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Apophenia: Illusory correlation (behavioral sciences). "Spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena." Skeptic’s Dictionary, Robert Todd Carroll.
Anti-masonry Frequently Asked Questions
Section 1, version 2.9

1. Who are the Illuminati?
An undocumented and undefined group with the unconfirmed goal of world domination. Much fiction has been written on the topic. Although the subject of much speculation, there is no documentation of any active and effective group currently using the name.
Conspiracy theorists who use the term have defined the Illuminati’s goals, beliefs and structure; identified individuals whose actions may be interpreted as supporting these goals and beliefs; and used these goals and beliefs as defining links between otherwise unrelated events and individuals. What these theorists have not done is demonstrate or prove the existence of any such organization.
It is unfortunate that hucksters and paranoid cranks have so debased the term conspiracy that the real conspiracies, a real danger to a free and open society, so often go unreported or unremarked.
(See Section V Subsection 1. on the Bavarian Illuminati.) [RETURN TO INDEX]
2. Does the Trilateral Commission control the freemasons?
No, and before you ask, the freemasons don't control the Trilateral Commission either. There are more than 400 influential "think tanks" around the world; the Trilateral Commission is one of them.

See: NIRA’s World Directory of Think Tanks. Tokyo: National Institute for Research Advancement, 1999 150-6034 Japan. ISBN 4-7955-6014-5 C3002 [RETURN TO INDEX]
3. What is the Trilateral Commission?
Launched in 1973, the European Union, North America (the United States and Canada), and Japan — the three main democratic industrialized areas of the world — form the three sides of the Trilateral Commission. The Commission’s members are about 330 distinguished citizens, with a variety of leadership responsibilities in business, politics (except for government positions), academia, and the media.
The full Commission gathers once each year: the 1995 meeting was in Copenhagen, the 1996 meeting was in Vancouver, and the 1997 meeting was in Tokyo. In addition to special topical sessions and reviews of current developments in the regions, a portion of each annual meeting is devoted to consideration of draft reports to the Commission. These reports are generally the joint product of authors from each region, who draw on a range of consultants in the course of their work. Publication follows discussion in the Commission’s annual meeting. The authors are solely responsible for their final text. The 1994/1995 report, titled Engaging Russia, focused on our future Trilateral relations with Russia. The 1995/1996 reports were devoted to Maintaining Energy Security in a Global Context and to Globalization and Trilateral Labour Markets: Evidence & Implications. The task forces reported at the Spring 1997 meeting in Tokyo, focusing on developments and future prospects of the Asia Pacific community as well as on a reassessment of trilateral cooperation, i.e., on the management of the international system in the next decade. A separate publication contains the principal presentations at the annual meeting.
The Commission has three permanent regional offices in New York, Tokyo, and Paris. Further information and a list of Trilateral Commission publications can be found at: trilateral.org/pubs.htm [RETURN TO INDEX]
4. Who are the Bilderburgers?
In the main, a creation of Milton William Cooper [1943/05/06 - 2001/11/06] who reprinted the notorious hoax The Protocols of the Elders of Zion as fact, and wrote stories of an ongoing invasion of aliens from outer space.1 Three quotes from his book, "The Secret Government" follow:
"Throughout our history, the Aliens have manipulated and controlled the human race through various secret societies, religions, Satanic cults, witchcraft and occult movements."
"The headquarters of the international conspiracy is in Geneva, Switzerland. The ruling body is made up of representatives of the Governments involved as well as the Executive members of the group known as the 'Bilderburgers'."
"The Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and their foreign counterparts report to the 'Bilderburgers' society."2
Mr. Cooper’s writings are, in the balance, fiction. He was reputed to have renounced his views on an alien invasion but not those regarding Freemasonry.
This fictional creation is not to be confused with the Bilderberg Conference. Started by Prince Bernhard in Oosterbeek, Netherlands in 1954, it is an annual three-day conference attended by a changing delegation of some 100 bankers, economists, politicians and government officers chosen by an international steering committee with offices in the Hague. Its main founder was the Polish political philanthropist Joseph Retiger.
Phyllis Schlafly refers to the Bilderberg conference as "Bilderberger" in her 1964 A Choice Not an Echo, in which she claims to have discovered a "secret meeting" in 1957. Both John Birch Society member Gary Allen, in None Dare Call It Conspiracy and William Bramley, in The Gods of Eden refer to the Bilderberg Conference as the Bilderbergers, stating that the conference refers to itself as such. Bramley further suggests a link with the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. No proof or documentation for any of this is supplied.
Mention should also be made to David Icke’s unsubstantiated claim, in The Biggest Secret - the book that will change the world, that shape-shifting reptilians are about to achieve complete control over Earth. Icke repeats several accusations addressed elsewhere in this FAQ. He also announced on the Terry Wogan talk show on BBC1 in 1991 that he was the Son of God. [See Them, Adventures with Extremists, Jon Robinson. p. 152.]
A public statement by the Bilderberg Conference

What is unique about Bilderberg as a forum is:
1. The broad cross-section of leading citizens, in and out of government, that are assembled for nearly three days of purely informal discussion about topics of current concern especially in the fields of foreign affairs and the international economy.
2. The strong feeling among participants that in view of the differing attitudes and experiences of their nations, there is a continuous, clear need to develop an understanding in which these concerns can be accommodated.
3. The privacy of the meetings, which have no purpose other than to allow participants to speak their minds openly and freely.
At the meetings, no resolutions are proposed, no votes taken, and no policy statements issued. In short, Bilderberg is a flexible and informal international leadership-forum in which different viewpoints can be expressed and mutual understanding enhanced.
To ensure full discussion, individuals representing a wide range of political and economic points of view are invited. Two-thirds of the participants come from Europe and the remainder from the United States and Canada. Within this framework, on average about one-third are from the government sector and the remaining two-thirds from a variety of fields including finance, industry, labour, education and the media.
Participants are solely invited for their knowledge, experience and standing and with reference to the topics on the agenda. All participants attend Bilderberg in a private and not in an official capacity.
Participants have agreed not to give interviews to the press during the meeting. In contacts with the media after the conference it is an established rule no attribution should be made to individual participants of what was discussed during the meeting. There will be no press conference. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. Behold a Pale Horse. Milton William Cooper. Light Technology Publishing, Sedona, AZ: 1991. pp 267-332.
2. The Secret Government, The Origin, Identity, and Purpose of MJ-12. Milton William Cooper, May 23, 1989.

5. What was the P2 Lodge?
Originally a lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy, their warrant was revoked and a number of their members expelled for unmasonic conduct.
The P2 Incident was a by-product of three related factors; the vagaries of Italian masonic history, the joint effects of past repressions and social patronage on the Italian Craft, and certain defects in their Constitution.
Italian masonic history has been influenced by the political and ethnic history of that country and the P2 Incident needs to be placed in that context. Irregular lodges (not recognized by mainstream Freemasonry), both in France and Italy, had become quite political during revolutionary periods in their national histories, and operated as true secret societies. Italy has only been a united country since 1870 and regional, ethnic and traditional differences are still felt in contemporary Italian society. Italian society, then and now, has been said to largely run on patronage and favouritism. Few other Grand Lodges had recognized Italian masonry as regular until 1972.
Several Grand Lodges have been formed in Italy, the first in 1750, but all were proscribed or suppressed and, with the exception of the short period during the Napoleonic Occupation, Freemasonry was not revived until about 1860 when two Grand masonic bodies emerged. The first, the "Supreme Council Grand Orient of Italy" opened in Turin; later moving to Rome.
Although politics and religion were officially banned from discussion in lodges, in practice the Italian temperament views discussion of state affairs as a duty. In 1908 a schism resulted when the Grand Orient expelled a number of members for their political stance and the National Grand Lodge was formed. It continues to this day as an irregular body.
Masonry was again prohibited in Italy from 1926 to 1945. At this time several competing groups sprung up, out of which the Grand Orient of Italy and the National Grand Lodge resumed their leading positions. This Grand Orient was considered regular by many American Grand Lodges and extended recognition. It was recognized as regular by the English, Irish and Scottish Grand Lodges in 1972 and shortly thereafter by a number of other Grand Lodges who tend to take their direction from the United Grand Lodge of England. The following year, the majority of Lodges under the National Grand Lodge seceded and joined the Grand Orient, leaving the National Grand Lodge as a weak and splintered dissident group. Although the National Grand Lodge is not relevant to this article, this history of suppression, irregularity, political infighting, and class consciousness is.
In 1877 the Grand Orient granted a warrant to a lodge in Rome called "Propaganda Massonica". This lodge was frequented by politicians and government officials from across Italy who were unable to attend their own lodges. Although its potential for masonic mischief was recognized, there is no evidence that any was forthcoming. The lodge was not on the Grand Orient’s registers but operated as the Grand Master’s own private Lodge, allowing for the initiation of members whose names would not therefore appear on the Grand Orient’s rolls. If any apology is needed, it should be noted that "an organization which had a long experience of great opposition to it, of political and religious damnation, and of being often forced to close up, is likely to view every influential friend it can get as important."
When the Grand Orient was revived after the Second World War it was decided to number the lodges by drawing lots; Lodge Propaganda drew number two, thus it became P2. It rarely held meetings and was almost inactive.
In 1967, Brother Licio Gelli, who had been initiated into a lodge in Rome in 1965, was placed in virtual control of P2 by the Grand Master of the day. He was considered to be a shrewd and successful businessman with a great gift for recruiting. In 1970 he was made secretary of P2 and subsequently a substantial number of well-placed men were initiated. In most recognized Grand Lodge jurisdictions, these practices would not be countenanced. An argument could be made that by Italian standards, nothing was amiss.
Gelli’s growing influence became a concern of the then Grand Master who, in late 1974, proposed that P2 be erased. At the Grand Orient Communication in December 1974, of the 406 lodges represented, 400 voted for its erasure. In March 1975 Gelli accused the Grand Master of gross financial irregularities, withdrawing the accusations only after the Grand Master issued a warrant for a new P2 Lodge — despite the fact that the Grand Orient had erased it only four months earlier. P2 was considered regular; its membership was no longer secret and Gelli was its master. In 1976, Gelli requested that P2 be suspended but not erased. This nuance of jurisprudence meant that he could continue to preserve some semblance of regularity for his private club without being answerable to the Grand Orient.
By 1978, suspect financial arrangements involving the Grand Master prompted many other Grand Lodges to threaten to withdraw recognition, and the Grand Master resigned before his term expired. Gelli promptly financed the election campaign of the Immediate Past Grand Master, but the Grand Orient elected another candidate as their new leader.
In 1980, Gelli told a press interview that Freemasonry was a puppet show in which he pulled the strings. Italian Masonry was outraged by this, struck a masonic tribunal which in 1981 expelled him, and decided that P2 had been erased as a Lodge in 1974 and therefore any contrary action by a Grand Master had been illegal.
The same year the police investigated Gelli for a range of fraudulent activities and, in searching his house, found a P2 register of 950 names — mostly prominent people. Several government ministers resigned and the Italian Government fell. Gelli managed to get out of the country. A Special Parliamentary Commission found Gelli to have an obscure and opportunistic past and to count among his friends many such as the fraudulent banker Roberto Calvi (1920? - 1982/06/19), chairman of Banco Ambrosiano in Milan who was later found dead under London’s Blackfriars Bridge, and the banker Sindona who was later jailed in the USA for fraud and suspected murder. The nature and aims of Gelli’s alleged political intrigues have never been explained. From his South American hideaway, he has sent out obscure messages and has offered to give himself up to Italian police if certain conditions were met. The authorities have issued no public statement.
The President of the Parliamentary Commission of Investigation, while openly hostile to Freemasonry at the outset, eventually declared that Freemasonry itself had been Gelli’s first and principal victim. While three successive Grand Masters (two now deceased and one expelled from Freemasonry) had manipulated secret funds, secret members, secret decisions and secret lodges, the body of Italian Freemasonry was neither guilty nor culpable in the P2 Affair.
At the Grand Orient Meeting of March 1982, no incumbent Grand Officer was re-elected. [RETURN TO INDEX]

Researchers are referred to a paper written by Kent Henderson, from which this article is excerpted:
The Transactions of the Lodge of Research No. 218. "Italian Freemasonry and the 'P2' Incident", Kent Henderson. Victoria, Australia: 1987 pp. 25-33. [ISBN 0 7316 2645 1].

6. What was Palladium?
In the early 1890s Léo Taxil purported to reveal the existence of "Palladium," the most secret masonic order, which practiced devil-worship. He recounted the story of its high priestess Diana Vaughan; and ended by publishing the Memoires d'une ex-Palladiste after her conversion to Catholicism. When doubts began to spread, Taxil realized the time had come to end the deceit. In a widely reported conference in Paris on April 19, 1897, he confessed that it had all been a hoax.1
After Taxil’s public confession, Abel Clarin de la Rive (1855-1914) expressed his disgust and recanted his writings on Diana Vaughan in the April 1897 issue of Freemasonry Revealed, a magazine devoted to the destruction of the Craft. As much as he hated Freemasonry, Claren de la Rive had the integrity to admit Taxil’s hoax in the following editorial:
"With frightening cynicism the miserable person we shall not name here [Taxil] declared before an assembly especially convened for him that for twelve years he had prepared and carried out to the end the most extraordinary and most sacrilegious of hoaxes. We have always been careful to publish special articles concerning Palladism and Diana Vaughan. We are now giving in this issue a complete list of these articles, which can now be considered as not having existed."2
Possibly the inspiration for Taxil’s choice of name, but otherwise of little interest other than to masonic students, the Order of Palladium was a masonic society open to both men and women, founded in Paris in 1737. Termed a very moral society by Albert G. Mackey, it does not appear to have survived its founders. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1.New Catholic Encyclopedia. (R. Limouzin-Lamothe, s.v. Taxil, Leo)
2.See: Strange Masonic Stories. Alec Mellor. Richmond, Va.: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., Inc., 1982. p. 151.

7. Is the Club of Rome an Illuminati front?
According to John Lear, Milton William Cooper and others, the Club of Rome is a front for the Illuminati, or the 'Cult of the Serpent' backed by an 'alien' or non-human vanguard, the so-called 'Greys'. An often quoted article, titled 'Pine Gap Base: World Context', written in French by Lucien Cometta and later translated into English by Dr. Jean Francois Gille, covers the same theme, with an equal lack of verifiable documentation.
The Club of Rome was founded in 1968 by Italian scholar and industrialist, Dr. Aurelio Peccei (1908-84), and Alexander King, with a group of scientists, economists, businessmen, international civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from the five continents, but with similar concerns for the global future.
It currently has 27 honourary members, including a number of active and former heads of states as well as noted scholars. Soka Gakkai International President, Daisaku Ikeda, was nominated on February 28, 1997 as an honourary member by Club of Rome president, Dr. Diez-Hochleitner. Soka Gakkai is a lay Buddhist association in Japan founded on the premise that human beings inherently possess the ability to create value in their lives and, therefore, are able to live life to the fullest while contributing to the welfare of society. "Soka" means value creation; "Gakkai," society.
The SGI’s relationship with the Club of Rome began with SGI President Ikeda’s friendship with Aurelio Peccei. Their dialogue on world problems was published as Before it is Too Late in 1984. Many books written by club members are available to the public, including the 1972 bestseller The Limits of Growth, which first linked economic growth to negative consequences for the environment. The club also maintains a web site at http://www.clubofrome.org.
The following are abstracts from a paper entitled "The Club of Rome - The New Threshold" by Alexander King which was read into the Congressional records of the United States on Tuesday, March 20, 1973:
"The Club of Rome is:
- a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity and acting merely as a catalyst to stimulate public debate, to sponsor investigations and analysis of the problematique and to bring these to the attention of decision makers.
"The Club of Rome is not:
- a club devoted exclusively to problems of industrial societies, attempting to find solutions to the difficulties of affluence, but a group concerned with the world system as a whole and with the disparities it includes.
- a group of futurologists, but of individuals who realise the necessity of attacking now longer term and fundamental problems which are difficult to approach with our present methods of government and which could give rise to irreversible situations.
- a political organisation, neither of the right or of the left, but a free assembly of individuals, seeking to find a more objective and comprehensive basis for policy-making.
- a body devoted to public propaganda for change - although, should we succeed in a better delineation of the elements of the problematique, we are convinced that our results should be made known universally through appropriate national and international organisations and the media."
Since the death of Aurelio Peccei and the retirement of Alexander King, the Club of Rome has developed an updated Charter under its president, Ricardo Diez Hochleitner and its secretary general, Dr. Bertrand Schneider.
More information and background is available. Those requiring further information should contact The Club of Rome Secretariat at cor.bs@dialup.francenet.fr [RETURN TO INDEX]
8. Did high-ranking freemason, Albert Pike found the Ku Klux Klan?
There is no documentation or record that would suggest that masonic author, Albert Pike, was ever a member of the Ku Klux Klan, much less a founder or leader.
The 19th century Ku Kux Klan was originally organized by six Confederate veterans in Pulaski, Tennessee in the spring of 1866. It obligated members only to "have fun, make mischief and play pranks on the public." It was structured into a vehicle for Southern white resistance to Radical Reconstruction at a convention in Nashville, Tennessee in April of 1867 under the leadership of George Gordon. Several weeks later Nathan Bedford Forrest was offered the position of Grand Wizard.
On August 28, 1868 Forrest granted an interview to a reporter from the Cincinnati Commercial, in which he confirmed the existence of the Klan, declared his sympathy and coöperation with them, but denied his membership. In January 1869 Forrest issued "General Order Number One", the only directive to come from Imperial Headquarters, ordering the group be disbanded. Local branches remained active, prompting the U.S. Congress to pass the Force Act of 1870 and the Ku Klux Act in 1871. By the time the U.S. Supreme Court declared the Klan unconstitutional in 1882, it had practically disappeared as an organization although independent acts of violence were to continue under the banners of the American Protective Association and the Whitecap movement, among others. The growth, decline and transformation of the 20th century Klan has no connection with the original Klan, other than the name.
Confederate Lieutenant General and the Klan’s first (and only) Grand Wizard, Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877), was an Entered Apprentice of Angorona Lodge No. 168 in Memphis, Tennessee. There is no record of his having progressed further or having been active in Freemasonry. Not having received the Master Mason degree, under the rules of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, he would not have been considered a freemason.
Although 1915 Klan organizer Colonel William Joseph Simmons was a freemason, he was also a member of the Knights of Pythias, the Odd Fellows, and eight other lodges. He was never a Grand Lodge or lodge officer in Freemasonry. There is no available documentation that Edward Young Clarke or David Curtis Stephenson were freemasons.
As a counterpoint, note that famous slavery abolitionist, John Brown was at one time an active freemason, while the two major proponents of the Ku Klux Act, Benjamin F. Butler and John Scott were also active freemasons. As always, it should be stressed that regular Freemasonry is not concerned with politics, leaving its members to act as their conscience dictates.
For further information and citations, view http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/anti-masonry/kkk.html. [RETURN TO INDEX]
9. Isn't the Priory of Sion a masonic front, conspiring to restore the Merovingian dynasty and responsible for the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?
No, no, and no.
There is no proof that Pierre Plantard’s Prieure de Sion existed before 1956, although it claims to have originated from an earlier organization, the Ordre du Sion, allegedly founded by Godfroi de Bouillion, Hugh de Payns, and a Calabrian monk named Ursus in 1099.
Allegations of masonic links to the Prieure through the Knights Templar and the Swiss Grand Loge Alpina are unproven. The wishful thinking of some freemasons and the suspicions of anti-masons aside, there is no proven, documented link between the Templars and Freemasonry. There is also no proof of any connection between the Swiss Grand Loge Alpina and Pierre Plantard’s Dossiers Secrets, deposited in the Paris Bibliotheque Nationale in the mid 1960s. The first of these four documents, Les descendants Merovingiens ou l'enigme du Razes Wisigoth, dated August, 1965, purports to have been published by the Swiss Grande Loge Alpina. The Swiss Grande Loge Alpina has denied this.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a clearly documented fraud, unrelated to Pierre Plantard’s Prieure de Sion.
There are few historical records of the Ordre de Notre Dame de Sion, with which the Prieure de Sion is often confused. After Jerusalem fell to Godfroi de Bouillon in 1099, an abbey devoted to Notre Dame du Mont de Sion was built on the hill of Sion to the south of Jerusalem; it is referred to in later documents and figures in several views of the city. A Father Vincent, writing in 1698, says:
"There were in Jerusalem during the Crusades... knights attached to the Abbey of Notre Dame de Sion who took the name of Chevaliers de l'Order de Notre Dame de Sion." 1
R. Rohricht, in his Regesta regni Hierosolymitani (Roll of the kings of Jerusalem), written in 1893, cites two charters: one of 1116 by Arnaldus, prior of Notre Dame de Sion, and one of 1125, in which Arnaldus’s name appears with that of Hugues Payen, the first Grand Master of the Temple. The existence of the Abbey of Sion, at least until 1281, is attested to by E.-G. Rey in a paper in the 1887 Proceedings of the French National Society of Antiquaries, which lists the abbots who administered the abbey’s property in Palestine.
These documents are the only historical record of the possible existence of a Prieure de Sion before 1956. Everything else that refers to an organization of that name finds its origin in four typewritten, and highly suspect, "publications" deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale that all seem to lead back to a single source — possibly Pierre Plantard — and revealed by Gerard de Sede.2
It was he, along with Plantard, who deposited the Dossiers Secrets into the Bibliotheque Nationale, according to library records between 1965 and 1967. Eventually de Sede, Plantard, and the Marquis Phillipe de Cherissy had a falling out.
"After their quarrel Plantard made it known that the parchments in de Sede’s book were fakes. In 1971 I received a letter from Phillipe de Cherissy implying that he was the author of the two parchments published by Gerard de Sede."
"Plantard trusted me because I was writing a book about him and he gave me the original documents." - Pierre Jarnac, The Archives of the Treasure of Rennes-le-Château
Jarnac produced the documents for a BBC documentary. A note on Parchment 1 in Plantard’s handwriting stated "This is the original document faked by Phillipe de Cherissy which Gerard de Sede reproduced in his book L'Or de Rennes-le-Château.
In a forty-four page unpublished paper called Stone and Paper de Cherissy "describes how the documents were fabricated, how the ciphers were set and how they can be decoded." - Pierre Jarnac, The Archives of the Treasure of Rennes-le-Château3
Although the actual existence of any historical Priory of Zion is unproven, authors Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln speculate that such a society existed and hypothesis entanglements with modern crypto-political forces, such as the Knights of Malta, the P2 masonic lodge, the Kreisau Circle, the Swiss Grand Loge Alpina, and various advocates of Pan-European Union:
"There was a secret order behind the Knight’s Templar, which created the Templars as its military and administrative arm. This order, which has functioned under a variety of names, is most frequently known as the Prieure de Sion ('Priory of Zion')."4
Other books—Lincoln’s The Holy Place and its sequel Keys to the Sacred Pattern; David Wood and Ian Campbell’s GenIsis and GeneSet, which promotes the theory of alien origins for humankind; Picknett and Prince’s Templar Revelation; Andrews and Schellenberger’s The Tomb of G-d; Lionel Fanthorpe’s Secrets of Rennes-le-Chateau; Ean Begg’s The Cult of the Black Virgin; Elizabeth Van Buren’s Refuge of the Apocalypse, which promotes the Merovingians-as-extraterrestrials theory; Alex Christopher’s Pandora’s Box; Lawrence Gardner’s Bloodline of the Holy Grail; and Martha Neyman’s The Horse of G-d—all accept the existence of the Prieure de Sion. None of them document any proof. Most of the information presented in Holy Blood, Holy Grail had already appeared in other French publications such as Gerard De Sede’s book Le tresor maudit de Rennes (The Accursed Treasure of Rennes) in which de Sede claims the Merovingians descended from extraterrestrials from Sirius.
In Cosmic Trigger III Robert Anton Wilson explores the Prieure’s claim to be descended from beings from Sirius and suggests that the whole story is a hoax perpetrated as a work of performance art. Some Christian eschatologists view the Prieure scenario as a fulfillment of prophesies found in the Book of Revelation and further proof of an anti-Christian conspiracy.5 The original material, however, seems to have issued from a single specific source and appears to be a product of Pierre Plantard de Saint-Clair’s imagination.
Steven Mizrach writes:
Yet this mysterious secret society brought itself to light in 1956 and is listed with the French directory of organizations under the subtitle "Chivalry of Catholic Rules and Institutions of the Independent and Traditionalist Union," which in French abbreviates to CIRCUIT — the name of the magazine distributed internally among members. Depending on what statutes one considers, Sion either has 9,841 members in nine grades, or 1,093 members in seven, with the supreme member, the "Nautonnier" or Grand Master of the Order being, till 1963, Jean Cocteau (1918-1963) french postmodernist playwright.6 While it is believed the head has been Pierre Plantard de St.-Clair up until recent times, he claims to have left that post in 1984, so it is not clear who runs the organization at this time.
Despite its registry, however, the organization remains untraceable, its given address and number leading to dead ends.7
Most writings about the Prieure touch on the legend of Rennes-le-Chateau and the Merovingians. Current theories also involve the inventor Barnes Wallis; the Cajun people of Louisiana; Johann Salvator, the young Hapsburg prince; lost cities of South America; the so-called "Baconian" theory, which suggests that Sir Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays; a "doorway unto the invisible" —a gateway to other dimensions; the Illuminati; and self-styled HRH Prince Michael James Alexander Stewart, 7th Count of Albany (Scotland).
The Hieron du Val d'Or, a mystic-cum-political movement at Paray-le-Monial, is also claimed by Jean-Luc Chaumeil, author of Le Triangle d'Or[France, Alain Lefeuvre: 1979] to be a part of this story. It too hinges on the discredited Dossiers Secrets.
Prince Michael dismisses the Plantard claim of a Morovingian bloodline as "wishful thinking" and has stated his belief that the Prieure was only created in 1956.8 Anglican Bishop Montefiore catalogues what he calls "79 instances ... of gross errors, vital omissions, gravely misleading statements or the adoption of way-out hypotheses."9
By the 1990s, even Lincoln had soured on speculating about the Prieure de Sion and Pierre Plantard. "In my old age, I've decided to stick to that which can be verified," Lincoln groused when asked for an update on the secret society.10 [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. The Grail Quest or The Orion Archetype and The Destiny of Man Part V-G: The Priory of Sion <cassiopaea.org/cass/grail_5g.htm>
2. Ibid.
3. Sources And Documents Exposed. <ukmasons.com/sources.htm>.
4. The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. Baigent, Michael, Leigh, Richard, and Lincoln, Henry. London: Transworld Publishers, Ltd. 1983. ISBN: 0 552 12138 X pb.
5. Evangelicals &%038; Globalists Together. Tim and Barb Aho Watch Unto Prayer: <watch.pair.com> [2001/01/03]. Merovingian/British Israel deception and infiltration of apostate Christianity: <freedomdomain.com> [2001/01/03].
6. Jean Cocteau. Fifield, William. USA: Columbia University Press, 1974.
7. Prieure of Sion: the Mystery Deepens. Steven Mizrach <www.fiu.edu/~mizrachs/priory-of-sion-more.html> [2001/01/03].
8. The Artist Currently Known as Prince Michael. Tracy R. Twyman. <www.dagobertsrevenge.com/articles/pminterview2.html> [2001/01/03].
9. The Grail Quest. loc cit
10. The Jesus Conspiracy. CarpeNoctem: October 2001. <carpenoctem.tv/cons/jesus.html>. Also found at <conspire.com/priory.html> [2001/01/03].

10. Doesn't the Alta Vendita prove that Freemasonry is anti-Catholic?
The current interest in the Alta Vendita, mostly on the part of the extreme anti-Vatican II fringe of the Catholic church,1 was piqued by the 1998 publication of Alta Vendita, The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita by John Vennari, a writer for the Catholic Family News.
This little booklet2 reprints a collection of papers — reputedly from 1820s Alta Vendita correspondence — published by authority of Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) in 1859.3
During the early 19th century the people of the Italian states were attempting to expel foreign troops, mostly French and Austrian, and to redefine their political relationship with the aristocracy and the Roman Catholic Church. One of several political and militant groups, the Carbonari promoted republicanism, liberalism and what the Catholic church condemns as "modernism". The Carbonari leadership was titled the Alta Vendita. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Just as the name "Carbonari" was adopted from the charcoal-burners, so also in their secret intercourse they made use of many expressions taken from the occupation of charcoal-burning. The place where the members assembled was called baracca (hut), its interior vendita (place of selling coal), and its surroundings foresta (forest). The members called one another buon cugino (good cousin); those not belonging to the society were pagani (heathens). The Carbonari were divided into two classes: apprentices and masters. No apprentice could rise to the grade of a master before the end of six months. The members made themselves known to one another by secret signs in shaking hands. These signs for masters and apprentices were unlike. One of the underlying principles of the society, it is true, was that the "good brotherhood" rested on religion and virtue; but by this was understood a purely natural conception of religion, and the mention of religion was absolutely forbidden. In reality the association was opposed to the Church. Nevertheless, it venerated St. Theobald as its patron saint. The members belonging to each separate district formed a vendita, called thus from the place of assembly. At the head was the alta vendita, to which deputies were chosen from the other vendite.4
Whether the Carbonari was "opposed to the Church" or only opposed to the temporal and political power of the Church — and whether such a distinction is possible — is not the issue here. The important point is that after the fall of the Bourbons, its influence rapidly declined and, after 1841, nothing more was heard of it.
Interest in the Alt Venditi was kept alive by such discredited conspiracy theorists as Nesta Webster, Edith Starr Miller5 and William Guy Carr6 and further promoted by the John Birch Society.7
There is nothing in Vennari’s booklet, or any other writings on the Alta Venditi, that proves that the group was associated in any fashion with regular Freemasonry, that it had any influence on Freemasonry, that it grew out of the Bavarian Illuminati, or that it continues to exist in any form. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1.Mario Derksen, in Traditional Insights April 12-14, volume 13, no. 70, believes that Pope John Paul II is promoting indifferentism, syncretism, and humanism. <www.dailycatholic.org/issue/2002Apr/apr12mdi.htm>. cf.: "They have Uncrowned Him," Archbishop Lefebvre. http://www.fsspx.org/eng/esubversi.htm>.
2.The Roman Church and Revolution, Cretineau-Joly. (2nd volume, original edition, 1859; reprinted Paris : Circle of the French Renaissance, 1976; cf.: The Anti-Christian Conspiracy, Mgr. Delassus. DDB, 1910, Tome III, pp. 1035-1091.
3.The permanent instruction of the Alta Vendita : a masonic blueprint for the subversion of the Catholic Church, John Vennari. Rockford, IL : Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1998. ISBN: 0895556448
4. "Carbonari." J.P. Kirsch, Transcribed by Gerald M. Knight. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 1999 by Kevin Knight Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
5.Occult theocrasy, Lady Queenborough, Edith Starr née Miller Paget, Baroness (d. 1933), Abbeville (France) : Imprimerie F. Paillart, 1933. 2v : front. (ports.) illus., facsims. (1 fold.) ; 23 cm [Published posthumously for private circulation only. Published under the auspices of the International league for historical research]. pp. 427-438. Miller is also the author of Common sense in the kitchen, New York : Brentano’s, 1918. 55 p. 23 cm. LCCN: 18013347.
6. William Guy Carr, Pawns in The Game, "Introduction," (1958), William Guy Carr (1895/06/02 - 1959/10/02) Los Angeles, California : St. George Press, April, 1962 (4th Edition). pb 193p.
7. "Demolishing Conspiracy Bromides." Robert W. Lee. The John Birch Society Bulletin, January 1997.

11. What about the Rex Deus dynasty’s influence on Freemasonry?
The "Rex Deus" group of theories incorporates a belief that Jesus of Nazereth (c.6 BCE - c.30 CE) had a wife and several children. The theories promoted by such popular books as Holy Blood, Holy Grail fall into this catagory. Although there is biblical evidence of Jesus' siblings, all such theories of a wife and children remain unproven and appear to be based more on assumption and wishful thinking than on any documented proof.
The promoters of these theories, that many of Europe’s ruling families were descended from the Merovingians and Jesus — the union of the holy Davidic and Zadokite bloodlines — often incorporate the Rennes-le-Chateau mystery and often attempt to link the Knights Templar and the Priory of Sion [see above] with Freemasonry.
Rex Deus, by Marilyn Hopkins, Graham Simmans and Tim Wallace-Murphy (Element Books), is somewhat unique in discrediting the latter claim while embracing the former. The one key source for Rex Deus is an anonymous informant, "Michael", whose family traditions appear to be based on Barbara Thiering.
Rex Deus further claims that Robert the Bruce was a Rex Deus family member and had adopted Celtic practices which were aligned with Druidic and Enochian traditions of the Celts. Proof of none of this is forthcoming.
Most promoters of these speculations insist on the veracity of the debunked documents kept at the Bibliotheque Nationale [see above]. They will contend that the Counts of Champagne, Lords of Gisors, Lords of Payen, Counts of Fontaine, Counts of Anjou, de Bouilloin, St Clairs of Roslin, Brienne, Joinvill, Chaumont, St Clair de Gisor, St Clair de Neg and the Hapsburgs also took the name Rex Deus, and that Godfrey de Bouillon was the originator of the group and a direct descendent of Jesus.
This stream of speculation includes the claim that the descendants of this royal and priestly line, now call themselves Rex Deus and that the original Celtic church was founded by the Rex Deus. Other Rex Deus included the Stuarts of Scotland and today’s King Juan Carlos of Spain. One popular promoter of these theories is Israeli conspiracy theorist, Barry Chamish.
No documentation or proof of any of this exists, so the corrollary claim that this alleged dynasty has influenced or controlled Freemasonry is also unsubstantiated. Promoters of these speculations continue to insist that the existence of a collection of unrelated historical events and persons somehow is the proof of their theories. [RETURN TO INDEX]
12. What is the Council on Foreign Relations?
The Council on Foreign Affairs began in 1917 with a group of New York academics who were asked by Woodrow Wilson to offer options for American foreign policy in the post-war period. This group was titled "The Inquiry." A creation of Wilson’s aid, Edward Mandell House, the Inquiry helped draw the borders of post-World War I central Europe when twenty-three of the scholars accompanied Wilson to the Paris Peace Conference.
Originally envisioned as a British-American group of scholars and diplomats, it was a subsequent group of 108 New York financiers, manufacturers and international lawyers organized in June 1918 by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and US secretary of state, Elihu Root, that became the Council on Foreign Relations on July 29, 1921.
The first of the Council’s projects was a quarterly journal launched in September 1922, called Foreign Affairs. Its various other projects avoided "international relations in general," as an early institutional history explained, and concentrated instead on "American relations with other countries." In 1990, the Council published a survey entitled Sea Changes: American Foreign Policy in a World Transformed, in which seventeen experts showed how global relations were not merely in transition but on the brink of fundamental transformation.
In the Council’s own words: "The Council on Foreign Relations is dedicated to increasing America’s understanding of the world and contributing ideas to US foreign policy. The Council accomplishes this mainly by promoting constructive debates and discussions, clarifying world issues, and by publishing Foreign Affairs, the leading journal on global issues."
A research group with a mandate to inform American public opinion, the CFR is viewed with great suspician by conspiracy theorists. Jack Newell and Devvy Kidd, in Why A Bankrupt America, (Project Liberty, Arvada, CO.) view Edward House as a marxist bent on socialist domination and believe that the CFR’s goal is to convert the USA from a sovereign constitutional republic to a "servile member of a one-world dictatorship."
They assume that the CFR has a hidden political agenda. When they see the large number of American presidents, senators, and representatives who have been members they assume that the CFR is influencing their opinions rather than the other way around. When they also see that a number of these men have also been freemasons, they conclude that Freemasonry also embraces this perceived political agenda. Although they will claim loud and long that this is the case, they provide no proof. Assertion is not proof.
For information on the Council on Foreign Relations, view their website at <cfr.org >.
13. What was the Rhodes-Milner Round Table?
Cecil Rhodes wrote six wills over his lifetime. In the first, written at the age of 23 — sometime after his doctor had warned him that he had but six months to live — he proposed to "form a secret society with but one object, the furtherance of the British Empire and the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under British rule, for the recovery of the United States, for the making the Anglo-Saxon race but one Empire." This was written on June 2, 1877, a month and a half after he had joined a masonic lodge in Oxford. He was not impressed with Freemasonry but it appears to have given him ideas of his own.1
By the time he wrote his final will, his thinking had evolved to the establishment of a scholarship trust fund. The trustees for the Rhodes Scholarships in 1902 were Lord Alfred Milner (1854-1925), Lord Rosebery, Lord Grey, Alfred Beit, L. L. Michell, B. F. Hawksley, and Dr. Starr Jameson.2 The scholarships were to be given without regard to race or creed.
Conspiracy theorists see this as the origin of the Round Table, which they claim became the Council On Foreign Relations, which in turn set up the Trilateral Commission. Taking one passage from a twenty-three year-old’s discarded will, they believe they have proof that these groups have a secret agenda of world-domination.
Some conspiracy theorists, such as Eric Samuelson, claim that what Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Milner had in mind was the formation of a master/slave society based upon the principles of eugenics as derived from Plato’s Republic. Rhodes, purportedly, was directed to this end by Oxford don, John Ruskin, as a counter to what these theorists perceive to be the proletariat ideology of French Freemasonry. Ruskin is also claimed, erroneously, to be a freemason.
They also believe that the original trustees were all freemasons. The name "The Round Table," appears to be a creation of Quigley’s. The purported membership of the group: Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Balfour, Lord Rothschild, H.G. Wells, and some Oxford graduates described as Milner’s Kindergarten, is not cited. "In 1909, Milner’s Kindergarten, with some other English Masons, founded the Round Table."3
Three think tanks are purported to be offshoots of the Round Table: the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA), organized in 1919 in London; the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), organized in 1921 in New York City; and the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), organized in 1925.
The claim is that: "The initial assignment of the Round Table was not necessarily to destroy the political experiments of French Freemasonry, such as socialism and communism, but to cooperate with them for the advancement of the English Masonic conspiracy." The anonymously authored book, The Union Jack also claimed that "the British Empire originated the Russian system of Communism to exploit the world as a front for British Imperialism," while Lady Queenborough’s uncited claim that Karl Marx, Tolain, Fribourg, Varlin, Camelinat, Beslay, Malon and Corbon were all freemasons is also often quoted.
Dr. Carroll Quigley (1910-1977), author of Tragedy and Hope (1966), is also often cited as supporting these theories. Writing in 1949,4 he outlined his research into these groups, approving of their aims but deprecating their wish for secrecy. Both New Left writer and activist Carl Oglesby, and right-wing John Birch Society lecturer, W. Cleon Skousen, (The Naked Capitalist, 1970) have found validation for their own conspiracy theories in Quigley’s work.
The theories of Lyndon LaRouche, while often thinly disguised antisemitism, also make reference to the Round Table as a link between freemasonry, British Imperialism and Zionism. Several pages of Pat Robertson’s The New World Order (1991) are spent on Quigley’s theories. Robertson views all this as an age-old power-struggle with Satan.
Any actual lineal connection between these groups and their real, or imagined, purposes or effectiveness is beyond the scope of this FAQ. It is only because conspiracy theorists view the sometimes real, sometimes imagined, masonic association of some members of these groups as somehow conclusive of a greater, more sinister, conspiracy, that the groups are of interest to this FAQ. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1. "On 2 June 1877, Rhodes became a life member of the Masonic Order. At the celebratory dinner that followed his initiation, he angered some of the members present by 'revealing the cherished secrets of the craft'. Clearly, Rhodes did not take the Masonic Order very seriously. 'I see the wealth and power they possess, the influence they hold and I think over their ceremonies and I wonder that a large body of men can devote themselves to what at times appear to be the most ridiculous and absurd rites with no object, with no end.'" Rhodes, The race for Africa, Antony Thomas. London: BBC Books, 1996. 368p. p. 112.
The first quote is from Rhodes, Lockhart and Woodhouse (1963) p. 64, the second from Rhodes' first will or "Confession of Faith". Two manuscript versions exist. The first, in Rhodes' own handwriting, was written on June 2, 1877, at Oxford. The second is a fair copy made by a clerk in Kimberley in the summer of 1877, with additions and alterations in Rhodes' handwriting. Rhodes' final will is available as Will and Codicils of the Rt. Hon. Cecil John Rhodes, Rhodes Estate Act 1916, Rhodes Trust Act 1929, printed for the Rhodes Trust by John Johnson at the University Press Oxford, n.d., 32p. Also see: John Flint, Cecil Rhodes, Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974; and London: Hutchinson, 1976.
2.Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment. New York: Books in Focus, 1981. 354 p. p. 34.
3.Names supplied by Eric Samuelson whose writings appear on many websites: <biblebelievers.org.au>, <watch.pair.com, <sweetliberty.org>, <davidicke.com>. Also see The House of Morgan,Ron Chernow. p. 430, and the anonymously authored book, The Union Jack.
4.The Anglo-American Establishment. was written in 1949 but not published until after Quigley’s death. Often criticized for a lack of footnotes, Quigley’s conclusions may be questioned, but his solid research is clearly apparent. Also see Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. New York: MacMillan Company, 1966. 1348 pp. and The Evolution of Civilizations, An Introduction to Historical Analysis.
14. What is the Belmont Brotherhood?
Politics make strange bedfellows. 1 The fight for the hearts and minds of Americans and the home-front battle against international communism in the mid to late twentieth century created some strange and sometimes unwitting alliances. One such was the John Birch Society.
Among those attracted by the Bircher’s message of American values and anti-communism were a number of Christian fundamentalists who viewed both communism and Freemasonry as anti-American and probably satanic. When the masonic membership of a number of the society’s founders was noticed, this led to a belief that the society was actually some form of diversionary tactic on the part of an international satanic conspiracy.
"The Belmont Brotherhood," an unpublished "exposé" of the John Birch Society, is the source of the name of this imagined group. It refers to freemasons who worked in the John Birch Society offices in Belmont, Massachusetts. The current main promoter of this attack on the John Birch Society is Nicholas J. Bove, Jr., 2 a former research assistant of the society’s founder, Robert Welch. 3
It appears that Robert Welch’s library contained a number of books on Freemasonry and on page 14 of the John Birch Society Bulletin of October, 1973 Welch assured his readers that "American Masons are just as patriotic as you or I." Welch mentions a number of occasions that he spoke out against communism at masonic lodges.
On December 20, 1972, Andrew Lane wrote from the Belmont offices, in response to concerns expressed by one Dr. Stuart Crane about freemasons in the society: "The JBS has no position on Freemasonry." "The Masons today are usually the outstanding and solid citizens of their communities." Again, on February 20, 1973, Andrew Lane wrote "...I do know many members of the Order, have over the years worked with many of them in a book, and related to several, all of whom are of unquestioned patriotism and loyalty to all that is finest in American and in Christian traditions." 4
A number of John Birch Society leaders have been freemasons: Council member Robert D. Love, founding member T. Coleman Andrews (1960-61 Who’s Who in America), Council member Ralph E. Davis, Frank E. Masland, Jr. (1964-65 Who’s Who), Cola Godden Parker (1950-51 Who’s Who), early JBS Council member Joseph Bracken Lee (1976-77 Who’s Who in America), Editorial Advisory Committee member of American Opinion Robert Bartlett Dresser (1976-77 Who’s Who in America) 5
The usual attacks are made by Bove: that 32° Scottish Rite freemasons worship Lucifer, that Albert Pike made this claim, and that 32° Scottish Rite freemasons are by definition "high-ranking". Stripped of his rhetoric and assertions, Bove fails to demonstrate that these freemasons in the John Birch leadership did anything other than convince the council that freemasons could be as patriotic and anti-communist as any other Americans. His only criticism of them is the fact that they are freemasons. His criticisms of Freemasonry are discredited lies. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1.My Summer in a Garden,Charles Dudley Warner (1829-1900). Chap. 15, 1871. Boston : Fields, Osgood & Co., 1871. xii, 183 pp. 18 cm. LCCN: 22010088.
2.Nicholas J. Bove, Jr. is currently chairman of the Get Us Out! (of the JBS) Committee, in Minneapolis, Minnesota 55406. Author of The Belmont Conspiracy of Silence and The Anatomy of a Smear "Elitist clubs like the Pilgrim Society of America and much less sophisticated offshoots from Masonry like the YMCA and the seemingly innocuous Elks and Rotary Clubs are in reality philosophically interconnected sects within the overall Masonic framework of the Luciferian tradition of Albert Pike." "...in a few short years we shall all be hanging from the same lamp posts, while MASONIC TERROR reigns around us." He also cites John DeFriend as supporting his accusations, without supplying specific references.
3.Non-mason Robert H. W. Welch (1899/12/01 - 1985/01/06) achieved prominence with his The Politician (1960) in which he attacked US President Dwight David Eisenhower as a communist sympathizer. Author of The Road to Salesmanship, Ronald Press Company, 1941; May God Forgive Us, Henry Regnery Company, 1952; The Life of John Birch, Henry Regnery Company, 1954. Editor and publisher of American Opinion. Founder of the John Birch Society on 9 December 1958. The Society was named after US Army Intelligence Captain John Birch who was killed on 25 August 1945 by Chinese communists. Welch’s "More Stately Mansions" address in Chicago in 1964, (found in The New Americanism) marked a move away from pure anti-communism to conspiracy theory with an acceptence of the origins of the communist conspiracy in Adam Weishaupt’s Illuminati. Also see. G. Edward Griffin The Life and Words of Robert Welch, and The Blue Book of The John Birch Society, a transcript of the two-day presentation given by Robert Welch at the founding meeting of The John Birch Society in Indianapolis, December 9, 1958.
4.Source; Nicholas J. Bove, Jr.<watch.pair.com/belmont.html> 2002/10/27.
5.Kangaroo Court versus the John Birch Society, Los Angeles: A.J. MacDonald and Associates Political research Bureau, 1963. Source; Nicholas J. Bove, Jr.<watch.pair.com/belmont.html> 2002/10/27.
15. What is the Skull and Bones?
"Skull and Bones is the oldest of Yale’s fraternities, founded in December of 1832 by a Yale senior named William Huntington Russell (1809-85). He and a group of classmates decided to form the Eulogian Club as an American chapter of a German student organization. The club paid obeisance to Eulogia, the goddess of eloquence, who took her place in the pantheon upon the death of the orator Demosthenes, in 322 B.C., and who is said to have returned in a kind of Second Coming on the occasion of the society’s inception. The Yale society fastened a picture of its symbol — a skull and crossbones — to the door of the chapel where it met. Today the number 322, recalling the date of Demosthenes' death, appears on society stationery. In 1856 Daniel Coit Gilman, who went on to become the founding president of Johns Hopkins University, officially incorporated the society as the Russell Trust Association, and Skull and Bones moved into the space it still occupies.
"For many years the society has possessed a skull that members call Geronimo. In [1986], under pressure from Ned Anderson, a former Apache tribal chairman in Arizona, the society produced the skull in question. The skull didn't match Anderson’s records, and it was returned to the society’s tomb.
"It does own an island on the St. Lawrence River — Deer Island, in Alexandria Bay [Donated by George Douglas Miller, who requested the island be called "Deer Iland."]. The forty-acre retreat is intended to give Bonesmen an opportunity to 'get together and rekindle old friendships.' A century ago the island sported tennis courts and its softball fields were surrounded by rhubarb plants and gooseberry bushes. Catboats waited on the lake. Stewards catered elegant meals. But although each new Skull and Bones member still visits Deer Island, the place leaves something to be desired. 'Now it is just a bunch of burned-out stone buildings,' a patriarch sighs. 'It’s basically ruins.' Another Bonesman says that to call the island 'rustic' would be to glorify it. 'It’s a dump, but it’s beautiful.'" 1
Initiates are known as Knights of Eulogia, their counterparts in the Scroll and Key fraternity are called Savages and non-members are labeled Barbarians while graduate members are styled Patriarchs. The society rule does not allow alcohol or drugs in their building, called the Crypt or Tomb. Their main activity appears to be weekly dinners accompanied by spirited debates.
By 1873, the fraternity was being criticised as a "deadly evil" practicing satanic initiations 2 while on September 29, 1876, a group calling itself "The Order of File and Claw" broke into the Skull and Bones’s building and subsequently published a pamphlet ascribing the order’s roots in an unidentified German society. 3
"According to one version of the Order’s founding, it was an outgrowth of an earlier British or Scottish freemasonic grouping first established at All Soul’s College at Oxford University in the late 17th century. Another version of the history of Skull & Bones is that it grew out of the German "nationalistic" secret societies of the early 19th century. Still a third explanation is that Skull & Bones is an uniquely American institution which adopted some of the rituals of European freemasonry, but molded these rituals and beliefs into a new form. " 4
Ron Rosenbaum, writing in Esquire in 1977, may be responsible for the current interest in the Skull and Bones. He detailed the history of the order, noted similarities to the Bavarian Illuminati and referred, sceptically, to the John Birch Society and other conspiracy theorists' views on the Illuminati. 5 In 1980, the right-wing Manchester Union Leader made an issue of George Bush’s Skull and Bones membership, quoting Rosenbaum but making it seem more sinister. Later, in the I992 election campaign, Pat Buchanan, George Bush’s challenger for the Republican nomination, accused the president of running 'a Skull and Bones presidency'.
In 2002 Ron Rosenbaum revisited the topic, noting that an "all-girl break-in team" had photographed the inside of the order’s building, revealing it to be little more than a common frat-house. Rosenbaum doesn't accept the theories of global conspiracy: "They didn't have to conspire to exercise power: At the height of what Bones member Henry Luce called 'the American century,' all they had to do was breathe, i.e. get born into the right family in an elite that practically did rule the world. That and a wink and a nod to a trusted friend now and then, no need for a secret handshake: Their power was public, in-your-face, had no need to hide itself." 6
The source of many of the accusations, British-born conspiracy theorist Antony Sutton (1925 - 2002/06/17) wrote a series of pamphlets about the order between 1983-1986, which were compiled into one volume and published as a book in 1986. 7
Current criticism of the Order of Skull and Bones range from Kris Millegan’s accusation that the Skull and Bones is the American branch of the Illuminati8 to Andrei Navrozov, author of The Gingerbread Race, who asserts that the initiation ritual "is like a black mass", while Eric Samuelson claims that "not unlike some Masonic ceremonies, it involves a compromising of individual dignity...." 9
While claiming to present a factual, balanced report, Goldstein and Steinberg erroneosly claim that Rosenbaum wrote that "the society’s Germanic origins are inherently wicked and pre-Nazi" and that "the Skull & Bones building on the Yale campus houses remnants from Hitler’s private collection of silver." In fact, Rosenbaum draws no conclusions about the alleged Germanic origins, and specifically states that Hitler’s silverware is in the archives of another Yale fraternity, Scroll and Key. They further distort a superficial similarity with Illuminati ritual by erroneosly claiming that a German inscription in the Skull and Bones building is from a German masonic ritual. 10
The link to the Illuminati is unproven and improbable although there is no reason that Russell might not have come across old Bavarian Illuminati texts or met German students who continued to idealize its spirit of liberalism and republicanism. There is no demonstrated link to Freemasonry. [RETURN TO INDEX]

1."George W., Knight of Eulogia - A rare look inside Skull and Bones, the Yale secret society and sometime haunt of the presumptive Republican nominee for President," Alexandra Robbins, [staff member of The New Yorker’s Washington bureau.] The Atlantic Monthly May 2000, Volume 285, No. 5; page 24-31. Also see Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power, Alexandra Robbins. Little, Brown. hb 240 pp. 6 x 9. ISBN: 0316720917
2.The Iconoclast October 13, 1873 vol. 1, no. 1, New Haven, Conn.
3."The Last Secrets of the Skull & Bones," Ron Rosenbaum. Esquire magazine, September 1977. Ref.: "pamphlet in a box of disintegrating documents filed in the library’s manuscript room under Skull and Bone’s corporate name, Russell Trust Association."
4.George Bush, Skull & Bones and the New World Order, Paul Goldstein, Jeffrey Steinberg. A New American View — International Edition White Paper April 1991.
5."The Last Secrets of the Skull & Bones," Ron Rosenbaum. Esquire magazine, September 1977.
6."Inside George W.’s Secret Crypt" by Ron Rosenbaum. The New York Observer. March 27, 2002, p. 1.
7.America’s Secret Establishment, An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones, Antony C. Sutton. Billings, Montana: Liberty Press, 1986.
8.A Journalist’s Introduction to Skull and Bones, Eric Samuelson [derived from a series of pamphlets by Antony C. Sutton]. The gingerbread race : a life in the closing world once called free,Andrei Navrozov. London : Picador Original, 1993. 344 pp. 24 cm. Also see: The Washington Post" George W. Was ’skull and Bones' Member at Yale" (February 24, 2000); The Grapevine, "Those Who Dismantled Our Constitution," Reprint of an article by Brian Downing Quig. (January 2, 1995). Cf.: "Bones of a Conspiracy," Claire Messud. Observer Life Magazine July 31, 1994, which provides a reasonably balanced picture, noting that much has been claimed but little proven. Also see: Membership List of All Skull and Bones Members From 1833-1950. The Russell Trust Association, New Haven, Conn., 1949.
9.Rosenbaum. "The slogan appears above a painting of skulls surrounded by Masonic symbols, a picture said to be "a gift of the German chapter." 'Wer war der Thor, wer Weiser, Bettler oder Kaiser? Ob Arm, ob Reich, im Tode gleich,' the slogan reads, or, 'Who was the fool, who the wise man, beggar or king? Whether poor or rich, all’s the same in death.'" "Toward the end of the ceremony of initiation in the 'Regent degree' of Illuminism... 'a skeleton is pointed out to him [the initiate], at the feet of which are laid a crown and a sword. He is asked 'whether that is the skeleton of a king, nobleman or a beggar.' As he cannot decide, the president of the meeting says to him, 'The character of being a man is the only one that is of importance'."
10.Everything You Ever Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask Kris Millegan Editor, Conspiracy Theory Research List.
16. What is the Royal Dragon Court?
The Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Order Ordo Dragonis, Sárkány Rend, 1408 appears to be a late twentieth century revival by Nicholas de Vere, of an unrecognized chivalric order, the Dragon Sovereignty (Ordo Draconis), "reconstituted" in 1408 by King Szigmond von Luxembourg of Hungary (1368-1437), later to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1433.
According to their website, the Hungarian Order of the Dragon is currently registered at the High Court of Budapest. Their website also makes the historically curious claim that Szigmond was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1411 by Pope Gregory XII.1
Nicholas de Vere, a self-styled occultist and satanist who claims to be a member of the Grail bloodline, seems to have precipitated a schism within the order, leaving Michel Roger Lafosse, controversial claimant to the Stuart throne of Scotland,2 as an Inner Court Member of a reworked order dedicated to the ancient virtues of chivalry: protection of the earth, upholding of peace, support of the downtrodden, defence of the feminine, and pursuit of knowledge.
Styling himself "HRH Prince Michael of Albany", Michel Lafosse wrote The Forgotten Monarchy of Scotland to bolster his claim.3 Promoted by historical revisionist,4 and son of Gerald Gardner, Laurence Gardner in such recently published books as Illustrated Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Bloodline of the Holy Grail, Realm of the Ring Lords and Genesis of the Grail Kings, the order, and Lafosse’s claims, have generated little interest from mainstream historians.5
From claiming Michael Lafosse as the rightful Stuart king of England, Gardner has gone on to argue that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is a nonfiction history, and that the holy bloodline comes from Annunaki, from the twelfth planet of our solar system.6
Nicholas de Vere continues to promote the Imperial and Royal Dragon Court and Dragon Sovereignty aka Sarkeny Rend as a separate entity. Although he wrote the introduction to Genesis of the Grail Kings he has since had a falling out with Gardner over authorship. His unpublished From Transylvania to Tunbridge Wells is alleged to be the source of much of Gardner’s information on the Royal Dragon Court. According to Nicholas de Vere: "'Mr' Laurence Gardner, author of Bloodline of the Holy Grail and Genesis of the Grail Kings resigned from the Imperial and Royal Dragon Court - 'by mutual agreement' - following the dismissal of his business partner, Mr. Adrian Wagner, who was asked to leave the Dragon Court before 12th November 1999."7
Composer and producer, and great-great grandson of Richard Wagner, Adrian Wagner (b. 1952) composed, recorded and released companion musical suites to Gardner’s books but is reputed to have also parted company with Gardner.
Although unrelated to Freemasonry — and unsubstantiated — anti-masons and dispensational fundamentalists have used the claims of de Vere, Lafosse and Gardner as further justification of their own claims of conspiracy, satanic rituals in the Vatican and a crypto-masonic new world order.8

1.See: <www.royalhouseofstewart.org.uk/Royal_Dragon_Court.htm>. Pope Gregory XII was one of three rival popes during a period now referred to as the Western or Great Schism. Szigmond [Sigismund] became German king in 1411 and was crowned emporer by Pope Eugenius IV (1431-1437) in 1433.
2.For a debunking of Lafosse’s claims, see Sean Murphy, Centre for Irish Genealogical and Historical Studies, Carraig, Cliff Road, Windgates, Bray, Co Wicklow, Ireland, 31 October 2002: <homepage.tinet.ie/~seanjmurphy/chiefs/lafosse.htm>. Also see <members.rogers.com/jacobites/>, <www.chivalricorders.org/royalty>, <www.catalyst-highlands.co.uk/culloden/theking.htm>, <www.chivalricorders.org/orders/self-styled/selfsty2.htm> (accessed 2004/12/03). Few of these websites remain online but may be accessed through the Wayback Machine.
3.The Forgotten Monarchy of Scotland Britain: Chrysalis / Vega Books, February 2002 Softback edition, ISBN 1843332752.
4.Historical revisionism generally takes one of two forms: changes in understanding of past events in the light of new, more accurate research; or changes in interpretation of past events to promote particular political or ideological agendas. The first, sometimes termed historiographical revisionism, is a legitimate pursuit of historians. The second, less a form of revision than of denial, utilizes the omission of contradicting evidence, and occasionally outright fabrications — and has given the popular use of the term revisionism an unsavory connotation.
5.Author and lecturer David Icke claims that Laurence Gardner is a shape-shifter who takes part in human sacrifice rituals. He also announced on the Terry Wogan talk show on BBC1 in 1991 that he was the Son of God. [See Them, Adventures with Extremists, Jon Robinson. p. 152.]
6.Also see "Realm of the Ring Lords," Sir Laurence Gardner, Nexus Magazine, vol 6, no. 6 (October-November 1999). Mapleton, Queensland, Australia.
7.See: www.dagobertsrevenge.com/dragoncourt/forward.html (2002-2003), now found at web.archive.org.
8.Further unsubstantiated claims are made at <www.geocities.com/newworldorder_themovie/DragonsRant.html>.


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