Begin Again

Welcome to the first issue of The Shamcher Bulletin for 2021.

We begin with an overview of Shamcher’s work from an article written upon his retirement. I imagine this would have been a very surprising interview for the Kitsap Journal writer, Lisetta Lindstrom! There’s no mention here of his Sufi activities, which are kept unseen.

Kitsap Journal, Dec. 29, 1976

80 Years of Adventure Marks Life of Keyport Retiree

by Lisetta Lindstrom

Bryn Beorse, Norwegian-born Chico resident, author, world traveler, research engineer, and economist has lived in 67 countries, has spoken 12 languages and has spent an 80 year life of adventure including planning a plot to kidnap Hitler.

Beorse, believed to be the oldest civil service employee in the nation, retires this month as general engineer in the quality assurance department at Keyport.

As son of a man who headed the hydrographic (sea charting) bureau of the Norwegian Navy, Beorse traveled extensively at a young age. This, plus the fact he served as an overseas engineering consultant for firms, governments and the United Nations, placed him in more countries than most readers have knowledge of. “I can read and write French, German, Dutch, Turkish, Norwegian and English and used to dabble in 12 languages. Sometimes people would laugh at my after dinner speeches so I must have either been very right or very wrong.”

Born in Oslo to a family of four children, Beorse was the only son. He spent five years in engineering school and received his Masters degree in engineering in 1919 from Norges Tekniske Hoiskoleg which Beorse says is, "an engineering university like MIT.” 

At age 17, “I went to Belgium, and to Borneo at age 22. I was a jackaroo (sheepherder) on a sheep Ranch. I rode horses, but they also use camels on the ranch.”

During World War I, he volunteered but was not accepted for service. Beorse came to America in 1938 but felt called back to Norway because he was a reserve officer in the coast artillery. “When Germany threatened an invasion, I felt I should return to meet it. After the German occupation of Norway, I escaped to Sweden then to Finland. The ship from Finland was captured at Tromso but I escaped a second time."

At one time during his dangerous escapes working with the underground, Beorse led 200 Englishman across the mountains into Sweden. After he was captured by the Germans on the Finnish ship, Beorse led a group of Germans through the mountains in the dark to a precipice where both he and the group vanished in different directions and for different reasons! 

He was assigned to a British intelligence unit which had high ranking German generals working with the British in a desire to overthrow Hitler. "I devised a plot to kidnap Hitler. It was customary for Hitler's generals to rush into his office for confirmation on maneuvers. Some German generals, those involved with British intelligence, were to dash in and suggest Hitler take a plane for an inspection and then he would be flown to England.” The plan was well worked out, however, the British Cabinet wanted President Roosevelt to examine and approve the plot. Roosevelt said the Germans must be beaten so they know it, thereby rejecting the plan, which would have given Germany a new ruler and spared further war in Europe eight months and thousands of lives sooner. 

Beorse emphasizes what few realize, that prior to the war, “Hitler had only 44 per cent popular support and during the war his support was extremely low.” Although he and his country suffered cruelty and loss from the German invasion, Beorse admires the German people and does not blame them for what occurred by the minority Nazi movement. 

Beorse’s engineering expertise has taken him worldwide into areas of rockets, construction, desalting sea water, air pollution, dynamic balancing, vulcanization of rubber, hydroelectric power and much research including the development of energy from the ocean by means of the difference in air temperature in layers of water. The latter, known as OTECS (ocean thermal energy conversion system) is Beorse’s favourite and most ambitious project. 

Besides engineering, Beorse became involved in economics and banking. As director of a bank in Norway in 1936, he came to America to talk to New York bankers about a five-point economic plan. “The bankers agreed my plan was sound, but too early. perhaps 25 years too early.” During the Kennedy administration, Beorse came from abroad and requested a White House interview. “I was Secret Service checked and I finally got to Arthur Schlesinger. The plan was being considered when Kennedy was assassinated.” The Beorse plan involved a survey for America’s potential of consumer needs and desires, manufacturing and marketing potential, the total manpower regardless of education, guidelines for accomplishing the plan and finally educating the nation “that it could afford anything to accomplish a future with full employment.” Beorse emphatically claims, “We should not predict the future, we should make it.” …

After World War II, Beorse returned to America and became a citizen in 1947, because of all the countries in which he has lived, “I saw the US as a place of action.” Beorse the author has written eight books, four published in the United States, the latest a novel published this month, entitled “Underground”.

When Beorse married his wife Evelyn in 1948, he was 52 years old. He admits with a twinkle that it sometimes takes Norwegians quite a while to mature! He is vigorous, ambitious, full of enthusiasm. As a youth he swam the fjords. “In winter I broke the ice and swam in 30-32 degree water. It was like a glass of champagne without the hangover.”

The Beorses have two children, Bryn, age 26, who is a reporter for the Port Orchard Independent, and Daphne*, age 24, who is an art student and who works in a Raymond nursing home taking psychological histories of patients. She has also illustrated her father’s latest book. 

Prior to coming to Keyport in 1961, Beorse spent 12 years at the University of California on the research of his greatest interest, ocean energy. This form of energy, he claims, “has two functions: 1. power without pollution and 2. production of fresh water from salt water.” Groups researching ocean energy are Lockheed, Johns Hopkins University, Carnegie-Mellon and the University of California. Besides the advantages of being free of danger and pollution, energy provided by sea water would be extremely economical (no fuel cost), costing less for the system than oil or nuclear power.

Beorse explains that, “Dr. Dugger of Johns Hopkins states that ‘water utilization for power uses only two per cent of the ocean’s energy and would give 200 tines the energy needed by the year 2000’.” Beorse was the first to bring this energy plan to the US in 1948. Bryn Beorse expects no idle retirement. He already has had two consultant offers, however he wants to be “Free to work on such project as OTEC and to write furious letters to government officials” pushing his ultimate answer to nuclear power, one which is certainly the most economical, safest energy.

* Daphne Dunn, Dec. 10, 1952 - Nov. 15, 2016

January 15th of this year marked the 50th Urs of Murshid Samuel Lewis. He and Shamcher were long time close Sufi friends and correspondents. Shamcher is seen in the far right of this photo, taken during the ceremony at the first Urs.

This Bulletin is a way of sharing Shamcher’s approach to life as a Sufi. It’s free and excerpts from his archives will appear in your inbox every week or so. If you haven’t subscribed yet:

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