Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Masonic Origins of Baseball

Famous Freemasons and baseball go hand in glove.

Rogers "The Rajah" Hornsby, an original member of the Baseball Hall of Fame is listed on Masonic sites among the famous. The baseball stars are a who's who of famed Freemasons: Grover Alexander, Ty Cobb, Carl Hubbell, Branch Rickey, Honus Wagner, and Cy Young, to name a few. It is no mystery that some leaders of their time would be Masons. But what of the question, were the initial symbolic foundations of baseball Masonic?

I'm talking about baseball here because I am a guest on Tim Binnall's The 3rd Annual BoA: Audio Baseball Special for Sunday, April 5, 2009, on Binnall of America (also featuring Greg Bishop, Adam Gorightly, Richard Dolan, and Paul Kimball). For the broadcast, go to: BoA Audio Baseball Special.

Opening day for Major League Baseball will soon be upon us, although, with the international tournament catching on fire, the World Baseball Classic has created a new world order, so to speak.

One can keep score in a variety of ways.

I've looked at baseball clusters in "Suicide Squeeze" in one of my books. I'm not going to go there today. Another way to track baseball is through its mystic origins, Masonic and otherwise.


Todd Campbell at Through the Looking Glass referenced baseball’s beginnings being Masonic, and pointed out to me the following passage from Randy Lavello’s article:

Baseball was obviously created by Freemasons, as it bears the unmistakable marks of Freemasonry. The field, from home plate to the left and right field wall forms a compass; the entire outfield wall is the semicircle which this compass draws. Upside-down, overlapping this compass, the bases form the square. Thus, the baseball field is the emblem of Freemasonry. Three strikes and three outs were assigned because three is the principle sacred number of Freemasonry. Four is a number of significance because it represents a square (the shape) and deals with the four directions, thus: four balls, four bases. Nine is sacred because it is three squared… there are nine fielding positions and nine innings. This brings us to a total of twenty-seven outs per team a game…and guess what? Twenty-seven, along with eighty-one, are the only two sacred numbers greater than ten. Though eighty-one doesn’t occur in baseball, because of the presence of two nines (fielders and innings) it’s appropriate to mention the reason eighty-one is so revered: the multiples of nine, 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 81, and 90 form a mirror image between the numbers 45 and 54. Also, each one of these numbers equal nine when adding the two integers which comprise the number: 18- 1+8 = 9; 27- 2+7 =9; etc. Because of this, nine times nine was deemed a ‘high’ number. This further explains the near obsession with numbers surrounding baseball averages, home runs, ERA's, etc. It is truly a game for numerologists.

Abner Doubleday

Abner Doubleday (June 26, 1819 – January 26, 1893) is often, folklorically, said to be one of the two "Fathers" of American baseball. Allegedly Doubleday played the first game at Cooperstown, New York in 1839, and that's the reason the Baseball Hall of Fame is located there, so the story goes.

Doubleday was a career United States Army officer and Union general in the American Civil War. He fired the first shot in defense of Fort Sumter, the opening battle of the War Between The States. This happened on the northern 33rd degree of latitude, at Fort Sumter and is so noted in Masonic decipherings. Doubleday had a pivotal role in the early fighting at the Battle of Gettysburg, too, where he had his finest hour, but his relief by Major General George G. Meade caused lasting enmity between the two men.

In 1871, Doubleday commanded the 24th U.S. Infantry, an all African-American regiment, in Texas. He retired from the Army in 1873, and in San Francisco, after the war, he obtained a patent on the cable car railway that still runs there.

By 1878, he was living in Mendham, New Jersey, from where, that year, he became a prominent member of the Theosophical Society. When two of the founders of that society, Helena Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott, moved to India at the end of that year, he was constituted as the President of the American body.

In addition, he is known for a popular myth that he invented baseball, which has been debunked by almost all sports historians. The lore of baseball credits Doubleday with inventing the game, supposedly in Elihu Phinney's cow pasture in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839.

Joseph E. Chance writing biographically in the book, My Life In The Old Army by Abner Doubleday (New-York Historical Society, 1998), claims:

A letter from Albert Graves, a resident of Cooperstown, New York, and neighbor of Doubleday, is the only documentation remaining of Doubleday's connection to baseball. Graves asserted that Doubleday had taught the Cooperstown boys his modifications of a game known as "town ball." The changes to town ball included reducing the number of players, assigning each player a location in the field, and replacing the wooden posts designated as bases by flat stones....Sports writers, functioning in our new order of "political correctness" now claim that the first game of baseball played in Texas, supposedly at Galveston, was not organized by Doubleday while stationed there in 1867! Doubleday was indeed stationed in Galveston on this date, serving as colonel of the 17th Infantry, sent to impose military rule on a defeated nation.

The Mills Commission, chaired by Abraham G. Mills, the fourth president of the National League, was appointed in 1905 to determine the origin of baseball. The committee's final report, on December 30, 1907, stated, in part, that "the first scheme for playing baseball, according to the best evidence obtainable to date, was devised by Abner Doubleday at Cooperstown, New York, in 1839."

Baseball historian George B. Kirsch has described the results of the Mills commission as a "myth." Moreover, Doubleday himself never made such a claim, but his biography notes this has to do with Doubleday's "Christian modesty."

Of course, it didn't help that only the testimony of Graves, who would have been five in 1839, is the sole proof of the Doubleday tale. It also doesn't assist the story that Graves' reliability as a witness was questioned as the years went by because he was later convicted of murdering his wife and spent his final days in an asylum for the criminally insane.

Was Abner Doubleday a Freemason? There seems little proof of that. Still, the synchromystic underpinnings of Abner Doubleday's life, from that first shot at Fort Sumter to the President of the Theosophical Society to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery with an obelisk as his tombstone (Plot: Section 1, Grave 61), should not be understated.

Alexander Cartwright, Jr.

Most baseball historians, however, note that the links between Alexander Joy Cartwright, Jr. and the origins of American baseball are much more secure. I also would say that there is no doubt as to Cartwright's heavy Masonic involvements.

Born in New York City on April 17, 1820, to Alexander Joy Cartwright Sr., a merchant sea captain, and his wife Esther Burlock Cartwright, Alex Jr. began his working life in 1836 as a clerk at the age of sixteen in Coit & Cochrane, a broker's office on Wall Street. Coit is an incredibly significant name in cryptopolitical history, from Wall Street to Skull & Bones to the firefighter's monument in San Francisco called Coit Tower. (I will have more to say about that name at another time.)

Intriguingly, Cartwright's involvement with baseball also directly overlaps with his involvement in firefighting in New York City, as well as later in his life.

Here is a passage from Mr. Baseball's look at this history:

Many of these ball-playing young men, including Cartwright, were also volunteer firemen. The first firehouse that Cartwright was associated with was Oceana Hose Company No. 36. Later, he joined Knickerbocker Engine Company No. 12, located at Pearl and Cherry Streets. It disbanded in 1843. Some speculate that the young ballplayers, possibly Cartwright himself, named their ball club after the engine company, apparently sometime between 1842 and 1845.

A huge fire in July 1845 destroyed the Union Bank where Cartwright was employed. Consequently, Alex went into the book-selling business with his brother Alfred on Wall Street. They did not give up on their ball playing, though. Meanwhile, the city was growing and changing all around them.

The Knickerbocker Base Ball Club ventured across the Hudson River by ferry to Hoboken, New Jersey. There they found a roomy spot called Elysian Fields. The team drew up a constitution and bylaws on September 23, 1845, and twenty rules in all were adopted. The Knickerbocker rules are also synonymously known as the “Cartwright Rules.” Cartwright and his friends played their first recorded game on October 6, 1845, and continued playing well into late autumn that year. Receipts exist for dinners that are dated December 5, 1845, and are labeled with "Elysian Fields Hoboken for twenty dinners at $1.50 each for the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club."

The first match game was played between the Knickerbockers and the New York Club on June 19, 1846, at Elysian Fields.

Cartwright followed the Gold Rush of 1848 to San Francisco when he moved his family there in March 1849, and then on to Hawaii in August 1849.


Interestingly, both Doubleday and Cartwright would turn up in San Francisco, historically. The link between New York and San Francisco can be shown easily, and one thread is the name Knickerbockers.

The term "Knickerbockers" began with Washington Irving's History of New York, (published 1809). Still further, the family name "Knickerbocker" can be traced to a single Dutch settler who immigrated to what is now New York in the late 1600s. By the late 19th century, the term had come to mean the style of breeches the settlers wore that buckled just below the knee, which became known as "knickerbockers," or "knickers."

The name "Knickerbocker" first acquired meaning with Washington Irving's History of New York, featured the fictional author Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old-fashioned Dutch New Yorker in Irving's satire of chatty and officious local history. In fact, Washington Irving had a real friend named Herman Knickerbocker, whose name he borrowed.

Herman Knickerbocker, in turn, was of the upstate Knickerbocker clan, which descended from a single immigrant ancestor, Harmen Jansen van Wijhe. Jansen van Wijhe invented the name upon arriving in New Amsterdam and signed a document with a variant of it in 1682. After Irving's History of New York, by 1831, "Knickerbocker" had become a local nickname for quaint Dutch-descended New Yorkers, with their old-fashioned ways and their long-stemmed pipes and knee-breeches long after the fashion had turned to trousers.

Thus the "New York Knickerbockers" were an amateur social and athletic club organized on Manhattan's (Lower) East Side in 1842, largely to play "base ball" according to written rules; on June 19, 1846 the New York Knickerbockers played the first game of "base ball" organized under those rules, in Hoboken, New Jersey, and were trounced 23 - 1.

Today, the name survives most overtly in the National Basketball Association team, the New York Knicks, short for Knickerbockers.

"Firebelle Lil" Coit, the benefactor of San Francisco's Coit Tower, gave the money for the structure in the name of that West Coast city's Knickerbocker Engine Co. 5, and also commissioned another neighborhood landmark, a statue of three firefighters on the southwest corner of Washington Square Park.

It seems clear that the "Knickerbocker" name in San Francisco has its roots in New York City, via the fire departments, specifically.

Elysian Fields

Cartwright's Knickerbockers had to play someplace, and intriguingly, the "base ball" team found a "roomy spot called Elysian Fields" in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Colonel Jacob Stevens, who would later helped found Stevens Institute of Technology (one of the top engineering institutions in the United States), owned an expanse known as the Elysian Fields. In about 1870, Stevens sold the Elysian Fields for a handsome profit, and today’s street grid was laid out, carving up the site. A small passive and children’s park bordered by Hudson Street, the right-of-way of 10th Street, and Frank Sinatra Drive bears the name “Elysian Park,” the last vestige of Col. Stevens’ Elysian Fields.

(The Stevens Institute of Technology is named after a family of accomplished inventors and engineers. In 1784, the land now occupied by Stevens Institute of Technology was purchased by John Stevens, who would later reverse engineer the British steam locomotive to American standards for domestic manufacture. Robert Stevens, one of John Stevens' sons is known for inventing the flanged T rail, a form of railroad rail in use today throughout the world. With his brother Edwin A. Stevens, Robert created America's first commercial railroad. When Edwin A. Stevens died in 1868, he left a bequest in his will as an endowment for the establishment of an "institution of learning", providing his trustees with land and funds.)

The intersection of 11th and Washington, where the Hoboken Industry and Business Association monument to baseball now stands, was converted into a full-fledged baseball tribute during the renovation of all of Washington Street in 2003. The intersection was repaved in brick, with the outline of a baseball clearly visible in the center and each of the four corners being designated as a “base” with the appropriate markings H, 1, 2, 3, according to Charles O’Reilly in 2005.

Needless to say, "Elysian Fields" carries a significant name.

The Elysian Fields, or the Elysian Plains, among the Greeks, was considered the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and the virtuous.
In Greek mythology, Elysium (Greek: Ἠλύσια πεδία) was a section of the Underworld (the spelling Elysium is a Latinization of the Greek word Elysion).

Elysium is an obscure and mysterious name that evolved from a designation of a place or person struck by lightning, enelysion, enelysios. This could be a reference to Zeus, the god of lightning, so "lightning-struck" could be saying that the person was blessed (struck) by Zeus (lightning).

Scholars have also suggested that Greek Elysion may instead derive from the Egyptian term ialu (older iaru), meaning "reeds," with specific reference to the "Reed fields" (Egyptian: sekhet iaru / ialu), a paradisaical land of plenty where the dead hoped to spend eternity.

Within twilight language decoding, it should be pointed out that William Grimstad and I have previously noted the importance of the hot name game among Fortean and anomalistic phenomena of "Reed"/"Reeder"/"Reeves" and, according to John A. Keel, in ufology and demonology, with "Reeves"/"Reaves." The name, of course, has been associated with the tragic lives of various "Reeves" who have played Superman on television and in the movies, and the Superman-like roles of Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and The Day The Earth Stood Still.

Several locations have taken on the name "Elysian Fields." They include, a spot near downtown Los Angeles, Elysian Park, which "is the city's oldest public park and, at 575-acres, the second largest after Griffith Park. It is home to numerous historic sites, including the Los Angeles Police Academy and Barlow Hospital, that are linked by miles of walking trails." The name is used for a remote section of wilderness in the northern region of Mt Rainier National Park in Washington State, and a frozen sea on Mars is called Elysium. There is a street named Elysian in New Orleans that is a setting and a symbolic element in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Today, Elysian Fields Quarterly - The Baseball Review is a popular magazine for the baseball diehard fan.

Back to Cartwright's Masonic Links

Mr. Baseball cements the Masonic nature of Cartwright's history with this paragraph:

Aside from his duties at the Honolulu Fire Department, Alexander became involved with many other aspects of the city through his involvement with Freemasonry. In 1859, for example, Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV founded Queen's Hospital. As part of its customs and traditions, cornerstone ceremonies were held for the construction of new buildings. The first public Masonic ceremony on the islands was at the laying of the hospital cornerstone in 1860.

And further...

King Kamehameha V was the first native Hawaiian to become a Freemason. The February before he died, a cornerstone was laid in Masonic tradition with members of the lodge present, including the Acting Grand Master, Alexander Cartwright Jr. The king, together with Cartwright, spread cement beneath the Cornerstone for what would become the Judiciary Building.

The next monarch, King Kalakaua, became the first Hawaiian monarch to attend a baseball game. Cartwright was the king's financial advisor. The game took place in 1875 between the Athletes and the Pensacolas. Baseball had been growing in popularity since being played at Punahou School in the 1860s. But it is unclear whether Cartwright actually instituted the playing of the game on the islands.

At the Baseball Hall of Fame, there is a plaque upon which Cartwright is called the "Father of Modern Baseball." A large pink granite monument with suggestive symbols decorating it is to be found in Oahu Cemetery (formerly Nuuanu Valley Cemetery) in Honolulu, Hawaii. It marks Cartwright's final resting place. It has become an monument at which visitors routinely leave offerings, in the form of baseballs, bats, and baseball cards.

The name game kicks into high gear here, for Mr. Baseball writes:

Alexander Cartwright died on July 12, 1892, from blood poisoning from a boil on his neck. The Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown six months later on January 17, 1893. A group of Americans in Honolulu formed to request of President Benjamin Harrison that Hawaii be annexed to the United States. The president was in favor. The individual leading the cause for annexation was Lorrin Thurston. Coincidentally, Thurston had played baseball at Punahou School at the same time as Alexander III and Bruce Cartwright Sr.

Well, they (whomever they are) say there are no "coincidences," right? So July 12th is my birthday and "Lorrin" is merely another form of "Loren." I refuse to take this so personally. I won't dwell (this time) on the fact my ex-wife's family members (and thus my sons) are distantly related to the Coit family. Or that "Coit" is the middle name of my ex-father-in-law who worked on the infamous Eisenhower "vicuna coat affair" with Robert F. Kennedy, then died on RFK's birthday. Or that my own father was a career professional firefighter. Or how several generations of my family have been tied to baseball, in various ways. No, I won't take this personally. All news is local first, after all, right?

So, let's stop for now, and think about the future.

Here are my 2009 predictions for what the end of the MLB season will look like:

AL East Champs: NY Yankees
AL Central Champs: Minnesota Twins
AL West Champs: Anaheim Angels
AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox

NL East Champs: NY Mets
NL Central Champs: Chicago Cubs
NL West Champs: LA Dodgers
NL Wildcard: Philadelphia Phillies

AL Champion: Boston Red Sox (over NY Yankees)
NL Champion: LA Dodgers (over Philadelphia Phillies)

World Series Champion: Boston Red Sox (with a few flakes of snow at the end of the game, no doubt)

Of course, my boyhood favorites, the St. Louis Cardinals (location of the highly symbolic Gateway Arch) could surprise everyone in the Central, but I'll stick with the above prophetic picks.

Other Masonic Baseball Imagery...

Play Ball!

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Carthage Carnage

Seven patients and a nurse were killed during a Sunday (March 29, 2009) morning shooting at a Carthage, North Carolina, nursing home. At its peak, the ancient metropolis of Carthage was the "shining city," ruling 300 other cities around the western Mediterranean and leading the Phoenician (or Punic) world, during an era of extreme violence and wars.

The modern shooting happened at about 10 a.m. Sunday, March 29, 2009, when a gunman burst into a Carthage, North Carolina nursing home and started "shooting everything," killing seven residents and a nurse and wounding at least three others.

The man accused of carrying out the attack was shot by a police officer, and his condition "is currently unknown," Carthage Police Chief Chris McKenzie said. A police officer was shot in the leg and was treated and released, McKenzie said.

The slain patients ranged in age from 78 to 98, Moore County District Attorney Maureen Krueger said. The victims were identified as residents Tessie Garner, 88; Lillian Dunn, 89; Jessie Musser, 88; Bessie Hendrick, 78; John Goldston, 78; Margaret Johnson, 89; Louise Decker, 98; and nurse Jerry Avent, whose age wasn't immediately available, according to the AP.

The suspect, identified as 45-year-old Robert Stewart, faces eight counts of murder and one count of felony assault on a police officer, she said.

Stewart was not an employee of the nursing home -- the Pine Lake Health and Rehab Center -- and he did not appear to have been related to any of the patients, Krueger said. (It was learned later his ex-wife worked at this nursing home.)

"There is still more to be uncovered as far as his purpose in being there," she said.

"I ain't never seen nobody being mistreated down there or nothing," Bobby Dunn, whose 89-year-old mother was living at the facility, told CNN affiliate News 14 Carolina. "That's what I can't understand -- why somebody would come and do something like that."

North Carolina Sandhills, where the nursing home in Carthage is located, is about 60 miles southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina.

The American city is named after an ancient site associated with violent wars and child sacrifice. Carthage (Arabic: قرطاج‎, Ancient Greek: Καρχηδών Karkhēdōn, Berber: Kartajen, Latin: Carthago or Karthago, from the Phoenician Qart-ḥadašt meaning new town) refers both to an ancient city in present-day Tunisia, and a modern-day suburb of Tunis.

The well-known city of old Carthage is located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the center of Tunis. According to Roman legend it was founded in 814 BC by Phoenician colonists under the leadership of Elissa (Queen Dido). It became a large and rich city and thus a major power in the Mediterranean.

The resulting rivalry with Syracuse and Rome was accompanied by several wars with respective invasions of each other's homeland. Hannibal's invasion of Italy in the Second Punic War culminated in the Carthaginian victory at Cannae and led to a serious threat to the continuation of Roman rule over Italy, however Carthage emerged from the conflict at its historical weakest. After the Third Punic War, the city was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC. However, the Romans refounded Carthage, which became one of the three most important cities of the Empire and the capital of the short-lived Vandal kingdom. It remained one of the most important Roman cities until the Muslim conquest when it was destroyed a second time in AD 698.

Carthage under the Phoenicians was criticized by its neighbors for child sacrifice. Plutarch (c. 46–120) mentions the practice, as do Tertullian, Orosius, Philo and Diodorus Siculus. The Hebrew Bible also mentions child sacrifice practiced by the Canaanites, ancestors of the Carthaginians.

Sunday's killings in the American Carthage were the latest in a series of high-profile but, according CNN, apparently unrelated rampages in March, including the killings of 10 people by an Alabama man who was then killed by police. At an Illinois church, a man shot and killed the pastor and stabbed two parishioners, and a 17-year-old in Germany killed 15 people in two small towns before dying in a shootout with police.

Within copycat effect theory, of course, I would not use the phrase "unrelated."

Additional note: The date of 27 June 1844 marked a turning point for the Church of Latter Day Saints movement, of which Joseph Smith, Jr. was the founder and leader. On that date, Smith was attacked and killed by a mob, as he was serving as the mayor of Nauvoo, Illinois, and running for President of the United States. He was killed while jailed in Carthage, Illinois.

My appreciation to SM and PH for their alert to me on this 2009 breaking news, while I am in the midst of a personal medical emergency of my own.

Thanks to all for your continued support of my research, through clicking below to...

Revelus Decapitation


A Milton police officer saw Kerby Revelus (left) beheading his younger sister Bianca, 5.

Samantha Revelus, 17, and her sister, Bianca, 5, were killed at their home in Milton, Massachusetts, on Saturday, March 28, 2009. Police shot the girls' brother, Kerby Revelus, 23, after an officer saw him decapitate the younger girl. A surviving sister, 9-year-old Saraphina, was recovering at a Boston hospital after having surgery.

In September 2004, Kerby Revelus was charged with assault and battery after another sister, Jessica Revelus, then 17, called police and said her brother, then 19, had punched her in the face during an argument over a phone bill. Kerby Revelus admitted he punched his sister, and told police he was upset with her because she owed him some money, according to a Milton police report.

Jessica Revelus declined medical attention and told police she did not want to get a restraining order against her brother. "Ms. Revelus told me that she was not in fear of her brother and had no wish to pursue the matter," the arresting officer wrote in the report.

Jessica Revelus told the Boston Herald that her brother had done two stints in jail.

He was arrested for assault and battery in August 2004 after he was involved in a fight with several other teenagers.

Then in December 2005, he was charged with carrying a firearm without a license after he tried to buy alcohol at a liquor store in Randolph. A store clerk called police when he saw a pistol magazine in Revelus' pocket, and police later found the magazine and a handgun in Revelus' waist band. He was sentenced to serve six months in jail, and was released in September 2008.

Investigators believe Revelus had been agitated since Friday night, March 27th, when he got in a fistfight with a neighbor in this tony suburb that is also home to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Revelus attacked his siblings with a kitchen knife on Saturday, March 28th, while their grandmother, who neighbors say lives on the first floor, was doing laundry in the basement, investigators said. The children's parents were not home.

Samantha Revelus called authorities, but the dying girl quickly gave the phone to Saraphina, Milton police said.

An officer patrolling the neighborhood arrived less than a minute after the call and heard screaming inside the apartment. He kicked the door in and saw Revelus decapitate his 5-year-old sister.

As other officers arrived, Kerby ran into a bedroom and began to attack Saraphina. Two officers shot him.

"The reasons why it happened, what happened, how it happened is still just a blur to them," the parents' attorney said. "They can't even imagine it."

NY Daily News.

Breaking The Columbine Copycat Effect

As the 10th anniversary of Columbine creeps closer, positive news as well as the negative can occur.

One such story presented itself a couple weeks ago when a Canadian university student prevented a firebomb act against a United Kingdom high school.

It may be forgotten by the general public that besides the shootings at Columbine, the final act of the scenario was suppose to be the school going up in flames. That has been remembered by some who would copycat the Columbine event.

Andrew Chung at the Toronto Star has written a detailed article summarizing a recent incident:

A Concordia University student who helped thwart a potential firebombing at a British high school is being recognized for his efforts on both sides of the Atlantic.

J. P. Neufeld was on an online forum Tuesday [St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2009] morning when he spotted a new posting entitled, "This is it," threatening to attack the school in Norfolk in the east of England. He immediately telephoned police there.

An armed 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday [March 17, 2009] and detained.


"When I saw his posting, I thought, `If I don't do something, I'm going to spend the rest of my life regretting it, knowing I could have made a difference, to call somebody before somebody got hurt," he explained. "Especially with Columbine and everything," he said of the 1999 high school massacre in Colorado.

Neufeld was on the music and animation sharing website newgrounds.com Tuesday morning [March 17, 2009] when he spotted the posting.

Probing into it, he discovered that its author, a teenager nicknamed "sirtom93," was making a threat against his school.

"Today [March 17, 2009] at 11:30 GMT I will attack my school with arson and other forms of violence," wrote the teen, who has not been named by police. "Those bastards will pay."

He also posted a picture of a gas can, and a screen shot from the infamous Columbine school surveillance tapes. He also wrote, "I have cans, matches, lighter, knives, compressed explosives. S--- will go down in flames."

By this time, before 7 a.m., Neufeld was phoning the Norfolk police. Just before sirtom93, who in other postings has called himself a communist, left his house, he posted a link to a video on police brutality. Police were waiting for the teen at Attleborough High School. Searching his bag, police said they found a knife, matches, and a canister of flammable liquid.

He was detained under Britain's Mental Health Act.

"I just hope the kid gets the help he needs," Neufeld said.

Chris Kitching of the Winnipeg Sun also observed:

Neufeld has been swarmed with calls from reporters on both sides of the Atlantic and received accolades from British authorities and strangers, including one who sent him $50....

"He said he wanted to buy me a drink," said Neufeld, a student in Concordia University's electroacoustics program.

Some have called him a hero.

"If that's the kind of word they use to describe people who do the right thing, then I'm fine with that," Neufeld said. "You like to think that anyone else who was in the same situation would have called the police, as well."

Andrew Chung concurred:

Now, Neufeld is being hailed as a hero not only on the Internet, but Concordia will recognize him with a special certificate at its annual awards dinner April 2 for, as dean of students Beth Morey said, "having the courage to get involved."

In addition, the Norfolk Constabulary's chief of police has sent him a letter of thanks. And on the website, a number of students from Attleborough High School have thanked him for "saving" them.

"If people want to call me a hero for making a phone call, so be it. But there are people out there more deserving than I am," said Neufeld, a Winnipeg native studying electro-acoustics at Concordia's music department. The modest 21-year-old computer junkie makes music for computer games, among other things.

Thank You.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Suicide Forest

Called the "Suicide Forest" as well as the "Sea of Trees," the Aokigahara Forest is known for two things in Japan - breathtaking views of Mount Fuji and suicides. The location is so infamous, I highlighted it in my book, The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow's Headlines (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004).

Now it is back in the news, being discussed by wire services and media globally, in line with current stock market and related woes.

Japan's suicide rate, already one of the world's highest, has increased with the recent economic downturn.

There were 2,645 suicides recorded in January 2009, a 15 per cent increase from the 2,305 for January 2008, according to what the Japanese government has reported to CNN.

Suicide rates are a priority for the Japanese government, which has pledged to cut the number by more than 20 per cent by 2016. However, officials fear the number will rise with the economic crises adding to unemployment and bankruptcies.

"Unemployment is leading to this," Toyoki Yoshida, a suicide and credit counsellor, told CNN. "Society and the government need to establish immediate countermeasures to prevent suicides. There should be more places where they can come and seek help."

Yoshida has posted signs in Aokigahara Forest urging suicidal visitors to call their organization, a credit counselling service (!).

Local authorities say they are the last resort to stop people from killing themselves in the forest and have posted security cameras at the entrances of the forest.

Imasa Watanabe of the Yamanashi Prefectural Government fears more suicidal visitors will turn up in the coming weeks.

"Especially in March, the end of the fiscal year, more suicidal people will come here because of the bad economy," he told CNN.

Thanks for the information forwarded by Curt Rowlett.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Knowing Is A Dark Stargate

(Update February 4, 2015: See TransAsia Flight 235, MH17, and Other 17s. The film Knowing is not done with us even though we thought we were done with it.)

The new Nicholas Cage movie, Knowing ~ filled with cryptic numbers, predictions, disasters, and strange MIB-type entities ~ appears to understand there are cinematic occult dots to connect, and also is having fun with the "Fayette Factor." I also propose it is one of the darkest Stargates around.

(I originally wrote and posted an earlier version of this on February 15th, but I am moving this to the top because the film opens March 20th and I have now seen it.)

At "1:12" on the following YouTube trailer, you will see a quick view of the "Lafayette Street" entrance to a subway station. It's movie science fiction. Even though the setting of the film is Boston, this "Lafayette St." stop is in the New York City's subway system during the time frame of the film. There is a message in the moment.

The name game is played daily, and apparently drifting into the movies. One word, "Lafayette," which can be translated from the French as "the little fairy" or "the little enchantment," is an especially fascinating focus, my friends.

This specific element of the name game that Jim Brandon wrote about in Weird America, and that I have discussed in Mysterious America, is what I've come to call the "Fayette Factor."

Since research and writing about it first in the 1970s, several items on this lexilink between Fayette (as well as its related forms - Lafayette, La Fayette, Fayetteville), high strangeness and sightings have been published.

“There are more than two-dozen cities and towns named after Lafayette,” says Diane Windham Shaw, Lafayette College’s archivist, “as well as a river in Virginia and a mountain in New Hampshire.” She notes that there are also many U.S. communities named LaGrange, in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette’s ancestral home.

The cities, towns, and counties across the United States, which are the Fortean hotspots linked to the Fayette Factor, are tied to the renamed Masonic lodges and affiliated sites that the Marquis de Lafayette visited on his grand tour of the country in 1824-1825. His visits were highly ritualized happenings, in which he was involved with laying many cornerstones and other ceremonies. The locations where he was taken to visit are a virtual roadmap of the "special places" in this land.

Knowing was filmed in Melbourne, Australia, using various locations to represent the film's setting, Boston, and other sites touched by the deadly events of this fictional film.

To represent Boston, the filmmakers (Alex Proyas director, for starters) used Australian locations such as Geelong Ring Road, Melbourne Museum, Mount Macedon, and Collins Street. Filming also took place at Camberwell High School, which was converted into what was initially the John Adams Elementary, set in Boston in 1959. Interior shots took place at the Australian Synchrotron to represent an observatory. Filming also took place at the Haystack Observatory in Westford, Massachusetts. In addition to practical locations, filming also took place at the Melbourne Central City Studios in Docklands.

The "John Adams" school name underwent a change, and now in the movie has been replaced with the name "William Dawes." As Bostonians know, William Dawes, Jr. (April 5, 1745 – February 25, 1799) was one of the men who alerted colonial minutemen of the approach of British army troops prior to the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the outset of the American Revolution.

Dawes was assigned by Doctor Joseph Warren (an extremely significant Masonic figure, and thus name in the name game). Dawes has been overshadowed in history by one of the others, a guy named Paul Revere (also under Warren's orders). Besides Dawes and Revere, others, including Samuel Prescott, Israel Bissell and men unknown today, warned of the coming British attack at Concord.

The original draft of Knowing was written by novelist Ryne Pearson, and then the husband-and-wife team of Stiles White and Juliet Snowden (The Boogeyman) rewrote the script.

Others are seeing similar things within this movie, because this film is purposely created to be Masonic occult friendly.

In the following motion picture trailer, Cage is shown, rather quickly at one point, standing at the intersection of Lafayette and Worth in New York City (which does exist, next to Thomas Paine Park, but not at a subway stop).

Kermit scarf

Australian photographer Luke Tscharke "was walking along Collins Street [in Melbourne] and stumbled upon the film set for the movie Knowing starring Nicholas Cage."

The "Lafayette Street" subway station, created in Australia, stood in for a fictional New York City subway stop. While there are many "Lafayette" streets, avenues, and more throughout NYC, a Lafayette stop is not one of them. Someone made a conscious decision to use this name in this pivotal scene, no matter what city was fictionally chosen.

BTW, the Nicolas Cage character's name, Koestler is an apparent tribute to Arthur Koestler, who was born in Budapest, Hungary, on September 5, 1905. Koestler was a political writer made famous by his one book that focused on the paranormal – The Roots of Coincidence (1972). As Paul Devereux wrote for Fortean Times in 2005, Koestler's work tries "to find a basis for paranormal events in coincidence, or more precisely synchronicity, so that there is only one phenomenon to explain rather than many."

Knowing opens on March 20, 2009, on the spring equinox, the first Friday after St. Patrick's Day.

This movie is very dark, ends in a fashion that may surprise you but should not. There are more themes in this film that need to be highlighted but I'll wait for more folks to see it. It is subtle, but for all of my synchromystic buddies who have blogged about the modern imagery of Ezekiel's vision of the Wheel, dust off those writings for this movie. (For example, scroll down a bit in this part of William Thuther's Stargate-like thoughts, to see more there.)

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Teens Targeted Columbine Date

Two Greater Manchester teenagers have appeared in court on Monday, March 23, 2009, accused of planning to blow up a school and a shopping center.

The youths, aged 16 and 17, had a plan to strike on April 20, 2009, a court heard.

Police sources confirmed the date was chosen to mark the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in the US.

Both youngsters appeared flanked by security guards in the dock at Tameside Youth Court. They are jointly accused of a single charge of conspiracy to cause an explosion likely to endanger life and injure property between November 1, 2007 and March 15, 2009.

The elder boy is also charged with possession of child pornography. The teenagers and the school targeted cannot be identified for legal reasons.

It is alleged they had a plan of a school, which has hundreds of pupils and the plan of a shopping center and had the knowledge and method to carry out the attacks on April 20.

That date is the 10th anniversary of the school massacre in Columbine, Colorado, on April 20, 1999.

Disaffected students Eric Harris, 18 and Dylan Klebold, 17, members of the Trench Coat Mafia, a clique of students influenced by Goth culture, used bombs and guns to attack their school killing 12 students and a teacher before turning the guns on themselves.

Both defendants were arrested on Saturday as police swooped in Tameside.

Vivien Vince, chairwoman of the bench, remanded both youths into custody to appear at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, on March 30.

Sources: www.lythamstannesexpress.co.uk, AP; thanks to The Emperor.

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Winnenden Copycat Stabs Four

A serial killer fan has stabbed four in a town near Liège, Belgium. The Belgian attacker said he was inspired by the recent drama in Winnenden, Germany in which 15 people were killed.

In Seraing, near Liège, a man stabbed four people in a café Saturday night (March 21, 2009). He said he was inspired by the recent drama in Winnenden, Germany in which 15 people were killed. He is also a self-professed fan of serial killers.

One of Saturday's victims was in critical condition, but is now reportedly out of danger. The perpetrator has been arrested on charges of attempted manslaughter. He is being kept in the psychiatric ward of the prison of Lantin.

The incident took place in a café/restaurant in Seraing, near Liège. The attacker, a 26- year-old man, was with his mother and her boyfriend. On arrival at the café he took out a knife and started stabbing wildly around him. He stabbed his mother's friend and three others.

The man was detained by the police immediately after the incident. He had a police record for theft and arson; last year he threw a Molotov cocktail at the house of a friend.

The perpetrator reportedly said that he was disappointed that he did not succeed in killing anyone. He also claimed to be an admirer of serial killers. According to the police the man would not stop talking about the drama in the German Winnenden and the German youngster who ran amok at a school killing 15 people. The man also said he heard a voice in his head which told him to stab people.

During house searches at the man's house the police found a literature, videos and DVDs about serial killers. According to his mother, her son had not been feeling well over the past few days.

The four people stabbed by the man were taken to hospital. One of them was stabbed in the neck and chest and was in critical condition but has now stabilized.

Source: flandersnews.be/Expatica: Thanks to Robert Schneck.

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Sylvia Plath's Son Dies By Suicide

Ben Hoyle, The Times Arts Correspondent, has written a detailed account of the news that Nicholas Hughes, Sylvia Plath’s son has died by suicide.

The son of the poets Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath has taken his own life, 46 years after his mother gassed herself while he slept.

Nicholas Hughes hanged himself at his home in Alaska after battling against depression for some time, his sister Frieda said yesterday [March 22, 2009].

He was 47, unmarried with no children of his own and had until recently been a professor of fisheries and ocean sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dr. Hughes’s death adds a further tragic chapter to a family history that has been raked over with morbid fascination for two generations.

He was only a baby when his mother died but she had already sketched out what he meant to her in one of her late poems.

In Nick and the Candlestick, published in her posthumous collection Ariel, she wrote: “You are the one/ Solid the spaces lean on, envious./ You are the baby in the barn.”

Later his father wrote of how, after Plath’s death, their son’s eyes “Became wet jewels,/ The hardest substance of the purest pain/ As I fed him in his high white chair”.

Neither he, nor his sister nor their Poet Laureate father could ever fully escape the shadow cast by Plath’s suicide in 1963 and the personality cult that then sprang up around her memory.

Ted Hughes was hounded for the rest of his life by feminists and Plath devotees who accused him of driving her to her death by his infidelity.

In 1969 he suffered another terrible loss when his mistress gassed herself and their daughter in an apparent copycat suicide.

Plath’s friend, the poet and critic Al Alvarez, once said: “I would love to think that the culture’s fascination is because Plath is a great and major poet, which she is. But it wouldn’t be true. It is because people are wildly interested in scandal and gossip.”

Her turbulent marriage to Hughes became a modern myth, from their first meeting at Cambridge where he kissed the young American Fulbright scholar “bang smash on the mouth” and she bit his cheek so hard that it bled, through the whirlwind secret wedding all the way to its catastrophic ending.

Plath’s suicide in effect froze her children in time so that in the public memory they remained a one-year-old and a two-year-old lying in their cots, carefully sealed off from the gas leaking over their mother in the room next door.

Hughes did everything that he could to shield them from the increasingly lurid interest in their mother and did not tell them that she had killed herself until they were teenagers.

Frieda Hughes reemerged into the public gaze in her twenties when her first children’s book was published. She has also been a successful artist, poet and newspaper columnist and has spoken and written about her parents and her own own struggles with depression, ME and anorexia.

Her brother never resurfaced in the same way, but his life had also moved on. A family friend said last night: “Nick wasn’t just the baby son of Plath and Hughes and it would be wrong to think of him as some kind of inevitably tragic figure. He was a man who reached his mid-forties, an adventurous marine biologist with a distinguished academic career behind him and a host of friends and achievements in his own right. That is the man who is mourned by those who knew him.”

Frieda Hughes was travelling to Alaska yesterday but said in a statement: “It is with profound sorrow that I must announce the death of my brother, Nicholas Hughes, who died by his own hand on Monday 16th March 2009 at his home in Alaska. He had been battling depression for some time.”

He was an evolutionary ecologist who specialised in the study of stream fish and travelled thousands of miles across Alaska on research trips.

“His lifelong fascination with fish and fishing was a strong and shared bond with our father (many of whose poems were about the natural world). He was a loving brother, a loyal friend to those who knew him and, despite the vagaries that life threw at him, he maintained an almost childlike innocence and enthusiasm for the next
project or plan.”

Shortly before his death, he left his post at the university to set up a pottery at home and “advance his not inconsiderable talent at making pots and creatures in clay”.

Although there is acceptance that depression can be inherited, there is no known suicide gene that could connect Dr Hughes's death to his mother’s.

Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: “Suicide is a much more complicated event than simply being a question of genetics, but there is some evidence that if a member of your family has taken their life there can be a higher risk of people doing the same. However, it is often absolutely to do with what’s happening in the here and now rather than any urge that is more deeply rooted.”

Dr Hughes’s parents split up before he was 1, his father leaving Plath for Assia Wevill, the exotic wife of another poet. The winter that followed was unrelentingly harsh. Struggling to get by on very little money as a single parent with two young children, Plath’s fragile mental state collapsed. She wrote many of her finest poems in a final burst of creativity and killed herself early one February morning.

Six years later Wevill, who had lived with Hughes and the children for much of the intervening period, also gassed herself. It was March 23, 1969 – 40 years ago today – and her death differed from Plath’s in one appalling respect: she had murdered four-year-old Shura in the process.

To the frustration of biographers, Hughes stayed silent about his own response to these events until almost the end of his life. Then, in 1995, he published half a dozen poems that he had written for Wevill, hidden among the 240 poems in his New Selected Poems.

In 1998 he finally unveiled in Birthday Lettersa series of 88 poems examining his life with Plath and his reaction to her death. Serialised in The Times,the poems recast his reputation from a man who had shown no apparent contrition for his wife’s fate into something far more complex.

In a letter to the poet Kathleen Raine he said he wished that he had published them earlier. “I might have had a more fruitful career – certainly a freer psychological life.”

Hughes dedicated Birthday Letters to his children. Unusually for a book of poetry, it became a runaway best-seller, shifting more than 150,000 hard-back copies in Britain alone. He did not live to see it awarded the 1999 Whitbread Book of the Year award, as he died of cancer the previous October. It was Frieda, not Nicholas, who accepted the prize on his behalf.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Slumdog & Other Dumas Gates

Slumdog Millionaire reopened in American theaters on March 20, 2009. It's time to take a look at one thread in the film and where it leads us. An intriguing undermentioned synchromystic element of the award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire is its references throughout to The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires, 1844). The movie's hero Jamal refers to his brother Salim and himself as Athos and Porthos, and the female of his attention Latika as the third Musketeer. The book is shown in flashbacks of the orphanage's classroom and in importance to the ending sequence regarding the last question asked on "So You Want To Be A Millionaire?" The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) is a novel by Alexandre Dumas, père (French for "father", akin to 'Senior' in English). It recounts the adventures of a young man named d'Artagnan after he leaves home to become a musketeer. d'Artagnan is not one of the musketeers of the title; those are his friends Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—inseparable friends who live by the motto "one for all, all for one" ("un pour tous, tous pour un"). The director Danny Boyle does not really deal with the overt or covert appearance of the novel, in the movie or even in his interviews about the film. The New America Media interviewed Boyle, and he gave the following rather classic non-answer to the question of the book in his motion picture. +++ New America Media: But would slum kids in India really read "The Three Musketeers"? Danny Boyle: We had to work around that. We originally decided to do the whole film in English. But when I got there and started auditioning, it was clear that the little kids don't really speak English. I immediately thought, 'We have to do it in Hindi.' So the kids speak in Hindi in the beginning, and I remember ringing the studio, telling them, 'Oh, by the way, the beginning of the film is going to be in Hindi.' And they were just horrified. They thought subtitles. And all I said was, 'I promise you the subtitles will make the film even more exciting.' And they bought it, fortunately. It's true someone from his background would probably not have that much English but he's a smart kid, and he picks stuff up quickly and he remembers it. That makes his dream come true - the things he remembers. +++ Did you hear a clear response in any of that? Why didn't he answer this inquiry about The Three Musketeers? Perhaps Danny Boyle only likes to share visually? He, after all, was the director for two intriguing episodes of Inspector Morse ("Masonic Mysteries" and "Cherubim and Seraphim"). In "Masonic Mysteries," Morse himself becomes the prime suspect when his lady friend is murdered at a dress rehearsal of Mozart's The Magic Flute. By the time Boyle got to Slumdog, he would have already been quite familiar with the multiple layers of Masonic symbolism in literature, music, and art. The Three Musketeers is a tale of friendship by a Freemason. The author of The Three Musketeers was born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie (July 24, 1802 – December 5, 1870) ~ known simply as Alexandre Dumas. He became known as a French writer, best known for his numerous historical novels of high adventure, which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world. Many of the Dumas novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne were serialized and this extended his popularity. His novels were simple but multilayered. For example, his The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, his last novel, was a swashbuckling tale containing a key scene of the Battle of Trafalgar, which explains the death of the British admiral Horatio Nelson. One of the background elements of some significance to Dumas was his Masonic twilight clues in his stories. Freemasonry is subtly written about by Freemason Brother Alexandre Dumas, père, within his books: The Count of Monte Cristo. "Edmond had become as skilled in navigating the coastal waters as he had once been on the open sea. He got to know all the smugglers around the Mediterranean and learned the Masonic signs that these semi-pirates used to recognize one another." Chap. xxii, p. 189. "But Andrea, turning around towards them, winked, put his tongue in his cheek and gave a clicking of the lips that meant a host of things to these bandits, who fell silent. These were masonic signs that Caderousse had shown him, and the hooligans recognized one of their own." Chap. cvii, p. 994. "'More or less. We sailors are like freemasons, we recognize one another by certain signs.'" Chap. xxxi, p. 266. Penguin Classics Edition, 1103 pages, translated by Robin Buss (c) 1996, ISBN 0-14-044615-X The Countess de Charny. A chapter describes the advancement of three freemasons into the Illuminati of Cagliostro. [AQC xciii 4] Philadelphia : T. B. Peterson, [1858.]. 8o. Joseph Balsamo, or the Memoirs of a Physician. Also deals with Cagliostro. [AQC xciii 4; xxxii 94] London : Ward, Locke & Co., London, [1846-48]. 340p : ill ; 28cm In 1848, Alexander Dumas wrote his The Count Of Monte Cristo. The Count is the Jesuit General. Monte=Mount, Cristo=Christ. The Count of the Mount of Christ. Alexander Dumas was talking about the Jesuit General getting vengeance when the Jesuits were suppressed, and many of them were consigned to an island, three hours sailing, West, off the coast of Portugal. And so, when the Jesuits finally regained their power, they punished all of the monarchs of Europe who had suppressed them, drove them from their thrones, including the Knights of Malta from Malta, using Napoleon. And Alexander Dumas, who fought for the Italian patriots in 1848, to free Rome from the temporal power of the Pope, wrote many books and one of the books was to expose this, and that was The Count Of Monte Cristo. Little remembered today, Dumas was discriminated against due to his race. Dumas is included in the 2002 book by Joseph Cox, Great Black Men of Masonry. Despite Alexandre Dumas' success, despite his Freemasonry and aristocratic connections, his being of mixed-race would affect him all his life. In 1843 he wrote a short novel, Georges, that addressed some of the issues of race and the effects of colonialism. He once remarked to a man who insulted him about his mixed-race background: "My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends." Buried where he had been born, Alexandre Dumas remained in the cemetery at Villers-Cotterêts until November 30, 2002. Under orders of the French President, Jacques Chirac, his body was exhumed, and in a televised ceremony his new coffin, draped in a blue-velvet cloth, and flanked by four Republican Guards (costumed as the Musketeers - Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and D'Artagnan) was transported in a solemn procession to the Panthéon of Paris, the great mausoleum, where French luminaries are interred. In his speech President Chirac said: "With you, we were D'Artagnan, Monte Cristo, or Balsamo, riding along the roads of France, touring battlefields, visiting palaces and castles — with you, we dream." In that speech President Chirac acknowledged the racism that had existed, saying that a wrong had now been righted, with Alexandre Dumas enshrined alongside fellow authors Victor Hugo and Emile Zola. The underlying theme of Freemasonry, so part of The Three Musketeers ("three" is one of the most powerful of numbers in Masonic symbolism), is seeded into Slumdog Millionaire. Salman Rushdie, in his essay on film adaptations, "A Fine Pickle," argues that the plot of Swarup's novel, Q & A, is "a patently ridiculous conceit, the kind of fantasy writing that gives fantasy writing a bad name. It is a plot device faithfully preserved by the film-makers, and lies at the heart of the weirdly renamed Slumdog Millionaire. As a result the film, too, beggars belief." Rushdie also questions director Danny Boyle's admission that he made the film in part because he was unfamiliar with India, asking, "I imagined an Indian film director making a movie about New York low-life and saying that he had done so because he knew nothing about New York and had indeed never been there. He would have been torn limb from limb by critical opinion. But for a first world director to say that about the third world is considered praiseworthy, an indication of his artistic daring. The double standards of post-colonial attitudes have not yet wholly faded away." “The movie piles impossibility on impossibility,” the famous novelist Salman Rushdie said in a lecture Sunday, February 22, 2009 evening at Emory University (the night that Slumdog Millionaire won so many Oscar at the Academy Awards). (Perhaps it is his enormous ego, but, frankly, sometimes Rushdie seems rather out of touch and misses the bigger picture to make his sociopolitical point, don't you think?) "The literary motif lurking here is that of the three musketeers, a book the boys fail to study properly at school, and the only book we ever see them look at. Even so, Jamal doesn’t know, when asked on the (television show) "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?", who the third musketeer is. He manages to guess right, a move which in turn prefigures the happy ending, but also hides part of its pathos. All too often there are only two musketeers, and we can’t save the third. Indeed, this cruel logic appears to apply even when we can save the third," wrote Michael Wood in the London Review of Books, At the Movies. India, Freemasonry, and films are old friends, and here again "The Three Musketeers" serves as an entry point for a peek. There is one version of "The Three Musketeers" that is a story by Rudyard Kipling. The tale introduces his three fictional British soldiers serving in India in the later nineteenth century: Privates Mulvaney, Ortheris and Learoyd. These appear in many early stories; Kipling's second collection is called Soldiers Three (1888). "The Three Musketeers" was first published in the Civil and Military Gazette on March 11, 1887, and in book form in Plain Tales from the Hills, 1888. The ability to answer the question, "Who is the Third Musketeer?" is an element of the plot of Kipling's story, just as it was in Slumdog Millionaire. Kipling was a very overt Freemason, and his story "The Man Who Would Be King" (1888) is a tale of other fellow Freemasons. It is about two British adventurers in British India, who become kings of Kafiristan, a remote part of Afghanistan. The greatest Masonic film of all time is the adaption of this book. "In the pantheon of Masonic films, there can only be one king - and this is it," wrote Mr. Black. I could not agree more. Director John Huston made this feature film in 1975, The Man Who Would Be King, starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine as the protagonists and Christopher Plummer as Kipling. The book and the movie share a plot also involving Alexander the Great, forms of Masonic ritual, images of Masonic symbols, and knowledge of Masonic secrets that serve as keys to the initial success of Kipling's Masonic heroes. One film that has been made, full of synchromystic symbolism that is entwined with "The Three Musketeers," even though they never are overtly merged, is The Ninth Gate. It is a 1999 film based on the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Spanning several genres, The Ninth Gate is a mix of Satanic mystery, iconic thriller, and neo-noir, and additionally portrays facets of the rare book business. The film was co-written and directed by Roman Polanski (Rosemary's Baby), and stars Johnny Depp as Dean Corso, a rare-book dealer hired by a book collector (Frank Langella) to validate a copy of The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, a book by 17th century author Aristide Torchia. Johnny Depp, I consider, so linked to so many twilight language movies, the list overwhelms. But what is so incredible about this specific movie is how rich it is but how very ignored it has been. One of the biggest elements little known to casual viewers of this film is that The Three Musketeers was originally part of this story. The source novel The Club Dumas contains numerous literary references and a subplot concerning Corso’s investigation into the original manuscript for a chapter of The Three Musketeers. Polanski and Brownjohn jettisoned these elements and focused on one particular plot line: Corso’s pursuit of the authentic copy of The Nine Gates to make it more of a Lucifer-friendly movie, in the tradition of Rosemary's Baby. The symbolism or complex nature of The Three Musketeers appears to have been lost on Polanski. There is one date in The Ninth Gate that seems unmentioned but serves as a background temporal pivotal point of attention. The Nine Gates of the Kingdom of Shadows, a book by 17th century author Aristide Torchia is said to have developed a cult that annually recalls the anniversary of the burning at the stake of Torchia. In this created fiction, that date is given (in the book, but not noted in the movie) as February 17, 1666. Aristide Torchia is a fictional character from The Club Dumas, the 1993 novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. But Torchia is clearly based on the real life of Giordano Bruno, burned as a heretic on February 17, 1600. Giordano Bruno was an Italian philosopher best-known as a proponent of the infinity of the universe. In addition to his cosmological writings, he also wrote extensive works on the art of memory, a loosely-organized group of mnemonic techniques and principles. He is often considered an early martyr for modern scientific ideas, in part because he was burned at the stake as a heretic by the Roman Inquisition. Frances Yates's books suggest that Bruno was deeply influenced by magical views of the universe inherited from Arab astrological magic, Neoplatonism and Renaissance Hermeticism. Other recent studies of Bruno have focused on his qualitative approach to mathematics and his application of the spatial paradigms of geometry to language. Under Bruno's view of the universe, the Sun was simply one more star, and the stars all suns, each with its own planets. Bruno saw a solar system of a sun/star with planets as the fundamental unit of the universe. His view was holistic before it was cool to be holistic. Symbolism was more overt in films like The Man Who Would Be King in 1975 and The Ninth Gate in 1999, of course. But that doesn't mean that iconic imagery is still not to be found in those of the 21st Century. Sometimes you have to look harder at what is hidden in plain sight. Slumdog Millionaire is merely one point along the circle, which you can begin to measure anywhere. 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

San Jacinto Obelisk

The Washington Monument is not the only famed Masonic obelisk in the United States of America. Texas has the grand San Jacinto Monument, which is actually 15 feet taller than the Washington Monument and said to be the world’s tallest memorial column.

Every year in April the people of Texas, many of them Masons, gather at the foot of the San Jacinto Monument near Houston to celebrate the Texas victory at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, which established independence for Texas....

On the battlefield at San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, the Army of Texas commanded by General Sam Houston, and accompanied by the Secretary of War, Thomas J. Rusk, attacked the larger invading army of Mexicans under General Santa Anna....

Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The Freedom of Texas from Mexico won at San Jacinto led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nebraska, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American nation, nearly a million square miles of territory changed sovereignty....

Many Masons assumed leadership roles and were active in the birth of The Republic of Texas, such as: Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, William B. Travis, James Bowie, David Crockett, James Bonham, Ben Milam, David G. Burnet, James Fannin, Mirabeau B. Lamar, Anson Jones, Lorenzo de Zavala, Edward Burleson, Thomas Rusk, Juan Seguin and many more.

~ The Grand Lodge of Texas, "San Jacinto"

Perhaps it is to be expected that some skeptical words are floated among the general public about the well-known story of how Masons fought on both sides of the War.

It may be that Masons saved the life of Santa Anna but if so, they did not act because he made claim to their mercy as Masons. All of the Masons to whom he appealed knew that Santa Anna disowned Masonry; that further, his many offenses against Texas and Mexican Masons had placed him outside the protection of any Masonic obligation. Santa Anna was saved because the Texas leaders considered him worth more to Texas alive than dead.

~ Dr. James D. Carter, Masons In Texas, History and Influence to 1846

But generally, the following typical accounts are those that define the secret history of the Battle of San Jacinto.

The scouting party that captured Santa Anna was composed of Joel W. Robinson, A. H. Miles, Charles P. Thompson, Joseph Vermillion, and Siron R. Bostick, led by Color Sgt. James A. Sylvester, the gallant young man who bore the "Liberty or Death" flag through the Battle of San Jacinto, the only flag flown on the field by the Texans that day. In flushing the vicinity near Vince's Bayou, the Mexican general was discovered crouching in the tall grass along a small hollow. He was first sighted by Jim Sylvester who suddenly rode upon the fugitive. The Mexican had on a corporal's uniform and was barefooted. Sylvester at once signaled his men scattered around some four or five hundred yards away, and as they began dashing up and flourishing their guns, Santa Anna became excited, and it was at that moment that he first gave the Masonic sign of distress.

Both Sylvester and Robinson were Masons and they understood what "them funny motions meant," and this no doubt accounts for the fact that the captive was not killed on the spot...I believe that Santa Anna's being a Free Mason was all that saved him on that day. Houston, Sherman, and many others of our officers were Masons and while a number of them doubtless favored the execution of the red-banded monster, yet they were bound to observe their Masonic obligations....He and Houston were both Free Masons, and the prisoner made the sign of distress, which Houston, as a Mason, heeded. I was told that at the time by one of our men, who was a Mason also, and I am now certain it was the strong tie of fraternal brotherhood that saved Santa Anna's life.

~ Creed Taylor, The Battle of San Jacinto


It is said that Santa Anna owed his life to the giving of the Masonic sign of distress, first to James A. Sylvester; secondly to Sam Houston; and thirdly, to a group of Texas soldiers, among whom were John A. Wharton, George W. Hockley, Richard Bache, Dr. J. E. Phelps and others.

~ William R. Denslow, 10,000 Famous Freemasons

Footnote of Fact or Fiction: During the campaign against Texas independence, Santa Anna would send aides to round up the prettiest women for his pleasure. According to legend, he was "entertaining" a beautiful woman of black ancestry and white ancestry (termed "mulatto," by some, hence "yellow") named Emily West Morgan or Emily D. West, at the time of the opening salvo of the Battle of San Jacinto. A song entitled "The Yellow Rose of Texas" was later written about Emily West's role in the battle, which served to lower the guard of the Mexican forces. No primary source evidence corrobates this story, however, and it is now dismissed by historians, but lives on, nevertheless. Some have compared it to the Biblical war story of Jael and Sisera, found in Judges 4:14–22 and repeated in poetry in Judges 5:23–27.

Today, the heroic acts of the young woman are still reverently commemorated by the members of the Knights of the Yellow Rose of Texas each April 21 at San Jacinto.

The historic Emily Morgan hotel located next to the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas is named in reference to Emily West Morgan.

Thanks to flitcraft for the idea.