Berlin, April 2004
When together with
Blöss and Niemitz I founded the Berliner Geschichts Salon in 1994,
I held the inauguration speech in homage to Hanns Hörbiger and his
WEL (= Welteislehre = Glacial Cosmogony) and explained why this rather
antiquated theory is still of importance for us.
The founder of this all-englobing theory was an Austrian engineer who became famous and rich by developing a special valve that was used worldwide in ships and other engines. Sometime in the 1890's he became interested in astronomy and had (around 1896, all these dates are from my memory and might be slightly wrong) while looking at the Moon through a powerful telescope a vision that made him believe that the surface (or the deeper layers beneath the debris and dust) of the Moon is made of ice.
During the following twenty years he developed his theory of Glacial Cosmogony which describes the eternal battle between ice and fire and gives many a clue to riddles and problems which had never been solved, especially in astronomy and geology, but generally in all matters of science, even in spiritual fields.
When he published his book in 1913 with the help of the famous Moon-cartographer Phillip Fauth (both Hörbiger and Fauth have the honour that regions of the Moon are named after them), he immediately became a controversial figure in German science, being rejected by most scientists (often merely on the ground that he was not a learned astronomer or geologist) and appreciated by the general public as a sort of new genius explaining world riddles. This enraged the scientists even more who tried to ridicule the WEL as a sort of esoteric idea, which it is not. The book, nowadays regarded as a kind of Bible by his followers, was reprinted in 1925, and by then he had a large following internationally. Best known in America is Bellamy (e.g. "Moons, Myths and Man" 1938), often quoted, even by Velikovsky and Tollmann, although they despise Hörbiger, but in fact Bellamy gives a very faint idea of the WEL and did not understand fully his master's theory.
After the second world war Hörbiger could no longer be discussed in Germany because he had been in favour in certain circles near to the Nazi-government. The Austrian citizen Hörbiger died in 1931, he was not involved in fascist activities, nor did he in any way prepare the Nazi ideology, but in 1938 some of his disciples tried to get the WEL recognised by the official science foundation (Ahnenerbe). The petition was rejected after some months because Heisenberg, who at that time already worked on the atom bomb, disliked the WEL to such an extent that he threatened to resign if the WEL received the status of scientific theory. As Heisenberg was of much greater importance to the Nazis, they rejected the WEL. This should have saved it from being disregarded after 1945, but by some mysterious management in the 1950's it was put out of discussion and only handed on like esoteric or even forbidden materials (although it never was forbidden by law).
So I learned about the WEL as a young man in my father's house where people frequently discussed this theory and further promoted it, matching it to the new scientific finds of the day. It was then (in the 1950s) that a phrase became proverbial: "Hörbiger had known it already", a phrase which I am using (ironically) quite often even nowadays when newsitems come in as results of space exploration like: "the rings of Saturn are mostly made of ice", and so on. Hörbiger knew it.
Institutes propagating the WEL existed in many parts of the world, there was one in Vienna (Austria) until around 1990, another in Cairo (Egypt), which I think still exists, and several in South America.
I have about a dozen books of Hörbiger's followers and regard them as a treasure. But I am not blindly following the theory in all details, which Hörbiger himself said would be a mistake: It is more his general idea and the new path that we should follow, he said.
The general ideas are the following ( I bring them as they come to my mind, the order is not of importance nor was it to Hörbiger).
Although Hörbiger followed the then valid timetable of Earth ages in millions of years, in his details he rejects them and is pleading for a young Earth and a comparatively old human race.
My own research work (mostly in Spain and Morocco) in the years 1970 to 1973 (the book appeared in 1977) was largely based on Hörbiger's ideas, although I checked them on the ground and changed wherever necessary.
My ideas include that chalk, petroleum, asphalt, loess and the huge layers of ice (and other such things) have fallen from the sky, i.e. are of cosmic origin and came down on Earth like meteorites at special moments. I am not so sure whether this last item is deducted from Hörbiger or from his followers.
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