"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe?
Expediency asks the question: is it political?
Vanity asks the question: is it popular?
But conscience asks the question: is it right?"
– Dr. Martin L. King, Jr
“Am I the only one who knows? I'll bet I am; nobody else really understands Grasshopper but me - they just imagine they do.”
― Philip K. Dick,
The Man in the High Castle
I remember... It started.... With THEM!! But I couldn't see anything but them... Like you took out of that hole... With the eyes, and the horns - creatures!! But they were alive - hopping, and running! Hundreds of them - they knew I was one... Jumping!! Leaping!! In and out; big places... In and out of them... Huge!! Right up into the sky!!"
Quatermass & the Pit: 05 The Wild Hunt
"A Prague chronicle describes the epidemic in China, India and Persia; and the Florentine historian Matteo Villani, who took up the work of his brother Giovanni after he had died of the plague in Florence, relays the account of earthquakes and pestilential fogs from a traveller in Asia...
A similar incident of earthquake and pestilential fog was reported from Cyprus, and it was believed that the wind had been so poisonous that men were struck down and died from it.
German accounts speak of a heavy vile-smelling mist which advanced from the East and spread itself over Italy... people were convinced that they could contract the disease from the stench, or even, as is sometimes described, actually see the plague coming through the streets as a pale fog.
The earth itself seemed in a state of convulsion, shuddering and spitting, putting forth heavy poisonous winds that destroyed animals and plants and called swarms of insects to life to complete the destruction."
Captioned as "Wodan's wilde Jagd".
Wodan leads an immense host of people and animals through the night sky; his wild hunt.
A female figure struggles on the ground below.
Published in 1882
"In Brandenburg [in Germany] there appeared in 1559 horrible men, of whom at first fifteen and later on twelve were seen. The foremost had beside their posteriors little heads, the others fearful faces and long scythes, with which they cut at the oats, so that the swish could be heard at a great distance, but the oats remained standing. When a quantity of people came running out to see them, they went on with their mowing."
The Black Death
THE CENTRALIZATION OF Papal power culminated under Pope Innocent IV, who held the Papal reins from 1243 until 1254. Innocent IV attempted to turn the Papacy into the world’s highest political authority by proclaiming that the Pope was the “vicar [earthly representative] of the Creator (to whom) every human creature is subjected.” It was under Innocent IV that the Inquisition was made an official institution of the Roman Catholic Church.
Despite the oppression of the Inquisition, Europe in the13th century was beginning to recover from the economic and social disruption caused by the Crusades. Signs of a European renaissance were visible in the widening of intellectual and artistic horizons. Trade with other parts of the world did much to enrich European life. Europe was entering an era in which chivalry, music, art, and spiritual values were playing greater roles. Hardly a century of this progress had passed, however, before a disastrous event abruptly brought it to a temporary halt. That event was the Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death.
The Black Death began in Asia and soon spread to Europe where it killed well over 25 million people (about one third of Europe’s total population) in less than four years. Some historians put the casualty figure closer to 35 to 40 million people, or about half of all Europeans.
The epidemic first spread through Europe between 1347and 1350. The Bubonic Plague continued to strike Europe with decreasing fatality every ten to twenty years in short-lived outbreaks all the way up until the 1700’s. Although it is difficult to calculate the total number of deaths from that 400-year period, it is believed that over 100 million people may have died from the Plague.
Two types of plague are believed to have caused the Black Death. The first is the “bubonic” type, which was the most common. The bubonic form of plague is characterized by swellings of the lymph nodes; the swellings are called ”buboes.” The buboes are accompanied by vomiting, fever, and death within several days if not treated. This form of plague is not contagious between human beings: it requires an active carrier, such as a flea. For this reason, many historians believe that flea-infested rodents caused the Bubonic Plague. Rodents are known to carry the disease even today. A number of records from between 1347 and the late 1600’s speak of rodent infestations prior to several outbreaks of the Black Death, lending credence to the rodent theory.
The second form of plague contributing to the Black Death is a highly contagious type known as “pneumonic” plague. It is marked by shivering, rapid breathing, and the coughing up of blood. Body temperatures are high and death normally follows three to four days after the disease has been contracted. This second type of plague is nearly always fatal and transmits best in cold weather and in poor ventilation. Some physicians today believe it was this second form, the “pneumonic” plague, which was responsible for most of the casualties of the Black Death because of the crowding and poor hygienic conditions then prevalent in Europe.
We would normally shake our heads at this tragic period of human history and be thankful that modern medicine has developed cures for these dread diseases. However, troubling enigmas about the Black Death still linger. Many outbreaks occurred in summer during warm weather in uncrowded regions. Not all outbreaks of bubonic plague were preceded by rodent infestation; in fact, only a minority of cases seemed to be related to an increase in the presence of vermin. The greatest puzzle about the Black Death is how it was able to strike isolated human populations which had no contact with earlier infected areas. The epidemics also tended to end abruptly.
To solve these puzzles, an historian would normally look to records from the Plague years to see what people were reporting. When he does so, he encounters stories so stunning and unbelievable that he is likely to reject them as the fantasies and superstitions of badly frightened minds. A great many people throughout Europe and other Plague-stricken regions of the world were reporting that outbreaks of the Plague were caused by foul-smelling “mists.”Those mists frequently appeared after unusually bright lights in the sky. The historian quickly discovers that “mists” and bright lights were reported far more frequently and in many more locations than were rodent infestations. The Plague years were, in fact, a period of heavy UFO activity.
What; then, were the mysterious mists?
There is another very important way in which plague germs can be transmitted: through germ weapons. The United States and the Soviet Union today have stockpiles of biological weapons containing bubonic plague and other epidemic diseases. The germs are kept alive in canisters which spray the diseases into the air on thick, often visible, artificial mists. Anyone breathing in the mist will inhale the disease. There are enough such germ weapons today to wipe out a good portion of humanity. Reports of identical disease-inducing mists from the Plague years strongly suggest that the Black Death was caused by germ warfare. Let us take a look at the incredible reports which lead to that conclusion.
The first outbreak of the Plague in Europe followed an unusual series of events. Between 1298 and 1314, seven large “comets” were seen over Europe; one was of “aweinspiring blackness.”1 One year before the first outbreak of the epidemic in Europe, a “column of fire” was reported over the Pope’s* palace at Avignon, France.
* This was a second unauthorized pope who assumed the title as the result of a schism within the Catholic Church. The complete title is,
A chronicle of prodigies and portents that have occurred beyond the right order, operation and working of nature, in both the upper and lower regions of the earth, from the beginning of the world up to these present times.
Earlier that year, a “ball of fire” was observed over Paris; it reportedly remained visible to observers for some time. To the people of Europe, these sightings were considered omens of the Plague which soon followed.
It is true that some reported “comets” were probably just that: comets. Some may also have been small meteors or fireballs (large blazing meteors). Centuries ago, people were generally far more superstitious than they are today and so natural meteors and similar prosaic phenomena were often reported as precursors to later disasters even though there was no real-life connection.
On the other hand, it is important to note that almost any unusual object in the sky was called a “comet.” A good example is found in a bestselling book published in 1557, "A Chronicle of Prodigies and Portents..." by Conrad Lycosthenes. On page 494 of Lycosthenes’ book we read of a “comet” observed in the year 1479:
“A comet was seen in Arabia in the manner of a sharply pointed wooden beam ...”
The accompanying illustration, which was based on eyewitness descriptions, shows what clearly looks like the front half of a rocketship among some clouds.
The object appears to have many portholes. Today we would call the object a UFO, not a comet. This leads us to wonder how many other ancient “comets” were actually similar rocketlike objects. When we are confronted with-an old report of a comet, we therefore do not really know what kind of thing we are dealing with unless there is a fuller description. A report of a sudden increase in “comets” or similar celestial phenomena may, in fact, mean an increase in UFO activity.
The link between unusual aerial phenomena and the Black Death was established immediately during the first outbreaks of the Plague in Asia. As one historian tells us:
The first reports [of the Plague] came out of the East. They were confused, exaggerated, frightening, as reports from that quarter of the world so often are: descriptions of storms and earthquakes: of meteors and comets trailing noxious gases that killed trees and destroyed the fertility of the land...2
The above passage indicates that strange flying objects were doing more than just spreading disease: they were also apparently spraying chemical or biological defoliants from the air. The above passage echoes the ancient Mesopotamian tablets which described defoliation of the landscape by ancient Custodial “Gods.” Many human casualties from the Black Death may have been caused by such defoliants.
The connection between aerial phenomena and plague had begun centuries before the Black Death. We saw examples in our earlier discussion of Justinian’s Plague. We read from another source about a large plague that had reportedly broken out in the year 1117—almost 250 years before the Black Death.
That plague was also preceded by unusual celestial phenomena:
In 1117, in January, a comet passed like a fiery army from the North towards the Orient, the moon was overcast blood-red in an eclipse, a year later a light appeared more brilliant than the sun. This was followed by great cold, famine, and plague, of which one-third of humanity is said to have perished.3 ** I have seen no mention of this plague in any other history book. It may have been a local plague which destroyed not a third of humanity, but a third of the afflicted population.
Once the medieval Black Death got started, noteworthy aerial phenomena continued to accompany the dread epidemic. Reports of many of these phenomena were assembled by Johannes Nohl and published in his book, The Black Death, A Chronicle of the Plague (1926). According to Mr. Nohl, at least 26 “comets” were reported between 1500 and 1543. Fifteen or sixteen were seen between 1556 and 1597. In the year 1618, eight or nine were observed.
Mr. Nohl emphasizes the connection which people perceived between the “comets” and subsequent epidemics:
In the year 1606 a comet was seen, after which a general plague traversed the world. In 1582 a comet brought so violent a plague upon Majo, Prague, Thuringia, the Netherlands, and other places that in Thuringia it carried off 37,000 and in the Netherlands 46,415.4
From Vienna, Austria, we get the following description of an event which happened in 1568. Here we see a connection between an outbreak of Plague and an object described in a manner remarkably similar to a modern cigar or beam-shaped UFO:
When in sun and moonlight a beautiful rainbow and a fiery beam were seen hovering above the church of St. Stephanie, which was followed by a violent epidemic in Austria, Swabia, Augsberg, Wuertemberg, Nuremburg, and other places, carrying off human beings and cattle.5
Sightings of unusual aerial phenomena usually occurred from several minutes to a year before an outbreak of Plague. Where there was a gap between such a sighting and the arrival of the Plague, a second phenomenon was sometimes reported: the appearance of frightening humanlike figures dressed in black. Those figures were often seen on the outskirts of a town or village and their presence would signal the outbreak of an epidemic almost immediately.
A summary written in 1682 tells of one such visit a century earlier:
In Brandenburg [in Germany] there appeared in 1559 horrible men, of whom at first fifteen and later on twelve were seen. The foremost had beside their posteriors little heads, the others fearful faces and long scythes, with which they cut at the oats, so that the swish could be heard at a great distance, but the oats remained standing. When a quantity of people came running out to see them, they went on with their mowing.6
The visit of the strange men to the oat fields was followed immediately by a severe outbreak of the Plague in Brandenburg.
This incident raises intriguing questions: who were the mysterious figures? What were the long scythe-like instruments they held that emitted a loud swishing sound? It appears that the “scythes” may have been long instruments designed to spray poison or germ-laden gas. This would mean that the townspeople misinterpreted the movement of the “scythes” as an attempt to cut oats when, in fact, the movements were the act of spraying aerosols on the town.
Similar men dressed in black were reported in Hungary:
. . . in the year of Christ 1571 was seen at Cremnitz in the mountain towns of Hungary on Ascension Day in the evening to the great perturbation [disturbance] of all, when on the Schuelersberg there appeared so many black riders that the opinion was prevalent that the Turks were making a secret raid, but who rapidly disappeared again, and thereupon a raging plague broke out in the neighborhood.7
Strange men dressed in black, “demons,” and other terrifying figures were observed in other European communities. The frightening creatures were often observed carrying long ”brooms,” “scythes,” or “swords” that were used to “sweep” or “knock at” the doors of people’s homes. The inhabitants of those homes fell ill with plague afterwards. It is from these reports that people created the popular image of “Death” as a skeleton or demon carrying a scythe. The scythe came to symbolize the act of Death mowing down people like stalks of grain. In looking at this haunting image of death, we may, in fact, be staring into the face of the UFO.
Of all the phenomena connected to the Black Death, by far the most frequently reported were the strange, noxious “mists.” The vapors were often observed even when the other phenomena were not. Mr. Nohl points out that moist pestilential fogs were “a feature which preceded the epidemic throughout its whole course.” 8 A great many physicians of the time took it for granted that the strange mists caused the Plague. This connection was established at the very beginning of the Black Death, as Mr. Nohl tells us:
The origin of the plague lay in China, there it is said to have commenced to rage already in the year 1333, after a terrible mist emitting a fearful stench and infecting the air.9
Another account stresses that the Plague did not spread from person to person, but was contracted by breathing the deadly stinking air:
During the whole of the year 1382 there was no wind, in consequence of which the air grew putrid, so that an epidemic broke out, and the plague did not pass from one man to another, but everyone who was killed by it got it straight from the air.10
Reports of deadly “mists” and “pestilential fogs” came from all Plague-infested parts of the world:
A Prague chronicle describes the epidemic in China, India and Persia; and the Florentine historian Matteo Villani, who took up the work of his brother Giovanni after he had died of the plague in Florence, relays the account of earthquakes and pestilential fogs from a traveller in Asia.
The same historian continues:
A similar incident of earthquake and pestilential fog was reported from Cyprus, and it was believed that the wind had been so poisonous that men were struck down and died from it.12
German accounts speak of a heavy vile-smelling mist which advanced from the East and spread itself over Italy.13
That author states that in other countries:
. .. people were convinced that they could contract the disease from the stench, or even, as is sometimes described, actually see the plague coming through the streets as a pale fog.14
He summarizes, rather dramatically:
The earth itself seemed in a state of convulsion, shuddering and spitting, putting forth heavy poisonous winds that destroyed animals and plants and called swarms of insects to life to complete the destruction.15
Similar happenings are echoed by other writers. A journal from 1680 reported this odd incident:
That between Eisenberg and Dornberg thirty funeral biers [casket stands] all covered with black cloth were seen in broad daylight, among them on a bier a blackman was standing with a white cross. When these had disappeared a great heat set in so that the people in this place could hardly stand it. But when the sun had set they perceived so sweet a perfume as if they were in a garden of roses. By this time they were all plunged in perturbation. Whereupon the epidemic set in in Thuringia in many places.16
Further south, in Vienna:
.. . evil smelling mists are blamed, as indicative of the plague, and of these, indeed, several were observed last autumn.17
Direct from the plague-ravaged town of Eisleben, we get this amusing and perhaps exaggerated newspaper account published on September 1, 1682:
In the cemetery of Eisleben on the 6th inst. [?] at night the following incident was noticed: When during the night the gravediggers were hard at work digging trenches, for on many days between eighty and ninety have died, they suddenly observed that the cemetery church, more especially the pulpit, was lighted up by bright sunshine. But on their going up to it so deep a darkness and black, thick fog came over the graveyard that they could hardly see one another, and which they took to be an evil omen. Thus day and night gruesome evil spirits are seen frightening the people, goblins grinning at them and pelting them, but also many white ghosts and specters.18
The same newspaper story later adds:
When Magister Hardte expired in his agony a blue smoke was seen to rise from his throat, and this in the presence of the death; the same has been observed in the case of others expiring. In the same manner blue smoke has been observed to rise from the gables of houses at Eisleben all the inhabitants of which have died. In the church of St. Peter blue smoke has been observed high up near the ceiling; on this account the church is shunned, particularly as the parish has been exterminated.19
The “mists” or Plague poisons were thick enough to mix with normal air moisture and become part of the morning dew. People were warned to take the following precautions:
If newly baked bread is placed for the night at the end of a pole and in the morning is found to be mildewed and internally grown green, yellow and uneatable, and when thrown to fowls and dogs causes them to die from eating it, in a similar manner if fowls drink the morning dew and die in consequence, then the plague poison is near at hand.20
As noted earlier, lethal “mists” were directly associated with bright moving lights in the sky. Other sources for the stenches were also reported. For example, Forestus Alcmarianos wrote of a monstrous “whale” he had encountered which was:
28 ells [105 feet] in length and 14 ells [33 feet] broad which, coming from the western sea, was thrown upon the shore of Egemont by great waves and was unable to reach the open again; it produced so great a foulness and malignity of the air that very soon a great epidemic broke out in Egemont and neighborhood.21
It is a shame that Mr. Alcmarianos did not provide a more detailed description of the deadly whale because it may have been a craft similar to modern UFOswhich have been observed entering and leaving bodies of water. On the other hand, Mr. Alcmarianos’ whale may have been just that: a dead rotting whale which happened to wash up on shore just before a nearby outbreak of the Plague.
It is significant that foul mists and bad air were blamed for many other epidemics in history. During a plague in ancient Rome, the famous physician Hippocrates (ca. 460337 B.C.) stated that the disease was caused by body disturbances brought on by changes in the atmosphere. To remedy this, Hippocrates had people build large public bonfires. He believed that large fires would set the air aright.
Hippocrates’ advice was followed centuries later by physicians during the medieval Plague. Modern doctors take a dim view of Hippocrates’ advice on this matter, however, in the belief that Hippocrates was ignorant about the true causes of plague. In reality, huge outdoor bonfires were the only conceivable defense against the Plague if it was indeed caused by germ-saturated aerosols. Vaccines to combat the Plague had not been invented and so the people’s only hope was to burn away the deadly “mists” with fire. Hippocrates and those who followed his advice may have actually saved some lives.
Significantly, bubonic and pneumonic plagues were not the only infectious diseases in history to be spread on strange lethal fogs. The deadly intestinal disease, cholera, was another:
When cholera broke out on board Her Majesty’s ship Britannia in the Black Sea in 1854, several officers and men asserted positively that, immediately prior to the outbreak, a curious dark mist swept up from the sea and passed over the ship. The mist had barely cleared the vessel when the first case of disease was announced.22
Blue mists were also reported in connection with the cholera outbreaks of 1832 and 1848-1849 in England.
As mentioned earlier, plagues had a very strong religious significance. In the Bible, plagues were said to be Jehovah’s method of punishing people for evil. “Omens” preceding outbreaks of the Black Death resembled many of the “omens” reported in the Bible:
Men confronted with the terror of the Black Death were impressed by the chain of events leading up to the final plague, and accounts of the coming of the14th-century pestilence selected from among all the ominous events that must have occurred in the years preceding the outbreak of 1348 those which closely resemble the ten plagues of Pharoah: disruptions in the atmosphere, storms, unusual invasions of insects, celestial phenomena. 23
In addition, the Bubonic form of plague was very similar, if not identical, to some of the punishments inflicted by ”God ” in the Old Testament:
But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon the people of Ashdod [a Philistine city], and he destroyed them, and killed them with emerods [painful swellings].
1 SAMUEL 5:6
. .. the hand of the Lord was against the city [Gath, another Philistine city] with a very great destruction: and he killed the men of the city, both young and old, and they had emerods in their secret parts.1 SAMUEL 5:9
. .. there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there. And the men that survived were afflicted with the emerods: and the crying of the city went up to heaven.1 SAMUEL 5:11-12
The religious aspect of the medieval Black Death was enhanced by reports of thundering sounds in connection with outbreaks of the Plague. The sounds were similar to those described in the Bible as accompanying the appearance of Jehovah. Interestingly, they are also sounds common to some UFO sightings:
During the plague of 1565 in Italy rumblings of thunder were heard day and night, as in a war, together with the turmoil and noise as of a mighty army. In Germany in many places a noise was heard as if a hearse were passing through the streets of its own accord .. .24
Similar noises accompanied strange aerial phenomena in remarkable Plague-related sightings from England. The object described in the quote below remained visible for over a week and does appear to be a true comet or planet (such as Venus); however, some of the other objects can only be labeled “unidentified.”
Historian Walter George Bell, drawing on writings from the period, summarized:
Late into dark December nights of the year 1664 London citizens sat up to watch a new blazing star, with “mighty talk” thereupon. King Charles II and his Queen gazed out of the windows at Whitehall. About east it rose, reaching no great altitude, and sank below the south-west horizon between two and three o’clock. In a week or two it was gone, then letters came from Vienna notifying the like sight of a brilliant comet, and “in the ayr [air] the appearance of a Coffin, which causes great anxiety of thought amongst the people.”Erfurt saw with it other terrible apparitions, and listeners detected noises in the air, as of fires, and sounds of cannon and musket-shot. The report ran that one night in the February following hundreds of persons had seen flames of fire for an hour together, which seemed to be thrown from Whitehall to St. James and then back again to Whitehall, where after they disappeared.
In March there came into the heavens a yet brighter comet visible two hours after midnight, and so continuing till daylight. With such ominous portents the Great Plague in London was ushered in.25
Other less frequent “omens” were also reported in connection with the Black Death. Some of those phenomena were obvious fictions. Significantly, the fictions were not widespread and were rarely reported outside of the communities in which they originated.
The preceding quotes provide evidence that UFOs (i.e. the Custodial society) have bombarded the human race with deadly diseases. This evidence is particularly intriguing when we consider claims made by a number of modern UFO contactees who say that they are relaying messages to mankind from the UFO society. Some of them claim that UFOs are here to help mankind and that UFOs will eradicate disease on Earth. The UFO civilization reportedly has no disease. If the Custodial civilization is indeed so healthy, perhaps it is only because it is not bombarding itself with germ weapons. If UFOs truly intended to bring health to the human race, maybe all they needed to do was to stop spraying infectious biological agents into the air.
The Black Death not only killed a great many people, it also caused deep psychological and social wounds. People in the past were convinced that the epidemics were God’s punishment for sin, and this caused deep introversion. It was natural for people to accuse themselves and their neighbors of wickedness and to wonder what they had done to “deserve” their punishment. It rarely occurred to the victims that plagues, even if deliberately inflicted, had nothing to do with trying to make human beings more virtuous. After all, the social and psychological effects of the Plague produced the opposite result.
The misery and despair generated by the massive death tolls brought about widespread ethical decay. In a dying environment, many people will no longer care about whether their actions are right or wrong; they are going to die anyway. In the fearful climate of the medieval Plague, spiritual values noticeably declined and mental aberration sharply increased. The same results are observed during war. Although the Bible and other religious works may preach that plagues and wars are created by “God ” to ultimately make the human race more virtuous and spiritually advanced, the effect is always the opposite.
The cataclysmic nature of the Black Death overshadowed another disastrous occurrence of the Plague years: a renewed attempt by Christians to exterminate the Jews. False accusations circulated that Jews were causing the Plague by poisoning wells. These rumors stirred up a fearsome hatred of the Jews inside those Christian communities being devastated by the epidemic.
Many Christians participated in the genocides, which may have claimed as many lives, if not more, than the slaughter of Jews by the Nazis in the 20th century. According to Collier’s Encyclopedia:
That country [Germany] figured... as the site of brutal massacres on the widest possible scale, which periodically swept the country from end to end. These culminated at the time of the terrible plague of 1348-1349, known as the Black Death. Perhaps because their medical knowledge and hygienic way of life rendered them somewhat less susceptible than others, the Jews were preposterously accused of having deliberately propagated the plague, and hundreds of Jewish communities, large and small, were blotted out of existence or reduced to insignificance.After this, only a broken remnant remained in the country, mainly in the petty lordships which protected and even encouraged them for the sake of financial advantages which they brought. Only a few large German Jewish communities, such as Frankfurt-am-Main or Worms, managed to maintain an unbroken existence from Medieval times onward.26
The genocides were often instigated by German trade guilds, which excluded Jews from membership. Many of those guilds were direct offshoots of the ancient Brotherhood guilds. In fact, membership in Brotherhood organizations and European trade guilds still overlapped heavily in the 14th century with leadership in the guilds often being held by men who were members of other Brotherhood organizations. Here again was an instance in which the corrupted Brotherhood network was a significant contributor, if not the primary source, of a major historical genocide.
Germany was not the only nation to host Jewish slaughters. The same occurred in Spain. In 1391, a massacre of Jews was perpetrated throughout much of the Spanish peninsula.
Although frightened Christians supplied the manpower for these terrible genocides, their activities were not always endorsed by the Papacy. To the credit of Clement VI, who served as Pope from 1342 until 1352, he tried almost immediately to protect the Jews from massacre. Clement VI issued two Papal bulls declaring the Jews to be innocent of the charges against them. The bulls called upon all Christians to cease their persecutions. Clement VI did not fully succeed, however, because by that time many of the secretive trade guilds had become a united faction engaged in anti-Papal activity. Pope Clement also did not dismantle the Inquisition, and the Inquisition did much to create the generally oppressive social climate in which such massacres could occur.
The combination of Plague, Inquisition, and genocide provided all of the elements needed to fulfill apocalyptic prophecy. The Catholic Church was on the brink of collapse due to the many clergymen lost to the Plague and from the loss of popular faith in the Church caused by the Church’s inability to bring an end to “God’s Disease.” A great many people were proclaiming that the “End Days” were at hand. True to prophecy, out of this tumult emerged new “messengers from God” with promises of an imminent Utopia. The teachings and proclamations of those new messiahs had an electrifying effect on the ravaged Europeans and brought about an event of major importance: the Protestant Reformation.
Luther and the Rose
IN THE 14TH century, that region of Europe we know today as Germany consisted of numerous independent principalities and city-states. By that time, several of those principalities had emerged as the primary centers of Brotherhood activity in Europe, with most of that activity concentrated in the central German state of Hesse. In Germany and elsewhere, the Brotherhood and some of its most advanced initiates had become known by a Latin name: the “Illuminati,” which means “illuminated (enlightened) ones.” *
*This Illuminati should not be confused with another iesser “Illuminati” founded in 18th-century Bavaria by Adam Weishaupt. The true Illuminati and Weishaupt’s Illuminati are two distinct organizations. Weishaupt’s Bavarian Illuminati will be briefly discussed in an upcoming chapter.
One of the Illuminati’s most important branches in Germany was the mystical Rosicrucian organization. Rosicrucianism was first introduced to Germany by the emperor Charlemagne in the early ninth century A.D. Germany’s first official Rosicrucian Lodge was established in the city of Worms in the German state of Hesse in the year 1100 A.D. Rosicrucians achieved fame for their dedication to alchemy, their complex mystical symbols, and their secret degrees of initiation. The links between the Illuminati and early Rosicrucians were quite intimate in that advancement through the Rosicrucian degrees often resulted in admittance to the Illuminati.
A number of Rosicrucian histories mistakenly state that the Rosicrucians did not begin their existence until the year 1614—the year in which German Rosicrucians published a dramatic pamphlet in Hesse announcing their presence and inviting people to join them. One reason this mistake is so commonly made, and why the Rosicrucian Order has been so difficult to trace as one consecutive existence, is a policy the Order adopted of engaging in 108-year cycles of “activity” and “inactivity.”
According to the regulation, each major branch of the Rosicrucian Order was required to establish an official date of its founding. From that date, each branch was to then compute successive 108-year periods. The first period would be a time of well-publicized “outward” activity during which the branch’s existence would be made widely known to the public and the branch would openly recruit new members. The next period was to consist of concealed, silent activity in which there was to be no publicity and no one outside of the members’ immediate families would be admitted to membership.
Each Rosicrucian branch would then alternate between these two phases every 108 years. As Rosicrucian bodies switched back and forth between their “outward” and “hidden” phases, it seemed to observers that Rosicrucian Orders were appearing and disappearing in history. According to Dr. Lewis of AMORC, “just why this new regulation was brought into effect is not known.”1
The Illuminati and Rosicrucians were major powers behind a new wave of religious movements during the Plague years. One of the earliest of those movements was a mystical religion known as the “Friends of God.”
The Friends of God appeared in Germany in the same year that the Black Death first struck Europe. The Friends organization was founded by a banker named Rulman Merswin who had begun his financial career early in life and had made a sizable fortune from it. According to Merswin, in the year 1347 he was approached by a stranger claiming to be a “friend of God.” The identity of the mysterious stranger was never revealed by Merswin, leading to suspicion that Merswin had merely invented him. It appears, however, that Merswin’s “friend” was quite real, and quite influential, as evidenced by the sudden change in Merswin and by the considerable support that the Friends movement was able to so quickly gather.
During one of their earliest encounters, Merswin’s mysterious friend stated that he had had many mystical revelations directly from God and that Merswin had been chosen to disseminate those revelations to the rest of the world. Merswin was deeply impressed. After that meeting, Merswin gave up his banking business, “took leave of the world,” and devoted himself and his personal fortune to spreading the new religion which the mysterious stranger was bringing him.
As it turns out, what the stranger caused Merswin to create was another branch of the Brotherhood network. The teachings of the Friends were deeply mystical and were divulged through a system of secret degrees and initiations. History records that “illuminated” mystics and other Illuminati were among Merswin’s principle backers.
The teachings of the Friends of God were not only mystical, they were also heavily apocalyptic. The Friends preached a powerful End of the World message to gain converts. Merswin claimed to be the recipient of many supernatural “revelations” in which he was told that God had grown disgusted with the Pope and the Catholic Church. God was now placing His faith in people like Merswin to carry out His sacred plans. According to Merswin, God was planning to severely punish humanity in the near future because of mankind’s increased corruption and sin.
Merswin had the sacred duty of preaching the need for everyone to therefore become completely obedient to God. Merswin was not alone in spreading this dire message. Similar prophets also found their way into the Friends movement bearing identical warnings. They all emphasized the need to unwaveringly obey God on the eve of the world’s destruction. Merswin and his fellow doomsayers were certainly correct about one thing: the world was about to undergo a cataclysm. The Black Death was just getting started.
The Friends of God attracted a large following in Europe. Adherents were taught a nine-step program to become utterly and unquestioningly obedient to God. They were made to believe that this regimen would save them from the plague and resulting social devastation occurring around them.
The first step of the program was a sincere confessional to restore health. A properly-done confessional can have a highly beneficial effect on an individual, although a poorly-done or unnecessary confessional can be damaging. The second step was a resolution by adherents
“to give up their own will and to submit to an illuminated Friend of God, who shall be their guide and counselor in the place of God.” 2
By the seventh step, a member had completely given up all self-will and had “burned all bridges” to become completely subservient to the Lord.
By the final step, all personal desire was to be destroyed, the individual was to be “crucified to the world and the world to them,” enjoying only what God does and to wish for nothing else. These teachings were a program to make human beings obedient to an ultimate degree. Members were taught that obedience was a spiritual being’s highest calling and something to be striven for as a quest.
Merswin’s conversion to his mysterious “friend’s” religion was very damaging to Merswin, as it no doubt was to many others. Merswin soon began to suffer strong “manic-depressive” symptoms: the phenomenon of alternately being in a happy state and then inexplicably experiencing mental depression, back and forth. In Merswin, these symptoms became severe and they were erroneously perceived by his followers as a sign of religious transformation. Many people today would recognize such symptoms as an indication that Merswin was connected to a repressive influence—in this case, the corrupted Brotherhoodand probably his mysterious “friend.”
During his life in the Friends movement, Merswin continued to claim many mystical experiences, including “joint revelations” with his “friend.” In one of those revelations, Merswin was told to use his money to buy an island in Strausberg for use as a Friends retreat. Strausberg was Merswin’s home city and is located by the southwestern French-German border. Five years later, Merswin had another joint revelation in which he was told to turn the whole Friends operation over to an organization called the Order of St. John, which governed the Friends movement thereafter.*
* Exactly what the Order of St. John was, and where it came from, is quite a mystery. It has been described in Albert MacKey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry as a 17th-century system of Freemasonry with a secret mission. Is the Order of St. John described by MacKey the same one which had taken over the Friends of God movement three centuries earlier in the 14th century? I do not know.
The Friends of God religion was one of many mystical movements that proliferated during the Plague years. Those movements were usually Christian in nature, but they advertised themselves as an alternative to the Catholic Church and attracted many disgruntled Catholics on that basis. This began to split apart the Christian world. Unfortunately, the split did not mean that Christians were returning to Jesus’s maverick teachings. The new mystical religions only strengthened the emphasis on obedience and apocalypticism. This began to drive many people out of religion altogether and helped lay the foundation for the radical materialism which began to arise out of Germany shortly thereafter.
The Friends of God and other mystical practices of the time became a juggernaut which brought about one of the greatest challenges ever faced by the Catholic Church: the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther.
Luther began his famous ecclesiastical rebellion in the early 1500’s. By that time, the Catholic Church had fallen into the hands of Pope Leo X, son of Lorenzo Di Medici. Lorenzo Di Medici was the head of a wealthy international banking house in Florence, Italy. The Medici family had become involved with the Papacy a generation earlier when the Medicis financed an archbishop who later became the schismatic (“anti-Pope”) Pope John XXIII. Under John XXIII, the Medicis were awarded the task of collecting taxes and tithes that were due this Pope. The Medicis operated a far-flung network of collectors and sub-collectors to accomplish this undertaking. The fees earned from this operation helped make the Medici family one of the wealthiest and most influential banking houses in Europe.
The involvement of profit-motivated bankers in Church affairs transformed many spiritual activities of the Catholic Church into business enterprises. For example, Catholics believed in the importance of paying “indulgences.” An indulgence is money paid to compensate for sin. When paid in conjunction with a properly-done confessional, monetary penance can often be effective in relieving guilt, especially if the money is used to assist the injured party. Most indulgences, however, went into Church coffers. Medici collectors were more often concerned with how much money a person could pay than whether or not the penitent achieved any spiritual benefit from paying it. Understandably, many Catholics grumbled and their discontent helped pave the way for Martin Luther.
History books tell us that Martin Luther was a German Catholic priest and educator. He had begun his career as a monk in the Augustinian Order and worked his way up to holding the chair of Biblical study at the University of Wittenberg in the German state of Saxony.
As a Catholic priest, Luther was subject to the strict regimen imposed upon all clergy of the Church. That included regular attendance at confessional. In Catholic confessional, a person tells a priest in confidence of wrongs that the confessor has committed. This is designed to help unburden a person spiritually. As already mentioned, a properly done confessional has a positive effect and, interestingly, it does appear to be necessary at some point for nearly everyone’s spiritual advancement. By Luther’s day, however, confessionals were often done improperly or unnecessarily so that people often felt little relief.
Luther eventually found going to confessional difficult. He had already come to hate the angry condemning God of the Catholic religion and, as a result, he began to lose his faith in the Catholic way to salvation.
There was, however, another equally important reason why Luther was having difficulty in confessional: he had committed acts which he felt unable or unwilling to confess. Luther claims that he tried to purge himself of every conceivable sin, but some acts still “eluded” his memory when it came time to divulge them to his confessor. In part because of this, Luther did not feel himself advancing spiritually and he despaired of ever achieving salvation. He felt compelled to seek another path to spiritual recovery that would not force him to endure the uncomfortable confessionals.
Although Luther voiced many legitimate criticisms of the Catholic Church and claimed that he was trying to re-establish the primitive Christian Church of Jesus, Luther was, to an extent, a man driven by the demons of unconfessed wrongs. As a result, he helped create a new form of Christianity that only further departed from the true teachings of Jesus.
Despite the East Roman corruption of Jesus’s teachings and the brutal methods of the Inquisition, Catholicism during Luther’s time still retained several important elements of Jesus’s maverick lessons. For example, the Catholic Church continued to preach that salvation was up to the individual to achieve. It taught further the importance of doing good works,* the need to confess sin when sin had been committed, and the importance of rectifying wrongs or compensating for them.
*Good works are important to the extent that they improve a person’s environment and bolster his level of ethics, which in turn helps provide a foundation for an individual’s ultimate spiritual recovery. Unfortunately, the Catholic Church used good works as a scorecard. Catholics believed that a person’s good works (“merits”) were added up like points by God, and once a person had accumulated enough merits in his or her “treasury,” the person was guaranteed salvation (provided that a few other requirements were also met).
The Church taught that saints had a surplus of merits and that the Pope could transfer merits from the saints’ treasuries to other people whose treasuries were lacking. The lucky recipients were naturally expected to contribute money to the Church for the favor. Luther rightly rejected the notion of merits and treasuries, and that became a major issue over which Luther was eventually excommunicated. Unfortunately, Luther did not restore an understanding of the true relationship of good works to salvation, but instead he wrongly eliminated the doing of good works altogether, even though it is one ingredient which can help lay the foundation for a person’s spiritual recovery.
The Catholic Church emphasized that man had the free will to either accept or reject salvation, that salvation could not be imposed upon anyone against his or her will (even by a monotheistic God), and that all people were endowed with the right to seek salvation. While Catholic teachings still had many serious flaws and lacked a true science of the spirit, these ideas reflected some of the truth and decency which were at the heart of Jesus’s message.
Luther’s key to reform would have been to reinforce the good tenets still alive in Catholicism while eliminating the blatant commercialization and the East Roman changes to Christian doctrine. That was not the road Luther chose to take. He taught instead the false idea that a person has no personal control over his spiritual salvation. Luther convinced people that salvation is dependent entirely upon the grace of a monotheistic God. There was only one action an individual could take to obtain God’s grace, said Luther, and that was to believe in Jesus as Saviour and to accept Christ’s agony and crucifixion as penance for one’s own sins.
Luther’s curious notion that Jesus’s crucifixion can be the penance for other people’s sin is partially based upon the concept of “karma.” “Karma” is the idea that all acts in this universe eventually “come back” at a person in the future. People frequently invoke the idea of karma when they ask, ”What did I do to deserve this?” In modern science, “karma” has been expressed as: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” In monotheism, “karma” usually comes in the form of God’s inevitable punishments for sin and rewards for good.
On a personal level, the principle of karma seems to hold true in the sense that the world one creates, good or bad, through action or inaction, is ultimately the world that comes back to one. Poor ethics seem to boomerang in the form of spiritual degradation. A major benefit of a properly-done confessional is that it actually seems to break the negative “boomerang” effect and it will thereby help start a person back on the road to spiritual recovery.
Because Luther’s confessionals were unsatisfactory, he felt compelled to invent another way to escape the “karma” cycle enforced by the rewards and punishments of his monotheistic God. Luther therefore developed the idea that God would allow Jesus’s pain and suffering on the cross to become the “boomerang” for everybody. In other words, by “believing in” Jesus, you will not spiritually suffer for the bad things you have done in the past because Jesushas already suffered for you. This is a wonderfully magical notion, but it is hardly a philosophy of responsibility, nor is it fair to Jesus that he should be expected to take the brunt for everyone else’s wrongs.
More importantly, Luther’s solution simply does not work. Many people do feel and act better after “proclaiming Christ” because they have acknowledged their spiritual existences in a way they had not done before and they often begin more ethical behavior as a result, but their act of belief has not caused them to overcome the many other barriers which stand in the way of complete spiritual recovery.
Protestants continued to practice confessional, although it was no longer considered vital for achieving salvation. Practical knowledge of the spirit was also largely ignored. Luther’s method amounted to “quickie salvation”: a simple act of belief. Luther taught that salvation was guaranteed by God for as long as a person continued to adhere to a belief in Jesus as Saviour.
Luther’s ideas were clearly mystical. This is not surprising when we consider that Luther had been greatly influenced by some of the mystical religions which were so popular in his country. Luther’s primary mentor in the Augustinian Order, Johann von Staupitz, preached a theology containing many elements from the writings of the prominent German mystics Heinrich Suso and Johann Tauler. Tauler was one of the most widely-read mystics of the 14th century and he was associated with the Friends of God movement. Luther became an avid reader of Tauler’s works.
Evidence of a more direct connection of Luther to the Brotherhood network is found in Luther’s personal seal. Luther’s seal consisted of his initials on either side of two Brotherhood symbols: the rose and the cross. The rose and cross are the chief symbols of the Rosicrucian Order. The word “Rosicrucian” itself comes from the Latin words “rose” (“rose”) and “crucis” (“cross”).
Both during his life and after, Luther counted among his supporters important individuals and families who were active in the Illuminati and in Rosicrucianism. One of them was Philip the Magnanimous, head of the powerful royal house of Hesse, whose descendants would later hold important leadership positions in Brotherhood organizations, especially in German Freemasonry, as we shall later see.
As one of the prime leaders of the Reformation, Philip the Magnanimous founded the Protestant University of Marburg and organized a political alliance against the Catholic German Emperor, Charles V. After Luther’s death, his religion was supported by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), who was atone time the Lord Chancellor of England. Bacon was also the highest executive of the Rosicrucian Order in Great Britain. One of Bacon’s greatest contributions to the Reformation arose from his efforts as the coordinator of a project to create an authorized English Protestant Bible under his king, James I. This Bible, known as the “King James Version,” was released in 1611 and became the most widely-used Bible in the English-speaking Protestant world.
Luther and his supporters created the single largest schism in Christian history. Enormous power was wrested from the Roman Catholic Church. The Protestant sects today account for about one third of all Christians worldwide, and nearly half of all Christians in North America. The Catholic Church did not allow this to happen without a fight, however. The Catholics launched a Counter-Reformation in an unsuccessful attempt to squelch the Protestant heresies. Leading the Counter-Reformation was, interestingly, a new Brotherhood-style organization created for the purpose: the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits.
The Jesuit Order was founded in 1540 by a soldier-turned-cleric named Ignatius of Loyola. The Jesuits were a Catholic secret society with degrees of initiation, periods of probation, and many secret rituals. It was also militant. Jesuits were encouraged to adopt a soldierly spirit of loyalty to their “captain” Jesus. Ignatius was chosen to be the first “general” of the Order in April 1741. The image of Jesus as a quasi-military captain may seem rather humorous to anyone familiar with Jesus’s teachings, but the image was helpful in making the Jesuit Order an effective cadre for combating the Protestants.
Although it is true that the Reformation led the human race further away from spiritual understanding, it did have one very beneficial effect: it helped break the back of the Catholic Inquisition. The Inquisition had been one of the most oppressive institutions to burden the human spirit. Inquisitors meddled in nearly every human endeavor—from religion to the sciences to the arts. The Inquisition enforced some of the most hopelessly antiquated scientific thought by threatening people with torture and death. It hindered the development of many of the fine arts, notably theatre. It probably did not greatly matter what the Protestants taught; they would have still been able to bring enormous relief to Europe as long as they were able to reduce the power of the Catholic Inquisition. There was an eventual price to be paid for this benefit, however, and that was the price of an ever-deepening materialism. Philosophies of “humanism,” “rationalism,” and similar ideologies with a materialistic bent took on renewed vigor in the Reformation climate.
Most importantly, many of the positive effects of the Reformation were offset by the fact that Protestantism was yet one more human faction placed in irresolvable conflict with other factions over erroneous religious issues. Luther himself contributed to this by hinting that the Pope represented the forces of the “anti-Christ.” The result has been more war, this time between Catholics and Protestants—notably today in Ireland.
Despite the Brotherhood network’s continued pattern of generating conflict during the centuries discussed in this chapter, it is important to note that a maverick influence had manifested itself in the Rosicrucian organization by the early 1600’s. The Rosicrucian goal of individual spiritual recovery and some of its teachings were remarkably similar to some earlier maverick goals. Modern Rosicrucian literature from the United States continues to reflect some of this positive influence by attempting to propagate a more scientific view of spiritual phenomena and by teaching that humans can intelligently control their lives. Unfortunately, modern Rosicrucianism still contains many Custodial elements which will prevent adherents from achieving full spiritual rehabilitation.
Although Rosicrucians contributed to the success of the Reformation, they did not achieve much fame until the year 1614 when, as noted earlier, a lodge of German Rosicrucians began a phase of “outward” activity by mass-producing a leaflet announcing the presence of Rosicrucians in Hesse’s largest principality, Hesse-Kassel. The pamphlet created a stir by urging all people to abandon their false teachers, such as the Pope, Galen (a popular ancient Greek physician), and Aristotle.
The pamphlet also told the story of a fictitious character, “Christian Rosenkruez,” to symbolize the founding of the Rosicrucian- Order. The pamphlet is best known by its shortened name, the Fama Fraternitas (“Noted Fraternity” or “Famous Brotherhood”). The full title of the leaflet, translated to English, is: Universal and General Reformation of the Whole Wide World, together with the Noted Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, inscribed to all the Learned and Rulers of Europe. Despite the quaint high-sounding tone, the leaflet’s title revealed a deadly serious intent: to create broad universal changes in human society. By the time of the Fama Fraternitas, the Brotherhood network had already launched its program to bring about this transformation.
For the next several hundred years, the Brotherhood network supplied the world with leaders who inspired and led violent revolutionary movements in all parts of the world in an effort to bring about a massive transmutation of human society. They succeeded, and we live today in the world they created.