The Vril-ya: The Inner Earth Aliens of 19th Century Germanic Neo-Paganism (and Beyond...)

A fictional story which many influential figures of the period came to believe was real.

In the late Victorian era, H.G. Wells and the Fabian Society used science fiction (Scientific Romances as they were called at the time)—as the earliest technocratic agenda was unfolding—to ready the population to accept the 'inevitable'. This form of predictive magic was spawned from, and within, similar social circles which also created the 19th century occult revival.

In 1871, a novel by a Rosicrucian named Edward Bulwer-Lytton entitled, Vril, the Power of the Coming Race, is perhaps the first work of science fiction designed to generate a real sense of expectation within readers. In that the story line itself—as fantastical as it was—might eventually come to pass within the real world. Yet there was something else about this novel—even beyond its sense of wonderment—which set Vril, the Power of the Coming Race apart from say, Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires of the same period. Bulwer-Lytton’s Vril seemed strangely plausible. Influential occult figures of the period such as Helena Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, along with other Theosophists, claimed that the book's narrative of a super human race living inside a hollow earth—and who possess the power of an energy form which they called Vril—was rooted in fact. Many others believed that the novel was too complex and detailed for it not to be factual.

The narrative contained within the book being presented was not merely a fantasy, but rather a blueprint of what is, and what is to eventually come into manifestation if certain operational procedures are implemented by humans living on the surface of the earth. Something of a trans-terrestrial blood alchemy was required. That would invoke the Vril-ya to the surface of the planet.

In the story, a young adventurer discovers a subterranean civilization of angelic Aryan-looking beings called the Vril-ya. The Vril-ya, who were once human, went to live inside the earth before the Great Flood as described in the Bible. Their cities are linked by networks of transportation tunnels in which they create technological 'wonders'. This narrative of Vril, the Power of the Coming Race, eventually became culturally, if not esoterically infused within the National Socialist ideology. As later, the Third Reich—along with their secret weapons development programmes—basically went underground into bunkers and tunnels inside mountains (after 1942) in order to design and build their 'V' weapons.  

However, the one aspect of Edward Bulwer-Lytton's novel which really captured the imagination of occultists of the time—such as the Order of the Templars and Thule Society in Germany—and this was the energy force of the Vril-ya; the "all-permeating fluid" of Vril. Which the Ariosophists took to mean Aryan blood. A force, if kept pure and free from being contaminated by other inferior blood races, could unleash incredible psychic and energetic forces according to the training of one's Will. This included telepathy and wonder weapons which could wipe out entire cities.

The suggestion is likewise, also made within the novel that the Vril-ya will eventually return to the surface of the earth if a pure racial Aryan blood group evolves on the surface of the planet. Bringing with them their awesome magical technologies, and sharing these powers with the surface-level terrestrial Aryan master race who invoked them. The idea so excited members of the Thule Society that they formed a specific group in Berlin called Wahrheitsgesellschaft, or The Society for Truth, which was charged with discovering the power of Vril and using it to create wonder weapons.  

Although this was a fictional novel, it was taken very literally as fact by many intellectuals of the time. Not just in Germany, but also in the United States and significantly, in the UK, where similar ideas of racial blood magic were being developed. Fusing science fiction and Eugenics as a necessary destiny for mankind to aspire towards, or perish. The underlying theme was always the same: that the tall, blond, blue-eyed and fair-skinned races were the inheritors of the earth, and that they will be forever in danger as long as ‘inferior’ humans continue to multiply. This contamination of ‘pure’ blood created a very literal neurosis among the upper echelons of European and American society. Who were in fear of the impending extinction 'of their superior kind' before the Vril-ya—or a similar magical race—arrived to evolve the earthly ‘master races’ into their next stage of evolution.  

A Possible Celtic Fairy Folklore Connection to the Vril-ya

The area in and around Ben Bulben mountain of County Sligo—on the north west Atlantic coast of Ireland—has long been associated with a supernatural race known as the Gentry. Again, a tall, blond, blue-eyed and fair-skinned race. Who had abandoned the countryside—around and inside the mountain itself—for a more comfortable life in the cities of Europe. Well into the 20th century, people who lived in the shadow of Ben Bulben believed in, and reported encounters with the Gentry. The description of which are very similar to that of the Vril-ya. Tall, elegant, attractive and sophisticated, but also highly aloof and intimidating. This part of Ireland; from Sligo and on towards Cruchan/Rathcrogran is also rumored to be networked with vast underground tunnels linking to one another. The Caves of Kesh, and the famous ‘Gateway to Hell’ Owneygat Cave within the region also give tantalizing hints of a very real lost subterranean world below the landscape.

Walter Evans-Wentz, the highly-regarded American anthropologist, and who published the first English translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, reported in his 1911 book, Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries:

“The Ben Bulbin country in County Sligo is one of those rare places in Ireland where fairies are thought to be visible, and our first witness from there claims to be able to see the fairies or 'gentry' and to talk with them. This mortal so favoured lives in the same townland where his fathers have lived during four hundred years, directly beneath the shadows of Ben Bulbin, on whose sides Dermot is said to have been killed while hunting the wild-boar. And this famous old mountain, honeycombed with curious grottoes ages ago when the sea beat against its perpendicular flanks, is the very place where the 'gentry' have their chief abode. 

Even on its broad level summit, for it is a high square table-land like a mighty cube of rock set down upon the earth by some antediluvian god, there are treacherous holes, wherein more than one hunter may have been lost for ever, penetrating to unknown depths; and by listening one can bear the tides from the ocean three or four miles away surging in and out through ancient subterranean channels, connected with these holes. In the neighboring mountains there are long caverns which no man has dared to penetrate to the end, and even dogs, it is said, have been put in them never to emerge, or else to come out miles away.”

Mysterious Subterranean Malta

There is one more intriguing aspect to this story, and that is a possible alternative purpose surrounding the Maltese underground Hypogeum at Hal Safilni. Not far from the island’s capital Valetta. Having visited this incredible ancient site myself in 2015, I was stuck by an overwhelming sense of sadness and loss I found hard to put my finger on. This vast and beautiful ancient complex seemed more akin to a demarcation point between this world and the inner earth. Its chambers and walls are saturated with a sense of the sacred and the melancholy. Indeed, at the end of the tour, one is taken to a location—which for all intents and purposes—looks like a dock where one might actually take a boat into the inner earth itself. Through the vast water-filled subterranean tunnel and cave systems under Malta and into another hidden civilization. Which Maltese folklore does indeed talk about. Does the Hypogeum at Hal Safilni hint of a possible reality concerning a technologically advanced civilization inside the earth?

If we take Edward Bulwer-Lytton Vril, the Power of the Coming Race in tandem with legends and locations connected to real world examples of underground advanced civilizations—and the Hypogeum at Hal Safilni was absolutely from a highly advanced culture of the Neolithic period—then is it really that surprising that so many people from the period of the book’s publication and later, gave veracity to the concept of the Vril-ya being rooted in some forgotten past of earth’s long history?

What drives people to want to venture deeper and deeper into the cave systems of the earth? Often risking their lives in terrifying and dangerous exhibitions of potholing and caving? It is as if some instinctual desire to find ‘something’ greater within the deepest parts of the earth which brings them there? From my own limited experiences at Owneygat in Ireland and the Hypogeum at Hal Safilni in Malta, I felt there was so much more beyond than I could tangible see and touch before me, and in the tranquil ambience of such places it really isn’t that hard to imagine that the Vril-ya may actually exist.