Nazis, Antarctica, and Bigfoot

Nazis. Has there ever been a greater villain or evil force out there? Throughout history they have not only served to be the perpetrators of horrific acts, but also the target of numerous, countless conspiracy theories and strange tales. They really manage to fit whatever the creepy story calls for, and there are many such stories. Among the many are the rumors that the Nazis had a secretive, covert base in the cold depths of the continent of Antarctica, a tale which in itself has spread out to cover many facets of the weird. Yet there is one account in particular that I feel is particularly surreal and odd. It is a harrowing and horrific tale of soldiers out in the frigid elements, fighting not only the landscape itself, but unknown entities dwelling within it. In short, it is the perfect story of Nazi bizarreness.

Before beginning, it is perhaps best to first understand a little of the history surrounding the legends of secret Nazi bases buried in Antarctica. The Nazis did indeed come to this bleak, remote wasteland of a continent, but officially only once. The expedition in question was carried out from December 1938 to April 1939, and involved a small contingent sent to Antarctica aboard the vessel Schwabenland. While this all sounds rather ominous, the expedition was mostly exploratory in nature, involving marine science, collection of specimens, surveying, mapping in the region, in particular the western part of Queen Maud Land, and it also had the intention of staking a claim to whaling rights in the region, which were being monopolized by Britain and Norway at the time. The expedition went about its work and left, with no real evidence that they ever even began to build any sort of permanent base there, and this was the only time they went to Antarctica at the time, with further planned expeditions apparently scrapped with the coming of World War II. The next time the Germans would ever set foot in Antarctica was with a Russian expedition in 1959. Officially anyway.

Some of the original Nazi expedition to Antarctica

Of course since this is the Nazis we are talking about here, conspiracies of a German Antarctic base were immediately flying around even at the time, with the facility being claimed to be a gathering place for German occultists, mad scientists, and various members of shadowy groups such as the Illuminati. Such tales were only fueled by cryptic alleged statements made by German naval admiral Karl Dönitz, who would go on to be president of Germany in the wake of Hitler’s death, who said that they had just such a base, claiming it was an “invulnerable fortress, a paradise-like oasis in the middle of eternal ice,” as well as alleged reports from Argentina in 1945 that a German U-boat had been captured there that was found to be responsible for ferrying Hitler and other high ranking officlas from Germany to Antarctica. From here the legends and myths of a Nazi Antarctic base really took off, and covered the full spectrum of wild conspiracy theories, with claims ranging from the Nazis experimenting with UFO technology in subterranean lairs, to discoveries of ancient civilizations, to alien lizard people living under the ice, to stashing stolen artwork there, to claims that Hitler had been whisked away to the base for his own protection rather than dying, to the idea that it was meant to be the launching point for a shadowy, sinister new world order.

One of the events that really cemented the idea of a Nazi base in Antarctica into persistent lore was a very real operation called Operation Highjump, a 1947 American led military mission which was to be the largest scale expedition to the continent ever mounted, involving 4700 men, 33 aircraft, and 13 ships. The official reason for this massive operation was to train troops for fighting and test vehicles and equipment in extreme cold and icy conditions in case a war broke out with Russia in the Arctic, as well as to establish a U.S. presence in Antarctica to counter any Russian activity there. Of course, with such a large military expedition to the continent and rumors already swirling of a Nazi base there, it was not long at all before conspiracies were drawn to it like moths to a flame.

The main idea behind these theories was that the U.S. actually went there to hunt down and destroy any remaining German troops stationed at their Antarctic base. Despite the fact that the Germans had already surrendered and the war was over, the Nazis were claimed to still be operating in secret in Antarctica, and it was thought that Operation Highjump was sent to wipe them out once and for all. The theory really takes a sharp right turn into weirdness with claims that the U.S. force met resistance from Germans utilizing “flying saucers” and other assorted alien weaponry, forcing the Americans to resort to annihilating them with nuclear bombs. Although there is no evidence at all that this ever happened, and despite the fact that not only was Operation Highjump carried out nowhere near anywhere the Germans had ever been to, but that none of the 11 journalists embedded with the operation made even the faintest reference to such an outlandish event, this conspiracy has remained stubbornly entrenched in the spooky lore. Only adding to the whole conspiracy was the persistent presence of British troops in Antarctica in the years after World War II, which were seen as there specifically to fight the remaining Nazis, often teaming up with the Americans to do so.

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Regardless of their many permutations, rumors of secret Nazi bases in Antarctica refused to die, and only picked up speed in the years after the war, helped along by an array of rumors and hearsay. In a bizarre book in 1962 by an Albert Bender, called Flying Saucers and the Three Men, the former Air Force veteran claimed that he had been abducted by aliens and taken to a secret Antarctic base, which was populated by the descendants of the reptilian beings who had originally built the facility. These aliens told him that after World War II the Germans had also been there and that they had shared their technology with them. It is all very strange to be sure, but it and other stories like it served to spark far-out conspiracy theories even further.

Stories of a Nazi base in Antarctica have continued right up to the present. Although they have consistently been debunked, they just refuse to go away. It is all bizarre to say the least, and there is certainly more to it than I have gone over here, but this is just a brief history, and the purpose of this article is not to focus merely on the idea of a Nazi Antarctic base but rather a damn strange story connected to the legend, which was originally published in Nexus Magazine, Vol. 12, #5; August-September 2005, and which involves Nazi bases in Antarctica, British SAS special forces, and Bigfoot.

The story is related by a person who claims to have been an SAS officer, who states that in October of 1945 he was called to participate in a mission so secret that even his commanding officer had no idea what was really going on. After a stop at Gibraltar, he was then whisked away with a special unit to the Falkland Islands, during which time the troops were ordered to complete silence, forbidden from talking amongst themselves or speculating about why they were there. Upon arrival at the Falkland Islands, they then for one month engaged in intensive, grueling combat training in cold winter conditions and arctic warfare, under a Norwegian who had once served in the Norwegian Resistance.

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At the end of this hellish training regiment, the group was finally properly briefed on their true purpose, bing told that they had been recruited for a ultra top-secret mission to investigate anomalous activity reported at the time from a British base in Antarctica at Maudheim, in eastern Antarctica, as well as wipe out the supposed German base lying there deep under the ice, which was referred to as “Britain’s Secret War.” They were told about the secret German base located near the British Maudheim base, and briefed on the various German activities and movements in the region, as well as on the numerous German officials who had supposedly been sequestered away in the subterranean compound.

Things steadily got weirder as the briefing continued. The group was told that the original scientists stationed at the base and their armed entourage had claimed that they had found a tunnel leading beneath the ice, followed by rantings over the radio talking of “Polar Men, ancient tunnels and Nazis,” but that shortly after this contact with the British base had then been lost after an ominous last transmission that allegedly proclaimed “The Polar Men have found us!” The special forces that were gathered there were told that they were first to investigate why radio contact had been lost with the base and who the “Polar Men” were, which all sounded like a rather spooky proposition that no one present felt comfortable about. They were also told that great pains were being taken to make sure that the Americans and the Russians did not get wind of the existence of a Nazi base in Antarctica. The unit was then flown over the icy, bleak landscape of Antarctica to a remote drop-off point located around 20 miles from the British Maudheim Base, all under complete radio silence. Once on the ground, they were on their own, the only assistance provided being some snow tractors left for them to use. They then stalked their way through the icy, inhospitable terrain, ever wary of an enemy attack, until they reached the supposed entrance to the abandoned base. Although they expected the place to be bristling with activity, it was found to be oddly silent, even devoid of life. The witness would described what happened then thus:

Instantly, our suspicions were roused, but, just like all the previous campaigns I had fought during the War, we had a job to do and so our personal fears could not shroud our judgement. As we split up to search the base, a trip wire was detonated and a siren sounded, destroying the silence and startling the whole force.  A shout was soon heard, demanding us to identify ourselves, but the voice could not be targeted.  With our guns raised the Major introduced us to the voice, and then, thankfully, the voice was given a body.  The voice belonged to a lone survivor, and what he divulged made us more anxious and had us wishing that there were more troops amongst our ranks.

What this lone survivor told them was that there was another survivor in “Bunker One,” where he was trapped within with one of the beastly “Polar Men” they had heard about. The unit decided to try and make their way to this Bunker One and try to open it, much to the objections of the survivor they had found. They warily approached the door to the isolated bunker, wondering what sort of horrors might lie within, and argued amongst themselves over who would be the first one to enter. The witness would say of what transpired next:

Fortunately, I was not selected to enter; that honour was bestowed on the youngest member of our unit.  He proceeded inside, hesitating slightly as he struggled with the door. Once inside, a silence descended across the base, followed moments later by two gunshots. The door was opened and the Polar Man dashed to freedom. None of us was expecting what we saw, and the Polar Man had fled into the surrounding terrain so quick that only a few token shots were fired. Out of fear and awe at what we had seen, we all decided to go into the bunker.  Go in we did, and two bodies were found.  The soldier who had pulled the short straw was found with his throat ripped out, and, more heinous, the survivor had been stripped to the bones.

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The death of one of their own so soon after arrival unsettled and angered the unit, and they relentlessly grilled the survivor they had found for more answers. They asked him why the dead man they had found had been stuck in the bunker in the first place, and the frightened survivor chose to tell the tale from the beginning. It turned out that the area they were in was one of Antarctica’s “dry valleys,” devoid of ice and snow, which had facilitated the discovery of the “ancient tunnel.” After that, personnel were sent to see where the tunnel led, and it turned out to stretch for miles underground before ending in a vast cavern which was supposedly warmed considerable, perhaps by geothermal action.

The deeper the expedition had gone into the cavern, the more discoveries they had made. It seemed that the Nazis had been there, as they had set up artificial lighting and built hangars and docks for U-boats in the subterranean lakes that were found strewn about, as well as inscrutable excavations down in the dark with unknown purposes. Some Nazis had apparently still been roving about, as they proceeded to capture and kill several of the survivor’s expedition. The remaining expedition members fled and tried to block the tunnel, and this was when the Polar Men had descended upon them, generating that eerie last message. The creatures in question were described as being heavily built, hairy beasts with a mix of ape and human features and possessing supernatural strength and speed.

The unit had managed to retreat and make their way back to their base, but they had then split up into separate bunkers. One of these survivors had then managed to lure one of the Polar Men into his bunker and lock it in, which had later led to his death and the destruction of his radio gear. The stammering survivor then cryptically told the SAS unit that these Polar Men were the result of Nazi experimentation, although no further details were forthcoming. This revelation was immediately shot down by the unit’s scientist as hogwash, but the others gave it weight and wanted to know what the “Polar Men” wanted, which was meant with the sinister response of to “wait, watch and wonder just how different we taste.” With this alarming revelation, a guard detail was allegedly set up to keep watch, and the next day they were ordered to investigate the tunnel for themselves. They made their way to the entrance in the dry valley which the survivor had told them about, and the witness would say:

Upon arriving in the dry valley we were all amazed, for we had been told that Antarctica was completely ice-bound and yet here we were in a valley that reminded me of being back in the North African Sahara.  We were forbidden from even approaching the tunnel until the temporary base camp had been erected; and whilst the men constructed the base, the scientist and Major investigated the tunnel.

After a few hours, they returned to the now complete camp to chronicle what they had seen and what our next plan of action was to be.  The tunnel was not an ancient passageway at all, claimed the scientist, although the Major added that the walls were made of smooth granite and looked infinite.  We were informed that we would be able to make our own minds up after we had rested for the night.

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Unfortunately, that night these strange creatures would come to them in the darkness, and one of them was apparently shot and killed when it ventured too close. The team scientist ascertained that the thing was some sort of hairy, cold adapted human, and the corpse was purportedly put on ice for further later study. When morning arrived, the Major, the witness, and the survivor went on into the tunnel with a small contingent of men as the others waited behind to guard against further attacks and keep the mysterious corpse safe. They eventually reached the cavern the survivor had spoken of, which was artificially lit just as described, and they had to be careful to stay in the shadows and hide from the various Nazi forces that were buzzing about as they slowly went about laying mines and explosives. The unit was apparently spotted and pursued by both Nazi soldiers and the ape-like Polar Men, and the witness would describe the next part of the tale thus:

Upon reaching the tunnel, we needed to put an obstacle in the way to slow down our enemy long enough for the mines to detonate.  Some mines were placed at the entrance to the tunnel, and when the explosions were heard we were hopeful that not just the base had been comprehensively destroyed but so, too, the enemy forces giving chase.  We were wrong. The mines did indeed close the tunnel, but, for those Nazis and Polar Men behind, the chase was still on.  In a fighting retreat, only three of the 10 escaped the tunnel:  the Norwegian, the scientist and myself.  The rest had fallen gallantly in making sure that some of the party survived.

The unit supposedly managed to escape to the entrance of the tunnel and close it for good with explosives, leaving little evidence that it had ever been there at all. The unit was subsequently disbanded and sent their own ways, after being told that they were strictly forbidden from ever discussing what they had seen. The team’s scientist would go on to try and explain it all away, saying that the Polar Men had merely been “unkept, insane soldiers,” but the rest of the group knew better. The mission in the meantime was swept under the rug and never made official.

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It is all a very dramatic report and full of quite cinematic imagery, but it was truly reported as happening in just this way, and I have not embellished it at all. I have  to say it is one of the more far-out accounts I have ever seen, and you can read a fuller transcription of this account here. It could be a completely fabricated story or just another of the many, many outlandish Nazi tales out there, but it certainly is quite an entertaining read. Make of it what you will. As ridiculous as this report may sound, it serves to add yet another twisted, very odd tale to the pile of Nazi lore out there already. Nazis just have a way of drawing such tales to them, and they have made the perfect villains and conspiracy targets for decades. Among all of the weird tales and conspiracies, I would have to say captive Bigfoot-like creatures at a secret base in Antarctica has to rank up there on the meter of the bizarre.