Architects of Fear?

About 20 years ago, I purchased an encyclopedia on aircraft of the Third Reich. At the time I was fascinated by “secret weapons” of the Luftwaffe and Nazi research at the testing facility at Peenemünde. Three designs in particular caught my attention. They were the Messerschmitt Me 262, a remarkable vehicle widely-accepted as the first functional jet aircraft, the Me 163 Komet, a rocket propelled glider-craft, and the Horten Ho 229 (sometimes referred to as the Gotha Go 229), a jet-turbine propelled flying wing and a masterful translation of form and function (shown above and below).

What caught my attention was the boomerang tailess-shape, and position of the turbines on the Ho 229. The encyclopedia also noted that the aircraft was designed for a reduced radar signature and was doped with a carbon coating to absorb radar energy. This is essentially stealth technology, but the term was not used by laymen to describe aircraft in an encyclopedia from the 1970’s. Stealth technology was top secret. The Ho 229 flat out blew me away, but there was very little written about it and the internet was not yet mainstream. I would not hear about it again until 2011. The Ho 229 was the brainchild of aviator brothers Walter and Reimar Horten, with Reimar cited as being the principle designer of the aircraft and variants. The brothers Horten serve as key figures in a recently released “nonfiction” treatment —Area 51: An Uncensored Story of America’s Top Secret Military Base (Annie Jacobsen, 2011, Hatchett Book Group, Inc.

The premise of the book is this: In an attempt to scare the liver out of the American public (à la Orson Welles radio broadcast of War of the Worlds), Soviet leader Joseph Stalin forced the captured Horten brothers into building a saucer-shaped aircraft, which sneaked in below the radar and crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. But there’s more —the saucer-craft housed surgically-altered human guinea pigs made by Nazi butcher Joseph Mengele, and the U.S. and members of the former Atomic Energy Commission (and descendant organizations) have known about this since 1947!

If this all sounds a bit familiar, it’s because it’s pretty much a retelling of the superb Outer Limits Episode The Architects of Fear (September 1963), where a team of brilliant scientists surgically alter Bob Culp into a hideous alien from the planet Thetan in an attempt to scare warring nations of the world into a peaceful co-existence.

However, the book is a good read.  I got bored with fodder about the U2 and Oxcart/Blackbird spy planes though. If Annie Jacobsen’s sources (notably a former EG&G (now absorbed by engineering consulting/contractor giant URS) employee) are telling the truth, it’s no wonder the U.S. Government has clammed up about Roswell.

Given the location of the alleged Roswell crash site, not far from the White Sands proving grounds and several U.S. air bases, and the timeframe 1947, I have always assumed there was an actual crash, not of extraterrestrial origin, but being an aviation prototype. I never bought into the official AF “Case Closed Report” (available here: that the Roswell incident was a weather balloon for spying on Soviet nukes and the aliens were crash test dummies. Something is fishy about that story. White Sands was crawling with ex-Nazi scientists who were testing V-2 rockets and probably a lot of other aircraft in advancing our space program. It seems logical to me if something crashed in the New Mexico desert, then it was from one of our bases. I once wondered if we experimented on or surgically altered apes for high-altitude performance.

Jacobsen’s thesis about the Horten brothers fabrication of a flying saucer is not new. Author Michael Swords (2000) speculated that the Horten’s had possibly designed a saucer-shaped craft. Vesco and Childress (1994) also refer to the Horten aircraft. And check out this patent filed in 1950:

Do I believe Joseph Stalin sent a remotely-operated Nazi-designed flying saucer housing surgically-altered human aviators to crash in Roswell? Naaah. However, the Horten brothers and the Ho 229 are the true star of the story. The Ho 229 was an extraordinary aircraft ahead of it’s time. Check out these videos:

R. Vesco and D.H. Childress, 1994. Man-Made UFOs 1944-1994: 50 Years of Suppression. AUP Publ.

Swords, Michael D. (2000). “UFOs, the Military, and the Early Cold War”. In Jacobs, David M.. UFOs and Abductions: Challenging the Borders of Knowledge. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. pp. 82–122. ISBN0700610324.

Green, William. Warplanes of the Third Reich. London: Macdonald and Jane’s Publishers Ltd., 1970. ISBN 0-356-02382-6.

Myhra, David. The Horten Brothers and Their All-wing Aircraft. London: Bushwood Books, 1997. ISBN 0-76430-441-0.

Myhra, David. “Northrop Tests Hitler’s ‘Stealth’ Fighter.” Aviation History, Volume 19, Issue 6, July 2009.

Shepelev, Andrei and Huib Ottens. Ho 229, The Spirit of Thuringia: The Horten All-wing jet Fighter. London: Classic Publications, 2007. ISBN 1-903223-66-0.

2 Responses to “Architects of Fear?”

  1. I had toy planes like that when I was a child.

  2. ufo sightings…

    […]Architects of Fear? « monsterminions[…]…

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