The Surprising Backstory Behind the Vril UFO Conspiracy


“It was a dark and stormy night …”
It’s the most infamous opening phrase for a novel, made an object of sniffing scorn by literary snobs who have decided this line is the “archetypal example of florid, melodramatic fiction writing style.

A Writer’s Digest article called it: “The poster child for bad story starters.”

The phrase rolled off the pen of British writer EDWARD BULWER-LYTTON to start his 1830 novel, Paul Clifford. I might also mention that Bulwer-Lytton is credited with originating numerous other eloquent phrases, such as:

“The pen is mightier than the sword.”


“The almighty dollar.”

This latter phrase comes from the novel I am discussing today which went on to become a central element in future UFO conspiracies. THE COMING RACE was first published anonymously in 1871. This book came out near the end of his literary career and life. Edward Bulwer-Lytton died in 1873.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

As you will soon see, this book may be the root source of one of the most embedded and persistent myths within the UFO community — a myth that gets repeated time and again, even by respected Ph.D.-level scholars and some of the top UFO pundits of our day.


The Coming Race is a peculiar work of fiction, but one might argue the book has gone on to become the most influential of Bulwer-Lytton’s more than 30 novels. That influence is driven by its central fictional invention, a mystical force called “Vril.”

This concept of Vril was seized upon by several esoteric and metaphysical groups that were emerging in the late 19th Century, such as Madam Blavatsky’s Theosophy Society.

Because of that, the fascination with Vril was revived years later — (supposedly … read on) — by other groups in post-World War I Europe, especially those involved in the Nazi pseudoscience movements that contributed to the rise of Adolph Hitler.

Furthermore, Vril is at the heart of one of the most persistent veins in what has become a virtual genre within UFO literature and ufology — those involving stories surrounding Nazi flying saucer technology powered by Vril.

There is even a British brand of meat paste that leverages the concept of Vril. Bovril is a combination of “bovine” and “Vril.” It was created by Scottish butcher turned entrepreneur John Lawson Johnston. He teamed up with Professor Lyon Playfair — a chemist, powerful British politician and the 1st Baron of Playfair — to perfect a formula for a highly preservable “meat glaze” made from beef trimmings.

A modern-day jar of Bovril and a late-19th Century ad for the product. (Publice Domain images)


Johnston was a fan of Bulwer-Lytton’s book and seized upon Vril to create his brand. Earlier versions of Bovril were developed in the 1870s and the product crystallized as a company in 1889.

Yes — from new concepts for spiritualist groups to new food products — it all was influenced by an unremarkable speculative novel cobbled together by an aging writer whose literary heyday had long since come and gone by 1871.

But the fictional Vril was only getting started — it would soon become a significant element of future UFO conspiracy theories and phony scholarship.


The Coming Race is a novel with almost no plot.

The viewpoint character is a bland, unnamed “any man” who serves as our narrator. Bulwer-Lytton makes no attempt to make this character come alive by fleshing him out descriptively or providing a background story that would make him a memorable fictional hero.

This work is barely fiction or a novel at all. Rather, the narrative serves as a vehicle for Bulwer-Lytton to envision and describe a hidden race of people who live in a Utopian society that dwells beneath the surface of the Earth.

He ruminates — at tedious length — about what such a society might be like and speculates whether Utopia is such a desirable way to live after all.

The hidden society dwells within vast underground caverns where sunlight is unknown. They have no knowledge of the outside world with its billions of people and animals thriving on the surface. The hero of the story stumbled upon the subterranean civilization by accident while exploring a mining operation.

The inner-earth people call themselves the Vril-ya. They take their name from the fantastic energy that has enabled them to master their underground realm. It provides them with unlimited, pollution-free power.

With Vril, they can light up their entire subterranean environment with lovely angelic light. Vril can also be used in an infinite number of applications, from powering fantastic robotic machinery to do all the grunt work, to curing disease and, of course, Vril can serve as the ultimate weapon — although the peaceful Vril-ya have no use for weapons.

In a kind of technological determinism, Vril has allowed the Vril-ya to rid their society of all strife, economic inequality and class division. Greed and war are unknown. Material wants are nonexistent. That’s because every citizen of the Vril Society has equal access and full command of Vril.

With Vril, every individual can easily have everything they want so there is no need for struggle — and no motivation to act aggressively toward others to take what they have.

Bulwer-Lytton spends chapter after chapter describing all aspects of Vril-ya society, much the way an anthropologist might write a nonfiction account of an indigenous people living in some remote corner of the planet.

The narration is often mind-numbingly dry — as is the long chapter in which Bulwer-Lytton describes the Vril-ya language, complete with a grammatical analysis parsing the fine points of usage, including base forms, causative verbs, demonstrative pronouns … and on and on.

The narrator engages in lofty discussions with the Vril-ya elite on various aspects of social theory, religion and philosophy. There are some anemic attempts to insert an element of cleverness.

For example, Bulwer-Lytton flips the role of the sexes making Vril-ya women the dominant sex in both physical prowess and command of sexual relationship issues. But all this is always carefully couched in the context of everyone, and every aspect of Vril-ya culture having achieved perfect universal equality.

Vril-ya women dominated men. Illustration from an early publication of The Coming Race. (Public Domain)

So, reading this from my vantage point of 150 years later, The Coming Race seems an unremarkable, exceedingly bland exercise in the long tradition of a special genre of fiction known as Utopian literature — except that the central concept of Vril proved to have an uncanny captivating effect on certain segments of society that were emerging in the late 1800s.

Among the most significant of these was Theosophy, an esoteric spiritualist movement founded by the Russian-born mystic Madam Blavatsky. While Blavatsky accepted The Coming Race nominally as a work of fiction, she was convinced that Vril was real.

She and others came to believe that Bulwer-Lytton wittingly or unwittingly had described an ancient universal force that has always been the birthright of humanity. She believed the possession of this power was latent in all people, but that knowledge of it had somehow become lost, forgotten or hidden over past centuries.

It became a widespread belief that Bulwer-Lytton was a member of some mega-secret occult society from which he had gained special, “insider” knowledge. That’s mostly false — we know this because he vehemently said so — in writing.


It’s true that he was known to be a member of the Rosicrucian Order, a group based on “esoteric truths of the ancient past.” But the Rosicrucians are largely a known quantity. Its teachings, while esoteric, mystical and arcane, are not a matter of deep mystery.

For example, anyone can join the Rosicrucians and study their knowledge and precepts as laid out in the Rosicrucian Manifestos.

I am not a Rosicrucian, but I have a close friend in the U.K. who is extremely wealthy and is a long-time member. He enjoys a high status in the organization today. He gave me extraordinary access to the inner workings of this organization.

Although it originated in Europe, probably Germany in about 1610, the world headquarters for the Rosicrucian Order today is located in San Jose, California, at the English Grand Lodge for the Americas. The “pope” or leader of the Order is called “The Imperator.” The current Imperator is Claudio Mazzucco, age 63, an Italian chemical engineer.

My wealthy British friend and powerful Rosicrucian “Initiate” generously gifted me with many volumes of Master Monographs — each collectively called a “mandamus” — studied by those seeking entry into the Order to gain the esoteric knowledge they need to become initiated.

One of the massive volumes collecting hundreds of Rosicrucian “Master Monographs” that was provided to me by my “High-Eschalon Rosicrucian” friend. Photos by KEN KORCZAK

Based on my own study of the Rosicrucian “Master Monographs”— and I have read hundreds of them, more than 20,000 pages so far— I can state with exceptionally high confidence that Bulwer-Lytton extracted the concept of Vril from this voluminous body of ancient, esoteric teachings.

But no matter. Once Vril was embraced by the Theosophists and other mystics and writers, the “Vril Genie” was out of the bottle. The concept of Vril crept osmosis-like throughout various segments of society.


Vril lived on to evolve a life and legacy of its own. Much of it is based on misinformation, newly created myths and poorly conceived conspiracy theories.

With the advent of the internet, Vril truly found the nutrient-rich, fertile environment and nuclear grow-juice it needed to blossom — or metastasize — into a full-blown, unstoppable modern mythology.

Just log onto YouTube today and search on Vril and you’ll be taken to hundreds of videos connecting Vril with Nazis and UFOs. You’ll find copious information on “The Vril Society” — which almost certainly never existed — and scads of information about a woman said to be the founder of the Vril movement.

That woman is identified as MARIA ORSIC. She is said to be a Vienna-born, ethnically Croatian medium who became a German national and then somehow tapped into Vril.

Maria Orsic used Vril to make contact with aliens from a solar system surrounding the star Aldebaran, a red giant and brightest star in the Constellation Taurus. The Aldebaran aliens, in turn, were able to channel information through the mediumship of Maria Orsic which gave the Nazis instructions on how to build flying saucers.

Pictures of Maria Orsic are widely circulated. She’s a stunningly beautiful woman of classic Aryan features. But these images are clearly doctored photos of a model enhanced to make her look like a perfect specimen from an ancient, forgotten race such as Bulwer-Lytton’s Vril-ya.

I can’t say for sure, but my best money is on the theory (just my own theory) that Maria Orsic started as a fictional character created in a book written by two Frenchmen, Jacques Bergier and Louis Pauwels. The book is titled The Morning of the Magicians, published in 1960.

These writers very well may be also responsible for inventing the myth of the Vril Society itself. It was supposedly an inner circle group within the Thule Society. (By the way, the Thule Society was a real, Nazi-era group).

I contend that the Vril Society and Thule Society have been repeatedly conflated by conspiracy theorists over several decades now. The Thule Society was real — the Vril Society never existed.


I find it remarkable how Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s underwhelming yarn about an imagined Utopian race living beneath the surface of the earth became the seed for an entire school of conspiracy theory that has now claimed a major position in the world of ufology.

But there is one more factor to consider — and this gets back to Madam Blavatsky — who was probably not entirely wrong when she intuitively perceived that fictional Vril was inspired by a genuine, ancient truth.

The uncanny appeal of Vril may have its roots in that it represents an archetypal-charged reality — and the collective unconscious mind of humanity knows that some kind of authentic Vril truly does exist.

The concept keeps re-emerging in our stories, myths and legends again and again. Consider The Force in Star Wars. Would this series of mediocre “science fiction lite” space opera films have resonated with the public in such a massive way without the underpinning plot device of The Force? I don’t think so.

From ancient Hindu tradition, we find PRANA. This is defined as the “life force” or the “vital principle” that “underlies all reality. The Chinese, wholly independent of Hinduism, put forward the concept of QI which is virtually indistinguishable from prana.

Even mainstream material science is in the game. The Holy Grail of physics is unlocking the secrets that will finally give us access to the ubiquitous, unlimited, pollution-free power of ZERO POINT ENERGY — and what is zero-point energy, if not Vril?


Whatever the case, let’s save a measure of respect for Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton. He’s become the unfortunate butt of jokes today thanks to “It was a dark and stormy night …” But at the height of his literary power, he produced books of extraordinary value and meaning.

I have read several Bulwer-Lytton books. I consider his The Last Days of Pompeii to be a work on par with, say, the historical fiction of brilliant authors like Gore Vidal and James Michener.

Lord Lytton was an intellectual and excellent scholar who published his first book at age 15. From his alma mater, Trinity Hall, he received the prestigious Chancellor’s Gold Medal for English verse.

He was also a gifted statesman and served as an MP in the Whig party for a decade. He was chosen as Secretary of State for the Colonies, one of the most powerful positions in 19th Century British government. And get this, when Otto, the King of Greece abdicated his thrown in 1862, Bulwer-Lytton was approached by an international delegation of offered the Crown of Greece. He could have been the supreme ruler of Greece — but he declined!

He became a self-made millionaire despite being cut off from his family inheritance because he married for love, a beautiful Irish woman, over the objection of his mother.

Statesman, scholar, writer, innovative thinker — Lord Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton –- the progenitor of Vril.


NOTE: For more historical context stories involving UFOs, please see: KEN-ON-MEDIUM

2 thoughts on “The Surprising Backstory Behind the Vril UFO Conspiracy”

  1. A nice journalistic coverage of the topic. As a nerd I look for technology like Viktor Schaunberger’s “foo fighter” and his 50 meter diameter vehicle. Thank you for the preview of you book!


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