In the 1977 book The Nazis and the Occult, Dusty Sklar mentioned a bizarre practice that she maintained the Nazi SS practiced. Sklar said that the SS beheaded young Aryans and used their heads to communicate to the spirit realm (this reminds me of an incident in the C.S. Lewis Space trilogy). Sklar wrote:
A professor of anthropology at Occidental College in California, C. Scott Littleton, provided me with astonishing details of another SS ceremony which has not been corroborated by anyone else, but which may well be true. A professor friend of his, he claims, saw original Nazi depositions taken for the Nuremberg Trials, but never included in the record, which told of a periodic sacrifice wherein a fine Aryan specimen of an SS man was beheaded and the severed head made a vehicle for communion with Secret Masters in the Caucasus. These beings, presumably, were not believed to be earthly, and were looked to for guidance.
Her source for this assertion was a Professor named C. Scott Littleton. I looked him up back in June 2008 and emailed him about this practice. Professor Littleton wrote me back. I looked him up online today and noticed that he died in 2010. Since he has passed on, I thought I should publish his remarks to me, as they provide background to Sklar’s book and are probably not available elsewhere. Our exchange follows:
[I asked]: Dusty Sklar’s book the Nazis and the Occult mentions you talking about an SS ceremony involving beheading. Have you confirmed the veracity of that story? Have you documented it anywhere?
My information on this bizarre SS ritual came from a old UCLA friend and professional colleague, who, at his longstanding request, must remain nameless. However, having known the guy for more than forty years, I have every reason to accept what he related to me–and what I related to Ms. Sklar–as true. My friend is a native German-speaker, who came to this country as a child in the early 1950s. He went on to do graduate work in Germanic literature, and in 1968, while studying at a German university on a Ford Foundation grant, he became friendly with one of his professors, who must also remain nameless, although he was then well on his way to becoming a distinguished folklorist. One evening, after they’d quaffed more than a few steins at a local bierstube, for reasons my friend has never completely understood, his companion said he wanted to show him something. They went back to the professor’s office, and, as it was late in the evening, few other people were around. From a locked cabinet in an inner room he removed a set of yellowing files and asked my friend to look at them. What they said sobered him up almost immediately.
As it turned out, during what turned out to be his last leave, the professor’s late father, who’d been an SS general, left a box of files with his wife, telling her to hide them away–and especially not to show them to any Allied soldiers or officials. He soon returned to the Eastern front and was never heard from again.
Some years later, after his mother’s death, my friend’s informant inherited the box of files. Although he’d been a member of the Hitler Youth at when he last saw his father, by the time he became a university student, he’d long since divested all remnants of the Nazi ideology he’d been exposed to as a child. But he kept the files hidden away, agonizing over whether to make them public. He ended up keeping them in the locked cabinet just mentioned.
What they contained were transcripts of what amounted to extremely bizarre “séances” regularly held by the senior officers of his SS unit. A young, totally “Aryan”-looking SS lieutenant would be invited for a private dinner with his superiors. After the dishes had been cleared away, the victim’s arms would be pinioned against his chair and a SS surgeon would swiftly decapitate the young man, cauterize his head, and place it in a tray in the middle of the table. After the headless body had been removed (his family would be told that he died in battle as a hero), the senior officer (that is, the SS general) would ask it questions about various military matters, and then, in a trance, repeat aloud the head’s replies–although it appeared that the head was simply a conduit for information from “secret masters” of some sort (aliens, perhaps?). In any case, the questions were supplied by Berlin, and similar rituals were apparently conducted at other SS units. The answers were all forwarded to Berlin, where they would be collated and used in strategic planning. What my friend saw were the file copies the general had kept.
As you can imagine, my friend was not in a position to take any notes, let alone photocopy what he’d read, even if he’d had a camera with him. But as soon as he returned to his room he spent the rest of the night waiting up his impressions of what he’d just read–and heard, as the professor had glossed a number aspects based on what he remembered his father and later his mother telling him.
There’s a curious twist to this story. After my friend returned to the States, he showed his notes to me, and I urged him to photocopy them ASAP. This was 1969, and Xerox machines were not yet ubiquitous, so he decided to use the library machines. On his way there, he set his briefcase down for a few seconds while he took a drink from a drinking fountain. But when he reached down to pick it up, the briefcase was gone. Someone had stolen it–along with his notes. Was this a coincidence? Or did someone know what was in that briefcase. . . ? We’ll never know.
Yes, he subsequently did his best to reconstruct what he’d written immediately after seeing the documents, but it wasn’t the same. Some years later, at my suggestion, he approached a publisher, but that was shortly after the Howard Hughes biography hoax surfaced, and they wouldn’t even begin to consider something like this without extensive documentation.
Anyway, that’s where it remains. I can’t “document” any of this, and yes, it’s definitely hearsay, from a legal standpoint. I emphasized this to Dusty Sklar. But as I said, I trust my immediate source implicitly. It’s possible, of course, that the folklore professor could have hoaxed the whole thing. But from what my friend said, he was still agonizing over what to do with the files: destroy them or make them public. I might add that after that fateful evening, the professor never once mentioned the incident; it was as if it had never happened. My friend thinks that after a few beers he simply decided on an impulse to share it with his young German-American student.
I have no idea if the professor is still alive–or why other such files have never come to light, after all these years. I suspect that the Nuremberg Commission would have used them had they been available. The bottom line here seems to be that my friend was in the right place at the right time–though the theft of his briefcase does make one wonder.
Hope this helps. Lots of good wishes & Cheers,
That’s an incredible story! Why do you think there would be any hesitation on the part of the Germans to publish that information? I wish we knew more.
Prof. Littleton replied:
Yes, it’s a fascinating account indeed. I think one reason that it (or another set of similar files) hasn’t been published is that the files my friend saw are (or were in 1968) the only ones that hadn’t been destroyed. And the handful of aging SS officers who might know what went on during those bizarre “dinner parties” are still probably reluctant to talk about it, even to their close relatives. And who would believe them without supporting documents? As I think about it, even if the Nuremberg people had discovered existence of this ritual, they might have introduced it for the same reason that other elements of the Nazi’s occult beliefs weren’t mentioned. They didn’t want to muddy the waters by allowing the defense to claim their clients were simply following their “religious” beliefs (I’m not the first to suggest this).
As I just said, the people who might be able to shed more light on this are now mostly dead, so we’ll probably never get to the bottom of it—unless someone comes up with another set of files and/or a long hidden diary or journal. But I wouldn’t hold my breath. . .
Anyway, let’s keep our eyes–and ears–open!
There you have it. The chain of transmission of this story looks like it is:
1. An SS General who is the father of:
2. A German University Professor who in 1968 reveals the story to:
3. A Professional who is later at UCLA, who is visiting Germany and later tells:
4. Prof. Littleton who then passed the information to:
5. Dusty Sklar for her book.