Unidentified Flying Nazis

(The following is an excerpt (without footnotes) from Michael Barker’s just-published book The Occult Elite: Anti-Communist Paranoia and Other Ruling-Class Delusions (2022) which is available to purchase for just $10.)

Far-right media outlets like Breitbart and InfoWars have gained some level of notoriety in recent years for helping to spread all manner of wild and toxic conspiracy theories. But lest we forget, the mainstream media itself should take the lion’s share of the credit for laying the ideological groundwork that allowed such reactionary ideas to flourish in the first place. Take for instance the Rupert Murdoch-owned publishing giant HarperCollins, who in 2011 kindly brought to their readers’ attention their latest ode to anxiety, Red Army: The Radical Network That Must Be Defeated to Save America – a prolonged rant disguised in book form that “proved” the existence of a powerful “Marxist-socialist” bloc in Congress!? Or how about HarperCollins’ equally bizarre Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural Dominance (2014); a paranoiac gem which boasts of exposing the dark depths of radicalism – by which the authors mean Marxism – that now masquerades as liberalism within the Democratic establishment.

With fearmongering being the order of the day, the hostile takeover of American politics by aliens has been another staple of the HarperCollins publishing empire, a focus exemplified by the literary pollution pumped out by so-called investigative journalist Jim Marrs who cut his teeth on exposing the intrigues surrounding the JFK assassination. Marrs’ first major release for HarperCollins’ on the conspiracy front was the New York Times bestseller Alien Agenda: Investigating the Extraterrestrial Presence Among Us (2000). Keen to profit from such inflammatory right-wing diatribes his publisher happily went about releasing more of Marrs’ high-octane nonfiction including not least Population Control (2015). This latter book, which ran with the subtitle How Corporate Owners Are Killing Us, ostensibly railed against a vast genocidal plot that was being carried forth in open sight by nefarious liberal elites. A further HarperCollins’ contribution to this always shocking genre was Marrs’ 2013 bestseller Our Occulted History: Do the Global Elite Conceal Ancient Aliens? This was a page-turner of awe-inspiring horror which melded Marrs’ relentless anti-government hysterics with the idea that life on Earth was merely the creative genius of malevolent aliens. Like many conspiracy theorists, Marrs, in his efforts to fill out his pages of his evolving oeuvre (and bank account), sucks up every far right-wing talking point to regurgitate them within his own super-conspiracies.

Now the popular market for anti-government conspiracy theories appears to be on the rise all over the world, a worrying phenomenon that has been fed by the failure of mainstream political parties of all suasions to meet the needs of ordinary people. This turn towards the irrational for some, however, does not mean that such an apocalyptic fever could not be quickly remedied given the right democratic medicine: a point that is demonstrated by the massive public support that has been generated for new progressive political formations that are giving leadership to a genuine fightback against capitalist exploitation worldwide. Nevertheless, one thing we can be sure of is that conservative and extremist publishers will continue to churn out endless conspiracies to muddy the waters of change. Germany, for example, has its own culprit in this regard in the form of Kopp Verlag a small but still very dangerous publishing company.

Not being content to let a good propaganda opportunity fly on by, in 2015 Kopp Verlag pulled out all the stops to organize an enormous eightieth birthday bash for one of their most famous and popular conspirators. The star in question was the dyed-in-the-wool racist, Erich von Däniken, whose first runway international bestseller was Chariots of the Gods? (1968), which, according his uncritical up-cycler, Jim Marrs, should only be remembered for having first brought the concept of “ancient astronauts” to “a global audience.” This much is true, but what is also known is that Von Däniken, the vehement anti-communist, was plagiarizing earlier bestselling texts like The Morning of the Magicians. This earlier book having been first published in 1960 by the French writers Louis Pauwels (a supporter of the far right and former student of the divine mystic George Gurdjieff) and Jacques Bergier as Le Matin des magiciens. 

Pauwels and Bergier’s book was similarly multivariate in its diverse and ill-informed inspirations and had specifically drawn upon the mystical Soviet research of Matest Agrest to argue that aliens had colonized Earth eons ago. Yet as discussed earlier, such communist influences on Western research were ended around 1966 when “socialist realist forms of ancient astronaut theories” were decreed to be out of official favor by the Stalinist regime, which meant that occult books like Morning of the Magicians were thereon proscribed. This of course did not stop such illicit texts from being consumed by esoterically minded conspiracy theorists. And here the underground activities of the now famous neo-fascist Alexander Dugin — who in the 1970s had been part of a secretive group of Gurdjieff disciples — provides an excellent example of how once covert occultists were able to move from out of the shadows following the collapse of Communism. 

Most of all, other than helping crystalize and commodify the occult zeitgeist subsuming the Western world, Pauwels and Bergier should be credited as being the first writers who  “inserted ancient astronauts (via [H.P.] Lovecraft, Charles Fort, and Helena Blavatsky) into Esoteric Nazism…” Here this French pair were merely the best-remembered and most famous propagators of such nonsense, as another French author whose work they liberally borrowed from was Denis Saurat’s 1954 book L’Atlantide et le règne des géants (Atlantis and the Giants, 1957). Pauwels and Bergier simply replaced Saurat’s giants with aliens – while in turn Saurat himself was only reviving old German tales revolving around the Nazi’s infamous World Ice Theories. Not ones to miss an esoteric trick when it came to selling books, Pauwels and Bergier “popularized the imaginary Vril Society, and it is from their work that the anti-Semitic writer Jan Van Helsing [whose reactionary work is now published by Kopp Verlag] drew his claims for the Vril Society and its role in channeling the plans for flying saucers from outer space.” Other important research on this issue makes clear that: 

“Although Pauwels and Bergier were the most influential creators of the myth of a Nazi-Tibetan connection, they were not the first to do so; they used and expanded a story mentioned earlier in this article, one from a French spy novel of 1933, Les sept têtes du dragon vert, in which connections between the Tibetans and Hitler were fabricated. Its author was allegedly a French secret agent writing under the pseudonym Teddy Legrand who was later said to have died under mysterious circumstances. The novel, which describes a powerful secret organization responsible for the rise of National Socialism and Communism, adroitly interweaves fact and fiction.”

Nazi Obsessions 

One conspiracy begets another; and a further author whose writings were enlightened by Morning of the Magicians was the openly Nazi mythologist, Miguel Serrano. After being dismissed from Chile’s diplomatic service shortly after the commencement of the short-lived presidency of the socialist leader Salvador Allende, Serrano responded to his forced retirement by writing about his interests in Nazism. Thus, drawing upon his familiarity (and previous acquaintance) with the right-wing mysticism of Carl Jung, which Serrano set about uniting his Jungian knowledge with the metaphysical anti-Semitism of leading fascists like Julius Evola and Savitri Devi. This enabled the former diplomat to create his own cosmic conspiracy which centered around a secret fleet of Nazi UFOs. His first effort in this twisted literary endeavour was published in 1978 as El Cordón Dorado: Hitlerismo Esotérico (The Golden Thread: Esoteric Hitlerism). But Serrano was not alone in popularizing such occult intrigues, and partial inspiration for these otherworldly tales is traceable to reports produced just a few years earlier by the Toronto-based neo-Nazi, Ernst Zundel — author of the adoring text, The Hitler We Loved and Why. Serrano was no doubt also influenced by the writings of the former French Waffen-SS veteran, Marc Augier (alias Sain Loup) who penned numerous novels about the so-called “Nazi mysteries”. Augier had been a key organizer of Europe-Action, an anti-Christian far-right organization that experimented with the neo-Pagan ideas that would soon become common currency in the Nouvelle Droite and within Alain De Benoist’s GRECE.

The far-right literati have laid their feral roots across the world, and the one writer who has done most to normalize esoteric Nazism in South America was Jacques de Mahieu. Until his death in 1990, Mahieu being the head of the Argentine chapter of the Spanish neo-Nazi group (CEDADE) and he had published many books touching upon many of the same themes that were covered in Morning of the Magicians. While one final influential conspiracy text that recycled the occult nonsense of Pauwels and Bergier was published in 1976 by anthroposophist author Johannes Tautz as Der Eingriff des Widersachers: Fragen zum okkulten Aspekt des Nationalsozialismus. This booklet has recently been translated into English by the anthroposophist press Temple Lodge Publishing as Attack of the Enemy: The Occult Inspiration behind Adolf Hitler and the Nazis (2014). And so, here it is worth pointing out that Temple Lodge is upholding a long tradition of promoting reactionary conspiracies, with just one other pertinent example being provided by Thomas Meyer’s Reality, Truth and Evil: Facts, Questions and Perspectives on September 11, 2001 (2005).

Given this problematic history it is not too surprising that some leading debunkers of the proliferating field of ancient alien baloney have pointed out “that the connections between fringe history, esoteric Nazism, and ufology were present from the beginning and sometimes used explicitly as cover for promoting neo-Nazi activities in a more palatable guise.” Author of Gods of the Blood: The Pagan Revival and White Separatism (Duke University Press, 2003), Mattias Gardell surmises:

“I think that part of the reason why Aryan revolutionaries are so receptive to these theories is related to the fact that both UFO theologians and white National Socialist racists hold as valid knowledge what is rejected or ridiculed by mainstream society. A believer in one kind of stigmatized knowledge – the fact that it is not accepted as true by the universities and mainstream media is interpreted to mean that it must be something to it. This might – in part – explain why white racists tend to be open to all kinds of alternative medicine, ideas of lost worlds, parapsychology, alternative religions and alternative science, including UFO theology.” 

Similarly, Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke provides a simple explanation for why the zeitgeist of Nazi occultism has proved so useful to far-right propagandists. 

“Serrano’s mystical neo-Nazism and reference to Savitri Devi have a distinct appeal to the younger generation. Here Nazism becomes pop mythology, severed from the historic context of the Third Reich. The Gnostic Cathars, Rosicrucian mysteries, Hindu avatars, and extraterrestrial gods add a sensational and occult appeal to powerful myths of elitism, planetary destiny, and the cosmic conspiracy of the Jews that culminate in a global, racist ideology of white supremacism.”

Likewise, another far less reactionary writer who, in the final years of his life, did much to help promote occult Nazi myths was the best-selling American novelist Norman Mailer (1923-2007). An interest in such obscure themes that first showed itself when Mailer penned the ecstatic foreword to the reissue of Peter Levenda’s conspiratorial book Unholy Alliance: A History of Nazi Involvement with the Occult (Continuum, 2002 [1994]).

Occult Inspiration for American Nazism

As good a place as any to continue this dystopian narrative of Nazi obsessions with the spirit world is with the paramilitarist millennialism of William Dudley Pelley (1890-1965), whose life provides a compelling example of the compatibility of extremist politics and alien life forms. After achieving global infamy for leading the fascist Silver Shirts during the Depression, Pelley was later barred from undertaking organizing activities and so seized upon this opportunity to refocus on his longstanding occult interests. This eventually led to the publication of his 1950 book Star Guests, which documented the messages he had channeled from outer space. Apparently, Pelley had been informed by alien sources that sentient life on Earth had originated from various planets near Sirius, with due emphasis placed on the “fact” that only members of the “white race” could trace their lineage to the planet Sirius. Pelley was certainly no fan of Madame Blavatsky’s theosophical movement, but on the other hand there is no doubting the impetus her ideas gave to his own mystic philosophies. Even Pelley reluctantly acknowledged this debt when he observed that “the Theosophists are the nearest to the true facts about the forces operating behind life of any of the so-called theological creeds or sects.”

Pelley’s Star Guests in turn gave inspiration to the openly anti-Semitic activist George Hunt Williamson (1926-1986). Williamson had first rose to UFOlogical fame as he been one of a handful of witnesses to have accompanied the more famous George Adamski in his desert encounter with a Nordic-looking man from outer space. This other-worldly “encounter” had taken place in November 1952 and was documented in the international bestseller Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953) – a book which is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important publications of the UFO movement. In the same year Williamson had been employed by Pelley, and in 1954 was still writing regular UFO-related columns for Pelley’s Valor magazine. Shortly thereafter, for reasons that remain unknown, Williamson cut himself loose from Pelley’s fascist orbit and thereafter charted his own voyage of racist discovery that was filled with his own foaming blend of occult intrigue and derivative anti-Semitism.

Competition for loyal followers on the right has always been a cutthroat affair, and another theosophically-inclined ultra-conservative who is often said to have poached members from Pelley’s Silver Shirts was Guy Ballard – a person who, in the early 1930s, had founded the immensely popular and profitable “I AM Activity” movement and could lay claim to being the first Theosophist to have met space men. Irrespective of his meeting with twelve Tall Masters from Venus, I AM served a useful vehicle for expounding Ballard’s explicitly politicized incarnation of Theosophy. Or as one critical commentator put it: “Blending Ascended Master teachings with a high level of patriotic fervor, Ballard’s movement expressed a belief in America’s ‘cosmic destiny,’ an idea synthesizing elements of Theosophy and American nationalism.” When, in 1939, the group’s charismatic leader eventually passed on to the spiritual plane, the I AM movement — which comprised tens of thousands of devotees – entered a period of protracted crises. By the 1950s the group had thus dissolved into several splinter groups – with one successful breakaway, which was led by Mark Prophet, being the Church Universal and Triumphant. Right-wing politics was again a predominating theme in Prophet’s new spiritual orientation, and in his “worldview, the agents of darkness at work in the world were most clearly apparent in their guises as left-wing political groups, elite power brokers in global society, and the forces of world communism.” 

Inspired but not silenced by the demise of the Nazi state, other more forthright national socialists chose to imbue their reactionary projects with mysticism. The first off the mark in this regard was the National Renaissance Party which was set-up in 1949 by James Madole (1927-1979), a power-hungry man who promoted a theosophical fascism that ensured that he was well-placed to take advantage of the “occult explosion of the late 1960s”. Another one-time leading member of the National Renaissance Party was Eustace Mullins whose best-known book was The Secrets of The Federal Reserve (Kasper and Horton, 1952). When Mullins passed away in 2010, Alex Jones’ InfoWars conspiracy outlet commiserated his death by noting that he that he been “the greatest political historian of the 20th century”.

Running in parallel, but in sectarian competition for leadership of the far-right, George Lincoln Rockwell (1918-1967) — the founder of the American Nazi Party (established in 1960) — similarly served as “a major catalyst in the fusing of Nazi ideology and mysticism”. Indeed, “Rockwell, under the tutelage of Bruno Ludtke, recognized the political value of a spiritual dimension to his propaganda arsenal and was in the process of incorporating his own unique theological twist into the neo-Nazi cosmology when he was murdered in 1967.” Ludtke had been first introduced to Rockwell in 1960 by the French mystic fascist Savitri Devi, with all three uniting for the first time in England in July 1962 at a clandestine event that led to the founding of the World Union of National Socialists (WUNS).

Of Theosophy and UFOs

Bearing all this in mind, it is surely significant that George Adamski, before writing his magical “true” story about his own contact with aliens, had maintained a long interest in the occult; having founded the theosophically orientated Royal Order of Tibet in 1934. Moreover, in relation to these otherworldly interests, prior to his extraterrestrial experiences he had been the author of several texts with titles like Wisdom Master of the Far East which was published in 1936, and other works such as Telepathy: The Cosmic or Universal Language and The Science of Life Study Course. Predating his alien encounter by some years, in 1949 Adamski had also published a science fiction novel titled, Pioneers of Space: A Trip to the Moon, Mars and Venus, a book “that contained many of the elements he would discuss four years later in Flying Saucers Have Landed.” Unsurprisingly, the “fundamental thesis” of Adamski’s subsequent book Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953) is “little more than a modified version of popular theosophical teachings that stress spiritual evolution and the role of masters/aliens in that process.”

But Adamski was not the only conservative occultist to palm off science fiction as reality when he published Flying Saucers Have Landed, as it is relevant that his coauthor on this far-reaching book was the British Theosophist, Lord Desmond Leslie (whose father was a first cousin of Sir Winston Churchill). Another well-connected person who quickly saw the potential for profits to be made from Adamski and Lord Leslie’s book was their British editor, Waveney Girvan, who had been a pro-Nazi political activist both before and after the War. In fact, following his early success with UFO’s, Girvan cofounded Britain’s most famous UFO journal, Flying Saucer Review, which counted a good few right-wing anthroposophist’s amongst its leading writers. Girvan’s prior publishing record is significant here as he had formerly worked at Carroll and Nicholson, a publisher which, in 1948, took the controversial decision to print two books authored by Anthony Ludovici, a Nazi fellow-traveler who soon became one of Britain’s best-known theorists of fascism. Two years after helping popularize Ludovici’s bile, Girvan then took the liberty of commissioning the influential historian-cum-mystic Gerald Heard (whose politics were increasingly moving towards the far-right) to write The Riddle of the Flying Saucers, which was then republished in America the following year by Harper and Brothers to popular acclaim. It was not long after this that Girvan began work as an editor at T. Werner Laurie where he oversaw the production of Desmond Leslie and George Adamski’s highly profitable ode to UFOs.

Yet like many of his reactionary comrades-in-arms, Girvan’s unrelenting commitment to bigotry never really subsided despite his new obsession with aliens. And by way of an example, the 1959 issue of Flying Saucer Review (September-October) carried a conspiratorial article authored by George Hunt Williamson which explained…

“… there are certain very powerful interests (interests that really control the world, its people, and what they think and do) in the world that know that extraterrestrial recognition means extraterrestrial allegiance … They feel that to officially recognise UFOs means the end of their power and control over people, wars to aid the economic situation, [sic] and the loss of industry (vital to their continuance). In short is keeping you from knowing the TRUTH. This is the conspiracy, and it is the plot of International Banking to keep you ignorant, a plot that is not new to our times, but is as old as Earth and has existed in all ages and civilisations.”

This was no slip of the tongue for the UFO community, as Williamson, the anti-Semite, had elaborated on the existence of these so-called nefarious plotters at length in his book UFOs Confidential! (Essene Press, 1958). His book had approvingly cited for further proof of this nefarious plot a far-right pamphlet titled “Our Secret Government.” This pamphlet having been published by the Cinema Educational Guild in 1956 under the authorship of Myron Fagan; while unknown to most readers the Educational Guild itself was in reality a Hollywood-based hate organization that had been cofounded by former Silver Shirt fascist Gerald L.K. Smith.

As one might expect, Williamson’s voluminous books on occult intrigues provided helpful inspiration to Von Däniken’s own pop culture sensation Chariots of the Gods. Furthermore, Williamson’s apparent contact with a racist alien going by the name Hatonn (from the extragalactic realm, Pleiades) was then popularized in the 1990s by the explosive anti-Semitism contained within the Phoenix publications. Williamson also established close personal connections with all manner of occult anti-Semites during the 1950s, two of the most influential of which were George Van Tassel (who was the first of many psychic channelers to communicate with an extra-terrestrial entity called Ashtar) and fellow Hatonn contactee George Green, who later set up his own anti-Semitic publishing company (America West) which famously published John Coleman’s deeply paranoid Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300 (1991). In a trick common to more recent iterations of hate literature, this latter book carefully avoids referring to Jews as the lynchpin of his so-called conspirators hierarchy, although Coleman was happy to refer directly to the Jewish problem in the mass-produced pamphlets that he wrote for the far right-wing Christian Defense League. Coleman also worked alongside fellow anti-Semite Eustace Mullins and was a contributing editor to his now defunct magazine World Economic Review.

Religious Mysteries at Giant Rock

Having briefly touched upon the dirty legacy of George Green, we might now return to Williamson’s other good friend, George Van Tassel, who was something of an occult superstar, as until his death in 1978 he had played host to the massively popular annual Giant Rock Spacecraft Conventions. The inaugural UFO convention at Giant Rock was held in early 1953 in the Mojave desert, that is, not long after this former aircraft engineer had formed the pseudoscientific Ministry of Universal Wisdom and begun his telepathic communications with Ashtar. The results of Van Tassel’s space séances were duly documented in his 1952 book I Rode a Flying Saucer!: The Mystery of the Flying Saucers Revealed. In this book the channeled messages from space provide friendly guidance on how to avoid impending disasters linked to warfare and environmental destruction. But as the years passed by, Van Tassel’s apocalyptic warnings grew ever more religious, such that…

“Van Tassel’s unique form of biblical interpretation foreshadowed the efforts of authors like Erich von Däniken and Zecharia Sitchin. Van Tassel argued that the Bible is a record of extraterrestrial activity on Earth and that the true history of humanity is hidden within its pages. In the work titled Into This World and Out Again (1956), Van Tassel shares his reinterpretation of human history based upon truths revealed in scripture. This text is Van Tassel’s revision of biblical narrative and is presented as a conversation between the extraterrestrial Bor and a young student named Abon. Van Tassel writes, “We live fractured lives, divided into countries, many languages and creeds, all subject to misinterpretation. There is a separation of science and religion that should be fixed.” The question then becomes, why is this the state of things? Why has humanity fallen from a more pure, or perfect, state of being?”

In the closing pages of his book, Van Tassel states that the American government is committing treason against the public by withholding the secrets that he is revealing. As Van Tassel concludes: “It should be evident by now, that those who deny that the spacecraft and space people are in our skies, are agents of the Anti-Christ.”

Another regular attendee at Van Tassel’s immensely popular meditation sessions with the ethereal representatives of the “Adamic race” was the local clairvoyant, Franklin Thomas, who founded the Los Angeles based New Age Publishers. This was an outlet that was responsible for the publication of Van Tassel’s initial book I Rode a Flying Saucer! (1952) and many others too, like for instance George Hunt Williamson’s The Saucers Speak (1954), and Trevor James Constable’s They Live in the Sky! – Invisible Incredible UFO Around Us (1958). The latter writer also maintained a parallel writing career as an aviation historian of the fighter pilots of World War II and had achieved his greatest success with his bestselling biography, The Blond Knight of Germany, while in 1975 he published The Cosmic Pulse of Life: The Revolutionary Biological Power Behind UFOs, a book which paid tribute to the influence of Rudolf Steiner’s mysticism upon the authors life’s work — ideas which had first been introduced to Constable by his early occult mentor, Franklin Thomas. Steiner’s otherworldly intrigues therefore thoroughly impregnate the pages of The Cosmic Pulse of Life, and Constable was more than happy to recommend other Anthroposophical classics to his readers, like Trevor Ravenscroft’s so-called “historical masterpiece” The Spear of Destiny: The Occult Power Behind the Spear Which Pierced the Side of Christ (1972).

Here it is important to point out that the publishing house that commissioned and published The Spear of Destiny – a text which has been accurately described as “probably the single most influential ‘Nazi Mysteries’ book in the English speaking world” — was the British-based Neville Spearman Publishers. Formed in 1955 Neville Spearman had taken an immediate interest in all matters occult and in the coming decades the publisher proved to be prolific contributors to a growing esoteric tradition. Early publications included their release of George Hunt Williamson’s two books Secret Places of the Lion (1958), and his Road in the Sky (1959). While around the same time Neville Spearman published Major Rudolf Lusar’s so-called insider account of occult weaponry and UFOs which was titled German Secret Weapons of the Second World War (1960). On the same Nazi-orientated theme, Neville Spearman was responsible for the 1972 English translation of Robert Charroux’s The Mysterious Unknown, an individual whose ramblings were duplicated by Von Däniken and whose content provided much of the mystical Aryan source material that has been recycled into Miguel Serrano’s toxic Nazi narratives.


The Ahnenerbe Grows Green Shoots

In addition to Ravenscroft’s failed (but nonetheless popular) attempts at “non-fiction,” neo-Nazi political activists threw their own filth into the fictional realm. Wilhelm Landig’s trilogy of Thule novels –released between 1971 and 1991 – with their exotic blend of SS heroes and German UFO bases, therefore did much to contribute towards “the revival of occult-nationalist themes among a younger general of neo-Nazis in the 1990s.” Landig’s first novel incorporated the twisted thoughts of both Julius Evola and those of Nazi archaeologist who had famously propounded theories about an ancient Ice Age civilization of Aryans, Dr. Herman Wirth. Wirth had been a founding member of Ahnenerbe, Heinrich Himmler’s very own Nazi think-tank, and he remained committed to the Nazi project until his death in 1981. After his passing, the work that Wirth had carried out for his Nazi masters at the Ahnenerbe gained a new lease of life when it was reincarnated in Alexander Dugin’s 1993 book Giperboreiskaia teoriia: Opytariosofskogo issledovaniia [Hyperboreal Theory: An experiment in Ariosophic Investigation]. 

Bernard Mees in his book The Science of the Swastika (Central European University Press, 2008) adds further details which help us map Wirth’s problematic Nazi legacy, writing: 

“Some other figures associated with Wirth and the völkisch antiquarian project lived long enough to get involved in rightist environmentalist circles. A leading example is Werner Haverbeck, the former leader of the Reich League for National Tradition and Homeland, who had received a doctorate in Sinnbildforschung in 1936. After disappearing for a time into the priesthood of a radical protestant group and then returning to academic life at the newly established Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences, Haverbeck renewed his association with the völkisch project, joining up again with Wirth in the 1960s, and was still active as late as the early 1990s in radical environmental circles. A holocaust denier, Haverbeck has even fulfilled one prewar theologian’s suspicion that Wirth’s Emergence was a sort of paleo-anthroposophy by becoming a leading figure in the revival of the racist anthroposophy of the prewar years. His former followers still advertise conferences and publish monographs and journals today where anthroposophy, neo-paganism and Neo-Nazism meet in a whirl of anti-Semitism, anti-capitalism, anti-Americanism and outright völkisch fantasy.”

Between 1974 and 1982 Haverbeck had served as the president of the far-right anthroposophically-inspired World Union for Protection of Life, a group which had right-wing fellow traveler Linus Pauling serving as the head of their scientific committee. Moreover, shortly before his departure from the Green Party in the early 80s, Haverbeck had been counted amongst the fifteen signatories to the notorious Heidelberg Manifesto which “is considered to be the most important writing of the German New Right on the theme of ecology.”

Returning to Wilhelm Landig, the Nazi story-teller, what is clear is that he took his political responsibilities extremely seriously, and at the time of publishing his aforementioned Aryan novels (in the 1970s) he had become the Austrian representative of the ultra-rightwing World Anti-Communist League. Notably the British affiliate of this League was the notorious Western Goals Foundation – a group that had counted Major Sir Patrick Wall as their parliamentary consultant – a well-placed individual who, in the 1990s, went on to serve as the president of the British UFO Research Association. With all these bizarre connections it is intriguing to note that in the mid-1990s the former leading British Nazi, Tim Hepple, who had become a police informer, then changed his name to Tim Matthews whereupon he strived to give Nazi UFOs a fresh lease of life with the publication of his book UFO Revelation: The Secret Technology Exposed (1999).

Fascist Internationalism

One other important neo-Nazi writer who first rose to the fore during the 1970s was Ernst Zundel, who set up Samisdat Publishers, a highly profitable publishing group that succeeded in flooding the globe with Nazi literature. Zundel arrived at some infamy in the 1980s because of his forceful commitment to holocaust denial which culminated in several highly publicized entanglements with the legal system. But as far as the issue of UFOs is concerned, what is most significant was Samisdat’s decision to publish (in 1974) the first exposition on the existence of Hitler’s secret UFO bases in Antarctica as UFOs: Unbekanntes Flugobjekt? Letzte Geheimwaffe Dritten Reiches (published in English the following year as UFO’s — Nazi Secret Weapon? Last secret weapon of the Third Reich). This book had been written by Willibald Mattern, a German émigré living in Santiago de Chile, and his publication was followed by Zundel’s own two well-received contributions, Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions (1978) and Hitler at the South Pole? (1979).

At the time Zundel was part of a growing neo-Nazi International which, as early as 1961, had first brought him into personal correspondence with Savitri Devi. This led on to his holding a series of personal meetings with Devi in France which provided the inspiration for Zundel’s ensuing holocaust denialism. In honor of his spiritual mentor, in 1979 Zundel republished Devi’s The Lightning and the Sun. 

Not wanting to miss the wood for the trees, the fascist anti-Enlightenment diatribes of Julius Evola did much to bring esoteric spirituality into the gangrenous heart of far-right politics, exerting a particularly critical influence over the evolution of Miguel Serrano’s own Nazi mysticism. Evola’s authority however extended broadly across the swelling neo-Nazis movement, an influence that is most evident in the writings of French New Right leader Alain de Benoist. In fact, this influence was so profound that GRECE’s publishing house was responsible for printing the first French translations of Evola’s writings. It is also important to observe that the influential Italian anthroposophist, Massimo Scaligero (1906-1980), fully embraced Evola’s commitment to fascism. And astonishing as it may seem, to this day the Steiner movement remains uncritical in its adoption of Scaligero’s thought and is still busy making his work available to English speakers thanks to the ongoing publishing efforts of Lindisfarne Books. 

Similarly in Germany the first translation of Evola’s fascist classic Menschen inmitten von Ruinen [Men Among the Ruins] was set upon the world in 1991 by the notorious far-right publisher Hohenrain-Verlag – a subsidiary of Grabert-Verlag which was founded in 1953 by the Nazi Herbert Grabert. Grabert-Verlag is most famous for its prodigious commitment to hate speech; for example in 1961 they published David Hoggan’s The Forced War, which played a seminal role in the evolution of Holocaust denialism in both the United States and Germany. Grabert-Verlag is also committed to the promotion of Jürgen Spanuth’s The Atlanteans (first published in 1976), which comprises the type of racist alternative archaeology that has been so assiduously popularized by Erich Von Däniken and Jan Van Helsing. Spanuth as a former Nazi researcher had his first book published on this mythology in 1953 as Das enträtselte Atlantis which was then published in English as Atlantis – The Mystery Unravelled (Arco, 1956).

The Right’s Atlantis 

Nazi obsessions with Atlantis are not of course new, and the former leader of the National Socialist Party of America (a group that formed as a split from the American Nazi Party after Rockwell’s death) has now reinvented himself – after a brief stint in prison after being found guilty of pedophilia – as a leading expert on ancient civilizations and lost worlds. Frank Joseph’s first of many books on this subject, The Destruction of Atlantis, was self-published in 1987. Then in 1995 he released Atlantis in Wisconsin which was published via a fairly new imprint that had been set up by Phyllis Galde, the longstanding editor of Fate magazine. Worryingly with no disclosure of his Nazi past in any of the outlets that publish his work, Joseph is still committed to popularizing fascist history and even published an ostensibly objective book titled Mussolini’s War (2009). 

Joseph’s influence in the New Age community has been considerable and he served as the editor-in-chief of the Mormon-run Ancient American magazine from its inception in 1993 until 2007, and he is now a regular contributor to Atlantis Rising. Furthermore, his commitment to far-right politics never waned as his interest in alternative archaeology grew, and in 2011 some might say that he outed himself when he published the lead article for Willis Carto’s Barnes Review: A Journal of Nationalist Thought and History.

In 2004, leading US-based occult publisher, Inner Traditions, re-released Joseph’s The Destruction of Atlantis. But while no mention was made about Joseph’s murky past, Inner Traditions themselves have no qualms about publishing far-right authors to help expand the consciousness of their esoterically minded customers. Thus in 2002 they re-published Julius Evola’s Men Among the Ruins having already translated and published much of his odious back-catalogue. Inner Traditions can boast of being the American publisher of Von Däniken’s tour de force of baloney, Astronaut Gods of the Maya (2017), alternative medicine crap like Freedom from Constipation (2016), and Ervin Laszlo’s The Intelligence of the Cosmos (2017). Inner Traditions have also re-released the anti-Semitic nonsense contained within George Hunt Williamson’s 1958 classic Secret Places of the Lion. And in the same vein they published Len Kasten’s Alien World Order: The Reptilian Plan to Divide and Conquer the Human Race (2017), a racist (not racy) superconspiracy that outlines how America is already being secretly run by reptilian Nazis. Kasten, a former Theosophist, and former member (now friend) of the Mutual UFO Network remains a longstanding writer for popular New Age magazines like Atlantis Rising and New Dawn.

Regnery’s Reactionary Record

Here provides a perfect opportunity to introduce another conservative publishing firm whose commitment to spreading the occult gospel far and wide pre-dates outfits like Inner Traditions (whose origins only date to Von Däniken’s glory days in the 1970s). The American company I am referring to is Regnery Publishing, and while it usually better known for its commitment to having released the classics of the postwar conservative movement; what is less established is the generous support that the Regnery’s publishing empire has extended to extreme right-wing writers and UFOlogists more generally. 

Thus, during its early years in the 1940, Regnery’s founder, Henry Regnery, had gleefully funded the activism of his fascist friend Lawrence Dennis; which is very much in keeping with Regnery’s later publication of Sea Devils (1954) — the wartime memoir of the Italian fascist Junio Valerio Borghese. Regnery also released two of Robert W. Welch’s virulently anti-communist and conspiratorial books May God Forgive Us (1952) and The Life of John Birch (1954); and in 1972 Regnery published the 6th edition of Nesta Webster’s famous anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, World Revolution: The Plot Against Civilization. On the UFO front, Regnery took their first openly mystical turn in 1966 with the printing of Jacques Vallee’s Challenge to Science: The UFO Enigma (which was then published the following year in Britain by Neville Spearman). This release was shortly followed by Regnery’s publication of the work of Vallee’s mentor, the longstanding occultist J. Allen Hynek, who wrote The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry (1972). Hynek’s own esoteric obsessions were commented upon by Vallee, who recalled that his colleagues “favourite bedtime book” was Rudolf Steiner ́s Knowledge of the Higher Worlds.

In a similar vein Regnery published Vallee’s Passport to Magonia: From Folklore to Flying Saucers (1969); and Allen Hynek and Vallee’s The Edge of Reality: A Progress Report on Unidentified Flying Objects (Regnery, 1975). Both authors providing the key inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Around the same time Regnery chose to print two books by the prolific paranormal investigator Hans Holzer, these being Beyond Medicine: The Facts about Unorthodox and Psychic Healing (1973) and The Directory of the Occult (1974). And to this day conservative publishers like Regnery continue to attack science as a discipline with the release of books like Austin Ruse’s Fake Science: Exposing the Left’s Skewed Statistics, Fuzzy Facts, and Dodgy Data (2017) and Alex Berenson’s Pandemia: How Coronavirus Hysteria Took Over Our Government, Rights, and Lives (2021).

In early 2014 the Regnery imprint was acquired by far-right Christian activist Stuart Epperson and his media group, Salem Communications Corporation… so not much of a change really. Moreover, the Regnery’s family’s personal commitment to white supremacy lives on as Henry’s son and heir to his publishing empire, William Regnery II, prides himself as being a dedicated proponent of white nationalism. 

In 2001 William Regnery first took a serious step forward with organizing his supporters when he formed a right-wing working group called the Charles Martel Society (named after a French right-wing terrorist organization). This Society publishes its hate speech within The Occidental Quarterly, which is presently edited by professor of psychology Kevin McDonald, who is a recent fellow of the neo-fascist Academy of Social and Political Research. Following his early successes in uniting parts of the far-right scene, in 2005 William Regnery then established his very own white nationalist think-tank which he called the National Policy Institute, and when their founding president died in 2011, he was replaced by the now famous Alt-Right golden boy Richard Spencer who quickly set about assisting in the publication of the writings of Russian neo-fascist Alexander Dugin. 

Four days before Donald Trump assumed his office in the White House, Spencer and his friends sought to capitalize on the apparent right-ward shift in politics by launching a new shiny web site promoting the Alt-right Corporation, which set itself the task of uniting far-right forces across the world. With key directors of their activities including Spencer and William Regnery, another individual who played a guiding role in this organizations launch was the Nazi-inspired occultist Jason Reza Jorjani, an Iranian-American academic who in late 2016 was caught boasting that once his hoped-for global fascist revolution takes place – which he says should only cost the lives of around 100 million people – Hitler, he explained, will no longer be seen “like some weird monster” but instead he will on our bank notes and “is just going to be seen as a great European leader.” 

Jorjani’s first exploration of the paranormal fringe was based upon his PhD and was published as Prometheus and Atlas (Arktos, 2016) – a book which was first and foremost an assault on science and the Enlightenment, drawing upon familiar anti-Semite tropes, rehearsing the Atlantean days of old, and topped off by the UFOlogy of writers like Jacques Vallee. Yet contrary to his other Aryan-obsessed buddies, Jorjani placed Iran at the world center of his future Aryan utopia, which predictably led to his parting of ways with the Alt-right Corporation. 

MUFON Revealed

But one need not turn to the alt-right or Nazi milieu to encounter all manner of occult racists, as for many years such individuals have made themselves a comfortable home within the heart of the mainstream UFO community. A good example is provided courtesy of the Mutual UFO Network which, having been founded in 1969, bills itself as the “world’s oldest and largest UFO phenomenon investigative body.” MUFON’s latest racist PR disaster occurred when their state director for Pennsylvania, John Ventre, who had served in that position since 2007 and was famous for being the star of H2’s Hangar 1: The UFO Files show, was outed for engaging in a white supremacist rant on Facebook. Ventre being a businessman who served as the former state security director for UPS, who openly recalls how he “started out in 1996 researching End Time Prophecy and then segwayed into UFOs in 1998 and then Demonology in 2014.” Moreover, his UFOlogical views meld well with his belief in intelligent design, support for Donald Trump, and his understanding that there “is a global conspiracy of disinformation and consensus science.” 

An early indication of Ventre’s far-right sensibilities were revealed some years ago in his book, UFOs over Pennsylvania (2012), which he begins with two quotes: one from Vedic creationist Michael Cremo, and another from William Cooper’s book Beyond a Pale Horse – which is arguably one of most significant anti-government conspiracy texts, acting as something of a bible to the patriot/militia movement. Not one to hide his right-wing politics, elsewhere Ventre had promoted the popular right-wing talking point that “Barack Hussein Obama… used his office to promote… his left wing Marxist ideas” – ideas that Obama had apparently “learned” from community leaders like Saul Alinksy (who in reality was actually a proud anti-communist). And although the end result of Ventre’s racist rant on Facebook about the supposed genetic inferiority of blacks meant that he was forced to resign from his services rendered for MUFON, somewhat controversially he remained a member of MUFON’s thirteen-person strong advisory board (or Inner Circle). 

But that was not the end of Ventre’s story, and another well-established racist who served on MUFON’s advisory board was the multi-millionaire New Age teacher/profiteer JZ Knight who is most famous for channeling Ramtha — an anti-Semitic but otherwise all-loving spiritual entity who fought the Atlanteans over 35,000 years ago and seems to have read the conspiratorial books produced by the John Birch Society. Ramtha’s channeled messages, as published in the Last Waltz of the Tyrants, are thoroughly anti-Semitic, and sadly Ramtha repeats common tropes about the role of graymen (Jews) in fomenting global wars and carrying out their evil plans for world domination. In the introduction to Ramtha’s channeled book, Last Waltz of the Tyrants: The Prophecy Revisited (JZK Publishing, 2009 [1987), JZ Knight recalls that she first became acquainted with “Ramtha the Enlightened One” in her kitchen in 1977. Knight then explains how later that year Ramtha had suggested she might need to do some basic background reading on occult history, with Ramtha apparently directing her to familiarize herself with the six volumes of Baird Spalding’s Life and Teachings of the Masters of the Far East (1924). (Note: Spalding had been a prolific occult author whose work had a large influence upon Guy Ballard’s far-rightwing I AM movement and on the related patriotic cult that was the Church Universal and Triumphant.) 

Like many other New Age preachers, JZ Knight is proud to combine her right-wing politics with a bizarre assortment of all and any ideas that will help her portray Ramtha as a force for good in this world; thus, in the new introduction to Last Waltz of the Tyrants Knight refers to Al Gore’s “brilliant book” An Inconvenient Truth. At the time of writing these words Ramtha was perhaps influenced by her longstanding support (as a donor) for the Democrat’s, but in recent years Ramtha decided to throw her ethereal voice behind Donald Trump’s presidency. Moreover, it is disturbing that following hot on the heels of Ventre’s abhorrent Facebook revelations, MUFON’s newly appointed director of research (Robert Powell) felt forced to announce his resignation in disgust at the lunacy of the topics broached at the 2017 MUFON Symposium (in Las Vegas). The theme for this extra-paranoid symposium was “The case for a Secret Space Program” which promoted speakers with a deep belief in the nonsense that is Nazi UFOlogy, with one good example being provided by the so-called “intuitive empath” Corey Goode. This deluded individual it seems truly believes that he was recruited into the US militaries secret space program at the tender age of six whereupon he was indoctrinated and trained to carry out military black op’s programs. As the MUFON blurb for his talk announced: 

“Did the Nazi’s beat the US to the Moon and Mars? Did the US unwittingly accept a “Trojan Horse” in the form of Operation Paperclip at the end of WWII to infiltrate the Military Industrial Complex? Did the US Navy build advanced space carriers and then put them into service in the 1980’s? The answers to these questions and many more will be covered in a presentation by Corey Goode who spent 20 years serving in these programs. Learn the true history of multiple secret space programs that are active to this very day.”

Another speaker at the Las Vegas shindig who had been trying to push similar ideas for some years is William Tompkins. He dates his own involvement in the UFO mystery to 1942 when he claims he was the Naval courier for reports on German covert activities. As Tompkins stated in his blurb for the MUFON symposium: these reports “were telling us about the incredible things” that Nazi Germany was doing with high technology vehicles with the assistance of “an extraterrestrial race of Draco Reptilians, who gave them some completed craft.” He continued by explaining that these covert documents “reported the use of secret caverns in Antarctica that housed the German SS, which planned to control the planets and star systems with the help of the Reptilians.” Bob Wood, who has been a MUFON board member since 1993, was evidently fully onboard with such nonsense, and in addition to speaking at the 2017 symposium with a talk titled “How do they keep it secret?” he wrote the foreword for Michael Salla’s conspiratorial book which is titled US Navy’s Secret Space Programs and Nordic Extraterrestrial Alliance (Exopolitics Consultants, 2017).

In the foreword to Salla’s book, Bob Wood explains that he was particularly stimulated by the authors “willingness to speculate” about how Trump’s elections would affect the secret space program. Wood writes how Salla “makes it clear that in his judgement there is evidence that would support the contention that the CIA has been infiltrated by the Nazis and Reptillians,” and that it now remains to be seen whether these “bad guys” (here he includes the USAF, NSA and “the Cabal”) can beat the “good guys” which includes Trump, the US Navy, the FBI and “the Nordics.” 

Salla, to this misfortune of the world, unfortunately commands quite some influence on the current Nazi-fixated UFO scene, as he was the chief editor of Exopolitics Journal (which was published online between 2006 and 2012). This Journal’s editorial board included Paola Harris, who spent six years during the 1980s assisting J. Allen Hynek with his UFO investigations, and Harris remains proud of her commitment to developing superconspiracies which she capably did by publishing Connecting the Dots… Making Sense of the UFO Phenomenon (AuthorHouse, 2008) – a text which brought together a series of interviews with all manner of UFOlogists ranging from Hynek to Zecharia Sitchin to Russell Targ to David Icke!

Michael Barker is the author of Under the Mask of Philanthropy (2017).