...the Nazis have had teams of archaeologists running around
the world looking for all kinds of religious artifacts. Hitler
is a nut on the subject... -from the film Raiders
of the Lost Ark
The motion picture Raiders of the Lost Ark
was an exciting fictional saga with evil Nazis, a heroic archaeologist
and a missing supernatural treasure. The tale that inspired
the movie, though, was almost as gripping as the film. It comes
from a 1973 book by historian Trevor Ravenscroft entitled The
Spear of Destiny. Ravenscroft says this true story starts
close to 2000 years ago:
On the day Christ was crucified (a Friday) the
Bible tells us that the Jews asked the Roman Governor, Pilate,
to remove his body, along with the thieves crucified with him,
so that they would not remain on the crosses during the sabbath
It could take several days for a man to die from
the cruel execution of crucifixion, but the process could be
shortened by breaking the victim's legs. The thieves were killed
this way, but when the Roman soldiers reached Jesus, one of
them, reportedly a centurion named Longinus, saw he was already
dead and proved it to his fellows by using his spear to pierce
the Christ's side. Blood and water poured out. There was no
need to break his bones.
This act has been seen by Christians as fulfillment
of prophecy spoken earlier in the Bible: The Messiah shall be
pierced and his bones shall not be broken. The spear itself
became a religious relic. The piercing was seen as proof of
his death and his subsequent resurrection.
Today there exist several historic spears claimed
to be the "holy lance" of the biblical story. The one with perhaps
the best claim, or at least the oldest provenance is in the
Hofburg Museum in Vienna, Austria. This spear can be traced
back through history to Constantine the Great, the Roman Emperor
who first adopted Christianity in the early 4th century.
According to Ravencroft the lance was possessed
by a series of successful military leaders including Theodosius,
Alaric (who was responsible for the sacking of Rome), Charles
Martel (who defeated the Moslems in 733 AD), Charlemagne and
A legend grew around the lance that whoever possessed
it would be able to conquer the world. Napolean attempted to
obtain the lance after the battle of Austerlitz, but it had
been smuggled out of the city prior to the start of the fight
and he never got a hold of it. According to the legend, Charlemagne
carried the spear through 47 successful battles, but died when
he accidentally dropped it. Barbarossa met the same fate only
a few minutes after it slipped out of his hands while he was
crossing a stream.
Hitler in Paris.
The spear finally wound up in the possession of
the House of the Hapsburgs and by 1912 was part of the treasure
collection stored in Hofburg Museum. According to Ravenscroft
it was in September of that year, while living in Vienna and
working as a watercolor painter, that a young Adolf Hitler visited
the Museum and learned of the lance and its reputation. Dr.
Walter Stein, who accompanied Hitler on that visit, remembered,
"when we first stood side by side in front of the Spear of Destiny
it appeared to me that Hitler was in so deep a condition of
trance that he was suffering almost complete sense-denudation
and a total lack of self-consciousness."
Hitler later said, "I stood there quietly gazing
upon it for several minutes quite oblivious to the scene around
me. It seemed to carry some hidden inner meaning which evaded
me, a meaning which I felt I inwardly knew yet could not bring
to consciousness...I felt as though I myself had held it before
in some earlier century of history. That I myself had once claimed
it as my talisman of power and held the destiny of the world
in my hands..."
Hitler saw the lance as his mystical connection
with generations of conquering Germanic leaders that had come
before him. On March 14, 1938, after he had risen to power as
the chancellor of Germany, Hitler annexed the state of Austria
and ordered that the spear, along with the rest of the Habsburg
collection, be sent to the city of Nuremberg, heart of the Nazi
painting of the crucifixion. Note the guard at the bottom
holding the spear.
On October 13th the lance was loaded onto an armored
train and sent to the city. There it was kept in the St. Catherines
Church throughout the most successful portion of Hitler's military
campaign. In October 1944, after success had shifted to the
Allied side, the spear, along with the rest of the collection,
was moved to a specially constructed underground vault that
would protect it from heavy bombing.
Six months later, on April 30th, 1945, at 2:10
PM, advancing American forces took possession of the vault and
the spear. Eighty minutes later Adolf Hitler died, by his own
hand, in a bunker in Berlin.
Today the Holy Lance has been returned to the
Hofburg Museum. Is it authentic? General George S. Patton thought
so. He became fascinated by the spear after the war and had
its history traced.
Did Hitler really think possesing the spear would
help him win the war? Other historians have found Ravenscroft's
research suspicious and his book remains controversial. Alan
Baker, author of Invisible Eagle, The History of Nazi Occultism,
thinks Hitler was more interested in getting a hold of the Hofburg
treasures for financial reasons, not occult reasons.
Does the spear have some sort of mystical power?
The Bible never credits the spear to be anything but what it
seemed to be: a Roman guard's weapon. Perhaps most importantly,
skeptics can rightly point to the failure of the third Reich,
even before Hitler lost the spear, as evidence that any power
the spear had was strictly in the owner's mind.
Copyright Lee Krystek
1997. All Rights Reserved.