Saturday, June 06, 2009


Like everybody else I'm curious about the stories of lost continents like Atlantis and Mu, and of lost civilizations like Hyperborea. During the hippie era there were lots of paperback books on this subject. Some hippies were obsessed with it.

I wonder if some of these books were reprints of books written by Germans in the 10s, 20s and 30s. Himmler in particular was a believer in these lost continents and was convinced that these places were inhabited by proto-Aryans.

In the late 30s he sent a famous expedition to Tibet, which he believed was formerly inhabited by refugees from Atlantis. These refugees created a warrior culture, the Aryans, which was unfortunately (he believed) tainted by Buddhism. That warrior culture spread out to places like India, Persia, and Germany. 

That's Ernst Schafer above, the guy who led the expedition.

Another picture of Schafer (above). That's him on the left. Notice the Indiana Jones-type pith helmet on the right with the SS symbol on the side.

Tibet (above) wasn't open to foreigners and getting in to measure skulls, look for artifacts, etc. was a chore. Tibetans were alternately hostile and friendly and were amused to find foreigners who thought they (the Tibetans) were a superior race.

A lot of these ideas were popularized by Hans Horbiger, who in turn was influenced by Madam Blavatsky, a 19th century mystic. Blavatsky's most famous book, "The Secret Doctrine" is available free on the internet somewhere.  I found it unreadable, but maybe you'll have better luck.

Different authors had different theories, but here's the one Himmler latched on to, The World Ice Theory. According to this idea the universe is characterized by the conflict of fire in the form of stars, and ice which covers many planetary bodies.  Somehow this conflict created ice spirits which emerged when a thunderbolt struck ice in the artic region of our own Earth. These spirits lived a civilized existence in a Northern land that came to be called Hyperborea.

Eventually the spirit creatures were driven out of their land by earthquakes, vulcanism, meteor strikes, etc., fled to Mexico and South America, and eventually ended up in Lemuria, a lost continent in the Pacific or in the Indian Ocean, depending on who you read.

The internet is full of maps with conflicting ideas about the location of Lemuria (above). In the map above I have no idea what the term "Cara Lines" and "Negroid Lines" mean, or why a sea was thought to have existed in the middle of South America. Somehow the Hyperborean spirit beings took on a human appearance at this time. 

Natural catastrophes made Lemuria sink beneath the sea and Aryan corruption and decadence made the situation worse. Most of the population was lost but a few hardy refugees managed to make their way to Atlantis (above) where they established a virtual Utopia. 

After a while, Atlantis (above) sunk too. Boy, Himmler's proto-Aryans weren't very lucky in their choice of places to live!

The nature of Atlantis changes according to the romantic ideals of the era that's considering it. The nazis attributed war-like racial theories to the Atlanteans, and the hippies attributed peaceful, pastoral natures to them.  In recent decades the flying saucer people made Atlantis their own.

Anyway, the refugees from Atlantis established themselves in Tibet. At this point they became what Himmler believed were full-blown Aryans. 

Add Image
Here's (above) Ernst Schafer in a photo taken in 1992.

Here's the expedition's anthropologist, Hanns Beger (above) in a photo taken in 2001. The Tibet expedition only lasted for a year or two then both men returned to Germany, where they continued to work for the SS. Beger became an assistant to a concentration camp doctor who conducted torturous experiments on Jewish prisoners.  One of these men, I can't remember which one, got into a scrape on a train in 1942 and tried to strangle a man to death.


lastangelman said...

It's amazing how a little information can become absolutely corrupted, becoming at first comical and ultimately dangerous. Ironically enough, Aryans did not beget the race of Germanic peoples, they were closer to Scythians and Pre-Macedonian invasion Persians.

Useful information from Wikipedia

With a little research and a good imagination, one could write many fascinating and exciting books about the migrations of early humans.

Niki said...

I know Negroid refers to the dark skinned people of Africa, there is also Caucasoid for white people too. I don't know what Cara are though, I suppose they are another people and that the lines represent the separate paths that they traveled to their new home lands

Lester Hunt said...

When I was a proto-hippie, I read a book by Ignatius Donnelly, "Atlantis: The Antedeluvian World." It was the grandmother of all such books. Donelly was a Progressive politician and founder of the Populist Party. Years later, totally by coincidence, I lived in Donnelly MN, a town founded by him, so I have thought about him many times over the years. He also wrote a book arguing that Bacon wrote all of Shakespeare's plays. As you know, the Progressives were the American counterpart of the European fascists.

H. L. Mencken once pointed out that people who have radical political views tend to believe other foolish things as well (I think astrology and palmistry were his examples). Having said that, I realize that some would say that I am another example of this.

Thomas said...

A little bit off topic but, your post reminded me of The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb, Fritz Lang's penultimate film(s). Its about German architects who travel to India to build something- or-other for an Indian prince. It's known mainly for two scenes. One is the snake dance scene, with Debra Paget doing an over the top belly dance with a pathetic looking snake, that is barely more than a dressed up piece of rope.
The other is the leper scene, where one of the Germans get chased by a horde of lepers through underground catacombs. When I saw it the scene resonated as an echo of the Holocaust, but I don't know if this was Lang's intention

Caleb said...

Great post. The more I try to get the facts straight about something like this, the more confusing it gets. I've also heard (key word) that the Atlanteans were humans covered in hair.

Vincent Waller said...

Another great read Eddie.

axel leecrow said...

hallo,Mr Eddie .i've read your blog
for a whilt .will atlantis many man
and women have search for it,but never find it. who no where it could be. see you later

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Lester: Mencken was right, people rarely believe in just one weird thing.

Someday I'll do a blog on the weird things that I and my friends believed during the hippie era. It really is true that some periods in history are characterized by mass hysteria.

Last: Thanks for the links!

Thomas: Fascinating! I'll keep my eye out for them! I'll see if YouTube has clips.

Anonymous said...


Julian said...

Hurray for pseudoscience, a wonderful resource for fantasy and Science fiction writers. Eddie, what’s your favorite use of a nutty theory in fiction?

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Julian: My favorite pseudo-science is time travel. I love science fiction that deals with it, ditto virtual reality, but then that's for real.

Anonymous said...

another interesting read would be "Children of Mu" by James Churchward. Complete rubbish if you apply modern science to it, but interesting none the less. Also if you are particularly baked sorta of mood you could try reading Edgar Caycee's theories on Atlantis.