Initialism for Welt-Eis-Lehre (Cosmic Ice Theory), a cult built around the eccentric theories of Austrian engineer Hans Hörbiger, author of Glazial-Kosmogonie (1912). These theories involved a complex system of "cosmic ice" that generated stellar systems in which smaller planets become moons and are captured by larger planets. According to Hörbiger, Earth's present moon is coated with ice 140 miles thick and is now moving towards Earth with a spiral motion.
After Hörbiger's death, his theories were further developed by the British mythologist Hans Schindler Bellamy in his book Moons, Myths, and Man (1936). The WEL cult combined such theories with Nazi political philosophy and anti-Semitism. The character of the WEL is indicated by statements such as:
"Our Nordic ancestors grew strong in ice and snow; belief in the World Ice is consequently the natural heritage of Nordic Man…. Just as it needed a child of Austrian Culture— Hit ler!—to put the Jewish politicians in their place, so it needed an Austrian to cleanse the world of Jewish science."
Bellamy, Hans Schindler. Moons, Myths, and Man. London: Faber & Faber, 1949.
Hörbiger, Hans. Glazial-Kosmogonie. N.p., 1912.
Wels (vĕls), city (1991 pop. 52,594), Upper Austria province, W Austria, on the Traun River. It is an industrial and rail center and an agricultural market. Manufactures include agricultural machinery, building materials, food products, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. Nearby are natural gas wells. A town in Roman times, Wels later became a stronghold against the Avars and the Magyars. Noteworthy buildings include the parish church and the castle where Emperor Maximilian I died in 1519.
wel: see catfish.