The young Ian Fleming:
In a recent Brit television series, the young Ian Fleming is portrayed as a very savvy (if heartless) agent working for British Intelligence. Is this really how the creator of Bond, James Bond, got his start?
We may never know the true story – or even the official story – but we can be sure he was not the suave and skilled agent the BBC portrays. We do know some interesting facts that pose questions and provocative questions. Fleming spent part of his education and formative years in Germany. It is a fact that he had an affair during that time with a woman, Monique Panchaud de Bottomes, later known to be a member of the Thule Society. The Thule was the secret group of German hermetic sex magicians who provided the money to fund the fledgling Nazi Party. The Thule was in fact yet another cover for the Order Templi Orientis, the original OTO of Golden Dawn fame. Could this be part of the reason Winston Churchill approved of Fleming’s recruitment into the darker folds of the British intelligence community? Certainly he had little else to recommend him. At the time Fleming was a failed stockbroker with no intelligence experience or connections at all. His personal life was also said to be a mess, the result of continuous affairs, most notably with Ann O’Neill, wife of an English Baron. At this same time Fleming was sharing O’Neill’s favors with yet another British aristocrat. Rather than going into MI5 or MI6, Fleming was placed in the Admiralty. He worked on projects that brought him into the orbit of other stranger characters working for British Intelligence.
Dennis Wheatley was one of the country’s most experienced researchers (some say practitioner) in black magic and England’s rich history of the occult. His job for Churchill was inventing ‘dis-information’ projects to be fed to the Nazis. Louis de Wohl was another in this circle of influence.
Louis de Wohl
An astrologer, he advised Churchill on what German astrologers might be telling Adolf Hitler. He also worked on dis-information projects, creating ‘back-dated’ forgeries of German astrology publications that ‘foretold’ of Hitler’s failure to lead German to victory. De Wohl even ‘revised’ the Nostradamus prophecies to forecast Hitler’s doom. Fleming worked on the successful plan to convince Hitler favorite Rudolf Hess to fly to England during the war. He had been convinced that the UK was ready for right wing revolution and would overthrow Churchill. Hess was reached through his own astrologers, another link for Fleming to de Wohl who knew them personally.
Rudolf Hess. One of the closet confidants of Adolf Hitler. The two met for four hours before his flight to England – Hitler later denied knowledge of the event and declared Hess insane.
I took these tenuous threads and wove them into The Watch: Churchill’s Secret War for the Soul of Germany. “The Watch” was the name given by Churchill to a still largely secret group of British witches and magicians who were asked to work against the occult forces within the Nazi Party – Heinrich Himmler and his black priesthood of the SS being the prime target alone with Hitler. The book – only partly fiction – provides the backstory for Fleming’s entry into the secret world that was later to provide the inspiration for the iconic 007. The Watch follows Ben Størgaard, a Minnesota farm boy (and Viking descendant) who ends up as an agent working for Churchill from deep inside the SS. A supporting cast of characters from Adolf Hitler to Gerald Gardner fills out the narrative and provides answers to some of the most puzzling and enduring questions about the occult activities of the Third Reich. Photo credits: Ian Fleming: http://www.ianfleming.com/ian-fleming/ Dennis Wheatley: http://www.denniswheatley.info/denniswheatley.htm Louis de Wohl: http://www.chilling-tales.com/page58.html Rudolf Hess: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Hess
Dr. Franz Hartmann was a respected occult researcher–and Founder of the Munich OTO that later funded Hitler (google Images)
Yes…the connection is very tenuous indeed but it does exist! An occult expert and researcher made the connection while investigating the life of leading turn of the century occultist Dr. Franz Hartmann. Not only was there a distant connection with Hitler–Hartmann also translated the Bhagavad Gita into German–the very edition that was Heinrich Himmler’s personal spiritual ‘bible.’
First, Hitler and vampires. Dr. Mark Newell is an anthropologist with a research interest in occult traditions ranging from the Congo to Egypt to Europe. Newell tells me, “Authors Leslie Shepherd and Peter Haining both re-published an account of ‘authentic’ vampirism that first appeared in the Occult Review of September, 1909. The article was written by Franz Hartmann. The founder and editor was an English engineer by the name of Ralph Shirley.”
“Hartmann was an associate of Lanz von Lebenfels and Guido von List, both in Vienna at the time and leading lights of the Germanic occult movement. Hartmann tells of reading a story in a Vienna newspaper one morning about the burning of a castle in Romania. The local villagers believed that the owner was a vampire responsible for the death of many children in the area.
Makart’s Portrait of Elga. Ralph Shirley probably took this photo.
“At the time Hartmann was with a friend who revealed that he visited the very same castle in 1907 when he was building a nearby road (it is clear that the friend was in fact Ralph Shirley-JR). He described a portrait in the castle as being particularly evil and animated. The friend was accompanied by two other men, one of whom reported being “visited” by the woman in the portrait. It was apparent from the story that it was she who was the vampire. Hartmann swears as to the truth of the story. His account in huge Occult Review showed a photograph of huge painting taken by the engineer. The painter was the celebrated Hans Makart– who went mad at the age of 44 shortly after completing the portrait. The man of who received the visitation fled to America. Hartmann died three years later.”
The connection with Hitler? Hartmann was one the the founders of the Munich Order Templi Orientis, the OTO, the very organization that created the Thule Society and funded the German Workers Party–which of course later became the Nazi party.
The vampire story that was ‘authenticated’ by Shirley and Hartmann is fascinating and Newell’s account of it can be found at the link at the end of this post. Newell found the actual article in the Vienna newspaper read by Hartmann. In his account Hartmann disguised the name of his friend and the location of the castle and the name of the owner. These details are now known thanks to Newell’s research. There is yet another connection between Hartmann and the Nazi party–he translated the Bhagavad Gita from Sanskrit into German, the book that Heinrich Himmler kept by his bedside.
The article in the Viennese newspaper that Hartmann read in Shirley’s presence.
The late years of the 19th and the early years of the 20th centuries saw the zenith of an interest in the occult that spread across Europe and into the rest of the world. For England’s upper crust this meant a penchant for dabbling in Secret Societies such as the Golden Dawn and its offspring. The origins of these societies can be found in the burning of the library at Egypt’s Alexandria-but of that more later.
These societies hid beneath the veneer (or perhaps rock) of fashionable occultism in the Victorian and Edwardian age. They were true seekers of gnosis for reasons both good and bad-and Aleister Crowley was among the most outrageous of them all. Crowley was born wealthy. Early in life he set foot on the spiritual path and actually accomplished amazing things.
Much of this was hidden beneath a drive to replace his long spent wealth and an even stronger drive to feed the world’s press with material designed to enhance his public reputation as “the wickedest man in the world”.
The reputation lives on and few are aware today that he played roles as an intelligence operative in New York during the First World War and in London during the second. Fewer still are aware that during the early years of the formation of the Nazi Party, Crowley was drawing the attention of the long established occult masters of Munich, Germany.
Crowley privately published many books and papers on his occult research and experiences. In one of them he revealed information he claimed had been imparted to him from a spirit from the Inner Plane. German members of an ancient occult society recognized their own information-and accused Crowley of stealing and exposing secrets. Crowley met with them in Munich. His accusers soon learned the truth-Crowley really did receive the information “from the other side”.
Realizing he was in communication with “The Secret Chiefs” (read Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine) they took Crowley under their wing and empowered him to start a branch of their society in England. These same men later formed the Thule Society-the driving force politically and financially behind the fledgling Nazi Party and Hitler. Crowley plays a role in The Watch as an advisor to Winston Churchill on the secret rituals of the SS.
The three generations that fought WW2, their kids-and their kids are all fascinated by the bizarre story of Hitler’s rise to power. Not to mention the still barely understood murderous racial policies and the largely still secret “wonder weapons” and advanced technology of the Nazi regime.
I can’t remember a time when I was not reading one book or another about Hitler and World War II. To this very day, every year sees publication of one or more “non-fiction” books on these subjects. From “The Hunt for Zero Point,” “The Nazis and the Occult” to “The Spear of Destiny” to “Brotherhood of the Bell,” these books add some facts but mostly pose more questions than answers. Some of the books are sheer nonsense; some amateurish, some excellent journalism and some, such as Goodright-Clarke’s “The Occult Roots of Nazism” are brilliant academic treatments.
Still, more questions than answers. When I did get answers-they generated more questions. In the 1960s I read “Morning of the Magicians” by Pauwels and Bergier. This fascinating book generated so many ideas, not the least being thoughts about Hitler’s involvement with the occult. From that date I began to bring my general interest in Hitler to a focus. I read many biographies, especially any information I could find on his early life. Much was hidden during Hitler’s lifetime but as time went by more and more archives began to open. The tentative connections the young Hitler made, especially in Vienna, led in the direction of books on Guido von List, Lanz von Lebensfels and others whose roots lay in the busy occult world of early 19th century Germany.
A parallel interest was the development of German technology during the Nazi regime. There’s no doubt the Germans were open-minded when it came to science, medicine and technology. Very open-minded. As a result, Germany made great advances in practical and theoretical fronts. So much so that even today we owe much to the foundations laid by wartime German researchers. From rocketry to synthetic oil, the Allies reaped a rich harvest from the ashes of German universities and research labs. Then, there were the still prevailing mysteries-fabulous technologies that disappeared with the Nazi scientists-they still haunt the fringe elements of society today…Zero Point Energy, Time travel, Die Glocke…the subject spark vigorous debate throughout the Internet and elsewhere.
In 1995 this research began to coalesce into the concept for a fictional book that brings all these disparate elements together in one compelling story. And so the idea for “The Watch” was born.
In posts that follow, I explore this research and also discuss the process of building the narrative and the characters that populate the novel.