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.