The Will of Prometheus: A Trip to Hell and Beyond (lost diary; existence unconfirmed; 1938)

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Status: Existence Unconfirmed


The Will of Prometheus: A Trip to Hell and Beyond (name in original German: Das Testament des Prometheus. Eine Reise zur Hölle und darüber hinaus); also referred to in some sources as Prometheus Unleashed (Der entfesselte Prometheus) and Orpheus – a Journey to Hell and Beyond is an alleged book by the German historian, writer and SS Obersturmführer Otto Rahn, which was to become his third published work after Crusade Against the Grail (1933) and Lucifer's Court (1937). However, the notes for the book went missing after Rahn's death in March 1939. At the time of writing, Rahn also had several other novels in the works, including Sebastian[1], Laurin[2], Montsalvat and Golgotha[3], Selon Dieu et Raison[4], Emanuel Glockenkraut, etc. Some of these manuscripts are believed to be in possession of Otto's niece Ingeborg Röhmer-Rahn who had been interviewed by the film director Richard Stanley for his Rahn documentary The Secret Glory.

History

Inspired by Heinrich Schliemann's discovery of Troy, Otto Rahn dreamed of finding the Holy Grail; based on legends describing it as a jewel from the crown of Lucifer the fallen angel, he believed it to be a stone of meteoric origin. Furthermore, he identified the legendary Grail castle Montsalvat with Montségur, the stronghold of the medieval religious movement known as Cathars. Rahn thought that the Cathars had been in possession of the stone, and that it may still be located somewhere in the Montsegur area; he described his search in his first book Crusade against the Grail. In 1936, Rahn accepted Heinrich Himmler's offer to join the SS and Ahnenerbe, and one year after that, in 1937, he published the second book Lucifer's Court. In the last chapter of Lucifer's Court, Rahn mentioned his plans for a third book, dedicated to his expedition to Iceland which he undertook as a member of the Ahnenerbe:

"Tomorrow morning, I will remove from the pile of paper on my right the stone I brought from Iceland, and I will begin a new book as a sequel to this journal, which I have now finished. The cover page was written in the Icelandic Arctic Circle, the others mostly in the heart of Europe and in my German homeland."

A fragment of Rahn's letter from 1 December 1937, in which he refers to Der entfesselte Prometheus.

The second mention of the book was in Rahn's letter on 1 December 1937, in which he mentioned that he is intending to follow up Lucifer's Court with a book called Prometheus Unleashed (Der entfesselte Prometheus).

Finally, the book is brought up in Rahn's letter to Himmler on 9 June 1938, in which he refers to it as Das Testament des Prometheus. Eine Reise zur Hölle und darüber hinaus.

However, in 1939 Rahn resigned from the SS and died under mysterious circumstances, so the fate of his manuscript remains unknown. While Rahn's niece Ingeborg Röhmer-Rahn alleged that it had been destroyed by Otto's mother after the war[5], it is possible that the manuscript still exists.

References

  1. In his letter to Heinrich Himmler on 9 June 1938, Rahn referred to Sebastian as a 2000-page grand novel which would be his "masterpiece... the quintessence of my perception, realization and thesis, with exclusive references and practical applications in connection with life as it is viewed today. This will be my strongest artistic and intellectual achievement. Experts have assured me of this". The name Sebastian alludes to Saint Sebastian, a Catholic saint who is an iconic figure for LGBT culture (Rahn is believed to have been gay).
  2. In his letter to Antonin Gadal on 14 July 1934, Rahn mentioned a novel Laurin set in the forests of Ariège. The name alludes to the German legend of King Laurin's Rose Garden.
  3. Mentioned in Rahn's letter to Karl Maria Wiligut "Weisthor" on 27 September 1935.
  4. According to God and to Reason, a book for the French market which Rahn mentioned in his letter on 1 December 1937
  5. Lachrymae, Chapter IV: The Final Chapter

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