A Tale of Two World Histories

Demon’s Moon makes reference to two organisations from the history of our world, the Thule Society and the Ahnenerbe. If you ever read any kind of “Hitler’s Mystic War” style books you’ll have heard of the Thule Society. I think they get a mention in the first Hellboy film. The Ahnenerbe is less well-known, but both did really exist. Occultists and novelists, including me, have long exaggerated the historical role of the Thule Society in World War II, but you seem to get less use of the Ahnenerbe, poor chaps. Supposedly the archaeological group in the third Indiana Jones movie is based around them. You’d think archaeology, horror and Nazis would make a great combination. Anyway, who were these guys and who have they become in the Thaumatology universe?

The Thule Society started out as an occultist study group for “pure-blooded” Aryans. The believed that the Aryans came from Hyperborea, a list landmass in the North Atlantic and were superior to other races. Their views were racist, but if we’re being honest they were not exactly alone in such beliefs at the time. They may have influenced Hitler’s attitudes to Jews, Romanies, and coloured people, or it may have simply been a reflection of the times that there were shared attitudes. There is evidence to suggest that Hitler himself never attended a Thule Society meeting, though some prominent Nazis did. It is also known that the party from which the NSDAP (the Nazi Party) developed was founded by Thulers. In out world, the relationship between Hitler and the Thulers is likely played up more than the evidence warrants.

The real world Ahnenerbe has a far more direct relationship with the Nazis and seems to have had similar goals. Founded by Heinrich Himmler in 1935, it had the goal of proving through historic and archaeological study that the Aryan race were fundamentally superior and had once ruled the world. Ahnenerbe researchers travelled the world looking for evidence to confirm their beliefs, but also conducted other scientific work, including various unethical medical experiments. They would not be the first scientists to think that the end justifies the means, or to let their belief in a theory overcome scientific method, nor were they the last.

So, two groups of people who were promoting the idea that the Aryans were a superior people and had links, tenuous or direct, to the Nazis. Both really existed, and both have been used before, generally with a more mystical twist, in works of fiction.

For the Thaumatology series I’ve kept the Ahnenerbe more or less as it appears to have been. The Thule Society took a slightly different path in that world, however, and had more influence. Their discovery in 1935 of certain occult texts made them more valuable as an ally and it is their work on enchantment which brings about the Shattering. It is also one of their members who uncovers a powerful group of werewolf-like creatures in the mountains of northern Italy. The Ahnenerbe consider the Thulers amateurs, but sometimes useful. Their ideas are fanciful, even insane. Afterall, werewolves and demons aren’t real, are they?

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