First published in Magonia 63, May 1998
The past year has seen a resurgence in the old controversy surrounding the origins of Flying Saucers, though for once it is not the hotly debated ETH. Instead, researchers like BUFORA’s Tim Matthews have provoked debate by claiming that modern UFOs are, or are based on, secret Nazi flying saucer experiments conducted during the Second World War.
It’s an intensely emotive issue as it is intimately tied to the brutality of the Nazi dictatorship, and there are very real dangers to its discussion. First of all, debate surrounding the technology can easily become approval of the technology and its uses. This is something of which Neo-Nazis are well aware, and there is an abundance of evidence to show that the mythology surrounding the saucers’ supposed Nazi origins is being used by Fascist groups for propagandistic purposes. The two main sources for the Nazi saucer myth, Wilhelm Landig and Ernst Zundl, are both Nazis seeking to do precisely this.
Landig’s book, Goetzen Gegen Thule, in particular contains a nasty piece of Holocaust revisionism. A similar motive may underlie Renate Vesco’s book, Intercettali Senza Sparare, translated into English as Intercept but don’t Shoot. Vesco claims to have been a technician working under the guidance of the Italian engineer on the project, Giuseppe Belluzzo. This character seems to be a fiction based on the real Giuseppe Belluzzo, an Italian aeronautical engineer and Fascist senator.
When Vesco’s work appeared, first as a magazine article in 1969, and then in book form in 1971, Italy was beginning a wave of Fascist terrorism intended to bring down the liberal state. By playing up Fascist technological achievement, Vesco may well have been attempting to win support for the renascent Right. There is the problem here, however, of why flying saucers were being used for these purposes, rather than concrete examples of wartime German technological achievements, such as the V2. Why choose machines which, if they were ever built, seem to have been complete failures? Experimental devices allegedly built by Victor Schauberger and Alexander Uppisch either crashed, or completely failed to take off. When a working proto-type was built, it was allegedly destroyed to prevent it falling into the hands of the advancing Russians and Czechoslovaks. The answer must lie in the myth’s ability to fulfil some kind of psychological need both within the minds of Fascists and anti-Fascists.
The first thing to note is that as a myth it is superbly suited for propaganda purposes. Joachim C. Fest notes in his biography of Hitler that up until the very last moment of the War, many Germans were still absolutely convinced that the Fuehrer had a secret weapon which would deliver them from the advancing Allies. Although the modern age of the UFO began two years after the end of the War, it was still close enough to be plausibly claimed as a German secret weapon, especially with its precursors in the wartime Foo fighters. Furthermore, the lack of any firm evidence for their origin as technological objects in the form of wreckage or an unequivocal piece of saucer technology, coupled to the remoteness of the saucers’ supposed bases in Antarctica, means that there is no obvious evidence either against their origin in Nazi technology, except from conclusions drawn from what we know was scientifically possible during the Nazi era. In this vacuum all manner of claims, plausible and ludicruous, can be made, there being just enough material available on aviation experiments within the Third Reich to hint plausibly that such experiments were made. Outside of the Neo-Nazi groups fixated on the Third Reich, the Nation of Islam sees the saucers as a vital part of its racist mythology, though here they serve the movement’s founder, W.D. Fard, in his racial war with the Whites.
There is, however, a deeper psychological dimension to the myth, one that goes to the heart of Fascist notions about technology, gender and sexuality.One of the elements within Fascism has been a fascination with technology. The Italian Futurists, who were one of the movement’s precursors and were later absorbed into it, were obsessed with it. ‘Futurism is grounded in the complete renewal of human sensibility brought about by the great discoveries of science’. 
Technology was to be the new, exciting medium by which patriotic Italians would slough off their obsession with the past and become true members of an energised humanity, filled with ‘courage, audacity and revolt’ prepared for the impending and inevitable identification of man with machine’. It was an aggressive, masculine movement whose watchwords were ‘Youth, Speed, Violence!’ and which glorified ‘war – the world’s only hygiene – militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers … and contempt for woman’.  From the start the aeroplane was celebrated as part of this new, brave, speedy technocratic world.
‘We will sing of … the sleek flight of planes whose propellers chatter in the wind like banners and seem to cheer like an enthusiastic crowd.’ 
‘The Futurist hero was the man of iron, the aviator and the engineer’.  The ultimate expression of these ideas was in Marinetti’s book, Mafarka Futurista (Mafarka the Futurist, 1910), which was the subject of a notorious obscenity trial, thanks to the eponymous hero’s possession of an 11 metre long penis which he curled around himself while he slept. His son, Gazurmah, is a giant invisible mechanical bird with wings that embrace the stars. At the end of the book, Mafarka orders his slaves to build him a sailplane, on which he departs for even greater adventures. The identification of aviation with an aggressive, belligerent masculine sexuality is explicit. For Jung, the UFO could also be a masculine symbol, ‘in accordance of reports of … cigar shaped UFOs’. [5)
In all of this there was a complete absence of women. Mafarka was born without a mother, and he, in turn, conceives and bears Gazurmah by himself, in an act of 'exteriorised will'. Futurism followed its artistic predecessor, Symbolism, in having a strong tone of misogyny. This seems to have arisen through a sense of castration, of loss of a role, produced by Edwardian feminist agitation. They preached '(d)isdain for amore (sentimentality or lechery) produced by the greater freedom and erotic ease of women and by the universal exaggeration of female luxury ... The lover has lost all his prestige. Love has lost its absolute worth,' 
This fin de siecle ‘crisis in masculinity’ produced a vicious backlash in the Fascist and Nazi regimes, which sought to restrict women’s roles to the traditional, domestic sphere. The slogan ‘children, church and kitchen’ accurately sums up their attitudes to women, and the Nazis sought to remove women from places at university, the military, the legal profession, politics and general employment. Like Futurism, the Nazis inveighed against luxury in women, reserving their fury in particular for the lady, ‘a frivolous plaything who is superficial and only out for pleasure, who decks herself with tawdry finery and is like a glittering exterior that is hollow and drab within.’ 
Female sexuality was always a matter of real fear to the radical Right. The occultist Lanz Von Liebenfels, from whom Hitler took most of his racial ideas, felt that women in particular were prone to bestial lusts and preached their subjection to pure aryan husbands as a necessary corrective. Although Nazi concerns with the proper procreation of the race meant that polygyny and pre-marital sex were encouraged, these were a serious business beyond mere pleasure. ‘Choose a comrade, not a playmate’, German girls were lectured on selecting suitable marriage partners.
The ever-present threat of the Jewish incubus was continually held up before their eyes, as shown in the slogans broadcast at the Bund Deutscher Maidler (German Girls’ League): Der Jude ist ihr Unglueck (the Jew is your misfortune). As a necessary discouragement against sexual misadventure, Hitler himself told the assembled maidens to ‘be pure, be vigilant, behave!’ The Nation of Islam and other Black Islamic sects carry on this Fascist agenda of excluding women from public life. Louis Farrakhan deliberately discouraged women from joining his Million Man March because he felt that their place was at home with their children. UFOs, as Jung noted, could also be a feminine symbol, if they were suitably lens-shaped. In that case, a psychoanalytic approach could consider them as a ‘repressed uterus … coming down from the sky’. 
Jung, however, did not accept this view uncritically, posing the problem that if UFOs were an essentially feminine symbol, what did that make their masculine pilots? His solution was that although sexuality played an important part in the saucer myth, it still was only a part, ‘not the whole instigator of the metaphor’ . John Keel, on the other hand, noted that ‘(m)any witnesses have the distinct impression that these entities are actually sexless (androgynous). The males with their long hair, angular faces, and mincing manners suggest they might be hermaphrodites and homosexuals’,  before going on to speculate that ‘(e)xcep, for those who might be specially constructed for incubus-succubus activities – it does appear that our angels and spacemen come from a world without sex.’ 
This asexuality even finds itself in Nazi and proto-Nazi literature. From his close friendship with August Strindberg, who received a letter from his wife rejecting him because she preferred men with longer penises, Lanz Von Liebenfels considered that possession of small genitals was the mark of the pure Aryan, possibly reflecting his own monasticism and undoubted sexual repression.  The Nazi movement as a whole, because of its stress on belligerent hypermasculinity and comradeship, attracted a large number of homosexuals. Allegedly 75 per cent of the SA were gay, an accusation more recently levelled by the former NF leader John Tyndall to his erstwhile national comrades after the movements split in 1980.
Given the tendency towards homosexuality in Nazism, the appearance of the Gestapo officer who imparts ‘philosophical guidance’ to Landig’s heroes in Goetzen Gegen Thule takes on a psychological dimension well beyond that of the mentor-friend.  Apart from the long-haired blonde Nordics of the Contactees, the short Greys of the Abductionists lack signs of gender or sexuality, yet this does not seem to prevent their repeated rape of witnesses.
No discussion of Fascistic imagery would be complete without a discussion of the sexual aspect of the abduction myth. If the abduction myth is just a secularized version of the old mythology of the incubus/succubus, so too are the racial theories at the heart of Nazism. Hitler’s predecessor, the neo-pagan racist writer Joerg Lanz Von Liebenfels, produced a secularised version of the incubus myth in his work Theo-zoologie oder die Kunde von den Sodoms-Aefflingen and dem Goetter-Elektron (Theo-Zoology or the Lore of the Sodom-Apelings and the Electron of the Gods). In this he posited that humanity, or at least the primitive Aryan races, had possessed electric organs which gave them the power of telepathy. These powers had atrophied due to the Ancients’ addiction to deviant sex with specially bred Buhlzwerge – love-pygmies. In his warped view of the Easter Story, Christ’s passion was really about the attempts by the ancient Satanic cults to pervert Him into copulation with the pygmies, rather than a straight-forward narrative of His crucifixion.
Liebenfels was viciously antisemitic, and the hatred expressed for these mythical Buhlzwerge soon found a concrete object in Jewry. Hitler and his predecessors fulminated against the way the Jews allegedly sought to adulterate the pure Aryan races with their own degenerate blood, sentiments that find their way’ into contemporary Christian Identity and Nation of Islam verbal assaults on Jews as ‘Khazars’ or ‘Mongrels’. Hitler in particular was tormented by a recurring nightmare in which a naked blonde German woman was held in chains, while a Jewish butcher approached her from behind. The abduction myth too contains the element of sadistic helplessness and bondage while a demonically imagined `other’ rapes and violates to produce monstrous children.
The Greys, in their dwarfishness and perverse sexuality, are a new race of Buhlzwerge, come to tempt andseduce pure Aryans. This time, they’ve got the technological upper hand, and they’re breeding us. Its been said that ‘you become what you fear the most’, and Hitler in his fevered combat with miscegenation was quite willing to see suitably blonde children from the conquered races, such as the Poles, kidnapped and raised by Germans as a way of reclaiming allegedly German bloodlines amongst those peoples. The ultimate expression of the Nazi preoccupation with race and biology were the infamous experiments of Dr. Mengele. When the Abduction myth finally arose four decades after the War, it was on this imagery of depraved experimentation that it drew to give a plausible motive for the Greys’ agenda of rape and miscegenation.
The Abduction hysteria also coincided with a period of governmental crisis when a series of released documents and scientific discoveries seemed to suggest that the government and big business were carrying on the Nazi agenda. This was shown in the notorious epidemiological, radiological and drug experiments carried out by the government on servicemen, Blacks, and the poorest ranks of society in general and the scandal over Operation Paperclip and other governmental actions by which scientists and other servants of the Nazi regime came to work in the US. Finally, advances in reproductive technology, such as cloning, in vitro fertilisation and artificial wombs, have raised the spectre of government sponsored racial manipulation ever closer. Brave New World seems just around the corner.
The attempts by some scientists to produce a technology that would allow men to bear babies, explored humorously in the BBC’s play Frankenstein’s Baby and the Hollywood film Junior brings the spectre of homosexual technological birth qua Mafarka ever closer. Bastards of science indeed! The latest version of the myth, which sees the Greys as being three feet tall dwarfs produced by failed attempts to clone the Nazi leaders merely makes the myth’s metaphorical nature obvious. Even the UFOs’ shape, phallic as it is, suggests its role in procreation, penetrating and fructifying the witness, as Jung realised. (14] This is wholly in line with the essentially religious nature of the phenomenon, as even ‘in ancient times the feeling of being ‘penetrated’ by, or of ‘receiving’, the god was allegorized by the sexual act.’ 
Following the example of folklore, however, after the victory of Christianity this experience no longer produced demigods and heroes, as in the ancient world, but demons, cambions and changelings. Intercourse with the alien ufonauts now no longer brings beautiful, heroic suitors such as Mdme. Klarer’s alien lover, nor painless parturition, but painful and terrifying rape. Instead of birth, the body is further violated through caesarian section, the child ripped from the womb. In early mythologies, the daemons responsible for the violation would have been portrayed in human or animal form. In our modern technological age, they become cloaked in the guise of machines, such as aeroplanes, cars, or, as Jung might have realised, flying saucers.Paradoxically, in spite of Hitler’s vaunted triumphs of German technology, science and mechanization was another strand in the Nazis’ web of neurotic fears. At the heart of the Nazi Blut and Boden (blood and soil) ideas were the idealisation of the peasants and peasant society as the heart and soul of the German people. The first Nazi electoral successes were as representatives of the agrarian classes of Schleswig-Holstein during the agricultural crisis of 1929. In spite of the mechanised terror marshalled by the Reich against its foes and citizens, the Nazi ideal remained a primitive, idealised society of peasants. This agenda continues today in attempts by the Fascist International Third Position to found agrarian colonies in France and Spain.
In his early speeches, the newly idustrialising giant of America was invoked by Hitler as the epitome of modem urbanism and mass production, a demonic dystopia which would be Germany’s fate, too, unless National Socialism intervened to save it. The image of the flying saucer as the technological tool of mechanised procreation would have been as much a nightmare to the Nazis as a dream.
Deeply entwined with these ideas is the notion of racial decadence. Martin Kottmeyer has shown how 19th century evolutionary theories of racial decay influenced Wells to produce the first proto-Grey image in the form of the Eloi.  Beyond the strict concerns of evolutionary biology, the image fitted in with broader contemporary literary theories regarding ‘Decadence’. This fin de siecle literary movement sought justification for its excesses in the medical and biological literature on hereditary decline and morbid psychological states, such as that offered by Paul Bourget in his Essais de Psychologie Contemporaine, published 1883 and 1885. Taking their cues from Lamarck, Moreau and Lombroso, the Decadents saw literary genius as a species of neurological disorder arising from bad heredity, the type of heredity produced by the decline of former great and noble houses as they decayed from the virile splendour of their founders. With their delicate frames and sociological origins in human aristocracy, there is more than a touch of Des Esseintes in the Eloi, especially as the Decadents exalted apathy and ennui among their virtues.
Wells’ description of this aristocratic future race, small, beautiful, graceful, with pointed chins and clad in sandals and knee-breeches, seems curiously elfin. This actually was quite in line with speculation which was then emerging that the fairies were a folk-memory of an earlier race that existed before the Celts, which in turn perhaps was a secularised version of the belief that the fairies were really the Druids, who were being punished by God for their idolatry by shrinking until they would become no more than ants. Both traditional and modern, scientific explanations for the fairies had the idea of racial senescence in common, the belief that these elder beings, in their racial twilight and dotage, were declining both in physique and mental powers away from a former human or superhuman state. Folklore and modem biology met head-on in Wells’ nightmarish imagination.
Mixed in with these fears of racial senescence may be terror of a more individual type of dotage. Male fairies are usually presented as hideous, wizened old men, like the dwarfs in Disney. Larry Niven’s Pak, who like the Greys are asexual creatures with a large cranium, lipless and toothless beak for a mouth and grey in skin tone, are based on his own exaggeration of human aging. They are the monstrous third age of humanity, the Protector, when, after maturity, the individual consumes the fruit tree-of-life, to awaken as a neuter monster bent on racial preservation.
The alien Pak are similarly like the faeries and the Greys in being an ancient, earlier race. In their nonsentient form they are Homo Erecti. Only the Protectors possess intelligence. Humanity is their children, evolved from mutated forms of Pak breeders after a failed attempt at colonisation. The Paks’ loyalty is to their own brood, though, not to their distant cousins on an alien star. They come in powerful spaceships to reclaim their colony and extirpate their racial successors and usurpers.
It’s thus in Niven’s book, published in the mid-seventies, that a science fictional treatment of the themes raised by the Greys most clearly arises: racial and personal senescence and survival coupled with high technology and ruthless expansion. Oh, and the first Pak to make contact with a member of human-ity experiments upon him, feeding him tree-of-life to see what would happen. The Pak are, however, of normal height, and powerfully built, but they contain most of the elements of the Grey myth, nonetheless. It is this feeling of being at the mercy of racial elders that adds an urgency to the Fascist exaltation of youth: mach platz, ihr Alter (make way, you old one!) can never be viewed on the purely personal level.
Decadence invites reaction, though. Its watchwords of apathy, spleen and powerlessness before encroaching decay are not a comfortable state, and the movements’ sexual ex-cesses and over-refinement produced a loud and aggressive opponent in the Futurists who sprang out of it. These, and similar modernistic movements, as we’ve seen, sought to wrench Italian society out of its ‘thoughtful immobility, ecstasy and sleep’ through the harsh, white heat of a technological renovatio. This renovatio, restoration to a previous state of glory and power, was at the heart of all Fascist movements, from Mussolini’s hankering after a new Roman Empire, Franco’s dream of a Spain of Catholic majesty, and Hitler’s nightmare of the Third Reich. Some Decadents, weary of their jaded pleasures, moved beyond it to embrace this reaction.
George Viereck and Hans Ewers, two of Germany’s most prominent Decadents, became staunch Nazis when the movement emerged in the twenties, The Fairies, with their glittering luxury and languid sensuality as portrayed by the Victorians, were part and parcel of a stagnant order that every good political soldier should seek to overturn. Murder the moonlight!
The same restlessness permeates the end of our century. From the point of view of the puritanical nineties, the sexual and chemical excesses of three decades ago are a source of shame, of bitter political reproach. As the millenium itself looms upon us, the same gnawing desire for a new man, another homo faber, eats away at us, though it’s more likely to be the cyborgs of the Extropians than Nietzche’s blonde beasts. The New Age was here before! Compare Fukuyama’s ‘The End of His-tory’ with Marinetti: ‘We stand on the last promontory at the end of centuries!’  The result is millenial ferment, armed Freikorps against racially decadent 8uhlzwerge and the saucers they flew in on.
The flying saucer is, then, the perfect expression of Fascist and Nazi ideals and terrors, as a glittering example of Aryan technological supremacy and aggressive, belligerent masculinity and misogyny. At the same time, it is merely the latest expression of sick racial, sexual, anti-urban and anti-technological fears from which the Nazis themselves suffered and invoked to gain their hold over the German masses. It is this grim fascination which makes the saucers an excellent propaganda tool for the Fascists, and source of terror for the anti-Fascists. The task of the Ufologist should be to cast the cold light of reason on this mass of fears, separating the truth from the fiction, in the hope that once confronted, these myths will evaporate to haunt the world no more.
- Marinetti, F.T., Destruction of Syntax – Imagination without Strings – Words-Freedom, 1913.
- Marinetti, F.T., The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, 1909
- Marinetti, F.T., ibid.
- Tisdall, C., and Bozzolla, Futurism, Thames and Hudson, 1977, p. 157.
- Jung, C.G., Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth Of Things Seen In The Sky, Ark, 1959, p. 55.
- Marinetti, F.T., Destruction of Syntax, op. cit.
- Rosten, C., ‘The ABC of National Socialism’, quoted in Fest, J.C., The Face of the Third Reich, Penguin, 1970, p. 404.
- Jung, J.C., op. cit., p. 30.
- Jung, J.C., op. cit., p. 35.
- Keel, J., UFOs: Operation Trojan Horse, Souvenir Press, 1971, p. 222.
- Keel, J., ibid, p. 224.
- See for example the Channel 4 documentary, Hitler Stole My Ideas.
- See Thurlow, R. Fascism in Britain: A History, 1918-1985, Basil Blackwell, 1987, p. 282.
- Jung, J.C., op. cit., p. 35.
- Jung, J.C., ibid, p. 35.
- Kottmeyer, M., ‘Varicose Brains: Entering A Grey Area’, in Magonia, 62, pp.8-11. http://tiny.cc/Ihkft
- Marinetti, F.T., The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, 1909.