter phenomenon by an elite team of Air Ministry and Royal Air Force operatives.” [43]

They quote Edwards

“As early as 1943, the British had set up a small organisation to gather information on these objects. It was under the direction of Lieutenant General Massey, and it had been inspired to some extent by the reports of a spy who was in reality a double agent, working under the directions of the Mayor of Cologne. He had confirmed that the Foo Fighters were not German devices, which of course the British knew they were not. The British Air Ministry, in 1966, told me that the Massey project was officially terminated in 1944. Perhaps it is only coincidence that the double agent was exposed and executed in the spring of 1944.” [44]

Three problems arise immediately. Tim Good has established, from a dependable source, that there was no Lieutenant General Massey. Almost all the foo fighter reports date from 1944 onwards, so it’s not clear why “extremely rigorous investigations” should start in 1943 and end in 1944. And what on earth was a spy doing being controlled by the Mayor of Cologne? On the evidence, the ‘Massey Project’ sounds like a complete, and deliberate, fabrication.

Crashed saucers and back-engineering

Nick Redfern makes a great deal of limited evidence in suggesting that there has ever been one extra-terrestrial flying craft crash on Earth since 1900, let alone more than one. He has not, however, been unwilling to suggest that the Nazis had access to one or more crashed flying saucers, and back-engineered technology from them. This, supposedly, was how they were able to develop such sophisticated flying discs! Of course, he is not alone in making suggestions of this kind, but I hardly need point out that when the evidence suggests that Germany had no sophisticated flying discs, then there is nothing to explain. Anyway, Redfern concludes from the rather desperate, and generally quite implausible intelligence reports that he has collected

“If . . the data related in official FBI memoranda of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s is accurate, how were the Nazis able to develop technology that, years later, was still defying America’s finest” As I will later show, there are firm grounds for believing that a number of extra terrestrial vehicles crashed to earth on US soil in the late 1940s. Is it stretching the bounds of possibility to speculate that a similar event may have occurred on Nazi territory several years previously? If such an event did take place, and the Germans were able to grasp the rudiments of the technology, this would perhaps go a long way towards explaining their pressing desire to perfect a man-made flying saucer. The truth may ultimately turn out to be far stranger than has previously been realised.” [45]

Well, yes, it really does stretch the bounds of possibility, but that doesn’t stop Corso from reporting, in ‘The Day After Roswell, what he and General Twining had wondered about after inspecting the crashed saucer at Roswell

“At the very least, Twining had suggested, the crescent-shaped craft looked so uncomfortably like the German Horten wings our flyers had seen at the end of the war that he had to suspect the Germans had bumped into something we didn’t know about. And his conversations with Wehrner von Braun and Willy Ley at Alamogordo in the days after the crash confirmed this. They didn’t want to be thought of as verruckt but intimated that there was a deeper story about what the Germans had engineered. No, the similarity between the Horten wing and the craft they had pulled out of the arroyo was no accident. We always wondered how the Germans were able to incorporate such advanced technology into their weapons development in so short a time and during the Great Depression. Did they have help? With an acceleration capability and maneuverability we’d never seen before, this craft would keep American aircraft engineers busy for years just incorporating what you could see into immediate designs.” [46]

While we’re in a corner of reality that accepts the reality of the Roswell crash, and its cargo of dead or possibly living entities, I have to mention the analysis of Polish writer Zbigniew Blania-Bolnar in Alien Encounters for April 1998. Telling us that ” . . the post-war American Army had at its disposal a considerable number of V2 rockets, several V3 and V4 prototypes, and about 30 kugelblitzes of different kinds”, he concludes that the dead entity in the Laredo crash (the Laredo crash?) was “a laboratory monkey used by the Air Force in a secret experiment.” And, of course, “if a tested kugelblitz crashed at Laredo, then a similar object could have crashed at Roswell.” [47]

None of the suggestions that the Germans back-engineered crashed alien craft pre-date the Lazar and Lear back-engineering stories. Three more have come to light already. In her book ‘Sightings: UFOs’ Susan Michaels reports that writer Jan Van Helsing (a contact of the inner circle of the ‘Montauk Project’)

“describes the discovery of a crashed saucer in the Black Forest in 1936 and says that this technology was taken and combined with the information the Vril Society had received through channeling and was made into a further project called the Haunebu.” [48]

There is also a report of a crash in Italy in 1933, the details and information of which were made known to Mussolini, and which assisted Belluzzo in his design and development. [49] And at the ‘Gdansk UFO-Marathon’ in October 1997, it was announced that there had been a crash in Poland in the summer of 1938, in Czernica. Evidence and wreckage recovered from the crash was seized by Nazi Germany after the invasion of Poland the next year, and the information so gathered was used in the building of the ‘Haunebu’ and ‘Vril’ craft. [50] The current popularity of back-engineering is such that I expect to see more such reports.
 

Part 7: Unnamed Soldiers >>>

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The Schauberger Error
Kevin McClure

From Magonia 81, May 2003

It’s much easier to dismiss an absurd claim that is fresh and new, than one which has been around for a while, and has taken root. It is, for example, simple enough to assess the reliability of David Icke’s assertion that Dr Josef Mengele – seemingly after he died – mind-controlled a young American woman to make her go to Balmoral Castle, and officiate at rituals where the Queen and Queen Mother turned into reptiles and devoured small children. Or to judge whether, as ‘Sir’ Laurence Gardner tells us in an explanation on which his whole ‘grail bloodline’ theory depends, the otherwise unmentioned daughter of Joseph of Arimathea (in this version, the brother of Jesus Christ) popped over to Wales to marry and settle down with Bran the Blessed, a mythical god-figure who spent much of his life as a detached head and who, even in the relevant myths, would have been well over 100 years old at the time of the marriage.

Dislodging established and much-repeated nonsense is much more difficult, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. And where that nonsense tends to exaggerate and glorify the activities of the SS during World War II, I think we should try particularly hard. In that spirit of endeavour, let’s see what we can do about the very untrue story of Viktor Schauberger – builder of flying saucers.

The detailed and ever-increasing fiction of the Nazi UFO mythos tells us that the Nazis, whatever the actual outcome of the Second World War, were so technically, creatively and scientifically brilliant that had the war only lasted a few months longer, they would have won it by using their amazing flying saucers, which were so very nearly ready for combat when the Allied forces went into Czechoslovakia and Southern Germany. My essay ‘Phoney Warfare’, available on the Magonia website, records my research into the Nazi UFO mythos up to mid-2000, since when I have continued to try to evaluate each new account as it emerges.

There are two hurdles the mythos has always fought to overcome. Firstly, that there is no historical record whatever of the standard characters said to have been involved in saucer development. Names like Schriever, Belluzzo, Habermohl, Miethe and Klein appear regularly, but there is no evidence for the involvement of any of them in the development of flying discs. Only Guiseppe Belluzzo has any verifiable scientific background at all, Schriever was a delivery driver, and it is unclear whether Habermohl and Miethe even so much as existed as identifiable individuals.

Secondly, there is no historical evidence – physical or photographic – of the supposed flying discs. We are repeatedly told of discs of immense power, and sometimes immense size, defying all scientific parameters known before and since. Yet not so much as a bolt or a tachyon drive remains. The only evidence presented – and repeated so often – is by way of the tinny, fuzzy post-war photos taken by those who wished to convince us of saucer reality, but who usually succeeded only in persuading non-believers of the unexplored potential of domestic containers and the art of close-up photography. The mythos argument is that rather than being extraterrestrial in origin the discs were actually developed from captured Nazi blueprints, by captured Nazi scientists. Relocated in America, they chose to have their miracle craft chug unimpressively around the dusty back roads of the USA, sometimes landing, sometimes crashing, and sometimes – particularly the very small discs – utilising conveniently placed string to hang from trees, swinging gently and photogenically in the wind. Not a single claim of flying Nazi discs predates either 1949, or media interest in flying saucers in the USA.

schauberger1Once upon a time, in Austria, there was a forester called Viktor Schauberger. He lived from 1885 to 1958, and in his long life he devised and worked on a variety of inventions. He had a keen and original interest in the motion and motive potential of water, and the most notable of his achievements were probably in the design and development of log flotation methods and flumes in the 1920s. Thereafter, he appears to have attempted to develop his ideas of the motion of water and air towards the production of turbines and of cheap, natural power and energy. There is little, and possibly no evidence that any of these later, more ambitious ideas ever reached fruition, and although his son and grandson have continued with some more theoretical aspects of his work, it seems that no repeatable demonstration of Schauberger’s technology has ever taken place. He died in 1958, and no tangible example of his supposed wartime or post-war experiments survives him.

For those who want to further the cause of secret Nazi science, maintain the flying saucer mystery, or both, Viktor Schauberger has been a prayer answered. Not because he actually built flying discs for the Nazis, but because some round, bulbous inventions he may have worked on were photographed and, with a bit of airbrushing, adding Luftwaffe insignia and so on, they looked rather like the round, bulbous inventions that featured in 1950s ufology. That he left no physical or technical evidence of his supposed disc experiments, was at times somewhat confused about the facts (there is evidence that he spent some time in a psychiatric hospital), and kept a diary in a shorthand that was difficult even for his family to comprehend, could only assist in using his name. He even had a long, grand beard to suggest that he was a misunderstood genius. History was ripe for rewriting, and not just the once.

The mythos itself has had three distinct phases of life, with long fallow periods between. The first was in the early Fifties, when a handful of individuals, none of them connected with any post-war rocket or aviation programme in Russia, the USA or anywhere else, claimed to be at least partly responsible for the saucer sightings of the period. Schauberger – still alive at the time – didn’t get a mention at that stage, and made no claim of his own.

Then, around 1975, Canadian Ernest Zundel, also known as Christof Friedrich and Mattern Friedrich, and notorious for his pro-active and well-publicised scepticism of the reality of the Holocaust, published – as Mattern Friedrich – the book UFO – Nazi Secret Weapon? Amid questions like ‘Is Hitler Still Alive?’ and ‘Did the Nazis have the Atom Bomb?’ he set out a range of wild speculations about lost Nazi technology and, for the first time to my knowledge (I could easily be wrong), introduced a number of the key elements of Schauberger’s involvement. Zundel says:

“Schauberger did experiments early in 1940-41 in Vienna and his 10 foot diameter models were so successful that on the very first tests they took off vertically at such surprising speeds that one model shot through the 24-foot high hangar ceiling. After this `success’ Schauberger’s experiments received vordringlichkeitsstufe’ - high priority – and he was given adequate funds and facilities as well as help. His aides included Czechoslovak engineers who worked at the concentration camp at Mauthausen on some parts of the Schauberger flying saucers. It is largely through these people that the story leaked out.”
Zundel also invented an account of Schauberger’s later history and death. Although he actually died at home in 1958, Zundel’s story is that:

“Viktor Schauberger lived for some years in the United States after the war where he was reported to be working on UFO projects. His articles were greatly discussed and then one day in Chicago he just vanished. His battered body was found and as to who killed Schauberger or why has never been discovered. One version has it that gangsters tried to beat his revolutionising secrets out of him and accidentally killed him.”

Zundel also published the first drawings – presumably from photos – of what he called the ‘electromagnetically-powered Flying Hats’.

In the next year, 1976, a biography of sorts appeared (Living Water, Gateway Books, 1997), written by Olof Alexandersson, a Swedish ‘electrical engineer and archive conservationist’. While admitting that “the information for the basis of this book is fragile”, he managed, from unlisted sources, to add substantially to the mythos …

“After a while Schauberger received his call-up. It was now 1943, and even older men were being drafted. He was eventually appointed the commandant of a parachute company in Italy, but after a short stay, orders came from Himmler that he should present himself at the SS college at Vienna-Rosenhugel. When he arrived, he was taken to the concentration camp at Mauthausen, where he was to contact the SS standartenfuhrer (standards leader) Zeireis, who told him he had a personal greeting from Himmler. ‘We have considered your scientific research and think there is something in it. You can now either choose to take charge of a scientific team of technicians and physicists from among the prisoners, to develop machines utilising the energy you have discovered, or you will be hanged.’

“Schauberger understandably chose the first (insisting that his helpers must no longer be regarded as prisoners) and so an intensive period of study began. After the SS college, where the research was taking place, was bombed. Schauberger and his team were transferred to Leonstein, near Linz. The project they initiated there was a `flying saucer’ powered by a ‘trout turbine’.

“The results of the research were surprising. It was both a success and a failure. Viktor Schauberger later explained this briefly in a letter to the West German defence minister Strauss on 28 February 1956:

“I preferred the first alternative, and about a year later, the first ‘flying saucer’ rose unexpectedly, at the first attempt, to the ceiling, and then was wrecked.”

Alexandersson produced slightly different pictures of the ‘flying hats’, probably just removing the Luftwaffe insignia Zundel had added, and reproduced drawings of other absurd imaginary wartime UFOs copied directly from Zundel.

Since then, architect Callum Coats has published a series of books which cover that confusing territory between science and esotericism, reflecting a surprisingly persistent interest in Schauberger’s theories about water and implosion. In 1996 (Living Energies, Gateway, 2001), he published what appear to be actual photos of the ‘flying hats’, as well as reprinting earlier drawings, and tells us that:

“Despite its compact size, this machine generated such a powerful levitational force that when it was first switched on (without Viktor Schauberger’s permission and in his absence!), it sheared the six quarter-inch diameter high-tensile steel anchor bolts and shot upwards to smash against the roof of the hangar.”

However, the sight of the objects themselves only underlines the unavoidable truth that the only factor uniting all those who tell us about the reality of the Schauberger flying saucers is that none of them have the least idea of how or why they flew. Indeed, it is hard to imagine how they could.

Coats also quotes one ‘A. Khammas’, writing in the undated issue 93 of Implosion magazine:

“There are many rumours about what Schauberger was actually doing during this period, most of which suggest he was in charge of developing `flying discs’ under contract to the army. It later became known that the ‘flying disc’ launched in Prague on the 19th of February 1945, which rose to an altitude of 15,000 metres in throe minutes and attained a forward speed of 2,200 kph, was a development of the prototype he built at Mauthausen concentration camp. Schauberger wrote, ‘I only first heard of this event after the war through one of the technicians who had worked with me’. In a letter to a friend, dated 2nd August 1956, Schauberger commented, ‘The machine was supposed to have been destroyed just before the end of the war on Keitel’s orders.’”

Perhaps we should find it significant that, while we are told that Victor Schauberger effectively rewrote aviation technology with two extraordinary demonstrations of the power of the engine he invented, we are also told that he was both absent from the events, and unaware that they would take place.

The most recent phase of belief in the Nazi UFO mythos began in the last five years [as of May 2003]. Susan Michaels, in Sightings: UFOs (Fireside, 1997), reproduces a range of palpable fictions from unreliable sources, and introduces some freshly minted nonsense. Possibly becoming confused by inconsistent, fictional accounts of a meeting with Hitler in 1933, she says:

“Also in 1939, German physicist Victor Schauberger developed a design for a flying saucer using energy he claimed could be harnessed from the tonal vibrations, or ‘harmonics’, of the cosmos. As far-fetched as this theory seems, Schauberger’s research attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler, who offered to provide funds to build Schauberger’s own anti-gravity saucer. But Schauberger, who was a deeply committed pacifist, turned Hitler down.”

The following year, aviation writer and photographer Bill Rose wrote an article, tagged as ‘UFO sightings – why you can blame Adolf Hitler’, in the popular science magazine Focus (October 1998). After, apparently, four years of research he concluded that:

“The father of the German disc programme was Rudolph Schriever, a Luftwaffe aeronautical engineer assigned to Heinkel in 1940 … a full-sized piloted version, the V2, first flew in 1943 with Schriever at the controls. Thirty feet in diameter, the V2 had a fixed central cabin around which a ring with adjustable vanes rotated to provide thrust in both the horizontal and vertical planes … Early in 1944, Schriever’s top-secret programme was moved to Czechoslovakia … Schriever was joined by a number of leading aeronautical engineers … Another addition was the Austrian scientist Viktor Schauberger, who just before his death in 1958 claimed to have worked on a highly classified US disc programme in Texas.”

Rose seems to be the first to have suggested that Schauberger actually worked together with the four other ‘engineers’ who the mythos says built flying saucers. Actually, even when those who actually said anything made their claims – Klaus Habermohl never said anything, probably because he didn’t exist, and Richard Miethe may have been someone else entirely who lived in Egypt – they never made that one. But even Rose doesn’t have the same remarkable sources as, it seems, did Gary Hyland, the author of Blue Fires (Headline, 2001), who says of Schauberger:

“The first test-flight of the machine was reportedly amazingly successful (it apparently shot through the roof of the laboratory and had to be recovered some distance away) … he developed his ideas further, to the point where a full-sized, though unmanned flying disc prototype that used his new engine apparently flew under radio control … At the end of the war, the American forces got to Leonstein ahead of the Russians and found Schauberger and his team of experts. After letting the members of his team leave after a thorough interrogation, the Americans held Schauberger in protective custody for six months; it would seem that they knew exactly what he had been up to and wanted to prevent other nations, as well as renegade Nazis, from continuing to use his services.”

Exceeding even the rich imaginations of Michaels, Rose and Hyland lie those who provided the information underpinning the much-publicised book The Hunt for Zero Point (Century, 2001) by Nick Cook, a notable freelance aviation journalist who has written for the very respectable Jane’s Defence Weekly. In the course of an investigation lasting, we are told, some ten years, he appears to have been comprehensively misinformed by a series of individuals, or perhaps by individuals acting on behalf of a group of people with a specific agenda. It seems that for all the informants he gathered along the way – informants he often protects with anonymity – nobody ever warned him that those who want to make the Nazi regime, and the SS in particular, look good, are unsurprisingly happy to deceive to do so.

schaubergerufoWithout going through Cook’s oddly directionless Hunt in any detail, it’s worth noting that his primary source about Schauberger was a Polish gentleman named Igor Witkowski. Witkowski, apparently, volunteered to drive Cook around, showing him sites where Schauberger had worked for the Nazis constructing and testing ‘The Bell’, a supposed experimental device with two cylinders spinning in opposite directions. Cook was told that this glowed blue and destroyed plants, birds, animals, and sometimes humans. Internet searches for Witkowski bring him up in connection with the loopy ‘crashed saucers’ end of Polish ufology, and he has self-published six or more separate items titled something like Hitler’s Supersecret Weapon.

Witkowski tells Cook that his extraordinary information comes from an unnameable source, which Cook seems to accept without question. It seems that a ‘Polish government official’ phoned Witkowski, inviting him to view documents and take notes about the development and concealment of extraordinary Nazi technology, as given in a record of “the activities of a special unit of the Soviet secret intelligence service”. Witkowski’s evidence, together with a visit to Schauberger’s grandson, leads Cook to reproduce the material about imprisonment by the US after the war, and the apartment being blown up by the Russians, together with various unlikely claims about Schauberger being offered massive sums of money by (right-wing) Americans in the years before he died. And that Schauberger’s designs had been stolen by Heinkel in the early part of the war, that he had worked on secret projects for the Nazis from 1941 through to the end of the war, working at a number of factories, sometimes using slave labour. That he had created, for and with the support of the SS, disc-shaped machines with engines so revolutionary that even Cook, an aviation journalist, cannot explain how they worked.

As I mentioned, one of the problems with the Nazi UFO mythos is explaining away the absolute absence of palpable evidence. Cook chooses to adopt SS General Hans Kammler for this purpose. Kammler used concentration camp labour to build the Atlantic Wall, contributed to the construction of the Auschwitz gas chambers, and was in charge of the V2 missile programme, which again ruthlessly exploited slave labour. He is also, it seems, the person who spirited away all traces of Schauberger’s astonishing technical achievements, allegedly to his own advantage by way of trade with the approaching Allies: however, the earliest version I have found of this story dates from 1989, put about by Nevada Aerial Research, who have done much to publicise the wonders of supposed Nazi technology. They later came up with the first and most unpleasant of the tales of dominant and brutal alien beings living below the US air base at Dulce. I do not believe that their account of Kammler had any existence prior to 1989, or that it is true.

There is no period of history more thoroughly examined than 1939-1945, and no subject more closely examined than the Nazis, and within the Nazis, the SS. Had there been any reality in the claims for the construction and testing – or more – of high-speed flying disc technology by the Third Reich during that period, then we would have every reason to expect that it would have been discovered, reported, and analysed by writers and researchers far more competent than those referred to above. Yet it never has been.

Nonetheless, there is this recurrent and developing counter-culture argument that says that these extraordinary events actually happened. It is a theory that has sold millions of books and a number of deeply unpleasant videos, and it continues to fuel a belief that, given just those few more months, the true genius of the Nazis, the drive of the SS, and the inspiration of the Fuhrer would have won through, and the Allies – no, not just the Soviet Union, but all the Allies – would have been defeated. Just imagine how that would have been.

While I’m happy to be challenged by solid evidence, I’ve found no reason to believe that Viktor Schauberger knew anything of all this: I think he died before it was made up. He never built a flying disc, let alone one that flew using some unknown and unprecedented method of propulsion. He wasn’t sought out by Hitler or the SS, didn’t choose slave workers from Mauthausen to assist him and wasn’t held by the Americans after the war because of his technical knowledge and achievements. If the Russians burned his flat down, I doubt that they even knew whose flat it was. He never worked for years in the USA, and wasn’t offered any sums of money to do so. If you want a real mystery to solve, try working out who invented all these tales, and why, and whether anyone apart from the authors involved has gained materially, or in achieving political or personal aims, as a result of their dissemination.

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Visions of Bowmen and Angels.
Kevin McClure

THIS ARTICLE IS ALSO ON-LINE AT http://moremagonia.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/mufob-new-series-1975-1979.html

 

In August 1914, Brigadier-General John Charteris was one of the senior officers in the British Expeditionary Force in France. He was a staff officer to General Sir Douglas Haig, working with him at G.H.Q., and also a close personal friend.

During the earliest weeks of the Great War, he was an involved observer within the B.E.F. as the men retreated from Mons in the face of substantially superior German forces. He also sent home detailed and eloquent letters, a chronicle of that demanding and dramatic time. These were published some 17 years later (At G.H.Q., Cassell, 1931), apparently in their original form, certainly with no hint of rewriting or later addition. The entry for September 5th, 1914, includes the following passage: -

” Then there is the story of the ‘Angels of Mons’ going strong through the 2nd Corps, of how the angel of the Lord on the traditional white horse, and clad all in white with flaming sword, faced the advancing Germans at Mons and forbade their further progress. Men’s nerves and imagination play weird pranks in these strenuous times. All the same the angel at Mons interests me. I cannot find out how the legend arose.”

If a perceptive and open-minded Brigadier-General, knowing his men and the experiences they had been through could not get to the bottom of the stories of angels some ten days after the events are said to have happened, what hope do I have nearly 80 years on? I have plenty of written sources – though there are many more, the tales being told again and again – and the perspective of history in my favour. Yet I can make no promises as to what may have occurred, and cannot say with certainty that any particular, named individual, of perhaps 100,000 soldiers in the B.E.F. at that time, saw any one vision or another. But it is clear to me that the debunking that has in recent years been the only published context for the Mons material has been hopelessly inadequate, if not actually dishonest. It is time to present the contemporary sources – as close to the truth as we can come – however confusing they may be. Now we can evaluate this strange and wonderful story in a new and independent way.

In his marvellous study of wartime myths and legends, The Smoke and the Fire – Myths and Anti-Myths of War, 1861-1945 (Sidgwick & Jackson, 1980) historian John Terraine records that Private Frank Richards – later to be author of the Billy Bunter books – wrote of angels in the context of the retreat from Le Cateau, which was on August 26th, 1914. There are few specific references to dates, but it seems that the 26th or 27th are the most likely. Whatever happened, probably happened then.

On September 29th the Evening News published the Arthur Machen story The Bowmen for the first time: just 17 column inches on page 3 of a London evening paper. Unfortunately, copyright prevents me from reproducing this fine story in full, but Light magazine for 10.10.14 – always very literate for a specialist journal in the Spiritualist field – summarises it well: -

” The Evening News of the 29th ult. contains a remarkable piece of imaginative word-painting by Mr Arthur Machen, the novelist, entitled ‘The Bowmen’. Picturing one of the stands made by the allies early in the war against the overwhelming German host that was slowly pressing them back, he makes a British soldier with some knowledge of Latin recall the motto he had seen on the plates in a certain vegetarian restaurant. “Adsit Anglis Sanctus Georgius” – ” May Saint George be a present help to the English”. The man utters the invocation aloud, and at once the roar of battle seems to die down and in its place he hears a tumult of voices calling on St.George: ” Ha! Messire: Ha! sweet saint, grant us good deliverance! St.George for merry England! Harow! Harow! Monseigneur St.George, succour us.”

And as the soldier heard these voices he saw before him, beyond the trench, a long line of shapes, with a shining about them. They were like men who drew the bow, and with another shout their cloud of arrows flew singing and tingling through the air towards the German host. To their astonishment, the other men in the trench see the ranks of the enemy dissolving like mist, the foe falling not in dozens or hundreds, but in thousands. After the engagement the German general staff, finding no wounds on the bodies of the slain, decide that the English must have used Turpinite, but the soldier who knows Latin knows that St.George has brought his Agincourt bowmen to help the English!”

If you are not familiar with ‘The Bowmen’ then I would commend it to you most heartily, along with most of Machen’s other, marvellous fiction: quite possibly the finest writing on supernatural and horror themes of its period. Actually, this was not the first Evening News piece in which Machen had used legendary figures to make an encouraging and patriotic point. On 17.9.14, a piece of Machen’s appeared under the title ‘The Ceaseless Bugle Call’. Starting with observations on the huge training camps at Aldershot, it waxes lyrical about St.George, and concludes: -

Tuba mirum spargens sanum: wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth. It shall resound till it call up the spirits of the heroes to fight in the vanguard of our battle, till it summon King Arthur and all his chivalry forth from their magic sleep in Avalon: that they may strike one final shattering blow for the Isle of Britain against the heathen horde.”

I find The Ceaseless Bugle Call particularly interesting. It is virtually a trial run for The Bowmen, yet we hear nothing more of King Arthur playing any part in the course of the war. It was The Bowmen that caught the public interest, and the more respectable ‘occult’ and Spiritualist journals wrote to Machen after publication, to ask him what truth there was in the story, and how he had come by these marvellous facts. He responded that the story was entirely of his own making, written as his response to the horrors of the war, particularly the reports in the Weekly Dispatch of 30.8.14. Light and the Occult Review reported this response with little comment and there, for a time, the story rested.

Perhaps the greatest mystery of the way the Mons stories unfolded is the ‘missing link’. How the visions ceased to be reported in October 1914, having been given little or no credence, but then suddenly reappeared – in different forms, in different places – the following spring, over 6 months later. There had been many dramatic events during that time: hundreds of thousands of young men had marched willingly to war, and many of them had died or suffered appalling injuries. The British public had become all too familiar with the names of other places, other battles. Yet it was the few days of the retreat from Mons – a fortunate event, marked by great bravery, but hardly a memorable victory – involving smaller numbers of men, and lower casualties, that became the subject of tremendous attention throughout the summer of 1915. The first of the array of reports I have traced comes from Light magazine, 24.4.15., under the title The Invisible Allies: Strange Story from the Front: -

” In Light of October 10th last we referred, under the title of The Invisible Allies to a remarkable story by Mr Arthur Machen, the novelist, which appeared in the Evening News of a few days before, and which depicted our soldiers at the front as being aided by the spirits of the English soldiers of the past. The soldier about whom the story revolves sees a vision of the Agincourt bowmen and hears their voices. A short time ago we were asked by a well-known publisher if we could tell him anything of the origin of the story, as statements were being made that it was founded on fact. We replied that we thought it nothing more than an effort of that imagination of which Mr Machen’s stories are full. However, being curious on the point, and having a personal acquaintance with the author, we wrote to him asking the question, and were not surprised to receive his answer that the tale was merely a fanciful production of his own. He though it rather curious that any legend should have grown up around his story.

A few days ago, however, we received a visit from a military officer, who asked to see the issue of Light containing the article in question. He explained that, whether Mr Machen’s story was pure invention or not, it was certainly stated in some quarters that a curious phenomenon had been witnessed by several officers and men in connection with the retreat from Mons. It took the form of a strange cloud interposed between the Germans and the British. Other wonders were heard or seen in connection with this cloud which, it seems, had the effect of protecting the British against the overwhelming hordes of the enemy. We wonder what truth there is in the report. Legends spring up quickly, but so far as we have observed there is always some core of truth, however small, at the back of each. Even the ‘Russians in England’ rumour, we understand, was not entirely without foundation. But this legend of Mons is fascinating. We should like to hear more of it.”

This was a simple story. The effect – the protection of the British soldiers – is the same as in The Bowmen, but it occurs as the result of the presence of a mysterious cloud. Only six days later, on 30.4.15., the Roman Catholic newspaper, The Universe, published in London, carried a more detailed and rather different account, headed On A White Horse: St.George and Phantom Army: -

” An extraordinary story, which recalls an incident in the Crusades, reaches The Universe from an accredited correspondent who is, however, precluded from imparting the names of those concerned.

The story is told by a Catholic officer in a letter from the front, and is told with a simplicity which shows the narrator’s own conviction of its genuineness . . .

” A party of about thirty men and an officer was cut off in a trench, when the officer said to his men, ‘Look here, we must either stay here and be caught like rats in a trap, or make a sortie against the enemy. We haven’t much of a chance, but personally I don’t want to be caught here.’ The men all agreed with him, and with a yell of ‘St.George for England!’ they dashed out into the open. The officer tells how, as they ran on, he became aware of a large company of men with bows and arrows going along with them, and even leading them on against the enemy’s trenches, and afterwards when he was talking to a German prisoner, the man asked him who was the officer on a great white horse who led them, for although he was such a conspicuous figure, they had none of them been able to hit him. I must also add that the German dead appeared to have no wounds on them. The officer who told the story (adds the writer of the letter) was a friend of ours. He did not see St.George on the white horse, but he saw the Archers with his own eyes.”

I think we can safely regard this as the basic ‘bowmen’ legend, and it has undeniably close parallels to Machen’s story. Why it should suddenly appear in the respectable Roman Catholic press, apparently in a letter from the front in France, I cannot imagine.

It is not easy to work out a precise chronology, but it seems that the next item of importance to be published was a report in the All Saints,Clifton, Parish Magazine for May 1915. This version – which appears elsewhere, and which I assume to be a correct transcription – comes from the Church Family Newspaper, in its July 1915 issue. It was also reprinted in the same Parish Magazine, in its July 1915 issue. It has the title, An Angelic Guard – Strange Experiences.

” The following account is published in the current issue of the All Saints, Clifton, Parish Magazine: -

Last Sunday I met Miss M., daughter of the well-known Canon M., and she told me she knew two officers both of whom had themselves seen the angels who saved our left wing from the Germans when they came right upon them during the retreat from Mons.

They expected annihilation, as they were almost helpless, when to their amazement they stood like dazed men, never so much as touched their guns: nor stirred till we had turned round and escaped by some crossroads. One of Miss M’s friends, who was not a religious man, told her that he saw a troop of angels between us and the enemy. He has been a changed man ever since. The other man she met in London. She asked him if he had heard the wonderful stories of angels. He said he had seen them himself and under the following circumstances: -

While he and his company were retreating, they heard the German cavalry tearing after them. They saw a place where they thought a stand might be made, with sure hope of safety; but before they could reach it, the German cavalry were upon them. They therefore turned round and faced the enemy, expecting nothing but instant death, when to their wonder they saw, between them and the enemy, a whole troop of angels. The German horses turned round terrified and regularly stampeded. The men tugged at their bridles, while the poor beasts tore away in every direction from our men. This officer swore he saw the angels, which the horses saw plainly enough. This gave them time to reach the little fort, or whatever it was, and save themselves.”

Looking at the development of the accounts of the visions, this is a particularly important piece. It seems to represent the basic ‘angels’ legend, and it bears only a minimal resemblance to The Bowmen. In the ‘angels’ legend, there is no decision by the soldiers to take their chance, no invocation of St.George or any other figure, no foreknowledge of the words to use to call for assistance, such as those on the plate in the vegetarian restaurant. The ‘angels’ have neither leader nor weapons. Indeed, this version of intervention has more in common with the ‘strange cloud interposed between the Germans and the British’, than it does with The Bowmen. The claims of many commentators, and of Machen himself, that all the accounts of visions and interventions at Mons were generated by his brief column in the Evening News can, at times, seem very far-fetched.

Yet nothing in this investigation is straightforward or simple. To anticipate a little, the Society for Psychical Research, in its Journal for December 1915, published An Enquiry Concerning the Angels at Mons. This is an excellent piece of work, and I’ll refer to it again. The Society was swiftly off the mark in writing to Miss M. (actually Miss Marrable, daughter of Canon Marrable) on May 26, 1915

” . . the story is told on the authority of Miss M., who is said to have known personally the officers concerned. Accordingly we wrote to Miss M. to ask whether she could corroborate these stories, and received the following reply, dated 28.5.15.

‘I cannot give you the names of the men referred to in your letter of May 26, as the story I heard was quite anonymous, and I do not know who they were.”

I suspect that Miss Marrable had a busy few weeks answering enquiries about her alleged informants: there are reports of other publications also pursuing her.

Early May saw a fascinating mixture of accounts appearing in the ‘occult’ and Spiritualist press. In Light for 8.5.15, a feature appears headed Supernormal Phenomena at the Battle Front: -

” The following letter from ‘Scota’, a correspondent in Ireland, embodies statements some of which had already been received by us from other quarters: -

Sir, I am very glad that in the last issue of Light you had noticed the story about the intervention of spirit helpers at Mons, for the subject is well worth investigation. It has reached me through three different channels having no connection with each other.

A friend who was in London last autumn read in the Evening News the story of the vision and accompanying shout. She was much struck by it, but was inclined to question its credibility. A few days later, however, she met a young soldier, a private who had been wounded. Directly she heard he had been at Mons she asked, “Oh, did you see the vision, and hear the shout?” He answered, “I did not hear the shout, but I did see the vision and, he added very emphatically, the Germans saw it too, they couldn’t get their horses to come on!” He said that on comparing notes with his comrades afterwards they found that some had seen the vision, and some heard the shout, but very many had neither heard nor seen.

Shortly afterwards this same lady met a member of the family of an officer, General N., who also had been at Mons. He stated that in that rearguard action there was one specially critical moment. The German cavalry was rapidly advancing, and very much outnumbered our forces. Suddenly, he saw a sort of luminous cloud, or light interpose itself between the Germans and our forces. In the cloud there seemed to be bright objects moving: he could not say if they were figures or not, but they were moving and bright. The moment this cloud appeared the German onslaught seemed to receive a check; the horses could be seen rearing and plunging, and they ceased to advance. He said it was his opinion that if that check, whatever its cause, had not come, the whole force would have been annihilated in twenty minutes.

Since then another friend of mine has had a visit from a relative, a young officer home on short leave from the front. He, too, had been at Mons, and told her that the story, as she had heard it, was perfectly correct. He had seen the luminous cloud and the sudden check to the enemy’s cavalry, exactly as General N. had described it, and he said, “After what I saw that day, nothing will make me doubt for one moment but that we shall win in this war.”

The following week, Light published further accounts, from different sources: an interesting variation on the ‘vegetarian restaurant’, and a surprisingly Christian report in this Spiritualist context: -

” In a sermon preached by the Rev. Fielding Ould, vicar of St.Stephen’s, St.Alban’s, he is reported to have said -

I heard a story last week from three sources, and which I think may be true. A sergeant in our army had frequented a house of the Young Men’s Christian Association, and had seen there a picture of St.George slaying the dragon. He had been deeply impressed by it, and when, at the front, he found himself in an advanced and rather isolated trench, he told the story of St.George to his men – St.George, the patron saint of England, whose name the warriors have shouted as their war-cry in the carnage of Crecy, Poitiers, and on many another glorious field. When shortly afterwards a sudden charge of the grey-coated Germans in greatly superior numbers threatened the sergeant’s trench, he cried, “Remember St.George for England!” to his men as they advanced to meet the foe. A few moments afterwards the enemy hesitated, stopped, and finally fled, leaving some prisoners in our hands. One of the latter, who seemed dazed and astonished, demanded to be told who were “the horsemen in armour who led the charge. Surely they could not have been Belgians dressed in such a way!” There are many similar stories of supernatural intervention in the old battles of the world and I, for one, would hesitate to say that they had no basis of fact.”

Mrs F.H.Fitzgerald Beale, writing from Mountmellick, Ireland, says -

” You mention in Light of the 24th ult. that a strange cloud came down at Mons and hid the allies from the Germans. I am pleased to be able to tell you it is true. We have among other wounded soldiers home from the war a soldier of the Dublin Fusiliers who was injured at Mons. I told him of the story and asked him whether it was true. He said, “Yes, I saw it myself. A thick black cloud: it quite hid us from the enemy.” Indeed, all the other men have told me of the miraculous way that crucifixes were preserved. One soldier said that in a wood there was a mound with a large crucifix on top to mark the burial place of a number of soldiers killed in a former war. The trees were swept away by shell fire as if they had been cut down with a scythe, but the crucifix stood untouched. This preservation has been so very marked everywhere, he said, that even the Jews in the trenches were asking for crucifixes from Catholic soldiers, and people were embedding them in the walls of their houses. I hear this from every soldier who has returned.”

In Bladud, The Bath Society Paper of Wednesday, 9th June 1915, The Rev.M.P.Gilson, Vicar of All Saints, Clifton, told of his experiences since he published the earlier account of the ‘Angels’ . . .

” You will, I think, be no less surprised than I have been to find that our modest little parish magazine has suddenly sprung into almost world-wide notoriety; every post for the last three weeks has brought letters from all over the country, not asking merely for single copies, but for dozens of copies, enclosing a quite embarrassing number of stamps and postal orders, the more so since there were no more magazines to be had.”

He goes on to express surprise that everyone is so amazed that miracles should still be occurring, and prayers still being answered . . .

” Why should it seem more strange that a regiment of Prussian cavalry should be held up by a company of angels, and their horses stampeded, and our infantry delivered from a hopeless position, than that an angel with flaming sword should have withstood Balaam, or that St.Peter should have been delivered from the hand of Herod by the intervention of an Angel? Do they really relegate all such miracles to ‘Bible Days’, and believe that when the Church made up the Canon of Holy Scriptures she also brought to a close the age of miracles?”

Bladud also quotes some of the accounts sent to the Rev. Gilson, who passes comments on the developing stories – comments that seem quite perceptive to me. The accounts first . . .

” The first is an extract from an officer’s letter: “I myself saw the angels who saved our left wing from the Germans during the retreat from Mons. We heard the German cavalry tearing after us and ran for a place where we thought a stand could be made; we turned and faced the enemy expecting instant death. When to our wonder we saw between us and the enemy a whole troop of Angels; the horses of the Germans turned round frightened out of their senses; they regularly stampeded, the men tugging at their bridles, while the horses tore away in every direction from our men. Evidently the horses saw the Angels as plainly as we did, and the delay gave us time to reach a place of safety.”

” Another contribution comes from a more unexpected source. A captain in charge of German prisoners states that these men say it is no use to fight the English, for at Mons “there were people fighting for them”, that they saw angels above and in front of the lines, also that it is happening at Ypres.”

” From another source I heard that many prisoners were taken that day who surrendered when there was no call for it. At home it was suggested that they were underfed and did not want to fight. Some of these German prisoners were afterwards asked why they surrendered, ‘for there were many more of you than us; we were a mere handful,’ they looked amazed and replied, ‘but there were hosts and hosts of you.’ It was thought that the angels appeared to them as reinforcements of our ranks.

The St.George story is, I believe, a fiction. It has been enquired into, and apparently it is only based on a perversion of the story of the angels, and that I do believe. The only very astonishing part of it is that so many men were allowed to see them. (If other accounts of the visions agree with these, it is surely noteworthy, adds the Editor of the All Saints Magazine, that the angels appear to have taken no part in the killing: they defended our men, and caused the Germans to flee or to surrender).

Included in the same feature is a report of a sermon given in St.Martin’s Church, Worcester: -

” He told”, says the writer describing his sermon, “about this vision of angels, which had been seen by so many of our soldiers, on that Saturday in August, when the situation looked so hopeless that the Times correspondent wired that the British army ‘had been annihilated’, and the Sunday papers all published it, and if it had not been for the angels there would have been no contradiction of it in Monday’s papers.”

” In particular he spoke of twelve men in a quarry, who all saw the angels, and among the mass of the army some saw and some did not. Two colonels, he spoke of, who said they had seen them, one of whom had until then been an unbeliever. But all saw the unlooked for salvation of the remnant of the army.”

An interesting point there – that the vision was in some way selective. This is not the only time this element is mentioned, and it is not an uncommon phenomenon in reports of paranormal experience.

Another sermon, reported in various church and secular newspapers had considerable influence, presumably due to the status of the preacher. It received wide publicity, and introduced some new elements to the apparent role of the supernatural in the course of the war, in addition to the ‘legions of angels’ version of the retreat from Mons: -

” In a recent sermon at Manchester, Dr R.F.Horton, the well known Congregational minister, told how, in the Dardanelles, the airships of the enemy came over a troopship and dropped bombs. The captain, who was a devout man, gave the order to his crew to pray. “They knelt on the deck, and the Lord delivered them. The eighteen bombs which seemed to be falling from overhead fell harmlessly into the sea.

Dr.Horton then mentioned the story of the ‘Comrade in White’, which was dealt with recently in Light, and passed on to a consideration of the ‘company of angels’ which intervened to save our soldiers in the retreat from Mons. He referred to it as ‘a story repeated by so many witnesses that if anything can be established by contemporary evidence it is established.”

I haven’t found any fuller version of the story of the troopship in the Dardanelles, but this seems to be a good point at which to consider the matter of the ‘Comrade in White’ – or ‘White Helper’ – a figure that moves surely through the battlefields and hospitals of the early part of the war, without any real specifics of places or dates. The first account is from Dr Horton again -

” Now and again a wounded man on the field is conscious of a comrade in white coming with help and even delivering him. One of our men who had heard of this story again and again, and has put it down to hysterical excitement, had an experience. His division had advanced and was not adequately protected by the artillery. It was cut to pieces, and he himself fell. He tried to hide in a hollow of the ground, and as he lay helpless, not daring to lift his head under the hail of fire, he saw One in White coming to him. For a moment he though it must be a hospital attendant or a stretcher-bearer, but no, it could not be; the bullets were flying all around. The White-robed came near and bent over him. The man lost consciousness for a moment, and when he came round he seemed to be out of danger.

The White-robed still stood by him, and the man, looking at his hand, said, ‘You are wounded in your hand.’ There was a wound in the palm. He answered, ‘Yes, that is an old wound that has opened again lately.’ The soldier says that in spite of the peril and his wounds he felt a joy he had never experienced in his life before.”

Then there was . . .

” A letter from Miss Stoughton, whose sister was a nurse in the hospital at Tekleton. ‘There is a wonderful story,’ she writes, ‘of the man called by the soldiers, ‘A Comrade In White’, who is going about at the front, helping the wounded. A man told my sister that, though he had not seen Him himself, he knew many soldiers who had. He was supposed to be ‘The Angel of the Covenant’ – our Lord himself. He has been seen at different places.”

This isn’t exactly first-hand testimony – the writer is the sister of a nurse who spoke to a soldier who knew some others who said they had seen the figure! But it’s interesting to note that there are much more modern cases where similar figures have been involved inguiding or rescuing lost travellers in times of severe danger.

Quite moving is the story of the dramatic rescue of a young boy during battle, supposedly told by a nurse who had served in France (this may have been Phyllis Campbell, who we will discuss later): -

” How did you manage to pick up the child under the German guns? I asked. He shifted a little uncomfortably, then looked bravely into my eyes. “It’s a bit of a queer thing I’m going to say – but it’s true,” he said. “It was a kind of golden cloud between us and the Germans, and a man in it on a big horse – and then I saw the child in the dust on the roadside, and I picked it up.” “Yes, Sister,” he added, “Lots of other chaps saw it too.” There was a murmur of confirmation. “The minute I saw it,” he continued, “I knew we were going to win. It fair bucked me up.”

You can see the sort of structure these accounts have. The following – from Life and Work magazine for June 1915 – is a particularly detailed one, from which I have taken extracts. It is, apparently, from a letter from an unnamed soldier: -

” Strange tales reached us in the trenches. Rumours raced up and down that three-hundred mile line from Switzerland to the sea. We knew neither the source of them nor the truth of them. They came quickly, and they went quickly. Yet somehow I remember the very hour when George Casey turned to me with a queer look in his blue eyes and asked if I had seen the Friend of the Wounded.

And then he told me all he knew. After many a hot engagement a man in white had been seen bending over the wounded. Snipers sniped at him. Shells fell all around. Nothing had power to touch him. He was either heroic beyond all heroes, or he was something greater still. This mysterious one, whom the French called the Comrade In White, seemed to be everywhere at once. At Nancy, in the Argonne, at Soissons and Ypres, everywhere men were talking of him with hushed voices.”

The writer continues, explaining that he expected no such help should he be injured in battle. Then, in an advance on the facing trenches, he was shot in both legs, and lay in a sheell-hole till after dark,

” The night fell, and soon I heard a step, but quiet and firm, as if neither darkness nor death could check those untroubled feet. So little did I guess what was coming that, even when I saw the gleam of white in the darkness. I thought it was a peasant in a white smock, or perhaps a woman deranged. Suddenly. with a little shiver of joy or fear, I don’t know which, I guessed that it was the Comrade in White. And at that very moment the German rifles began to shoot. The bullets could scarcely miss such a target, for he flung his arms out as though in entreaty, and then drew them back till he stood like one of those wayside crosses that we saw so often as we marched through France.

And he spoke. The words sounded familiar, but all I remember was the beginning, “If thou hadst known,” and the ending, “but now they are hid from thine eyes.” And then he stopped and ushered me into his arms – me, the biggest man in the regiment – and carried me as if I had been a child.

I must have fainted again, for I woke to consciousness in a little cave by the stream, and the Comrade in White was washing my wounds and binding them up. It seems foolish to say it, for I was in terrible pain, but I was happier at that moment than ever I remember to have been in all my life before. I can’t explain it, but it seemed as if all my days I had been waiting for this without knowing it. As long as that hand touched me and those eyes pitied me, I did not seem to care any more about sickness or health, about life or death. And while he swiftly removed every trace of blood or mire, I felt as if my whole nature were being washed, as if all the grime and soil of sin were going, and as if I were once more a little child.

I suppose I slept, for when I awoke this feeling was gone, I was a man, and I wanted to know what I could do for my friend to help him or to serve him. He was looking towards the stream, and his hands were clasped in prayer: and then I saw that he, too, had been wounded. I could see, as it were, a shot-wound in his hand, and as he prayed a drop of blood gathered and fell to the ground. I cried out. I could not help it, for that wound of his seemed to be a more awful thing than any that bitter war had shown me. “You are wounded, too”, I said faintly. Perhaps he heard me, perhaps it was the look on my face, but he answered gently: “This is an old wound, but it has troubled me of late.” And then I noticed sorrowfully that the same cruel mark was on his feet. You will wonder that I did not know sooner. I wonder myself. But it was only when I saw his feet that I knew him.”

The identification of the figure with Jesus Christ was not an uncommon one, but I am rather intrigued by the ‘transformation’ of personality mentioned above. Whatever we call these accounts – wishful thinking, imagination, hallucination, spirit or divine intervention, or whatever – they are perhaps closer to traditional forms of religious experience than the visions involving interventions by non-human figures in military battles. They made popular reading, and no doubt brought hope and some comfort to those at the front in France, and to those at home

Before we return to the continuing development of the stories of angels and bowmen as they emerged in August and September of 1915, a little time should be spent with Phyllis Campbell, a lady who was, apparently, a nurse at front-line hospitals in France.

Over the past ten years or so, I have managed to find most of the important books and references relating to Mons, but one item has eluded me – Miss Campbell’s booklet Back of the Front, published by George Newnes Ltd in 1915. I gather that even the British Museum Library doesn’t have a copy, and apart from some extracts, all I have seen is a flyer showing the front cover! However, she received a lot of publicity, particularly via Ralph Shirley, editor of the Occult Review, and played her part in the growth of some of the more extreme legends.

In this particular instance, I tend to concur with the opinion of the sceptical writer, Melvin Harris, and I am unwilling to accept her unsupported testimony. Her work had appeared in the Occult Review before the war, and it is clear from her accounts of atrocities supposedly committed by the advancing Germans that she was prone to believing what she wanted to believe. I don’t suppose she was alone in that publicising the horrendous practises of the Bosch did wonders for Army recruitment. Anyway, some excerpts from her writing will convey her approach – bearing in mind that the content was, in 1914 and 1915, quite acceptable to many of her readers. From Light, 7.8.15 -

” The Occult Review for August publishes an article by Miss Phyllis Campbell, a nurse who was in the Mons retreat. She tells of a great outburst of pious enthusiasm on the part of the French wounded, some of whom were in a state of great exaltation of mind. They clamoured for ‘holy pictures’ – the little prints of saints and angels so common in Catholic countries – but were unanimous in selecting St Michael or Joan of Arc. A wounded English soldier – a Lancashire Fusilier – asked for ‘a picture or medal of St.George because he had seen the saint on a white horse leading the

British at Vitry-le-Francois when the allies turned.’ An RFA man, wounded in the leg, claimed to have seen a man with yellow hair, wearing golden armour and riding on a white horse with his sword upraised. He endorsed the account given by the fusilier that the phantom cavalier led the British troops. The French troops maintained that the figure seen was that of St Michael. Many of them professed also to have seen Joan of Arc.

That night (writes Miss Campbell) we heard the tale again, from the lips of a priest this time, two officers, and three men of the Irish Guard. These three men were mortally wounded; they asked for the sacrament before death, and before dying told the same story to the old abbe who confessed them.

In the Occult Review article – The Angelic Leaders – she stresses that she had written to its Editor about the stories of visions before the publication of The Bowmen in the Evening News. There is no confirmation of this; it would have been remarkable had a field nurse been able to stop and send out a letter amidst the havoc of retreat, and even more remarkable had the astute Ralph Shirley not used such a report if it had been offered him. The following piece is apparently taken from Back of the Front, reporting on how she was moving around France with the Army hospital, and recounting what soldiers had supposedly said to her, in her own, gory style . . .

” For forty-eight hours no food, no drink, under a tropical sun, choked with dust, harried by shell, and marching, marching, marching, till even the pursuing Germans gave it up, and at Vitry-le-Francois the Allies fell in their tracks and slept for three hours – horse, foot and guns – while the exhausted pursuers slept behind them.

Then came the trumpet call, and each man sprang to his arms to find himself made anew. One man said, “I felt as if I had just come out of the sea after a swim. Fit, just grand. I never felt so fit in my life, and every man of us the same. The Germans were coming on just the same as ever, when suddenly the advance sounded, and I saw the luminous mist and the great man on the white horse, and I knew the Boches would never get Paris, for God was fighting on our side.

Poor Dix, when he came into hospital with only a bleeding gap where his mouth had been, and a splintered hand and arm, he ought to have been prostrate and unconscious, but he made no moan, his pain had vanished in contemplation of the wonderful things he had seen – saints and angels fighting on this common earth, with common mortal men, against one devilish foe to all humanity. A strange and dreadful thing, that the veil that hangs between us and the world of Immortality should be so rent and shrivelled by suffering and agony that human eyes can look on the angels and not be blinded. The cries of mothers and little children – the suffering of crucified fathers and carbonized sons and brothers, the tortures of nuns and virgins, and violated wives and daughters, have all gone up in torment and dragged at the Ruler of the Universe for aid – and aid has come.”

The Society for Psychical Research was also interested in Miss Campbell’s reports. As part of their enquiry they reported that,

” We wrote some time ago to Miss Campbell asking whether she could give us any further information or put us in touch with the soldiers to whom these experiences had come, but we have not heard from her.” So far as I can establish, she made no further claims, and it was left to others to eagerly back her accounts when they could be used in support of their own contentions. But even so, if anyone comes across a copy of Back of the Front, I’d still be delighted to own one!

Miss Campbell’s contributions aside, by July 1915 the initial impetus of the reports had slowed down. Even the religious press only printed versions of earlier accounts – often set in the context of religious events in history – and many commentators began to wonder at the lack of witness testimony for which a witness could actually be identified. August saw two apparently promising testimonies in the Daily Mail. The first appeared on the 12th, and was a report of an interview with a ‘wounded lance-corporal’.

” I was with my battalion in the retreat from Mons on or about August 28th. The German cavalry were expected to make a charge, and we were waiting to fire and scatter them . .

The weather was very hot and clear, and between eight and nine o’clock in the evening, I was standing with a party of nine other men on duty, and some distance on either side there were parties of ten on guard . . An officer suddenly came up to us in a state of great anxiety and asked us if we had seen anything startling . . He hurried away from my ten to the next party of ten. At the time we thought that the officer must be expecting a surprise attack.

Immediately afterwards the officer came back, and taking me and some others a few yards away showed us the sky. I could see quite plainly in mid-air a strange light which seemed to be quite distinctly outlined and was not a reflection of the moon, nor were there any clouds in the neighbour hood. The light became brighter and I could distinctly see three shapes, one in the centre having what looked like outspread wings; the other two were not so large, but were quite plainly distinct from the centre one. They appeared to have a long, loose-hanging garment of a golden tint, and they were above the German line facing us.

We stood watching them for about three quarters of an hour. All the men with me saw them, and other men came up from other groups who also told us they had seen the same thing.

I remember the day because it was a day of terrible anxiety for us. That morning the Munsters had a bad time on our right, and so had the Scots Guards. We managed to get to the wood . . . Later on, the Uhlans attacked us, and we drove them back with heavy loss. It was after this engagement, when we were dog-tired, that the vision appeared to us.”

The Society for Psychical Research wrote to the Lady Superintendent of the hospital at which the man had been treated, to whom he was said to have told his experience before it was published, and asked her if she could give details of his whereabouts. She replied on 28.10.15:

” The man about whom you enquire has left here and has failed to answer my letter and postcard. I do not therefore know his present whereabouts. When I hear from him again I will write to you.”

There is nothing to suggest that the witness was ever located, but nor was the report disproved; this was a time of high casualties in France. The situation was a happier one than the Mail found itself in later in the month. The SPR enquiry tells the story well: -

” One other piece of alleged evidence in support of the ‘Angels of Mons’ may be briefly dismissed. In the Daily Mail for August 24, 1915, there appeared a communication from G.S.Hazlehurst stating that a certain Private Robert Cleaver, 1st Cheshire Regiment, had signed an affidavit in his presence to the effect that he “personally was at Mons and saw the Vision of Angels with (his) own eyes.” Speaking of his interview with Private Cleaver, Mr Hazlehurst said:

” When I saw Private Cleaver, who struck me as being a very sound, intelligent man, he at once volunteered his statement and had no objection to signing an affidavit before me that he had seen the Angels of Mons. He said that things were at the blackest with our troops, and if it had not been for the supernatural intervention they would have been annihilated. The men were in retreat, and lying down behind small tufts of grass for cover. Suddenly, the vision came between them and the German cavalry. He described it as a ‘flash’ . . The cavalry horses rushed in all directions and were disorganised”.

In the Daily Mail for September 2, 1915, there appeared a further communication from Mr Hazlehurst to the effect that in consequence of a rumour that Private Cleaver was not present at the Battle of Mons, he had written to the headquarters at Salisbury for information as to his movements, and received the following reply:

” From – Records Office, Cheshire Regiment. 10515 R.Cleaver.

With regard to your enquiries concerning the above man, the following are the particulars concerning him. He mobilised at Chester on August 22, 1914. He was posted out to the 1st Battalion, Expeditionary Force, France, with a draft on September 6, 1914. He returned to England on December 14, sick.”

Mr Hazlehurst concludes:

The battle of Mons was in August, 1914, and readers will draw their own conclusions. Information sworn on oath is usually regarded as sufficiently trustworthy for publication, but apparently not in this case.”

Much more intriguing is a letter sent to Arthur Machen by a Lieutenant-Colonel whose identity was apparently known to the Daily Mail, and who was present at the Retreat from Mons. It appeared in the issue dated September 14th, and seems never to have been refuted. It is worth mentioning that some historians have placed the publication of this account a year earlier, which would render it as vital evidence for a pre-Bowmen provenance for the stories. However, it definitely appeared over a year after the events that it reports. Nonetheless, its simplicity, and lack of specific identification of individualssomehow lend it a credibility not possessed by some other reports: -

” On August 26, 1914, was fought the battle of Le Cateau. We came into action at dawn, and fought till dusk. We were heavily shelled by the German artillery during the day, and in common with the rest of our division had a bad time of it.

Our division, however, retired in good order. We were on the march all night of the 26th and on the 27th, with only about two hours’ rest. The brigade to which I belonged was rearguard to the division, and during the 27th we were all absolutely worn out with fatigue – both bodily and mental fatigue.

No doubt we also suffered to a certain extent from shock; but the retirement still continued in excellent order, and I feel sure that our mental faculties were still . . . in good working condition.

On the night of the 27th I was riding along in the column with two other officers. We had been talking and doing our best to keep from falling asleep on our horses. As we rode along I became conscious of the fact that, in the fields on both sides of the road along which we were marching, I could see a very large body of horsemen. These horsemen had the appearance of squadrons of cavalry, and they seemed to be riding across the fields and going in the same direction as we were going, and keeping level with us . . .

I did not say a word about it at first, but I watched them for about twenty minutes. The other two officers had stopped talking. At last one of them asked me if I saw anything in the fields. I then told him what I had seen. The third officer then confessed that he too had been watching these horsemen for the past twenty minutes. So convinced were we that they were real cavalry that, at the next halt, one of the officers took a party of men out to reconnoitre, and found no one there. The night then grew darker, and we saw no more.

The same phenomenon was seen by many men in our column. Of course, we were all dog-tired and overtaxed, but it is an extraordinary thing that the same phenomenon should be witnessed by so many different people. I myself am absolutely convinced that I saw these horsemen, and I feel sure that they did not exist only in my imagination . .”

Quite rightly, the SPR Enquiry juxtaposes the above with this letter from Lance-Corporal A.Johnstone, late of the Royal Engineers, which was published in the Evening News of 11.8.15: -

” We had almost reached the end of the retreat, and after marching a whole day and night with but one half-hour’s rest in between, we found ourselves on the outskirts of Langy, near Paris, just at dawn, and as the day broke we saw in front of us large bodies of cavalry, all formed up into squadrons – fine, big men, on massive chargers. I remember turning to my chums in the ranks and saying: “Thank God! We are not far off Paris now. Look at the French cavalry.” They, too, saw them quite plainly, but on getting closer, to our surprise the horsemen vanished and gave place to banks of white mist, with clumps of trees and bushes dimly showing through them . . .

When I tell you that hardened soldiers who had been through many a campaign were marching quite mechanically along the road and babbling all sorts of nonsense in sheer delirium, you can well believe we were in a fit state to take a row of beanstalks for all the saints in the calendar.”

The summer of 1915 saw the publication of several books and booklets dealing with Bowmen, Angels and related issues. They included a fair amount of debate, and not a little name-calling. As I’m trying to stick to source material here, rather than the minutiae of opinions and attitudes, I won’t detail the comings and goings of the various writers; but I will summarise the best-sellers among them.

The first to appear was a 15-page booklet, gloriously titled The Angel Warriors at Mons, Including Numerous Confirmatory Testimonies, Evidence of the Wounded and Certain Curious Historical Parallels, An Authentic Record by Ralph Shirley, Editor of the Occult Review. It was published by the Newspaper Publicity Co., 61, Fleet Street, London, E.C. It covers the basic ‘Angels’ stories, and includes a number of excerpts from the vivid writings of Phyllis Campbell, as well as some interesting accounts of other battlefield visions: the Virgin Mary at Suwalki, and the Battle of Edge Hill.

The next to be published – on 10.8.15 – was The Bowmen and Other Legends of the War by Arthur Machen himself, published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton Kent & Co. This appeared in two separate editions, the second being the better value as in addition to reprinting The Bowmen itself, it also includes five further short stories in a similar vein: The Soldier’s Rest: The Monstrance: The Dazzling Light: The Little Nations and The Men From Troy. Some of these are, in my hopelessly biased opinion, quite beautiful. Why they are described as ‘Other Legends of the War’ I cannot say – so far as I’m aware, they are all completely original.

The controversial part of Machen’s book is the 51-page Introduction, which tells the story of the development of The Bowmen as the author himself saw it: his point of view being that he was its author, not its historian. He fairly quotes evidence from both sides of the ‘event’ hypothesis – vision vs. hallucination – but still stays with his belief that there was no ‘event’ at all. This Introduction is beautifully crafted, and well worth reading in its entirety.

There were, of course, many who believed in the legends, and their views found a popular outlet in On the Side of the Angels – the Story of the Angels at Mons – an Answer to ‘The Bowmen’, by Harold Begbie. I understand that Mr Begbie was quite a notable author at the time, but his writing displays limited critical faculties. His contention is that whether the visions occurred or not, it was not Machen who originated them. Begbie marshalls most of the ‘pro-event’ material, from the fairly reputable down to the worst of the vague and rewritten, but actually adds little to the canon of stories with which the public was already familiar. Nonetheless, it was clearly influential at the time.

Various other publications appeared in 1915 and 1916, while the various stories and opinions held the public imagination to a remarkable degree. Few of them made contributions of any great originality, but an honourable mention must go to a skilful and elaborate parody, Find the Angels – The Showmen – A Legend of the War, by T.W.H.Crosland, published by T.Werner Laurie, 1915. This exquisitely parodies Machen’s Introduction, includes The Showmen itself, and various appendices taking shots at Machen, Begbie and the rest, and ending with some verses parodying Kipling in ‘The White Feather Legion’. I do admire Mr.Crosland’s skill!

One way and another, I think I have presented most – if not all – of the relevant material that appeared in Britain between the retreat from Mons itself, at the end of August 1914, and Christmas 1915. Other than these, there were opinions a-plenty, many quite critical, considered and convincing. Were I playing sceptic – as I often do when commenting on strange events and phenomena – I would weigh those comments heavily in the balance. But that isn’t my aim in compiling this account. To round oof this collection of evidence – and not-quite evidence – there are some other, later reports that deserve a hearing . . .

There is a little-known report in the Grays and Tilbury Gazette for 25.8.17., of angels on the home front: actually, at Grays Thurrock, a place not famed for drama, romance or mystery, situated on the Thames in Essex. Here, at a relatively optimistic stage of the war, were seen the ‘Peace Angels’.

” All Argent Street was out after them”, said one speaker. “They appeared over the Exmouth, two of them sitting on two rainbows with ‘Peace’ in between. Then they faded away, leaving only the rainbow.” Another observer said that the angels had, “roses wreathed in their hair.” It seems that children, in particular, were taken with this attractive story.

Moving on some years, on 17.2.1930 the Daily News published the following strange tale: -

” The British really saw in 1914 what they called the Angels of Mons, if a story by a former member of the Imperial German Intelligence Service is to be believed. This officer, Colonel Friedrich Herzenwirth, whose narrative is published in a newspaper in New York, says:

‘ The Angels of Mons were motion pictures thrown upon ‘screens’ of foggy white cloudbanks in Flanders by cinematographic projecting machines mounted on German aeroplanes which hovered above the British lines.’

The reports of British troops during the retreat from Mons on August 24th, 1914 – that they had seen ‘angels the size of men’, which appeared to be in the rearguard of the retreating army – were attributed by psychologists to mass hypnotism and hallucination. Colonel Herzenwirth says the object of the Germans responsible for these scientific ‘visions’ was to create superstitious terror in the allied ranks, calculated to produce panic and a refusal to fight an enemy which appeared to enjoy special supernatural protection. But the Germans miscalculated.

‘ What we had not figured on’, adds the Colonel, ‘was that the English should turn the vision to their own benefit. This was a magnificent bit of counter-propaganda, for some of the English must have been fully aware of the mechanism of our trick. Their method of interpreting our angels as protectors of their own troops turned the scales completely upon us. Had the British command contented itself with simply issuing an Army order unmasking our trickery it would not have been half as effective.’

The next day, in the same newspaper, the following appeared:

” Following is a message received yesterday from our Berlin correspondent.

‘ A prominent member of the War Intelligence Department in the present German Ministry declares that the story is a hoax, Herzenwirth himself a myth or, if existing, a liar. It is officially stated that there is no such person.’

Mr Arthur Machen, the author, told the Daily News yesterday that the whole story of the apparitions was a legend invented by himself. It arose, Mr Machen said, from a story called The Bowmen, which he wrote and which was published on September 29, 1914.

” The story told how, during the retreat from Mons, some English soldiers in the trenches saw the advancing Germans dropping down by whole regiments. That, they supposed, was due to the fact that one of them said, half in a joke, ‘May St. George be a present help to the English!’

The tale is that St.George came along bringing with him the ghosts of the bowmen of the old days, and the Germans were supposed to be pierced by ghostly arrows. Nothing particular happened for the next few months, but some time in 1915 it was pointed out that people were taking the story as true. Then they began to turn the bowmen into angels. They elaborated the story and changed it about in all sorts of ways.”

The next, very peculiar tale comes from Fate magazine for May 1968. It is taken from a letter from a Rev.Albert H.Baller of Clinton, Mass. who was apparently lecturing on Unidentified Flying Objects to a group of engineers in New Britain, Conn. in 1955 or 1956, when one of the engineers gave him this report: -

” He said that he was in the trenches near Ypres in August, 1915, when the Germans launched the first gas attack. Since it was the very first, neither he nor any of his buddies knew what it meant when they looked out over no-man’s-land and saw a strange grey cloud rolling towards them. When it struck, pandemonium broke out. Men dropped all around him and the trench was in an uproar. Then, he said, a strange thing happened. Out of the mist, walking across no-mam’s land, came a figure. He seemed to be without special protection and he wore the uniform of the Royal Medical Corps. The engineer remembered that the stranger spoke English with what seemed to be a French accent.

On his belt the stranger from the poison cloud had a series of small hooks on which were suspended tin cups. In his hand he carried a bucket of what looked like water. As he slid down into the trench he began removing the cups, dipping them into the bucket and passing them out to the soldiers, telling them to drink quickly. The engineer was among those who received the potion. He said it was extremely salty, almost too salty to swallow. But all of the soldiers who were given the liquid did drink it, and not one of them suffered lasting effects from the gas.

When the gas cloud had blown over and things calmed down the unusual visitor was not to be found. No explanation for his visit could be given by the Royal Medical Corps – but the fact remained that thousands of soldiers died or suffered lasting effects from that grim attack, but not a single soldier who took the cup from the stranger was among the casualties.

It is certainly not to my credit that I have not remembered the engineer’s name. I do recall that on later enquiry that evening I discovered he was a man of some standing in his profession, known for his complete honesty and integrity.”

This story, with its vague provenance, has all the trappings of an ‘urban legend’ or ‘foaftale’, but I have not encountered it elsewhere. I am intrigued by the similarities to the ‘Comrade In White’ accounts, and as there is clearly some awareness of World War 1 legends in the USA, I wonder if any reader may have come across others?

The final original account I think worth presenting is this quiet, unassuming, and at least signed letter to The Spectator, which published it on 19.10.1918, some three weeks before the Armistice. It is not the first report to claim that some particular element of an event was seen only by the Germans: -

” Sir – Much has been said at various times about alleged superhuman interventions in our favour when, in ‘that dire autumn’ of 1914, our heroic ‘Contemptibles’ were in retreat, pressed hard by overwhelming forces. To myself nothing has come in the way of evidence on that subject with such a claim on attention and, I think, on credence as what I heard not many weeks ago from my friend (he allows the mention of his name) the Rev.W.Elliott Bradley, Vicar of Crosthwaite, Keswick, a reporter whose accurate memory and sober sense I entirely trust.

He got a practically identical account of a certain incident of that crisis from each of three soldiers, old Contemptibles, to whom he talked on three separate occasions. The first two men were, at different times, in a V.A.D. hospital near Ulverston, where the Rev.Bradley was rector between three and four years ago. The third man was seen not many months ago working on a farm near Keswick after discharge from the Army. Mr.Bradley asked in each case whether the soldiers recalled ‘anything unusual’ at the crises of the retreat. And each man without hesitation gave this answer. The Germans were coming on in massed formation, and the men of the thin British line were preparing to sell their lives dear: it was the only thing to do; the Teuton host could not help walking over them on the way to Paris. Suddenly the grey masses halted; even the horses of the cavalry jibbed and reared; and the collision did not take place. German prisoners, taken a little later, were asked why they failed to attack on such an advantage.

The answer was straight and simple: they saw strong British reinforcements coming up. Such was the story told, without leading or prompting as to detail, by these three isolated witnesses at first hand. Two, if not three, added quietly the comment, “It was God that did it.”

As my friend pointed out to me, the incident was the more impressive because all the men agreed that our soldiers saw nothing. The vision was not given to them, though their nerves might well be strained to an imaginative exaltation by their tremendous position. It was the Germans, in the full consciousness of their overmastering force and seeming easy certainty of victory, whose “eyes were opened”. I may add that what was seen was of a kind to suggest fact rather than subjective phantasm. The delivering host appeared not as ‘winged squadrons of the sky’ but as British soldiers, neither less nor more. At this hour of mighty victories, let us not forget the Supreme Disposer who, as I for one humbly believe, intervened in mystery and mercy then. (signed) Handley Dunelm, Auckland Castle, Bishop Auckland.”

The best contemporary investigation was – as has so often been the case – that conducted by the Society for Psychical Research. There is much to be said for a comprehensive knowledge of the field, an open mind, and the persistent application of common-sense. Here are some excerpts from the conclusions of the SPR Enquiry: -

” Summing up the evidence at our disposal, the following conclusions may be drawn:

a. Many of the stories which have been current during the past year concerning ‘visions’ on the battlefield prove on investigation to be founded on mere rumour, and cannot be traced to any authoritative source.

b. After we have discounted these rumours, we are left with a small residue of evidence, which seems to indicate that a certain number of men who took part in the retreat from Mons honestly believe themselves to have had at that time supernormal experiences of a remarkable character . .

In the main, the result of our enquiry is negative, at least as regards the question of whether any apparitions were seen on the battlefield, either at Mons or elsewhere. Of first-hand testimony we have received none at all, and of testimony at second-hand we have none that would justify us in assuming the occurrence of any supernormal phenomenon. For we cannot make this assumption until we have established at least a strong probability that the observed effects are such as only a supernormal phenomenon could produce, and in the present instance, as I have tried to show, all our efforts to obtain the detailed evidence upon which an enquiry of this kind must be based have proved unavailing.”

I cannot disagree with those conclusions, but I hope that, still, there may be further evidence still to come to light. Should it do so, I will be happy to rewrite this account accordingly. In the meantime, it is most important of all to remember that the legends we are discussing come from a time and place of tremendous courage, and dreadful suffering: almost impossible for us, now, to imagine. Any quality or worth this account may have is dedicated entirely to those who then fought on our behalf. If there really was some element of divine intervention, they had earned that, and more besides.

I still don’t know what happened during the Retreat from Mons: I doubt that I ever will. Perhaps the most vital point of dispute is whether Arthur Machen’s story The Bowmen was responsible, as Machen himself believed, for all the stories and legends of supernatural intervention that appeared from March 1915 onwards. My personal view is that there was rather more to it than that, and I concur with the opinion of the SPR in effectively suggesting that the men of the B.E.F. – or a number of them, anyway – were aware of reports of a ‘cloud’ or of ‘angels’ before the publication of The Bowmen on 29th September 1914. It would be helpful to know what flow of private correspondence there was between the B.E.F. and home that September: whatever there was seems not to have yielded any relevant reports. On the other hand, I doubt that Machen, among the many writers covering the war, alone received a secret tip-off, unknown to the rest of the press. I am sure that he genuinely believed that all the legends sprang from his own.

He may have been right, but there do seem to be two separate stories of intervention – the ‘Bowmen’ and the ‘Angels’- though there are certainly later accounts in which both appear, the two forms having apparently been amalgamated. Anyone familiar with the development of folklore will be aware of how easily such changes occur. But the initial formats and characteristics of each story are quite different, and it is hard to see how the one could have emanated from the other. There is no written record of any sort of ‘intermediate’ version, bridging the two.

I have, earlier, made the point that if one does not accept Machen’s explanation, and decides instead that there was either an event, or a belief in an event, then there are physical factors to be taken into account. There are strong arguments put involving the hallucinatory effects of extreme fatigue. I must agree with those who suggest that a combination of tiredness, discomfort and fear, prolonged over an excessive period, can effectively trigger an ASC (altered state of consciousness) of one type or another. This effect would be heightened among an interactive group, though oddly enough the ‘angel’ reports refer consistently to the sudden, almost surprise nature of the phenomenon. It is the ‘Bowmen’ reports, presumably of fictional origin, that stress the positive decision to seek supernatural intervention.

In the end, we all have our own thresholds of belief and acceptance, and responses to the Mons material will continue to vary, as they have already done for many years. So long as any conclusions are drawn on the basis of the breadth of the available source material, which I hope I’ve been able to present, I will have no strong reason to disagree with any of them.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

I’ve included a good many references to newspapers and periodicals in the text, but I think it may be useful to collate details of books, booklets and pamphlets to which I’ve either referred while writing this account, or which I know exist, and are relevant, even though I’ve never seen them. I am indebted to the Imperial War Museum’s Booklist No. 1256A: The Angels of Mons, for several of these references, though even they have few of them in their library. I’ve marked with an asterisk the titles that I haven’t actually been able to find.

  • Altsheler, J.A. The Hosts of the Air: the story of a quest in the Great War. Appleton, London. 1915. *
  • Begbie, H. On the Side of the Angels. Hodder and Stoughton, London. 1915.
  • Campbell, P. Back of the Front. Newnes, London. 1915. *
  • Charteris, J. At G.H.Q. Cassell. 1931.
  • Churchwoman, A. The Chariots of God. Stockwell, London. 1915.
  • Corbett-Smith, A. The Retreat from Mons – by one who shared in it. Cassell. 1917. (An early personal account, which makes no mention of any strange or supernatural event).
  • Crosland, T.W.H. The Showmen: A Legend of the War. Laurie, London. 1915.
  • Garnier, Col. The Visions of Mons and Ypres: their meaning and purpose. R.Banks, London. 1915. *
  • Machen, A. The Bowmen and other Legends of the war. Simpkin Marshall, London. 1915.
  • Pearson, J.J. The Rationale of the Angel Warriors at Mons during the retreat and the apparitions at the battles of the Marne and the Aisne. Christian Globe, London. 1915. *
  • Phillips, A.F. and Thurston Hopkins, R. War and the Weird. Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., London. 1916.
  • Shirley, R. Angel Warriors at Mons: an Authentic Record. Newspaper Publishing Co., London. 1915.
  • Stuart, R. Dreams and Visions of the War. Pearson, London. 1917. *
  • Taylor, I.E.  Angels, Saints and Bowmen at Mons. Theosophical Publishing Society. 1916.
  • Terraine, J. Mons. Pan. 1962.
  • Terraine, J. The Smoke and the Fire. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1980.
  • Warr, C.L. The Unseen Host – Stories of the Great War. Alexander Gardner, Paisley. 1916.

Thanks . . . are long overdue to many friends and fellow writers, who have contributed to this account in one way or another: particularly by remembering to send me the cuttings and references that have added so much to the variety of sources I have been able to provide. There are many others, but I must mention Michael Goss, Granville Oldroyd, Hilary Evans, Mark Valentine, Andy Roberts, Bob Skinner, Robert Rickard, and Eleanor O’Keeffe and the SPR. Most of them have probably forgotten just how much help they gave!

Kevin McClure 1994


            

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11. The Nazi UFO Mythos: Conclusion

THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS: An Investigation by Kevin McClure

Conclusions

An extensive search in the mainstream, ‘consensus’ historical record of this, the most researched and chronicled period in history, found no mention of even the most prominent features of the mythos. Putting these two findings together, the only reasonable conclusion on the available evidence is that the long-held belief that high-performance, German, disk-shaped craft actually flew during the Second World War can be shown to be a false belief. I hope that this investigation into the ‘Nazi UFO’ mythos has demonstrated that the evidence presented to date – at least, that of which I am aware – is irrevocably flawed.

Of course, there is much more to investigate, particularly the links between the ‘flying discs’ and the supposed survival of the Third Reich in -or under – South America and the Antarctic. Joscelyn Goodwin’s book Arktos [80] has set out some useful information in this respect, but misses the drama of the creation of New Berlin, the trips to the Moon and Mars, the belief in the dramatic US-Nazi battles in Operation Highjump, and the links that those making these claims may have with particular cultural and political groups.

I don’t want to try to direct the responses that readers may have to the material I’ve put together here. My opinions of fascism and those who use their authority – real or false – to mislead others for their own profit or other advantage are pretty obvious. I hope that readers will also have appreciated that I have tried to distinguish between material that harms, and that which does not. However, I’d like to set out a couple of points that arise from the inconsistencies between the mythos version of history, the ‘consensus’ version of history, and the somewhere-in-between history of ufology.

Operation Paperclip

Operation Paperclip was a secret , now well-documented initiative by the US government to enable the Western Allies in the war to benefit from the knowledge of former Axis scientists who were, nominally, forbidden to enter the USA because of their previous affiliations. Even before the defeat of the Germans, it was apparent to both politicians and military leaders in the West that the Soviet Union was now the enemy of choice, and Paperclip was one of the steps seen as necessary to deal with that enemy. Overall, it appears to have been a sound policy decision, apparently (though reports are not entirely consistent) bringing the talents of luminaries like Werner von Braun to work in, and for, the West.

Paperclip was, if nothing else, carefully organised. It was a secret operation, being run for high stakes, and there is no reason to believe that it failed to target the best and most skilled scientists available. In the field of rocketry, certainly, it succeeded, laying the foundations for the US space program in general, and the US successes of the Sixties in particular.

Most detailed Nazi UFO accounts refer to Operation Paperclip, using it to support the argument for the extent of German wartime technical achievements with flying discs by implying that the development of US technology – up to and including the present generation of ‘Stealth’ aircraft – depended on the importation and input of German scientists. Yet the very German ‘scientists’ who were supposedly responsible for the development of those wonderful discs seem to have been completely ignored by Paperclip, and to have ended up in inappropriate employment in Europe, with only popular newspapers showing an interest in their skills. Either the saucer builders were also ‘the men that Paperclip forgot’, or because there were no saucers, Paperclip didn’t make a mistake in not taking them off to the USA.

Early ufology

In a recent disagreement I had with Tim Good and his publishers over the provenance of photographs printed in his book Alien Base [81], I raised what I thought was a valid point. Many of the photographs – the ones which didn’t depict faked alien corpses – were from Fifties ufology, supposedly taken by George Adamski, Paul Villa, Daniel Fry, Howard Menger and Hugo Vega. These have attracted both belief and ridicule over the years, and Good had not addressed various doubts about their provenance, such as possible associations with kitchen equipment, string, the use of perspective to make small objects look larger, and the simple tactic of throwing things in the air.

Tim Good agreed, honourably, to have these photographs examined by a university expert using modern techniques at his own expense, and although hampered by the copies being some generations from the original, these reports were published. The expert was not convinced that the photos depicted independently airborne craft of the size and at the distance claimed by the photographer.

The point I had raised was whether, even if the photographs showed no evidence of deliberate faking, it was likely that these craft – mostly chubby, awkward, tinny and lacking any visible method of propulsion or steering – were actually aerodynamically viable. Could they fly over short distances here on Earth, let alone between planets in our solar system or beyond? As it happened, there was sufficient doubt about the provenance of the photos, and the reality of what they purported to show, that the wider question didn’t have to be answered, but I’d suggest that the answer should be a resounding ‘No’. If these craft were real, and of the size and in the place that those who took the photographs suggested, then there isn’t the slightest chance that they had flown from Venus or Mars, let alone any further away. They couldn’t. They look as though they’d been made out of the bits left over in the average suburban garage, and that they would fall to bits if the string holding them up were to break: whether that’s what they actually were you might well ask, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

An alternative explanation has been given for the inadequacy of these ‘craft’. It’s always lurked somewhere in the background of extra-terrestrial ufology, as a fall-back position to take where interplanetary flight seems a deeply unlikely explanation for a UFO photograph, but nobody wants, or dares, to cry ‘fake’. In recent years this second-best explanation has been adapted into an explanation of choice, eagerly adopted by David Hatcher-Childress and others, in books and in videos. No longer are these clumsy aggregations of household waste even supposed to be extra-terrestrial craft. Instead, they are prime evidence of the might of Nazi UFO technology, either imported by the US after the war, or by the Russians, who were using them for reconnaissance or, even more wonderfully, by the Nazis themselves, flying to prove that the Third Reich never died, but lives and fights on in secret bases in South America or Antarctica. As you can imagine, if there was no wonderful flying disc technology in Germany during the war, then it could never have been exported. And if that was the case, then fakes is pretty well all the close-up photos of that era could have been.

That said, one hopefully simple conclusion – moral, even – does come to mind. Ufology has always sought for respectability. It has sought scientific respectability and, trying to explain away the absurdly sudden beginning it had in 1947, has also looked for a history going back before that date. The ‘foo fighter’ material is certainly interesting in this respect, but those sightings bear no real resemblance to the craft of early ufology: I’d suggest that for research purposes it should be regarded as an entirely separate subject from the tinny close-up saucers and Nordic occupants of just a few years later. If my approach to the wartime flying disc material is correct, then 1947 looks more sudden – and inexplicable – than ever, and the contact experience even more isolated. Far from achieving any kind of respectability, by accepting so readily the existence of high-performance wartime German flying discs without, with a handful of honourable exceptions, bothering to make even the simplest of enquiries, ufology has again made itself look amateur, gullible, and easily manipulated. So no change there, then.

Thanks

Thanks, at least, are due to David Sivier, Dave Newton, Peter Brookesmith, Peter Williams, Wayne Spencer, Andy Roberts, Eugene Doherty, Hilary Evans, Martin Kottmeyer, James Moseley, JC Carbonel, Peter Rogerson, Maurizio Verga, Tim Matthews, Jeff Lindell, Claude Mauge and Eduardo Russo for their thoughtful and intelligent assistance in putting this investigation together.

—————————————————————–

REFERENCES

[1] Lusar, Rudolf (1959) Trans Heller, R P and Schindler, M German Secret Weapons of the Second World War Philosophical Library New York p.165
[2] Vesco, Renato (1971) Intercept UFO Grove Press New York p.85
[3] Kasten, Len (1996) ‘Nazi UFOs’ in Atlantis Rising No.7
[4] Stephens, Henry (1998) ‘UFOs and the Third Reich’ in The Probe Vol 3 #4
[5] terziski
[6] Stevens, Wendelle, interviewed in ‘The Godfather of UFOs’ in Alien Encounters #25
[7] Redfern, Nicholas (1998) The FBI Files Pocket Books London p.210
[8] Chamberlin, Jo ‘the Foo Fighter Mystery’ in the American Legion Magazine, December 1945
[9] Roberts, Andy Foo Fighters – the Story So Far Project 1947 website
[10] Lindell, Jeff A. ‘The Foo Fighter Mystery Revised’ I.U. Folklore Institute
[11] Ibid
[12] Vesco, Renato ‘Aerospace expert claims Flying Saucers are Canada’s Secret Weapon’ in Argosy Magazine August 1969.
[13] Vesco, Renato (1971) Intercept UFO Grove Press New York p.85
[14] Ibid p.86
[15] Ibid (back cover)
[16] Correspondence with author
[17] Lusar op cit p.
[18] www.ufo.it/german
[19] ‘Sightings’ website
[20] Redfern, N and Downes, J (2000) Weird War Tales 1 – UFOs: 1939-45 Weird War Tales Library
[21] Published by New English Library, London
[22] Harbinson, W A (1995) Projekt UFO – The Case for Man-Made Flying Saucers Boxtree London (back cover)
[23] Ibid (Foreword)
[24] Birdsall, Mark Ian (1988?) The Ultimate Solution Self-published p.13
[25] Harbinson op cit p.5
[26] Ibid p.61
[27] Ibid p.72
[28] Ibid p.74
[29] Interview with Terziski on Sam Russell’s ‘Open Mind Forum’ radio programme on June 5 1993.
[30] Steiger, B and SH (1994) The Rainbow Conspiracy Windsor Publishing Corp New York p.62
[31] Branton – Omega Files
[32] Branton – Omega Files
[33] Website – William Bacon’s Home Page/Nordic Saucer Report.
[34] Brantons Testimony http://www.ufomind.com/ufo/media/mailing/archive/iufo/msg18723.shtml
[35] Branton – Omega Files
[36] Branton – Omega Files – ‘Nazi History’
[37] Roberts, Andy Ibid
[38] Edwards, Frank (1967) Flying Saucers – Here and Now! Lyle Stuart
[39] Caidin, Martin (1960) Black Thursday
[40] Roberts, Andy ‘In search of “Foo-Fighters”‘ in UFO Brigantia No.66 July 1990
[41] Roberts, Andy Ibid
[42] Redfern, N and Downes, J Ibid p.62
[43] Ibid
[44] Edwards, Frank (1967) Ibid
[45] Redfern op cit p.210
[46] Corso, Col. Philip J., with Birnes, William J. (1997) The Day After Roswell Pocket Books London and New York p.73
[47] Blania-Bolnar, Z (1998) ‘Monkey Business’ in Alien Encounters April 1998
[48] Susan Michaels (1997) Sightings: UFOs Fireside Books
[49] “L’UFO Crash di Mussolini” Unknown website
[50] UFO Magazine May/June 1998 p.49
[51] Redfern, N and Downes, J p.16
[52] Redfern, N and Downes, J p.18
[53] Stonehill, Paul ‘Nazi UFOs: A Russian Eyewitness’ in UFO Magazine (California) Vol 10, No.2, 1995.
[54] Di Rado, Fabio (allegedly) Unattributed Net posting.
[55] Carballal, Manuel (1995) from Saucers Unveiled!
[56] From: “ladynada” <ur-valhalla!usa1.com!ladynada>
[57] Meier, Billy and P’taah in FIGU Bulletin Vol1, No 6
[58] Stephens, Henry (1998) ‘UFOs and the Third Reich’ in The Probe Vol 3 #4
[59] Stephens, Henry (1998) German research Project catalogue
[60] Kasten, Len Op cit
[61] Hatcher-Childress, D and Vesco, R (1994) Man-Made UFOs 1944-1994 – 50 Years of Suppression Adventures Unlimited Press 1994 p.366
[62] Ibid p.370
[63] Stevens ibid
[64] Icke, David (1999) The Biggest Secret Bridge of Love Scottsdale p.254
[65] Stevens op cit
[66] Vesco (1969) ibid
[67] Good, Timothy (1998) Alien Base Century London p.23
[68] Birdsall, Mark Ian op cit p
[69] Birdsall, Mark (1992) ‘Nazi Secret Weapon – Foo Fighters of WWII’ in UFO Magazine (California) Vol 7 #4
[70] Friedrich, M (1975) UFOs – Nazi Secret Weapon? Samisdat Toronto
[71] Miele, Frank in an article ‘Giving the Devil His Due’. Found on Zundel’s Flying Saucers Index website.
[72] ‘No flying saucer built by Hitler’, New Britain Herald for Thursday, March 14 1957
[73] Air Technical Intelligence Center Memorandum T57-7999, 29 March 1957
[74] Masters, David (1982) German Jet Genesis Jane’s London p.135
[75] Jungk, Robert (1965) Brighter Than A Thousand Suns Pelican Middlesex
[76] Harbinson op cit
[77] Matthews, Tim (1999) UFO Revelation – The Secret Technology Exposed Blandford London
[78] Neufeld, Michael J (1995) Peenemunde and the Coming of the Ballistic Missile Era Harvard University Press Massachusetts
[79] Henshall, Philip (1995) Vengeance – Hitler’s Nuclear Weapon Fact or Fiction Alan Sutton
[80] Godwin.Joscelyn (1996) Arktos – The Polar Myth Adventures Unlimited Illinois
[81] Good op cit Various illustrations

09/10. The Nazi UFO Mythos: Official Comments and Intelligence; Mistakes and Fantasies. Kevin McClure

THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS: An Investigation by Kevin McClure 

Part Nine: Official Comments and Intelligence

The publication of Lusar’s book in 1957 not surprisingly provoked both military and intelligence interest. From the New Britain Herald for Thursday, March 14 1957 comes a media-friendly response to the publicity the book had been given.

No Flying Saucer Built by Hitler

WASHINGTON (AP) James H Doolittle says it “just ain’t so” that Nazi Germany developed a flying saucer and a bomber that could attack the United States and return without refuelling.

The veteran airman, chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, gave a House Appropriations subcommittee his estimate of reports published in Germany of great aviation accomplishments under Hitler. These were contained in a book by Rudolf Lusar, former German War Ministry special weapons chief.

Doolittle’s testimony was published today, along with that of Hugh L Dryden, director of the advisory committee. Dryden said “there is no truth” in a statement that German engineers designed a flying saucer which attained a height of 40,000 feet and speed of 1,250 miles an hour.

“This is an advertisement for a book which includes material discovered by our groups who went into Germany after the war”, he said.

Dryden said also the man supposed to have designed the bomber that could cross the Atlantic without refuelling had written a book of his own with no mention of any such invention.

Doolittle, asked about both the saucer and the bomber, said, “It just ain’t so.” [72]

A report dated 29 March 1957, declassified in 1978, from Robert E O’Connor of the Air Technical Intelligence Center to the Director of Intelligence is considerably more specific. It has become very common in the past few years to publish ‘intelligence’ documents on the pretext that they all have equal value, but this report records the outcome of genuine research by those competent to conduct it. I’ve quote the relevant sections – perhaps it isn’t too surprising that those who want us to believe in the Saucer Builders haven’t given it much publicity!

Subject: (Unclassified) Review of Book by Rudolf Lusar

1. Reference is made to conversations between Colonel W O Farrier and Dr S T Possony on the above subject (Unclassified)

2. This office basically concurs with your review of the book ‘The German Weapons and Secret Weapons of World War II and their subsequent development’ (Unclassified)

3. There is no evidence in AFOIN-4 files of German development of ‘Flying Discs’, nor is there any indication of Soviet development of such a vehicle. A check of available biographical files reveals no information on Miethe. The A V Roe engineering staff were contacted and they have no knowledge of Miethe in their organisation.” [73]

There seems to be no reason to believe that these comments were at any stage designed to be misleading, or were based on inadequate or inaccurate research. What the Air Technical Intelligence Center found seems to have been the truth: that there were no high-performance flying discs, and that nobody had a clue about ‘Miethe’, whatever his first name may have been, becoming involved in disc or rocket development anywhere, at any time.
    

Part 10. Mistakes & Fantasies 

Ufologists – especially, I suspect, those who want to believe that the Nazis flew high-performance UFOs – can take life dreadfully seriously. Unfortunately, this failing extends to not being able to spot a genuine mistake, or recognise a fantasy or a fiction that was never intended to be anything but that. Two classic blunders involved taking Lusar far too seriously, and undermining the credibility of otherwise serious and respectable books.

German Jet Genesis

The first is in a Jane’s publication – a publisher with a fine reputation of dealing with all kinds of arms and armaments. However, in German Jet Genesis by David Masters, published in 1982, the author not only reprints Lusar’s claims re flying performance, but also what appear to be pre-Harbinson details from ‘Brisant’. Particularly absurd are the three apparently freehand drawings, depicting a ‘Miethe flying disc’, a ‘Schriever flying disc’ and a ‘Schriever and Habermohl flying disc. Masters sets out some of the traditional array of excuses for the absence of evidence, saying

“Information on this aspect of German jet aircraft development is very sketchy. the project was always highly secret, and documents that may have existed were probably either destroyed, lost or taken by the Russians when the war ended. A last possibility is that the Allies discovered Schriever’s work and considered it too important to reveal”, [74]

but in reality I’d guess this was one of the publisher’s most embarrassing moments.

Robert Jungk

Jungk’s 1956 book Brighter than a Thousand Suns was first published in English in 1958. An impressive history of the development of the atomic bomb, it contains (at page 87 in my 1965 Pelican edition) a curious footnote, which has been used to add credibility to the ‘Saucer Builder’ legends. Referring to a sentence in the text where Jungk says “The indifference of Hitler and those about him to research in natural science amounted to positive hostility”, the footnote says

“The only exception to the lack of interest shown by authority was constituted by the Air Ministry. The Air Force research workers were in a peculiar position. They produced interesting new types of aircraft such as the Delta (triangular) and ‘flying discs’. The first of these ‘flying saucers’, as they were later called – circular in shape, with a diameter of some 45 yards – were built by the specialists Schriever, Habermohl and Miethe. They were first airborne on 14 February 1945 over Prague and reached in three minutes a height of nearly eight miles. they had a flying speed of 1250 mph which was doubled in subsequent tests. It is believed that after the war Habermohl fell into the hands of the Russians. Miethe developed at a later date similar ‘flying saucers’ at A V Roe and Company for the United States.” [75]

It is clear that this footnote derives from Lusar, and should therefore not be taken as true. I note that the original book was written in 1956 and I wonder whether, in fact, the footnote was added by someone other than Jungk at the translation stage in 1957 or 1958. It would be interesting to know whether the original ,Heller als tausend Sonnen (Alfred Scherz Verlag 1956) had this footnote, too. Either way, Jungk – of whose book the Spectator said

“He tells the story brilliantly; no intelligent man or woman can afford to miss it . . Should be compulsory reading for every budding scientist in every sixth form and every university in the world” may be forgiven this lapse, which should not be exploited in order to provide support for the nonsense that Lusar concocted.

The Miethe Legend

In ‘Projekt UFO’, Harbinson asserts that, of the ‘rocket scientists’ involved in flying disc development

“at the close of the war, Walter Miethe went to the US with Wernher von Braun, Dornberger, and hundreds of other members of the Peenemunde rocket programme . . . Miethe, though initially working under Wernher von Braun for the United States’ first rocket centre in the White Sands Prov-ing Ground, New Mexico, joined the A.V. Roe (AVRO-Canada) aircraft company in Malton, Ontario, re-portedly to continue work on disc-shaped aircraft, or flying saucers just as Habermohl was thought to be doing with the Russians.” [76]

These assertions, presumably based on Lusar’s, seem to have led to the development of an impressive, but entirely false, history for the elusive Miethe, covering many years. I think we can now dispose of them. . . .

Tim Matthews, in his book UFO Revelation, refers to the

“three years of painstaking research by UK astronomy, aviation and photographic specialist Bill Rose, which included on-site research in Germany, Canada and the USA . . he was able to discover that Dr Walter Miethe who all sources agree was involved with Schriever, Klaus Habermohl and Guiseppe Belluzzo (an Italian engineer) had been the director of the saucer programme at two facilities located outside Prague. In May 1945, after testing of the prototype had taken place, both Miethe and Schriever were able to flee in the direction of allied forces .

Rose learned not only that test-flights had taken place but that there was film footage of them . . Rose was shown some stills taken from the original 16mm film and, given his expert photo-technical background, concluded, after careful consideration, that this was probably real and historical footage . .

We know a little more about Dr Miethe. One of the important pieces of information came in the form of a rare group photograph showing various young German scientists in 1933. The photograph shows Werner von Braun and Walter Miethe (or Richard Miethe – different sources mention different first names). It would seem that these two knew each other well” [77]

Rose and Matthews claimed that Miethe worked with von Braun in 1933, and that the photo provided by the person who responded to an advert Rose had placed showed them together with other rocket scientists in that year. Fortunately, this is a well-researched and well-recorded period of history, and it should be no more difficult to find records of Miethe than it is that of von Braun. Indeed, von Braun was born in 1912 and if Miethe was 40 in 1952, they should have been absolute contemporaries. The Rocket and the Reich by Michael J Neufeld [78] covers this period, and von Braun’s activities, in detail, as well as detailing rocket and ‘secret weapon’ development right through to the end of the war. Yet it makes no mention at all of Miethe (Walter or Richard), Habermohl, Schreiver, or Belluzzo, Klein or Klaas. Nor, for that matter, does Philip Henshall in Vengeance – Hitler’s Nuclear Weapon Fact or Fiction [79], which covers a similar range in rather less detail. You might think that these people never existed or that, if they did, they played no part in the development of any German flying disc.

SInce his book was published I’ve spoken to Tim Matthews about this matter, and corresponded with Bill Rose. I don’t think either would disagree if I were to say to that it seems that, while Rose is not in a position to disclose details of the elderly West German from whom it appears that both the photos and the surrounding information derived, those photos did not depict a craft in flight or, indeed, fully constructed. In view of the 1952 ‘France-Soir’ interview, the 1957 intelligence report, and the complete absence of anyone called Miethe in the mainstream history of rocketry, I think we can safely set any contrary evidence aside. In view of the considerable influence UFO Revelation and its effective and communicative author have had, particularly in the USA, I hope that the full story behind Rose’s source(s) will be made public. In the meantime, if what was published wasn’t exactly a mistake, it may be fair to say that somebody got hold of the wrong end of the stick, but I’m not sure who was holding the stick at the time.

Balls

I strongly suspect that a supposed AP release of December 1944 about the Germans having “a secret weapon in keeping with the Christmas season” which “resembles the glass balls which adorn Christmas trees”, “are coloured silver and are apparently transparent”, and “have been seen hanging in the air over German territory, sometimes singly, sometimes in clusters”, was actually a light-hearted bit of fun designed for Christmas. The phenomenon described certainly doesn’t bear any resemblance at all to the ‘foo fighter’ reports.

This item was apparently only published – in similar but not identical versions – in the South Wales Argus for 13 December 1944 and the New York Herald Tribune for 2 January 1945. Any competent historian will be aware that in wartime, censorship ensures that the existence of mysterious, enemy secret weapons is not announced by AP, and published openly by the newspapers of combatant nations. Mainstream history has taken no notice of these reports, and in the absence of any evidence to the contrary I suggest they were no more than slight, seasonal jokes, published by just two newspapers out of the thousands that, if the information really derived from a serious AP report, would have taken it up.

Link to Conclusions
 

08. The Nazi UFO Mythos: Authorities from Earth and Elsewhere. Kevin McClure

 THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS: An Investigation by Kevin McClure

Part 8. Authorities from Earth and Elsewhere

Ashtar

Perhaps we should start at the top, in worlds other than ours, and then work our way back, very much, down to the depths. You can always be sure that wherever two or three are gathered together to listen to channeling, Ashtar will be there too. Here is a message channeled by ‘Lady Nada’ in 1996, under the title ‘Home Questions From Our Visitors’. The presentation and spelling are verbatim!

Ques: What is the Relation of the Ashtar Command & the Human Race?

Ans: The Ashtar Command are among many entities that come to Earth and have been circle above the Earth-for the most part invisible to the naked Eye Since early 1950′s A.D. . . There have been many people who were contacted by Extra-Terra-Astrals. Some of their stories were fabricated and some were authentic. These Beings from Aldebaran were insulted after they were labeled untrustworthy. They Went back in time and had a meeting of psychics with the Thule Society who were a secret society. The meeting of the Thule Society led to what is Called the Third Rite (Reich). The Ashtar Command were also in contact with two psychics, named Maria Austish and Zigrum who were in contact with Hitler. Hitler and Nazi Germany were building crafts during WWII. Hitler assembled a team of elite and intelligent scientist and engineers who were experts in the field of Aerodynamics. They began designs for the flying disc in 1941 A.D. During the year 1945-47 three German experts Schriver, Habermohl, and Meithe and an Italian A. Bellonzo were involved in R&D of a saucer-shaped craft. On February 14,1945 A.D. Shriver & Habermohl flew a disc that within 3 minutes climb to an altitude of 12,400 meters and reached a speed of 2,000 km/h in horizontal flight. This technology was given to them by the Ashtar Command. [56] 

Billy Meier and P’taah

Billy Meier, the Swiss contact and photographer of beings, and craft, from the Pleiades, has never really convinced me of the objective reality of either his contacts or his photos. I am certainly not alone in taking that view, and my opinion has not been improved by a conversation that Meier reports in Volume 1, No 6 of his FIGU Bulletin, published in English in October 1997. A reader – “Til Meisterhans, Germany” – quotes from a balanced, and quite sceptical, article “article in the January 1980 edition of UFO magazine”, and asks

“What should one think of the claim that during World War II the Germans built flying disks, respectively flying “Foo Fighters,” and actually flew them?

Those of you who are accustomed to the staking of claims for responsibility for anomalous objects and events will not be surprised to find that Meier cannot resist responding with “information” to which only he has access. He writes

“The following is worth mentioning: According to the Pleiadians/Plejarans, such “Foo Fighters” or disks were constructed in Germany but were never test flown, let alone put into service. Anyone claiming such flying devices reached speeds of several thousand kilometers per hour, flew at altitudes of 12.000 meters [36,000 ft.], and actually reached Mars, is talking complete nonsense. The authentic story about these events is discussed in the 254th contact conversation with P’taah on November 28, 1995:

“Billy: . . .You know, my dear friend, now and then one hears strange things regarding the German flying disks. Is it true that the Germans actually attempted to fly them, and did the disks reach altitudes of up to 12,000 meters?

Ptaah: Such claims are absurd. The “Flying Tops,” as they were called, were never finalized in Germany. However, flying disks were eventually built some time later in other countries, e.g., in South America. In the former Soviet Union and in America attempts were also made to construct such flying devices after pertinent blueprints fell into the hands of Germany’s occupying forces. These blueprints were incomplete in that those who held the plans needed to input a great deal of effort to construct the flying disks. These units were and are flown in terrestrial air space only to this day, excluding, of course, a particular group of people in South America of which you are well aware.

Billy: Can you also tell me whether the blueprints for this type of flying disks secured by the occupying forces were the same ones you people telepathically transmitted to the Germans via impulses? Who was actually in charge in Germany?

Ptaah: The transmissions were directed to two men, Schriever and Miethe who, on their own, had drawn up plans for the “Flying Tops.” These blueprints fell into the hands of the Americans and Soviets who began studying and constructing the units. Also, through theft, the group in South America obtained copies of the same “Flying Tops.” 

Billy: One can say with certainty that this group consisted of high-ranking Nazis who fled from Germany after the war ended and disappeared in South America.

Ptaah: You should not mention any more about this subject.

Billy: Of course not. — On account of World War II, disk-shaped flying objects were observed also in Germany, indeed, worldwide . . .

Ptaah: You are correct in this, yes. However, these flying objects were not of terrestrial origin. They belonged to us and to our allies from the federation.

Billy: This would mean that the flying disks which had been observed were not related to the flying disks, respectively “Flying Tops” disks, or Foo Fighters, of the Germans. Claims to the contrary, therefore, are actually foolish assertions by liars, fantasists, and know-it-alls. We’ve wanted to know about this for a long time.

Ptaah: What I have told you only refers to the Schriever and Miethe Foo Fighters.

Billy: You mean there were others?

Ptaah: Yes, others did exist. However, they were part of a private research program conducted by power hungry Nazis who drew upon Schriever’s and Miethe’s blueprints. Efforts to develop and test fly their Foo Fighters were underway with positive results in Germany at that time.

Billy: By the group now in South America?

Ptaah: Your conjecture is correct.

Billy: And all of this took place right under the nose of the Gestapo?

Ptaah: Many influential members of the Gestapo and its SS-leadership were secret, active participants who attempted to prevent the rest of the world from gleaning any information about the construction, test flights, and other matters. When the war ended, they fled Germany and went to South America, taking with them all of their material and staff. This was not a difficult task, for the Foo Fighters had reached a point were they had the capability of circling the Earth non-stop and transporting all required personnel and materials to South America before the Allied Forces could seize them — or prior to the Allied Forces finding out anything about these secrets.

Billy: So that’s how this all happened. How far did the construction of Schriever’s and Miethe’s Foo Fighters progress?

Ptaah: The prototype for the first test flight was available on July 15, 1941. We monitored this very closely. The Foo Fighter was, however, not constructed according to the data we had transmitted, for we had intentionally made them ineffective by then, as we could foresee the grave danger they would present for terrestrial mankind. [Comments by Billy: The Pleiadians/Plejarans transmitted data for the construction of flying disks to the Germans Schriever and Miethe at the end of the 1920s and beginning of 1930s with the intent to produce an aeronautical technology that would help prevent the looming warfare conflicts. Unfortunately, they soon realized that this technology would be used for the exact opposite purposes. For this reason, the Pleiadians/Plejarans counteracted the undertaking again.] We did not attempt to interfere in the development of Schriever’s and Miethe’s Foo Fighter until we suddenly recognized that the units also posed an immense threat to mankind. Once we realized the flight was going to be a full success, and that mass production of the Foo Fighter would result, we intervened during the preparations to the first test flight.”

This ‘dialogue’ continues on for some time, until Meier concludes

” . . fantastic stories were concocted about flying disks/Foo Fighters which were said to have reached altitudes of 12,000 meters [7_ miles] and Mach 2 or more during their first test flight (which never did take place). Additionally, a fairy tale tells of the Germans having flown to Mars, landing and performing studies there, so that they could inhabit the planet one day. Complete nonsense, all of it. Billy” [57]

Henry Stephens

Henry Stephens runs the ‘German Research Project’, and sells copies both of much of the pro-mythos material, and of more identifiably Nazi and arguably ant–Semitic material. In an article in ‘The Probe’, referring to the work supposedly done on a flying disc by A.V. Roe in Canada, he claims that one of the recorded contributors to the project is shown as “Miethe-Designer 1950(?)” Spinning off into the realms of imagination, Stephens continues

“The reference is obviously about Dr Heinrich (Heinrich? How many names does this man have?) Richard Miethe, who was the designer and builder of the wartime German saucer project, the V-7. Dr Miethe worked during the war at a German facility in Breslau, now part of modern Poland. After the war, he was recruited by the Americans and Canadians to recapitulate his earlier work for Germany in America. Renato Vesco, an Italian engineer who worked with the Germans during the war and who afterwards held a cabinet position with the Italian government, states that Kahla was the location where a turbo-jet powered German saucer lifted off in its maiden flight in February of 1945. Vesco later wrote a book about his experiences, originally titled ‘Intercept but Don’t Shoot’” [58]

Actually, for all his wild speculation, Vesco never claimed that he was writing from his own experience, but details like that simply don’t bother Stephens, as he spirals off into wild assertions about German free energy, atom bombs, Vril, Haunebu, Tesla, Montauk, the New World Order and the rest. And all this from the man whose mail-order business makes him one of the more influential figures in this strange field. His 1998 catalogue outlines the purposes of the GRP:

German Research Project is an organization devoted to distributing information concerning flying saucer-type devices made by the Germans during the Second World War. Beyond this goal, we also hope to distribute information concerning other German weaponry and technology, such as free-energy technology, which is still kept secret and classified by the former Allied Powers. We also hope to explore the reasons for this secrecy. Part of this technology now comprises the research being done by the Americans at Area 51. Much of this technology was retained by a German organizations which did not surrender at the cessation of hostilities. These groups and their histories will be explored also.

The Germans built several types of flying craft which today we would designate “UFOs”. Some were conventionally powered, that is with jet and rocket power, and some were powered electromagnetically. They were built in different places throughout the greater German Reich by different organizations within the government. They were kept under the tightest secrecy. Near the close of the War some of these devices were disassembled and transported by U-boat or simply flown to secure areas outside Germany.

Today, especially since the unification of Germany, more and more information is surfacing concerning these developments in spite of the efforts by our government and its media to discredit, divert and confuse the issue. For those individuals new to this topic, we suggest first reading item number 16 in our catalogue, “Introduction To Secret German Flying Discs Of World War 2″ and any title from our video offerings.” [59]

Len Kasten

The incidence of disinformation with relation to Nazi achievements in general, and flying discs in particular, is high. Here’s some parts of an article by “Len Kasten” from the New Age glossy Atlantis Rising. As usual, he adopts Vesco as an authority, and introduces Viktor Schauberger into the myth. It may be that he actually produces the most detailed account of disc-propulsion, too!

“The more important anti-gravity weapons research was carried on near Prague primarily by Viktor Schauberger and Richard Miethe. In 1944 Miethe, in cooperation with the Italians, developed the large helium powered V-7 and the small one-man Vril models which achieved a speed of 2,900 km/hr in flight tests . . Captain Hans Kohler developed the Hanibu 2 with a diameter of 25 metres which carried a complete flight crew and was powered by a simple electrogravitation motor called the Kohler Converter . .

Kasten describes the (totally fictional) Kugelblitz as an “explosive gas weapon”, having

“a 50-50 mixture of butane and propane, which was ignited by the exhaust of the bombers . . direct gyroscopic stabilisation, television-controlled flight, vertical take-off and landing, jam-free radio control combined with radar blinding, infrared search ‘eyes’, electrostatic weapon firing, hyper-combustible gas combined with a total reaction turbine, and last, but not least, anti-gravity flight technology. This was the incredible Kugelblitz or ‘lightning ball’. If it had emerged even six months earlier, could the war have turned out differently? We will never know, because by this time the Allied armies were rapidly converging on Berlin. So the Kugelblitz puffed out a formation of bombers, and flew off into history – or did it?” [60]

We’ll return to the ‘formation of bombers’ when we come to Wendelle Stevens

David Hatcher-Childress

Those of you familiar with the fields of both pseudo-science and pseudo-history – and pseudo pretty much anything, really – will already know of the boundless imagination of Hatcher-Childress. In his publication ‘Man-Made UFOs 1944 – 1994, 50 Years of Suppression’, by “Renato Vesco and David Hatcher-Childress”, Hatcher-Childress actually republishes the whole of Vesco’s first book (without really making clear that’s what it is), adds some early UFO photos that might look like the ones he appears to believe were built in Germany during the war, and speculations of his own. His “Summary of the Claims and Evidence” has some familiar elements . . .

“After various experimental prototypes, including the rocket powered Miethe and Schriever discs, production began on the small ten meter diameter interceptor-fighters of the Vril series. The larger Haunibu series began with the 25 meter Haunibu 1 & 2. These craft had canons mounted underneath and were designed as “tank Killers”.

The 74 meter Haunibu-3, designed as an anti-shipping craft for use over long distances, was actually built and tested. It had inflatable rubber cushions on the underside for landing. The 300 meter Haunibu-4 was on the design board for interplanetary travel. It was disc shaped and could also carry several of the smaller Vril craft. Also reportedly in the design stage was an immense 330 meter cigar-shaped battleship.

Towards the end of the war, the Germans had developed interplanetary craft with no moving parts which were capable of going to the Moon or even Mars.” [61]

In ‘The Thesis of This Book’, he also asserts that

“Some German divisions removed themselves to South America and Antarctica in the few months and weeks before the end of the war . . the Americans, British and Russians began to build test discoid aircraft in the late 40s and 5Os. Isolated German pockets in South America have intense UFO activity. Antarctic bases are probably vacated or captured by Americans and Russians. Today, a seven-story or more underground base run jointly by America and Russia exists at the South Pole.” [62]

I have no idea whether Hatcher-Childress actually believes this nonsense. I suppose he must, because otherwise he’d be knowingly misleading his many readers. Unfortunately, this concoction of a book has created something of a new generation of believers, including the UK author Alan Baker. In spite of his publisher’s confident assertion of his “meticulous research” for his book ‘Invisible Eagle’, Baker accepted Hatcher-Childress without question, and now a new readership is stuck with Vesco developing flying discs at Lake Garda and investigating UFOs for the Italian Air Ministry, the reality of the Feuerball and Kugelblitz, and the top-secret Projekt Saucer. One man’s research is another man’s trip to the bookshop.

Wendelle Stevens

Wendelle Stevens, veteran ufologist and Billy Meier supporter has, he says, been privy to a unique range of experiences pertaining to Nazi UFOs. As well as having been “sent to Alaska to supervise the installation of special equipment onboard B-29 bombers” to look for “mysterious flying objects known as ‘fire balls’ or ‘foo fighters’”, he claims in ‘Alien Encounters’ issue 25 that the Vril and Haunebu discs “were used just once against the Allies, in which they devastated a vast 800 bomber raid over Germany, shooting down an unprecedented 200 in just one night”. [63] Bomber Command clearly missed this tragedy when compiling its records.

David Icke, who in The Biggest Secret takes the Nazi UFO mythos as true along with hundreds of other nonsensical beliefs, reports Stevens as saying that

“the Foo Fighters were sometimes grey-green, and sometimes red-orange. They approached his aircraft as close as five metres and then just stayed there, he said. They could not be shaken off or shot down and caused many squadrons to either turn back or land.” [64]

Stevens also purports that while working at the Air Technical Intelligence Center he saw a map of Germany which was marked with nine Saturn-shaped symbols. He later found out from Vladimir Terziski that these were where Nazi research centres were located,

“By the end of the war the Nazis had nine secret research facilities where they built two types of disc: the smaller ‘Vril’ craft, and the much bigger ‘Haunebu’ Both of these were powered by a ‘gravity null field’. In test flights the craft rose 60,000ft in just six and a half minutes, which radically outstripped the performance of any allied aircraft.” [65]

Vanguard Science/KeelyNet/Al Pinto

Any Internet search for ‘Nazi UFOs’ and similar subjects is likely to produce links to material by “Al Pinto” or “Tal”, apparently “Sponsored by Vanguard Sciences, PO Box 1031, Mesquite, TX 75150, USA” which depends heavily on the article written under Vesco’s name in ‘Argosy’. [66] Additional material re Nikola Tesla and Viktor Schauberger is added to quotes from Vesco and Lusar, particularly a claim that Schauberger had developed the ‘Schriever, Habermohl, Miethe and Bellonzo Flying Disc’ at Malthausen Concentration Camp, using prisoners to do the work. I still don’t really know quite who “Al Pinto” and “Tal” are, or what the underlying intention of ‘Vanguard Sciences’ may be. The coincidence of the name ‘Vanguard’ with a prominent neo-Nazi organisation has been mentioned to me on several occasions.

I did receive, through a friend who had published some earlier findings on Nazi UFOs, a message from a Jack Veach who said (inter alia) that

“Mr McClure makes some very positive statements debunking a great deal of untruths about Nazi UFOs, however I would like to offer him a website and an email whereby he might find more information about Mr Renate Vesco.

I am a member of Vanguard Science, not Vangard Science, as he has listed. This is a civilian group of folk, here in the Dallas-Ft Worth area that are open-minded about the verity of science and have taken it upon ourselves to study Tesla, Keely, and a host of others we feel have been given the short-end of the stick with respect to technology and applications thereof.

Mr Jerry Decker and Mr Chuck Henderson could much better avail you of information about Mr Vesco and his work. I personally had an English translation of one of his works I gave away about ten years ago pursuant the German V-7.

My father and his C.O. both saw Foo Fighters over Europe during WWII, so that much is real. Neither my dad nor Col. Lasly knew anything about UFOs, nor had any interest in them. What they did say was that between the Foo Fighters and the Me-262s they encountered, they felt they would be killed before the war was over in Europe.

I hope that will clear some things up for Mr McClure with respect to Vanguard Science and Mr Vesco and hopefully all of us can clear the riddle of the Nazi UFOs from all the smoke and mirrors that unfortunately come to the fore on something of this nature.”

My friend sent an e-mail back to Mr Veach, expressing my interest in receiving further information about Vesco, but no response was forthcoming. The post-mortem involvement of both mainstream and fringe scientists in the development of flying discs has raised a variety of names including Marconi, Einstein, Tesla, Schauberger, Keely and others. I am unaware of any real evidence that Schauberger worked at Malthausen using slave labour. If that suggestion is no more than wishful thinking, then I am left wondering why anybody should wish for it.

Mark Ian Birdsall

Birdsall has long been an influential figure in ufology. Currently Editor of the newsstand magazine Unopened Files – Access a Number of Well Kept Secrets and Features Editor of UFO Magazine, he has an established interest in wartime UFO events. In his 1998 book Alien Base’, Tim Good says

“Interestingly, there is circumstantial evidence that at least one of the V~7 project aircraft was prototyped. According to the researcher and author Mark Ian Birdsall, several projects involving a circular-wing aircraft were conceived during the war, the most elaborate of which was constructed by Dr Richard Miethe at facilities in Breslau (Wroclaw), Poland, and in Prague. A small prototype was rumoured to have flown over the Baltic Sea in January 1943, and two full-scale aircraft with a diameter of 135 feet were eventually built. Also, reports Birdsall, another V-7 project was a ‘spinning saucer’, based on helicopter principles, about 35 feet in diameter, designed by Rudolf Schriever, a small prototype of which was allegedly first flown in 1943.” [67]

Good’s reference for these comments is given as “Birdsall, Mark Ian, Flying Saucers of the Third Reich: The Legacy of Prague-Kbely (pending publication). That book has not, as I write, yet been published.

In, I think, 1988, Birdsall had published the unfortunately-titled booklet ‘The Ultimate Solution’ which, in just 29 pages, presented three different pictures of Hitler. It also includes copies of US intelligence documents reporting the newspaper accounts of George Klein’s claims of the test-flight on 14 February 1945, diagrams of assorted Miethe-Schreiver-Bellonzo discs, and some probably avoidably uncritical material about ‘secret’ Antarctic exploration and the escape of Nazis from Germany at the end of the war. [68] In 1992, in Vol.7 No.4 of the US ‘UFO Magazine’, he wrote an article titled ‘Nazi Secret Weapon – Foo Fighters of WWII’, and included illustrations of a supposed ‘Schriever-Habermohl’ disc. [69] The introduction to the article says that Birdsall “just completed a hefty manuscript which enlarges considerably the scope of the available source material”. It would be interesting to see what material Birdsall has found, and whether his views might be influenced by what is being published in this piece.

Ernst Zundel/Mattern Friedrich

Ernst Zundel, also known as Mattern Friedrich (the name under which he authored UFOs – Nazi Secret Weapon? [70]) and Christof Friedrich (how he has signed the copy of that book which I have) has had considerable involvement in the distribution of material regarded as Holocaust revisionism. He has often been described as an anti-Semite.

Zundel sustained the ‘Nazi UFO’ myth through much of the 1970s, presenting a mixture of Lusar, Schauberger, and the ‘Hitler survived/Nazi Antarctica’ material, illustrated with vague photos of uncertain provenance, and the usual diagrams from the European press. He seems to have been unaware of Vesco, but could well have introduced the idea that Schauberger worked actively on disc development with slave labour. While not doubting the underlying sincerity of Zundel in promoting German wartime achievements, a report of comments he allegedly made to Frank Miele may well reflect his attitude to his readers. Miele quotes Zundel as saying

“I realised that North Americans were not interested in being educated. they want to be entertained. The book was for fun. With a picture of the Fuhrer on the cover and flying saucers coming out of Antarctica it was a chance to get on radio and TV talk shows. For about 15 minutes of an hour program I’d talk about that esoteric stuff. Then I would start talking about all those Jewish scientists in concentration camps, working on these secret weapons. And that was my chance to talk about what I wanted to talk about.” [71]

Whatever else may be true of Zundel, I think I can safely say that his work has no factual contribution to make to the ‘Nazi UFO’ debate. But that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t influenced its development, or that others less canny than he, but with similar beliefs, have not involved themselves in the subject because they believe what he said.

Link to Parts Nine & Ten: Official Comments and Intelligence; Mistakes and Fantasies

07. The Nazi UFO Mythos: Unnamed Soldiers. Kevin McClure

 THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS: An Investigation by Kevin McClure

Part Seven: Unnamed Soldiers 

The term ‘unnamed soldier’ is one which I – I think – coined to describe the anonymous supposed ex-forces personnel who purveyed such nonsense about alien abductions and secret military activities over the last decade or so. But the phenomenon is nothing new, as is evidenced by a few typical reports which I’ve selected here.

Redfern and Downes have reprinted some accounts volunteered to the US intelligence services. The nature of intelligence collection is, of course, that it involves collecting every scrap of nonsense, every wild claim that can be collected, and then sifting through it for what might be important. I don’t think that any of these reports could be said to be important, or even truthful, but it is always useful for authors to present material like this as ‘intelligence reports’. This is, it seems, from a letter from 1947, the writer have been inspired by early flying saucer accounts

“Recently I have heard and read about reports of disc-shaped aircraft or whatever they are, in our Western regions. They reminded me of a nearly-forgotten incident in Germany, after the war. I report this to you because I feel this may be of international scope.

My buddy and I went on pass to see a friend of his. One evening the three of us were driving along some back roads when I sighted strange-looking object in the sky from eight to ten miles to our front and approximately 5,000 feet high. I immediately stopped the jeep for a better look The object rapidly came toward us, descending slowly. About a mile away it stopped its horizontal motion but continued a slow-oscillating descent similar to a descending parachute. Then it stopped in a spiral motion.

Immediately I drove to where it had dropped. It took almost five minutes to reach the place but we saw nothing. After ten minutes of cruising around the area it became too dark to see so we went back to town.

I am not sure my companions saw this because it happened so quickly it could easily have been missed, but I described what I had seen so vividly that they were as excited as I was . . The locale of this incident was approximately 120 miles north-west of Ubberbishophiem.” [51]

Redfern and Downes continue

“What were perhaps two of the most persuasive accounts positing a direct link between the Nazi war machine and unidentified flying objects came via two individuals interviewed by FBI agents, in 1957 and 1967 respectively.

In the 1957 case, agents at Detroit recorded that they had spoken with a man who was…

‘…born February 19,1926, in the State of Warsaw, Poland, and was brought from Poland as a Prisoner of War to Gut Alt Golssen approximately 30 miles east of Berlin, Germany, in May1942, where he remained until a few weeks after the end of World War II. According to the man, during 1944, month not recalled, while enroute to work in a field a short distance north of Gut Alt Golssen, their tractor engine stalled on a road through a swamp area. No machinery or other vehicle was then visible although a noise was heard described as a high-pitched whine similar to that produced by a large electric generator.

An ‘SS’ guard appeared and talked briefly with the German driver of the tractor, who waited five to ten minutes, after which the noise stopped and the tractor engine was started normally. Approximately 3 hours later in the same swamp area, but away from the road where the work crew was cutting hay, he surreptitiously, because of the German in charge of the crew and ‘SS’ guards in the otherwise deserted area, observed a circular enclosure approximately 100 to 150 yards in diameter protected from viewers by a tarpaulin-type wall approximately 50 feet high, from which a vehicle was observed to slowly rise vertically to a height sufficient to clear the wall and then to move slowly horizontally a short distance out of his view, which was obstructed by trees.

‘This vehicle, observed from approximately 500 feet, was described as circular in shape, 75 to 100 yards in diameter, and about 14 feet high, consisting of dark gray stationary top and bottom sections, five to six feet high. The approximate three foot middle section appeared to be a rapidly moving component producing a continuous blur similar to an aeroplane propeller, but extending the circumference of the vehicle so far as could be observed. The noise emanating from the vehicle was similar but of somewhat lower pitch than the noise previously heard. The engine of the tractor again stalled on this occasion and no effort was made by the German driver to start the engine until the noise stopped, after which the engine started normally.”

The next report comes from 1967

‘On April 26,1967 [the witness] appeared at the Miami Office and furnished the following information relating to an object, presently referred to as an unidentified flying object, he allegedly photographed during November, 1944.

‘Sometime during 1943, he graduated from the German Air Academy and was assigned as a member of the Luftwaffe on the Russian Front. Near the end of 1944, he was released from this duty and was assigned as a test pilot to a top secret project in the Black Forest of Austria. During this period he observed the aircraft described above. It was saucer-shaped, about twenty-one feet in diameter, radio-controlled, and mounted several jet engines around the exterior portion of the craft. He further described the exterior portion as revolving around the dome in the center which remained stationary. It was his responsibility to photograph the object while in flight. He asserted he was able to retain a negative of a photograph he made at 7,000 meters (20,000 feet).

According to him, the above aircraft was designed and engineered by a German engineer whose present whereabouts is unknown to him. He also assumed the secrets pertaining to this aircraft were captured by Allied Forces. He said this type of aircraft was responsible for the downing of at least one American B-26 airplane.

He has become increasingly concerned because of the unconfirmed reports concerning a similar object and denials the United States has such an aircraft. He feels such a weapon would be beneficial in Vietnam and would prevent the further loss of American lives which was his paramount purpose in contacting the Federal Bureau of Investigation.’ [52]

Paul Stonehill of the Russian Ufology Research Centre has presented some unlikely tales from the former Soviet Union, but few are as dramatic as the anonymous account apparently told to “Konstantin Tiouts, an engineer in Moscow, Russia” who passed it on to Stonehill. Stonehill is “convinced of the authenticity of the document”. The witness – “X” – was in the Red Army when, in 1941

“The Germans took him and his comrades to a POW camp. X was then immersed into living hell. He starved. He was betrayed. He was dying of typhus, but he managed to survive and attempted an escape. But they caught him and sent him to Auschwitz. There he was “employed” as a medical orderly, until he again contracted typhus.

X was sent to the ovens. He recalls the nauseating smell of the burning human flesh as he stood in line to be dispatched into a crema-torium oven. But X did again survive. In August of 1943, X and some other prisoners were moved to a camp in the vicinity of Peenemunde, where the Nazis’ camp was designated as “KZ-A4,” and located in Trassenhede. The camp’s purpose was to carry out the programs of the Hochdrukpumpe Project: removal of the consequences of British bombing raids. Hangman of Auschwitz, SS Brigadenfuhrer Hans Kampler ordered prisoners to be transferred to the Peenemunde testing grounds. Major General Dehrenberger, head of the testing ground, had little time for the reconstruction work, and therefore sanctioned the use of concentration camp prisoners.

In September of 1943. X inadvertently became a witness to something that is of great interest to UFO researchers. X was with a group of prisoners engaged in demolishing a reinforced concrete wall. During the lunch break, the group was driven away. under guard. However, X remained at the demolition site, because of a dislocated foot. Later he set the bone himself, but the truck with his fellow prisoners had already left. Sud-denly, four workers rolled out on a concrete landing strip next to a nearby hangar a weird looking apparatus. X described it as round in parameter with a drop-shaped cockpit in the center with small inflatable wheels. He said it looked like an upside down washbasin. After a hand signal from a short, stout man, quiver-ing in the wind, the strange apparatus. the color of heavy silvery metal, made a hissing sound and took off.

It hovered at an altitude of approximately five meters over the landing strip, the hissing sound reminding X of a blowlamp. He noted that the outline of the apparatus clearly showed through on its silvery surface. For a short while the device rocked, like a tilting doll. and then the borders of the outline slowly began to blur as if it were going out of focus. Then it jumped up sharply like a humming top and gained altitude in a snakelike motion. The flight, judging by the rocking of the apparatus, advanced erratically. A sudden gust of wind from the Baltic Sea turned the craft upside down, and it began to lose altitude rather sharply. X was enveloped in a mixture of smells-burning, hot air and ethyl alcohol. He heard the apparatus impacting with the ground, the crunching and breaking of compo-nents. It hit the ground not far away from X. Instinctively, the inmate ran toward the crashed apparatus, thus revealing himself. But he had only one thought in his mind-to try to save the pilot, a human being . . . [53]

And so it goes on, a man who makes Indiana Jones look like Thomas the Tank Engine, and sees flying saucers as well. Another classic – and amazingly brave except when giving his name – ‘unnamed soldier’ comes from an Internet posting also, as often happens, published by Nexus magazine. This is, supposedly, an account of the real secrets of the ‘foo fighters’, told by a former Italian Resistance member who became so close to the SAS in Southern Italy from 1943 to 1945 that he was able to see films taken of them shot by allied planes but (and does this seem familiar?) could only show “Italian researcher Fabio Di Rado” stills taken from these. In a particularly modern twist this nameless witness did not, however, say that he believed that they were of German manufacture. Instead, he supposedly told Di Rado

“Those machines, if we can call them that, could perform such quick and agile movements that they were unlikely to have been built by human beings. You can believe me – foo-fighters couldn’t be Nazi – otherwise they could have won the war easily. The more likely hypothesis . . an Air Force coming from other worlds was among us.”

The absolute giveaway to this tale lies in the beginning of the account

“During the Spring of 1998 I went with another person to an inland village of Sicily to meet an 80-year-old man who claimed to have some unknown documents about foo fighters.

When we arrived at a farmhouse in the heart of the countryside, our witness showed us into a room which seemed to be his private study . . We were ordered not to take pictures; we could only make notes. To our disappointment, we had to accept this. I was given a copy on high-resolution CD-ROM of the pictures and documents that I saw there in the original version, with some censored parts.” [54]

Whatever would we do without the contribution of these rural Italian 80-year-olds and their high resolution CD-ROMs?

Prague-Kbely

Probably the most influential of the original ‘unnamed soldier’ accounts formed, in the late 1980s, an input to the mythos which led to the identification of a specific aerodrome as the location for a test flight of a substantial flying disc. This seems to have come from an anonymous, untested press account, here summarised (in translation) in an excerpt titled The Reich’s Flying Saucers by Manuel Carballal, excerpted from his book Saucers Unveiled!.

“In its February 1989 issue, the German magazine Flugzeug published the following report made by a German aviation official who, allegedly, been the protagonist of the astonishing sighting involving a “flying saucer” at the Prag-Gbell (formerly Praha-Kbely) aerodrome in 1943. The controversial report follows:

Place of Sighting: C 14 Flight School at the Prag-Gbell aerodrome. Date of Event August/September 1943, supposedly on a Sunday (I seem to recall there were no services on that day. The weather was good, dry and sunny. Kind of Observation: “I was with my flight comrades on the air strip, more precisely, near the school buildings, some 2000 meters away from the arsenal (located to the extreme left). See adjoining diagram. The device was inside the hangar: a disk some 5-6 meters in diameter. Its body is relatively large at the center. Underneath, it has four tall, thin legs. Color: Aluminum. Height: Almost as tall as a man. Thickness: some 30 – 40 cm., with an rim of external rods, perhaps square orifices. The upper part of the body (almost a third of the total height) was shrunken over the upper half of the disk. It was flat and rounded. See the attached sketch for the lower half.

Along with my friends, I saw the device emerge from the hangar. It was then that we heard the roar of the engines, we saw the external side of the disk begin to rotate, and the vehicle began moving slowly and in a straight line toward the southern end of the field. It then rose almost 1 meter into the air. After moving around some 300 meters at that altitude, it stopped again. Its landing was rather rough. We had to leave the area while some custodians pushed the vehicles toward the hangar. Later on, the “thing” took off again, managing to reach the end of the aerodrome this time.

Afterwards, I made a note in my flight log of the members of the FFS C14 who were present at the moment: Gruppenfluglehrer (group flight instructor) Ofw. Michelsen; Fluglehrer Uffz. Kolh und Buhler; Flugschüler (flight students): Ogefr, Klassmann, Kleiner, Müller, Pfaffle, Schenk, Seifert, Seibert, Squarr, Stahn, Weinberger, Zoebele, Gefr, Hering, Koza, Sitzwohl, Voss, and Waluda.”

Certainly, even Flugzeug’s editors treat the report cautiously: “the device described by these observers is antithetical to those described by Schreiver, Habermohl, Miethe, and Bellonzo with their vast basic dimensions.” And these German experts cannot be mistaken, since it is known to all of those who are well-versed in aeronautics that during the history of Nazi aviation at least two circular-wing aircraft were built, and fifteen others were designed, although there remains the possibility that the object supposedly tested at Prag-Gbell was one of the prototypes destroyed by the Nazis in order to keep it from falling into Allied hands after the fall of the Third Reich.” [55]

 Link to Part Eight: Authorities from Earth and Elsewhere

The Nazi UFO Mythos 06: False Histories. Kevin McClure

THE NAZI UFO MYTHOS: An Investigation by Kevin McClure 

Part 6: False Histories

Project Uranus

In another careful analysis of a dubious element of UFO history, Andy Roberts says:

“We have at least one outright hoax in foo-fighter lore. For years rumours had been flying round that the Germans had been fully aware of the foo-fighter phenomenon and that they had a special study group formed to look into the problem under the name of “Project Uranus”, backed by a shadowy group by the name of Sonderburo 13. This was first detailed in La Livres Noir De Soucoupes Volantes (The Black Book of Flying Saucers – 1970) by French ufologist Henry Durrant. The rumour spread in Europe and eventually took physical form in the English language in Tim Good’s acclaimed book Above Top Secret where it is used to help substantiate further vague rumours of an Anglo/American foo-fighter study. Good had not checked his facts and had in fact just copied the information direct from Durrant’s book.

When I checked this out with Durrant he informed me that the whole “Project Uranus” affair was a hoax which he had inserted in his book precisely to see who would copy it without checking. The hoax apparently had been revealed in France some years before but hadn’t percolated its way through to English speaking ufologists. Perhaps other foo hoaxes await discovery.” [37]

The ‘Schweinfurt Raid’

This tale involves, well, little flying saucers, in a B-17 raid on October 14 1943, aimed at the ball-bearing factories at Schweinfurt in Germany. It was publicised by popular US author Frank Edwards in Flying Saucers – Here and Now [38] in 1967, but I understand that the original glamourised version comes from one Martin Caidin, in his book Black Thursday, published in 1960. Caidin reports that

“During the bomb run of several groups, starting at about the time the Fortresses approached the Initial Point, there occurred one of the most baffling incidents of World War II, and an enigma that to this day defies all explanation.” “As the bombers of the 384th Group swung into the final bomb run after passing the Initial Point, the fighter attacks fell off. This point is vital, and pilots were queried extensively, as were other crew members, as to the position at that time of the German fighter planes. Every man interrogated was firm in his statement that “at the time there were no enemy aircraft above.”

“At this moment the pilots and top turret gunners, as well as several crewmen in the Plexiglas noses of the bombers, reported a cluster of discs in the path of the 384th’s formation and closing with the bombers. The startled exclamations focused attention on the phenomenon and the crews talked back and forth, discussing and confirming the astonishing sight before them.”

“The discs in the cluster were agreed upon as being silver colored, about one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were easily seen by the B-17 crewmen, gliding down slowly in a very uniform cluster.” “And then the `impossible’ happened. B-17 Number 026 closed rapidly with a number of discs; the pilot attempted to evade an imminent collision with the objects, but was unsuccessful in his maneuver. He reported at the intelligence debriefing that his right wing “went directly through a cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane surface.”

“The intelligence officers pressed their questioning, and the pilot stated further that one of the discs was heard to strike the tail assembly of his B-17, but that neither he nor any member of the crew heard or witnessed an explosion.” “He further explained that about twenty feet from the discs the pilots sighted a mass of black debris of varying sizes of clusters of three by four feet.” “The SECRET report added: `Also observed two other A/C flying through silver discs with no apparent damage. Observed discs and debris two other times but could not determine where it came from.”

“No further information on this baffling incident has been uncovered, with the exception that such discs were observed by pilots and crew on missions prior to, and after, Mission 115 of October 14, 1943.” [39]

Caidin’s account is footnoted “1 Memorandum of October 24, 1943, from Major E.R.T. Holmes, F.L.O., 1st Bombardment Division, Reference FLO/IBW/REP/126, to M.I.15, War Office, Whitehall, London, SW (copy to Colonel E.W. Thomson, A-2, Pinetree)”, but Andy Roberts actively investigated the reference, and reports that:

“a letter to the M.O.D at their Air Historical Branch 5 came to nothing, suggesting that either of the documents may be held at the Public Records Office at Kew, London. A professional researcher was despatched to try to find the document. She searched all relevant Air Force records available (some are still bound by various `rules’ with embargoes on viewing of up to 100 years) but could find nothing, despite the help of staff there and noting that “the reference FLO etc. does not correspond with any references at the record office.

In the USA, Dennis Stacy (then MUFON UFO Journal editor) had taken an interest in the case and followed up several leads, aided by the Freedom of Information Act. Firstly the A.F. Historical Research centre at Maxwell AFB searched their 8th A.F. files but could come across no documentary record of the event (interestingly enough I tried the same source and whilst they gave me squadron histories of the 415th Night Fighter squadron and their documented foo-fighter sightings, they could provide nothing on the Schweinfurt raid — odd if the Schweinfurt events were real).

The National Archives (Washington) searched their files but drew a blank. A letter written to French researcher J. M. Bigorne from the National Archives stated “A search in records of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS), European War, Target Damage File, 11a (2606), Schweinfurt, failed to disclose any documentation or information regarding little flying discs by B-17 pilots.” All this presents us with a quandary. If the Archives are quite free about some foo-fighter info why, if it exists at all, should they be that bothered about concealing the Schweinfurt material? So far three independent researchers over the past ten years have had the same answer — none of the flight records for that day record the event in Caidin’s book. As I have seen other pilots’ logs which mention unusual UFO-type sightings during missions it would be inconceivable for at least a few aircrew on that raid to have mentioned it even in passing – especially as in this case it was obviously something of an item at de-briefing.

Letters in numerous aircrew magazines (UK & US) requesting info on the raid were placed and despite many replies no-one knew anything. Aviation writers Martin Middlebrook and Chaz Bowyer who have written many highly detailed books about the air war, and have interviewed thousands of aircrew, wrote to say they had never heard of the incident, despite having had foo-fighters mentioned to them in other contexts.

Dennis Stacy contacted the 384th Bombing Group survivors association and with no account of the UFO sighting forthcoming from them was put onto General Theodore Ross Milton who led the raid that day and went in first with the 91st Group Formation. He wrote; “I don’t recall seeing black discs or hearing about any strange phenomena from any of my group.” [40]

Roberts and Stacy pursued the source further

Martin Caidin, originator of the rumour also presents problems. His book Black Thursday was first published in 1960 and yet quotes an alleged SECRET report. How did he get hold of it then and why has it not been seen since? As for Caidin himself, several people have tried to get in touch with him without success. Both myself and (then) MUFON Journal editor Dennis Stacy have tried to track him down via his publishers and a UFO magazine he has written for, but to no avail. He last appeared in the dodgy US magazine UFO Universe where he was featured on the front page as having ‘chased bogies at 20,000 feet,’ (an astonishing spectacle no doubt!), but whilst the article gave details of UFOs he’d seen post-WWII, government film of UFOs, cover-ups, and you name it (along with mucho promotion for his many books, including UFO based novels) the Schweinfurt raid was never mentioned. Funny that, really.” [41]

However, with the terrier-like tenacity for which he is renowned, Roberts kept searching, and in September 2000 finally found, in the Records Office at Kew

The document which Caidin obviously based his account on. It reads as follows. All spelling and punctuation is in the original. The file in which the document can be found is: AIR 40/464. At the top right of the document is a rubber stamp giving details of circulation to:

  • 1. Col Kingman Douglas
  • 2. A.I.3. ? (W/Cdr Smith)
  • 3. A.I. 2. ? (W/Cdr Heath)
  • (Author’s note: the ? refers to a squiggle or letter I cannot decipher, although it could well be ‘to’. Also the background of the stamp on which the above was written says:
  • “Received 17 Oct 1943″
  • “Copies sent to A.I.8 (USA))
  • The rest of the document is as follows:
  • EKG. TELEGRAM EN CLAIR 4112
  • Recd. AMCS. 171129a hrs Oct.43
  • To- OIAWW, OIAJX, OISHL, HBC, AMY.
  • From – OIPNT
  • IMPORTANT – CONFIDENTIAL
  • 8 BC 0-1079-E
  • Annex to Intelligence Report Mission Shweinfurt 16 October 1943
  • 306 Group report a partially unexploded 20mm shell imbedded above the panel in the cockpit of A/C number 412 bearing the following figures 19K43. The Group Ordnance Officer believes the steel composing the shell is of inferior grade. 348th Group reports a cluster of disks observed in the path of the formation near Schweinfurt, at the time there were no E/A above. Discs were described as silver coloured – one inch thick and three inches in diameter. They were gliding slowly down in very uniform cluster. A/C 026 was unable to avoid them and his right wing went directly through a cluster with absolutely no effect on engines or plane surface. One of the discs was heard striking tail assembly but no explosion was observed. About 20 feet from these discs a mass of black debris of varying sizes in clusters of 3 by 4 feet. Also observed 2 other A/C flying through silver discs with no apparent damage. Observed discs and debris 2 other times but could not determine where it came from.
  • Copies to:-
  • P.R. & A.I.6.
  • D.B.Ops
  • War Room
  • D.A.T.
  • A.I.3. (USA) (Action 2 copies)

“Presumably Caidin must have seen a copy of this document from one of the American recipients . . . The Rubber stamp clearly states it was received on 17 October, pre-dating Caidin’s reference by seven days. But the sheer number of channels through which documents went could be the reason for this confusion and now the original document has been located I don’t think we need get hung up on the original reference any more. I have found no record of most of the personnel listed. However a Squadron Leader Heath was involved in the UK’s investigations of the Scandinavian ‘ghost rockets’ in 1946.”

He concludes

At least we now know Caidin’s reference exists! Besides that there is little to say really. The objects reported are intriguing but not completely mystifying. There were many types of flak being used by the Germans in W.W.II and several files in the PRO refer to coloured flak, flak which threw off unusual fragments, and so on. This explanation is made more likely by the fact that the ‘F.L.O.’ in Caidin’s reference stands for ‘Flak Liaison Officer’, at least suggesting that the Air Ministry were treating it within a flak context. The objects could also have been some kind of ‘window’ dropped by the Germans in an attempt to disrupt radar or radio communication among air crew. The explanation as to what the small objects were is now more of a task for the air historian than it is for the ufologist. What is clear from the original account is that the discs, whilst unusual, were clearly not any type of ‘craft’, under intelligent or purposeful control or dangerous to the air craft or crew.

In my opinion these objects do not belong in the category of sightings referred to as ‘foo-fighters’, both by their physical description and by their behaviour and characteristics. Although often lumped in with foo-fighter reports they are clearly different. This story has been a staple of UFO writers for the past three four decades. Now we have further clarification and I believe that this particular mystery is more or less laid to rest.

Andy Roberts is more charitable to Caidin’s exaggerated and redefined version of the report than I, but Caidin is nowhere near as foolish as those who put together the second block (1998 release) of ‘Majestic 12′ documents. Nevertheless, Nick Redfern and Jonathan Downes present a copy of a section of these silly documents, which says

“Aerial interference with military aircraft has demonstrated the ability to observe our air operations in war and peacetime conditions. During the war over 900 near-miss incidents were reported by allied pilots and crews in all theater of operations. One of the most dramatic near-miss encounters occurred on 14 October 1943, 8th AF Mission 115 over Schweinfurt, Germany, B-17 crews reported many formations of silvery discs flying down into the B-17 formations. Several times during the bombing mission, large objects were seen following the discs descent into the formations. Unlike previous reports, no engine failures or airframe damage was reported. After the surrender of Nazi Germany, GAF fighter pilots were interrogated by AF intelligence concerning Mission 135. GAF did not have any aircraft above our bombers at that time.” [42]

I’ve never found the whole ‘MJ-12′ idea credible, but at least the first release of documents was prepared with sufficient care to provoke meaningful discussion. This ridiculous exaggeration of an already elaborated tale makes the second release of documents look absurd. I would also point out that the Nazi UFO mythos and MJ-12 are essentially incompatible: if the Americans had already gained the ability to build high-performance flying discs from the Germans, why would they have become so excited about crashed ET discs? And why didn’t all those portentous ‘first-release’ documents mention them at all?

The Massey Project

Redfern and Downes continue to publicise another claim made by Frank Edwards, just before his account of the Schweinfurt Raid. Despite being aware of the negative outcomes of research conducted by both Andy Roberts and Tim Good, they say

“As far as the British Government is concerned, there is strong evidence to show that extremely rigorous investigations were made into the Foo Fighter phenomenon by an elite team of Air Ministry and Royal Air Force operatives.” [43]

They quote Edwards

“As early as 1943, the British had set up a small organisation to gather information on these objects. It was under the direction of Lieutenant General Massey, and it had been inspired to some extent by the reports of a spy who was in reality a double agent, working under the directions of the Mayor of Cologne. He had confirmed that the Foo Fighters were not German devices, which of course the British knew they were not. The British Air Ministry, in 1966, told me that the Massey project was officially terminated in 1944. Perhaps it is only coincidence that the double agent was exposed and executed in the spring of 1944.” [44]

Three problems arise immediately. Tim Good has established, from a dependable source, that there was no Lieutenant General Massey. Almost all the foo fighter reports date from 1944 onwards, so it’s not clear why “extremely rigorous investigations” should start in 1943 and end in 1944. And what on earth was a spy doing being controlled by the Mayor of Cologne? On the evidence, the ‘Massey Project’ sounds like a complete, and deliberate, fabrication.

Crashed Saucers and Back-Engineering

Nick Redfern makes a great deal of limited evidence in suggesting that there has ever been one extra-terrestrial flying craft crash on Earth since 1900, let alone more than one. He has not, however, been unwilling to suggest that the Nazis had access to one or more crashed flying saucers, and back-engineered technology from them. This, supposedly, was how they were able to develop such sophisticated flying discs! Of course, he is not alone in making suggestions of this kind, but I hardly need point out that when the evidence suggests that Germany had no sophisticated flying discs, then there is nothing to explain. Anyway, Redfern concludes from the rather desperate, and generally quite implausible intelligence reports that he has collected

“If . . the data related in official FBI memoranda of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s is accurate, how were the Nazis able to develop technology that, years later, was still defying America’s finest” As I will later show, there are firm grounds for believing that a number of extra terrestrial vehicles crashed to earth on US soil in the late 1940s. Is it stretching the bounds of possibility to speculate that a similar event may have occurred on Nazi territory several years previously? If such an event did take place, and the Germans were able to grasp the rudiments of the technology, this would perhaps go a long way towards explaining their pressing desire to perfect a man-made flying saucer. The truth may ultimately turn out to be far stranger than has previously been realised.” [45]

Well, yes, it really does stretch the bounds of possibility, but that doesn’t stop Corso from reporting, in ‘The Day After Roswell’, what he and General Twining had wondered about after inspecting the crashed saucer at Roswell

“At the very least, Twining had suggested, the crescent-shaped craft looked so uncomfortably like the German Horten wings our flyers had seen at the end of the war that he had to suspect the Germans had bumped into something we didn’t know about. And his conversations with Wehrner von Braun and Willy Ley at Alamogordo in the days after the crash confirmed this. They didn’t want to be thought of as verruckt but intimated that there was a deeper story about what the Germans had engineered. No, the similarity between the Horten wing and the craft they had pulled out of the arroyo was no accident. We always wondered how the Germans were able to incorporate such advanced technology into their weapons development in so short a time and during the Great Depression. Did they have help? With an acceleration capability and maneuverability we’d never seen before, this craft would keep American aircraft engineers busy for years just incorporating what you could see into immediate designs.” [46]

While we’re in a corner of reality that accepts the reality of the Roswell crash, and its cargo of dead or possibly living entities, I have to mention the analysis of Polish writer Zbigniew Blania-Bolnar in Alien Encounters for April 1998. Telling us that ” . . the post-war American Army had at its disposal a considerable number of V2 rockets, several V3 and V4 prototypes, and about 30 kugelblitzes of different kinds”, he concludes that the dead entity in the Laredo crash (the Laredo crash?) was “a laboratory monkey used by the Air Force in a secret experiment.” And, of course, “if a tested kugelblitz crashed at Laredo, then a similar object could have crashed at Roswell.” [47]

None of the suggestions that the Germans back-engineered crashed alien craft pre-date the Lazar and Lear back-engineering stories. Three more have come to light already. In her book ‘Sightings: UFOs’ Susan Michaels reports that writer Jan Van Helsing (a contact of the inner circle of the ‘Montauk Project’)

“describes the discovery of a crashed saucer in the Black Forest in 1936 and says that this technology was taken and combined with the information the Vril Society had received through channeling and was made into a further project called the Haunebu.” [48]

There is also a report of a crash in Italy in 1933, the details and information of which were made known to Mussolini, and which assisted Belluzzo in his design and development. [49] And at the ‘Gdansk UFO-Marathon’ in October 1997, it was announced that there had been a crash in Poland in the summer of 1938, in Czernica. Evidence and wreckage recovered from the crash was seized by Nazi Germany after the invasion of Poland the next year, and the information so gathered was used in the building of the ‘Haunebu’ and ‘Vril’ craft. [50] The current popularity of back-engineering is such that I expect to see more such reports.

On to Part Seven: Unnamed Soldiers