Theodore Illion: Darkness Over Tibet

I have to make two quick corrections:

90 ⌹ 9 = 11.25 km/h
90 ⌹ 8 = 11.25 km/h

On a sidenote, it mentions "two companions" and "cross the continent in a rubber boat." The three pictures in my first post that show Illion standing with his two companions and Illion paddling his boat, those pictures my have been taken in Luxembourg around May, 1935 maybe because of the mention in the interview.

April 1934, England:
In April, Illion finds himself in England, where the Sunday Express takes an interest in him. It reports that Illion is about to make a trip to Tibet and is looking for companions. Apparently a small photo shoot was held in this connection. The captions to the photos refer to Illion as a "German traveler, philosopher and lecturer."

That he never went to Tibet suggests this photoshoot is propaganda? Did he know he wasn't planning on going to Tibet? Was this a publicity stunt to help set up a cover story?
I thought I would transcribe Illion's two articles from SN that were not book reviews yesterday... that turned out to be book reviews. In those two cases, the format was a bit different not having the book specifics printed separately at the end of the article as it was with all the others. This means he did not write any independent articles of his own, at least in the SN that I know of.

I finished transcribing the one anyway so as not to waste the effort.

May 11, 1974
About wizards, witches and warlocks

For a very long time, the witch hunts and witch executions of the Middle Ages were described as the result of a mass delusion, which then had to give way to the much-vaunted Enlightenment. Only in more recent times have some scholars been prompted by in-depth investigations to question this convenient explanation of the witch hunts in which countless people were destroyed. Among the books that help to pave the way for a more objective assessment of this phenomenon is a reprint of the work of the French scholar Jean Bodin, now published by the Akademische Druck- und Verlagsanstalt in Graz: “Vom ausgelasnen würtigen Teufelsheer, allerhand Zauberern, Hexen und Hexenmeister.” [“From the exalted, dignified army of devils, all kinds of sorcerers, witches and warlocks”.]

The author was one of the most important men of his time, and the translator of the book, Johann Fischtert, was described by scholars of the time as one of the greatest linguistic talents in German literature.

This reprint offers research material for thorough, hitherto completely neglected studies - also in the field of parapsychology - of a phenomenon which is significant from a cultural-historical and religious point of view and which has hitherto been judged rather one-sidedly. One does not do justice to this phenomenon by dismissing it as a mass delusion, when in the times of witch-hunts, lectures on the nature of witchcraft were even held at universities and important scholars were convinced that these phenomena were a genuine branch of the natural sciences. Even in the language used at the time, "magic" and "science" sometimes merged.

Jean Bodin, the author of the witchcraft books, also wrote other books, for example on currency devaluation, economic and legal issues. And the same Bodin, who in one part of his authentic writings calls with all his might for the execution of black magicians and witches, shows himself in these other books to be a sober, almost "modern" thinker.

As a result of the later assessment of the witch hunts as "mass madness", some scholars endeavored to interpret Jean Bodin's attitude, which was contradictory in the sense of the Enlightenment. The world-famous man had certainly not neglected to devote entire years of his life to the intersession of witch trials and witch persecution in the spirit of the science of his time. This is why unbiased authors believe that he himself believed in the possibility of devil possession.

In his book, Bodin defines witches, sorcerers and warlocks as persons who deliberately and knowingly use diabolical power to achieve goals. On the basis of very numerous and impeccable quotations from ancient, patristic and contemporary authors, he proves that the belief in the existential reality of such persons has been present at all times.

The publication of this work, which is not only interesting in itself but also informative for theologians, psychologists and parapsychologists, offers further material for research. It can contribute to the correction of an all too undifferentiated judgment of an important aspect of the so-called "Dark Ages" in the light of more recent findings.

Theodor Burang-Illion
I just can't get over this weird mental association I have of the photo where he has... Something... A sweater vest? On his head... And I just keep thinking of Arthur Dent and his towel (hitchhikers guide to the galaxy). Perhaps he mastered the art of flying by forgetting to hit the ground.
For the past couple of days, I've been looking into two questions: when was Illion in Siberia, and when did he actually write his two Tibet books. I have no solid answer. I can only guess he was in Siberia before 1931 since he would have a difficult time to go there when compared with his newspaper appearances.

I made another list, this time from Igor's article:

  • Brussels, Belgium - Illion’s first book is published: En Cacahouetoulanie: reportages sensationnels et inédits (a copy (the copy?) of which is said to be in Antwerp) He would have to be there to hand over the manuscript. It is noted that one of Illion’s characters says that “Catholicism, Brahmanism, and Lamaist Buddhism are essentially the same thing.” Notice that ‘Lamaist Buddhism’, or Tibetan Buddhism, is mentioned here. Why Lamaist Buddism if he was never in Tibet?

  • Belgium - Illion’s second book is announced to be published. According to Igor, is unknown if it was, though it was mentioned later that it did not sell well. (BTW: La grande guerre entre la Prunanie et la Figoulanie can be found here, though there’s no digital copy. Still: wow!)
  • Nov. - Stockholm, Sweden

  • April - England- Illion announces he is taking a trip to Tibet and is looking for companions.
  • July 5 - Istanbul, Turkey
  • Nov. 26 - Danish newspapers presumably write about Illion (Is he in Denmark?)
  • Dec. 15 - Stockholm, Sweden - Illion is in Stockholm and Swedish fans say his trip was “surprisingly fast”
  • Dec. 17 - Danish newspaper publishes a detailed report of Illion (he is also now an expert on South America)

  • Feb. 7 - Sweden
  • May 3 - Luxembourg
  • Aug. - Illion is broadcast in Germany regularly through recordings. No idea if he's actually in Germany.
  • Aug. 29 - Iceland
  • Sept. 10 - Norway
  • Nov. 11 - Transiting through Sweden to Central Europe

  • Unknown until July.
  • July 20 - ‘Baltic Tour’ - Riga, Latvia - In the interview, it is mentioned that Illion has been twice to Central Asia and Tibet. (I don’t know when the first time was since Turkey is not part of ‘Central Asia’. Was he there before 1930?)
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Oct. 1 - Riga, Latvia
  • Nov. - Amsterdam, Holland

  • Frequent appearances on German radio. 'Second' book planned to be published in England by winter.
  • Oct./Nov. 30 - Norway
  • Dec. 16 - Already in Iceland. Talks about his 8 month trip in Tibet. (Nov. 11, 1935 - July 20, 1936?) Announces a lecture about the mysterious Tibetan “underground city” he visited.

  • Jan. 5 - Reykjavik. Leaves shortly after.
  • Second book Darkness is published in England soon after. German version of book is not published at this time and Illion is gone from radio airwaves.
  • Sept. 26 - Estonia

  • Feb. - Holland (The Hague)
  • May - Zurich, Switzerland

  • Moves to Austria at some point and eventually makes his home in the ‘Salzburg area’.

When it comes to writing his books, I had a thought. For In Secret Tibet (which is apparently his 3rd book), the lengths to which he creates the cover that he was never in (or even going into) Tibet are so complex that at least a rudimentary plan had to have been made before he even announced its publishing. And before he needed a reason to even have a plan for a cover story, he would have to have had already written the book or, at the very least, have the idea for the book. Once he made his April, 1934 announcement in the English paper that he was going to make a trip into Tibet and was looking for companions, he put his plan into action. Those companions didn't work out. Then, on July 5 in Istanbul, the paper says he's there to look for new companions who can walk 50 km/day and live on breadcrumbs. Besides the Hansel and Gretel reference, he's made the requirements so unappealing, imo, that he doesn't want companions. I don't think he wants witnesses.

So, between July 5 - Nov. 26, 1934, Illion is supposed to journey through Tibet starting in Istanbul. (Later in Dec. a Norwegian radio station broadcasts a recording of Illion titled “4 Months in Tibet”) The story of how he got into Tibet only comes from Illion:

Turkey -> Persia -> illegally crossing Soviet border -> through the Pamir mountains (7,649 m (25,095 ft) the original “Roof of the World”, btw) -> enters Tibet through the north -> travels south into India.

Looking at a bunch of maps of that time, the ‘Soviet border’ (which does not mean ‘Russian border’) could be referring to Tajik SSR, known today as Tajikistan, whose borders encompass the Pamir mountain range. If he crossed the Pamir mountains and entered Tibet from the north, he would've had to enter Xinjiang Province first, from the west, and then turn south, crossing the Xinjiang/Tibet border from the north. Nepal or Bhutan are not mentioned so he really only has one exit into India from the south. Otherwise he’d be exiting from the west. There is no mention of Afghanistan or Xinjiang either.

Complete guess of Illion's '1st' journey into Tibet:

Illion's Supposed Trip.jpg

I very roughly calculated this journey to be 2250 km one way. Igor calculates the entire round-trip journey from England to be 9000 km. Transportation is one-third by vehicle, one-third on horseback and one-third on foot. I'll just mention that: “The level of oxygen at a sea level is 20.9%, at 3,000 meters it is 14.3% and at 5,000 meters it lowers to 11.2%.” So maybe 12.5% oxygen in Tibet (4,380 m (14,000 ft)) itself.

I did this to see if Illion's story hold's up, even if he wasn't there. It's possible, I guess, but... y'know? I do wonder how he got back to Denmark or Sweden if he only had a few coins while he was in Tibet. Was it enough to buy a train ticket back to Denmark? And if he was never going into Tibet, what was he doing in Istanbul anyway?

Anyway, long story short, I got nowhere looking into info like passports (Nansen, Soviet...) if he was coming out of Courland or Livonia (Soviet Latvia, Lithuania area), or if he was Jewish born in the Baltic area and a possible link through the mention of him wanting to be “assigned to Manchukuo”, a puppet state of Japan (where he said he went to after running away at age 12) that existed between 1932-1945. Maybe he just said that as a diversion, but just to the north across the border in Russia was the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, designated in 1928 and established in 1934. Did he walk from there across Siberia? ...blahhhh...

This morning I browsed Håkan Blomqvist blog article and re-read a quote from the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter from Nov. 3, 1933:

He is now in Stockholm where he will lecture at several places a.o. The Theosophical Society.

I didn't pay much attention to this before, but I took a look now because I was going nowhere else.

I didn't find the report of the Swedish Theosophical Society lecture, but I did find the Icelandic newspaper reports of Illion (Theodore) (Theodor) as well as the reports of Illion giving lectures at the Icelandic Theosophical Society. Reading the much poorer Google translation (because DeepL does not translate Icelandic) his first lecture (Dec. 31, 1937) on the 'underground cities' in Tibet featured in his forthcoming book were so popular that people were turned away for lack of room, and so scheduled a second lecture (Jan. 5, 1938) by popular demand.

Then, looking around some more, I was surprised to find that The Fifth World Congress of the Theosophical Society was held in Salzburg on July 14, 1966! There are reports (May 9, July 8, July 15) in the SN about it:

On July 14, the World Congress of the Theosophical Society will begin in the Salzburg Congress Center. Over 1000 delegates from all over the world are expected to attend.

The thing is, I don't think Illion was in Salzburg at the time. In the Salzburg list, between 1965-1970, Illion is gone from the SN. He reappears on Jan. 12, 1970 with a new lecture on Biafra and Nigeria. Was he in Africa for five-ish years?

I don't know if he's actually a member of the Theosophical Society, or if he's just using the buildings to lecture in, maybe? I'll say he isn't a member because he doesn't seem to be a guy that wants to be nailed down to anything.

Siberia? >pffff< Good luck looking!
It looks like he wrote for Austrian newspaper Die Furche as well, as Theodor Burang-illion.

Here are all his articles (in German). If you don't have access, just creat a free account. The articles (42 in total) date from 1960 to 1973.

You can use the search field to search in his articles. For example, "Theodor Burang-illion Sibirien" will find mentions of Siberia in his articles.

Thanks Altair! I probably never would have found those.

These are some serious articles that Illion wrote between 1960-1973.

Die Furche List:

  • Feb. 10 - “Dangerous vacuum”
  • Oct. 25 - “Fear of Formosa”
  • Feb. 14 - ““Between Hong Kong and Macao”
  • Apr. 17 - “Where are you going, Japan?”
  • Jun. 5 - “Defeat at home”
  • Jun. 26 - “A second Vietnam?”
  • Aug. 7 - “Mao is also in the lab”
  • Sep. 4 - “Beijing stirs up”
  • Sep. 11 - “Did Beijing provoke?”
  • Oct. 30 - “Will Canada be split?”
  • Nov. 27 - “Nixon and the triangle”
  • Feb. 5 - “Tightrope walker Ayub Khan”
  • Mar. 19 - “Dead on the Ussuri”
  • Apr. 9 - “Pakistan's bloody tightrope walk”
  • Apr. 30 - “Pakistan - the road to chaos?”
  • May 21 - “Where is Nigeria heading?”
  • Jun. 18 - “Soviet base on Formosa?”
  • Jul. 9 - “Pincers around India”
  • Jul. 30 - “The spectre of China”
  • Sep. 10 - “Escalation in the Far East”
  • Sep. 17 - “No weapons for Nigeria”
  • Oct. 8 - “Turning point in the Nigerian war?”
  • Nov. 19 - “Biafra war at the turning point?”
  • Dec. 10 - “Beijing's game with time”
  • Jan. 28 - “Talks in the triangle”
  • Mar. 4 - “Nigerian self-image”
  • Mar. 11 - “Haggling over Pakistan”
  • Apr. 29 - “Nigeria catches its breath”
  • Jun. 24 - “The pill - a time bomb?”
  • Nov. 11 - “Is the Vatican talking to Beijing?”
  • Jan. 13 - “Red Bibles for the Westerners”
  • Mar. 17 - “Heirs of Biafra”
  • Apr. 21 - “Drilling in Formosa”
  • Jul. 7 - “Bengal fire”
  • Aug. 11 - “Misery becomes everyday life”
  • Nov. 24 - “Hunger and power”
  • Dec. 22 - “Even without the UN”
  • Apr. 12 - “Dismay after the thrill of victory”
  • May 31 - “Battle for reefs”
  • Dec. 6 - “Pakistani key”
  • Mar. 7 - “The dangerous needles”
  • Sep. 19 - “Tanks in the desert”

The mention of Siberia comes from the Apr. 17, 1968 article "Where are you going, Japan?". The article itself is really long so here's the relevant snippet:

The shadow of Hiroshima

Japanese politicians and businessmen would not have an easy time planning the creation of their own armed forces, the deployment of which would increase sales. The devout nationalism of the former Japan has no traction, especially among the growing youth. Japan was the only country to experience the terrible consequences of atomic bombing first hand, so anything to do with weapons and war triggers an almost neurotic defence mechanism in many Japanese. On the other hand, the Japanese people, the people of the samurai and suicide pilots, have still not overcome the terrible shock of total defeat in the Second World War. Consciously or unconsciously, many Japanese feel a calling to a new political, sometimes even spiritual leadership role in the world, although several decades have passed since a Japanese foreign minister - without falling into ridicule at the time - announced in all seriousness the program of a Japanese world conquest, which included the progressive conquest of the whole of the East. The progressive conquest of the whole of East Asia including Siberia, the whole of China, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and by extension Burma, India and the whole of Asia, with a view to the eventual achievement of Japanese world domination. ...

Well, not what I was hoping for.

The list is helpful to fill out his later years and supports how he was making a living.

Two others caught my eye. First, the earliest one where he starts out reviving a now-distant conversation with "an inhabitant of the then still remote regions of Central Asia" trying to describe modern railroads. Starting on p. 23 of 'Darkness' he has the same conversation, only he's not talking about trains, he's talking about automobiles.

As critical as I've become about this guy in certain respects, I really enjoyed reading this. He seems to be bringing to light the drive towards materialism which leaves a spiritual vacuum in China which will have dire consequences for the rest of the world. At times, it felt like I was reading news from today. The 'fly hunt' experiment illustrating mass-mind control was quite interesting and an actual thing (Four Pests Campaign) which helped bring about the Great Chinese Famine (a (planned?) depopulation attempt?).

Dangerous vacuum
Theodor Burang-Illion
Feb. 10, 1960

When the author of this article described modern railroads in his own language to an inhabitant of the then still remote regions of Central Asia, the latter asked him: "Yes, why do they build such fire-eating frames that move at lightning speed?" To my reply that railroads were built so that people could reach their destination thirty times faster than pack animals moving along primitive paths, he remarked: "In order for such fast-moving means of transportation to be really useful, we must first make sure that people learn to do something really sensible with so much saved time!" - And much later, when Communist China had forcibly introduced modern mechanization in these areas, we received a message from a local who commented: "I would have no objection to the advantages of mechanization if I didn't have to keep observing that people who are completely committed to modernization tend to treat their fellow human beings worse than their machines and cars!”

With such remarks, genuine Asians are able to invalidate the content of hours of lectures by the communists on the advantages of ruthlessly promoted mechanization. Even before the outbreak of open rebellion in Tibet against the annexation of the country to Communist China, we were constantly receiving reports about the disappointments of Communist propagandists in the "Forbidden Land". What's more, thoroughly trained communists were sometimes defected from communism through their contact with Tibetans. In the spring of 1959, for example, Chinese military personnel, officials and settlers who had been arrested in Tibet were transported to China in a single week on the newly built high mountain roads in thirty fully occupied buses, where they were sent to "re-education camps”.

It is no wonder that only materialistically oriented "orders" regard any opposing force that is even partially anchored in the non-material as a potential danger. Apart from certain strategic considerations, this is probably the main reason why today the concentrated power of a 650-million-strong bloc of people is being used against two million poor Tibetans who do no harm to anyone.

We have before us, in Tibetan, the Dalai Lama's detailed answers to a whole series of questions about the uprising in Tibet and its causes, which were recently put to him by journalists and various experts on Asia. Very important is the assertion, emphasized by him but almost unnoticed abroad, that during the period when Lamaism made a pact with the Chinese Communists to save its material framework, measures were taken by the Tibetan "autonomous government" headed by the Dalai Lama to forestall the Communist advances by purchasing land from the large landowners and distributing it to Tibetan farmers. The Dalai Lama announced that these measures were deliberately sabotaged by the communists in order to create a more favorable starting point for the elimination of Tibetan autonomy.

Today's Greater China strives for momentary successes, but these often turn against their creators on the material level. For example, it is well known that the Chinese standard of living is so low that in many parts of the country, forty Chinese people together can only spend as much on living expenses as the average Western European. The masses are therefore kept "under steam" with constant promises of rapid increases in production, so that they can maintain a pace of work that meets the needs of rapid mechanization according to the foreign model, even under the most miserable living conditions. But despite the construction of large factories and huge dams, the introduction of yield-increasing agricultural methods, etc., months and years passed without the achievement of an increase in the standard of living that was even remotely commensurate with this enormous exertion of power. This is because the introduction of modern disease control and hygiene (on a scale that trumps foreign models, such as the enforced wearing of face masks to prevent the possible transmission of disease in a whole range of activities), which is advancing in step with mechanization, is leading to a year-on-year increase in the population of the Chinese people, who were previously decimated by epidemics etc. and who have many children, which already amounts to 18 million people a year and offsets any increases in production. Even the most skillful propaganda can no longer keep up with this, which incidentally surpasses even the most effective foreign templates in its breadth, depth and lack of restraint and has even managed to construct such a compelling "model" of the common fly as the embodied bringer of disease in the eyes of the Chinese, for example, that everyone "voluntarily" joined in the mass extermination of flies and the appearance of a single fly even in remote rural areas triggers general horror and an almost comical fly hunt! In quite a few areas, the mindless chasing after instant successes produces a kind of collective state of madness, so that it could happen that in large companies the 15-hour working day was introduced by a "voluntary" decision of the workforce, whereupon overtired workers fell asleep at their precision machines, and a plan for the immediate multiplication of universities overlooked the fact that you can build study halls and bathrooms out of the ground, but not an intellectual concept and a teaching staff, so that "temporarily" party officials with a primary school education were then appointed as university professors!

The Chinese past knows of times when wise emperors ruled well and justly with one official and three soldiers. At least in the subconscious, every true Chinese has the idea that "few officials and few soldiers - good government; many officials and many soldiers - bad government." Today's Greater China, which - which is saying a lot - has a "giant apparatus" modelled on the Soviet and American ones, beats all the records of a country ruled by a bad government in the eyes of real Chinese. According to far-sighted observers, the fact that the regime can still hold on is not only due to the skillful manoeuvring of the masses into a worship of the idol of "higher living standards" imitating other major world powers, the brainwashing of the many, and the use of satanic methods drawn from the arsenal of modern depth psychology to influence a valuable minority, but also to the lack of a credible spiritual concept for the time after the elimination of communist rule. In the opinion of wise Chinese, all systems of rule imported from abroad have failed because they went hand in hand with the all-round dissolution of Chinese values before the conditions for anchoring their non-Chinese scale of values had been created. And although some Chinese dynasties ruled quite well, the Emperorship surrounded by a poorly educated Manchu aristocracy was in a state of serious degeneration in the decades preceding its elimination, so that any efforts to re-establish a Chinese Emperorship would have little chance of success. All in all, it seems to be a question of who will ultimately be able to fill the spiritual vacuum of the huge country, which is constantly growing under communist rule, with a spiritual concept that is truly plausible to the Chinese. In the meantime, the self-destruction of the country's spiritual substance, often disguised by cultural facades in the manner of other materialistic orders, is continuing, and the desire for genuine inner renewal is gradually increasing. The transitional period is dangerous. Didn't an important Chinese thinker predict years ago that the spread of the concept of materialistic "order": "anarchy plus a gendarme" to China would endanger the entire world?

The other one I looked at was one that mentioned Canada. Not as interesting as the previous one and talks about a possible up-coming referendum that would potentially separate Quebec from Canada.

Anyway, what I found the most interesting was that he officially claims to be, as he says, from the "French-speaking part of Canada" and believes he has the ability to assess the situation in a completely objective and unbiased manner. He writes this referring to himself in the third-person. It's kinda weird. But I'd like to just point out, again, that by his own word, he ran away from home in Canada to Japan at the age of 12. That's c. 58 years ago! How could he be invested in the political landscape at that age anyway?

Will Canada be divided?
Theodor Burang-Illion
Oct. 30, 1968

The new premier of the French-speaking province of Quebec, Jean-Jacques Bertrand, has just announced that, if necessary, a referendum will be held in Quebec this year on the question of future relations between Quebec and Ottawa. Mr. Jean-Jacques Bertrand has his work cut out for him: for the first time, the separatists will emerge as a new, organized party in the upcoming elections, while various nationalist currents are also making themselves felt in the federalist Prime Minister's own party.

Despite the new Prime Minister's conciliatory stance towards Ottawa in many respects, political observers believe that the power struggle between Quebec and Ottawa is likely to intensify in the coming period.

The special position of French Canadians

The author of these lines was born in the French-speaking part of Canada, but has lived in fifteen other countries and believes he can assess the autonomy aspirations of French Canadians in their pan-Canadian and global implications in a completely objective and unbiased manner. Many French Canadians, who make up more than a quarter of Canada's total population, are convinced that their religion, culture, tradition and ancestry place them in a naturally special position that is not reflected in Canada's current structure. They also know that Canada as a whole owes its independent existence mainly to the Catholic Church and French Canadians.

In other countries, and particularly in France, French Canadians are often misjudged. For the vast majority of French-speaking Canadians, despite their often vociferous demands for the greatest possible autonomy, the idea of French Canada being absorbed into an "enlarged France" seems absurd. They do not feel "French" at all. They themselves often accuse French immigrants of being arrogant and some of them return home as even better Canadians, especially after longer visits across the ocean, because they miss some of the best Canadian traits "over there", such as genuine generosity, sincerity, rejection of pointless bureaucratic obstructions, etc., as well as the genuine religiosity that characterizes many Catholic French Canadian communities. It is precisely such Canadians who are downright outraged when officials in Paris refer to them as "Canadian French" instead of "French Canadians". The reaction to de Gaulle's appearance last year, which many Canadians saw as "inexcusable interference in Canada's internal affairs" (one Liberal MP even called for his expulsion), is likely to have prompted the General to forego a personal appearance at the funeral of the recently and suddenly deceased predecessor of the current Premier of Quebec.

De Gaulle's mistake

When assessing the current situation in Canada, many commentators, also in Europe and the USA, overlook the fact that until recently, de Gaulle's influence in Quebec was also strengthened by political factors that have suddenly lost their validity today. The occupation of the CSSR, for example, rendered his concept of "Europe to the Urals" implausible. In this context, many in Quebec saw the General as the representative of a medium-sized state rising up against the tutelage of the world's major powers. Canada's relative dependence on the US is uncomfortable for many Canadians; three quarters of foreign investment in Canada belongs to US citizens, and sales of US newspapers and magazines in Canada are several times higher than sales of Canadian newspapers and magazines.

The attitude of most of Quebec's leading businessmen and industrialists towards separatist tendencies is decidedly "cold and sober". They know that the province of Quebec is making tremendous economic progress within the framework of Canada as a whole, which would be severely impaired if it were to break away from the Canadian federation.

A detailed 55-page report issued at the end of September 1968 by influential figures among the 33,000 members of the Quebec Chambers of Commerce confirms the fact that Quebec's separation from Canada would be very detrimental to the province economically.
I just wanted to mention this small contradiction.

At the end of Igor's paper Darkness Over Illion, there is a link to pdf that shows the Nazi letter detailing Illion's history. There is a footnote that says this:

Theodor Illion (1898-1984) also published under the names Theodor Burang and Th. Nolling. Author of the books: Rätselhaftes Tibet. Hamburg: Uranus-Verlag 1936. 143 p.; Tibetans on the Occident. Salzburg: Ignota-Verlag 1947. 215 p.; and Darkness over Tibet. London: Rider & Co. 1933. 192 pp. The doctor and bibliographer Jürgen Aschoff considers Illion's books and his travels in Tibet to be science fiction (cf. his Annotated Bibliography on Tibetan Medicine. Ulm / Dietikon 1996, 195). Illion was allegedly born in Canada and came from a poor family. He died in Salzburg.

The 'original' storyline says he came from an aristocratic family in Canada.

Also, while watching a few videos from the "Regency Jewels" thread this afternoon, it made me think of Illion never being married or even a mention of any close relationships. I mean, the guy never stayed put for very long and when he finally did, he was still bouncing around 'Salzburg area' of no fixed address. Which some people live a nomadic lifestyle and that's fine. But every time he's in the papers, he's drawing attention to himself, usually to announce a lecture, aka: a performance? He has to make money, I get that, and his lectures may be helping a lot of people. I just wonder if he came from a broken family of some sort and he sought emotional support through an audience? There's a certain 'distance' he seems to want to keep. This is just a question that's been in the back of my mind.

On a completely different note, I was looking for the reference in Alexandra David-Neel's book Magic and Mystery in Tibet of the Lung-gom-pas runners of Tibet and came across the practice of chöd. Here is an ecerpt from p.150-152:

Lack of place prevents me from giving a translation of the text of chöd, in extenso. It includes long mystic preliminaries during which the celebrant naljorpa "tramples down" all passions and crucifies his selfishness. However, the essential part of the rite consists in a banquet which may be briefly described as follows.

The celebrant blows his bone trumpet, calling the hungry demons to the feast he intends to lay before them. He imagines that, a feminine deity, which esoterically personifies his own will, springs from the top of his head and stands before him, sword in hand.

With one stroke she cuts off the head of the naljorpa. Then, while troops of ghouls crowd round for the feast, the goddess severs his limbs, skins him and rips open his belly. The bowels fall out, the blood flows like a river, and the hideous guests bite here and there, masticate noisily, while the celebrant excites and urges them with the liturgic words of unreserved surrender:

"For ages, in the course of renewed births I have borrowed from countless living beings-at the cost of their welfare and life-food, clothing, all kinds of services to sustain my body, to keep it joyful in comfort and to defend it against death. To-day, I pay my debt, offering for destruction this body which I have held so dear.

"I give my flesh to the hungry, my blood to the thirsty, my skin to clothe those who are naked, my bones as fuel to those who suffer from cold. I give my happiness to the unhappy ones. I give my breath to bring back the dying to life." Shame on me if I shrink from giving my self! Shame on you, wretched and demoniac beings,(1) if you do not dare to prey upon it .... "

This act of the "Mystery" is called the "red meal.” It is followed by the "black meal," whose mystic signification is disclosed only to those disciples who have received an initiation of high degree.

The vision of the demoniacal banquet vanishes, the laughter and cries of the ghouls die away. Utter loneliness in a gloomy landscape succeeds the weird orgy, and the exaltation aroused in the naljorpa by his dramatic sacrifice gradually subsides.

Now he must imagine that he has become a small heap of charred human bones that emerges from a lake of black mud-the mud of misery, of moral defilement, and of harmful deeds to which he has co-operated during the course of numberless lives, whose origin is lost in the night of time. He must realize that the very idea of sacrifice is but an illusion, an offshoot of blind, groundless pride. In fact, he has nothing to give away, because he is nothing. These useless bones, symbolizing the destruction of his phantom,"I," may sink into the muddy lake, it will not matter. That silent renunciation of the ascetic who realizes that he holds nothing that he can renounce, and who utterly relinquishes the elation springing from the idea of sacrifice, closes the rite.

Some lamas undertake tours to perform chöd near a hundred and eight lakes, and a hundred and eight cemeteries. They devote years to this exercise, wandering not only over Tibet, but also in India, Nepal and China. Others only retire to solitary places for the daily celebration of chöd for a longer or shorter time.
  1. Buddhists extend their compassion and brotherly love to all beings, demons included. One must note that according to them, and especially according to lamaists, a demon does not necessarily dwell in the purgatories. The inhabitants of these sorrowful worlds are beings who have been led there by their cruelty or other evil deeds. They may, while in their present sad condition, reject their former bad feelings, and be animated by good will toward others, or with a desire for enlightenment, etc. As for so-called "demons," they are beings who habitually harbour hatred and ill will, who rejoice in unrighteousness and cruelty. And these may-as a result of former deeds-have been born as men, demi~gods or any other kind of beings.

The story continues where she later heads to the funeral site of a recently deceased man who is cut up into pieces and left to the god of vultures. She later watches an emaciated man practising chöd beside the site, voicing his invitation to the demons to eat him. She watches as he screams in his trance state at the aggony of being 'eaten'. She interjects but only makes it worse. She then leaves and goes to the hut of his teacher and makes an appeal to him saying that he seems to be being eaten alive, to which the teacher replies that that is likely, "but he does not understand that he is himself the eater. May be that he will learn it later on .... ". It was a facinating read to the end of p.163.

The story has a feel of the cannibalistic story in Illion's Darkness. I can't say he got inspiration from here but David-Neel's book is a very interesting possibility for some of Illion's settings.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to 'deligitamize' Darkness, or something. I understand that there are significant meanings in that book.

I do wonder if Illion was taught meditation techniques or had some sort of 'spiritual experience' before 1931. Or maybe he just absorbs everything he reads?
So, I've been 'wandering' around Ancestry playing with names all the while having 'Siberia' in the back of my head because I still think he was there before his history 'starts' in 1931. I noticed something that might be important...or not.

"Burang' is a name he gave himself by Sept. 18, 1951. It has been proposed that 'Illion' is also an alias which is possible, but it may not be. The thing is, could it be a patronym (one's last name derived from the name of the father)?

I started playing around with the name 'Theodore Illion' and, through some refinement, I came across a series of names:

  • Feodor Bolotin (1891)
  • Feodor Huotilainen (1892)
  • Feodor Jeskanen (1893)
  • Feodor Bogdanov (1895)
  • Feodor Sorvali (1896)
  • Feodor Moisejev (1896)
  • Feodor Kokkonen (1897)
  • Feodor Markov (1900)
  • Feodor Jouhki (1901)
  • Feodor Rahkonen
  • Feodor Palvianen
Now on the surface there's not much connection except that they are all named Feodor (Theodor). But, according to the records, every one of these men have the patronymic name of 'Iljin' which makes them all 'Feodor Iljin'.


Feodor Iljin Bogdanov.jpg

These people are all from the Karelia region of Finland/Russia, which is across the water from the Latvia/Lithuania Iljins Igor located.

Another very late 1800's group I found in Ancestry are around the Samsara region of Russia (map). This is an interesting location because it almost borders Khazakstan and is not that far from Siberia or the Siberian Route. What's unbelievable is that there are PAGES of 'Feodor Iljin' and in most cases they have another last name like the example above. But they're all 'Feodor Iljin'! It's increadible!

It looks like (our) Illion added Burang to his name because that's what they did? They added a unique last name to Iljin?

About the name itself, Illion seems to be related to other East Slavic names like Illa, Ilia, Ilya, Ilija and such, which we know more commonly as Elijah. the East Slavic form of the male Hebrew name Eliyahu (Eliahu), meaning "My God is Yahu/Jah."[1] It comes from the Byzantine Greek pronunciation of the vocative (Ilía) of the Greek Elias (Ηλίας, Ilías).
Thanks @Approaching Infinity.

I don't know how much further I'll be able to go with this though. There are many 'blocks' in history but now, since they're all named 'Feodor Iljin', I've come against a genealogical 'Where's Waldo' block. The unique last name added to 'Iljin', which I saw later became a middle name in some cases, is going to be impossible(?) to track for Illion since he chose 'Burang' waaay late. I don't know why he chose 'Nolling' but 'Eke', I think, maybe had something to do with feeling a connection to Scandinavia? I don't know. It was definitely of short duration.

I just want to show something. This is a petition for naturalization in the US. It comes from 1976 for a guy named Feodor Michaelovich Ilyin. This is not (our) Illion since he's been living in Seattle since 1963. But just notice that he is 'stateless', and was born in 1953 in Kyldja, China.

US Nat. Petition.jpg

When I did a search for 'Kuldja, China', I got 'Yining':
In the 19th and early 20th century, the word Kuldja (from Russian: Кульджа) or Ghulja was often used in Russia and in the West as the name for the entire Chinese part of the Ili River basin as well as for its two main cities.

It was funny to see that this city is located in northwestern Xinjiang, the country just above Tibet.

Igor, in Darkness Over Illion, also mentions the stateless nature of the "Ilion/Iljon/Illion" name during the second half of the 19th century who were left holding Nansen passports. (Just wondering why the above guy would claim to be stateless if he was born in Xinjiang?)

The guy also changes his name (I've seen a document where another man changes 'Iljin' to 'Katz'), and I can't definitively find anything else about him. Applying the slipperiness of Illion to this document, I find it also smells funky.

Anyway, since there are so many with that same name, I'm musing if there was a prominent Rabbi with the name Feodor Iljin who was the head of a clan or something and all the males took there name from him? Women, too, because there are many examples of 'Iljina'.

It was mentioned that Illion was never married or had any children. I wonder if maybe he was married before 1930 but never had kids or they died early and then something happened to his wife leaving him a widower?

This was said in the Tribute:
The sculptor Josef Zenzmaier, who lives in the neighboring area and is one of those who knew him better, wants to create the stele for Mr. Illion's resting body in the spring. Mr. Illion himself had had a somewhat intimate relationship with memorials of reverence.

When I looked through the wiki for the Samsara Oblast, the mention of kurgans came to my attention, but I could be just creating a connection:
The Samara region contains a remarkable succession of archaeological cultures from 7000 BC to 4000 BC. These sites have revealed Europe's earliest pottery (Elshanka culture), the world's oldest horse burial and signs of horse worship (the Syezzheye cemetery of Samara culture) and the earliest kurgans associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans (e.g., Krivoluchye assigned to Khvalynsk culture[16]).

Just a correction, the map link for Samsara region opens to Samsara city not the Oblast. (Oblast map). And I said the region almost borders Khazakstan when it actually does border with it:

Samsara Oblast-Khazakstan Border.jpg

I doubt there's a border crossing checkpoint, but a border's a border!

Apparently, the reason Illion dropped the 'e' in Theodore is that, in German, Theodore is the feminine.

I'm not sure why 'Feodor' was the name of choice here but Theodore (in all it's forms?) means 'gift of god'.

There's also this little bit of history that gives a little bit of the history of the Jewish community in Samara.

The Jewish Community of Samara
Early Jewish Settlement

Samara was located outside the Pale of Settlement1. Because of this Jews began to settle in the city only during the second half of the 19th century when the adoption of several laws made it possible for some categories of Jews to live outside the Pale of Settlement. Former Cantonists, young Jewish boys drafted by force to the Russian army, where among the first to be allowed to settle outside the bounders of the Pale, having completed 25 years of military service. According to the laws of 1859 and 1865, all categories of Jewish traders and craftsmen received permission to settle in cities outside the Pale of Settlement, with the exception of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Only eight Jews (all males, possibly former Cantonists) lived in Samara by 1853. By 1862, the number had risen to 92 and the settlement continued in the following years. By 1871, there were 339 Jews and then 515 in 1878. Most of them were large traders, retired soldiers, artisans, and members of their families.

Jews were among the initiators and organizers of the Orenburg project that led to the laying of a railway connecting Samara with the central Russian guberniyas. In 1874, the first rabbi arrived in Samara. Two synagogues were opened in 1880 and 1887, but the official registration of the Jewish community of Samara was delayed until 1895. A little over 1300 Jews lived in Samara in 1897 representing 1.5% of the city population, and three years later, their numbers had grown to about 1550. Large Jewish traders began exporting agricultural products from the Samarskaya Guberniya. They also established the first beer factory, producing the Zhigulevskoe beer, a brand that is still famous today. The “Great Synagogue,” with a capacity of about 1,000 people, was built in Samara in 1908, and then in 1910 an institution of higher education for the members of the Jewish community was established with the financial support of a branch of the All- Russian society for the dissemination of education
among Russian Jews. ...
I should've done this earlier.

Just to show you how weird this is, here is the result of an Ancestry search for Феодор Ильин (Feodor Iljin (German), Feodor Ilyin (English)). I don't know if the link will work so I took a screen shot. The records for Samsara (mostly birth and death) are just text, no image that I've seen, and they're all in Cyrillic. Samsara's just a Feodor Iljin factory!


Ancestry Results for Feodor Iljin.jpg

Some of those Ilijn's listed have a unique last name, and I looked into that this afternoon.

From the Jewish surname wiki:

Historically, Jews used Hebrew patronymic names. In the Jewish patronymic system the first name is followed by either ben- or bat- ("son of" and "daughter of," respectively), and then the father's name. (Bar-, "son of" in Aramaic, is also seen.)

Permanent family surnames exist today but only gained popularity among Sephardic Jews in Iberia and elsewhere as early as the 10th or 11th century and did not spread widely to the Ashkenazic Jews of Germany or Eastern Europe until the 18th and 19th centuries, where the adoption of German surnames was imposed in exchange for Jewish emancipation. European nations gradually undertook legal endeavors with the aim of enforcing permanent surnames in the Jewish populations. ...

Surnames were derived from a variety of sources, such as the personal names of ancestors, place names, and occupations. In the 18th century, a custom developed amongst the Eastern European Jews of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian Empires where surnames began being passed from mother to son as opposed from father to son, but the trend seems to have died out by the early 20th century. ...

At the end of the 18th century after the Partition of Poland and later after the Congress of Vienna the Russian Empire acquired a large number of Jews who did not use surnames. They, too, were required to adopt surnames during the 19th century.

... A popular form to create a new family name using Jewish patronymics sometimes related to poetic Zionist themes, such as ben Ami ("son of my people"), or ben Artzi ("son of my country"), and sometimes related to the Israeli landscape, such as bar Ilan ("son of the trees"). Others have created Hebrew names based on phonetic similarity with their original family name: Golda Meyersohn became Golda Meir.

(So: 'gift of god' + "my god is Yahu/Jah" = 'gift of my god, Yahu/Jah' aka: Feodor Iljin.)

Anyway, I get a better idea now of why Illion used the names Nolling, Eke and Burang. He was giving himself a unique last name because he was required to by law, assuming he was Jewish of course. Which lead me to another thought.

Illion has stated that he ran away from home at an early age. I'm wondering if that might actually be true, at least in some form. Is it possible that he ran away from Judaism?
Benjamin, just a note that you're writing "Samsara" when you mean "Samara." Also, are you sure Samara specifically has a high concentration of the name? Feodor and Ilyin are both common Russian names, it might be a bit like finding "Jonathan Jones". I'm guessing Samara might not be that much of an outlier - but that's just a guess. For example, here's a famous Fyodor Ilyin: Fyodor Raskolnikov - Wikipedia
Benjamin, just a note that you're writing "Samsara" when you mean "Samara."

Oh geez. Sorry. I was looking at Samsara recently, a Pali and Sanskrit word that means 'wandering' and 'world' which becomes 'cyclic change', or the lesser meaning 'running around in circles'. The two words, I guess, blended together for me.

Also, are you sure Samara specifically has a high concentration of the name? Feodor and Ilyin are both common Russian names, it might be a bit like finding "Jonathan Jones". I'm guessing Samara might not be that much of an outlier - but that's just a guess. For example, here's a famous Fyodor Ilyin: Fyodor Raskolnikov - Wikipedia

I had a long response originally written to support the idea of Theodor Illion's name being 'Feodor Iljin' from the Samara area. I had created a scenario where he could have 'run away', like some of my ancestor's did because the situation was getting dire (eg: 1905 Russian Revolution), into Siberia.

Now, I scrolled through 100 pages of 'Iljin' in the 'Birth, marriage and death' collections. That's 5,000 entries, all in Cyrillic, having this exact name, in the Samara Oblast, minus 11 from Tyumen Oblast and at least 271 from the neighbouring Ulyanovsk (Simbirsk) Oblast. Samara Oblast, and Karelia/Finland, I would conclude, have a high concentration of 'Iljin' in the 1800-1900's.

The problem is, so what? It dawned on me that, what if a different spelling is used? Just because 'Iljin' is one of the spellings, it doesn't mean Illion's name came from that particular spelling. That's the main point, but another is that, even though there are a total of 35,910,413 million 'birth, marriage and death' records in Ancestry's Russia collection, is that all that exist?

For these and another reason, that I'm going to get to now, I have abandoned my focus on Samara.

Once I had finished scrolling through those 5,000 entries (I bounded over the last 30-ish pages because they were just names), I converted 'Illion' into Cyrillic (Иллион) and did a worldwide search for just that *exact* name. I got back 30,000+ entries for North America (30,000+ in the USA, Canada was next with 206). The next highest was Europe at 477 (France had the highest). No records came up for Russia (which is or is not reliable). There are Illions going back to the 1600's. There are 2,360 records from the 1800's, and 30,000+ in the 1900's.

It got me thinking, why should Illion change his last name? He did it twice ('Nolling' and 'Burang') but then brought it back and even added to it ('Eke-Illion' and 'Burang-Illion'). I kinda think, now, that 'Illion' is his last name because he keeps going back to it. And there may be something more involved if it's a patronym.

I was also surprized when I found this series of records.

This is a passenger manifest for the ship Ussukuma, of the German-East-Africa Line, sailing out of Hamburg on Feb. 6, 1926 heading for Cape Town, South Africa.

Uri Illion.jpg

Name: Uri Illion
Gender: male
Born: Feb. 2, 1896 in Latvia
Departure Age: 30
Ethnicity/Nationality: Stateless
Occupation: Correspondent
Living in Berlin
Accommodation: Class 3

I thought this might be (our) Illion, especially with the occupation of 'Korrespondent'. The birth date is the same year, too.

But then:

Uri Illion and Lola Susskin.jpg

This is a listing of a marriage for Uri Illion and Lola Susskin on June 18, 1929 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. It comes from the Zimbabwe Jewish Community and Zambian Jewish Community website. If you do a search for 'Illion', a Rachel Lydia Illion also comes up.

Igor in Darkness Over Illion mentions a group of Illion's in Africa. This might be two of those people.

Then, back on Ancestry:

Uri Illion- Death Record.jpg

So, here is an Illion who is stateless and Jewish. More evidence that puts (our) Illion in the same boat, I think.
By the way, in some southern Siberia regions some local people have been practicing Buddhism for some time:

Historically, Buddhism was incorporated into Siberia in the early 17th century.[1][2] Buddhism is considered to be one of Russia's traditional religions and is legally a part of Russian historical heritage.[3] Besides the historical monastic traditions of Buryatia, Tuva and Kalmykia (the latter being the only Buddhist-majority republic in Europe), the religion of Buddhism is now spreading all over Russia, with many ethnic Russianconverts.[4][5]

The main form of Buddhism in Russia is the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism, informally known as the "yellow hat" tradition,[6] with other Tibetan and non-Tibetan schools as minorities. Although Tibetan Buddhism is most often associated with Tibet, it spread into Mongolia, and via Mongolia into Siberia before spreading to the rest of Russia.


About people of Altai (one of these regions):

Mongolian Buddhist missionaries attempted to spread the faith among the Altaians during the 19th century. The Buddhist missionaries also encouraged the Altaians to unite together against the Russians. However, their activities and preaching were suppressed by the Russian state and Christian missionaries. Buddhism made little headway among the Altaians but many Buddhist ideas and principles entered into Altaian spiritual thought.[38] However, some Altaians reportedly visited Mongolia and studied at Buddhist centers before and after the rise of the Burkhanist movement in the early 20th century; indicating a significant Buddhist influence on the new religion.

Article from a Russian newspaper (Deepl translation):

In Altai they found an entrance to the underworld (30.11.2007)
- What do Altai legends and myths say about the underworld?

- We were lucky in that the best connoisseur of Altai legends, Vasily Oinoshev, was joined by an equally knowledgeable person, Arzhan Kozerkov, who is popularly called "bilir-kyshy", which translates as "initiate". They told us the following.

According to Altai beliefs, there are three worlds on Earth: upper, middle and underground. Angels live in the upper world, and its lord is called Uch-Kurbustin, with whom only very strong shamans can communicate. In the middle world live people, animals, plants, as well as mountains and stones, with the spirits of which always communicate shamans.

The underworld has three levels. The first level is called "sukyr-kara", which can be translated as "black and blind". Here live mostly "eye-men" who look like spheres. They are intangible, but can be seen by shamans. Sometimes the "eye-people" can reincarnate into a material person. If the "eye-people" are angry, they glow with a red light. The first level of the underworld is also home to many unusual kinds of corporeal beings who are meant to guard the entrances to the underworld. Notable among them are creatures that look like four-eyed dogs, small asuri that look like commas, and snake people. The first level is frequented by the Almys, second-level incorporeal beings capable of assuming various guises, most often bird-human. The first level includes underground passageways and cities.

The second level of the underground world is called the Land of the Red Khan. On this level the inner sun shines
, there is an inner sea of yellow color, in the center of which stands the palace of the Red Khan named Erlik. In this world live people with different appearance: four-armed, two-faced, etc. Here there are unknown machines that use the power of stone, the Court of Conscience passes over the souls of dead land people, and it is decided where the Spirit will be directed in the next life - in the white or dark world. The Almys are the servants of the Red Khan. They make the mounds and protect them. The Almyss will never let ordinary people into the underworld. Only "bogatyrs" who have the gift of reincarnating into a disembodied person similar to "eye-people" can enter here, so that in this state they can fly through the narrowing underground tunnel and reach the place where the tunnel becomes the size of the eye of a needle, beyond which a bright world with a yellow sea opens up. But to reach the palace of the Red Khan, a man must cross the yellow sea by a thread of hair. Erlik's nine daughters will seduce him while doing so. The man must not succumb to the temptation.

The third level of the underworld is called the Land of Gray Khan or the Land of Silence. It is the largest and most powerful world. An unimaginably large number of people sit silently in their seats. They look like the dead [undergrounders in hibernation?]. But the spirits of these people don't just fly, they have tremendous power. Red Han's people often use the power of Gray Han. "The Eye-Men are subject to the Gray Khan. It is the Gray Khan who gives special abilities and initiation to the ground people.

- If we take into account the Altaic legends, it seems that the Land of the Red Khan is Shambala, and the Land of the Gray Khan is the Kingdom of the Dead, described in many ancient sources.

- The coincidence is very close, especially with the Tibetan descriptions of the underworld. But Tibet is not so far from Altai. But the coincidences with the ideas about the underworld of Ancient Babylon (territory of Iraq), Mapuchi Indians (Chile) and even the Rapa Nui of Easter Island are very remarkable and may indicate that the knowledge about the underworld has a universal character.

- Please list those circumstantial evidences that can testify to the real existence of the underworld.

- Firstly, these are passages under the ground, which are clearly artificial and impossible to create at the modern technical level. Let us recall at least the Mongolian cave in the form of a ball with a passage, a round hole in the Altai, a cave-pipe on Easter Island, underground cities in Egypt, a well in Syria, and so on.

Second, are the "orbs" that the digital camera picks up and that are found in virtually all underground passageways. It is quite possible that these same "orbs" are the legendary "human eyes".

Thirdly, there are images of bird people both in Altai and on Easter Island, which both there and here are considered as builders of dungeons.

Fourth, the passages under the ground all over the world have a small diameter, although all legends say that in the underworld live "bogatyrs" and giants. This is consistent with the beliefs that one can enter the underworld only by reincarnating, that is, by dematerializing and acquiring a bodiless form with subsequent materialization of the body. The phenomenon of dematerialization is not so fantastic - in India there are whole schools devoted to it.
I think it's worth comparing Altai legends with some ideas from Darkness over Tibet.
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