The twilight language explores hidden meanings and synchromystic connections via onomatology (study of names) and toponymy (study of place names). This blog further investigates "name games" and "number coincidences" found in news and history. Examinations are also found in my book The Copycat Effect (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2004).
Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society: A Visual Guide
Adam Parfrey and Craig Heimbichner, foreword by Loren Coleman. Feral House (Consortium, dist.), $29.95 paper over board (380p) ISBN 978-1-936239-14-6
There have been hundreds of clandestine clubs in America, but as Coleman notes in the foreword, we “[do] not know much about the hidden landscape in which we live everyday.” In unmasking this “widespread covert reality”—a motley group of secret societies from Elks and Masons to the Ku Klux Klan, the Bohemian Club, and the Rosicrucians—Heimbichner, a contributor to Paranoia magazine, and Parfrey (editor of Apocalypse Culture) survey secret passwords, garments, handshakes, songs, and initiations to show how these offbeat orders and brotherhoods have shaped America. The pages are packed with unusual images, many not previously printed, in paper ephemera, postcards, cartoons, sheet music, and art by numerous illustrators, along with kooky costumes and helmets. Controversial figures such as Scientology’s L. Ron Hubbard and “Masonic Pope” Albert Pike are profiled. One bizarre section has ads for items (like axes) used in hazings and sadistic initiation pranks. The military is described as “a bastion of Masonic membership,” and a dubious connection is drawn between waterboarding and “fraternal traditions.” The total effect is that of a tattered, bulging scrapbook of outré oddities on high-quality slick paper with an attractive graphic design. (Mar.)