Secrets or Lies? Investigating the Nazi UFO Legends
Article by Kevin McClure
Kevin McClure has asked me to post the following research document which takes a look at alleged Nazi UFOs.
Please feel free to copy this to anyone or any Net forum or list you think would find it interesting.
If anyone wishes to respond to Kevin by email I can forward messages etc on to him. He gives his snail mail address at the end.
Andy Roberts Brigantia@compuserve.com
(Friday 5th June 1998)
This document is
1. a request for help with research
2. a report on research so far
3. a note of caution to those who have concluded that there is a continuous line of development from a world war II German technology involving the flight of high performance circular and spherical aircraft, to the stimuli for a wide range of aerial events that have been reported between the end of the war and now.
4. a response to the information presented by Tim Matthews in his widely distributed report titled 'Flying Saucers: SECRET HISTORY!'
I'm certainly not the first researcher to attempt to establish what is, and isn't, true among the many claims made concerning the achievements of German wartime technology. I'm sure I won't be the last. I'll openly admit that I have a very limited understanding of any kind of technology, including aeronautical issues, and that I have to depend on others to assist me in that respect. But then, I suspect that much of the research that is necessary here deals with a mixture of history, belief, and disinformation. And I'm familiar with all of those.
I do hope to reach a reasonably firm conclusion to the question, at least so that if any further information on the subject comes to light, we can tell how it fits in, and whether it's likely to be true. And it's only fair that I admit to my current view. I'm not exactly open-minded, and on the basis of my research to date I'd like to suggest the following hypotheses as a starting-point:
1. Prior to 1950, no claim was made of any successful flight by high performance circular or spherical aircraft in Germany during the war.
2. No contemporary documentary evidence (from before 1946) has been produced regarding any successful flight by high performance circular or spherical aircraft in Germany during the war.
3. The only sources of original information and evidence for the wide, circular 'Schriever, Habermohl, Miethe and Bellonzo Flying Disc' come from a brief newsagency report quoted in Der Spiegel in 1950, under the name of a "Captain Rudolph Schriever" (also possibly appearing at the same time in the Italian press), and from German Secret Weapons of the Second World War by Major Rudolf Lusar, published in Germany in 1957, and in London and New York in 1959. Schriever seems to suggest that the craft did not progress beyond blueprint stage, but Lusa appears to have taken the 'Schriever' account, turned the planned speed and height figures into ones that had actually been achieved, changed some of the technical details, and added the vague, non-technical drawing of this supposed craft which has been reprinted in various contexts since.
I am not aware that Schreiver's existence has ever been confirmed, and no proof has been produced to show that Lusar would have had direct access - denied to conventional historians - to any source of information about such a 'flying disc', which he claims "climbed to an altitude of 12,400m" "within three minutes", "and reached a speed of 2,000 km.h", on 14 February 1945. There is no independent evidence which suggests that these claims have any basis in fact. An extensive search of conventional literature on the war, together with German encyclopedias, has found no mention of Lusar, or of any 'Flying Disc' with such a performance record.
4. The only source of original information and evidence for the spherical craft described as feuerball and kugelblitz is the writer Renato Vesco, author of (the English title) Intercept - But Don't Shoot, published in Italy in 1968 and in the USA in 1971, and of two other books in Italian. He was also the first to make the link between those alleged craft and various reports of light anomalies during the war, suggesting that they were the cause of the 'foo fighter' phenomenon. No proof has been produced to show how or why Vesco would have had access - denied to conventional historians - to any source of information about these flying spheres, and there is no independent evidence which suggests that these claims for feuerball and kugelblitz have any basis in fact. An extensive search of conventional literature on the war together with Italian encyclopedias, has found no mention of Vesco, or the feuerball and kugelblitz.
5. There is no contemporary (pre-1946), or other documentary proof of any kind for the existence or flight, during the war, or at any other time, of the unconventional 'flying saucer' craft known as Vril and Haunebu. The material suggesting that these craft, and the related methods of propulsion, existed appears to have made its first appearance some 40 years after the war. An extensive search of conventional literature on the war has found no mention of Vril or Haunebu.
6. Schriever and Lusar make no mention of the feuerbal and kugelblitz. Vesco makes no mention of the 'Schriever, Habermohl, Miethe and Bellonzo Flying Disc'. Neither Lusar nor Vesco mention the Vril or Haunebu craft.
Do you know more - or better?
None of the hypotheses set out above are final conclusions. I want them to be discussed, and if evidence emerges to prove any of them wrong, or to improve our understanding of this subject in any way, it will be included in Secrets or Lies 2, which I hope to put out in 3 months or so from now. However, they do have a particular context, which needs explaining.
For some reason, a number of writers have recently placed new articles about 'Nazi UFOs' in the UFO media. The first of these that I came across was by UK researcher Tim Matthews, whose article 'The New Ufology' in Sightings magazine, Vol.2 No 7 depended heavily on 'Nazi UFO' material taken from the Net, which I recognised from a little research I'd done several years ago. Since then, I understand that Matthews has written a book called UFO Revelation, to be published by Blandford in 1998, which will make substantial use of the supposed reality of German wartime technology. He has also - as many of you will be aware - published on the Net (and graciously sent me a hard copy) a report titled Flying Saucers: SECRET HISTORY!
While I am responding particularly to Flying Saucers: SECRET HISTORY!, this is certainly not the only material to have been produced recently. UFO Magazine, Alien Encounters, The Probe and Atlantis Rising have also published lengthy pieces which include a variety of theories, including the one that the Nazi UFOs were actually back-engineered from an alien craft that crashed in Poland in 1938, and was appropriated by the Germans when they invaded. Corso's Day After Roswell seems to suggest that the German technological advances were so great that they may have had 'help'. Nick Redfern's FBI Files expresses an acceptance, at least, of the 'Nazi UFO' hypothesis on a similar basis. Without exception, all of these pieces, and the arguments on which they are based, depend on the assumption that successful flight(s) by high performance circular and/or spherical aircraft took place in Germany during the war. If the vailable evidence is insufficient to reasonably conclude that those flights did not take place, then we should be concluding that all those pieces, all those arguments, are deeply flawed. The same point applies to W A Harbinson's Genesis/Projekt UFO material, which has been widely accepted as authoritative until now.
A number of questions need answering in order to progress this research. Any help you can give with any of them will be greatly appreciated. They also suggest some of the areas I believe require consideration before anyone concludes that there really were any 'Nazi UFOs'.
1. Any search on the Net using the key words 'Nazi UFOs' or similar will produce several items by "Al Pinto" or "Tal", apparently "Sponsored by Vangard Sciences, PO Box 1031, Mesquite, TX 75150, USA". At first sight the extensive information given on these sites appears factual and well-researched, and apparently quotes an article written by Vesco for Argosy Magazine, August 1969, which goes some way beyond what is included in Intercept. 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 oncentration Camp, using prisoners to do the work. Who are "Al Pinto" and "Tal", and what is "Vangard Sciences"?
2. What genuine, provable, biographical information is available for Renato Vesco? Pinto states that
"Renato Vesco is a fully licensed aircraft engineer and a specialist in aerospace and ramjet developments. He attended the University of Rome and, before WWII, studied at the German Institute for Aerial Development. During the war, Vesco worked with the Germans at the Fiat Lake Garda secret installations in Italy. In the 1960s, he worked for the Italian Air Ministry of Defense as an undercover technical agent, investigating the UFO mystery."
However, on the cover of Intercept - But Don't Shoot is the unambiguous statement that
"Renato Vesco was born in Arona, Italy, in 1924. A licensed pilot, in 1944 he commanded the technical section of the Italian Air Force. In 1946-47 he served in the Reparto Tecnico Caccia. Mr Vesco has been a senior member of the Italian Association of Aerotechnics since 1943, and is a student of aeronautical problems, particularly in the field of jet propulsion. He is a contributor to various aeronautical publications."
There is clearly something very wrong here. Born in 1924, Vesco would have been 14 or 15 when WWII broke out. Surely, by that age, he had not attended the University of Rome and studied at the German Institute for Aerial Development? If he worked with the Germans at the Fiat Lake Garda secret installations in Italy, why didn't Schreiver or Lusar mention him?
Would he really have "commanded the technical section of the Italian Air Force" at the age of 19 or 20, and "been a senior member of the Italian Association of Aerotechnics" at the age of 18 or 19? Surely, if he really were that remarkable, that important, his name would have appeared in the index or references of at least one of the countless books about the war that I've examined? Yet it doesn't. Who was Vesco, and what did he really know about wartime German aircraft? Where did his material come from?
3.Similar questions arise about Lusar. He is never more than vaguely described, sometimes as being involved in the wartime German Ministry of Propaganda, and elsewhere as being in the Patent Office. However, he was only a Major, and it seems likely that the material in his book was all, by 1957 available to those who went to look for it. Is there any convincing biographical information available about Lusar that suggests tha t he had any special access to information about the 'Schriever, Habermohl, Miethe and Bellonzo Flying Disc'?
4. Is there any convincing biographical information of any kind about Captain Rudolph Schriever to confirm that given in the Der Spiegel report? He was said to have been a former Luftwaffe Captain, born in 1909 or 1910, and a graduate of Prague University. He is also said to have been an aircraft designer whose blueprints for a "flying top" were stolen from his laboratory before Germany's collapse. In 1950 he was a US Army Driver at Bremerhaven. If all these claims are true, I suspect that it should be possible to trace Schriever, and to establish whether he really worked with the others near Prague in 1944 and 1945 on the development of a 'Nazi UFO'.
5. Is there any convincing biographical material at all about "Habermohl" that suggests that he was the Klaus Habermohl who "designed the first radial-flow engine", and which places him with the team near Prague in 1944/45?
6. Is there any convincing biographical information at all to suggest that "the Italian Bellonzo" referred to by Lusar is, as asserted by Matthews, the same person as "Guiseppe Belluzzo" who Maurizio Verga has said was a "turbine expert who had been working upon various circular craft from 1942."
7. The link between German spherical craft and the 'foo fighter' stories appears to have been made first by Vesco in 1969. Generally, the 'foo fighter' stories referred to lights and not to solid objects, but Vesco produced a handful of very detailed accounts (including reported conversations between the pilots involved!) which have formed the basis of most modern accounts of this phenomenon. I have a strong suspicion that in order to find these accounts Vesco looked no further than contemporary popular magazines such as Ray Palmer's essentially fictitious Amazing Stories. The issue for May 1946 has been mentioned. Has anybody else looked at this issue and come up with any answers? I intend to deal with 'foo fighters' in detail in Secrets or Lies 2.
8. Has anybody ever seen a copy of the supposed magazine/newsletter Brisant, which is used to introduce Harbinson's book Projekt UFO? Henry Stephens' 'German Research Project sales list claims that "Harbinson's publisher lost his copy of Brisant, no complete copy has been located". All that is usua lly published from it is a supposed drawing of a plan of a flying saucer, to quote Harbinson "altered by the West German government to render them 'safe' for publication". I'll be putting this point directly to Harbinson's publisher, but is there any convincing evidence at all that Brisant, including the drawing was anything other than a work of imagination produced more than 30 years after the war?
9. Has anyone, previously, suggested that the 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 silve r 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.
More important, this item apparently appeared 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 reprints of a slight seasonal joke.
Tim Matthews, Bill Rose, and the need to test new evidence
Personally, I have little trouble in dismissing most of the claims made in respect of the existence of Nazi UFOs. Tim Matthews, in Flying Saucers: SECRET HISTORY!, has made a more substantial case than most, although I consider that he has made a number of assumptions which the evidence does not readily support. Most of these will be apparent from the questions that I have set out above.
Matthews has, however, made a set of particular claims which are new, and have yet to be tested. These claims assert a 'secret history' of the development of black and secret weapons development under the cover of UFO sightings and explanations. They are based on the research of Bill Rose, an individual who has expertise as both an astronomer and photographer, and who I have no doubt has great competence in those fields. I have seen some of the work he has had published in astronomy magazines, and am assured that it is of a high standard.
Rose has, apparently, been investigating the 'Nazi UFO' issue for around three years, and I understand that he was, until recently, working closely with Mark Ian Birdsall of Quest Internationa l and UFO Magazine. I hope he hasn't given much credence to Birdsall's 1988 'Nazi UFO' publication The Ultimate Solution which carries a number of pictures of Hitler, and contains some unusual assertions about German history.
Rose has, according to Matthews, conducted "on-site research in Germany, Canada and America". On what sites, we are not told. He "was able to discover that Dr Walter Miethe, whom 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. Habermohl was captured by Soviet forces and spirited East where he ended up working on various aviation projects quite probably at facilities located outside Moscow."
Rose also, apparently,
"learned that not only had test flights taken place but that film footage of these had been taken. This had always been rumoured and makes perfect sense given the nazi fetish for keeping records on everything. The footage, of good quality, has subsequently been stored in a secure location and shown only to a handful of people. Rose was shown some stills taken from the original film and given his expert photo-technical background concluded, after careful consideration, that this was probably real and historical footage."
Leaving aside the problems of accurately identifying an alleged still from a 50-year old movie film at a time when the possibilities for the computer manipulation of images is virtually limitless whatever the expertise of the observer, these claims raise far more questions than they resolve. While this account fits in with the legend of 'Nazi UFOs', that legend appears to have little or no basis in proven, historical fact. Suggesting that the conventional historical record lacks a few facts that have been deliberately concealed is reasonable. A proposition that a multitude of professional historians and a media always hungry for new revelations about anything connected with Nazi Germany, have spent 50 years on this subject and failed to even identify, let alone investigate, this most high profile, far-reaching series of events is simply implausible.
No period of history, ever, has received more attention than WWII, and the focus, because of the vileness of what happened, the mania of those involved, and the extent of the damage done, has always been on Nazi Germany. Yet the history of 'Nazi UFOs' simply does not exist in mainstream history. Instead, it depends on unproven claims, on individuals with extreme right-wing beliefs, and on publishers and magazines keen to profit from sensational material, even where there is no evidence to suggest that it is true. Such is the case with claims for a World War II German technology involving the flight of high performance circular and spherical aircraft. It has only ever existed in the occult, paranormal, and ufological fringes.
I have no reason at all to suppose that either Bill Rose or Tim Matthews have fabricated the evidence they are putting forward, or that they are motivated by anything other than a genuine desire to make a case they believe to be true. Without the 'wartime' material, Matthews' 'secret history' argument for the terrestrial origins of what have been perceived as extra-terrestrial UFOs is weakened though not, I think, irrevocably destroyed. I think it is a viable argument even if it is only begun in the 1950s, rather than the 1940s.
Rather, I suspect that neither Rose nor Matthews has exercised sufficient caution in a field where caution needs to be almost limitless. Neither has been involved in the UFO field for long, and neither, so far as I know, has any experience of the odd mix of 'occult' beliefs in superior intelligence and amazing achievements that has attached itself to Nazism from the outset, and continues to do so. They haven't learned the cynicism that comes with experience of a field full of unreasoning belief, and don't appreciate that if you go out as an 'expert' looking for evidence for a book, or an article, or whatever, most of those who you come across will be liars or fantasists looking, in turn, for someone to publicise their case, or to publicly support their version of events.
There may, occasionally, be exceptions to that rule. The journalists who were offered the Hitler Diaries, and the eminent historian who first examined them thought they had found one. There are those who genuinely believe that the Nazis really found the Spear of Longinus, with which Christ was killed to put Him out of His agony. Others who are convinced that Nazi explorers found a wonderful warm valley to inhabit in the middle of the Polar Ice Cap, and live there still. On the other hand, there still seem to be genuine doubts about the person who died as Hess at Spandau. There is a mass of evidence, and it is hard to entirely dismiss. But it is the weight and extent of that evidence which gives it that position.
At present, we cannot decide what weight to give to the evidence of Bill Rose, because we don't know what it is. Without it, I suggest that Matthews' argument for the wartime flight of high performance 'Nazi UFOs' is very thin indeed. With that evidence once it is in the public domain and has been considered both by professional, mainstream historians, and those of us who understand how extraordinary beliefs develop and are propagated, and for what reasons, the 'Secret History' argument may stand up. I will look forward to being able to consider the full detail of that evidence, particularly the sources which supplied it, and how contact was made with them, in due course.
Conclusion, and a search for reference material
As I have said, this document is just a starting-point. To be able to pursue this subject further much more reference material is needed, and I'll set out a few items which, if you can provide copies of them, would be really helpful. I can pay a bit, but loans or photocopies would be hugely appreciated! The following items come to mind . . .
*Argosy Magazine - June 1969 - article by Renato Vesco?
*American Legion Magazine, Dec 1945(?) re foo fighters
*Ray Palmer's Amazing Stories - any issue referring to foo fighters
*Terziski, Vladimir - Close Encounters of the Kugelblitz Kind (book)
*Steiger, Brad - The Rainbow Conspiracy (book)
*Kasten, L - The UFOs of the Third Reich (book)
*Mattern/Friedrich - UFOs Nazi Secret Weapon (book)
*Frank E Stranges - Nazi UFO Secrets and Bases Exposed (booklet)
*Michael X - We Want You Is Hitler Alive (book)
*Michael X - The German Saucer Story (book)
Thanks are due, at least, to David Sivier, Dave Newton, Peter Brookesmith, Peter Williams, Wayne Spencer, Andy Roberts, Eugene Doherty, Hilary Evans, Martin Kottmeyer and James Moseley, for their help and advice in getting this far.
Contacting me is only really possible by post. I'm not on E-mail, and I'm cautious with my phone number. However, my address is:
3, Claremont Grove,
Leeds, LS3 1AX,
and I'd be delighted to hear from anyone who can help with this research.
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