Jacques Bergier

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By Emily Westfall

Jacques Bergier [1]

Jacques Bergier was a scientist, soldier and popular artist who lived from 1912 to 1978. He contributed many different devices to the field of nuclear energy and the French war effort, as well as serving as member of the French Underground, before starting his writing career. His book, The Morning of the Magicians, co-authored with Louis Pauwels, led to his fame in the pseudoarchaeological world. He also wrote many other books on science, espionage and other pseudoarchaeological topics in multiple languages, and co-founded the international magazine, Planète. His works changed the literary world extensively as they inspired and revitalized dozens of authors including H.P. Lovecraft and Arthur Machen leading to an increase of pseudoarchaological works and ideas.[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Early Life

Jacques Bergier was born Yakov Bergier in 1912 to a Jewish family in [Odessa]. His family fled the [Russian Civil War] to [France] in 1920.[2][3]

Scientific Pioneer

Bergier studied physics, chemistry, and engineering in [Paris] in the early 1930s.[4] He created a laboratory with fellow student Alfred Eskenazi in France to study chemical and nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy from lighter elements.[3] [8] His scientific team also spearheaded research into the element polonium and “registered the first patent for electronic cooling of nuclear batteries”.[4]


Bergier served in the military as a member of the [French Underground] during [World War II][3]. During his service, he was the only survivor of the Free Zone Frenchmen who located and informed the London intelligence of [V-2 rocket] construction sites in the [Lyons] area, specifically [Peenemünde], which was later destroyed by the [Royal Air Force] in 1943.[4][3][5] These actions led to the possibility of death from the [Abwehr], the [Gestapo] and, ironically, other members of the Resistance. This led to his capture by the German Gestapo and transportation to a concentration camp. While at the camp, Bergier refused to cooperate and was severely tortured. He documented these experiences in his book, Secret Weapons-Secret Agents and explained that he was glad that the intelligence he gathered was used by the Allies to save lives.[5] After being liberated in 1945 he received various French military awards including the [Legion of Honour], [Croix de Guerre](Military Cross), and [Rosette de la Resistance](Rose of the Resistance).[3][8]

Marco Polo in WWII

To fight the Vichy regime, he founded the Marco Polo network and worked with [Nazi] occupiers to create his radio network and “gadgets for sabotage and guerilla operations”. These inventions included the first letter bomb, which could easily be put in tight spaces due to its thin design, and a blowpipe for projectile poison needles. He was also a part-time consultant for French Intelligence while he began writing his books, some appropriately on the topic of espionage.[4]


Jacques Bergier was a writer for a French Communist newspaper but his abandonment of the [Soviet Union], even though he fled when he was a child, led the [Communists] to question his ideology.[2] After the war, he also co-founded the [Planète] which had French, Spanish, Italian, Brazilian, and German editions. Bergier then proceeded to write a wide array of novels on espionage, science and science fiction/the paranormal.[4][3] His most famous book was [Le Matin des magiciens] or [Morning of the Magicians] written with [Louis Pauwels], a journalist and alchemist, in 1960 which was awarded the title of bestseller.[6] The team did 5 years of research to complete the book on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, treatment of magic and black magic in history as well as claims that [Adolf Hitler] was a black magic occultist.[6] Its message led to a revival of the practice of magic in Europe.[3] Bergier also wrote 40 other works with various co-authors. The majority are in French but some are in English or have been translated to English, as well as Spanish, and Italian.[3]

Original French cover of The Morning of the Magicians[9]


He died at the age of 66 on November 24, 1978, in Paris of a cerebral hemorrhage. He left behind his wife Jacqueline Bernadeau.[4]

Contributions to Pseudoarchaeology

In general, the book The Morning of the Magicians was the defining volume of his career, despite his other books on various topics. However, there is a common belief that Bergier’s partner, Louis Pauwels, may be the main or only contributor to the book material, based on his highly prominent "voice" that is present in the writing. Pauwels relies on evolutionary dialectic proof to structure the book, rather than logic, by setting facts and events against each other to come to a conclusion. They also support their arguments using examples of groups from the past([Rosicrucians], [the “Nine Unknown”]) and fiction, to “see through the veil of reality”. This text acts, thoroughly, as a precursor to esoteric conspiracy theories through the complete compilation of pseudoarchaeological topics in one place.[2] [10]


There were two instrumental sources of inspiration for The Morning of the Magicians: [Charles Fort] and [George Gurdjieff]. Fort was the main source of the writing structure utilized by Bergier and Pauwels to the effect that their central argument is made up of quixotic dialect allowing for the [Hegelian] claim that reality can be expressed in different categories. The first chapter of The Morning of the Magicians is also about Charles Fort and his ideas: anomalous events manipulated as part of a dialectical progression and the definition of the universe as a unified, totality of the universe directed by an intelligent being. Another follower of Fort is obvious in the works of [Frank Edwards] which are essentially lists of unexpected and impossible events that defy logical explanation, like steel nails in rock or spontaneous human combustion. George Gurdjieff also impacted the structure of the book, especially in Part 3, through the varied structure and musical forms involved in the different chapters. Pauwels utilized Hinduism and Gurdjieff’s work to help realize new ideas outside current intellectualism, however, Gurdjieff and his circle of followers are heavily criticized by Pauwels as well. In the end, Gurdjieff was only rediscovered due to the publication of The Morning of the Magicians and his involvement in the book, even though it was only an inspirational one.[2][10]

The Perfected Man

The idea of the “perfected man” is presented in The Morning of the Magicians through the utilization of the book’s structure itself. Bergier and Pauwels juxtapose long quotes and synopsis blocks to emphasize the issues involved in man’s potential for the future. The main section of the book that describes this topic is the chapter, “Some Reflection on Mutants” and it also suggests the idea that mankind is mutating, especially in their brains, to become the “perfected man” in an “awakened state”. This idea is similar to that of [Nietzsche] who posited the “new man” using a dialectic structure in his work, however, his work was heavily, negatively stigmatized by Hitler who interpreted Nietzsche’s ideas literally. The authors also included Gurdjieff’s main principle of an “awakened state”, that man is currently asleep and needs to be shocked awake to truly appreciate the depth of reality. Bergier and Pauwels added to these ideas with some of their own various “theories” such as the involvement of magicians and alchemists in a quest for the state of perfection to discover new insight into modern mankind. Another claim involved H.G. Wells’s concept of “open conspiracy” to change society in a positive global way drawing from the best scientific minds of the time. This was connected to groups like the Rosicrucians, and secret societies with clues and possible planned agendas for the way to the “perfected man”. This concept pervades different levels of literature for the next 20 years after The Morning of the Magicians and was published under a variety of different names. Overall, this topic is the authors' area of greatest impact, amplified by the other topics mentioned in the book and eventually leading to the acceptance of “open conspiracy” of the world.[2][10]

Ancient Astronauts

In The Morning of the Magicians, Bergier and Pauwels compiled historical and scientific data in an attempt to increase the plausibility of the ancient astronauts “theory”. This is an effort to hypothesize “to the limits of the imagination” to find relationships between unexplainable events and the destiny of mankind, in the form of the meaning of life itself. The main topics explored are telepathy, ESP, authenticated sightings of UFOS, and photographs of the Loch Ness Monster. [11] Bergier and Pauwels originally faced Soviet ancient astronaut propaganda but they created their version meant to undermine religion and the occult by attributing religion and magic to the work of aliens in the form of a "less anti-religious" claim.[2] Finally, Bergier included the topic of “extraterrestrial genesis” which is continually described in some of his other works, as well.[6][10]

Hitler and Nazis

This part of The Morning of the Magicians was one of the most notable aspects of the book for its subject matter. In the chapter, “A Few Years in the Absolute Elsewhere”, Bergier and Pauwels use the dialectic style of Charles Fort while describing “crack-pot science”, and exposing the satanic and occult origins of the Nazis(and similar groups). They incorporated the idea of “rule by cryptology”, which are idealists who are going to make a new world, to label the Nazis and other similar groups. One of these is the [Order of the Golden Dawn], which was a neo-pagan society that predated the Rosicrucian Society, and was in contact with a similar German group including [Rudolph Steiner] and his [Anthroposophical movement] before the Nazis came to power. The Rosicrucians were not proto-Nazi but one of their members, [Bulwer-Lytton], was connected to the proto-Nazi [Vril Society]. This society believed all forms of “supermen” including the “nine unknown” of India, “secret chiefs” of the Order of the Golden Dawn and Hitler’s “new man”(eventually added to this list) were all essentially the same.

However, some groups believe that Bergier and Pauwels were trying to show how we perceive historical events; we view the Nazis as aliens even though they had the same European cultural and intellectual background as everyone else at that time. Overall, this section of The Morning of the Magicians is an antithesis to the concept that we understand the Nazis better because they were a more recent phenomenon.[6][10]

Fantastic Realism

Bergier wanted the world to return to the previous surrealistic manifestos of the 1920s and leave [Soviet Socialist Realism].[2][6] In his eyes, we should not explore the sleep or the subconscious, we should study the bizarre, exotic and picturesque. He also believes that this concept directly ties into occupying an “awakened state” so people can exhibit a deeper participation in life, rather than escape it. This work was continued when Bergier started the Planete, as well as in his books Impossible Possibilities(1968) and The Eternal Man(1970).[6][10]

Alchemy and Modern Atomic Physics

One major aspect of The Morning of the Magicians as well as Bergier’s other works is related to science, and inevitably, science fiction. In this case, he extensively described [alchemy] and advanced technology of ancient civilizations. His ideas rested on the belief that some alchemists could have written about and understood matter, possibly in another symbolic language. This content contributed to some of the attention The Morning of the Magicians received due to the popularity of the word “alchemy” in the 1960s and 1970s. Bergier also inspired the theories of “mysteries of ancient civilizations” in Part One of the book including the [Piri Reis map], [pyramidology] and everything in between. However, he made sure not to get many ideas of more advanced civilizations from myths or legends because he realized their unreliability. This contribution(and some of his other books) reshaped French fringe literature by directing it toward specific evidence of these civilizations.[6][10]

Authors Inspired by The Morning of the Magicians

The Morning of the Magicians heavily impacted the literary world in hundreds of ways including the inspiration or revival of many different authors. The idea of the “perfected man” led to [Colin Wilson’s] concept of “faculty X”: mystical and occult evidence as a result of suspicious experimentation with man’s potential. This idea of “faculty X” and those presented by Bergier and Pauwels are described by Wilson in his book [The Occult], in much more detail than The Morning of the Magicians.[6] Another person inspired by Bergier and Pauwels was Grigory Nekhoroshev in his inquest to the religious ideology of Hitler. In his article, part of the Soviet magazine, Science and Religion, Nekhoroshev summarized the chapter about Hitler in The Morning of the Magicians. However, this content led to the firing of the magazine editor as well as a ban on The Morning of the Magicians because of its violation of the Soviet doctrine.[2] The ideas of the book also helped [Thomas Pynchon] create his W.A.S.T.E. conspiracy in his novel [The Crying of Lot 49].[6]

The work of Pauwels and Bergier also helped some famous science fiction authors become rediscovered by the general public through their mention or their work in The Morning of the Magicians. These authors include [[1]] Talbot Mundy, [Marilyn Ferguson], [Arthur Machen], and [H.P. Lovecraft]. Machen was one of the largest affected by the book because he was a member of the Order of the Golden Dawn(mentioned above in Hitler and Nazis) and his “neglected genius” was rediscovered. However, H.P. Lovecraft, a fan of Arthur Machen’s, also saw increased popularity after his eclipse due to the war.[6] In one of his other works from 1958, Bergier even suggested possible future science fiction topics based on where he thought the literature was going. These ideas included complete recording of a person’s personality in a crystal, drugs that cause personality duplication, intelligence amplifiers, and star systems close enough for space travel.[10][7]

Works of Jacques Bergier

  • Agents secrets contre armes secretes(Secret Agents - Secret Weapons), Arthaud, 1955, reprinted, Editions Famot, 1976.
  • Mysteres de la vie(Mysteries of Life), Le Centurion, 1957.
  • L'Energie H.(Energy H.), Editions du Cap, 1958.
  • The Secrets of Living Matter, translation by L. R. Celestin, Barrie & Rockliff, 1959.
  • Les Murailles invisibles(The Invisible Walls), Del Duca, 1960.
  • (With Louis Pauwels) Le Matin des magiciens, Gallimard, 1960, translation by Rollo Myers published as The Morning of the Magicians, Stein & Day, 1963 (translation by Myers published in England as The Dawn of Magic, A. Gibbs & Phillips, 1964).
  • (Editor) Encyclopedie des sciences et des techniques(Encyclopedia of Science and Technology), Editions de l'Encyclopedie des sciences, 1961.
  • (Editor) Les Meilleures histoires de science-fiction sovietique(The Best Stories of Soviet Science Fiction), Robert Laffont, 1963.
  • A l'ecoute des planetes(Listening to the planets), Fayard, 1963.
  • Rire avec les savants(Laugh with the scientists), Fayard, 1964.
  • (Co-editor with Jacques Sternberg) Les Chefs d'oeuvre de l'epouvante(The masterpieces of horror), Editions Planete, 1965.
  • (Co-editor with Sternberg) Les Chefs d'oeuvre du rire(The masterpieces of laughter), Editions Planete, 1966.
  • (With Pierre Nord) L'Actuelle guerre secrete(The current secret war), Editions Planete, 1967.
  • (Co-editor with Sternberg) Les Chefs d'oeuvre du fantastique(The masterpieces of fantasy), Editions Planete, 1967.
  • La Guerre secrete du petrole(The Secret Oil War), Denoeel, 1968.
  • (Compiler) Lo Mejor de la ciencia ficcion rusa(The best of russian science fiction), Bruguera (Barcelona), 1968.
  • (Translator) Howard Phillips Lovecraft, Epouvante et surnaturel en litterature(Scary and supernatural in literature), Christian Bourgois, 1969.
  • L'Espionnage industriel(industrial Espionage) (also see below), Hachette, 1969.
  • Admirations (history and criticism of fantasy-fiction), Christian Bourgois, 1970.
  • (With Victor Alexandrov) Guerre secrete sous les oceans(Secret war under the oceans), Editions maritimes et d'outremer, 1970.
  • (With Pauwels) L'Homme eternel, Gallimard, 1970, translation published as The Eternal Man, Souvenir Press, 1972, Mayflower, 1973.
  • Aux limites du connu(At the limits of the unknown), Casterman, 1971.
  • Les Frontieres du possible(Frontiers of the possible), Casterman, 1971.
  • L'Espionnage scientifique(Scientific Espionage) (also see below), Hachette, 1971.
  • (With Pauwels) Impossible Possibilities, Stein & Day, 1971.
  • Vous etes paranormal(You are paranormal), Hachette, 1972.
  • Les Empires de la chimie moderne(The Empires of Modern Chemistry), A. Michel, 1972.
  • (Compiler and contributor) Le Livre de l'inexplicable(The Book of the inexplicable), A. Michel, 1972.
  • Extraterrestrial Visitations from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Regnery, 1973.
  • L'Espionnage politique(Political espionage), A. Michel, 1973.
  • (With John Philippe Delaban) L'Espionnage strategique(Strategic espionage) (also see below), Hachette, 1973.
  • (Editor with Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle), Entretiens sur la pluralite des mondes(Interviews on the plurality of worlds), Editions Gerard, 1973.
  • (Compiler and contributor) Extraterrestrial Intervention: The Evidence, Regnery, 1974.
  • Visa pour une autre terre(Visa for another land), A. Michel, 1974, translation by Nicole Teghert published as Secret Doors of the Earth, Regnery, 1975.
  • Secret Armies: The Growth of Corporate and Industrial Espionage (contains L'Espionnage industriel, L'Espionnage scientifique, and L'Espionnage strategique; also see above), translation by Harold J. Salemson, Bobbs-Merrill, 1975.
  • La troisieme guerre mondiale est commencee(The third world war is started), A. Michel, 1976.
  • Je ne suis pas une legende(I am not a legend) (autobiographical), Retz, 1977.
  • (With George H. Gallet) Le Livre des anciens astronautes(The Book of Ancient Astronauts), A. Michel, 1977.
  • La grande conspiration russo-americaine(The great Russian-American conspiracy), A. Michel, 1978.
  • (With Jean Dumur) Entretiens avec Jacques Bergier, le dernier des magiciens(Interview with Jacques Bergier, the last of the magicians), Favre, 1979.[3]

Affect on the Pseudoarchaeological Narrative

One of the main pseudoarchaeological topics in The Morning of the Magicians is related to the concept that man is mutating to a more perfect state as a continuation of the philosophical work of Nietzsche. There are two different ways to debunk this idea depending on the interpretation of the word “mutating”. Concerning actual mutations, there are thousands of articles related to the idea of human genetic mutation describing that the human race mutates through the genes from our parents or is acquired through environmental factors. These inherited mutations may lead to genetic disorders like [Down Syndrome] or [Cystic Fibrosis]. Other somatic mutations may have a negative effect on health but most determine phenotypic differences such as eye color, hair color, and blood type. Overall, there is no form of mutations to supposedly improve the human race because most are just related to the appearance and genetic diseases. The only slightly positive effect is related to immunity from a disease however, it can be related to dangerous diseases. For example, a person with a singular sickle cell anemia has resistance to certain forms of malaria. But if the individual has two copies of the gene, they will develop sickle cell anemia.[12][10]

Another interpretation of this idea include human adaptation as a form of mutation. In this version, Nietzsche, Bergier and Pauwels are implying that human adaptation will lead to the “perfect man”. However, this isn’t true either. First, human genetic adaptation takes generations to lead to successful change and when that change occurs it is as a method of survival, not a quest for perfection. Second, genetic change is related to surviving a group’s specific area, climate, and hazards. As a result, each group of people can survive in their environment but they are not suited for vastly different climates. [13][10]


  1. Jacques Bergier (Author of Les livres maudits). Goodreads. Goodreads.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Colavito, Jason 2017 The Strange Case of "Morning of the Magicians" in Soviet Russia. Jason Colavito. Jason Colavito, February 21.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Contemporary Authors Online 2003 Jacques Bergier. Literature Resource Center. Gale
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 The New York Times(NYT) 1978 Jacques Bergier, at 66; French Science Writer And a Resistance Chief: Data Gathered on the V-2 25 November:28. New York City, New York.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 The Spectator(London, England) 1957 Real Life Spies 1 February:149-150. London, England.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Gault, R. T. 2000 The Quixotic Dialectical Metaphysical Manifesto - Morning of the Magicians. Order of the Twilight Star. August.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Brean, Simon 2012 Scholars of science fiction in France, an endogenous critical tradition. ‘’ReS Futurae’’ 1.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Jacques Bergier 2001 Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology.1 January.
  9. 2014 Morning of the Magicians book covers. { feuilleton }. Derek Punsalan, February 28.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.8 10.9 Bergier, Jacques and Louis Pauwels 2009 The Morning of the Magicians. 2nd ed. Destiny Books, Rochester,Vermont
  11. Staaks, Walter 1970 Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier: Le Matin des magiciens. The French Review 43(4):pp 717-718
  12. What is a gene mutation and how do mutations occur? - Genetics Home Reference - NIH. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health.
  13. Human Biological Adaptability: Overview. Human Biological Adaptability: Overview. Dennis O'Neil.