Adolf Hitler considered his public speaking skills to be so vitally important that “in this department” he demonstrated something that was apparently totally alien to him: humility.
In addition to diligent preparation for every speech and constant self-analysis and self-improvement (which was already no small feat for the one who always shunned “all of the above”), Adolf Hitler became a student of someone whom he believed to be a much better performer than he was. A very unexpected (to put it mildly) move for an individual with an enormous, mammoth, gargantuan ego.
The man who would become his teacher and mentor was one of the most mysterious individuals of the XX century – Erik Jan Hanussen (born Hermann Steinschneider).
An occultist, clairvoyant, psychic, astrologer, a Nazi adherent (he was rumored to be an NSDAP member and even a honorary member of the SA)… and a Jew.
Information about these lessons (and the relationship between Hitler and Hanussen in general) comes from a very serious source – A Psychological Analysis of Adolph Hitler prepared in 1943 for the Office of Strategic Services (the predecessor of the CIA) by Dr. Walter Charles Langer – a prominent American psychoanalyst.
In this document, Dr. Langer claimed that “… during the early 1920s Hitler took regular lessons in speaking and in mass psychology from a man named Hanussen who was also a practicing astrologer and fortune-teller. He was an extremely clever individual who taught Hitler a great deal concerning the importance of staging meetings to obtain the greatest dramatic effect [by sharing his crowd control techniques of using gestures and dramatic pauses].”
Interestingly enough, his report did not support the rumors about Hanussen being a member of NSDAP and SA, claiming exactly the opposite: “As far as can be learned, Hanussen never had any particular interest in the [Nazi] movement or any say on what course it would follow”
Dr. Langer’s report contains another interesting claim – that through Hanussen Hitler might have come in contact with a Munich-based group of astrologers “that believed firmly in the portents of the stars”. As such groups typically have other occult beliefs, it provides some evidence that Hitler was in contact with another occult group (other than Thule society that is).
Just about all characters who claim to have clairvoyant and other psychic powers are fraudsters. Phonies. Frauds. Hanussen appears to be one of the very few exceptions. In other words, he seems to be the real thing.
His accurate, pro-Nazi predictions had earned Hanussen the nicknames “The Prophet of the Third Reich,” “The Nazi Rasputin,” “Hitler’s Nostradamus,” and others.
In 1919, Hanussen performed a mind reading and hypnosis act at La Scala in Berlin that made him an overnight celebrity. He quickly began to enjoy the company of Germany’s military and business elite and pretty soon was making some very serious money.
Eventually he earned enough to purchased a Breslau printing firm and began publishing an occult journal, Hanussen Magazin and Bunte Wochenschau, a popular biweekly Berlin tabloid which included astrological columns.
He used the proceeds from his publishing ventures and stage shows to purchase a mansion which became known as “The Palace of the Occult”, which he renovated and turned into a luxurious interactive theatre for fortune telling games.
The Palace of the Occult opened its doors on the evening of February 26th, 1933. In a semi-private séance, one of Hanussen’s mediums/associates, a former actress, Maria Paudler, had a fateful vision. In a trance, she claimed to see a “great building” on fire. The German press (incorrectly) attributed the prediction to Hanussen himself. Less than 20 hours later, the Reichstag was ablaze.
Not surprisingly, this event immediately led to (unsubstantiated) claims that Hanussen may have been himself involved in the Reichstag fire, hypnotizing and directing Marinus van der Lubbe, the convicted arsonist, to commit the act (in order to hand absolute power in Germany to the Nazis).
In reality, this feat proves exactly the opposite. Had Hanussen had been involved in the Reichstag Fire, he would have kept very quiet about it, because sharing this explosive information before the act would have been tantamount to at best inviting ruthless interrogation by criminal police (that did not believe in clairvoyance at all).
At worst, assassination. Which (not surprisingly) was exactly what happened. On March 25, 1933 (two days after Reichstag passed the Enabling Act that handed to Adolf Hitler practically absolute power in Germany) Hanussen was assassinated execution style (two bullets to the head) and hastily buried in a field on the outskirts of Berlin, near Stahnsdorf (his body was discovered two weeks later).
His killers were never found, although there was no shortage of suspects. Hanussen was a very greedy individual and over the years got himself involved in a lot of shady deals. Making lots and lots of enemies.
Rival psychics, embittered ex-employees, jilted lovers, cuckolded husbands, blackmailed victims, and underworld denizens all had reasons to wish him dead. Most likely, he was “taken for a ride” by Berlin gangsters (at that time, organized crime was still a very powerful force in the German capital).
There is, however, another explanation. In addition to helping Hitler perfect his oratory and audience manipulation skills, Hanussen could have been hired by persons unknown (e.g. Thule Society, the mysterious Munich occult society that he introduced Hitler to) to use his psychic abilities to assist Hitler in undergoing mysterious transfiguration (which I will describe in detail a bit later).
He did his job but decided to use these powers to establish control over Hitler. And then use this control to make a lot of money – and maybe for other sinful purposes.
For his employers it was obviously unacceptable so on the evening of March 25th three unidentified men snatched him off the street, and he was never seen alive again.
There was the inevitable rumor that the bullet-ridden corpse discovered on April 7th, 1933 wasn’t Hanussen, that the Trickster avoided his enemies by again changing form and disappearing. It’s another doubtful, but intriguing, possibility.