Intl. Notebook Feb 1 2013
NOT VIDI CONVINCING
Her last name was Latin for “I saw,” but was her vision about Hitler anywhere close to the truth?


This February 1966 National Police Gazette marks the eighteenth time we’ve found Hitler on the venerable publication’s cover, and this is not the last we’ll see of Der Führer on the Gazette—we have three more that will bring his total to twenty-one, and we’re sure there are others out there. This time around, the world’s greatest medium Madame Luce Vidi has seen Hitler not crisped to a cinder in Berlin, but alive and kicking in the tropics. The Gazette attempts to quell any doubts about Vidi's divinatory prowess by informing readers that she foresaw “the assassination of President Kennedy and had predicted the time of the tragedy, and had also seen the death of French boxer Marcel Cerdan, the former middleweight champion, in a plane crash.

After establishing Vidi’s bona fides, Gazette editors tell us their independent research showed that Hitler escaped Germany aboard a submarine on April 10, 1945, and traveled to a base in Norway where he and a female companion boarded a second sub, laden with millions of dollars in treasure, and sailed for Argentina. Hitler eventually fetched up in the vicinity of San Carlos de Bariloche, where Nazis had years earlier purchased 10,000 acres of land. Vidi describes what Hitler looks like in 1966 (hint: not good—see below). The story ends by claiming he resides in a tropical fortress, where “the aged despot, his heart brimming with hatred and his mind full of the days when his voice shook the world, lives out his time in misery.”

As we’ve pointed out, anyone who thinks conspiracy theories are a new phenomenon needs to read more history. Americans in particular have always given credence to alternate versions of important events, so next time you see someone on television saying Barack Obama was born in Kenya, just remember it’s nothing new. As it turns out though, the town of San Carlos de Bariloche was exposed as a hideout for at least one Nazi when former SS Hauptsturmführer Erich Priebke was found there in 1995. He had been running the local German school. As recently as 2004 claims that Hitler had also lived in the area were aired in an internationally published book, and of course slammed by mainstream historians. But since something like 9,000 former Nazis fled to various parts of South America, we'd be lying if we said we didn't wonder if Hitler couldn't have managed the feat.

Though Luce Vidi supposedly utilized a crystal ball for her Hitler visions, her true specialty was reading ink blots—i.e., she required her clients to throw ink on a surface and she would divine the future from the resultant shapes. We can’t help wondering if she ever divined that she would go from being the “world’s greatest medium” to almost completely forgotten. We doubt it. They never seem  to see that coming. Weshould also note that her vision did not jibe with the beliefs of those who theorized Hitler living near San Carlos de Bariloche. Vidi saw Hitler living in a tropical place—in the background was a turtle dozing on a sandy beach. San Carlos de Bariloche is nestled in the foothills of the Andes, an area where people go to ski, trek and climb. There isn’t a beach anywhere in sight. 

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
March 22
1963—Profumo Denies Affair
In England, the Secretary of State for War, John Profumo, denies any impropriety with showgirl Christine Keeler and threatens to sue anyone repeating the allegations. The accusations involve not just infidelity, but the possibility acquaintances of Keeler might be trying to ply Profumo for nuclear secrets. In June, Profumo finally resigns from the government after confessing his sexual involvement with Keeler and admitting he lied to parliament.
1978—Karl Wallenda Falls to His Death
World famous German daredevil and high-wire walker Karl Wallenda, founder of the acrobatic troupe The Flying Wallendas, falls to his death attempting to walk on a cable strung between the two towers of the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Wallenda is seventy-three years old at the time, but it is a 30 mph wind, rather than age, that is generally blamed for sending him from the wire.
2006—Swedish Spy Stig Wennerstrom Dies
Swedish air force colonel Stig Wennerström, who had been convicted in the 1970s of passing Swedish, U.S. and NATO secrets to the Soviet Union over the course of fifteen years, dies in an old age home at the age of ninety-nine. The Wennerström affair, as some called it, was at the time one of the biggest scandals of the Cold War.
March 21
1963—Alcatraz Closes
The federal penitentiary located on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay closes. The island had been home to a lighthouse, a military fortification, and a military prison over the years. In 1972, it would become a national recreation area open to tourists, and it would receive national landmark designations in 1976 and 1986.
March 20
1916—Einstein Publishes General Relativity
German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity. Among the effects of the theory are phenomena such as the curvature of space-time, the bending of rays of light in gravitational fields, faster than light universe expansion, and the warping of space time around a rotating body.
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