Willy Ley

Willy Otto Oskar Ley (October 2, 1906 – June 24, 1969) was a German-American science writer, cryptozoologist, and spaceflight advocate who helped to popularize rocketry, spaceflight, and natural history in both Germany and the United States. The crater Ley on the far side of the Moon is named in his honor.

Willy Ley
Heinz Haber Wernher von Braun Willy Ley (1954)
(left to right) Heinz Haber, Wernher von Braun, Willy Ley
Willy Otto Oskar Ley

October 2, 1906
DiedJune 24, 1969 (aged 62)
Cause of deathHeart attack
Other namesRobert Wiley
Occupationscience writer and historian of science
Childrendaughters Sandra and Xenia
US citizen (1944)
Worldcon Guest of Honor (1953)

Early life and Berlin years

Willy Otto Oskar Ley was the son of Julius Otto Ley, a traveling merchant, and Frida May, the daughter of a Lutheran sexton.[2] Ley grew up in his native Berlin during the First World War under the supervision of two aunts. When war erupted, his father was in Great Britain. Consequently, he spent the remainder of the war at a detention camp on the Isle of Man. Meanwhile, his mother worked as milliner in a distant city in Germany.

As Ley later recalled, he "grew up, so to speak, in the shadow of the Museum of Natural History in Berlin," where he spent Sundays exploring the exhibits and asking questions.[3] When his school teacher asked him to compose an essay on the subject "What Do I Want to Be When I Am Grown and Why?" Ley responded: "I want to be an explorer."[3] To his dismay, the teacher thought this silly, especially for someone of his family background. Plus, what was left to explore in the twentieth century?

Ley remained unconvinced by this skeptical attitude. When he was old enough, he studied astronomy, physics, zoology, and paleontology at the University of Berlin.[4] Ley explained, "I was never quite sure whether my studies would earn me the title of "zoologist" or "geologist," but I kept exploring, in a manner of speaking, looking especially into such corners as others had neglected."[5] He then became interested in spaceflight after reading Hermann Oberth's book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen ("The Rocket into Interplanetary Space"). Although it was a technical book that was difficult to understand, Ley worked through the calculations and concluded that outer space would soon become the next great frontier of human exploration. Ley was so convinced by Oberth's book that he sat down (at the age of 19) to write a popularization of its contents. He also began corresponding with every known rocket enthusiast in Europe, including Oberth himself. After publishing Die Fahrt ins Weltall ("Travel in Outer Space") in 1926, Ley became one of the first members of Germany's amateur rocket group, the Verein für Raumschiffahrt (VfR – "Spaceflight Society") in 1927 and wrote extensively for its journal, Die Rakete ("The Rocket"). Ley would eventually become the group's Vice-President, during a time when it had no active President. Meanwhile, he was writing hundreds of short articles about rockets for German and foreign newspapers.

Due to the influence of Ley and other popular science writers, such as Max Valier, Germans witnessed a short-lived "rocketry fad" in Berlin.[6] From exhibits at public locations to large spectator events, such as Fritz von Opel's rocket-car stunts, the German public was excited about both the future possibilities of space travel and the potential for new "weapons of wonder" that could revive the German Empire.

The "rocketry fad" culminated with Fritz Lang's 1929 film Die Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon), which became the first realistic depiction of spaceflight in cinematic history. Although Oberth is often credited as the main technical consultant to the film, Ley's role was of central importance. Oberth was tasked with building a small rocket, to be launched at the film's premiere. This project never materialized. However, Ley's work on the movie did. As director Fritz Lang later recalled, "The work he had done as consultant and advisor ... was amazing. The models of the spaceship, really a highly advanced model of a rocket, the trajectories and the orbits of the modular capsule from the earth, around the earth, and to the moon and back ... were so accurate that in 1937 the Gestapo confiscated not only all models of the spaceship but also all foreign prints of the picture."[7]

Despite the many successes, the "rocketry fad" could not be sustained during the early years of the Great Depression. The German public lost interest amidst economic turmoil. Meanwhile, rocket researchers, such as Rudolf Nebel, formed closer ties with the military, which greatly expanded under the leadership of Wernher von Braun. With the collapse of the VfR, the rise of a culture of necessary secrecy, and the loss of public enthusiasm, Ley grew discouraged. He continued to write articles for the domestic and foreign press, while he stayed in touch with close friends. Yet, for the most part, Ley turned back to his original scientific interests, while writing a biography of Conrad Gessner (the "Father" of modern Zoology). To make ends meet, Ley also worked as a clerk and then manager at a Berlin bank.

When the Nazis seized power, Ley's situation became increasingly desperate. He was horrified by National Socialism, its ideology, and its style of violent politics. His perception of political events can be inferred from a short science fiction story called "Fog," which Ley wrote in 1940 under the pen name of Robert Wiley.[8] It is a biographical narrative about an office manager dealing with the everyday effects of totalitarianism. Although the story is set in New York City during a failed Communist revolution, it is clear that Ley is retelling his personal experiences in Berlin. In fact, John Campbell, the editor of Astounding, requested that Ley center the narrative on his personal experience.[9] Ley not only disliked the irrational nature of German politics, but he also associated the Nazis with the rise of "Pseudo-science."[10] To make matters worse, Ley had an established reputation as an international scientist, who openly shared and popularized technical information about rocketry, while his articles continued to be republished by foreign newspapers throughout 1934.

In January 1935, Ley used company stationery to write a letter that authorized his vacation in London.[11] Carrying only his favorite books, a few changes of clothing, and travel documentation, Ley fled Germany for Great Britain and ultimately the United States.

In the United States

Other worlds science stories 195109
Ley contributed non-fiction pieces to several American science fiction magazines, including Other Worlds
Galaxy 195507
One of Ley's regular science columns took the cover of the July 1955 issue of Galaxy
Galaxy 195510
Another Ley science column was cover-featured on the October 1955 Galaxy
Galaxy 195604
Ley's "Let's Build an Extraterrestrial!" took the cover of the April 1956, issue of Galaxy, illustrated by Ed Emshwiller
Galaxy 196212
Ley's "Are We Going to Build a Space Station?" was cover-featured on the December 1962 issue of Galaxy

In 1936, he supervised operations of two rocket planes carrying mail at Greenwood Lake, NY.[12] Ley was an avid reader of science fiction, and began publishing scientific articles in American science fiction magazines, beginning with "The Dawn of the Conquest of Space" in the March 1937 issue of Astounding Stories. In the February 1937 issue of that same magazine, he had published a science fiction short story "At the Perihelion" under the pseudonym Robert Wiley, which was later reprinted as "A Martian Adventure" in the 1962 anthology Great Science Fiction by Scientists (Collier Books, Groff Conklin, ed.). He was a member of science fiction fandom as well, attending science fiction conventions, and was eventually a Guest of Honor at Philcon II, the 1953 World Science Fiction Convention.

In 1940 Ley joined the staff of PM.[13][14] In the winter of 1941 he met the paper's fitness columnist and model, Olga Feldmann (1912–2001).[14] They became engaged on December 11 and married on Christmas Eve.[14]

His book Rockets – the Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere (1944) describes the early rockets at VfR and more futuristic projects to reach the moon using a 3-stage rocket "as high as 1/3 of the Empire State Building" – a very good estimate of the height of the Saturn V rocket designed 20 years later. His works from the 1950s and '60s are regarded as classics of popular science and include The Conquest of Space 1949 (with Chesley Bonestell), The Conquest of the Moon (with Wernher von Braun and Fred Whipple, 1953), and Beyond the Solar System (1964). His book, Rockets, Missiles, and Space Travel, (1957) was cited in the Space Handbook: Astronautics and its Applications, a staff report of the Select Committee on Astronautics and Space Exploration of the U.S. House of Representatives, which provided non-technical information about spaceflight to U.S. policy makers.[15] Ley had a regular science column called "For Your Information" in Galaxy Science Fiction from March 1952[16] until his death.[17] Ley participated in "Man in Space", a 1955 episode of Disneyland which explained spaceflight to a large television audience.[18] Fellow Galaxy columnist Floyd C. Gale wrote that Ley "has become as familiar to TV audiences as Howdy Doody".[19] In the late 1950s, he designed for Monogram models a range of space vehicles. The kits included informational booklets on space travel written by Ley.[20] He also consulted for the Tom Corbett, Space Cadet series of children's science fiction books and TV series, as well as the 1959 feature film entitled "The Space Explorers." Robert A. Heinlein honored him by mentioning a future "Leyport" on the Moon in his 1952 juvenile novel The Rolling Stones.

In 1954, Ley wrote Engineers' Dreams in which he discussed 'Seven Future Wonders of the World'. These included accurate predictions of the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France and commercial wind, solar and geothermal power. Other schemes were less practical: damming the River Jordan to provide power and irrigation to Israel/Palestine and the plans of fellow German Herman Sörgel to drain the Mediterranean to link Europe with Africa and create the new continent of Atlantropa.

He was a member of the all-male literary banqueting club the Trap Door Spiders, which served as the basis of Isaac Asimov's fictional group of mystery solvers the Black Widowers.

Ley died at the age of 62 on June 24, 1969 – less than a month before men first landed on the Moon –, in his home in Jackson Heights, Queens, where he had lived with his family since the mid-1950s.[21]


Ley was best known for his books on rocketry and related topics, but he also wrote a number of books about cryptozoology, a pseudoscience. These works received favourable reviews from biologists.[22][23][24] Conway Zirkle wrote that Ley's books on zoology were "informative, scholarly and sound, and they emphasize aspects of the history of biology which most historians simply miss."[25] Zoologist Fred Cagle noted that Ley's "blending of zoological knowledge with personalities, history, and mythology creates stimulating reading for both the zoologist and layman."[26]

In 1949, Ley published an article Do Prehistoric Monsters Still Exist? which popularised the living dinosaur idea and included a discussion on the Mokele-mbembe legend. Ley collected much source material on anomalous animals for his writings. Science historian Brian Regal has noted that Ley "copied entire chapters of Heuvelmans's On the Track of Unknown Animals for his own reference."[27] In 1958, Heuvelmans acknowledged his debt to Ley.[28]

One notable book was Exotic Zoology (1959), which combined some of his older writings with new ones. This is of some interest to cryptozoology, as Ley discusses the Yeti and sea serpents, as well as reports of relict dinosaurs. The book's first section (Myth?) entertains the possibility that some legendary creatures (like the sirrush, the unicorn or the cyclops) might be based on actual animals (or misinterpretation of animals and/or their remains).


  • Die Fahrt ins Weltall. Hachmeister & Thal. 1926.
  • Das Drachenbuch: Plaudereien von Echsen, Lurchen und Vorweltsaurien. Theringer Verlags-Anstalt/H. Bartholomaeus. 1927.
  • Mars der Kriegsplanet. Hachmeister & Thal. 1927.
  • Eiszeit. Theringer Verlags-Anstalt/H. Bartholomaeus. 1927.
  • Konrad Gessner: Leben und Werk. Muenchner Drucke. 1929.
  • Grundriss einer Geschichte der Rakete (small book). Hachmeister & Thal. 1932.
  • Luftschutz-ABC. Hachmeister & Thal. 1934.
  • The Lungfish and the Unicorn: An Excursion into Romantic Zoology. Modern Age Books. 1941.
  • The Days of Creation: A Biography of Our Planet. Modern Age Books, NY. 1941.
  • Bombs and Bombing. Modern Age Books, NY. 1941.
  • Shells and Shooting. Modern Age Books, New York City. 1942.
  • Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere. Viking Press. 1944.
  • The Lungfish, the Dodo, & the Unicorn: An Excursion Into Romantic Zoology (expanded edition of The Lungfish and the Unicorn). Viking Press. 1948.
  • (with Chesley Bonestell) (1949). The Conquest of Space.
  • Dragons in Amber: Further Adventures of a Romantic Naturalist. Sidgwick & Jackson. 1951.
  • (with L. Sprague de Camp) (1952). Lands Beyond. Rinehart & Company.
  • (with Wernher Von Braun; et al. (1953). The Complete Book of Outer Space. Maco Magazine Corporation.
  • (with Wernher von Braun; Fred Lawrence Whipple) (1953) [1952 – Collier's Man on the Moon]. Cornelius Ryan, ed. Conquest of the Moon. illustrated by Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman, Rolf Klep. New York City: The Viking Press.
  • Engineers' Dreams. Viking Press. 1954. ISBN 978-9997483218.
  • Salamanders and other Wonders. Viking Press. 1955.
  • (with Wernher Von Braun) (1956). The Exploration of Mars. Viking Press.
  • Adventure in Space: Space Pilots. Guild Press. 1957.
  • Man-Made Satellites. Guild Press. 1957.
  • Space Pilots. Guild Press. 1957.
  • (with Wernher Von Braun) (1957). The Complete Book of Satellites and Outer Space (2nd ed.). Maco Magazine Corporation.
  • Adventure in Space: Space Stations. Guild Press. 1958.
  • Satellites, Rockets and Outer Space. New American Library. 1958.
  • Rockets, Missiles and Space Travel. New York: The Viking Press. 1958 [1944].
  • Willy Ley's Exotic Zoology. Random House. 1959. ISBN 0-517-62545-8.
  • Mars and Beyond: A Tomorrowland Adventure, adapted for school use by Willy Ley. L. W. Singer. 1959.
  • Tomorrow the Moon: A Tomorrowland Adventure, adapted for school use by Willy Ley. L. W. Singer. 1959.
  • Rockets (published lectures). Doubleday. 1960.
  • Ballistics. Nelson Doubleday, New York City. 1961.
  • Planets. Nelson Doubleday, New York City. 1961.
  • The Poles. LIFE Nature Library. 1962.
  • Harnessing Space. New York: MacMillan. 1963 [1963]. p. 314.
  • Watchers of the Sky: An Informal History of Astronomy From Babylon to the Space Age. Viking Press. 1963.
  • Fire. Doubleday. 1963.
  • Beyond the Solar System. Viking Press. 1964.
  • Missiles, Moonprobes, and Megaparsecs. New American Library. 1964.
  • Our Work in Space. MacMillan. 1964. ISBN 1-251-02668-0.
  • Ranger to the Moon. New American Library. 1965.
  • Mariner IV to Mars. New American Library. 1966. ISBN 1-251-02668-0.
  • Willy Ley's For Your Information: On Earth and in the Sky. Doubleday. 1967.
  • The Borders of Mathematics. Pyramid Publications, New York City. 1967.
  • Rockets, Missiles, And Men In Space (revision of "Rockets, Missiles, and Space Travel"). Signet Books/Viking. 1968. Signet 451-W3889, Library of Congress Catalog 67-20676.
  • Inside the Orbit of the Earth. McGraw Hill. 1968.
  • Dawn of Zoology. Prentice-Hall. 1968. ISBN 600-03-8663-X.
  • The Meteorite Craters / Illustrated by John Bierhorst. Weybright and Talley. 1968.
  • Discovery of the Elements. Delacourte. 1968.
  • Another Look at Atlantis and Fifteen Other Essays. Doubleday. 1969. ISBN 0-517-14543-X.
  • Events in Space. Popular Library. 1969.
  • Visitors from Afar: The Comets. McGraw Hill. 1969.
  • Gas Giants: The Largest Planets. McGraw-Hill, New York City. 1969.
  • The Drifting Continents. Weybright and Talley. 1969.
  • Willy Ley's Worlds of the Past / Illustrated by Rudolph Zallinger. Golden Press, New York City. 1971.

References and notes

  1. ^ "Willy Ley Collection" (PDF). National Air and Space Archives. NASM archives.
  2. ^ Sam Moskowitz, "Willy Ley: Forgotten Prophet of the Space Age," in Fantasy Review #99 (March 1987):12
  3. ^ a b Willy Ley, Exotic Zoology, vii
  4. ^ Darling, David. "Willy Ley". Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. ... fluent in German, English, Italian, French, and Russian
  5. ^ Ley, Exotic Zoology, viii
  6. ^ Michael J. Neufeld, "Weimar Culture and Futuristic Technology: The Rocketry and Spaceflight Fad in Germany, 1919–1933," in Technology and Culture 31:4 (October 1990): 725–752
  7. ^ Fritz Lang, "Sci-Fi Film-maker's Debt to Rocket Man Willy Ley," Los Angeles Times, July 27, 1969, pg. P24
  8. ^ Robert Wiley, "Fog," Astounding Science Fiction (December, 1940)
  9. ^ Sam Moskowitz, "Willy Ley in the U.S.A.," Fantasy Review #100 (April, 1987): 17
  10. ^ Willy Ley, "Pseudoscience in Naziland" Astounding Science Fiction 39/3(1947): 90–98
  11. ^ Moskowitz, "Willy Ley: Forgotten Prophet," 12
  12. ^ "History of rocketry". Retrieved 2008-06-13.
  13. ^ Stableford, Brian (2006). Science Fact and Science Fiction: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. pp. 265–266. ISBN 9781135923730.
  14. ^ a b c Buss, Jared S. (2014). Willey Ley, the Science Writers, and the Popular Reenchantment of Science. University of Oklahokma. pp. 206–215.
  15. ^ "Space Handbook: Astronautics and its Applications". NASA.
  16. ^ Ley, Willy (October 1965). "Fifteen Years of Galaxy — Thirteen Years of F.Y.I." For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 84–94.
  17. ^ GSF at search.com
  18. ^ Ley, Willy (October 1955). "For Your Information". Galaxy. p. 60. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  19. ^ Gale, Floyd C. (January 1956). "Galaxy's 5 Star Shelf". Galaxy. p. 90. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  20. ^ "Thrills in Space! with Willy Ley Space Models". Galaxy (advertisement). December 1959. pp. 46–47. Retrieved 15 June 2014.
  21. ^ via United Press International. "Space Scientist Willy Ley Dies", Milwaukee Sentinel, June 25, 1969. Accessed May 28, 2009.
  22. ^ Glass, Bentley. (1951). The Lungfish, the Dodo, and the Unicorn. An Excursion into Romantic Zoology by Willy Ley. The Quarterly Review of Biology 26 (2): 211.
  23. ^ Zirkle, Conway. (1951). Dragons in Amber: Further Adventures of a Romantic Naturalist by Willy Ley. Isis 42 (3): 274-275.
  24. ^ White, E. L. (1955). Salamanders and Other Wonders: Still More Adventures of a Romantic Naturalist. The Quarterly Review of Biology 30 (4): 383.
  25. ^ Zirkle, Conway. (1956). Reviewed Work: Salamanders and Other Wonders by Willy Ley. Isis 47 (4): 433-434.
  26. ^ Cagle, Fred R. (1956). Reviewed Work: Salamanders and Other Wonders by Willy Ley. Copeia 1956 (1): 71.
  27. ^ Regal, Brian. (2009). Pseudoscience: A Critical Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-313-35507-3
  28. ^ Heuvelmans, Bernard. (1958). On the Track of Unknown Animals. London: Rupert Hart Davis p. 22

Further reading

External links

11th World Science Fiction Convention

The 11th World Science Fiction Convention, also known as Philcon II, was held in September 1953 at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. It was the first Worldcon to present the Hugo Awards. The supporting organization was the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. The guest of honor was Willy Ley. The chairman was Milton A. Rothman, replacing the late James A. Williams. Isaac Asimov was toastmaster.

20th World Science Fiction Convention

The Hugo Awards, named after Hugo Gernsback, are presented every year for the best science fiction or fantasy works and achievements of the previous year. Results are based on the ballots submitted by members of the World Science Fiction Society.

The 20th World Science Fiction Convention, also known unofficially as Chicon III (less frequently, Chicon II), was held August 31–September 3, 1962, at the Pick-Congress Hotel in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Because the second Worldcon held in Chicago was officially called, in its publications, the 10th Annual World Science Fiction Convention (and once as the "10th Annual Science Fiction Convention") and not Chicon, the next Chicago Worldcon held in 1962 was occasionally referred to as Chicon II, though Chicon III is the generally accepted and preferred nomenclature.

The chairman was Earl Kemp. The guest of honor was Theodore Sturgeon. The toastmaster was Wilson Tucker. Total attendance was approximately 730.Following the convention, Advent:Publishers published The Proceedings: Chicon III, edited by Earl Kemp. The book includes transcripts of lectures and panels given during the course of the convention and includes numerous photographs as well. Events at the convention included an address by Willy Ley.


Brennschluss (a loanword, from the German Brennschluss) is either the cessation of fuel burning in a rocket or the time that the burning ceases: the cessation may result from the consumption of the propellants, from deliberate shutoff, or from some other cause. After Brennschluss, the rocket is subject only to external forces, notably that due to gravity.

In the 1950s, former German rocket engineer Willy Ley, who had emigrated before the Anschluss and hence never worked on the V-2 rocket, tried to get this term used by the English-speaking aerospace industry. The British used the term "all-burnt" while the Americans used "burn-out."

Coming Attractions (book)

Coming Attractions is a 1957 anthology of science fiction essays edited by Martin Greenberg. Many of the articles originally appeared in the magazines Thrilling Wonder Stories, Astounding, Science Fiction Stories and Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Exotic Zoology

Exotic Zoology is a cryptozoological book by Willy Ley, a science writer and space advocate. The illustrator of the book is Olga Ley.

Hydra Club

The Hydra Club was a social organization of science fiction professionals and fans. It met in New York City during the 1940s and 1950s.

It was founded October 25, 1947 in the apartment of Judith Merril and Frederik Pohl on Grove Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York. As nine founders were present, the club took its name from the legendary nine-headed monster, the Hydra.

Among its members were Lester del Rey, David A. Kyle, Frederik Pohl, Judith Merril, Martin Greenberg, Robert W. Lowndes, Philip Klass, Jack Gillespie, David Reiner, L. Jerome Stanton, Fletcher and Inga Pratt, Willy Ley, George O. Smith, Basil Davenport, Sam Merwin, Harry Harrison, Jerome Bixby, Groff Conklin, Bea Mahaffey, Murray Leinster, Jack Coggins, and J. Harry Dockweiler.An article by Merril about the club in the November 1951 Marvel Science Fiction was accompanied by Harry Harrison's drawing caricaturing 41 members:

Harrison's caption adds, "The remaining twenty-odd members showed up too late at the meeting."

International Fantasy Award

The International Fantasy Award was an annual literary award for the best science fiction or fantasy book and, in 1951-1953, the best non-fiction book of interest to science fiction and fantasy readers. The IFA was given by an international panel of prominent fans and professionals in 1951-1955 and then again in 1957.

J. O. Bailey

James Osler Bailey (August 12, 1903 – 1979) was a professor of literature who taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He wrote on a wide slate of topics ranging from the works of Edgar Allan Poe and Thomas Hardy to science fiction and utopian literature.

Bailey was born at Raleigh, North Carolina, to Thomas Benjamin Bailey, a city employee, and Nancy Priscilla (née Smith). He was educated at the University of North Carolina (A.B. 1924, M.A. 1927, Ph.D 1934) and taught English there from 1930.The Science Fiction Research Association gives recognition in the form of the Pilgrim Award in honor of his seminal work Pilgrims Through Space and Time. Reviewer Willy Ley, however, found the volume disappointing; while praising the core of the work, the master's thesis and doctoral dissertation written by Bailey years earlier, he faulted the remainder of the book as inferior, "obviously pasted to the original dissertation both loosely and clumsily."He was struck by a car and died later from a blood clot, in 1979.

Lands Beyond

Lands Beyond is a study of geographical myths by L. Sprague de Camp and Willy Ley, first published in hardcover by Rinehart in 1952, and reissued by Barnes & Noble in 1993. It has been translated into French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. It was the winner of the 1953 International Fantasy Award for nonfiction.

Life Nature Library

The Life Nature Library is a series of 25 hardbound books published by Time-Life between 1961 and 1965, with revisions to 1968. It has been translated from English into eight languages and sold in 90 countries. Each volume explores an important division of the natural world and is written for educated laymen by a primary author (or authors) "and the Editors of LIFE".

The 25 volumes:

The Forest (1961; revised 1963), by Peter Farb

The Sea (1961; revised 1963), by Leonard Engel

The Desert (1961; revised 1962), by A. Starker Leopold

The Mountains (1962; revised 1967), by Lorus J. Milne and Margery Milne

Evolution (1962; revised 1964), by Ruth Moore

The Poles (1962; revised 1968), by Willy Ley

The Earth (1962; revised 1963), by Arthur Beiser

The Universe (1962; revised 1966, 1967), by David Bergamini

The Insects (1962), by Peter Farb

The Birds (1963), by Roger Tory Peterson

The Plants (1963; revised 1968), by Friz W. Went

The Mammals (1963; revised 1967), by Richard Carrington

The Fishes (1963; revised 1964), by F.D. Ommanney

The Reptiles (1963), by Archie Carr

Ecology (1963), by Peter Farb

The Land and Wildlife of North America (1964; Revised 1966), by Peter Farb

The Land and Wildlife of Africa (1964; revised 1967), by Archie Carr

The Land and Wildlife of South America (1964; revised 1968), by Marston Bates

The Land and Wildlife of Tropical Asia (1964), by S. Dillon Ripley

The Land and Wildlife of Eurasia (1964; revised 1967), by François Bourlière

The Land and Wildlife of Australia (1964; revised 1967), by David Bergamini

Early Man (1965; revised 1968), by F. Clark Howell

Animal Behavior (1965), by Niko Tinbergen

The Primates (1965), by Sarel Eimerl and Irven DeVore

A Guide to the Natural World and Index to the LIFE Nature Library (1965)

List of cryptozoologists

Here follows a list of notable individuals associated with the pseudoscientific field of cryptozoology:

Erik Beckjord, Bigfoot researcher - deceased

John Bindernagel, Bigfoot researcher; author of North America's Great Ape: the Sasquatch - deceased

Tom Biscardi, Bigfoot researcher

Maurice Burton, Loch Ness Monster researcher; author of The Elusive Monster - deceased

Mark Chorvinsky, creator of Strange Magazine - deceased

Jerome Clark, co-author of Cryptozoology A to Z

Loren Coleman, author of Bigfoot!: The True Story of Apes in America, Tom Slick: True Life Encounters in Cryptozoology, Mysterious America, Mothman and Other Curious Encounters; coauthor of Cryptozoology A to Z, The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide, The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, and other books

William R. Corliss, general anomalist; has collected reports of unknown hominids and other cryptids - deceased

René Dahinden, Bigfoot researcher -deceased

Tim Dinsdale, Loch Ness Monster researcher -deceased

Jonathan Downes, founder of Centre for Fortean Zoology

Richard Ellis, marine life artist; author of The Search for the Giant Squid

Paul Freeman, Bigfoot researcher - deceased

Richard Freeman, researcher affiliated with Centre for Fortean Zoology

Josh Gates, researcher, TV host

Ken Gerhard, Big Bird researcher/author

Bob Gimlin, with Roger Patterson, allegedly filmed Bigfoot in 1967

Rex Gilroy, Australian cryptozoologist focused on the Megalania and the Yowie.

John Willison Green, Bigfoot researcher

J. Richard Greenwell, secretary of the International Society for Cryptozoology - deceased

Bernard Heuvelmans, author of On the Track of Unknown Animals; "father of cryptozoology" - deceased

Fredrick William Holiday, Loch Ness Monster researcher - deceased

John Keel, Mothman researcher - deceased

Alexandr Mikhailovych Kondratov, Russian scientist, author of books about lake monsters, living dinosaurs and many more - deceased

Grover Krantz, mainstream physical anthropologist known for his interest in Bigfoot - deceased

Willy Ley, author of Exotic Zoology - deceased

Roy Mackal, University of Chicago professor known for interest in Loch Ness Monster and Mokele mbembe - deceased

Scott Marlowe, Swamp Ape researcher and founder of Pangea Institute

Jeff Meldrum, Idaho State University anatomy professor; Bigfoot researcher

Reinhold Messner, mountaineer; author of My Quest for the Yeti - skeptic

Marc Wolfgang Miller, explorer, author of Chasing Legends & The Legend Continues

Darren Naish, University of Portsmouth, vertebrate palaeontologist, researcher on aquatic cryptids

John Napier, primatologist and Bigfoot researcher - deceased

Rory Nugent, Mokele mbembe researcher

Anthonie Cornelis Oudemans, Sea serpent researcher - deceased

Roger Patterson, with Bob Gimlin, allegedly filmed Bigfoot in 1967 - deceased

Robert Michael Pyle, author of Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide

Ivan T. Sanderson, celebrity zoologist/anomalist; author of Abominable Snowmen: Legend Come to Life - deceased

Esteban Sarmiento, Bigfoot researcher

Peter Scott, conservationist; coined a scientific name for the Loch Ness Monster - deceased

Karl Shuker, author of Mystery Cats of the World, Dragons: A Natural History, In Search of Prehistoric Survivors, From Flying Toads To Snakes With Wings, Mysteries of Planet Earth, The New Zoo: New and Rediscovered Animals of the Twentieth Century, The Beasts That Hide From Man, Extraordinary Animals Revisited, and other books

Tom Slick, adventurer who funded searches for Bigfoot and other cryptids - deceased

Roderick Sprague, Bigfoot researcher

Ezekiel Stone Wiggins, theorized Plesiosaurus in Rice Lake, deceased

Man Will Conquer Space Soon!

"Man Will Conquer Space Soon!" was the title of a famous series of 1950s magazine articles in Collier's detailing Wernher von Braun's plans for manned spaceflight. Edited by Cornelius Ryan, the individual articles were authored by such space notables of the time as Willy Ley, Fred Lawrence Whipple, Dr. Joseph Kaplan, Dr. Heinz Haber, and von Braun. The articles were illustrated with paintings and drawings by Chesley Bonestell, Fred Freeman, and Rolf Klep, some of the finest magazine illustrators of the time.

Man in Space

"Man in Space" is an episode of the American television series Disneyland which originally aired on March 9, 1955. It was directed by Disney animator Ward Kimball. This Disneyland episode (set in Tomorrowland), was narrated partly by Kimball and also by such scientists Willy Ley, Heinz Haber, and Wernher von Braun; as well as Dick Tufeld of Lost in Space fame.

The show talks briefly about the lighthearted history of rockets and is followed by discussions of satellites, a practical look (through humorous animation) at what humans in space will have to face in a rocket (both physically and psychologically, such as momentum, weightlessness, radiation, even space sickness) and a rocket takeoff into space. The next episodes in this series were "Man and the Moon" and "Mars and Beyond," airing in seasons 2 and 4, respectively.

One Two Three... Infinity

One Two Three... Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science is a popular science book by theoretical physicist George Gamow, first published in 1947, exploring some fundamental concepts in mathematics and science, but written at a level understandable by middle school students up through "intelligent layman" adults. The book is illustrated by Gamow.

The Checklist of Fantastic Literature

The Checklist of Fantastic Literature is a bibliography of English science fiction, fantasy and weird books compiled and edited by Everett F. Bleiler with a preface by Melvin Korshak and a cover by Hannes Bok.

With a print run of 1,933 copies, it was the first book from Shasta Publishers. The bibliography is nearly complete and lists over 5,000 titles published prior to 1949. The books are listed by author and indexed by title. Willy Ley described it as "indispensable to librarians, book dealers, and especially antiquarians."

The Complete Book of Outer Space

The Complete Book of Outer Space is a 1953 collection of essays about space exploration edited by Jeffrey Logan. It first appeared as a magazine, published by Maco Magazine Corp. The first book publication was by Gnome Press in 1953 in an edition of 3,000 copies.

The Conquest of Space

The Conquest of Space is a 1949 speculative science book written by Willy Ley and illustrated by Chesley Bonestell. The book contains a portfolio of paintings by Bonestell depicting the possible future exploration of the Solar System, with explanatory text by Ley.

Of the 58 illustrations by Bonestell in Conquest, most had been published previously, in color, in magazines.

Verein für Raumschiffahrt

The Verein für Raumschiffahrt ("VfR", English: Society for Space Travel) was a German amateur rocket association prior to World War II that included members outside Germany. The first successful VfR test firing with liquid fuel (five minutes) was conducted by Max Valier at the Heylandt Works on January 25, 1930; and additional rocket experiments were conducted at a farm near Bernstadt, Saxony.Space travel and rocketry gained popularity in Germany following the June 1923 publication of Herman Oberth's book Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen (English: The Rocket into Planetary Space) and the expanded 1929 work Wege zur Raumschiffahrt (Ways to Spaceflight).

The VfR was founded in 1927 by Johannes Winkler, with Max Valier and Willy Ley following participation as expert advisers for Fritz Lang's early science fiction film Frau im Mond (The Woman in the Moon). Ley and Hermann Oberth had hoped to receive funding from Lang for a real life experimental rocket launch coinciding with the movie's premiere. Valier had assisted in Fritz von Opel's rocket-powered publicity stunts for the Opel company.

In September 1930, before Hitler came to power, the VfR contacted the German army for funding. Rockets were one of the few fields of military development not restricted by the Versailles treaty at the end of World War I, 11 years earlier. They received permission from the municipality to use an abandoned ammunition dump at Reinickendorf,[1] the Berlin rocket launching site (German: Raketenflugplatz Berlin). For three years the VfR fired increasingly powerful rockets of their own design from this location. Following the unsuccessful Mirak rockets, the most powerful rocket of the Repulsor series (named for a spaceship in a German novel by Kurd Lasswitz) reached altitudes over 1 km (3,000 ft).

In the Spring of 1932; Capt Walter Dornberger, his commander (Captain Ritter von Horstig), and Col Karl Heinrich Emil Becker viewed a (failed) VfR firing, and Dornberger subsequently issued a contract for a demonstration launch. Wernher Von Braun who was then a young student and had joined the group two years earlier was in favor of the contract The group eventually rejected the proposal and the dissension caused during its consideration contributed to the society dissolving itself in January 1934. The society's demise was also the result of an inability to find funding, and Berlin's civic authorities becoming concerned with rocketry experiments so close to the city.

The only known VfR rocket artifact is a rejected aluminium Repulsor nozzle which member Herbert Schaefer took to the US when he emigrated in 1935 and which he donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1978.


The Coming Race is a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, published anonymously in 1871. It has also been published as Vril, the Power of the Coming Race.

Some readers have believed the account of a superior subterranean master race and the energy-form called "Vril", at least in part; some theosophists, notably Helena Blavatsky, William Scott-Elliot, and Rudolf Steiner, accepted the book as based on occult truth, in part. One 1960 book, The Morning of the Magicians, suggested that a secret Vril Society existed in Weimar Berlin. However, there is no evidence for the existence of such a society.

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