Hi, a few quick questions (vetted unsuccessfully on Google and asked of Cecil without response). Any answers or tips appreciated.
Did the Nazis really carry out experiments (medical or otherwise) relating to the occult? I know Hitler had some issues with Christianity but is there any evidence that they were really into some of the more esoteric stuff you sometime see attributed to them? Did they try to summon demons etc. or is this just something made up by comic books?
Is there an antonym for “phallic”? I could swear I once heard a Georgia O’Keefe painting described as “yonic” or something like it but I can’t find such a word in any dictionary.
Why is the title of a book often printed at the top of every page of a volume? Is this meant to identify those books sold illegally sold without a cover? Or is it meant to allow the reader to ostentatiously show his fellow subway riders what a brainiac he is?
“Occult” is a pretty vague concept, but supposedly several of the leading members of the Third Reich were members of a neo-pagan group called the Society of Thule. Apparently, these dudes worshipped the old Norse and Teutonic gods, with elements of Aryan supremacy thrown in.
As for contacting demons and suchlike, I’ll leave that to others who are more knowledgeable, but since I’ve only heard of that stuff in movies and computer games, I suspect that the bizarre experiments are mostly or totally fictional.
Well, yonic is listed in Dictionary.com, but I’ve never ever heard of this word before, which leads me to suspect that “yonic” is used mostly in lists of trivia factoids.
Can’t answer a single one of your questions, but if you’re into Nazi Occultism (and who isn’t, these days), you have got to read Yellow Peril by (Phillip?) Jaccoma. It’s got everything: The Thule Society, Nazis, Hassidim, Tantric sex orgies, yeti (yes, yeti), the “spear of destiny,” Buddhist monks doing battle on the Bardol plane and the Mafia, to name but a few.
Basically, this aspect of the Third Reich has been greatly exaggerated. Despite the fact that there’s been an enduring popular literature about the Nazis and the occult, most of it derives from a few dubious sources. For example, to take one of the more prominent books in the genre, virtually all of Ravenscroft’s The Spear of Destiny (1972) is built up from unconfirmable stories and speculation. This whole literature is shredded in one of the appendices to The Occult Roots of Nazism (1985) by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke.
As his title suggests, Goodrick-Clarke (and a few other historians) have argued that Nazism partly emerged from a mish-mash of late 19th century estoteric thinking in Germany. However, I’d suggest that “mystical” would be a better word than “occult”. To cut a long - and frankly immensely tedious - story short, there’s a part of the German nationalist and racial movements of the period that got heavily into the likes of Theosophy. Such thinking influenced Nazis like Alfred Rosenberg and maybe, just maybe, the young Hitler.
Then you have Himmler. He did pick up on all sorts of nonsense (apart from Nazism, of course) relating to archaeology and the occult. And this did lead, fairly directly, to medical abuses: for instance, the latter chapters of Christopher Hale’s Himmler’s Crusade (2003) discuss how Himmler’s Ahnenerbe, his bonkers archaeology division, were implicated in the nastiest of abuses in the concentration camps. But this was all largely peculiar to Himmler.
Look at the top of most hardback books. You’ll notice that the pages are bound in sections (‘gatherings’), each of which is a sort of thin booklet, which are then bound together to form the whole book. When each page was printed, it was probably printed on a larger sheet onto which other pages from the same book were also printed. The sheets were then folded to form a gathering. Printing the title at the top of each page helps the printer keep track of which gatherings go with which books. (I’m assuming that there is less need for this when using modern printing presses, but it certainly made things simpler in the days before printing became automated.)