The Startling Insights of Viktor Schauberger
by Alick Bartholomew
The following is a selected chapter
from Hidden Nature, revealing a
fully elegant and comprehensive breakdown of Victor Schauberger's stunning ideas and observations.
Viktor Schauberger’s Vision
Our natural world is essentially an indivisible unity, but we human beings are condemned to apprehend it from two different directions – through our senses (perception) or through our minds (conceptual). A child just observes and marvels, but as our rational minds become trained we are taught to interpret what we see, usually through other peoples’ ideas, in order to ‘make sense’ of our sensory experience. Both are forms of reality, but unless we are able to bring the two aspects meaningfully together, the world will present nothing but incomprehensible riddles to us. This, in fact, is the basic shortcoming of our present human society. It is the great weakness of the prevailing scientific orthodoxy. As Schauberger noted:
The majority believes that everything hard to comprehend must be very profound. This is incorrect. What is hard to understand is what is immature, unclear and often false. The highest wisdom is simple and passes through the brain directly into the heart.
Some of the pioneers of science were able to bridge this dichotomy. Their way was to immerse themselves so deeply in the world of pure observation and experience, that out of these perceptions the concepts would speak for themselves.
Viktor Schauberger (1885–1958) possessed this rare gift. As a result of this, more than any other of his time he foresaw, as early as the 1920s, the environmental crises in which we are now engulfed. Viktor’s forebears had a long tradition of caring for the welfare of the natural forest and its wildlife in the Austrian Alps. Although he was born into a family that cherished unspoilt Nature, like most pioneers, Viktor was the rebel amongst them.
Born one of nine children, he seemed to get on well with his siblings. His father, nicknamed after the legendary giant ?Ruebesahl?, as he was 6’ 8? tall, did not get on well with the young Viktor. He resented the young man rejecting his paternal advice to improve himself with a modern academic training. His brothers acquiesced with their father. The one to whom Viktor remained closest was his mother. But he told how his parents believed in the healing power of water, and of their insight that the quality and transportive power of water in a stream was particularly strong on a cold night, and more so under a full Moon.
Viktor was a dreamy child, but was endowed with an extraordinary quality of observation, a keen intellect, and evident intuitive and psychic abilities. As a boy he would spend hours by himself in the Bohemian forests, exploring streams, watching the animals and studying the plants. He was able to experience first hand what he had first heard from his family, and more, about the life of the natural forest and its creatures. He had no interest in the academic path and declined the opportunity to go to forestry college. He did some more practical training instead, and served an apprenticeship under an older forest warden. Married young, Viktor moved to a post in a virgin forest 150 km south into the mountains. Four weeks after his son was born, Viktor was drafted in 1914 into the Kaiser’s army.
After the war he quickly rose from junior forest warden to gamekeeper and became the head warden of the forest and hunting domain in Brunnenthal/Steyerling owned by Prince Adolf zu Schaumburg-Lippe. In this large wilderness area, almost untouched by man, Schauberger was able to study how Nature works when left undisturbed. Here bio diversity was undamaged, with many magnificent trees, an abundance of wildlife, and unspoilt streams teeming with fish and other creatures.
The Water Wizard
Water was always Viktor’s fascination. One day, accompanied by his foresters, he came to a remote upland plateau where there was a legendary spring that emerged from a dilapidated dome-like structure. Schauberger ordered it to be pulled down for safety reasons. One of the older foresters then warned him that if the structure were removed the spring would dry up. Taking note of the old forester’s advice, and as a verifying experiment, Schauberger requested that the structure be carefully dismantled, with each stone numbered and its place marked. When Viktor passed again some two weeks later, he noted that the spring had indeed dried up due to exposure to the Sun’s rays. Immediately he ordered the structure to be carefully rebuilt and a few days later the spring began to flow again. This taught him that water liked to flow in cool darkness.
We have seen how Viktor worked out how a trout is able to screw its way up a waterfall by hitching a ride on strong levitative currents. To perfect his trout turbine he needed more precise information on how a trout is able to stand motionless in a fast moving current, and indeed how it can suddenly accelerate upstream. The following diagram illustrates this amazing phenomenon.
The trout is holding its station in mid steam where the water is coldest, densest and has most potential energy. Viktor studied the gills of the fish and found what he thought were guide vanes which would direct the water flow into a powerful backwards vortex current. Its shiny Scales minimise friction with the water, but they also create scores more of little vortices that amplify the counter current upstream, particularly towards the tail, which cancel out the pressure on the fish’s snout. A zone of negative thrust is created along the whole of the trout’s body and so it stays in the same place. These counter currents can be increased by flicks of the tail, creating negative pressure behind the fish. Flapping of the gills amplifies the vortices along its flanks, giving it a sudden push upstream. The faster the gills move the more oxygen-deficient water is expelled from the body. This combining with the free oxygen in the water, causes the water body to expand, with an effect on the fish similar to squeezing a bar of wet soap in your hand.
Another significant experience Viktor often quoted occurred when he had shot a chamois buck on a frosty night under the full Moon. The buck fell into a ravine and, attempting to retrieve it, Schauberger fell down a snow chute to the bottom. In the bright light of the Moon, he became aware of movement in the stream below where he stood. Some green logs were bobbing up on the surface, then sinking to the bottom, as though they were dancing. And not only that, but a large stone began to gyrate at the bottom, and then came to the surface, where it was immediately surrounded by a halo of ice. Other stones also came to the surface, and he saw that they were all egg-shaped. It seemed that no uneven or ragged stones would float in this way. Schauberger developed his ideas of different forms of motion and shapes from these observations.
Having seen how water could carry its greatest load on a cold, clear night, he made practical use of this observation. During the winter of 1918, the town of Linz was suffering a severe shortage of fuel as a result of the war when the draft animals had been commandeered. There was a small stream that ran through narrow gorges and which was considered unsuitable for transporting logs, but he wanted to try out his ideas using this stream. His offer to help being accepted by the authorities, he describes how he proceeded:
I had observed that an increased water level after a thaw builds up sandbanks that are then partially dispersed when the water temperature drops during clear cool nights. I then waited for an increase in the strength of the water current. This takes place in the early hours of the morning, when it is coldest, and particularly at full Moon, although the volume of the water is apparently less due to its compression on cooling. I planned for the timber to be put in the stream under these conditions, and in one night 1600m were brought down to the valley.
Viktor had discovered that when water was at its coldest, it had much more energy that enabled it to carry more sediment, gouging out deposits of sand, and concluded that in these conditions it would be able to carry a greater weight of logs. This was a principle that enabled him to turn upside down the current theories of hydraulics, and particularly the methods of river and flood management.
Schauberger was looking for a way to demonstrate to others his ideas about movement in Nature, and to discuss them with technical experts and scientists. His opportunity came in 1922 when the owner of the forest and hunting reserve on which Viktor was a junior warden, Prince Adolf zu Schaumburg-Lippe, was looking for a way to avoid bankruptcy. (His wife, the Princess, had very expensive tastes.) After WW I there was a demand by the expanding building industry for timber, and inaccessible stands of mature trees were earmarked for felling. The timber floatation methods of the time were fairly crude, straight channels running down the valleys, which caused the logs enormous damage, many being good only for firewood.
The Prince offered a prize for the construction of a flume to bring logs down from the remote areas, and Viktor eagerly submitted his plans. These were, however, rejected by the administrators of the estate as totally unworkable, as the method proposed went completely against accepted hydraulic principles. Through a chance meeting on a hunting expedition, the Princess asked him what savings could be achieved through his method. On claiming that he could offer a cost of 1 schilling per 1m against the normal cost of 12 schillings per 1m for floatation, she offered to have his salary trebled should he succeed, despite his lack of academic qualifications. The Prince, driving a hard bargain, made a condition that Viktor should build the flume at his own expense and that it had to deliver a minimum of 1,000m daily.
The construction was completed after some four months. The great timbers were in position. The day before the inauguration I tried a test. An average sized log was put into the flume. It floated down for about 100 metres and then suddenly grounded on the bottom, causing the water behind to rise and overflow the flume. I saw the scornful faces of my workers, realised that I had miscalculated and felt discouraged. The log was taken out of the flume. I thought that there was too little water and too sharp a drop. I did not know what to do. So I sent my workers home so that I could quietly consider the problem.
There was much scoffing by the experts who judged Schauberger completely mad, and who made malicious predictions of the outcome; as Viktor describes:
The curves of the flume were correct; of that there was no doubt. So what had gone wrong? I walked slowly along the flume until I came to the trap and the sorting basins, from which a further length of flume continued. The basins were full. I sat on a rock above the water in the Sun.
Suddenly I felt something moving below my leather trousers. Jumping up I saw a coiled snake. I picked it up and threw it away; it fell into the basin and tried to get out, but the bank was too steep. As it swam back and forth I was amazed that it could swim so fast without fins. Observing it through my binoculars I saw its peculiar twisting movements in the clear water. Finally the snake reached the far bank. For some time I stood quietly and went over in my mind the snake’s bodily movements of horizontal and vertical curves. Suddenly I understood how it had done it!
The snake’s movement was that of a spiral space-curve twisting like the horn of a Kudu antelope. Calling back his workers, he ordered the holding basin to be emptied and the log removed. He then gave instructions to attach thin wooden slats to the curved sides of the flume walls, which would act like the rifling in a gun barrel, and would make the water rotate anti-clockwise on left hand bends and clockwise at right hand bends. Promised double wages, they worked through the night, and the adjustments were completed in time for the opening in the morning.
The inauguration of the flume was attended by the Prince and Princess, by the Chief Forestry Commissioner and a number of hydraulic specialists, the last ready to gloat over Viktor’s humiliation. After greeting the royal couple and the head forester, he continued:
I opened the lock, behind which my workers started to arrange the smaller logs in the water. Unnoticed, a heavier log about 90cm in diameter went in with the others. The senior log master shouted ‘We cannot have that one’. I gave a quick wave and the unwanted log floated high, towards the outflow. Quickly it created a blockage that raised the water level. No one said anything, staring at the log rising out of the water, waiting for the flume to overflow. Suddenly there was a gurgling noise. The heavy log swung first to the right, then to the left, twisting like a snake, its head high as it floated away quickly. A few seconds later the log slipped through the first curve and was gone.
Schauberger’s flumes followed the curves of the valley, with guide vanes mounted on the curves, making the water spiral along its axis. With the careful monitoring of temperature along the route, bringing in cold water where necessary, he found it was possible to float logs under conditions regarded as impossible, using significantly less water, and achieving very high delivery rates. Parts of his flumes can still be seen in Austria today.
The flume at Steyrling was a great success, much to the chagrin of the observing hydraulic engineers who were so sure his crazy scheme would fail. Schauberger’s fame quickly spread. Experts came from all over Europe to study the flume’s construction. He was appointed State Consultant for Timber Flotation at a high salary. The academics were furious that he could give directives on technical questions which he could not understand with his inadequate education, and that he was paid twice as much as any of them. In the crisis that followed, Viktor resigned, and accepted a job with one of Austria’s largest building contractors for whom he built installations all over Europe. If this has been his only accomplishment, Viktor Schauberger would still be known as the man who completely mastered that art of transporting timber by water.
Hidden Nature - the Startling Insights of Viktor Schauberger
Alick Bartholomew - 284pp. 72 illus.
Foreword by David Bellamy OBE
Written for the general reader, it covers the whole of Schauberger's
extraordinary research into how to work with Nature: the purpose of
evolution: the role for life of living water: trees as biocondenseres of
energy: improving fertility and cultivation: understanding climatic
and environmental issues: and his work with free energy machines
and energy generation.