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Hanns Hörbiger

The World Ice Theory

Welteislehre (WEL; “World Ice Theory” or “World Ice Doctrine”), also known as Glazial-Kosmogonie (Glacial Cosmogony), is a discredited cosmological concept proposed by Hanns Hörbiger, an Austrian engineer and inventor.

According to his ideas, ice was the basic substance of all cosmic processes, and ice moons, ice planets, and the “global ether” (also made of ice) had determined the entire development of the universe.

Hörbiger did not arrive at his ideas through research but said that he had received it in a “vision” in 1894. He published a book about the theory in 1912 and heavily promoted it in subsequent years, through lectures, magazines and associations.

The World Ice Theory, also known as the Glacial Cosmogony or Welteislehre (WEL), is a pseudoscientific concept that was proposed by the Austrian engineer Hanns Hörbiger in the early 20th century. The theory posits that ice is the fundamental substance of all cosmic processes and plays a pivotal role in the formation and evolution of the universe. Here are the key elements of the World Ice Theory:

According to Hörbiger, space is filled with giant masses of ice, and these ice masses are responsible for the creation of stars, planets, and other celestial bodies. He argued that comets and asteroids are remnants of these ice masses.

Hörbiger claimed that Earth and other planets have had multiple moons made of ice that periodically crash into the planets, causing cataclysmic events such as floods and changes in climate. He suggested that our current moon is just the latest in a series of such ice moons.

The theory posits that many of Earth’s geological and climatic changes, as well as historical catastrophes described in myth and legend (such as the Great Flood), can be attributed to the impacts and influences of these ice moons.

Hörbiger’s theory rejected established scientific principles, such as Newtonian mechanics and the laws of thermodynamics, in favor of his own ideas. He argued that mainstream science was flawed and that his theory provided a more accurate explanation of cosmic and terrestrial phenomena.

The World Ice Theory gained some popularity in the early 20th century, particularly in Germany and Austria, and even found some support within the Nazi regime. However, it was widely discredited by the scientific community due to its lack of empirical evidence and its reliance on speculative and often contradictory claims.

The theory is now regarded as an example of pseudoscience, illustrating how ideas can gain traction based on rhetoric and ideological support rather than scientific merit.

A “scientistic” retelling of Germanic mythology?

In Norse mythology, as described in the Eddas:

The universe begins with two primordial realms—Niflheim (home of mist) and Muspelheim (home of fire). The interaction between these realms leads to the creation of ice and fire.

From the mist of Niflheim and the heat of Muspelheim, the first being, Ymir, a frost giant, is formed. Ymir is androgynous and capable of asexual reproduction.

Ymir’s body parts are used by the gods, particularly Odin and his brothers Vili and Vé, to create the world. His blood becomes the oceans, his flesh the earth, his bones the mountains, his hair the trees, and his skull the sky.