Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fayette Factor

The Fayette Factor
Above and below, Fayette County, Georgia.

Who--or more precisely, what--is "the Fayette Factor?" It is probably one of the strangest mysteries in American Forteana, first discovered by researcher William (Bill) Grimstad (see here), back in 1977, and written about in "Fateful Fayette," Fortean Times, No. 25, Spring 1978.

Namely, the "Fayette Factor" has been the finding of a surprisingly high incidence of Fortean (inexplciable) events linked to places named after one of the USA's Founding Fathers--the Marquis de Lafayette. 
Fayetteville, West Virginia

Since Grimstad's discovery, several items on this lexilink between Fayette (as well as its related forms - Lafayette, La Fayette, Fayetteville, Lafayetteville) and high strangeness have been published. In his book, Weird America (New York: EP Dutton, 1978), Grimstad mentions several Fayette hot spots but did not dwell on them. In exchanges with Bill, a small group of Forteans discussed the Fayette Factor privately throughout the late 1970s. It was not until Brandon's (now extremely rare) The Rebirth of Pan: Hidden Faces of the American Earth Spirit (Firebird Press, 1983) and Mysterious America (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1983) that more in-depth analyses of the Fayette "coincidences" seriously occurred. These examinations were followed by updates and other comments in Mysterious America (NY: Simon and Schuster, 2006), and Mothman and Other Curious Encounters (NY: Paraview, 2002).  Furthermore, the appearance of widely available material on the Fayette Factor started routinely being posted online during the 1990s-2010s.
According to Grimstad, "Lafayette traveled widely in this country (USA) and doubtless must have been the inspiration for many or most of the 18-odd counties and 28 towns and cities across the land that I have been able to find with some form of his name." 
 Lafayette County, Mississippi
Marie-Joseph Paul Roch de Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was born in 1757. His father, a French Army officer, was killed in the battle of Minden in 1759, and the marquis was brought up by his mother's prestigious family, the de Noailles. At the age of 18, he traveled to the Americas at his own expense and became an aide to General George Washington, who loved him like a son. By the end of the War of the American Revolution, Lafayette commanded the Continental Army in Virginia. That's the Lafayette every American schoolboy knows. But, as researcher Manly Palmer Hall has pointed out, the marquis had ties to the esoteric groups of the late Eighteenth Century. 
"In addition to his political pursuits," Grimstad wrote, "Lafayette was busily involved in certain circles that should be of interest to contemporary Illuminati buffs." 
 Lafayette County, Mississippi

According to Manly Palmer Hall, Lafayette was an associate of both Dr. Anton Mesmer, "the Father of Hypnotism," and Giuseppe Balsamo, better known as Cagliostro, a Sicilian sorcerer who was an acolyte of Adam Weishaupt's Illuminati. 

Hall wrote, "In 1785, the Marquis...joined the Egyptian Masonry of Cagliostro and proclaimed his absolute confidence in the 'Grand Cophte.' When Anton Mesmer arrived from Vienna with his theories of animal magnetism, Lafayette was one of his first customers." 

Grimstad adds, "But Lafayette also had the closest ties with Benjamin Franklin, the American revolutionary sage and member of (Sir Francis) Dashwood's 'Hell-Fire Club' in Britain (also known as the 'Medmenham Monks' of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, northwest of London). As Hall puts it, 'Benjamin Franklin was a philosopher and a Freemason--possibly a Rosicrucian initiate. He and the Marquis de Lafayette--also a man of mystery--constitute two of the most important links that culminated in the establishment of the original thirteen American colonies as a free and independent nation.' Lafayette, Hall summarises, 'is a direct link between the (esoteric) political societies of France and the young American government.'"  

Attention to other links to other locations, such as my discovery that LaGrange is also an associated hot name, apparently due to the fact the name Chateau de LaGrange was the French home of the Marquis de Lafayette, evolved during the last thirty years of our writings and mutual exchange on the subject.

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. The locations where he was taken to visit are a virtual roadmap of the "special places" in this land. For example, in 1825, The Marquis de Lafayette, on board the ship (please note!) "Enterprise," visited the Cahokia mounds, and the significant Bloody Island, which then was so large that half of the Mississippi flowed east of it. (Intriguingly, Lafayette returned to France in 1825, on the day after his birthday, demonstrating a keen eye on the calendar and a desire to celebrate September 6th in America.)

Many Masonic locations have been linked beyond the easily recognized Lafayette name to a broader Freemasonry focus to mystic events and violent happenings. Some are very subtle. One man's journey, Lee Harvey Oswald, from his office across from Lafayette Square, New Orleans, would lead to the most infamous Masonic sites in the country. This vivid example of deathly weirdness is Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Dallas' Dealey Plaza is the location of the state of Texas's first Masonic temple. 

How much of the Marquis's involvement in such matters was due to his deeply-held esoteric beliefs or to mere socializing is something for historians of the future to determine. What is of interest to Forteans is the uncanny number of unexplained incidents linked to the name Lafayette. Grimstad has an impressive list, which we have added to, of course, as the years have rolled along, hitting its 35th year in 2012. Here's a review of Grimstad's original notes, with new images.
Fayette County, Alabama

"In Fayette County, Alabama, is the Musgrove Methodist Cemetery. The tombstone of one Robert L. Musgrove there bears a discoloration, not especially realistic, that is locally believed to be the bridal- veiled figure of Musgrove's fiancee. Apparently he was killed just before the wedding, and the sorrowing girl" willed her image "onto the marble by her many visits to the grave." (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle may have used this real-life case as the basis for his Sherlock Holmes story, "The Musgrave Ritual.") 

"The engima-laden state of Arkansas has two sites. The city of Fayetteville, in the northwest corner" of Arkansas, "has long been legendary for oddities. UFOs and aerial lightshows, water monsters in the nearby White River and Springheel Jack-type window peepers are among the manifestations."
 Lafayette County, Arkansas

"In the southwest angle of Arkansas is a Bigfoot hotspot that has been immortalized--in America, at least-- by the (1974) movie The Legend of Boggy Creek. The critters have been known hereabouts since 1856, centering their activities lately upon the town of Fouke in Miller County and ranging eastward into Lafayette County." 
Lafayette County, Kentucky

"In the scenic Bluegrass area of Kentucky, the university city of Lexington sits atop one of America's more dramatic lost cave stories. Historian G.W. (George Washington) Ranck recorded in 1872 that hunters in 1776 had found a tunnel behind a rock panel of 'peculiar workmanship' and covered with hieroglyphics. The descending portal widened to a sort of gallery running downward a few hundred feet to a huge underground room. Ranck cited the hunters' reports that this chamber contained idols, altars and about 2,000 human mummies. Although the entrance to the amazing cavern was (of course--B.G.) lost, there are still cave true-believers who poke about looking for the weird mausoleum beneath this part of Fayette County." 
 Fayette County, Missouri

"Followers of ghost lore may have heard of the recent (1976) antics of a supposed phantom in Lilac Hill, a large old farmhouse at Fayette, Missouri. A number of psychically-sensitive individuals have been trying to discern what is troubling the alleged spirits, of whom there are said to be at least two."
LaFayette, New York

"In New York state, a farm near Cardiff, 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Syracuse, was the starting point in October 1869 for one of the more sensational fossil controversies. The 'Cardiff Giant' is still displayed at museum near Cooperstown," and the weird stone idol was found in a quarry near "the Nineteenth Century town of La Fayette." 
Fayette, New York

Also, "it was in April of 1830 that the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (i.e. the Mormons) was founded by Joseph Smith and a few disciples, who claim to have received more than a little help from certain angelic friends in the neighborhood. The place: Fayette, New York." 
Fayetteville, North Carolina

"Another haunted house story takes us to an American state that perhaps rivals New York and Arkansas in the number and interest of its anomalies. It also brings us back across the trail of the peripatetic Marquis de Lafayette. This is the A.S. Slocumb Mansion, located in the North Carolina city of Fayetteville. The Slocumb House is supposed to have a number of special occupants. It also has, or had, a secret vault in the basement and at least one tunnel leading to the Cape Fear River channel." 
Fayette County, Tennessee

In 1977, the USA experienced one of the most severe winters in its history. "As of February 3, 1977, the National Weather Service announced that the 'hardest hit area' of the north-central states region was Fayette County, Ohio."
Fayette County, Tennessee

Bigfoot "became rather more aggressive on April 23, 1976 when it attempted to carry off a four-year-old boy from his backyard on a farm in Tennessee. A sheriff's posse pursued the entity and seems to have shot enough high-powered rifle fire into it to have felled King Kong himself. However, as if tiring of the game, the creature finally leaped out of its cul-de-sac and simply vanished. These events occurred within a few miles of the hamlet called Fayetteville, Tennessee." 
Lafayette Baker

"Now I would like to consider some examples of a more ominous character," Grimstad wrote, "We find 'the Lafayette factor' in the Abraham Lincoln assassination of the 1860s...A slippery character named Lafayette Baker had been brought in to head the Secret Service by the enigmatic Edwin M. Stanton, President Lincoln's arrogant Secretary of War. Otto Eisenschiml, the pioneer revisionist historian of this amazingly crude murder conspiracy, delved into the story as far as the surviving records would allow."
"His findings suggest that Lafayette Baker and Stanton had maneuvered to facilitate the escape into the South of assassin John Wilkes Booth, and when that proved impossible (owing to Booth's broken leg) to ensure that the killer was not brought back and that his evidently-incriminating diary did not survive intact." 

"At the same hour Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre, Secretary of State William Seward "was attacked and savagely knifed by a deranged giant named Lewis Paine, who had forced his way into the Seward home. This house fronted upon Lafayette Square, just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House." 
Andrew Jackson statue and White House, Lafayette Square, with Masonic obelisk of Washington's Monument in the background, Washington, D. C.

"Residents of the District of Columbia sometimes refer to the area "as 'Tragedy Square.' No other section of Washington has had so much intrigue, mystery, murder and macabre happenings as has the area directly opposite 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.'"
Fayetteville, Pennsylvania

The Fayette Factor has also come into play in occult crimes, as well. "On July 3, 1977, 23-year-old Gary Rock was charged on two counts of criminal homicide after two local volunteer firemen were killed by a sniper while responding to a fire alarm at Rock's isolated cabin, near Fayetteville, Pennsylvania."
Lafayette High School, New York City

"On July 31, 1977, two young people sitting in a parked car along the Brooklyn, New York seashore were shot several times by a mysterious assailant who had become known as 'the Son of Sam.' The girl, Stacy Moskowitz, died of her injuries; her companion, Robert Violante, suffered eye damage. Miss Moskowitz was an alumna of (Brooklyn's) Lafayette High School. When she and Violante were shot, it was while they were sitting 'not far from Lafayette High School,' according to the New York Times" of August 1, 1977, page 34-C."

It's just all part of the enduring mystery we call "the Fayette Factor." 

Sources: Fortean Times No. 25 for Spring 1978, "Fateful Fayette" by Bill Grimstad, page 3; Why Was Lincoln Murdered? by Otto Eisenschiml, Little, Brown & Co., Boston, Mass., 1937; America's Assignment with Destiny by Manly Palmer Hall, Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles, Cal., 1951; and Weird America by Jim Brandon, E.P. Dutton Co., New York, N.Y., 1978.
Fortean Times February 13, 2004 
+ 2012 enhancements.
Flashback reflections from Loren Coleman

Fayette incidents continue...
Fayette, Pennsylvania, 2009 Bigfoot sighting drawing.
Bigfoot Lunch Club montage.

Also from Loren Coleman
For more specific "Fayette" sites 
and further updates on the "Fayette Factor," 
please consult Mysterious America.

Fayette County, Pennsylvania, continues to have frequent Bigfoot and Thunderbird sightings. Fayette, Maine, is a hotspot of weirdness. What "Fayette" links have you found?


Please note: On April 13, 2011, a comment maker at Goodreads shared that "William a published Holocaust denier."

This is a well-known fact among Fortean writers. Grimstad/Brandon has dropped the Brandon identity in recent years.

For more on Brandon/Grimstad, see here.


Jason said...

Great post!

Fayetteville, NC, which sits in the Sand Hills region (hottest in the State) is home to Fort Bragg of the US Army. A local nickname for the community is "Fayette-nam" in reference to the high incidince of violent crime there relative to population. Delta Force, the 82nd Airborne, Green Berets and a premier psy-ops group number among the highly trained military personnel there. Noriega was trained at Ft. Bragg.

From there, leap-frogging over Sampson County it's not too far from La Grange, NC, a small country town on the outskirts of Pope Airforce Base in Goldsboro, NC.

Hollywood Tomfortas said...


What do you make of the fact that the L. in L. Ron Hubbard's name stands for Lafayette?

Dr. Kaco said...

Wow! Nice one Hollywood. That is truely eeeerie indeed! said...

Here's two more: Atlanta Megachurch Leader Creflo Dollar Arrested In Fayette Cty., GA; Police Say He Punched and Choked Daughter and Pennsylvania State Police Play Cowboy After Horse Wanders Onto Mon-Fayette Expressway... There's some kind of horse meme going 'round the track!

Edna said...

Curious to know if there are any eeerie happenings connected to Lafayette, La loacted in Lafayette Parish in La.

Jason said...

Correction to my earlier post:

The Air Force base in Goldsboro, NC is Seymour Johnson AFB, not Pope. Pope AFB was taken over by the Army and Fort Bragg and is now called Pope Air Field.

As for La Grange, NC, it's located in Wayne County.

alanborky said...

Loren I'm struck by the name "La fayette" itself which consists of the elements "fay" (fairy) and the diminuitive "-ette" giving "little 'little people'"!

Does this imply someone with a bloodline tinctured with otherworldly DNA?

Loren Coleman said...

An alternative view of "Lafayette" notes it can be translated from the French as "the little enchantment," as well as "the little fairy." Joan of Arc at the age of 8 danced around a "fay tree," a "fairy tree," some saying she saw fairies. Others tell that she heard voices, had visions, and was "enchanted." The name has a long history. Marshal of France Gilbert de La Fayette III, an ancestor of Marquis De Lafayette, led the army of Joan of Arc, in Orléans.

Loren Coleman said...

BTW, Alan Borky, I did find this:

"At a time when the average man was only about 5 feet five inches tall, the Marquis de Lafayette is described by various contemporaries as being 'tall and broad shouldered' or 'tall and long limbed.' Sketches made of him with George Washington (who was about 6 feet 2 inches tall) show the Marquis as only slightly shorter. Therefore, we can guess that the Marquis was somewhere about 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet tall."


Loren Coleman said...

It must be recalled that people were relatively short in the past. For example, Juan Ponce de Leon (1474-1521) was about 4' 11". He was considered tall by most Europeans at the time. When Ponce de Leon hired over 200 for his crew, for his first voyage to Florida in 1513, he reportedly only picked men who were shorter than he was.

Anonymous said...

You need to also check on the native american legend about a cave inhabited by giants near the historic pig-iron port of Fayette,Michigan. The caves actually contain old cave art and is a long forgotten place to explore...from what I can remember is that some red haired giants lived in the caves and the natives went by with canoes(many,many tribes were dispatched for the assault)and shot their arrows into the caves and killed the giants.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, thanks for this. Having been born in Fayetteville, NC on base at Fort Bragg (my dad was in the 82nd airborne) this was a slightly unnerving read, since I've only ever looked into the fay/fae connection. I've been told tons of stories about UFO sightings around base, of craft unlike anything they had on base.

Xenkenito said...

Fayetteville, TX is next to La Grange, TX. The 2 towns contrast each other like day and night. I passed through on bicycle once, but I plan on going another route next time, just to avoid the place. It is an odd location and I did have bad luck there. Thorns + Tires = Bad.

The town made national news during World War I. As reprinted by Stars and Stripes in its March 15, 1918 issue, the town's mayor, W. C. Langlotz, and ten of the town's citizens were charged with espionage. They were arrested following the display of the flag of the German Empire over the entry of the Germania club in Fayetteville. The group pleaded "not guilty": the mayor said the flag had been displayed by mistake.


kenneth said...

Haroldson Lafayette Hunt was a person often linked with a peripheral role in the Kennedy assassination.

Cross Planes said...

When I was in high school, around 1987, our school library had a paperback book bout weird places and made the hypothesis that variations of Fayette (being french for far?) and Decatur as regional names very often had accompanying strange encounters.

It also postulated that when you opened yourself to the unexplained you became a magnet to it.

I wish I could remember it's name!

Peter Muise said...

Maybe there is some connection between the story of Emmeline Bachelder Gurney and the Fayette Factor:

Or maybe she was just really unlucky!

Syncra said...

Here's another. In Lafayette, CA, homeowner Colby Powell has built an LED replica of the Star Wars Deathstar, on top of his suburban house.