The True History of Space Nazis

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The first teaser for the sequel to Iron Sky came out this week and the internet by and large failed to give a shit.

That’s understandable. Critical consensus about the original Iron Sky, the science fiction comedy about the discovery of Nazi colonists living on the moon, was that it was a fantastic concept marred by the fact that it was a terrible, terrible movie. For those who missed it, the trailer is great. Skip the movie.

But enough about the failings of Hollywood. Let’s talk about space Nazis.

The novel concept behind the film’s premise isn’t actually that original. The idea that the Nazis had escaped to space and that UFOs were Third Reich war machines was a real part of ufology in its early days after the war. The Nazis really did apparently toy with the idea of saucer-shaped aircraft, and although there’s no evidence that they had a space program, Nazi scientists were interested in the concept of space travel (before they got distracted by the whole genocide thing.)

Some of the first UFO sightings to have been classified as “UFOs” were made by Allied fighter pilots during the war. Back then they were called “foo fighters,” unidentified and bizarre flying objects that went on to become a popular 90s rock band after they got bored of buzzing jet fighters. The actual reality of foo fighters is that they were probably mostly the same phenomenon that we attribute to UFOs today – reflections, lens flares, the light of Venus shining off some swamp gas, etc. But before they were attributed to aliens, witnesses thought that they might be some kind of hitherto unknown secret flight technology being tested by the Germans.

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Belief in Nazi UFOs persisted after the war, although it soon got mingled up with the growing pseudoscience of ufology and alien visitation. It’s a relatively obscure fact that Nazism in its early days was driven in part by the occult leanings of some German white supremacists. Cults existed in pre-war Germany that share some of the same roots as the modern New Age movement. The Thule society, whose members included some who would later become notable members of the Nazi party, believed that the white race owed its origins to refugees from Atlantis, and that they were naturally the superior race. Some believed that a far superior race of white Atlantians escaped underground, where they meddled in extremely advanced technology, which they provided to the Nazis to help them conquer the world.

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Some believe that the Nazis escaped after the war in their UFOs and set up secret bases in Antarctica and, yes, the moon. Prominent neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel believed that the Nazis were alive and well inside the hollow catacombs of the Earth, forever plotting, and that UFOs were really Nazi flying machines. Bulgarian “researcher” Vladimir Terziski believes that the Nazis landed on the moon as early as 1942 and have been in contact with aliens and/or subterranean supermen ever since. And as if there aren’t enough Nazis in our solar system already, they might also be on Mars.

The writers of Iron Sky were certainly aware of this mythology. Regarding the sequel, The Coming Race, the director has revealed that it draws from Hollow Earth theories about underground Nazis, and that it might involve “Adolf Hitler riding a dinosaur in the centre of the Earth.” As much as that sounds like more camp-for-the-hell-of-it geek bait like Nazi zombies or snakes on a plane, it’s fascinating to think how much of this people have actually believed.

Coneheads Probably Not Real After All

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So this one is getting around the social media recently: DNA testing done on these weird looking Peruvian skulls has revealed that they are not human. In fact, they’re not even closely related to humans! What does it mean? Are they members of some hitherto unknown extinct humanoid? Are they aliens? They’re aliens, aren’t they.

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Claims like these require pretty extraordinary evidence, because if it’s true, it will absolutely change everything we know about the science of human origins. Scientists would want to be absolutely sure that what they’re saying is accurate before they go ahead and release such an explosive claim to the world. Which is why it’s funny that the story is being broken by sites like Above Top Secret, Ghost Theory, Ancient Origins.net, and The Rundown LIVE (Milwaukee’s Alternative Talk Radio). In my job as an editor and fact-check-ologist, the first thing I do when I see a story like this is try to follow the links back to the source – the first place to break the story, and ideally, the peer reviewed paper written by the scientists in question. If trying to trace the source of a story like this gives me the runaround, ducking through conspiracy sites and Bigfoot forums, then we have a problem.

In this case it turns out that the man behind this DNA study is Brien Foerster, a close friend of David Hatcher Childress (who believes the Pyramids were power plants, Atlantis was destroyed by a nuclear bomb, and Nikola Tesla had access to a time machine) and Graham Hancock (a well known member of the “ancient aliens” crowd). Pseudoarchaeologists like Foerster are often credited as “experts” within their field (as Foerster is often referred to as one of the world’s foremost experts on the Peruvian skulls) but in reality, they start with an esoteric and extreme belief (usually that ancient civilizations had futuristic technology or were in contact with aliens) and manipulate or cherry-pick evidence in order to fit that belief.

So I already don’t trust Brien Foerster to conduct this kind of scientific study, especially not when his resulting claim is so outrageous, and not even after Graham Hancock assures us, no, this is all totally legit you guys. But this story gets even sillier. Who do you think Foerster recruited in order to conduct the DNA analysis? The top minds at University of California Berkeley? Nope! Try Melba Ketchum, a vet in Texas who claims to have sequenced the genome of Bigfoot. It’s safe to say that Ketchum isn’t particularly good at this DNA analysis thing, because the sample that she claimed to have been from a species of nonhuman primate, i.e. Sasquatch, was independently verified by other scientists to have come from an opossum. But that’s a mistake anyone could make, right?

bigfootKeep that dream alive.

So why would you send a research project like this to “the Bigfoot lady” instead of reputable scientists? Simple – she’s part of the echo chamber. It’s all about the result that you want in the first place. If you want to confirm the real truth, which is probably that these are the skulls of regular humans whose heads were bound as infants to grow into a particular shape as per the local custom, then you’ll get mainstream scientists to do the study. If you want to find out that these are the skulls of aliens or some advanced non-human race or time travellers or elves or something, then you send it to a Bigfoot expert. Because really, what was she going to say? That they’re not aliens? These are people whose entire lives are dedicated to finding any possible opportunity to say that something is aliens, or Bigfoot, or the Loch Ness Monster. Pseudoarchaeologists, cryptozoologists, ufologists and other esoteric ‘ologists stick together and feed off each other, often because they believe that “mainstream” science has some kind of ulterior motive to keep this stuff hidden, although they don’t question whether their own discipline has an ulterior motive of its own.

So no, as cool as it would be, the Peruvian skulls are probably just the result of a weird cultural practice rather than some obscure localized species of beings of the possibly interdimensional variety. If it would turn out that Indiana Jones was real, I’d prefer it to be one of the better movies.