14 February 2009
February 14, 2009 12:00 AM
On Presidents Day we think mostly of George Washington, whom conspiracy theorists link to membership in the Illuminati. If you don't know about the Illuminati, you will this May, when the movie "Angels & Demons" (sequel to "The Da Vinci Code") is released. That version will come equipped with a great deal of hype.
Here's all you need to know:
The Illuminati was an anti-royal, anti-clerical secret society founded in Bavaria on May 1, 1776, by a disgruntled ex-Freemason named Adam Weishaupt, who envisioned a utopian super-state devoid of monarchs, clergymen and landowners.
Needless to say, monarchs, clergymen and landowners were not amused. They outlawed Illuminati membership in 1785 and drove it underground, where it organized the French Revolution, which toppled, well, the French monarch, the Church of France, and wealthy landowners.
Nearly a half-century later, a Yale University student named William Huntington Russell spent two semesters in Germany on a college exchange program and discovered the Illuminist occultism, which so entranced him, he took it home to New Haven, Conn. -- and created an American chapter: Skull & Bones. The mystic Bones number 322 derives from its year of incorporation (1832) as the Russell Trust Association, and its status as the second chapter (2) of the Illuminati. In 2004, two Yale "Bonesmen," George W. Bush and John Kerry, squared off for the U.S. presidency, setting conspiracy buffs atwitter.
"I suspect whatever bond exists among Skull & Bones members at school dissipates rapidly after graduation," a former senior CIA official told The Investigator."Far more dangerous to our country is the class system whereby graduates from Harvard and Yale and a few other top schools consider themselves some kind of ruling elite. Our new president, by the way, shares this elitism."
George Washington was not an Illuminist; he was a fervent Freemason, inducted as an "Entered Apprentice" into the "Craft" on November 4, 1752 (aged 21) at Masonic Lodge No. 4 in Fredericksburg, Va. From the White House to the Capitol Building and beyond, President Washington constructed the "Federal City" named after him to Masonic code, utilizing Masonic ritual and regalia at the laying of cornerstones -- a subject Dan Brown, author of "The Da Vinci Code," is expected to tackle in his next novel.
Radical rightists and lunatic leftists perceive a formal evolution of the Illuminati into the Round Table groups of the late 1800s, and the founding of (the UK) Chatham House and its American counterpart, the Council on Foreign Relations -- up to the Bilderberg Group and its better known spin-off, The Trilateral Commission. They subscribe to a belief that most everything that happens of any global significance -- assassinations, wars, 9/11, even hurricanes -- is part of a carefully choreographed grand design to form a single world government that would maintain control over everyone.
This school of thought (in this case, elementary school) in the 1970s produced two colorful conspiracy theorists: Peter Beter and Mae Brussell. Dr. Beter, a former Import-Export bank official, worked himself into weekly frenzies about "Soviet nuclear warheads buried in U.S. coastal waters!" He even provided precise longitudes and latitudes of every concealed warhead. A lake in West Virginia was cited -- and a panicked sheriff named Harley Mooney actually had it drained. Oops. No nuclear warhead.
"Darn Soviets," said Dr. Beter. "They moved it."
He also railed about "robotoids and automatons." In particular, Henry Kissinger, he claimed, had been replaced by a Soviet robotoid.
Three thousand miles away, in Carmel, Mae Brussell used her Sunday evening radio program to weave a vast web of conspiracy and intrigue around "The Gemstone File," which neatly tied everything from the assassination of JFK through Watergate to the late Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. The Gemstone File never won a Pulitzer, but it found a widespread underground audience and, circulated by photocopy, became a cult classic.
Both Dr. Beter and Ms. Brussell are no longer among us. A Brit named David Ickes now holds their torch. He has propelled the so-called "Illuminati Conspiracy" to new heights, proclaiming that most world leaders are "hybrid reptilians" disguised as humans.
When it comes to Vladimir Putin, Hugo Chavez, and Robert Mugabe, we are inclined to believe him.
While on the subject of conspiracy theories, this being Valentine's Day, think of Marilyn Monroe. Almost every man who met Marilyn fell in love with her. And she fell in love with a number of men -- and married a few of them, including baseball great Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. Flirting with danger, she also fell in love with two married men: the Kennedy brothers -- first President JFK, then Bobby, the Attorney General.
To the President, Marilyn was just one in a series of bombshell actresses -- including Jayne Mansfield and Angie Dickenson -- who helped him relieve the pain of a damaged spine; Marilyn must have realized this, so she allowed JFK to pawn her off on his younger brother. Bobby she fell for, inferring from their pillow talk that he would divorce his wife Ethel and marry her. Soon, Marilyn's incessant, pesky phone calls to the Attorney General's office convinced Bobby that he had to terminate the affair.
Peter Lawford -- the British actor, Marilyn pal and Kennedy-in-law -- was consigned to convey the caddish communiquè.
Marilyn went bananas. She told Mr. Lawford that she would go public, maybe call a press conference. This would be part revenge for the fraternal double-whammy, and part calculation/rationalization that if Ethel learned of the affair, she would surely dump her husband and clear the deck for Bobby to do what Marilyn believed he truly wanted.
Mr. Lawford freaked and reported Marilyn's frame of mind to Bobby.
What happened next remains a mystery. But Marilyn Monroe was dead within a few days.
Some say she died from a self-administered drug overdose. Others say the overdose was assisted.
But one intelligence source we know suggests that an injection of a tiny amount of pure nicotine in the anus has the result of killing someone without leaving a mark.
We're still trying to get to the bottom of this.