Much has been made of Hitler the supposed madman who plunged the world into the most destructive war in human history. Some of the decisions that Hitler made seemed so outlandish that observers chalked it up to mental illness. Despite erroneous and self-serving claims that Hitler was a Lutheran by those pushing their own anti-religious agenda, the evidence is that he was surrounded by an odd assortment of occultists who had a surprising level of influence on his and his officers’ decisions. These men seem to have convinced Hitler that his decisions were guided by a supernatural force that would assure favorable outcomes for him and Germany.

Here are some of them.

Erik Jan Hanussen

Hanussen was an Austrian Jewish publicist. More than that, he was a hypnotist, mentalist, occultist, astrologer, clairvoyant, and an open supporter of the Nazis, despite his Jewish ancestry. He rose to fame after World War I ended. He traveled through Central Europe and America to perform as a clairvoyant. In the 1930s, he settled in Berlin and opened a sanitarium where he offered occult cures such as libido-enhancing creams (Who would’ve thought occultism and libido creams could come together?)

Hanussen giving a séance at his Palace of the Occult on the night of February 26, 1933. From: Bruno Frei’s Hanussen, ein Bericht. Strasbourg : Sebastian Brant-Verlag, 1934. LBI Library, BF 1408 S74 F7 (

In January 1933, Hitler visited him after his prediction that he would become the Chancellor of Germany that year. It was also said that Hanussen taught Hitler crowd control techniques by using gestures and dramatic pauses. To seal the Fuhrer’s success, Hanussen traveled to the town of Hitler’s birth and buried a mandrake root during the next full moon.

Hanussen’s most famous prediction was that of the Reichstag fire which served as the lever by which Hitler and the Nazis rose to power.  Shortly after this fire and his prediction, Hanussen was found murdered and buried in a shallow grave outside Berlin.  His suspected assassins were members of Hitler’s own SA or Storm Detachment bodyguard who may have been concerned about the growing influence Hanussen enjoyed with Hitler at the expense of other Nazis like Goering, Himmler, and Ernst Rohm.

Ludwig Straniak

Straniak was another occultist inside Hitler’s inner circle. He was an astrologist, and his main weapon was his pendulum. He claimed that he was especially gifted in map pendulum dowsing: he would dangle his pendulum over a map that would help him locate certain things. Claims had it that the German Navy tested his ability by asking him to point where the pocket battleship Prinz Eugen was. They provided him with charts, and they were said to be amazed after Staniak managed to locate the warship despite it being on a completely secret mission going to Norway. Because of this, the German Navy took the occult unit of the SS a little more seriously.

They then set up an office after reports that the British were locating their secret battleship positions the very same way that the German pendulum swingers were working. Of course, this was not true at all, as it wasn’t the pendulum that was leading the British to the right path, but it was the Enigma code that they cracked and the German communications they had been listening to. Worked better than astrology, for sure.

Karl Ernst Krafft

Swiss-German astrologer, statistician, and researcher, Karl Ernst Krafft, was said to have cast and studied more than 60,000 birth charts. He was also one of the originators of Cosmobiology. One of Krafft’s messed-up beliefs was that the Jews were responsible for World War II. With that, it was no surprise that he aided and worked under the Nazi party by applying his astrology skills to further their propaganda.