Born in Vienna, Karl Maria Wiligut came from a long line of military officers, and was educated and served as an infantry officer in the Austrian army. During the First World War, he lead troops on the Carpathian and Italian fronts, and, following the collapse of Hapsburg Empire, was discharged as a colonel in January 1919. Wiligut settled in Salzburg, where he developed his already-formidable reputation among occult circles as a keeper of ancient knowledge.
As early as 1903, Wiligut had published poetry influenced by Germanic mythology. Between 1889 and 1909, he was a high-ranking member of the quasi-masonic lodge Schlarraffia, taking the lodge-name of Lobesam. But it wasn't until around 1908 that Wiligut became involved in the vibrant occult scene in Europe, when he joined an small circle in Vienna which shared members with Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels' Order of the New Templars (ONT). It was one of these members, Theodor Czepl, that interviewed Wiligut in the winter of 1920-1, and his own brand of Ariosophist mythology was first documented.
Wiligut claimed that his family descended from the prehistoric Uiligotis of the Asa-Uana-Sippe, an ancient bloodline descended from the coupling of the divine Asen (air gods) and Wanen (water gods). This bloodline had remained pure throughout the ages, bestowing upon Wiligut an ancestral-clairovoyant memory that allowed him to remember beliefs and traditions from the Nordic past. He could recall as far back as 228,000 BC, when the Earth had three suns and fantastic creatures like giants and dwarves were common. In 78,000 BC, Wiligut's ancestors ushered in an era of peace following many years of chaos, the "second Boso culture", by founding the city of Arual-Jöruvallas, the present-day site of Goslar. The peace was broken in 12,500 BC, when the faith of the Uiligotis, an Irminist religion venerating the Germanic god Krist, became the official religion of all Germans, to the outrage of the opposing religion of Wotanism. The wars between the Irminists and the Wotanists culminated in the crucifixion of the Irminist prophet, Baldur-Chrestos, at Goslar in 9600 BC. Baldur-Chrestos survived his crucifixion (or was reborn), and fled to Asia, where his Irminist faith in Krist would later be perverted into the Christian religion. The Wotanists destroyed the Irminist temple at Goslar in 1200 BC, and then took the new Irminist temple at Exsternsteine and corrupted it for their own worship. It was this corrupt temple that Charlemagne destroyed in the 9th century, by which time the Uiligotis had founded a kingdom in Burgenland. They fled the depredations of Charlemagne, travelling to the Faroe Islands and then into Central Russia, where the Wiliguts established a Gothic realm based in Vilna. This realm was destroyed by Christians and pagan Russians in the thirteenth century, and the Wiliguts made their ultimate move to Hungary.
His grandfather and father had initiated Wiligut into these secrets in 1890, teaching him the mystic power of runes. In 1909, the nine pagan commandments of their Irminist religion were revealed to Wiligut, the same year he entered the occult völkisch scene. His reputation was rising when he was forcibly committed to the Salzburg mental asylum in November 1924. His collapse, which included threats of violence against his wife, delusions of grandeur, megalomania, and schizophrenia, was brought on by marital problems and a failed business venture. Wiligut was rumored to be angered at his wife for not producing a male heir for which to continue the Uiligotis tradition. He was released from the asylum in 1927, and emigrated to Germany with his family in 1932 to escape the stigma. Wiligut settled in Munich, where, through friends in the ONT and the Edda Society, he quickly became an occult celebrity. These were tumultuous days in Germany, and the comfort of irrational beliefs made ariosophy a profitable industry, with many among the poor and rich alike hungry for the latest in the occult, astrology, and homeopathic medicine. It was in this atmosphere that Wiligut found success as an authority among rune scholars and a Germanic sage.
Wiligut stepped ahead of the ranks of his fellow Ariosophists to go beyond influencing German culture in the 1930s to affecting official government policy. As the Nazis rose to power in 1933, Wiligut caught the attention of the chief of the SS, Heinrich Himmler. Introduced through their mutual friend, Richard Anders, Himmler saw Wiligut's ancestral-clairovoyant memory as the means to create a new SS religion that would take the place of Christianity in the thousand-year Reich to come. Wiligut's power of calling up the ancient Germanic traditions would provide the basis for the new pagan-inspired rituals and paraphenalia of Himmler's quasi-medieval brotherhood, the SS.
Wiligut took the name of "Weisthor" and joined the SS in September 1933 with the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer. Appointed by Himmler as the head of the Department for Pre- and Early History in the Munich headquarters of the Rasse- und Siedlungshauptamt-SS (RuSHA, or Race and Settlement Office), Wiligut/Weisthor would design the rune-enscribed Totenkopfring bestowed on SS officers of merit, and assisted Himmler in his project of designing the Wewelsburg castle as a mystical stronghold for the new order of the SS. At Wewelsburg, Wiligut/Weisthor enacted weddings ceremonies and pagan festivals based on the ancient Irminist religion, presiding over them in the priestly role of his forefathers with an ivory-handled stick bound in blue ribbon and carved with runes. He created a series of Germanic mantras to develop his kind of ancestral-clairovoyance in other pureborn Aryans. And to fufill Himmler's dream of replacing the Christian religion in Germany, Wiligut/Weisthor wrote up a plan to "re-establish" the Irminist religion by restricting the Christian priesthood, nationalizing ecclesiastical property, and restored the ancient monuments and temples of the lost Germanic faith.
Among all his duties, Wiligut/Weisthor was most involved in communing with the past through his ancestral-clairovoyance, recording his remembrances, and being ready to discuss these matters with Himmler. A strong relationship developed between the two men, and Wiligut/Weisthor soon recieved the benefits of Himmler's patronage. He was promoted to SS-Standartenführer in April 1934, made head of Section Section VIII (Archives) of the RuSHA in October 1934, and promoted to SS-Oberführer the following month.
Wiligut/Weisthor used his position in the SS to benefit the research and careers of like-minded Ariosophists, most prominently Günther Kirchoff. A resident of Gaggenau near Baden-Baden in the Black Forest, Kirchoff was a member of the List Society in Berlin before the war, and began corresponding with Wiligut/Weisthor in spring 1934. Using legends as fact, Kirchoff had developed ideas on magical ley-lines crossing over continents. This correspondence convinced Wiligut/Weisthor that Kirchoff was a kindred soul, bearing ancestral-clairovoyant memory as a descendant of an ancient Germanic tribe, that of Günther the Redbeard, which moved to Scotland in 800 BC and became the clan Kirkpatrick. Kirchoff borrowed from the Armanenschaft of Guido von List to detail an elaborate hierarchy in ancient Germania, ruled by a triumvirate including Uiskunig of Goslar, King Arthur of Stonehenge, and Ermanrich of Vineta (Vilna). Based on this research, Wiligut/Weisthor and Kirchoff surveyed the Murg valley near Baden-Baden, claiming that a large Irminist temple based on the "eye of God in a triangle" had been centered on Schloss Eberstein.
Kirchoff used his relationship with Wiligut/Weisthor to submit 50 essays to the Ahnenerbe between 1936 and 1944. The Ahnenerbe found Kirchoff's research shoddy, based on purely occult works, with no kind of academic study. Though deriding Kirchoff as "the worst kind of fantasist", the Ahnenerbe was still forced by Himmler to follow-up on some his claims, and he continued to send in essays till 1944.
Another researcher that enjoyed Wiligut/Weisthor's patronage was Otto Rahn, who was obsessed with the relationship between the Cathar heresy and the legends of the Holy Grail. Born in 1904 at Michelstadt, Rahn was educated in literature in philology before beginning a study that took him through Provence, Catalonia, Italy, and Switzerland between 1928 and 1933. His results were that a gnostic Gothic religion had survived through the troubadour and Minnesang traditions, the Cathars, and the Grail legends. Rahn moved to Berlin in 1933 and joined Wiligut/Weisthor's department in May 1935, joining the SS with the rank of SS-Unterscharführer in April 1936. Rahn conducted SS-sponsored research in Iceland, and then served with the SS-Totenkopfverbaende at the Dachau concentration camp in late 1937. He then took leave from the SS to concentrate on his research, and resigned from the SS in February 1939. The next month, Rahn died of exposure during a walk in the mountains near Kufstein.
While Wiligut/Weisthor brought fellow Ariosophists like Kirchoff and Rahn into the patronage of the SS, he also used his position with Himmler to censure other mystics. The SS had Wiligut/Weisthor study the Italian poet Baron Julius Evola, who wrote books on racism, Grail mysticism, and archaic traditions based on his Aryan-Nordic cosmology influenced by solar mythology and patriarchal rule. Wiligut/Weisthor found Evola flawed for his ignorance of ancient Germanic traditions, and claimed that it was this flaw that would taint future relations between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The SS proceeded to keep Evola from lecturing in Germany after 1938. Wiligut/Weisthor saved his true vehemencefor rune occultists like Siegfried Adolf Kummer and Friedrich Bernhard Marby, who sold the medical benefits of runes while deemphasizing the Ariosophist element. Wiligut/Weisthor believed this kind of "rune-yoga" debased his Aryan faith and opened it to ridicule. Marby was incarcerated in a concentration camp from 1936 to the end of the war.
Wiligut/Weisthor abandoned his family and moved to Berlin in spring 1935, to work closer to Himmler in the Chief Adjutant's Office of the Reichsführer-SS Personal Staff. At his private villa in Grunewald, Wiligut/Weisthor presided over meetings with Rahn, Himmler, Anders, and fellow occultists. All of his hard work paid off in September 1936, when he was promoted to the rank of SS-Brigadeführer.
Three years later, Wiligut/Weisthor's career in the SS came to a sudden end. In February 1939, the same month Otto Rahn resigned from the SS, Himmler's adjutant Karl Wolff closed down his office in Berlin, informing the staff that Wiligut/Weisthor had voluntarily retired due to age and poor health. The old man's health had failed in recent years, requiring him to take strong medications that caused his behavior to become erratic and his smoking and alcoholism to become more intense. The true reason Wiligut/Weisthor resigned from the SS is still unknown, though Wolff had travelled to Salzburg in November 1938 and learned of his past in the asylum from his wife Malwine Wiligut. "Weisthor" was officially retired on August 28, 1939, and his SS dagger, sword, and Totenkopf ring were handed over to Himmler, who personally kept them locked away.
Wiligut's health deteriorated significantly following his resignation. The SS assigned Elsa Baltrusch of the Reichsführer-SS Personal Staff to be his caretaker. The two were quartered for a short time in Aufkirchen, until Wiligut settled in Goslar in May 1940. They were moved to an SS guest-house in Carinthia in 1943, until being evicted at the end of the war. After release from a British refugee camp at St. Johann, the two travelled to Salzburg, and then on to Baltrusch's family in Arolsen on December 1945. All of these travels wrecked Wiligut's already failing health, and he died on January 3, 1946.
|STR: 6||DEX: 9||CON: 7||SIZ: 10||INT: 15|
|APP: 10||POW: 16||EDU: 20||SAN: 20||HP: 6|
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