Metzger, Herman Joseph (1919–1990)
Herman Joseph Metzger, the outer head of the Ordo Templi
Orientis (OTO) in Switzerland, was born in Zezikon, Switzerland,
on June 20, 1919. Little is known of his youth. He conEncyclopedia
of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Metzger, Herman Joseph
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sidered the priesthood at one time but eventually became a
Marxist. He emerged out of obscurity in 1939 when he moved
from Lugano (in Italian-speaking Switzerland) to Zürich. During
World War II (1939–45), under the stage name Peter Mano,
he worked as a stage magician. He also was an astrologer. In
1947, he inherited a small publishing firm, Psychosophische
Gesellschaft, whose owner, F. L. Pinkus, had died. Over the
next decades, Metzger’s activities would be underwritten by a
wealthy friend, Annemarie Aeschbach.
After the war, Metzger founded a lodge of the Ordo Templi
Orientis, the initiatory magical group then led internationally
by Karl Johannes Germer (1885–1962). He also joined the
World League of the Illuminati, an organization that had attempted
to revive the eighteenth-century German Illuminati.
In 1955, the leader of the Swiss chapter of the World League
died and left the small organization to Metzger. In 1957 he was
consecrated as a bishop in the Gnostic Catholic Church, one of
several small ecclesiastical bodies that traced its apostolic succession
to the mystical consecration of French bishop JulesBenoit
Doniel (1842–1894). Then in 1960 Metzger became the
new patriarch of the church. In 1963, after hearing of the death
of Germer, he called the German-speaking leadership of the
OTO together and had himself elected the new international
outer head of the order (though those in the Spanish- and English-speaking
countries did not recognize him).
By this time Metzger was already putting together a new organization
that would unite the teachings and practices of the
several organizations he had inherited. His headquarters was
established in Appenzell in northeast Switzerland. A variety of
cottage industries emerged, from a bakery to a movie theater.
There was also a chapel for the gatherings of the Gnostic Catholic
Church. Metzger led the group until he fell ill toward the
end of the 1980s. He died on July 14, 1990. His ashes are kept
enshrined at the chapel at Appenzell.
Sources
Koenig, Peter R. ‘‘Herman Joseph Metzger—OHO of the
O.T.O. and Patriarch of the Gnostic Catholic Church.’’ http
www.cyberlink.ch~koenigbishops.htm. April 23, 2000.