Hörbiger, Hans (1860–1931)
German engineer who developed an eccentric cosmology of
‘‘cosmic ice.’’ According to Hörbiger, space is filled with cosmic
ice, a basic material from which stellar systems are generated
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Hörbiger, Hans
when a large block of cosmic ice collides with a hot star. Stellar
systems are governed by a law of spiral motion and propelled
toward a central sun and smaller planets, eventually being captured
by larger ones and becoming moons, Hörbiger said.
Earth is supposed to have had several previous moons that were
drawn to it, according to his theory. These earlier moons
caused geological upheavals when they spiraled to Earth, and
myths and legends are said to preserve race memories of such
cataclysms. When a former moon circled the earth with everincreasing
rapidity during such a capture, its appearance generated
legends of the Judeo-Christian devil, as well as of dragons
and other monsters.
Hörbiger’s complex theories included occult concepts of a
‘‘platonic world soul.’’ With Phillipp Fauth, he published Glazialcosmogonie
in 1912. In the 1920s, a Hörbiger cult called WEL
(Welt Eis Lehre) sprang up, attracting millions of supporters.
Hörbiger was intolerant of all opposition to his theories and
once wrote to rocket expert Willy Ley ‘‘. . . either you believe
in me and learn, or you must be treated as an enemy.’’ After the
death of Hörbiger, Hans Schindler Bellamy, a British mythologist,
continued the propaganda for WEL in his book Moons,
Myths and Man (1936) and in further books on the subject.
Hörbiger’s ideas provoked enraged opposition from German
astronomers, but during the 1930s Nazi sympathizers associated
it with ideas of the lost Atlantis and a master Aryan
race. Adopted by Nazi occultists, Hörbiger’s ideas eventually attained
the sponsorship of none other than Heinrich Himmler.
During the height of the Nazi rule in Europe, the teachings of
Hörbiger and Bellamy were combined with paranoid propaganda
and anti-Semitism.
Gardner, Martin. Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science.
New York Dover Publications, 1957.