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References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat; that of being marginalized, trivialized, and fictionalized. Most of the references noted on this site are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society; some are humorous, yet some are disturbing in their associations.
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The secret of the zodiac
Julian Sterne
'....The secret of the Zodiac,1 a deliberate work of fiction, likewise told the story of "sinister unseen forces" that aimed to undermine civilization. Webster wrote the latter book under the pseudonym Julian Sterne.'2
Displaying a low opinion of human nature, not to mention communism, nudism, the Continent, eastern Europeans, asiatics, and the working classes, Nesta Helen Webster (1876-1960) has taken her strongly-held beliefs of a zionist-masonic-satanic conspiracy to destroy the British Empire, civilization and Christianity, and combined them into a work of fiction.
The book opens with Disraeli's oft quoted: "So you see, my dear Coningsby, that the world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes." The story has it that in 1934 Major Terence Kavanagh, prospective Conservative candidate, set out to document and expose a global conspiracy dedicated to "the collapse of our present civilization." [p. 147.] He was assisted by two friends, James Branden who collects masonic manuals [p. 106.]3 and Rosamund Dare, who once joined the "Order of the Phoenix" before discovering its satanic intent. [p. 90.]
Not generally one to mince words, Webster describes the working classes as sheep and communists as degenerates, but stops short of identifying the "Hidden and Secret Chiefs of the Inner Order" as Jews. Instead she alludes to "East European profiles, slavonic and "markedly asiatic features", and has one character, a communist, put on his hat and recite the Schema, a Hebrew prayer.
Some of them, though, are identified as freemasons: "Brinkdorff is a Rose Croix, a 33° Grand Orient and a 90° Rite of Misraim." [p. 157.] She describes "the seal of the Order—a circle with a dot in the middle" [p. 90.], an allusion to the point within a circle used in masonic symbolism. She comments that many of the Secret Chiefs are of illigitimate birth, suggesting that this is why they are so destructive.
There are, perhaps unintentional, moments of humour. A list of the twelve Secret Chiefs is hidden in a volume of the The Talisman, written by Walter Scott whose book on the French Revolution had also implied a conspiracy. Brandon is handed a glass of Amontillado by Colonel Brock, a high ranking official in the British Secret Service [p. 287.], possibly an allusion to Edgar Allan Poe's The Cask of Amontillado, a short story involving a masonic pun.
Kavanagh finds his proof of a satanic conspiracy hidden behind communism but neither the British Secret Service nor the Prime Minister believe him. The next election returns a socialist government that promptly nationalizes the land, the banks, transport, and electricity, leading to traffic jams in London, the abolishment of the British Empire, and the end of domestic service. The ex-prime minister is reduced first to delivering milk and finally to seeking political asylum with the Eskimos. After global economic and political collapse, the story ends with downtrodden Humanity rising up in revolt—"peasant riots and pogroms"— against "...their new masters driving through the streets in luxurious motors with complacent smiles on their Oriental features...."
Summarized by I. F. Clarke as 'Bolshevists and Freemasons destroy the British Empire.'4

1. Julian Sterne The secret of the zodiac. [A novel.] London : Boswell Publishing Co., Ltd., 1933. hc Octavo, pp. [1-4] 5 [6] 7-320, 19 cm. ads printed on recto of rear free endpaper, black cloth, spine panel stamped in red. First edition. [Reprint : Hawthorne, Calif. : Christian Book Club for America, 1985 ; Kessinger Publishing 30/10/2004, ISBN: 1417979445 ; Lightning Source Inc, 2004 ISBN : 1417979445].
2. "Nesta Webster: The Voice of Conspiracy', Lee, Martha Frances (1961- ). Journal of Women's History. : The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1 October 2005. vol. 17, no. 3. ISSN: 10427961. p. 81-104.
3. All square bracket quotes from : The Secret of the Zodiac by Julian Sterne, Hawthorne, California 90250 : Christian Book Club of America, n.d.. hc. 320 p [copy in the William and Mary College Library, Virginia, bound in red, spine stamped in white "SECRET OF THE ZODIAC WEBSTER PR6045 .E28 S4. pencil note to title page : Webster, Nesta Helen].
4. I. F. [Ignatius Frederick] Clarke, Tale of the Future from the Beginning to the Present Day: An Annotated Bibliography. 3rd ed London : Library Association, 1978. ISBN : 0853655502 pb xvii, 357 p ; 22 cm. COPAC. Also see Everett Franklin Bleiler (1920- ), The checklist of science fiction and supernatural literature. 2nd ed. Glen Rock, New Jersey : Firebell Books, 1978. xxii, 266 p ; 24 cm ; Reginald, R., and M.R. Burgess. Cumulative Paperback Index, 1939-1959: A Comprehensive Bibliographic Guide to 14,000 Mass-Market Paperback Books of 33 Publishers Issued Under 69 Imprints. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1973.

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