The Nazi Occult (Osprey Publishing)
Who Wrote It: Kenneth Hite an author with a true gift for exploring conspiracy and horror.
What It’s About: “In the dark dungeons beneath Nazi Germany, teams of occult experts delved into ancient and forbidden lore, searching for lost secrets of power.”
Why It’s Worth Reading: While Osprey Publishing is known for their in depth books covering historical armies and battles, this book takes a step further. The Nazi Occult contains both real and extrapolated “history” to create a narrative that serves as both a resource for gaming campaigns or fiction tales and as a kind of historical horror tale. A lot of what is truly terrifying in the book is real, but every now and then there is a nice easter egg for fans of pulp fiction and movies. To give an example, here is an excerpt from Hite’s section on the Ark of the Covenant: “Hess had briefly joined the Veilleurs while at loose ends in 1919, but by 1939 he served a new master. He ordered an Ahnenerbe team to Tanis to seize the Ark by force if necessary…The American government’s Inquiry Group (a team of Middle Eastern intelligence specialists recruited in 1918, with a growing interest in occult matters) picked up Hess’ transmissions and sent their own team to Egypt, headed by an archaeologist from Marshall College in Connecticut.”
The book has a good bibliography which highlights some of the books, games, and films that inspired the text or serve as examples of how the text can be used. Hite has provided a more detailed bibliography on his personal website.
One should not assume that the book is pure fiction. It is a combination of real history and Hite’s own keen ability to speculate and tie together seemingly unrelated items. Here is how Hite describes his process with regard to writing the book on his blog:
I designed the book as a narrative history that incorporates and unifies the many legends of the Nazi occult, building it up by layers from over sixty different sources, many of them summarizing or recapitulating further works of widely ranging reliability and sanity. Plus lots and lots of Google Translate.
I began with the absolute substrate of real, provable Nazi involvement with the occult, as found in the works of Real Historians ™ like Michael Kater, Heather Pringle, Hans Thomas Hakl, and the late great Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke. Everything I found out about the real Nazi occult is in the book. I left nothing out.
Then onto that, I layered information from generally reliable or well-researched books by occultists or researchers of the fringe, such as Ellic Howe, Nick Cook, Joscelyn Godwin, and (believe it or not) Peter Levenda.
Then I piled up nonsense, uncritically seined or imagined by conspiracy theorists and goofballs like Trevor Ravenscroft, Peter Moon, and whoever it is that has that giant website on Maria Orsic and the Nazi connection to Aldebaran. (Which now seems to be down. Of course it is.)
Then I added a soupcon of relevant shout-outs to the relevant fiction. Sharp-eyed Hellboy fans will notice a thing or two, for example.
Then I made up enough material to fill in the blanks, reconcile the many contradictions, and create a convincing-seeming narrative history, including almost all of the specifics of the “Hexensoldat” unit, Sonderverband Z.
Hite follows the above description with a demonstration of how he combined real information, speculation, and imagination in the text.
If one were to ask me who the ideal audience for this book are I would say Night’s Black Agents and Weird War II GMs, Comic Book writers, Television Screenwriters, Fiction Authors, and anyone else.
Release Date: June 18, 2013 (Currently Available)