Secret Societies by Devra Newberger Speregen et all

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, $9.99 . DISPt.AY UNTIL 04/02/2013

a

~IJ~9 JllIl

71111111

A SDURCII INTSRUNK MIiOIA PUBLICATION

PHOTO CRED ITS 6 7 7 7 8 9 9

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CONTENTS 6 Inside Top Secret Societies

8 Shrot!ded in Mystery

13 Secret Societies in Literature

14 CosaNostra

22 Freemasons

31 Secret Societies in Film

32 The Illuminati

39 A Society Wardrobe

42 Skull & Bones

48 Fraternities vs. Collegiate Secret Societies

58 The Rosicrucians

64 7he Sons of Liberty

68 The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

70 Ordo Templi Orientis

72 Knights of the Golden Circle

75 Knights Templar

78 The Outrageous Five

80 The Black Hand

81 Central Intelligence Agency

84 The Bohemian Grove

86 Symbols of Secret Societies

88 "01' Boys' Clubs " for Girls

89 Sinister Secret Societies

95 Conclt!sion

TOP • SECRET • BEHIND CLOSED DOORS We know they exist: clandestine gatherings of wealth y men with mutual agendas, secret handshakes, and covert ceremonies that date

back centuries. We've heard rumors o f conspiracies. bizarre rituals, exclus ive membership, and sometimes dangerous initia tion s . We've wondered about ominous signs we've seen on doors in

inconspicuous buildings across the country: "The Order of Really Mysterious Men" or "The Lodge of Suspicious Fellows." Finally, we've seen for ourselves the outrageous cos tum es

depicted in movies and on television, emblazoned with cryptic symbols and crests that only a select few understand. Yet aside from the fla shy images and rumors, we know very little about secret societies. We are always left to wonder: Who are those guys ... and what are they doing behind those closed doors?

THE DEARLY DEVOTED Nea rl y every village, town, and city in the United States has secret societies "hidden" right under our noses. Ma ny are forms of

centuries-old orders like the Freemasons, Odd Fellows, llluminati, or Shriners. Others are simply men 's clubs like the Rotary, Lions, or Elks. And while not formally secret societies, the Rotary, Lions, and Elks (like the Freemasons) are joined by men who swear secret oaths and adhere to confidential practices. What separates service-oriented all-male societies like the Rotary and the Elks from "secret" societies like the Freemaso ns is more than just the arcane oaths and cryptic initiation process it takes

6

SE C RET SOC IETIES

to join. The difference boils down to an allegiance stronger than basic loyalty. Not that Rotary and Elks members are not loyal to their clubs, but the devotion of secret society members goes much deeper. Secret society brothe rhoods take loya lty to a whole other level- the kind ofloyalty that puts the brotherhood above all else. Even family. In a secret society, this allegiance is nonnegotiable. If a member behaves disloyall y, he is likely to meet with an extremely harsh punishment. Even death is not off the table. For the inductee, becoming a member of a secret society is lifechanging. He kn ows the group he is pledging his allegiance to may ask him to do more than host a spaghetti dinner fund raiser or coat drive. He knows this before he joins: he learns the ru les and codes of conduct while pledging ("preparing" to become a member). So before he takes that final oath pledgin g his life to this exclusive brotherhood, he had bette r be sure he knows what he's getting into! To an outsider, the oaths, rites, and rituals of secret societies can appear outrageous, but according to Adam Parfrey, the coauthor of Rit,w/ America, they are deSigned first and foremost to be intimidating. Parfrey says this is a way the hierarchy can challenge prospective members and test their loyalties. He points to old hazing initiation pranks that made people believe their heads were about to be chopped off or, less dramatically, they were drinking goats' blood. "Some groups actually seemed to appeal to the sadistic," Parfrey says. The idea is that the more intimidating the task, the more impressive the man who completes it.

tttttttttt Beginnings of Brotherhood A fraternity (t he Latin Fratermeans "brot her") is a brotherhood, a lthough the term can also mean a distinct or fo rmal organi zation. The defini t ion of a frate rni ty is an organized society of men associated 10 an environment of companionship and bro therhood, and dedicated to the intellectual , physical, and social development of its members. There is evidence of fraternal orders as far back as the first Egyptians and documented fraternal orga nizations existmg as far back as ancient Greece and Rome. III premodern cultures, they came to be known as Mannerbunds, German for all-male "warriorbands" or "warrior-societies" and used to describe hugely powerful, secret organizations with closed-door ceremonies and confidential memberships, ri tuals, a nd prac tices. Today these Mann erbunds have evolved into different types of a ll-ma le organ izations and agencies, including college fraternities, orders, men's clubs, religious sects, paramilitary, quasi-governmental groups, and other powerful international organizations. What they all have in common is their penchant for secrecy.

8

SEC RET SOC I ETIE S

W

ith brotherhoods like the Freemasons, which dates back to the Middle Ages, and the Cosa Nostra (better known as the Mafi a) , which began in the , 800s, it's a wonder how many societies have managed to persevere for so long...yet still remain so mysterious. The answer to that is simple: The more mysterious they are, the more attractive they become to outsiders looking to get in . With such a high priori ty placed on confidentiality (and hars h punishments rumored to be handed down to those who spill club secrets), prospective me mbers know their conti nued me mbership in these private brotherhoods depends on keeping mum. Regardless of what actuall y happens in these cloak·and.dagger meetings, it's no secret these covert clubs have kept us nonmembers fascinated for centuries.

SECRECY THROUGH THE AGES Though many secret societies were formed with political and religious goals in mind , their fixation on mys tery and secrecy has left them wide open to criticism as the focus of many conspiracy theories, blamed for aliens, UFOs, assassi nations, occult practices, and the infiltration of the CI A. And though, in reality, the intent of these societies is usuall y much less mischievous and destructive, they have had, more than once, a major im pact on world history thro ugh the ages.

WHY JOIN? Reasons for joinin g a secret society haven 't changed much over the years. Back when many of these orders of brotherhood were formed, membe rs en joyed getting away from their wives and kids for a few evenings of dri nki ng and smoking with their "brothers" every week, The same goes for many men's clubs today-men enjoy the camaraderie of like-mi nded men on their time off and they seek to develop friends hi ps in this fas hion. Yea rs ago men were also drawn to these organizations because many provided life insurance and other care for members and their families at a time when Social

SECRET SOCIETIES TIMEIJ.INE

The first Chinese secret soc iety, the Red Eyebrows, helps to overthrow the tyrant Wang Mang in 25 C.E.

SEC R ET SOCIETIES

9

HISTORY CHANGERS

A Mysterious Slip of Paper and the Illuminati In 1784, a messenger en route to Paris was struck by lightning. The authorities discovered a piece of paper on the dead messenger's body, written by Adam Weishaupt, head of the Bavarian Illuminati, and titled "The Original s hift in Days of Illumination." It described the Illuminati's ultimate goal for "New World Order through Revolution:' It also spoke of the French Revolution (which hadn't happened yet). Bavarian authorit ies discovered more revealing documents in Weishaupt's home about controlling all facets of Freemasonry, overthrowing European monarchies, and putting an end to the Catholic Church. The French authorities believed this secret society known as the Illuminati was a huge threat. They ordered the prosecutio n of all members of both the Illuminati and the Freemasons. Weishaupt and his family managed to escape persecution and lived in Gotha, Germany, until his death in 1830.

RA ND OM OBS ERVANCES r...J The m e mbers of the Improved Order of the Red Men. which dates back to the earl y 1800s. dressed in Native American garb and had rituals inspired by Native American

culture. ye t refused to admit Native

Americans in to the ir soc iety. r...J

Som e original secret orders have since

dropped the rituals and esoteric pretense to morph into full-ti me insurance companies.

ID

SECRET S O C I ETI ES

Security, Medicare, and life insurance did not exist. Still others were drawn to the obscure religious or political practices the clubs glorified or to the exclusivity they offered. In addition , as Parfrey furth er explains in Ritual America, of the more than 600 secret societies present at the turn of the century, many had specific purposes: They were labor unions, business groups, rural or agra rian organizations, religiOUS and occult organizations, sobriety groups, drinking groups, and immigra nt (or anti·immigrant) organizations. No matter their purpose or to whom they appeal, all secret societies have one thing in common: a membership privy to certain things nonmembers are not privy to. Whether it's secret handshakes, undercover initiations, or an agenda with hidden objectives, regardless of what actually happens behind closed doors, these secret brotherhoods continue to fascinate us for one simple reason: People love a good secret.

SINISTER SOCIETIES There's something inherently diabolical about a secret society. Just consider a few of tlle events secret societies have been linked to throughout history:

+> The secret society known as the BAVARIAN ILLUMINATI was accused of sparkin g tlle French Revolution . +> Another secret society, the BLACK HAND, is credited with an assassination in Sarajevo that led to World War l. +> Members of the ORDER OF SKULL& BONES-a secret society with past U.S. presidents as members- are rumored conspirators in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. + > The revolutionary activities of the CARBONARI, a secret society in Italy loosely associated with the Freemasons, led to a series of revolts that ultimately shaped the state of Italy in 1820. +> The CHINESE TRIADS, a group of criminal secret societies in China that are currently involved in organized crime, narcotics trafficking, and computer software piracy, have also been known to take part in overthrowing unpopular Chinese governments. Still other secret societies have been connected throughout history with such activities as high-profile kidnappings and assassinations, drug dealing, grave robbing, group sex, cannibalism, and polyga my, according to Amy D. Bernstein, secret societies expert and author of Secrets of tile Code. "President John F. Kenn edy even gave a speech before the American Newspaper Publishers Association condemning these groups as a 'grave danger' to democracy," Bernstein writes in U.S. News «( World Report.

SECRECY AND ITS ROOTS IN RELICION Many religions are rooted in secret traditions, and many still involve secrecy: Believers are told things forbidden to outsiders, and more information is revealed in stages as believers rise th rough the ranks. In the Church of Scientology, for example, there is a series of eight grades or levels one must pass before progressing to complete knowledge, known in the religion as the "Bridge to Total Freedom." Many secret societies incorporate this "ladder approach" into their systems; the only way to achieve success and res pect within the group is to pass a series of tests or steps. In man y college fraternities, for example, new members rise up through the echelons by performing tasks and gaining knowledge, usually about the history of the fraternity, its founders, and its code of conduct. Secrecy wi thin religion is noth ing new. While Christianity is seen today as open and inviting, as Catherine Beyer, an educator, illustrator, and web au thor from Wisconsin, points out, "It can' t be forgotten that for most of its existence, the Catholi c Church performed all of its rituals and wrote all copies of scripture in Latin , which was understood by almos t no one outside of the Church." Just as goods were traded back in the Middle Ages, so were belief systems. When crusaders and merchants like Marco Polo introduced Eastern art, architecture, literature , and science to

Europe, they also introduced mystical and esoteric philoso phy and religio n. During this time, Italy was already exchanging philosophical ideas with the Middle East, so the ideas the crusaders and merchants eventuall y exchanged with the Europea ns had been tremendously influenced by the Middle East.

SECRET CLUBS LONG AGO » The builders' and arti sans' gui lds of classical Rome , ca ll ed the Coll egia, a re thought to be "the model for the medieval trade brotherhoods, forerunn ers of secret soc ieties," according to

A Secret History of Freemasonry by Paul Naudon . In these ancient brotherhoods, trade secrets were guarded. Members used passwords a nd covert signs to recognize one

SECRET SOCIETIES TODAY While many secret societies are still functioning, nearl y all of them have changed with the times. Medieval torture practices considered illegal in today's wo rld are, thankfull y, gone. So are most, if not all, immoral ones. (This is not the case wi th evil secret societies such as the Cosa Nostra, Ku Klux Klan, or al-Qaeda, which continue both illegal and immoral practices.) Though they still remain private and highl y guarded, we have, in fact, been able to uncover bits of information about secret societies and piece together profiles of the better-kn own brotherhoods, thanks to discontented and disgruntled society dropouts who have squealed on their former brothers. Through extens ive interviews with these ex-members, ma ny conducted by authori ties such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FB I), we have gained in sight into many behind-dosed-doors activities of secret societies. In addition, we ca n thank the media for much we have learned about secret societies in recent yea rs. The Freemasons, the Illumi nati, and the Cosa Nostra, among others, have become

another and as protection against competitors. » According to Bernstein, both the Ma sons

(Freemaso ns are also ca ll ed "Masons") , who dat e bac k to the Middle Ages, and Yale Uni ve rsity 'S infamous sec ret society Order of Skull & Bones , which began in 1832, "create closed , supportive environme nts which downplay competition in favor of an intense groupfocused mentality." » Early Chri stia ns kept th eir communities a secret to avoid persecution by Roman authorities, as did the Jews in Spain and Portugal during the Inqui sition in th e 14th and 15th centuri es. Both th e early Christian s and Jews used a system of signs and w ords to recogn ize eac h other in publi c in order to remain sec ret. » Durin g th e Civil War, a number of soldiers from

North and South carried proof that th ey were Freemasons at all tim es. They believed thi s w ould sec ure them good treatment if they were captured by enemy troop s who feared the we llknown society.

SEC RET SOCIETIES

(I

HISTORY CHANGERS

A Dramatic A ssassination by the Black Hand "Two bullets fi red on a Sarajevo street on a sunny June morning in 1914 set in motion a series of events that shaped the world we live in today. world War One, world War Two, the Cold War and its conclusion all trace their origins to the gunshots that interrupted that summer day:'-Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, 1914, EyeWitness to History (www.eyewitnesstohistory.com. 1998) The victims were Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-H ungarian Empire, and his wife , Sophie. The assassin was 19-year-old Gavrilo Princip, a member of the Serbian nationalists' secret society, the Black Hand. The Balkan region of Europe was tense at the start of the 20th century, and the Black Hand society members believed the death of the archduke would change the political climate in the region and help their fellow Serbians. Besides Princip, there were seven other conspirators lin ing the motorcade ro ute in Sarajevo as the archduke and his wife were returning from an official visit to City Hall . Each conspirator took a different position, ready to attack the royal car if the opportunity presented itself. After a series of missteps and errors, the Austrian commander, General Potiorek, had pleaded with the archduke to leave the city, as it was "seeth ing with re bell ion." But as the royal process ion navigated a sharp turn en ro ute from City Ha ll , it slowed directly in fro nt of Princip, who seized the opportunity and fired the two shots.

entertainment fodder for books, television, movies, and pop culture; there's always a secret society behind the villain in the latest bestselling novel or Oscar-winning fi lm, causing mayhem in all sorts of destructive, covert ways. In Dan Brown's novel Tile Da Vinci Code, it was the Opus Dei (founded in Spain in 1928 by a Catholic priest) and Priory of Sion (begun in France in 1956). In Brown's next book, Angels ll[ Demol1S, it was the !I1uminati. In The Lost Symbol, also by Dan Brown, and in the fi lm Na tional Treasure, it was the Freemasons. In the fi lm Th e Good Shepherd it was the Order of Skull & Bones. And, of course, there would be no movie series based on Mario Puzo's The Godfather, no Goodft lla s movie directed by Martin Scarsese, and no H BO series TIle Sopranos without the Cosa Nostra. There are also very low-profile secret societies out there we know next to nothing about. What we do know is that with modernday distractions like television, video games, and the Internet, membership in these secret orders has dropped abruptly since the late 1960 5. Active societies are desperate to attract new members.

But few people today have the motivation to spend months memorizing society rules or following strict practices in order to climb the ladder of an organization's hierarchy. After all , why bother, when you can sit at home and "join" the Illuminati in TIle Secret World on Xbox'

"The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society: President Kennedy said , "and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies. to secret oaths and to secret proceedings."

~

Calling our "way of life u nder attack" from secret societies, the president added, "We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence: '"

THE

ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND AND FAMILY

-Asa ruIO• said "oll\\os. tbo I\\oro blprro a tblng Is tbO loSS I\\ysterloUS it \lro1/es to bo. \t Is your cOI\\I\\on\llaco •teatureloSS cril\\os wIIlcb are roally \lUullng. jUst as a cOl\\I\\on\llacO taCO Is tbo I\\ost dlttlCU\t to Idontlty·" _Aa1""Uft COMAM 00'1\.£

Secrecy is a fundamental requirement of membership in the Cosa Nostra (the Mafia). Members are required not only to keep their activities hidden, but also to deny the very- existence of the organization ... even to their families.

ttttttttttttt

T

he single most important rule of membership in the Cosa Nostra is Om.rta: the Oath of Silence. Initiates swear this oath when becoming "made men"-those who have earned the respect and honor of others and are forma lly inducted into the Cosa Nostra. It requires members to keep the secrets of the brotherhood and strictly prohibits them from collaborating with the authorities. Ever. In any circumstance. It even forbids membe rs from seeking the assistance of the police when they are victims of a crime themselves. The Cosa Nostra (Italian for "this thing of ours"), also known as the Mafia, the Mob, or La CosaNostra (LCN to the FB I), is the American arm of the Italian Mafia-gangsters and criminals from Italy expelled by their country. It is the most notorious and widespread of all criminal secret societies and the foremost organi zed criminal threat to American society.

A coalition of crimi nals, linked by blood ties and dedicated to pursuing crime, the Cosa Nostra consists of different coscas

(families or groups) that are arranged geographically and engaged in significant and organized racketeering activity.

14

SEC RET SOC I ETIES

Members of the Cosa Nos tra have a slightl y different view of their orga ni za tion. While they obviously know their group engages in unlawful activities . th ey in s tead see the ir association

as an ave nue throu gh which to conduct business a nd strengthen their communities. Senior mem bers have passed down th e organi zatio n's code of conduct fro m generati on to generation , with

rules for governing family and business stemming from the old country. The code, though objectionable in modern society, is the code they have always li ved by. It is the onl y code they know. Mostl y active in the New York metropolitan area, parts of New Jersey, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago, and New England, the Cosa Nostra has members in othe r major cities, and intern ationally they are linked to the Italian Mafia. Though the organization originated back in the 1800s in rural Sicily, it has managed to hold fast, fi rs t infiltrating the social and econom ic fabric of Ital y, then eventuall y of the world. The wo rd mafia , deri ved from the Sicilian dialect of Italian, li terall y translates to "hostili ty to the law" or "boldness." The word was first used in 1838 , in a police report in the province of Trapani, Italy, and has since evolved into an international label for all organi zed crime, whether referring to the Ita lian Mafia , the Russ ian Mafia, or the Asian Mafia. The Cosa Nos tra is referred to (by both its members and the authorities) only as the "American arm" of the Italian Mafia. Back in the 1800s, only white males of full Italian herita ge could join the Cosa Nostra. In the early 1980s, that rule was extended to include men whose fathers we re of Italian descent (even if their mothers were not) and men married to non-Italian women. The rule never budged, however, on the patrilineal requirement. In the mid1800s, when the Cosa Nostra began to take shape, the government of mainland Italy had trouble maintaining law and ord er on the island of Sicil y. Sicilians disrega rded the authorities and instead relied upon relati ves and family ties for sa fety, protection, justice, and survi val. Gang-related violence centered on famil y connections became commonplace, and for the next hundred years, Sicilian casco s ruled the area, and man y of the codes of conduct associated with th e Mafia came into existence. The extreme right-wing rise o f fascism in Italy under Benito Mussolini , who specificall y had his eye on putting an end to the Sicilian Mafia, led to the expulsion of powerful Mafia clan leaders. These Mafia ca ptains found new ho mes in Am er ica, ta kin g

their power, notoriety, and codes of conduct with them to the different boroughs of New York City.

Racketeering : committIng crimes such as extortion . loan-shark ing, bribery. and obstruction of justice to further one 's

illegal business activities.

r-..J

MOBSPEAK '

. ',

Confused by the colorful words and phrases you hear peppered throughout conversations between mobsters? Here's a basic transla1!l0n to keep you in the know:

Babbo A mafia term for an underling who is considered useless.

The books A phrase indicating membership in the family. If there is a possibility for promotion , then the books are open. If not, the books are closed.

Cafone Peasant or lower-class. Clock To keep a person under surveillance. Come heavy To walk in carrying a loaded gun. You should not take a meeting with a Russian drug dealer .unless you "come heavy:'

Guests of the state or Guest.s of the government Going to prison, doing time.

In the wind After leaving the witness protection program, you are "in the wind;' meaning you are on your own somewhere out there.

Moe Green special Getting killed with a shot in the eye, like the character Moe Green in The Godfather. One form of "sending a message:' Pezzonovante Literally means .95 caliber, though also a term for someone who is a big shot.

R~ One who snitches or squeals after having been arrested.

Spring cleaning cleaning up, hiding, or getting rid of evidence.

Through the eye A message to say "We're watching you!"

:.". Va Fa Napole "Go to Naples" (i.e., "Go to hell").

"THE CASTELLAMMARESE WAR" Old World mobsters Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria (Sicily, d. 193[) and Salvatore Maranzano (Sicily, d. [93[) continued the traditions and ri tuals of the Sicilian coscos when they settled in America, monopolizing businesses like alcohol distribution during Prohibition. Largely preying on vulnerable Italian immigrants, they caused a three-year bloody rivalry of control between families called the "CasteUammarese War," named afte r their village in Sicily. Maranzano's "army" were decidedly the vic tors of this war and took control of the Cosa Nostra in its wake. Maranzano went on to restructure the organization in New York City, forming it into a system that is still adhered to today. The restructuring called for a single Mafiosi family to be assigned to each city, outside of New York City. They were to be headed by a boss and an underboss. Below that, each famil y was di vided in to crews of soldie rs, each crew headed by a capo (boss). In New York City, because of its size, the city was split into fi ve families-k nown as the famou s Five Families of New York City-with Maranzano placing himself at the top of the pyramid as capo dei capi, or "boss of bosses ." The Five Families that made up thi s criminal conglomerate we re the Lucchese (the Bronx), Bonanno (Brooklyn) , Gambino (Queens), Luciano/ Genovese (Manhattan), and Profaci /Colombo (Staten Island) fam ilies .

Known as "Mustache Petes," the early generation of Sicilian Mafiosi in America claimed many prominent members with many colorful nicknames. The practice of "FAT TONY" giving nicknames among the Mafia became customary among members as well as among FBI agents trying to keep track of the most dangerous mobsters. Don't let their creative nicknames throw you, however: They were all as sinister as they come.

Baby Face » Lester Nelson, Chicago (d. 1934)

·.ugsy »

Benjamin Si egel, Brooklyn (d. 1947)

The Chin » Vincent Gigante, New York City (d. 2005)

Dapper Don and Teflon Don » John Gotti, New York City (d. 2002)

"~ON

CARLO"

Don Carlo » Carlo Gambino, Si cily (d. 1976)

Gasplpe » Anthony Casso, Brooklyn (b. 1940)

NO HAPPY ENDING FOR MARANZANO

GoH Bag » Sam Hunt, Chi cago (d. 1956)

The Grim Reaper » Gregory Scarpa, Brookl yn (d. 1994)

.loe Bananas » Joseph Bonanno, New York City (d. 2002)

.lohnny Sausage » John Barbat o, New York City (b. 1934)

Louie Bagels » Loui s Daidon e, New York City

Lucky Luciano » Ch arli e Luciano (Salvatore Lucania), New York City (d. 1962)

"PRIME MINISTER"

No Nose » John DiFron zo, Chicago (b. 1928)

Sammy Bull » Salvatore Gravano, Brooklyn (b. 1945)

Scarface » Alphonse Capone, Chicago (d. 1947)

Three-Finger Brown » Tommy

!!"!111111...~

Lucc hese, Sicily (d. 1967) ·not a member of Cosa Nostra but a gangster working for the American Mafia

"SCARFACE"

•• •• •



While the newly constructed hierarchy put in place by Maranzano commanded res pect from Italia n Americans in New York City on the whole, there were some very unhap py Cosa Nostra members. Charlie "LucJ.,.y" Luciano was one of them . Lucky Luciano had been promised equal status by Maranzano, and when that didn't pan out, he felt betrayed. In [93[, he hired a team of hit men to kill Maranzano. Then, with Maranzano out of the wa y, Luciano took over as the most powerful Mafia boss in America. Lucky Luciano used his stature to run the Cosa Nostra like a major corporatio n. He set up a ruling body called the "LCN (La CosaNostra) Commission," composed of seven bosses, and divided the different businesses run by the Cosa Nos tra (rackets) among the families. He did away with the role of capo dei capi, yet he was still the undisputed leader of the LC N Commission. The commission was primarily developed in order to settle internal disputes within the organization. In 1936, Luciano was arrested on charges of organized prostitution and sentenced to prison, but he didn't give up his role of capo. Instead he Just got made? What

WHO YOU CALLlN' WALNUTS?

would your mob nickname be? Visit a mob nilme generator online and find out: www.mymobnameocoml.

continued to rule the Cosa Nostra from his jail cell through acting boss "Don Vito" Genovese

(Sicily, d. 1969). In the wake of Luciano's impri sonment, the Cosa

NOStl"3

VITO

experienced great growth,

GENOVESE

in add ition to many crushing defeats. It can be credited with the expansion of Las Vegas, after developing gambling ope rations there and in Havana , Cuba. U nder Luciano's reign, the

Cosa Nostra ruled the largest d ru g-smuggling operations in the world and headed up a host of other organized crime operations. Up until th is time, the public was unfamiliar with the name "Cosa Nostra," though people certainly knew of the group's activities. In '958, when Genovese was indicted on charges of

MEYER LANSKY, AKA THE MOB'S

ACCOUNTANT

conspiring to sell narcotics. the secret name "Cosa

Nostra" entered public record. Outsiders were finally able to put a name behind the faces of organized cri m e.

SECRET SOC IETIES

17

BIG BUCKS IN CRIME The members of the Cosa Nostra do not limit th emse lves to drug running. They 're a lso in vo lved in a laundry list of criminal activity, including illegal gambling, political corruption, extortion, kidnapping. fraud, counterfeiting, murders, bombings , and weapons trafficking. Th ey are a lso known to engage in arso n and other racketeering crimes.

The Cosa Nostra-along wi th the Mafia in Italy-is infamous for it s vio lent assaults on Ita lian law enforcement officials. According to the FBI ,

in Sicily th e term "Excel lent Cadaver" is used to distinguish th e assassination of prominent government officials from the common criminals and ordinary citizens killed by the Mafia. Highranking vict im s include police commissioners, mayors, judges, police colonels and generals, and Parliament members,

THE JOURNEY TO MADE MAN According to Pierre de Champlain , author of Mobsters, Gangsters and Men of Hon o",., "Cosa Nostra's selection process is even more rigorous than any prestigious business enterprise, and the selection of candidates may take several years." Former Mafia member Tommaso Buscetta (Sicily, d. 2000) , who defected from the organization in 1984, told the author that prospective candidates are "carefully observed and screened for a period of time without knowing it. "

Mafiosi gain status when they are invited into the Cosa Nostra and are also rewarded with res pect and a large share of the take collected by the organization as a result of racketeering. The Cosa Nostra considers this money "income,"

For Italian men engaged in criminal activity, being asked to become a member of the Mafia is the highest honor they can possibly receive. As Buscetta explained, new recruits to the Cosa Nostra start at the very bottom. They are required to perform various tasks that involve violence or intimidation, such as collecting monies owed to other members and families. "As time goes on," Champlain writes in U.S. News", World Report, "recruits will be tested for their loyalty and competence by being asked to perform more daring criminal assignments," And by "more daring criminal assignments," onc can only guess

what Champlain means. Once a candidate has proven he is a "man of honor" and has value to the organization, he is officially invited to join "the family." Joining the family involves a detailed initiation ceremon y that dates back to the 1800s. This rite of passage originated in Sicily and has changed only minimally. The ceremony has three distinct steps: t. The candidate must be presented by

a member to the whole group. 2. The rules- or commandments-are fully described to the candidate, ensuring he clearly understands what he's getting himself into. He is also give n an opportunity to back out at this time (which is unlikely because he is made to understand

that the penalty for backing out would be death). The candidate is then asked to choose a godfather from among the other members. 3.

Standing before his godfather, the candidate must swear the Fratuzzi Oath. TOMMASO BUSCETTA

PAUL

CASTELLANO

Banding Together for a "Mafia Takedown"

The Fratuzzi Oath is the Mafia loyalty oath. It CAPACI is named after an 1889 Bagharian secret MASSACRE society called Fratuzzi, or "Little Brothers." The oath goes beyond ensuring the candidate wi ll be loyal to the club. It spells out the consequences if that oath is broken. Champlain retells an account of the Fratuzzi Oath told by Giuseppe Alongi, a police commissioner in Pa lermo,

in a book Alongi wrote in 1900. "On a table in front of him," Champlain recounts, "the aspirant would see the image of a saint, a dagger, and a candle. One of the members would ask the candidate to present his right hand and would then pierce a finger with the dagger, drawing enough blood that it would drip on the image." The novice holds the saint's picture as it burns, stands before his godfather, and recites the oath: " I pledge my honor to befaitlif"l to the Fraternity [FratellaHza], as the Fraternity is faithful to me. As this saint alld a felV drops of my blood are bltmed, 50 lVill I give all my blood for the FratemiLy, until my ashes and my blood return to tl1eir origilwf conditiol1 , as it lVillllot ever be possible for l11e to leave the Fraternity."

From that moment on , he is a member of the Cosa Nostra.

PART OF THE FAMILY Everything changes for the new member after the initiation ceremony. People around him treat him with respect and distinction. Nothing can be done without first asking his permi ssion. "When he arrives in public places, such as restaurants or bars, people will sta nd up, give him a chair, come up to him ," Champlain says. "A made member, whether he is liked or hated, gets respect, especially in his own neighborhood, where he is seen as being above the ordinary person ." As in many other brotherhood organizations, respect and allegiance are key to Cosa Nostra members. "Respect can be extended to severa l generations of a Cosa Nostra mem ber's family," Champlain explains. "Respect will be given to a member's grandch ildren. eve n if they have committed a serioll s

blunder; and help will be provided to them."

In 1992, italian law enforcement felt the wrath of the italian Mafia with a vengeance. it was the beginning of a newfound coalition between the italian Criminal Affairs Department and the u.s. FBI, hell-bent on bringing down the Mafia for good. The coalition began when ital ian magistrate Giovanni Falcone (the director of the Criminal Affairs Department in Rome), his wife, and three police bodyguards were killed by a massive bomb so powerful it blew a 30-foot crater in the road. The murders became known as the Capaci Massacre, named for the town in Palermo, Sicily, where it happened. Less than two months later, the Mafia struck again-this time at Falcone's replacement, judge Paolo Borsellino. Borsellino and five of his bodyguards were killed outside the apartment of Borsellino's mother in Palermo when a car packed with explosives was detonated by remote control. under judge Falcone's tenure, the FBi and italian law enforcement had established a close working relationship aimed at dismantling the mighty italian organized crime groups operating in both countries. That relationship intensified in the wake of Falcone's and Borsellino's murders. Most recently, in 2011, the FBi arrested 130 Cosa Nostra members in New York City (and other East Coast cities) in the largest internationally coordinated organized crime takedown in the bureau's history. The report from the FBi read that members of New York's infamous Five Families-the Bonanno, Colombo, Gambino, Genovese, and Luchese crime organizations-were rounded up along with members of the New jersery-based DeCavalcante family and New England Mafia to face charges including murder, drug trafficking, arson,loansharking, illegal gambling, witness tampering, labor racketeering, and extortion. "The notion that today's mob fami lies are more genteel and less violent than in the past is put to lie by the charges contained in the indictments unsealed today:' said janice Fedarcyk, assistant director in charge of the FBi's New York Field Office, right after the arrest. "Even more of a myth is the notion that the mob is a thing of the past; that La Cosa Nostra is a shadow of its former self'

SECRET SOC I ETIES

19

THE RULES AFTER THE OATH The code of conduct new members must follow is nearly as important as the oath itself. The rules are similar to the Ten Commandments, and all are fairly straightforward: +> BE LOYAL. New members are asked if they would be ready to kill their own sons or brothers if it is found out they have turned informan t. +> PRACTICETHE OMERTA (OATH OF SILENCE) . Though frequently broken, the Omerta is the single most important rule of the Cosa Nostra. Betraying this oath is punishable by death. +> BE A TEAM PLAYER. Don't engage in battle if you ca n't win. The directi ve extends to personal life. +> BE A MAN OF HONOR. Respect womanhood and your elders.

fBI'S MOB TIMEliNE 1951

.

determines that A U.S. Senale comm,tte e h

. tion" known as t e a "sinister criminal orgaOlz a Mafia is in operation in the United States.

, e uncovers a

1957 The New York Slale P0 I,c

. LeN figures from around the meeting of major I New York town of . the small upsta e country I~ f the attendees are arrested. Appalachian. Many 0 The event is the catalyst that change~ the way law enforcement battles organized cnme.

1959 Genovese is convicted for conspiracy to H ceives a 15-year violate narcotics '~WS. e re the family from sentence but continues to run . his prison celt in Atlanta, Georgia.

+ > NEVER BETRAY ANY OF THE SECRETS OF THI S COSA NOSTRA. +> NEVER VIOLATE THE WIFE OR CHILDREN OF ANOTHER MEMBER. No close interaction with sisters, wi ves, or girlfriends of members, unless you have "honorable" intentions. +> DO NOT STEAL. +> NEVER BECOME INVOLVED WITH NARCOTICS. Using any form of narcotics is strictl y forbidd en in the Cosa Nostra, as one is expected to be of sound mind at all times.

New members quickly learn the penalty for breaking these laws is death.

1962 Joseph Valachi

(New York City,. d. 1971), " ·,5 sent to the same pnson as n a "rna d e rna , bid an on a narcotics conviction. La e e Genovese

ts on his

informer. valaChivsulraVciVh~:i:l:ree aa:e:pthOUght rt behind bars . a ,e d I to kill hi and gets a hfe Genovese ha sen • sentence for the murder.

U.S. gov-

1963 Valachi cooperales

ernment and appears _ _ bcomminee on Investigations. Permanen I Su t He testifies that he i~ a m~mbesr of a Skencor:n as . . the United tates criminal society 10 meS the first La Cosa

NOs~: ~:~~o:~~e

La Cosa a detailed look inside Nostra mem . . ' ower bases. the organization. IOcludlng Its p codes. and secret rituals.

1969 GenovesV dies in his prison cell. I , The Genove se f amily is now under the cyonktrc°ty° . " L bardo (New or " Philip "Senny Squint

d. 19B7).

om

COSA NOSTRA TO DAY ld Lee University, Lexington, Virginia The members of the Cadaver Society are mostly pre.med students, though their membership is kept completely secret. Members appear only after dark, dressed in black capes and hoods to conceal who they are. What isn 't hidden, however, are the marks they leave around campusa letter C with a skull inside-when pulling a prank or sending a message. The Cadavers , as they are called, do good for the school as well, most notably donating money to build a new stadium and fitn ess center on campus.

Order of Cimghoul University oj North CaroLina, ChapeL HiLL There are quite a few legendary secret societies at UNC in Chapel Hill , all with unique, mysterious beginnings. At the campus library you can browse through the societies' archives for a rich secret society history lesson, beginning with the records of the Order ofGimghouL Sounding like something out of a Harry Potter novel, the Order of Gimghoul was founded in 1889 and centers around the legend of Peter Dromgoole, a student at UNC who mysteriously disappeared from campus in 1833. The society's founders originally called themselves the Order of Dromgoole but later changed the name in keeping with "m idnight and graves and weirdness," as stated in the archives. The order upholds the "Dromgoole legend and the ideals of Arthurian knighthood and chivalry," and it is said to be social in nature with no suspicious agenda. In the r890s, the Gimghouls built an actual castle off campus as their lodge, called the Hippol Castle. Legend has it that the society chooses members from the UNC student body and they become members for life, returning to campus during certain times of the year to meet secretl y at the castle.

Order of the Corgon's Head University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Infinity University of Nortlt Carolina, Chapel Hill Another UNC secret society is named In finity_ In 2011, the school received two donations from Infinity, each in the amount of $888.88, with the digit 8 derived from the symbol for infinity (an 8 lying on its side). Other than that, nothing eise is known about the club.

Aiso quite Potter-esque is UNC's Order of the Gorgon's Head, founded in 1896, with officers' names like Princeps, Quaestor, and Scriptor. This order's purpose is to promote friend ship, goodwill , and social fellowship among members.

FOR THE SISTERS While some collegiate sec ret socie ties accept women as members or consist of wome n only, there are no fraternities that allow women to join. And why would th ey, when there are plenty of excellent so rorities women can join? Sororities are run exac tly like fraternities on campus, with rus hin g, pledging, hazing, a nd secret initiations. Sororitie s have Greek-lettered names as we ll and are a visib le presence on campuses a ll over the country_ Ea rly sororities were actually call ed fraternities because the wo rd "sororityn had not yet been introduced to th e English language. Like brothers in a fraternity, so rority sisters are all about sisterhood and bonding, and they are expected to support eac h other both academically and socially. Keeping up grade point averages is a must for all soro rity mem bers, too, so tutoring by upperclassme n to help their younger sisters perform well in school is commonp lace. 50 is "mentaring, " where Bi g Si sters c hoose Little Sisters to guide and mentor in a sisterhood support system.

58

SECRET SOCIETIES

TH E RU L ES OF T H E OR ICINAL RO S ICRUCIAN ORD ER

t

The group can consist of no more than eight men-each a doctor and a bachelor ' "

Each member promises under oath to heal the sick without payment ' "

Each member swears to maintain a secret fellowship ' "

Each member must find a replacement for himself before he dies ' "

THE LEGEND O F THE ROSE c.. CROSS : REAL OR NOT?

"

The legend of the Rose and Cross movement (Ros icrucianism) began in Germany in th e 1300S during the lifetime of its found er, Christian Rosenkreuz (Rosen kreuz ~ rose cross). But it wasn't unti l 300 years later that he became a lege nd throughout Europe. The question remains, however: Did Christian Rosenkreuz ever even exist? Much of the worl d becam e fascinated with Rosicrucianism almost from the moment they first read about it in a trio of ma nifes tos pu blished anonymously in Germany in the 1600s. The writings told the story of a secre t society started by Rosenkreuza fraternity composed of learned m en-who possessed a secret know ledge that, once revealed, would chan ge the wo rl d forever. The writings were said to have been written by Rosenkreuz himself before he di ed, but when hi s authorship was later exposed as a lie, the legend of Rosicruciani sm grew eve n dee per. As the story goes, Christian Rosenkreuz was born in the late 1300S and raised as a monk. He later became a doctor and often traveled to the Middle East, hea li ng th e sick and searching for a higher level of spiritual and mys tical know ledge. In the Middle East he li ved and studied with T urkish, Arab, and Persian sages, who purportedly bestowed upon h im all "the greatest secrets of nature and life." When Rosenkreu z was fina ll y ready to share th ese secrets with others, he returned to Europe wi th a dream in his head of form ing a brotherhood of men based on all he had learned. Unfortunately, many Europeans couldn 't grasp the level of Rose nkreuz 's knowledge and inte llect. So he decided to share his know ledge secretly, reserv ing "the greatest secrets of nature and life" for those he deem ed worthy. Back in Germany, Rosenkreuz managed to find a sma ll group of li ke- m inded monks and he created what th e manifestos later called the "Rosicrucian Order," appointi ng himself as head of the order. Rosenkreuz's u ltimate goal, the stories goes, was to pool together all

~odeve~ ,b6g ;n t o underst and th e ROSicrucian r er, It s esse ntia l t o know these

used t erm s:

cOmmonly

Rosicrucianism: th e b elief in a . f . secre t SOCie ty . ounded In late ~edieva l Germ any by Christian Rosen~re~z. ROSic ru c ia ns claim t o POssess es otenc Wisdom handed dow n f . " rom anCien t tim es, ThIS wisdom, once explain ed by a membe~, of th e Roya l Historical Society in London as concealed f rom t he average m . , 'g h ' an, prOVIdes ;nhsl ~ l,ntO nature. th e physical unive rse and e SPIritual re alm ," Esotericism: th e study of hidd k and ' en now /edge , m yste,nolls beliefs. us ually understood by Ju st a select f ew and only aft , .. , er years of Introspection an d study, Mysticism: th e 'sPiritual beliefs and ideas of people Wh o c laim to have achi eved in sight into myst ery that goes beyond ordina ry hum know ledge, an

OCcult: literally "knowledge of the hidde " !t Usua lly relat es to a soc iety or group cl:;mIng to use, or having kn owledge o f. secret or sup ern atura l powers,

~h~ Age of Enlightenment: a p eriod in early

t - ce t1tury Europe wh en many thinkers tried '"'\. to c;P a~e society b ased on reason and scienc~ r,ath er th an tradition , faith. a nd religion Chnstl an Rosenkreuz's th e . . on es and practices ~ere, rev~aled at th e beginning of thi s excit ing Ime In history,

t

SE C R ET S O C I ETI ES

S9

the great. mystical. spiritual . and scientific knowledge of these men and transcribe it into one universal philosophy of life to ul ti mately present to the world. Over time. Rosenkreuz's little group of learned men grew to eight members. Together. they traveled the wo rld every yearkeeping the identity of their smaLl fraternity hidden-healing the sick and gaining more knowledge. When their missions were com plete. they would return to their headquarters. called the Sancti Spiritus (House of the Holy Spirit). in Germany. In 1484. Rosenkreuz died at the unbelievable age of 106. but the Rosicrucian Order lived on. His disciples buried their leader in a secret location somewhere in the Sancti Spiritus. All his "greatest secrets" were buried with him.

THE DISCOVERY

THE ROS IC RU C IAN CREATI ON r..J

Rosicrucianism blends aspects of

science. rel igion . alchemy. and magic with philosophies from Egyptian mysticism. Jewish kabbalism . and Christian teachings.

Flash-fo rward '20 years. to ,604_ The Rosicrucian Order had grown to 36 members. all of whom learned about Rosenkreuz and his great secrets. The order was stiLI kept hidden from the public. and the brotherhood's original purpose of healing and spiritual journey lived on. Then. one day. construction was begun to expand the Sancti Spiritus. It was said that one of the Rosicrucian Order brothers hit a nail into a wall and cracked a hole in the plas ter. Rosenkreuz's perfectly preserved body was rumored to have been discovered behind that wall. in a chamber the former leader had erected himself to be a storage house of knowledge. His secrets were uncovered. too. and for the Rosicrucian Order. the manifestos say. it was the dawning of a new age.

THE MANIFESTOS Ten years after the discovery of h is body. the tale of Rosenkreuz and his secret brotherhood was exposed in a series of three pamphlets. or manifestos. They were supposedly written by Rosenkreuz himself before h is death in 1484 and hidden among all hi s secret know ledge in the chamber_ These secre t ma nifestos were publi shed in Germany over the course of two years. and the story was so sensational. Rosicrucianism became all the rage throughout Europe. The first manifesto. known as Farna. revealed to the public the very existence of the secret fraternity founded by Rosenkreuz after his enlightening journeys to the Middle East. The second manifesto. Confessio. was also published in 1614. COl1fossio expanded on the message of Fama. adding that this secret order of Rosicrucians had discovered a new. enli ghtened path to a refo rmed world. Finally. in 1616. a third manifesto was published. This installment lent itself to many different interpretations. It was fuLl of

60

SECRET SOC I ETIES

fantasy and symbolism. It was also clear that it had not been written by Christian Rosenkreuz. It was widely believed that the real author of this manifesto-and possibly all three-was the work of one man, a Lutheran minister named Johann Valentin Andreae. According to Christopher Hodapp and Alice Von Kannon, coauthors of Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for D£lmmies, Johann Valentin Andreae, with all good intentions, had written the pamph lets in the hope of creating a new movement that would "reform social life through new learning" and begin a new search for "the secrets to Life, the Universe, and Everything."

I MADE IT ALL UP Even after Andreae confessed to having made up the stories about Rosenkreuz and his lost texts, people didn't care. They had found a philosophy to embrace, and they clamored to learn everything they could about the great Christian Rosenkreuz, his Rosicrucian Order, and the "great secrets" of nature and life. Andreae had succeeded in garnering interest in a secret society that didn't exist, but nobody minded that small detail. In their enthusiasm, people started their own Rosicrucian societies. Rosicrucianism blossomed, despite being an enigma, and the uncertainty only added to the mystery surrounding it in the first place. The idea of a secret society of enlightened men-alchemists

and sages who were preparing to transform the artistic, scientific, religious, political, and intellectual landscape-was compelling enough for society to buy in, even though the details about Rosicrucianism remained ambiguous. It isn't surprising, then, that people all over the world quickly started Rosicrucian societies of their own.

IN GOOD COM PAN Y During the 1960s, as part of a hoax claiming the existence of a medieva l secret society called the Priory of Sion) , a set of documents called the Dossiers Secrets was discovered in France. One of the documents allegedly included a list of ·Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion : and Andreae was listed as the 17th Grand Master! A lso on the list: Leonardo da Vinci . Isaac Newton, and Victor Hugo. r...J

Throughout history, much of Rosicrucianism remained unclear, but the movement has survived nonetheless and continues, to this day, to thrive and gain followers.

MOVING TO AMERICA The largest Rosicrucian society in America, the Ancient and Mystical Orde r Rosae Crucis (AMORC) , wa s organized in 1915. Today, AMORC lists on its website (AMORC.org) more than 1,200 lodges worldwide, spanning most of the 50 states and places like Bermuda, Guya na, British Columbia, and Trinidad and Tobago. The website proclaims to support members from a variety of cultural and religious backgrounds by providing, mostly through an online correspondence course, a foundation that ties together all the different aspects of metaphysical study. Anyone can download from the site a copy of AM ORes publication Mastery of Life, which promises to guide seekers through a more focused attunement with life and heighten their spiritual awareness.

SECRET SOC IETIES

61

IN NEED OF A ROSICRUCIAN RETREAT? Rosicrucian Park in San Jose, California, was the brainchild of H. Spencer Lewis in 1927. The retreat, situated in an area th at was once farm land , now covers an e ntire city block and attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world each yea r. The park is the perfect place for peaceful introspection as it "offers a mysterious and beautiful combination of Egyptian and Moorish architecture set among broad lawns, rose gardens, statuary, and sparkling fountains," according to its web brochure. This"peacefu l environme nt, along with th e spiritual essence of wh at Ro sicrucian

Nostradamus (Eerily) Gets It Right Fifty years before the term "Rosicrucian" even existed, astrologer and famed "predictor" Nostradamus wrote: "a new sect of Philosophers shall rise, Despising death, gold, honors and riches, They shall be near the mountains of Germany, They shall have abundance of others to support and follow them." Christopher MCintosh, author of The Enduring Mystery of the Rose and Cross, points out that Nostradamus's prediction is "strikingly accurate" as it relates to the Rosicrucian brotherhood's rise in Germany in the early part of the 17th century. Like the "philosophers" in Nostradamus's prediction, Ros icrucians "shunned worldly satisfactions in favor of spiritual ones and [were] said to have conquered death through the elixir of life:' Furthermore, and again just li ke the "philosophers" Nostradamus wrote about, Rosicrucians had many supporters and followers all over the world.

62

SE CRET SOC I ETIES

Park represents . creates a sere ne and harmonious ambiance sensed

by its many visitors." CAN 'T GETTO SAN JOSE? The Council of Solace is a group of people

(at Rosicrucian Park and throughout the world) who meditate daily on behalf of others. Their goal is to bring cosmic help to those in need. They achieve this "by putting certain s piritual energies into motion and directing them in accordance with mystical law and natural principles." This "meta physical aid," they explain, is then "directed to individuals who petition the Council of Solace with hea lth , domestic, economic, or other problems ." Pe titioning th e

council, they say, is as simple as logging onto its website and fillin g out an electronic petition.

ROSE AND CROSS The symbol associated with Rosicrucianism has always been a cross with a rose in the center. There are a few interpretations of its symbolism, but the exp lanation below is the most popularly believed. The which has always been a symbol of spiritual growth, is taken from the Latin phrase sub rosa , which means "done 'in secret" and comes from the idea that secret societies in ancient Rome would

rose.

meet under a hanging rose , The cross is a symbol of both life and death. It also symbolizes the universe, quartered into the four alchemical elem ents of earth. air, fire, and water. To alchemists, mystics, and spiritualists, the cross represents immortality.

FIRST MASTER'S CROSS This rosy cross was brought to America by the first group of Rosicrucians to settle here in 1694. It was presented to • Dr. H. Spencer Lewis by Mrs. May Banks-Stacy. a member of the English lodge that sponsored the first group's emigration to America.

SEC R ET S O C IETIE S

63

o

e

Early in the days of colonial America, a group ofpowelful men formed a secret society called the Sons of Liberty. These men were leaders in the community, and many went on to hold positions ofpolitical power. They included Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, JohnAdams , and even the infamous traitor, BenedictAmold. The organization was formed during a time ofgreat unrest in the British-owned colonies. The British had just passed the Stamp Act, and a rebellion ensued. Some say this marked the beginning of the American Revolution. And the spark that fanned the flames of rebellion was ignited by this seemingly insignificant new tax.

f



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.:

.

. 0"

64

SECRET SOCIETIES

••

. J

alilt the STAMP•

Patrick Henry, a member of the Son s of Liberty, was considered a radical politician. He also served as the governor of Virginia twice.

Tho Sons of Liberty were a patriotic group of Americans fighting for freedom from the tyranny of England and unfair taxes.

Benjamin Rush was the surgeon general for the Continental Army and also signed the Declaration of Independence.

The Stamp Act, Imposed by the British Parliament, required American citizens to pay taxes on every piece of printed paper they used.

John Lamb was one of the original members of the Sons of Liberty.

The patriotism exhibited by the Sons of Liberty was wriHen into a famous poem called "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. SEC RET S O C IETI ES

6S

UNFAIR TAXES Though the colonists stiU felt loyal to their home country, they were beginning to feel frustrated by its lack of support. Resources and revenue were all heading in one direction-back to England. Many colonists were angered by Great Britain's exploitation. Led by Samuel Adams, they formed the Sons of Liberty, a secret society in which they could discuss matters of rebell ion and plot to overthrow the British government. They soon discovered they had allies throughout the colonies. So the Sons of Liberty organized groups of men to protest British taxes across the board. And they organized big. "No taxation without representation!" became a common cry of the Sons of Liberty in the s treets.

THE BOSTON TEA PARTY It was the Sons of Liberty who organized the famo us protest known as the Boston Tea Party. They had a secret code to announce that it was time to begin the Tea Party. One night, Samuel Adams entered the building where the Sons of Liberty met. He shouted, "This meeting can do nothing more to save the country!" That was the signal it was time for the Sons of Liberty to storm the docks at Griffin's Wharf and dump the tea cargoes of three British ships into the sea, leaving no chance for the British to profit from the export.

THE SONS OF LIBERTY TODAY Today, the name "Sons of Liberty" has been adopted by various m ilitant groups who claim to be protec tors of the inten tions of the country's original Founders. But they are small s pli nter organizations, certainly not elite secret societies like the Sons of Liberty, who changed the course of history and created the United States of America. Those patriots are long gone, their purpose having been well served.

66

SEC RET SOC I ETIES

Benedict Arnold Benedict Arno ld is famous for his betraya l of the American Revolut ionary Army. But before he became a traitor he was a heroic member of the Sons of Li berty. And he was a hero dur in g t he American Revo[utionary War. That's r ight. Benedict Arno[d was a wa r hero. He was a successful bus inessman who joined the Sons of Liberty early in the Revo[ution. As a co lonel during t he war, he led men into battle against the powerfur British army, los ing a leg during the famous Batt[e of Saratoga in 1777. This battle is considered a turning point in t he war since it inspired the French to join t he American side, leadi ng, ultimately, to an American victory. Benedict was one ofthe first officers to sign the Oath of A[[egiance. But after that battle, Arno[d became bitter. He began to believe that perhaps the resources intended to fig ht t he war and bui ld a nation were being misused, and he believed that he could benefit financially if he were to side with the British. So he held secret meetings and took direction not from the American generals but from the British loyal ists. Despite his treasonous leanings, he somehow managed to co nvince George Washington to give him t he post as leader of West Point. Un beknownst to Washi ngton, Arno[d planned to sell West Point to the British. He eventually was caught and declared a t ra itor. He had lost everythi ng-h is wife, his honor, and his place inAmerican history as a war hero. He [eft America and went with a new wife to Eng[and, whe re he died in 1801.

Th e Sons of Liberty commonly met und er an elm tree In the cen t er of Boston . T he

SECRET SOCIETIES

87

THE

HERMES

ermetic Order OF THE

T

he Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is an occult group that started in England in the late 19th century. The members practice magic and witchcraft. Some say it was the inspiration for Wicca and Thelema, both current magical practices. The order was founded by three men, all of whom were Freemasons and Rosicrucians. The term "Hermetic" comes from Hermes, one of the

gods in the Greek pantheon. The Herm is also the name of a stone pillar that was, according to Greek mythology, used by the Greeks to communicate with their gods.

MEMBERS People who join the Golden Dawn tend to be looking for a deep mystical connection. They are interested in witchcraft and religious symbolism. In order to join, one must go through a ritual of initiation. Women and men are both permitted to join.

68

SECRET SOC I ET IE S

THE THREE ORDERS There are three orders of the Golden Dawn. The first teaches philosophy. Through this first order members learn about astrology (the supposed impact of the stars and planets on people's daily lives) and tarot (using a deck of cards for mystical divination ). The second order brings in magic, astral travel (where the spirit leaves the body and travels into space), and alchemy (transforming matter). The third order-that of the "secret chiefs"-indudes highly skilled members who manage and direct the activities of the lower-level orders, with whom they communicate nonverbally. Not much is known about the secret chiefs-except that they are very powerful and wield influence over many.

CIPHER MANUSCRIPTS The order is informed by the Cipher Manuscripts. These manuscripts contain

60 books that include everything

members could ever need to know about magic rituals. They are used in the initiation rites for the Golden Dawn. The contents of the manuscripts re Rect the four alchemical elements of earth, air, water, and fire.

It is through these occult rituals that members of the

Golden Dawn learn about magic and symbolism and can ultimately become practitioners. The origin of the manuscripts remains a m ys tery. Some say they were originall y given by a Mason named Kenn eth MacKenz ie to a London coroner, William Wynn Westcott,

in ,809, Westcott is said to have tran slated the manuscripts from German and then used them as a basis for the founding of the Golden Dawn. Others say Westcott wrote the manuscripts himself.

RITUALS + >- EQUIN OX RITUAL This ritual is performed within 48 hours of the equinox, which is considered a time of strong energy exchange between the sun and the earth. Members stand and chant and "receive" the energy. +>- THE RITE OF THE QUABALLATIC CRO SS Using a dagger, the participant conducts a sequence of poses and recites certain wo rds .

+>- RITU AL OF THE PENTAGRAM Participants move their arms, legs , and torso into various pos ition s that represent a pe ntagram.

+ >- RITUAL OF THE HEXAGRAM Similar to the Pentagram , except that participants move in the shape of a hexagram.

SECRET SOC I ETI ES

69

From its less-than-humble beginnings at the start of the 40th century. the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) was a secret society with more controversy than secrets.

Ordo Templi Orientis T

he OTO, which still exists today, boasts nearly 3,000

members in 60 countries. It claims to "represent

the surfacing of the divergent streams of esoteric wisdom

and knowledge, which were originally divided and driven underground by political and religious intolerance during the dark ages." OTO has been influenced by the Freemasonic, Rosicrucian, and Illuminist movements, as well as by the crusading Knights Templ.r of the Middle Ages.

OTO FOREFAT HERS At the turn of the 20th century, spiritual and mystical movements were sprouting up all over Germany. A wealthy chemist by the name of Carl Kellner became interested in a branch of Freemasonry called the Rite ofMemphis·Mizraim. Kellner had dreams of building the Rite of MemphisMizraim into the largest Masonic branch in the world. Members of the Memphis-Mizraim branch of Freemasons practiced mysticism-secret rituals designed to allow humans to ascend to a higher state of consciousness, ascend to an astral plane. or even commune with a Supreme Being.

The problem was that most Freemasons did not recognize the Rite of Memphis·Mizraim as a legitimate Freemason order. In fact, they encouraged all Masons to distance themselves from th e Memphis-Mizraim, believing

the group was nothing more than a bunch of con artists looking to make money on new initiates.

Kellner didn't care. He embraced the Memphis-Mizraim anyway and continued to develop it further, even talking of one day bringing women into the fold-something that was strictly forbidden in the Masonic world. In 1880, Kellner met a like· minded Bavarian named Theodore Reuss. Reuss, who also favored unorthodox

70

SECRET SOCIETIES

Masonic groups, had just come through a few failed attempts at starting his own esoteric orders linked to the Illuminati throughout Europe. Kellner and Reuss both had visions of creating a "college" or institution as a way to bring all esoteric philosoph ies they practiced together under one roof. The Academia Masonica, established in 1904, created a new set of degrees, or leve ls, differen t from th e traditional

Freemason degrees. Kellner and Reuss welcomed other splinter Freemason groups to join their lodge and renamed their group the Ordo Templi Orientis. The general philosophy of the group was a belief in "new age" esoteric practices as a way of rea lizing one's true identity.

However, the Memphis-Mizraim never gained acceptance from more mainstream Freemason groups. Kellner's death in 1905 seemed to foretell the end of Ordo Templi Orientis-that is, until Reuss met an Englishman named Aleister Crowley.

THE " WICKED EST MAN IN THE WORLD " Called ti,e "most influential figure in the occult world of the 20th century," Aleister Crowley fancied himself a prophet who was called on to educate the people of the world and usher them into a new period of enlightenment. In fact, he was unconventional, highly unethical, and more than a little self·serving. A self-proclaimed occultist, Crowley's practice encouraged sexual deviance, drug use, and black magic. Although he was actually an accomplished man-a prolific author, chess master, and mountain climber-the press dubbed him the "Wickedest Man in the World" for his

AN INSIDE PEEK INTO THE oTo Nearly all Th elemites keep a record of th eir personal pract ices in some t hing th ey ca ll a " M agical Diary." M a ny also pray t o the su n f o ur ti mes a day in order to focu s th eir m ind s on th e center o f the solar syst em. Th elemites often t ake mystical n ames th ey call " magical motto es" fo r themselves as a s ig n o f co mmitm ent. Na mes are usuall y Latin bu t can be taken f rom Heb rew or ancien t mysticism, t oo. Some magical m ottoes a re "Apostalus Lucis" (apostl e of light) , "Yod " (simpl e, small, or humble), and "Pax Ego" (p eace w ith myself). Th elem it es c ustom arily g reet o n e a n ot her w ith t h e phrase, "Do w hat thou wi lt sha ll be t he w ho le of th e L awn (th e ext ende d ve rse of Th e L aw of Th elema), t o w h ich th e c ustom a ry response is "L ove is th e law, love un der w ill." Oth er tim es, Th elemites w ill use numero logy, making st at ements like "93," w hi c h signifies both " wiW and " lov e" in Thelema.

THE LAw OF THELEMA The Law of The/ema_"Do What thou Wilt"_ is the ethical anll moral COile founll in CrOWley'S Thelema Scripture. CrOWley fUrther eXP/ainell it as "True Will," the Ultimate SPiritUal core Of each person. The OTO webSite (OTO-US4.0 ) fUrther rg eXPlains, "This Law is not to be interpretell as a license to inllulge paSSing Whim, but rather as the manllate to one's True Will anll accOmplish it: others to 110 the same in their own

e~ery

lIisco~er

lea~ing

UqiqUe Ways. "

I~ ____ - - = WHY JOIN THE oTo?

many scandalous exploits with women and men. Allegedly, he also parti cipated in rituals of human sacrifice. Before m eetin g Theodore Reuss, Crowley had been pari of another secret society, the Herm etic Order of the Golden Daw n. During that time , he claimed to have been contacted by his Holy Guardi an Angel. He also claimed to ha ve received writin gs known as "The Book of the Law" from a div ine so urce whil e he was in Egypt in 19 04- Based on thi s book, Crowley developed a new religion called Thelem a. Reuss was an easy convert to Thelem a. He immediately encouraged Crowley to step in , take the helm , and reorganize the OTO arou nd the Law of Thelema-" Do what thou wilt"-which became the motto for the OTO. When Reuss had a stroke in '9zo, Crowley proclaim ed himself the new Frater Superior (head) of the Order of Oriental Tem plars. In 19 14, after World War I broke out, Crowley brought OTO to the United Stales, hopin g to receive approval and associa tion with the Freemasons in America. But his reception was less than welcoming; as in Europe, the Freemasons in the United States distanced tilemselves from tile OTO. Crowley's reputation had preceded him , and the Ameri can Masonic orders were not about to acknowledge his weird, new practi ces as having anything to do witi, Freem asonry. It was n'l lo ng uefo re tales of Cru wley's unsavury practices began to circulale. By the end of World Wa r II, Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis was fin ished.

RESURRECTION La te in ' 969 , the OTO was resurrected by a stu dent of Crowley's nam ed Grady McMurtry, who claim ed to have letters permi ttin g him to rev ive th e order as its new leader. Much of the sensationalism surroundin g Crowley has since faded, and today, under its current leader, William Breeze, the Ordo Templi Orientis is Aourishi ng.

Today's OTO is only slightl y di fferent f ro m th e order as it was in 1918. It's still a sec ret soc iety, meanin g membership in th e OTO is p rivat e, kept co nf id en t ial f ro m th e public and f rom the bulk o f oth er m em be rs. Onl y offi cers in th e OTO a re give n inform ati o n a bout m em bers, a nd th at 's on a n ee d- to-k now bas is. M e m be rs w ho want t o attend an even t mu st first co nfirm th eir membership st atu s by submitting a requ est to th e offi cers of th eir loca l lodge. A s was Crowley and Reu ss 's goal in th e earl y 1900s, th e m a in goal of th e OTO r emain s to creat e, maintain, a nd promot e a stru c tured soc iet y of me n a nd w om en wi thin t he country w ho a re united by th eir accepta nce o f th e Law of Th e lem a. Th ey ac hieve thi s goal through ce re moni a l initiati o n a nd sacramen t al ritual, by pl edges of fi delity, coope rati o n , a n d mut ual aid, and by ce rtai n commo n id ea ls. L ead ers in th e OTO d escribe th ese id ea ls as " indiv idua l libert y ; se lf-d isciplin e; se lf - kn owledge; universal broth e rhoo d; and oppos itio n to t y ranny, super st ition , an d oppression ." OTO ho pef uls mu st b e over th e age of 18 . Th ey m u st a lso su b mit th eir appli cati o n t o t h e o rder acco mp anied by t wo r ec omm en dations from two spo nsors w ho are alrea dy m e mb e rs . Th e st ru cture of th e OTO, li ke Free mas onry, is based o n a se ri es of st ages , or d eg rees. Th e ri t ual s fo r each o f th ese d egr ees a r e d es igne d t o t ea ch pro specti ve m emb ers the " prof o und myst eries of nature" and to h elp th em d iscover th ei r tru e id en t ity. Th e initiat io n rit ual invo lves a ph ys ica l ce rem o ny le d by a c harte r m embe r, bu t , to m aintain th e OTO 's inten se sec r ecy, it is unknown outs id e of th e o rgani zat ion . Th e OTO operat es loca l bod ies th roughout th e world ; most membe rs participat e d irectly in one or more of them. Most local bodies o ffer cl asses o n "M agic k ," using the old En gli sh spellin g of "magic" as Crowley did, so as not to confu se th e t o p ic w ith magic t r icks , ritu al, Ka bbalah (J ewish mysti c ism), a nd oth er t o p ics of int erest to practi cing Th elem it es. Co mmon local acti viti es in clud e pe rfo rm an ce of group ri tua ls, publicati o n of a newsletter o r journal, and cooperative activ iti es w ith oth er local a lternati ve - re ligiou s groups.

S EC RET S OC I ET I ES

71

.. --: _. _ _ ._ .. .,. ...-- .......~/

I,

Knights o/the

GOLDEN CIRCLE The Lying Leader Even before General Bickley's no-show at the Rio Grande for the Knights' invasion of Mexico, he was already known in many circles as a liar. In fact, his office wa ll was lined with forged medical certificates . Bickley clai med to have had medical training and to have stud ied in England, Scotland, and France, but historians say there's no evidence he ever studied medici ne... or ever even went to Europe. After he fa iled to show up as promised to lead the Knights into Mexico, a group of Knights in Louisiana publicly attacked him, calling him a liar, a coward, and an inept leader. Bickley responded by calli ng a general convent ion ofthe Knights in May 1860. The convention confirmed Bickley as leader.

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SECRET SOCIETIES

On the eve of the Civil War, it wasn't difficult to find organizations in the North that sympathized with the plight of the South: a desire to secede from the Union and an emphatic demand to own slaves. Some of these Northern sympathizers formed their own clubs in the hopes ofle nding a hand lo lheir brelhren in lhe South. The Copperheads were the most infamous of these clubs, named for the large copper penny on their lapel badges. The Copperheads effectively acted as a front for those who participated in a slew of destructive and deadly activities in the North. The most notorious group connected with the Copperheads was the Knights of the Golden Circle. Founded in 1854 by Virginia-born doctor, editor, and adventurer General George W. L. Bickley, the Knights were a fraternal organization structured like any other. New inductees had initiations, ripe with rituals, regalia, and symbols. They swore oaths and pledged allegiance to their order. Unlike other societies, however, the Knights of the Golden Circle had a sinister purpose: to invade and overthrow the government of Mexico and turn it into a southern slave state. The Knights also envisioned an empire that would include the takeover of Cuba, centering on Havana. From Havana, the Knights would appropriate territory northward, including Maryland, Kentucky, Missouri, and aU the southern states, plus parts of Kansas and most of Texas, Mexico, Central America, South America, and all the West Ind ies. Ultimately their empire would encompass land some 2-400 m iles in diameter, hence the name Golden Circle. In this dream , the new Southern Empire would produce most of the world's cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, and coffee and have the mili tary and financial strength to hold onto slavery in the South despite constan t attacks by northern aboli tionists .

STRUCTURE O F THE KN IGHT S

SECRET CASTLES Within a short time, Bickley organized 32 "castles" (local chapters) in various cities, including Houston , Ga lveston, Aus tin , San

Antonio, Marshall, Je fferson, and La Grange. Man y prominent Texans reportedly joined the Knights, and it was rumored Bickley even persuaded Texas governor Sam Hous ton to join. Though Houston had an interest in annexing Mexico to the United States, it was widely known he wo uld never accept that the Knights were anti-Union, so eventually his participation wavered. Castles were formed in three orders. Those with a military assignment (most of the members) were called Knights of the Iron Hand. Those with a financial calling were Knights of the True Faith, and those with political skills (the leaders) were Knights of the Columbian Star. Castles could be found in both the North and the South and were rumored to have 60,000 members in Missouri alone. In addition to membership in the southern states, the Knights also had a strong

r...J Like most sec ret societies. the Knights of the Gold en Circle had elaborate rituals lade n wi th codes. sign s, and passwords. and a n intricate structure for military and governing ope rations .

~

Knights were grouped into three divisions:

Military; Comme rcial and Financial; and

Political. The Military division was further divided into two classes-the Foreign Guard, men who wished to participate hand s-on in

Mexico, and the Home Guard , men who wou ld support military efforts from home.

presence in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa.

INVASION ATTEMPTS In

1860,

the Knights of the Golden CircIe assembled in Texas and

Louisiana to begin their invasion of Mexico. One eyewitness, a

postmaster, said, "The officers, according to rank, were to get larger amounts ofland and a greater number of slaves." He added some of the more optimistic in the Knights' army were already learning Spanish. The plans, however, were poorly executed. Some 16,000 Knights are believed to have reached the Rio Grande, lining the shores to wait for Bickley's arrival before moving into Mexico. Bickley never showed.

THEORY.

PRACT ICE.

EFFECT.

' l' l l1~

BICKLE Y.

BOOTH,

MARTYR PRESIDENT.

Tho JUauahl.

1Iea4 or tho Knis h'" of the Golden Cirelo.

SECRET SOC I ETIES

13

BELIEVE IT. aRNOT. A "treasure hunting community," no doubt with their eyes on th e buri ed fortune , di scovered the following article in th e Iowa Cedar Valley Times from Augu st 1961. It bears mentioning not because it reveals the location of the trea sure (which, unfortunately, it does not) but beca use it exposes the best-kept secrets of th e Knights of the Golden Circle: detail ed description s of th eir secret signs, passwo rds, and hand signa ls.

The Captain of the gathering .tates. "I will nOW . 35swords and token give you the signs. grlps. P •

of the fir5t De(/ree of the K.G.C. This de(/ree ~. a name. which I may now give

YOU-It 15

the I

(Knight of the Iron Hand):' f th 0 der is thw made: The first great sign

I ..... '"

e r touching and re5ting on top

0

Hand> open. pau.~ of the head: fingers pointing upward>.

this is' open hand> touching

The answer t o · elbows close shoulder where epaulets are worn. to the side. These are battle-field signs and are not to be

used in ordinarY circumstances. The common sign of recognition is right r lip under nose. fore. Fmger drawn acrOSS u ppe

as if rubbing. The Answer to this is; with fore· rmger and

thumb of left hand take hold of left ear. To gain admission to a Working Castle. or f y KGC. give one distinct rap at the room 0 an . the door. The Sentinel on duty will then ~ . . k t and demand the countersign. which 15 WlC e tle door SOLDIERS. always lettered except at cas . You will then pass the centre (center) of the

.

room and give

the trUe .ign of the K.G.C.: left _

- will

hand on the heart, right hand raISed. This be recognized by a 00""; from the Captam .



, ,

74

SECRET SOC I ETIES

It wasn't until six months later-during a second attempted invasion of Mexico-that Bickley finaLly arrived, but he arrived alone, claiming his troops and his shipment of weapons had gone missing. The upcoming presidential election , the secession movement across the lower South, and the Civil War that foLlowed soon after in ,861 all contributed to a waning of interest and confidence in the plans of the Knights of the Golden Circle. As the Civil War began, the Knights drifted apart, mainly because the Confederate army needed them as soldiers. They tried to reorganize without Bickley two years later in ,863 as the Order of the American Knights and then again in 1864 as the Order of the Sons of Liberty, but ultimately the fraternal order faded into obscurity. Victory by the Union in the Civil War had thwarted their goals.

THE SECRET TREASURY OF THE CONFEDERACY? Though Bickley was arrested as a Confederate spy in Indiana in 1863 and died in Virginia in 1867, his story and the legend of the Knights of the Golden Circle did not die with him. Just before the Civil War ended, a rumor circulated that the Knights had secretly carried off the entire treasury of the Confederacy, believed to be between $z million and $5 million. The money was supposedly hidden in Canada and then brought back to the United States as soon as the war ended. The gold and silver coins were supposedly buried all around the country in preparation for a new Southern uprising. To this day, there have been numerous claims to the secret buried treasure, hidden in mysterious places all across the South. Many people believe this fortune, marked "CSA" for the Confederate States of America, is still waiting to be discovered, buried in long. fo rgotten mineshafts, sunken shipwrecks, fake gravesites, and the swamps of the Everglades.

t t t t Did the Knights Templar really protect the Holy Grail? Yes, say some. The Knights Templar were an elite group of holy warriors who fought dUTing the Crusades (T095-T~9T). The Crusaders '

mission was to protect Europe from the infringement of Islam and to promote Christianity throughout the world.

T

he name of this order is derived from the word "temple," as in the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which is said to be the site of King Solomon's Temple. It's also one of the most holy Muslim sites and is, to this day, disputed territory. The Knights Templar, the most famous heroes of the Crusades, were indeed knights in shining armor. They wore white man tles with a big red cross upon their chests. The red represen ted the blood of the Christian martyrs. The Templars dressed in chain mailwhich looks something like a loosely kn it sweater, with thread made of iron over a coat of hardened leather-and they were generall y well·mannered and kind to all.

The Holy Grail was one of the most important symbols of

RULES OF THE KNIGHTS TEMPLAR +> Kni ghts took their mea ls in silence.

Christianity at the time.

+> They were never to surrender un less their Rag had fallen. By the time a fl ag fe ll, the enemy was close enough to touch it. Therefore, there was no chance to win the battle so at that point, surrender made sense.

+> During a secret, solemn ini tiation, the knights would vow their allegiance to the Order of the Knights Templar and give up all their wo rldl y possessions. +>- They also took vows of chastity. +> Married men could join, but they were not allowed to wea r

the white mantle. They took a vow of chastity during their time as a Knight.

SEC RET SOC I ET I ES

75

so

YOU THINK YOU CAN BECOME A K NIGHT?

Most knights were from wealthy families and began training as early as the age of 7. A young boy, called a page, would be sent to another lord's castle where he would learn to strum a harp and sing and play chess. In wa rm weather, he was taught to hunt with a bow and arrow. He also had man y chores, such as taking care of the horses. He learned fencing and horsemanship. At the age of '4, the young page became a squire, who was assigned to a knight as his apprentice. I-Ie acted as the knight's

personal assistant and also took care of the knight's horses, which included at least two cargo horses, one fighting horse, and one "relief" horse for long journeys. When a page became a squire, his real military training began. He learned to aim and shoot a bow and arrow. He prac ticed wearin g extra-heavy armor so regular armor would not feel so heavy. His uniform included chain mail, leather pants and jacket, a helmet, and a shield that bore the image of his family crest. A family crest was a pich"e that represented a family's histo ry and sometimes included an image of the land they owned. If a squire made it through the training, he undertook a nightlong vigil on the night before his 21 st birthday. He would take a ritual bath, hear mass, and then eat a fin al breakfast with his famil y. Then , in a glorious ceremony, the squire would kneel down and be hit with the blunt edge of a sword, thereby being dubbed a kni ght. The ideal image of a knight entailed more than just being a war hero and fighting in battle. Knights were expected to be good human beings as well-generous, kind, helpful, and chivalrous, which included being respectful to women. The Knights Templar were but one group of knights. They were the best and brightest, and the most devout Christians. You could not train to become a Kni ght Templar. You were invited, and if invited you inevitably said yes.

THE HOLY GRAIL Tales of the Hol y Grail figure prominently in stories of Kin g Arthur and the Kni ghts of the Round Table. The Grail has been featured in film s like Tile Da Vinci Code and Monty Python and tile Holy Gra il. In reali ty, we are not sure if the Grail even exists. But legend has it the Holy Grail is a symbol of Christiani ty that holds holy powers. The Holy Grail is said to be a chalice, or vessel, used by Christ at the Last Supper. Depending on which legend you believe, it holds the blood Christ shed at the Crucifixion or ancient documents that describe his life . Many legend s and stories have been written about the Grail, starting in the 11th century. Some are based in fiction and myth , some on a physical object that is rumored to exist.

76

SECRET SOC I ET I ES

WHERE IS THE HOLY GRAIL TODAY? According to legend, the Knights Templar discovered the Holy Grail during their Crusades. In the [3th century, King Philip IV of France feared Ule Knights Templar were conspiring to unseat him. He did not trust their loyalty. He Ulerefore ordered his soldiers to arrest and kill all the Knights Templar. The Knights Templar, lea rning of th eir pending fate and fearing the king would obtain and des troy the Holy Grail, hid it. Some say they took it to Scotland , where it remains hidden to this day, buried beneath Rosslyn Chapel. Others say the Kni ghts took the Grail to Spain. And some say it is buried beneath the Louvre, the famous art museum in Pari s. The Knights Tem plar officially dis banded in '307, so it is unlikely we will ever know the true location of the Hol y Grail.

MODERN-DAY KNIGHTS TEMPLAR Although the original Kni ghts Te mplar were dis ba nded in the

1300 5,

there is a modern-day version, the Grand

Commandery of Knights Templar, which, according to its website knightstemplar.gckt.org, "takes its inspiration from the highest ideals of the medieval Order of Kni ghts Templar and promotes chivalry, honour, integrity, humility, courtesy, wi sdom & charity." Based in England, these mode rn-da y hero es are police officers, physicians, teachers, researchers, arm y office rs, and other othe rwi se "ordinary" citizens who feel called to contribute to humanity in a pos itive way . The ir sta ted objectives are

as follows: -