Ghost Review: The Nazi Occult
Review by Christopher Bishop
Written by Kenneth Hite
Before I start into this review, I need to stress one important thing about this particular work. It IS a work of fiction, mostly. I really need to firmly establish this because the author does such a good job of taking historical events, that really did happen and spinning or attaching a bit of supposition or fiction to each event that it is hard to separate fact from fiction at times. I also want to stress for those concerned about the subject matter versus current events, this book in no way condones anything done by the Nazi party, it is simply a very well written and interesting game aid.
So just what is The Nazi Occult about?
The Nazi Occult is one of a series of books produced by Dark Osprey, of which the intention is to take real world events and place a sinister or occult perspective around them. Other titles such as Nazi Moonbase and Cthulhu Wars: Ancient Rome explore other settings or time periods, often exploiting popular conspiracy theories or wild fancies attached to these eras.
The Nazi Occult begins by following pre-World War II development of the Nazi party, taking real events that occurred and attaching something creepy or expanding upon suspicions of certain figures. Himmler, for instance, was infamous for Ahnenerbe; his project to prove how the Aryan race was linked to this idea of a Nordic supreme race that ruled the entire world at some point in the past. However, in Kenneth Hite’s version he was far from the only occult force at work.
Kenneth Hite interweaves many historical figures, that may or may not have actually played a part in the formation of the Nazi party. Individuals such as Erik Jan Hanussen, a mentalist, and stagecraft magician, who using his powers of clairvoyance predicted Hitler’s rise to power. A decent amount of the early Nazi sympathizers, for instance, were attached to the Thule Society, whose membership included names such as Rudolf Hess, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Julius Lehmann, Gottfried Feder, Dietrich Eckart, and Karl Harrer.
The Thule society was established after World War I and really did have a base in the occult as its whole goal was to attach some historical link between the peoples of Germanic descent and Ultima Thule, the mythological land of Aryan birth that laid somewhere between Iceland and Greenland. The Thule society was believed to be responsible for several coups attempts the most publicized being their supposed involvement in the kidnapping attempt of the Bavarian social prime minister, and were also suspected of influence in the Bavarian Revolution itself in 1919.
As you can see, just from these few examples, The Nazi Occult weaves in and out of history, making it very hard in some cases to figure out where real history ends and fictional history begins. The book does get a little dry at times, and I think it is worth saying that you need to be a bit of a buff of this time period to truly appreciate some of the content. That being said, if the writer’s efforts make this book seem to close for comfort to real history the main artist Darren Tan is doubly so. The book is filled with outstanding artwork and real-life examples of flyers, art and real pictures from the time period. All of this combines to make a truly outstanding format that completely sells the eerie feel the book gives off.
Is it worth the price?
The MSRP for this product is $17.95, but it can be picked up on Amazon or other book services for around $13.00 – $15.00. At first glance, the book looks rather slim, but I assure you it is PACKED with content. If you plan on running Savage Worlds – Weird War setting, or any of the Cthulhu line of World War II products, I cannot recommend this product highly enough. The sheer volume of information is rife with plot hooks and real-world instances to link your Weird War adventures too. For those who are fans of Alternate History fiction, this book is also a must-have for your bookshelf.
Overall, the book does have a few dry spots, but I feel they are necessary to really make this book achieve what it does, which is to take a period of time a lot of folks are familiar with and flesh out the missing spots with occult flavor that comes so close to feeling real in some cases that you will have to double check items just to make sure. There are certainly moments that go beyond the realm of belief, but even those are woven cleverly in with actual facts (The Nazis really did have plans for an Antarctic base but it never got to the level the book suggests for instance).
If you want a spooky occult read with a heavy historical approach, The Nazi Occult by Kenneth Hite might just be what the doctor ordered!
Until next time,
Keep rolling them bones