Thelema in the Appenzell

Ordo Templi Orientis
Thelema in the Appenzell ?

Abtei Thelema — Ordo Templi Orientis Schweiz Gasthof Rose Stein Appenzell
Ordo Templi Orientis Switzerland Stein Appenzell Illuminati Gnostic Catholic Church Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua

Context: The Psychosophical Publishing Company.

Photographs of some protagonists. [Colored with AI]

The present writer visits the location.

Annemarie Aeschbach

Annemarie Aeschbach

Born in Zurich on February 26th 1926, daughter of a vinegar manufacturer called Robert Aeschbach, Fräulein Annemarie Aeschbach was registered as living in the Eugen Huberstrasse in Zurich until the date of H.J. Metzger's death in 1990. Since 1954, she had been listed locally as the proprietor of the "House in the Schedlern" near Stein.

Aeschbach Essig

Alongside Metzger's housekeeper Anna Werder-Binder, (a divorcee who had lived with Metzger in the same house at Zurich since 1967, but had her own Mini car), Fräulein Aeschbach spent much of her time at Stein, answering the phone and dispatching orders for books. On April 25th 1951 Frau Werder-Binder had signed a diploma (together with Charles Huber) for Eugen Grosche, which had made Grosche into a "legally initiated member."

Eugen Grosche, Fraternitas Saturni, Hermann Joseph Metzger, Diplom Genossenschaft Psychosophia

[From: 'Materialien Zum O.T.O.']

Fräulein Aeschbach had bought the house at Schedlern from her father in 1954, when it had became known as the 'Thelema Commandery'. In 1986 the doors of its rooms still bore number-plates; the house itself being a three-story villa in the 'garden-city' style of the 1920s, with rather narrow rooms looking straight out onto the hotel next door. [1] Both buildings stand on the road to Stein, a village close by of some 1,100 souls, where Metzger's Abbey of Thelema was located. The House of the Schedlern was renovated on September 25th 1955.

Haus in der Schedlern, Stein Appenzell

In 1964 a certain Paul Kränzlin took over the Gasthof Rose in Stein. Ernst Neuschwanden, the hotel's previous owner, was involved in a series of running battles with Metzger (over parking-spaces, for instance) and according to the chairman of Stein's council, "never" sold Metzger the Gasthof Rose. But less than a year later, Fräulein Aeschbach was the new proprietor of the hotel, which included 40,000 square metres of land surrounding the property, and eight other buildings which featured underground rooms that could accommodate 137 people in all. [2]

Gasthof Rose Haus in der Schedlern

"She worked in the Art gallery of her brother in the 1960s [...] She had manifold responsibilities. All I know is that Stein wouldn't have worked without her." [3]

The reconstruction works at Stein lasted until 1969; [4] the funds for this were raised by Fräulein Aeschbach from the sale of properties at Eulenweg in Altstetten, among others. The hotel's income remained so low through all these years that it paid practically no taxes, while between 1975 and 1982 the takings withered away to nothing. On October 10th 1980 Fräulein Aeschbach's father died (born December 27th 1885), owner of the well-known (and doubtless profitable) Aeschbach Vinegar Company.
In 1983, the gallery in the Löwenstrasse in Zurich was sold off, which raised nearly three-quarters of a million Swiss francs. And yet no entry for Fräulein Aeschbach can be found in the business-registers for Zurich or Stein - except for one to do with the 'Psychosophia Company' (PC, Genossenschaft Psychosophia) in Zurich — but only from March 1952 to March 1957.

Invitations to the social evenings held by the 'Weltbund der Illuminaten' (World League of Illuminati) at the Zurich Room in the Café Münz, were signed with a stamp bearing the legend "I.H. Weltbund der Illuminaten, Chochmah." 'Chochmah' (a rather lax transliteration of what is normally written 'Chokmah' or 'Hokmah', the Hebrew word for wisdom) was of course Fräulein Aeschbach's magical motto; it appeared on the invitations to Franz Spunda's lecture held on August 30th 1975 on 'Art and the modern theory of life.' Other invitations were signed by one "A. Butz". The Statutes of the Order of Illuminati in Dresden (1903) enjoins that: "one should only employ initials, e.g. 'J.G.' when signing in the Order's name." [5]
According to 'Neue Bücher AG', a mail-order bookshop in Zurich, Fräulein Aeschbach regularly ordered between four and six volumes per book from them at this time; she bought titles from occult publishers like Sphinx in Basle, or Ansata in Interlaken.

Annemarie Aeschbach Telephone Directory
Telephone Directory

Among her many more mundane tasks, Fräulein Aeschbach found time to perform the functions of a Deaconess at the Gnostic Catholic Mass. The trash journalist Horst Knaut wrote of her: "The moment the Master Therion was mentioned, one noticed the pleasure and reverence in her expression. She and the priestess A. Borgert appeared to love and idolise Metzger unconditionally." (Das Testament des Bösen, Stuttgart 1979).

At the start of her career in the Crowleyan OTO, she had obtained an O.T.O. certificate dated October 28th 1951, signed by Karl Germer and Frederic Mellinger.

Lamen of the Swiss O.T.O.

Hermann Joseph Metzger Annemarie Aeschbach O.T.O. Ordo Templi Orientis Karl Germer Friedrich Frederic Mellinger

Hermann Joseph Metzger Annemarie Aeschbach O.T.O. Ordo Templi Orientis Karl Germer Friedrich Frederic Mellinger

[From "Materialien Zum O.T.O."]

I remember Fräulein Aeschbach's character as somewhat pedantic, and she was not a great enthusiast for anything modern; she placed great value on external appearances, yet liked to appear as the guardian of deep secrets. On her arm she wore a copper band engraved with astrological symbols. [6]

Telephone interview of Peter-R. Koenig with Annemarie Aeschbach; in Swiss German, 7 January 1987 (3:49, circa 880 KB).

Verlag Psychosophische Gesellschaft — Ordo Templi Orientis — Illuminati

Anita Elisabeth Borgert

Born on May 12th 1918 in Leipzig, and having worked as a bookseller in Saxony, from July 17th 1953 Frau Borgert was housekeeper to Fräulein Aeschbach at Stein. Although Frau Borgert had got married in Switzerland during World War II, she divorced her husband on September 11th 1951, and was united with Metzger by means of "free love in the sense of the Law of Thelema." [7]

Anita Elisabeth Borgert Ainyahita Gasthof Rose Ordo Templi Orientis O.T.O. Thelema Appenzell Switzerland

Frau Borgert's career in the Crowleyan O.T.O. started on April 3rd 1953. Taking the motto 'Ainyahita', she took over the editorial work at the Psychosophical Society Press; it is known that she worked in the Gasthof Rose's private bar for a few weeks in 1965, but by the end of the 1970s she was occupied at the Abbey's 'monastic archive'. For the rest, she took the rôle of Priestess in the Gnostic Masses, and took readings on the weather for local farmers, from the various pieces of equipment for measuring climatic and meteorological data on the roof and in the garden of the house at Schedlern.

Frau Borgert presented Metzger with two sons, Simon and Parcival. Joseph Grasser "Stephanios" made some highly insulting remarks about this in a commentary for his news-magazine Entretien [8] which we will not reproduce here.

Anita Borgert Hermann Joseph Metzger Parcival Peter O.T.O.

Joseph Isidore Grasser 90°, born on June 9th 1906 at Issenheim in the Alsace, founded something with the confusing name of 'Int[ernational] Martinist Ass[ociation] "Les Stephanios" International Grand-Lodge Paris' in collaboration with Robert Ambelain in 1957; it was also affiliated with the MM. (Robert Ambelain was a successor to the Martinists, Gnostics and MM in France, and worked as a meter-reader for the 'Société Five' gas company in Lille [9]; he is dealt with in more detail in the articles on the Gnostics.) Grasser incited Paul Ruediger Audehm's feelings against Metzger.

Simon Metzger inherited his mother's interests; like her, he worked at a weather-station in Dietikon. Parcival went to live in Geneva. Audehm writes of Metzger and Borgert's sons: "One of them inevitably followed in his father's footsteps at the start of the 70s. Here in Frankfurt he did well out of curing smokers by hypnosis; I heard about it on the radio." [10]

Frau Borgert was zealous in repelling unwelcome visitors to the Abbey — those not convinced of the honesty and purity of the Abbey's philosophy — and of course the merely curious who had trespassed into the Abbey's grounds. [11]

"Anita: she did the cooking (superbly) — and made sure that the Oriflamme came out on time. She had probably processed the 'Quibus Libets' with Werther [sic, Anna Werder], i.e. she'd taken care of approx. 50 initiates (Minervals)." [12]

Up until 1980 Anita Borgert was considered as the intimate companion of the "Chief Pastor", as Metzger was described; but in 1980 she announced her withdrawal from the community at Stein, and moved her home to the N***strasse in Zurich. Since mid-1980 she has lived in D***.

In a telephone conversation on January 8th 1987, Frau Borgert only felt able to give brief details: she had not been Chancellor-General since 1980. She said that her career as an editor and publisher had only started in early 1953 with the Ketzerbrevier (Heretic's Breviary); she made no mention of the Psychosophical Institute Newsletter of 1948.

Telephone Interview with Anita Borgert by Peter-R. Koenig; in Swiss German, 8 Jan 1987 (3:37, circa 470 KB).

Hermann Joseph Metzger, also known as 'Peter Mano'

Born on June 20th 1919, Metzger was a citizen of both the rural village of Zezikon in the Swiss canton of Thurgau, and Lucerne (canton Lucerne). He also provided his birth-time, 9.25 p.m., and place, latitude + 47° 3', longitude 8° 17'.
"I have been able to find out next to nothing about Metzger's past. He had a strong mother (which is psychologically interesting), who was said sometimes to chase him barefoot through the stubble-fields." [13]

Hermann Joseph Metzger — Ordo Templi Orientis — Illuminati

Metzger was a moving spirit: from Lugano in Ticino he moved to the Sonneggstrasse at Zurich in 1939; thence to the Käferholzstrasse in 1954; to 26 Birchstrasse in April 1957; up the road to Sophie Huber's house at 10 Birchstrasse in June 1957; only to go back from Sophie Huber to Nº 26 in 1959; and in 1966 to Holderbachweg, with Anna Werder — but in reality always maintaining a constant presence at Stein.

Ordo Templi Orientis Zuerich Sonneggstrasse Hermann Joseph Metzger
Ordo Templi Orientis
Zuerich, Sonneggstrasse,
Hermann Joseph Metzger

Hermann Joseph Metzger Holderbachweg Zuerich Ordo Templi Orientis
Anna Werder and Metzger's home in Zuerich

He calculated the figures for his own horoscope:
"Ascendant 14°46' Capricorn, Second House 3°00" Pisces, Third House 16°3" Aries, M.C. 14°58" Scorpio, 10th House 6°09" Sagittarius, 12th House 24°38" Sagittarius, Sun 28°27"07' Gemini, Moon 23°55" Pisces, Neptune 7°35" Leo, Uranus 1°38" retrograde Pisces, Saturn 24°8" Leo, Jupiter 20°37" Cancer, Mars 17°50" Gemini, Venus 13°15" Leo, Mercury 9°27" Cancer, Pluto 5°55" Cancer, Moon's Node 2°41" Sagittarius, Part of Fortune 18°53" Aries." [14]
"Metzger's data are actually Ascendant 14°42" Capricorn, 10th House 15° Scorpio [...] He has three planets in Leo, three in Cancer, two in Pisces, and two in Gemini. Only the Ascendant and the Fourth House are in earthy signs. He has Saturn and three other planets in the Seventh House; what do you make of such a strong grouping in the Seventh? In my opinion, this chart has no marked structure in the way Therion's does; what is required in a strong horoscope is that the planets have strong aspects to each other in two or three groups. I like the almost exact Sun-Uranus trine." [15]

Metzger wrote of himself:
"From my childhood onwards I have had to struggle against various obstacles. On one hand, my family background only served to fill me with complexes, and my personal treatment was so strict that very early on indeed it had cut me off from the knowledge that I'd awakened to - the whole powerful dimension of the erotic [...]
Politics and religion were never far away from my life; born a Roman Catholic, by 12 years old I had already rebelled against its certainties. Hence it was decided that I should become a priest, and through family friends I was pushed in this direction in early adolescence; but when I found myself put to work in the bosom of mother church, I avowed the most flagrant materialism throughout my formative years. This was the era of dialectical materialism, denying God, and my becoming a Communist — but above all it was when I rebelled against Fascism and Nazism, which I had studied from their beginnings in Italy and Germany. My activities in connection with this were similarly vigorous, and I organised and led various groups in Switzerland. [...] Although I had already noticed that my idealism and zeal were being led in other directions, first I had to endure being arrested and put on remand, which left me stuck without a goal. [...] then suggestion and hypnosis came into my life...
Suspicious of everyone and everything, I was forced to make my mind up. Broken in spirit, affections, and soul, deserted by all my friends, teachers, and guides — yet humbled, only knowing that I knew nothing, there was nothing left to do but strike out on a new path...
At this point I encountered my friend Dr. P
[inkus], who became like a father to me, and I vowed to myself that I would devote the rest of my life to the community and its spiritual growth...
From Al.
[eister] Crowley I possess no books ...
Your SOTOM, H. Metzger."

SOTOM Ordo Templi Orientis Hermann Joseph Metzger

Metzger's SOTOM–seal
Theodor Reuss SOTOM seal

Theodor Reuss's SOTOM–seal

The title "SOTOM" first appears from Theodor Reuss on October 17th 1901. [17]

"While he has a keen and realistic intelligence, he surprises with an attitude of a mystico-magical miracle-man in modern attire. Physiognomically, he reminds one of Groening, the famous German healer à la Rasputin, only with more suave features; he has a childish smile, which only helps to emphasise his rotten Tibetan rat's teeth." [18]
"I find it difficult (or impossible) to take Metzger at all seriously. In fact I regard him as a harmless nonentity. In fact he is a fairly typical occultist." [19]
"A worse fellow there surely he never was. Still, out of all the 'self-appointed', he must be taken most seriously." [20]
"He had mostly tried to copy Paracelsus. [...] He must have worked at practical magic intensively in his younger years — something which emerged in all our conversations." [21]
"Metzger had always nurtured a great respect for [August] Strindberg [...] who was his great exemplar — he certainly gave a good impression of copying him." [22]
"Aeschbach fulfilled all his infantile wishes with a great deal of assiduous care — he really was like a little kid. He spread himself too thinly over a thousand and one things, grasping at everything (e.g. alchemy [...]) but never ever finishing them off. It's simply that whatever he stuck his nose into, he got sidetracked." [23]

The inner core around Metzger consisted of his wife Rosalie, the generous Fräulein Aeschbach, Stein's châtelaine Anita Borgert, and the housekeeper at his home in Zurich, Anna Bertha Werder-Binder. Frau Werder-Binder nonetheless became a member of the Crowleyan O.T.O. on April 3rd 1953. From March 1954 until July 14th 1966 Metzger mostly lived with Sophie Huber, and afterwards with Anna Werder-Binder (see list above).

Pope Paragranus

Initiated into hypnosis by F.L. Pinkus, Metzger was publicised as a "conjurer" under the alias of 'Peter Mano'. His alias was a pun on that of the renowned stage-hypnotist 'Hermano', who had appeared for a season at the Corso in Zurich between 1938-9, and played a large part in the so-called 'Clairvoyant War' there. In 1943 Metzger became a member of 'Sicher wie Jold' an international performer's agency, though the organisation has no information about Metzger's stage-appearances in its records. All that is known of Metzger in this light is that he had "done everything to do with the stage." Oscar Schlag maintained it was common knowledge that Metzger had given public performances as a hypnotist at the Restaurant Hirschen at Niederdorf in Zurich, though he himself had never been to see him there.
Schlag knew that Metzger had taken full advantage of the start of the 'Clairvoyant War' around Hermano, and followed the current fashion for smoking-cures and hypnosis. [24]

Pope Paragranus

Metzger was introduced to 'Sicher wie Jold' through the cabaret-artiste Betty Mann-Studer; he was a client of the agency from 1943 to 1955, when he suddenly stopped paying his subscription, but rejoined on January 1st 1971 when he paid up the arrears. [25] In the early 70s the tabloid-journalist Horst Knaut and his associates carried out investigations into 'Sicher wie Jold', in vain as the perfomer's agency esteems highly religious and political freedom.

Die Arve - Peter Mano - Hermann Joseph Metzger - Manfred Kyber, Hans Sterneder, G.W. Surya, Herbert Fritsche, Theodor Czepl

After World War II, Metzger's profession was listed in the directories as "Author".

Hermann Joseph Metzger Telephone Directory
Telephone Directory

It is likely that his first published work was the fanciful article 'Mirin Dajo — anders gesehen' ('Mirin Dajo — seen differently') which appeared in the newspaper Die Arve in 1947, under his pseudonym Peter Mano. [26] Mirin Dajo — real name Arnold Gerrit Henskes (1912-1948) — was a Dutch fakir who allowed himself to be pierced through with fencing-foils under medical scrutiny in front of an audience. [27] In the next issue of Die Arve, Metzger reflected upon 'Astrology as the perennial psychology of the micro- and macrocosm', because of the "discovery, by many readers, of the objectivity" to be found in his previous article. [28] At the same time the first issue of his Newsletter of the Psychosophical Institute was published to favourable reviews. [29]

Altogether Metzger "Mano, Paragranus, Tabacum, Nemos" wrote about forty articles, including lectures, forewords, and statutes for the Psychosophical Society Press. For instance, on September 14th 1950 Metzger gave a lecture on 'The Supernatural World' at the Restaurant Schweizerhof in Zurich.

Peter Mano — Hermann Joseph Metzger — Strahlende Welt — Beitrag zur Geschichte der Radiästhesie
Mitteilungsblatt des Psychosophischen Institutes - Ordo Templi Orientis — Switzerland

Although his financial position was secure by 1986, with savings of about 30,000 Swiss francs, and an income around 10,000 francs per annum, back in 1944 Metzger could not afford to support himself — as he reminisced in a letter to Grosche on May 24th 1950. He said that attempts had already been made at that time to discredit him as the Psychosophical Society's kingpin, and that allegations were made to the police about this; but oddly, he never really tried to frustrate these moves or mount a counter-attack.
As to Metzger's military career (like all male Swiss citizens of voting age, he would have been required to do periods of national service), the Military Directorate could not provide any information. apparently because of data-protection laws. [30]

Rosalie Metzger-Strickler

Born on June 2nd 1909, and died on March 5th 1972 at the Cantonal Hospital in St. Gallen, Rosalie (or Rösli) under her magical alias Sister 'Mechala' was "the hand which protected the Sanctum." [31]

Rosalie Roesli Metzger

Like her husband, Frau Metzger was registered with the 'Sicher wie Jold' agency in Zurich. This was where they first met, which led to their subsequent marriage on June 12th 1948; shortly after that Rösli Metzger joined the Illuminati Order.
She led a small business, the "Flickstube Halde" [Knitting room Halde], and was very seldom seen at Stein. [32] After her death Metzger held a special ceremony; this closely resembled the ritual performed after his own death in 1990. The urns containing Rösli and Hermann Metzger's ashes have been placed behind the altar of the Gnostic Chapel at Stein. [33]

Georges Bérard

Bérard was born on September 16th 1925 at Farvagny-le-Petit in France, and was married in Zurich on May 19th 1964 [34]. According to papers at the Swiss Board of Trade, Bérard was a director of the Psychosophia Company with general responsibilities from March 20th 1952 until November 14th 1956, when the Company was dissolved. It must have been an acrimonious end to the concern, for in a telephone interview on November 2nd 1986, M. Bérard vehemently disassociated himself from Metzger, and refused to give any further details of the affair, not even knowing whether Metzger was still alive.

The 'Public Work'

To gain a closer understanding of Nature's inner workings, from July 1954 onwards weather observations were sent to the Swiss Weather Bureau in Zurich [34] from the roof and garden of the "house in Schedlern", which stood 788 metres above sea-level; [35] after March 1958 Schedlern became an official station for measuring rainfall, and then a full Weather Bureau weather-station. The station was set up entirely on the initiative of 'Thelema'. [36] The data were gathered on home-made rain-gauges in the first years, but later on the Weather Bureau furnished them with its own official instruments. Between November 1976 and December 1983, the observers (Frau Borgert until 1979, and then Fräulein Aeschbach) provided data for the normal weather forecast, as well as the farming one; the readings were dispatched three times a day to Zurich. [37] 'Thelema' is marked on the Weather Bureau's official map as a quite important meteorological and climatological station.
As a complement to the weather-measurements, astrology was used to gain an "insight into the way hidden influences worked"; these observations of phenomena also apparently need a good knowledge of plant-species. The PC's publications included regular weather-forecasts, which were also passed on to the local farmers and villagers by means of a notice-board.

The 'Thelema Film-Club', as a division of what was described as the 'Schweizerische Kulturfilmverbande' ('Swiss Cultural Film League') put on art, ballet, and travel films, and gave the première of a documentary called Käse-Union, about cheese-manufacturing at a firm in the middle of Stein — it attracted "between thirty and forty people," in an auditorium — the 'Saal der Rose' — that apparently seated 80. As Metzger stopped bothering to collect subscriptions from the membership of his film-club after a few years, the Schweizer Kulturfilmvereinigung (Swiss Cultural Film Union) [38] struck him off their lists without comment. [39] In December 1968, the Psychosophical Company showed Kenneth Anger's film "Regards sur l'Occultisme" [40] in the 'Saal der Rose'. Even though "Kenneth Unger" (sic) had been described as a "sensation-seeker" in 1960, by 1966 Stein had changed its mind about him; Anger paid a visit there on August 17th that year, and got to meet Oscar Schlag into the bargain.

In Stein's capacious cellars the "Labor Thelema" as it was dubbed, was carried out mostly by the industrious Fräulein Aeschbach; this consisted of a mail-order business distributing herbs and oils, alongside vaginal washes and deodorants, cola-nut tablets, and a Swedish 'elixir of life'. For a short time in 1961 'Stein Commandery Bread' [Komturbrot] was produced, a sort of fruit-loaf containing wheatgerm, wheatgerm-oil, raw cane-sugar, milk, dried fruits, herbs, and natural yeast; on the wrapping a symbol taken from the front cover of Crowley's Equinox was emblazoned, with the motto "The Method of Science — The Aim Of Religion." [41] These businesses did not flourish, however. Other cellars housed the printing-works, and a photographic laboratory furnished with an epidiascope; also a recording-studio, and a room where they unsuccessfully tried to manufacture royal jelly.

Psychosophische Gesellschaft
Psychosophische Gesellschaft
Psychosophische Gesellschaft
Psychosophische Gesellschaft
Psychosophische Gesellschaft

In June 1954, the community's library contained some 3,000 volumes; because of worries about break-ins, an alarm-system was installed. By May 1972 it was reported that there was a total of no fewer than 30,000 books. It also possessed a dictaphone-record of Crowley reciting his Heart of the Master. For some reason Crowley's other crackly recordings of some dozen poems, of an extract from Liber XV, and of two Enochian Aethyrs, which are generally available, are not included in the collection.

In the Order's museum, where its Lodge-meetings are also held, one may see (besides Metzger's teddy-bear, first pair of shoes, baby-dish, fez, his magic wand from the old days on the stage, and a collection of old musical instruments), his version of the Stele of Revealing and Order documentation.

Illuminati, Ordo Templi Orientis, Stein Appenzell, Order's museum, collection of old musical instruments Illuminati, Ordo Templi Orientis, Stein Appenzell, Order's museum, collection of old musical instruments

Concerning the rumours of another, secret erotic museum, Paul R. Audehm reported: Walter "Englert was a pharmacist, and was able to provide him [Metzger] with all sorts of specialities obtained in the course of his business [...] Thus at nights there was talk in the 'Rose' of mediæval torture-instruments (halberds, cudgels, etc.) When I asked the Master why an esoteric order needed such such instruments of torture, he only said that I didn't understand." [42]

Dorothea Weddigen "Dodo" (b. 1936) a German citizen (according to the affidavits on Metzger's election to OHO lived in St. Gallen and worked as a psychotherapist at a hospital in the neigbouring town of Herisau; she used 'Autogenic Training' in-house and on house-calls to the farms and villages in the district. But in common with many other people involved with the O.T.O. phenomenon, when asked about Fräulein Weddigen, the authorities in St. Gallen reported that "No person answering to this name has ever been registered here." [43]

Anita Borgert served behind the bar at the Gasthof Rose in 1965, but only for a few weeks. Then outside workers were hired; a chef with four Spanish assistants, but there was soon a high turnover in staff. The hotel's restaurant had separate dining-rooms which could accommodate 21, 22, or 24 people respectively; in good weather a further 40 guests could eat out in the beer-garden, which was also equipped with a sun-terrace and a building containing 26 guest bedrooms and a conference-room.
"Stein often played host to fifty guests at a time, these of course being interested parties. One should also mention the Viennese brethren (IO), and those from South American countries, mostly Brazilians (F.R.A.)." [44]

THELEMA Freie Geistes- und Lebensschule WOCHENPROGRAMM Kultur-; Spiel- und Sportveranstaltungen Gnostisch-katholische Kirche
Gasthof Rose — Ordo Templi Orientis in Stein Appenzell

Altogether about sixteen or seventeen Swiss citizens were regular guests at the Gasthof Rose. [45] In his Christmas greeting for 1962, Metzger included sixteen other people's signatures beneath his own. [46]

At the end of the garden there was a 'Biotop' or organic meadow, with a pond containing an ornamental gondola. The hay this plot yielded was sold off each year, as Metzger did not actually tend it himself. 'Thelema' itself owned about 40,000 square metres of land, on which various structures were built: a pavilion for plays and poetry-readings; an 'Appenzell Room' furnished with a stage, rehearsal-room, and lecture-hall for the "Thelema Institute and Cultural Centre"; and the hotel, with what were (for Stein at the time) very modern facilities, like telephones in every guest-room.

Esszimmer Gasthof Rose Stein Appenzell Gaststube Gasthof Rose Stein Appenzell

Even though he was a Patriarch of the Gnostic Catholic Church, Metzger still paid the Roman Catholic Church-rates, plainly viewing his worship as non-denominational. But every Sunday morning at nine o'clock the bell of his own chapel in the garden rang out, announcing the start of Crowley's Gnostic Catholic Mass; the bell had been blessed by Erich-Victor Beyer, and paid for by Oscar Schlag amongst others. The chapel had a crypt measuring eight by four metres, and proper wooden pews to accommodate a congregation of around forty people. [47] On Sundays the members of the Thelemic community made an exotic spectacle in their colourful Gnostic Catholic vestments and Templar robes, as they processed from the surrounding estate to the chapel. Eventually, advertisements were placed in daily papers inviting the public to attend; Metzger apparently felt so at home in the spiritual élite that he once sent Pope John the 23rd a greetings-telegram, and even conducted marriage and funeral services.

Abtei Thelema — Kapelle — Ordo Templi Orientis Schweiz Glocke / bell Gasthof Rose Stein Appenzell

On September 22nd 1969 at the Autumn Equinox, a new bell weighing 91 kilogrammes was carried through Stein to the chapel in a procession with a full police escort. There were other participants: "Children's tambourine band, Thelema chamber orchestra, etc. The bell, cast by the long-renowned Rütschi Bell Foundry of Aarau, is tuned to the note of 'G'." [48] Tunes by Mozart, Schmidlin, and Gounod were played, reported the Appenzeller Zeitung.

When a newly-appointed police local commander suddenly decided to make his mark and impose a stronger police presence on Stein, concluding that that there was "a need to enforce religious laws," [49] 'Pope Paragranus' was perfectly ready to do battle. Everywhere he looked, Metzger saw "impertinent attempts by foolishly ambitious people to infiltrate or destroy us." He reacted by enthusiastically bringing lawsuits left right and centre for as long as he could pay his lawyer Dr. Auer, and using every chance he got to expatiate on his conceptions of civilisation and law to the villagers and local farmers. For example, since Metzger had no use for the small woodlands attached to the Stein estate, he donated the forestry rights to the farmers in the district. The only entrance to the woodland ran through Metzger's 'Biotop'; this was blocked by having snow shovelled onto it in winter, and having its gates locked. On the advice of the local council, Metzger stopped this practice, and built an artist's studio there in order to block the farmers. Although it was just possible to struggle over there in winter, Metzger never did so.

Metzger had further disputes with the authorities over the pollution of springs and water-sources; during this, he felt compelled to respond to disturbances at night by installing a network of security-lights and acquiring large black guard-dogs. Metzger lost a court case over his intentions for the forestry-rights, even though his opponent (the leader of the council) had no lawyer to represent him. This judgement became a legal precedent for similar cases in future. [50]


The murder of Sharon Tate and others committed by Charles Manson's 'Family' filled the papers worldwide in 1969. On October 31st that year an article appeared in the Washington Post on the activities of the 'Solar Lodge', supposedly a Crowleyan O.T.O. lodge, with which Manson allegedly had been linked; it carried the headline "Boy Tells of Chaining by Cultists."

A certain Mr. X (his name has been blanked out by the authorities in the documentation) took this article with him to the American Embassy in Berne, in January 1971 (apparently spies travelled rather slowly in those days!).
He duly made his report, which was about Metzger, to the FBI: "To: Director, FBI [...] He [Metzger] stated that he was afraid that these people were giving his organization a bad name in the U.S., and he wished to emphasize that they had nothing to do with his society." [51]

Probably as a result of the court cases against Walter Englert and the publication of Ed Sanders's book The Family, which revealed he association between Manson and the 'Solar Lodge', a hate-campaign against the "bastardised monastery of Appenzell" began in the tabloid press in 1972, led by 49-year-old German journalist and author Horst Knaut.
"Horst Knaut called me in the summer of '72, and told me about the O.T.O. and the Manson Family, saying that there were similar goings-on in Germany. As far as I can remember, I sent him — on loan — a copy of the O.T.O. Mass, and two photos from Stein. One of them was of Metzger, and the other was of 'The Master and his flock', including the Englerts, Adolf Hemberger, Heber [Fraternitas Saturni], all the ladies and myself — all in Order robes; Hemberger and Heber — although guests - were wearing Templar cloaks [...] This salubrious gentleman then stopped calling me; the things I'd lent him, despite my written reminders, became stolen goods." [52]

During a correspondance with Walter Jantschik, who ended up in the headlines because his brother-in-law Josef Göttler was shot by a member of the Fraternitas Saturni on May 6th 1970, Horst Knaut got more addresses out of him. On January 16th 1972 he is known to have been digging for facts in Stein along with his wife, though without disclosing to anyone that he was a journalist.
Knaut discovered on his clandestine trip that one Fräulein Elze Brda, of Yugoslav nationality, had been encouraged to take part in "sexo-religious Masses" by Metzger, upon which Fräulein Brda had immediately contacted the tourist police in St. Gallen and the Yugoslav Consul-General for advice. The town-hall apparently conducted an official fraud investigation into the affair, though with what result is not known.

Knaut published various pieces and articles in Quick and Neue Revue about what he described as the "religion of unrestrained lust", quoting from descriptions of sex-magical rituals in Grosche's Exorial, and the infamous 18° ceremony. Friedrich-Wilhelm Haack was attacking on the same lines, and both unleashed an avalanche of tabloid articles [53] and reports, [54] which rather resembled a continuation of völkisch Ludendorffian propaganda under another form. [55]

A curious sidelight on this affair was a letter from a certain 'Frater K.W.O', published in issue 11 of the (very) pro-German magazine Mensch und Mass in 1974. Frater K.W.O belonged to the German Wiccans, and was responding to an article by Gunther Duda in the same publication's issue 21 of 1973: 'Jedoch der Schrecklichste der Schrecken' ('Yet more of the most terrible shocks'):
"In this matter Horst Knaut has acted as the spiritual heir of the Nazi murder-squads, who once put to death hundreds of those who belonged to the Orders Knaut has attacked. This malicious and avaricious rumour-monger has run the gamut of lying slander from A to Z in his campaign against the Thelemic orders."
K.W.O. also sent a telegram to Quick magazine on April 16th 1973, announcing himself as part of the "German Grand Lodge of the O.T.O., Hamburg." [56]
Maybe Frater K.W.O. was one Herr Pauli from Hamburg, who was described by Haack in 1974 as "a member of the Thelema Order [...] and author of a mass of quite remarkable letters [...] containig defamatory comments," who had borne witness for "our sister Sharon Tate" and Crowley." [57]

It is hardly surprising that the tabloid press's flushing the Stein community out of its previous obscurity had a huge effect on both management and residents at the Gasthof Rose. Regular guests stayed away; new and unfamiliar ones turned up purely out of curiosity, and made what were remembered as "unflattering remarks." In the evenings people crept up to the buildings and peered in through windows and doors to see what the inhabitants might be up to. In Stein the villagers still relate how one day one young farm-hand had mounted a genuine cavalry-charge against the Abbey of Thelema — armed with a pitchfork. In a letter sent to Metzger at this time, a certain Herr Erich Schulz volunteered himself as the victim for any future ritual sacrifices that might be performed at the Abbey. [58]

The parish magazine showed that the Church at least had made its peace with Metzger, and came down on his side with a poem entitled Meditation: Satan's Cult, by Werner Laubi:

  "Als ich jüngst im Blätterwalde
  bei Sankt Boulvardshausen war,
  sah ich an der Schattenhalde,
  die dort ist, ein Entenpaar.
  Quack und Quück, die muntern Kerle,
  wühlten eifrig mit dem Bein.
  Doch sie fanden keine Perle:
  was sie fanden, war nur Stein.
  Und die beiden konstruierten
  eine Wand aus Stein und Sand:
  nahmen Farbe dann und schmierten
  einen Teufel an die Wand.
  Hei, wie das die Leute freute:
  kitzelt's doch so angenehm.
  Denn der Teufel, der ist heute
  weit herum noch gern gesehn."   [59]
["When I was last in the Paper woods, by Saint Gutterpress's, I saw on the shady rubbish-dump there, a pair of ducks. Squeak and Squawk, the lively chaps, were busily digging with their feet. Yet they found no pearl; what they found was only stone (Stein). And they both constructed a wall from stone and sand; took some paint and scrawled a Devil on the wall. Ho! how that pleased the people; tickled their fancy so. For nowadays the Devil is seen everywhere."]

Can't you take a joke?

In the early part of 1974, Alfred Jaeger took a trip to the the Abbey of Thelema on behalf of Magnet, the magazine of the Reformed Evangelical Church in Appenzell; his visit lasted six hours:
"Whatever anyone else might have thought of human nature, I was astonished to see how lives and abilities full of idealism had been devoted to perennial ideas; not to mention the often very comical improvisations that they always came up with, so full of earnestness and enthusiasm were they. Hermann Metzger's favourite picture, which hangs over his bed, is of a clown."

Haack was sceptical over Jaeger's description of the Stein O.T.O. as a "harmless club and hotel." [60] In his lawsuit against Knaut, Metzger produced Jaeger's article in court as a positive testimony. Alfred Jaeger remembered: "The three idealists [Metzger, Borgert, Aeschbach] certainly struck me as being on very odd paths — or at least very hard ones." [61]
Likewise, Ellic Howe: "I find it difficult (or impossible) to take Metzger at all seriously." [62]

And in point of fact, the title of the most recent PG publication then (March 1976) was The Clown, in which Fräulein Aeschbach spoke of the necessity of laughter as an aid to living. Crowley, Grock, Ringelnatz, Charlie Chaplin, and the Swiss TV personality and high-roller Kurt Felix were all quoted as examples.


Annemarie Aeschbach Horst Knaut Peter-Robert Koenig

Hermann Joseph Metzger + Anita Borgert (Ordo Templi Orientis) versus Horst Knaut (Journalist), Andreas Huettl, Peter-R. Koenig, SATAN — Jünger, Jäger und Justiz
Hermann Joseph Metzger + Anita Borgert (Ordo Templi Orientis) versus Horst Knaut (Journalist), Andreas Huettl, Peter-R. Koenig, SATAN — Jünger, Jäger und Justiz

Hermann Joseph Metzger + Anita Borgert (Ordo Templi Orientis) versus Horst Knaut (Journalist) [From: 'SATAN — Jünger, Jäger und Justiz']

As a result of all this unwonted attention, Metzger and Borgert sued Horst Knaut for libel; his co-defendant was Dr. W. Kuntze, who was the responsible editor at Neue Revue.
The two plaintiffs were claimimg 20,000 Swiss francs "with additional interest at 5% per annum since March 25th 1972" as damages and compensation. [63] The court even conducted a "search of the accused, Knaut's, dwelling and workplace," [64] to find evidence during its preliminary investigations. Knaut entered a 'plea of nullity' against Metzger and Borgert at this stage, which meant under Swiss law that he was attempting to halt the trial before it began; but the Swiss Federal Court refused his plea on January 20th 1976. Knaut had to pay combined legal costs and compensation of 1,000 francs.
The trial took place exactly one month before the statutes of limitation would have applied, [65] on July 12th 1976 at Trogen, in the criminal court of the Cantonal Tribunal of Appenzell-Ausserrhoden, before five lay magistrates, and Examining Justice Dr. Dörig.
The judgement was issued by Chief Justice Hans Schiele; it found the journalists guilty, but only in the matter of one sentence in an article dated February 20th 1975, which spoke of a "holy sex-Mass [...] which was merely a prelude to blasphemous sex-orgies and Black Masses which took place later." Metzger and Borgert lost on seven out of eight counts [66]. Kuntze was given an absolute discharge, while Knaut was only found guilty of helping to compose the aforementioned sentence; he had to pay a fine of 800 francs, compensation and damages of 1,000 francs, legal fees of 3,000 francs (his court expenses came to precisely 1,495 francs and 70 centimes, and he had to pay 400 francs in Swiss duty). [67]
Knaut later files an appeal in Lausanne, which is refused on 21 December 1975, which costs him about 400 francs. [68] Now he doesn't want to pay his lawyer the 2,5000 francs but only 1,500. [69]

None of this hindered Knaut one bit, for later in 1979 he published more revelations about Metzger in his book Das Testament des Bösen (Testament of Evil). Knaut had asked the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, and had learnt that on legal grounds a Swiss conviction had no effect in West Germany. [70] This was doubtless the reason why Fräulein Aeschbach afterwards accused Knaut of "owing us even more money." [71]

Hansruedi Giger and Ulla von Bernus

Winner of an Oscar for his literally visceral designs for the film Alien (offal from an abbatoir was used in the special effects), the artist Hansruedi (H.R.) Giger was contacted in 1977 by Ulla von Bernus, a selfstyled priestess of Satan, who along with her girlfriend and Giger made a trip to Stein, staying overnight. Frau von Bernus, according to Giger (once he had made his mind up about her) had "come hence thence" with the intention of celebrating a great many magical rituals. Giger had gone in the hope of finding drawings by Crowley, but in vain; he came away from Stein with just a bottle of the 'Swedish Elixir of Life', and a dust-jacket from one of Gustav Meyrink's books — later lost, which was "very distressing" for him. After the visit to Stein, Frau Bernus and Herr Giger were the guests of Oscar Schlag, who impressed them both very much.
In Giger's opinion, Fräulein Aeschbach and Metzger were perfectly pleasant and harmless. Nevertheless, he wanted nothing more to do with either Frau von Bernus, or with Stein; to him they seemed "so comical and so 'heavy'." [72]

Frau Bernus later described Metzger as a "drab little magician", and recounted the events of their arrival in the evening, and the performance of the Gnostic Mass the next morning.
On Saturday evening a "booze-up" had been held, with communion-wine "of the best sort" to drink, which had however made the "women jittery." Frau Borgert and Fräulein Aeschbach had become "hysterically jealous" of Frau Bernus, she recalls. When they were going up to their respective rooms later, Frau Bernus had hardly talked to her friend, as they suspected the room was "completely bugged". In the middle of the night she had been woken up by someone fiddling at her keyhole; Metzger apparently wanted to come in and "tidy up"! Needless to say, he didn't get a chance to do that...
Next morning at the Gnostic Mass, the part of "page" was played by a 72-year-old "grandpa", beneath whose vestments a pair of stout shoes still covered with mud from the gardens could be discerned. Spread out on the front-most pew, to Frau Bernus's amazement, was a great heap of paper handkerchiefs. During the actual celebration of the Mass, when Frau Borgert had knelt down, Metzger suddenly forgot his lines, and asked "Where's my glasses?" quite audibly. The glasses however were not to be found, and Metzger could now only "mutter under his breath" instead of reading his lines. The paper hankies must have been there so Metzger could clean his glasses, the Priestess of Satan conjectured.
Later, Frau Bernus found the glasses lying on the floor just outside her bedroom door, where Metzger had presumably been kneeling the previous night. She returned them to him at lunchtime, which "richly amused" her. [73]


On May 11th 1977 Ernst Bienz (33°) gave a lecture to the 'Humanitas' Chapter at the Lindenhof in Zurich; this Chapter of the Royal Arch, which administers the 'higher degrees' in regular Masonry, was "under the protection of the Supreme Council for Switzerland of the 33° and latter degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite." Ernst was the nephew of Oscar Bienz, who had served his military service at Ascona in 1917, [74] at the same time that he was a member of the Reussian O.T.O. Lodge there.

The lecture audience heard that Metzger had been "rehabilitated" since the court had decided in his favour; whoever believed otherwise "could only be a cause of regret to us." Oscar Schlag, who was present at this meeting, made notes on the discussion that followed. It was pointed out that Metzger only had two lodges in Zurich and Stein, and resolved that there could not, however, be any mutual recognition between the O.T.O. and Freemasonry, except for possibly what were vaguely described as "literary-intuitive connections." Stein had been cast out into the wasteland between truth and fiction.

At this period there were only a handful of academics anywhere who had any 'serious' dealings with the O.T.O. in general, or who were doing proper research upon it. In fact there were probably many more writers or scholars with an interest in the OTO genereally, than there were actual members of it. Besides F.W. Haack, these included K. Frick, H. Möller, Oscar Schlag, Fritz Bolle (who advised that advertisements be placed in the Swiss Masonic magazine Alpina, requesting material on the subject), Ellic Howe, Gerald Yorke, Francis King, [75] and John Symonds. The latter three were collectors of Crowleyana, later being joined by Harald Szeemann, who was seeking O.T.O. documentation for his Monte Vérità collection. Most of them were Freemasons, supplied their few documents [76] to Howe and Möller, who constructed a gossipy though somewhat Pecksniffian biography of Theodor Reuss from his papers. [77]

As a result of the completion of the extravagant renovations at the Abbey of Thelema, Fräulein Aeschbach's savings were running short. The 'public works' — printing and publishing, film club, mail-order goods, and the hotel-cum-health resort — had already been discontinued. In the parish magazine, the Psychosophical Society [Psychosophische Gesellschaft] was described as distancing itself from "that most deranged of insane names — Crowley." They were at great pains to emphasise that they no longer acknowledged him in their letters to the editors of directories and reference-works. As the Abbey had ignored the regulations on land-use, the Federal Council made compulsory purchases of portions of the property in 1978 and 1979. Very few seminars or lectures were being held by then, and by 1980 they had ceased altogether; and this was when Frau Borgert left Stein. The 'Restaurant Rose' and other buildings in the grounds were leased out once more during the following year to the World Wildlife Fund, and after 1981 an 'East Swiss Agricultural Centre' with a yearly turnover of 200,000 francs, and a cultural programme very much like the PG's original one, were inaugurated by the WWF. [78]

A civil servant from Berne, Hermann Gilomen "Roland" [79] had made his own enquiries about becoming a member of Metzger's O.T.O. at this time; he wrote a letter to Metzger about the monthly articles in his Oriflamme, which contained reproductions of "apprentice letters". In the aftermath of the tabloid scandalmongering, activities at Stein had become curtailed, so the correspondence soon dried up. Gilomen travelled to Stein, and spent a long time in conversation with Metzger and Fräulein Aeschbach, but their contacts nonetheless soon faded out.
One day at the end of the 70's, Gilomen recieved a summons on the phone from Metzger, and went to see him to be interviewed about his suitability for the office of OHO. Gilomen refused the offer, as in addition to the esoteric responsibilities, it would have meant undertaking the duties of a hotelier and farmer. Gilomen meanwhile had become Sovereign Master and Grand Chancellor of the remaining members of the FS in Switzerland — all four of them. Gilomen recalled: "I then brought two Bernese businessmen (occultists) along to liaise with Herr Metzger, so that they could do a proper review of the whole business - but obviously nothing resulted." [80]

Oscar Schlag offered Gilomen membership of his 'Hermetical Society'; but as travelling all the way from Berne to the meetings each Saturday in Zurich proved a considerable burden to Gilomen, he resigned. Gilomen had got to know Karl Brodbeck "Brunolf" personally through their membership of the 'Zur Hoffnung' lodge of Freemasons in Berne, to which he had belonged since 1961; Brodbeck was the Warden of the Swiss Illuminati Order. 'Roland' died on February 2nd 1988.


Tentative chronology of Metzger's 'misfortunes':
circa 1947 — separation from the original group in Ticino and Zurich.
circa 1953 — dispute with Eugen Grosche.
circa 1960 — Germer distances himself.
1963 — repudiated by Mellinger.
1964 and 1965 — failed absorption of the FS.
1967 — the Beatles include Crowley's photograph on the sleeve of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
1968 onwards — lawsuits against Englert.
1969 onwards — claims of Charles Manson's connection with the O.T.O.
1971 onwards — Adolf Hemberger published.
1972 onwards — Horst Knaut writes for the gutter-press, supported by Haack.
1975 onwards — financial ruin.
End of the 70s — Frau Borgert relinquishes her office.

"The Friends of Thelema, Psychosophical Society; Appeal for the Thelema Educational and Holiday Centre [...] Your assistance is urgently required [...] we need a cash fund of 120,000 francs. With that THELEMA has a chance of getting back on its feet, i.e. to become self-supporting." [81]

In 1982 Fräulein Aeschbach once more had funds at her disposal — more than half a million Swiss francs — and a new edition of Crowley's writings appeared forthwith.


Every Wednesday when the alpine weather allowed, Metzger drove in his Mini from Stein to Zurich, to drop in at his favourite bar, the 'Hintere Sternen', a favourite rendezvous for the members of "Sicher wie Jold", who seem to have been a kind of substitute family for him. [82] Often his son Simon, who was also a member of "Sicher wie Jold" would sit next to him. In 1971 all of "Sicher wie Jold" were whisked off to Stein as a treat; nothing about the occult was mentioned, and everyone enjoyed themselves in the garden, listening to rousing march-tunes relayed over the loudspeakers.

Hermann's nickname in the performer's agency was "Why?", because this often used to be his sole contribution to their discussions. His charm with the opposite sex did not seem to be much in evidence, for all that he boasted about it, as the manageress of the performer's agency said she knew only too well. Metzger would frequently make his advances to her over the phone; he said that she reminded him so much of his "great love Anita Borgert," which frankly astounded the manageress. [83]

Finally Metzger's health began to fail; he was rushed by ambulance to a hospital near Stein in 1983, believing himself to be "near the end," [84] and began looking for his successor.

Theo Pinkus, son of Felix Lazerus Pinkus, Metzger's "spiritual father", was at Stein on June 14th 1988: "Sadly Herr, Metzger had suffered a bad stroke a short while before, and has difficulties with his memory". [85] Oscar Schlag visited Stein in early July 1989, and gave a similar account of Metzger's disability; by this stage he was unable to hold a proper conversation.

Despite the 'Caliphate's prophecies of doom, the Swiss O.T.O. was still active. Page nine of the local Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in Zurich reported on September 22nd 1989 that the proprietoress of the Gasthof Rose (still Fräulein Aeschbach) had cancelled the World Wildlife Fund's lease, as she wished to "take over the property for her own use." [86]. Once more there were sufficient members available able to bear the costs of the former 'Restaurant Rose' (though they were now careful to shun any publicity), and a crowd of them were able to lie low at the house in Schedlern, particularly around the breakfast-table, it appears. [87] The Gasthof Rose itself has ceased to exist; the building is in ruins. [88] [When i visited Stein in 2002, the building was renovated]
The membership at the start of 1994 appears to have been limited to about ten people. [89]

Exit the conjurer

Metzger died on July 14th 1990 of a pulmonary embolism, "after lengthy sufferings and great misfortunes." Having duly received an invitation to the funeral which said that "we ask for your kind thoughts", [90] I arrived at the chapel at the Friedhof in St. Gallen on July 18th, a hot summer's day. There were about thirty-five people present, about half of them not aged much over 30. This young, mostly well-dressed congregation contained as many women as men; they all seemed to be cut from the same pattern, seeming alike as peas in a pod with their serious expressions and demeanour. In this they were quite unlike the people in all the other O.T.O.-versions and similar groups I had been researching for some time. Fräulein Aeschbach herself told Markus Kumer to chase me away; several other witnesses have given their accounts of the service. [91]

Hermann Joseph Metzger O.T.O. Hermann Joseph Metzger O.T.O.

In the chapel religions of all varieties were represented, including a Catholic priest who said Metzger's requiem Mass. The OMCT (Ordo Militiae Crucis Templi) had sent a delegation, while Fräulein Aeschbach had brought along her own organist and trumpet-player. The whole event did not last more than half-an-hour. More out of politeness than anything else (as he told me), the 'leader' of the theatrical agency paid a short tribute to one of "Sicher bei Jold's old boys," but only mentioned the dates of Metzger's membership, and that he'd been a "conjurer." In between the musical pieces Metzger as eulogised as a true gentleman, but the congregation were kept in the dark over the real facts of his life; no Thelemic scriptures were read out, and there wasn't a single word about the O.T.O. At the end of the service, a young woman placed three roses on the coffin, saying: "the white rose signifies Wisdom, I place it at thy head; the red rose signifies Strength, I place it at thy feet; the pink rose signifies Beauty, I place it on thy heart." This was a shortened version of the ritual that Metzger had performed for his wife Rösli in 1972. Originally it is a paraphrased part of a Theodor Reuss ritual of circa 1921.

The next morning Fräulein Aeschbach was on the phone to the leader of "Sicher we Jold", complaining about Metzger being called a conjurer; "he didn't do tricks." She collected the urn with Metzger's ashes.

Rising to the moment, Fräulein Aeschbach had to take over the leadership for the time being, as Metzger had not named his successor either verbally or in his will [92] She transferred her household from Zurich to Stein in two remover's lorries.

'Grandmaster Satan' — trendsetter and party-animal

The Viennese 'Satanologue' Josef Dvorak [93] was intending to mount one of his "Satanic spectaculars" at the 'Palais Xtra' discotheque in Zurich on January 15th 1994, as part of a week-long series of events called "Lucifer's Rising"; Dvorak intended to lecture about what he thinks to be the O.T.O. Afterwards dancing and drinks would be on offer, so it is hardly surprising that Fräulein Aeschbach, who had been invited along as well, refused to attend this "irresponsible brouhaha". [94] Then the whole show was suddenly postponed until the start of March. [95] The author of the present study also declined at the time to be part of a forum discussion alongside with Dvorak, Sergius Golowin, and local church dignitaries, on the same grounds as Fräulein Aeschbach.

These elegant 'Goths' met at a 'Dance of the Vampires' on February 25th "and changed the occasion from a disco into a kind of black church bazaar." This was to inaugurate what turned out to be a poorly-attended exhibition in the trendy Mangisch Gallery in Zurich, which seemed "really pretty harmless, and even a bit boring [...] some clockwork ducks, dogs, and penguins stole the show from many a 'satanic' exhibit on the opening day." [96]
On the same day Roland Meyer from the licensing authorities postponed again permission for the week of "Satanic performance". But finally, the personable but by no means media-eager Dvorak held Satanism to be the religion of the future; and he duly presented his event at the private 'Gothic Club' on March 3rd. There the audience of about 100 had to endure a somewhat dilettantish presentation interspersed with long delays; rubber bats, plastic skulls, and coffins were much in evidence, not to mention a Josef Dvorak linking Crowley and the 'Church of Satan' with pornography; but to be honest people's main memory of the event was one of sheer boredom.
The next day the self-elected Baphomet (that is, Dvorak) discoursed on 'From the Viennese O.T.O. to Satanism' to an audience of about 80 at the Mangisch Gallery. Dvorak began with a humorous and intelligent tour de force on popular assumptions about the original basis of Satanism; but when he held forth about Carl Kellner's life, he sadly persisted in going up blind alleys. He had some interesting slides to show of Kellner's house on the Hohe Warte in Vienna, his Red Villa at Hallein, alleged Memphis-Misraim jewels, the Bogomil Virgin on Kellner's grave, and his family, but they were spoilt because Dvorak spoke endlessly about endless details. This understandably caused unrest in the audience. Someone was overheard shouting "That was really boring, Josef," as people thankfully raided the buffet.

Update 2009

Metzger died on 14th July, 1990, of a pulmonary embolism “after lengthy sufferings and great misfortunes.” He left a power vacuum out of which emerged two concurring camps within the Swiss O.T.O.. One was led by Markus Kumer, who made an unsuccessful bid to open the group to the public again with a “Society for Humanitarian Research” (doubtless adapting it to the prevailing ‘New Age’ zeitgeist). The opposing group was led by a teacher called Olaf Raederer; both Raederer and Kumer were then resident in Austria. But Annemarie Aeschbach, who had supported the Swiss O.T.O. financially since the early 1950s, rose to the occasion and assumed leadership for the time being, since Metzger had named his successor neither verbally nor in his Will. She transferred (with two removal lorries) all her household furniture and goods from Zuerich to Stein. The printing presses were dismantled and the “Aeschbach-Stiftung” was founded on 21st November, 1995.

In 1999, William Breeze sent a letter for Fraeulein Aeschbach to sign, which acknowledged him as O.H.O. (Outer Head of the Order O.T.O.). Of course, Fraeulein Aeschbach had no intention of signing such a document and a month or so later she rewrote the letter, removing all mentions of the O.H.O., but agreeing not to pursue any copyright claims:

“The Psychosophische Gesellschaft is a registered association in accordance with SZGB, Art. 60ff. It was founded by Hermann Jos. Metzger in 1945.
“From the Bylaws § 2/ II Purpose:
“As a second purpose, the Psychosophische Gesellschaft, in accordance with the object of an upholding association, has taken on the talk to facilitate and maintain:
“a) The existence of the Ordo Illuminati, the World Federation of Illuminati.
“b) The tradition of the Gnostic Catholic Church
“c) Research Groups, Research Projects about initiatory currents which are related to the traditions named under a) and b) as, e.g., the ‘Ordo Templi Orientis’, the ‘Rosicrucians’, etc.
“Since 1954 we have published — on behalf of Karl Joh. Germer — works by Aleister Crowley in German under the Copyright ‘Genossenschaft Psychosophia’ and ‘Verlag Psychosophische Gesellschaft’, actually in the succession of ‘Thelema’ publishing house, Leipzig, Martha Kuentzel etc.
The OTO registered in California led by Grady McMurtry, today led by William Breeze had published works by Aleister Crowley in beautiful and original presentation during the last years. They have thus proven that they are both willing and able to deliver the literary work by Aleister Crowley in a worthy fashion.
“In order the simplify the handling of the copyrights, in order to leave them centrally in one hand, and being convinced that the OTO will fulfil its task diligently, we non-contentiously abandon any demand for the copyrights with respect to the works by Aleister Crowley on behalf of the OTO California currently led by William Breeze.”

Fraeulein Aeschbach signed the revised version on 08th April, 1999. She died in April 2008.

Annemarie Aeschbach, Chochmah

The Gnostic Catholic Church’s Crowleyan Masses are performed, without a break, as usual, on alternate Sundays. The museum and library remain active, as do Order operations. The finances have been merged with those of the Aeschbach-Stiftung, which is overseen by the cantonal authorities and run by a Foundation Committee, headed by Ernst Graf and Adalbert Schmid: The latter looks after the library and the estate business. Besides being the new president of the Psychosophische Gesellschaft, Graf is also its vice-president. A financial cushion results from the sale of the Haus Schedlern, where Fraeulein Aeschbach used to live; this also overcame any financial hurdles that might have thwarted the Society’s successful continuation. New members were also taken on.

Notes to Chapter Nine of Das O.T.O. Phänomen (1994)

  1. Illustration in 'AHA', January 1991, p. 8.
  2. 'Schweizer Illustrierte' Vol. 26, 23.6.75, p. 24.
  3. Paul Rüdiger Audehm, letter of 12.8.88.
  4. In 1985 painting work was being done on the façade.
  5. Leopold Engel: 'Satzung des Illuminatenordens in Dresden,' Dresden 18.1.1903, p. 12.
  6. Conversation with Annemarie Aeschbach at Stein on 11.9.86. More details in 'AHA' 10, Bergen 1991, p. 5.
  7. Knaut: 'Das Testament des Bösen,' Suttgart 1979, p. 158.
  8. March 1982.
  9. Roger Peyrefitte: 'Die Söhne des Lichts,' Stahlberg 1962.
  10. Paul Rüdiger Audehm, letter of 8.7.88.
  11. Emil Lüthard, Bruggmann, Zanetti; reporters on the 'Schweizer Illustrierte' telephone interviews on 28.1.87.
  12. Paul Rüdiger Audehm, letter of 12.8.88.
  13. Audehm, letter of 24.8.88.
  14. Metzger to Grosche, letter of 24.5.50.
  15. Fragment of a letter, apparently between Germer and Mellinger, circa 1951.
  16. Metzger to Germer, letter of 12.6.51.
  17. Howe & Möller, op. cit., p. 103.
  18. Mellinger to Germer, letter of 31.10.51, reporting on Metzger's visit to Hamburg.
  19. Ellic Howe, letter of 24.9.87.
  20. Audehm, letter of 6.8.88.
  21. Audehm, letter of 12.8.88.
  22. Audehm, letter of 22.8.88. He enclosed Olof Lagercrantz's book 'Strindberg' (Frankfurt 1980) with his letter.
  23. Audehm, letter of 24.8.88.
  24. Conversation on 30.10.90.
  25. Interviews with Herr and Frau Hochstrasser on 3.12.1986, and 19.7.1990.
  26. No. 3, Zurich, October 1947, p. 20.
  27. Neville Drury: "Lexikon esoterischen Wissens," Munich 1988, p. 412.
  28. No. 4, July 1948, p. 12 and 21.
  29. Op. cit., p.22.
  30. Letter of 24.9.86.
  31. Metzger's 'Oriflamme' No. 120, Zurich 1970, p. 1367.
  32. The former Mayor of Stein; conversations on 8. and 9.9.86.
  33. von Bernus, telephone conversation on 13.5.90.
  34. Letter from the Secretariat Communale of Autigny, 19.10.86.
  35. 'EOL' No. 8, September 1954, p. 6.
  36. Thus the name of the official weather-station at Stein.
  37. Letter from the SMA of 22.9.86.
  38. Present name of the 'Schweizerische Kulturfilmverband'.
  39. Telephone conversation on 29.1.87.
  40. Neither the 'Lexikon des Avantgarde-Films' (Frankfurt 1974), nor the detailed assessment in 'Equinox' Vol III No. 10 (New York 1986) list this film.
  41. Illustration in 'AHA', January 1991, p.6.
  42. Audehm, letter of 24.8.88.
  43. Census office of St. Gallen, letter of 22.12.87.
  44. Audehm, letter of 1.7.88; he probably meant Venezuela.
  45. Conversation with former Mayor of Stein, ut supra.
  46. To Schlag.
  47. Knaut, 'Testament des Bösens', p. 158.
  48. Extract from the invitation of 22.9.62.
  49. 'Schweizer Illustrierte' 26, Zofingen 1975, p. 26.
  50. Interview with Mayor Koller on 8./9.9.96. Since 1957 the Kollers had lived right next door to Metzger's property in Stein.
  51. FBI file 62-0 76923, Bern, memorandum dated 10.2.71.
  52. Audehm, letter dated 12 August 1988
  53. 'Quick' No. 29, Munich 12.7.72, p. 30. 'Neue Revue' No. 13, Hamburg 25.3.72, p. 86. Metzger's counter-claim in 'Neue Revue' for 26.3.92. Further reporting in 'Neue Revue' No. 13 of 22.3.1973.
  54. Hans Baum (1905-1980): 'Freimaurerischer Satanismus heute', Stein am Rhein 1986, p. 4. Books by Knaut (e.g 'Rückkehr aus der Zukunft', Bern, 1970) and Haack (e.g. 'Von Gott und der Welt verlassen', Düsseldorf 1974) already mentioned.
  55. Gregor Schwartz-Bostunitsch: 'Freimaurer', Weimar 1929. Schwartz-Bostunitsch: 'Doktor Steiner — Ein Schwindler wie keiner', Munich 1930. Mathilde Ludendorff: 'Induziertes Irresein durch Okkultlehren' 1933, Pähl 1970. Hermann Rehwaldt: 'Das schleichende Gift', Munich 1935. Rehwaldt's novel 'Die unsichtbaren Väter' contains illustrations remeniscent of Saturn Order rituals, e.g. p. 143, where Grosche's 'Magical Letters' are also quoted. Facsimiles in P.R. Koenig: "In Nomine Demiurgi Nosferati", Bavaria 1999
  56. Haack, 'Anmerkungen zum Satanismus', p. 123.
  57. Haack to Metzger, letter of 27.5.1974.
  58. 'Schweizer Illustrierte' No. 26 1975, p. 25.
  59. 'Magnet', No. 3, Appenzell, March 1974, p. 4. Reproduced by kind permission of the author and publisher. Original in the Haack collection, Munich.
  60. 'Magnet' No. 5, May 1974.
  61. Alfred Jaeger, letter of 11.2.87.
  62. Letter of 24.9.87.
  63. Article: 'Rechtsbegehren der Kläger Anita Borgert und Hermann Joseph Metzger', 'Schweizer Illustrierte' No. 26 1975, p. 25.
  64. Munich County Court, 23.3.1973.
  65. 'Bodenseezeitung' of 26.1.76.
  66. Haack, letter of 15.9.86.
  67. Judgement published as 'Urteil des Kantonsgerichtes von Appenzell A.Rh.' on 20.2.76 (20 pages long). See 'Neue Zürcher Zeitung' of 26.2.76.
  68. 'Urteil des Schweizerischen Bundesgerichts'.
  69. Knaut to Luigi Rossi, letter of 28.2.1977.
  70. H.H. Jescheck to Knaut, letter of 11.10.76. Likewise Behrens, Federal Justice Minister in Bonn, letter to Knaut of 15.2.77.
  71. Telephone conversation on 19.8.86.
  72. Hansruedi Giger, telephone conversation on 23.1.88.
  73. Ulla von Bernus, telephone conversation on 13.5.90.
  74. R.P. Marchev: 'Wahrheitssucher und Schwindler', in: 'Tau', Bayreuth 1990, p. 19.
  75. Chairman of the MacGregor Mathers Society in London, and author of various books on secret societies and Crowley.
  76. Helmut Möller, letter of 21.7.88.
  77. 'Merlin Peregrinus', Würzburg 1986.
  78. 'Tages Anzeiger', Zurich, 4.7.85.
  79. Hermann Gilomen (FS), seven letters between 24.3.87 and 20.5.87; condensed.
  80. Gilomen, letter of 24.3.87.
  81. Flyer dated 14.7.1977, signed by Metzger, Aeschbach and Borgert. Schlag spent 200 Swiss francs.
  82. The 'Hintere Sternen', a small offshoot of the 'Café Odéon', has been a rendezvous for Dadaists, artists, and literati.
  83. Interview on 3.12.86.
  84. Hermann Gilomen, letter of 28.3.87.
  85. Theo Pinkus, letter of 29.6.88.
  86. Likewise the 'Appenzeller Zeitung Herisau' of 18.12.89, p. 9, and the 'Tages Anzeiger' of 27.12.89, p. 7.
  87. Markus Kumer, telephone conversation on 16.9.91.
  88. Visit on 29.5.93.
  89. Telephone message from Markus Kumer, 31.1.94.
  90. 'Neue Zürcher Zeitung', (17.7.90, p. 49), also 'Le Monde'.
  91. Interviews with Herr and Frau Hochstrasser on 5.11.86 and 19.7.90. Also with Jakob Steinmann on 20.7.90.
  92. Markus Kumer, conversation on 8.9.91.
  93. The Viennese branch of the 'Church of Satan' being closely connected.
  94. 'Weltwoche' No. 43, Zurich, 28.10.1993, p. 84. Frl. Aeschbach was right in the end; the press reviewed the Satanism week as "too frivolously conceived, too superficial — and too trendy." 'Tages-Anzeiger', 5.3.94, p. 13.
  95. 'Züri-Tip' of 25.2.94, pp. 9 & 81; 'Tages-Anzeiger' of 25.2.94, p. 20; 'WoZ' No. 8, 25.2.1994, p. 23; and 'Weltwoche' No. 8, 24.2.94, p. 74. Catalogue of the 'Lucifers Rising' art exhibition, Zurich 1994. Costs: Dvorak, who regularly got almost 5,000 Deutschmarks for his TV appearances, presented his ritual at 100 Swiss francs per spectator, while a videotape of the performance cost 250 SFr., and the debate with Golowin & co. yielded 70 SFr. per head from the audience.
  96. 'Tages-Anzeiger', 28.2.94, p. 19; Swiss DRS TV television, documentary on '10 vor 10' programme, 2.3.94, 9.50 pm; 'Züri Woche', 3.3.94, p. 1; Zurich regional television programme 'Vision TeleVision Forum Züri', 4.3.94, 6.00 pm. All the media mocked the performances, for instance Dvorak's ritual was seen as a "senseless practical joke"; 'Tagblatt' of 7.3.94, 18.

See some photographs of the Abtei Thelema in September 2002.

Photographs of some protagonists. [Colored with AI]

© : Translated and adapted from a chapter on the O.T.O. Protagonists in "Das O.T.O.-Phänomen" (1994) by Mark Parry-Maddocks in 2000 — German original online.

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