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Authors: Robert A. Wilson

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BOOK: Masks of the Illuminati
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Dr. Johnson refuted that philosophy by kicking a rock. Sir John refuted it by remembering that he really was hungry. Eggs and muffins were real enough to be desirable at this hour, and his stomach was real enough to desire them.

To his astonishment he found Jones eating breakfast with the Rev. Verey.

“I thought we were going to keep him safe with the Liverpool Mangler,” he said, confused.

“Our plans have changed totally since I spoke to the Inner Head of the Order last night. Things are more serious than I realized,” Jones said. “All three of us are going together to see Mr. Aleister Crowley at his home, with a surprise for him.”

Sir John sat down. “Not another talisman?” he asked ironically.

“Dear me, no,” Jones said mildly. “A real surprise this time. But eat first, Sir John; the muffins are delicious.”

Sir John allowed it to go at that for a while; he was indeed ravenously hungry.

Verey had been reading the same newspaper article Jones had shown Sir John the previous evening. “It is full of errors,” he complained. “Bobbie McMaster hasna’ been forty-three for a long time; he’s at least as old as I am. And that headless woman who haunts Geen Carrig is not new; she has been observed there for as many centuries as Anne Boleyn has been seen haunting the Tower of London. Why can reporters never get anything right?”

“I believe Bernard Shaw has explained that,” Jones said, adding lemon to his tea, Paris style. “In almost all other professions a man must be able to observe carefully and report accurately what he has seen. Those qualifications are unnecessary for journalists, however, since their job is to write sensational stories that sell newspapers. Hence, all the incompetents who are not capable of normal accuracy in observation or memory fail in most
other professions and many of them eventually drift into journalism.”

“Aha!” said Sir John, who had often wondered why nothing in the papers was ever accurate. Of course: any chemist or grocer or ordinary man, asked to describe this breakfast, would report correctly that it consisted of eggs, ham and muffins, with tea. A journalist would report porridge, bacon and toast, with a sex orgy and a murder.

Truth! Truth! Truth! crieth the Lord of the Abyss of Hallucinations

“Nessie” was real according to virtually all the residents of Inverness; “Nessie” was a myth according to “experts” who had never visited the scene.

“You know,” Sir John said to Jones, “I’ve noticed that you always refer to Crowley as ‘Mr.’, but the poster I saw last night gave him the title of ‘Sir’. Which is correct?”

“Crowley is a brewer’s son,” Jones said. “But the ‘Sir’ is legitimate according to his own peculiar lights. Back in the ’90s, when he was a singularly Romantic and adventuresome young man not yet corrupted by Black Magick, he joined the cause of the Carlists. Don Carlos personally knighted him.”

“But,” Sir John protested, “Don Carlos was only a pretender to the throne.”

“To you and me and the daily press, yes. Crowley still insists Don Carlos was the real monarch and Victoria the pretender. So, as I say, by his own lights, the title of Sir Aleister is quite correct.”

“The man is
Verey said. “I swear to it.”

“Oh, most certainly,” Jones agreed, with a quiet smile. “But he is also brilliant and coldly rational, in his own way. He and I were friends once, many years ago, before our paths diverged, and I still say, for all his wickedness, Aleister Crowley had the potential to become the greatest of us all.” Jones sighed. “It is only the most exalted who
can fall all the way to the lowest depths,” he added grimly.

“‘Lucifer, son of the morning, how art thou fallen,’” Verey quoted, with deep, rolling drama, as from the pulpit.

Like most clergymen, Verey had a Bible quotation for all occasions, Sir John reflected.

As Jones’ valet appeared to clear off the breakfast dishes, Sir John asked boldly, “Well, when do we go to beard the lion in his den? I hope it will not be as anti-climactic as last night.”

“I think we may leave straightaway,” Jones said with the calm of an Adept.

“Aye,” Verey said. “I look forward to the moment when that devil Aleister Crowley and I meet face to face.”

Sir John felt like one of the Three Musketeers setting off to do battle with Richelieu’s men.

“Crowley lives on Regent Street,” Jones said. “In fact, he has one of the finest homes there. His father was not merely a brewer, but a very successful brewer. We are going into one of the most respectable neighborhoods in London. Crowley publishes all his own works in the most expensive bindings and finest papers, and lives like an Oriental prince in every other way.”

“Shall we walk or take a hansom?” Sir John asked.

“I should think a brisk walk would do us all good,” Jones replied.

They certainly made an odd group of Musketeers, Sir John reflected as they set out: Verey, aged and hunchbacked; Jones, stout and fortyish; only he himself, at twenty-eight, was young enough to qualify as a conventional hero of melodrama—and he was probably the most nervous of all.

Jones began reminiscing about Crowley as they walked. They had first met sixteen years earlier, in 1898, when Crowley was admitted to the original Golden Dawn as a
Probationer. “He was a most impressive young man,” Jones said. “At twenty-three, he had already published several volumes of excellent poetry and had set some distinguished mountain climbing records in the Alps. He had majored in organic chemistry at Cambridge and I remember asking him why, since I saw nothing of the scientific temperament in him. I have never forgotten his answer. ‘My personality is entirely poetic, esthetic and Romantic,’ he said. ‘I needed some work in hard science to bring me down to earth,’ I thought it an astonishing example of self-insight and self-discipline in one so young.”

Jones went on to tell of Crowley’s rapid rise in the Golden Dawn. “I never saw a man with such a natural aptitude for Cabalistic Magick,” he said frankly. Then came the disaster of 1900, when the feud between William Butler Yeats and McGregor Mathers exploded into a dozen lesser feuds which split the Golden Dawn into factions which were never re-united. Jones lost track of Crowley for some years, although he heard of Crowley’s travels to study Yoga in the Far East and Sufism in North Africa. In 1902, Crowley and a German engineer, Oscar Eckenstein, succeeded in climbing higher on Chogo Ri in the Himalayas than any expedition before or since, reaching twenty-three thousand feet. In 1905, Crowley went to China, and when he returned he was a completely new man.

“I remember,” Jones said, “my naïve response when we met again in 1906. I found him so changed that I actually believed he was a totally Illuminated being, beyond any other Golden Dawn graduate. I asked him how he had achieved that, and he said simply, ‘I became a little child.’”

They were crossing Rupert Street and Jones smiled ironically. “My illusions about him did not last long,” he said. “That very same year he published the infamous
, which he claimed was a translation from the Persian. It was nothing of the sort. Crowley had always been a great admirer of the late Sir Richard Burton
and was merely copying his hero, who had published the
—a blunt statement of Atheistic philosophy—as a translation from the Arabic, when it was actually his own work. The
, a title which translates as ‘The Scented Garden,’ was similarly Crowley’s own work disguised as a translation. It was, on the surface, an allegory about the Soul’s relationship to God. Actually, carefully read, it was a glorification of sodomy.” Shortly thereafter Crowley was divorced by his wife for adultery and began to live as shamelessly as Oscar Wilde before his trials, flaunting his numerous affairs, both heterosexual and homosexual, as if he took a special diabolical delight in shocking Christian sensibilities.

In the following years, Crowley divided his time between London, Paris and the North African deserts. In 1909, he staged a spectacle called “The Rites of Eleusis” at a London theater and aroused a storm of controversy. The “rites” began with a chorus informing the audience, Nietzschefashion, that “God is dead.” The following ceremony included ballet, music, ritual, poetry and the serving to the audience of an alleged “elixir of the gods” (which some later suspected contained a mind-altering drug) and ended with the announcement that a new God had been born, a “Lord of Force and Fire” Who would destroy Western civilization and create, out of its ruins, a new civilization based on the Rabelaisian slogan: “Do what thou wilt.”

“The man is daft,” Verey repeated, with cold fury.

Since 1910, Jones continued, Crowley had been the English leader of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a Berlin-based Masonic order which claimed to retain the primordial Masonic secrets in purer form than any other group. The Outer Head of the order, Jones said, was Theodore Reuss, an actor who was also an agent for the German secret police.

“Does Scotland Yard know this?” Sir John exclaimed.

“Oh, indeed,” Jones said. “So does Army Intelligence. They watch Reuss carefully but never interfere with him, since his area of operations is restricted to spying on German exiles in England. He was for a long time an associate of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and their circle.”

Jones went on to speak of the links between the Ordo Templi Orientis and certain dervish orders in the Near East said to be connected with the Young Turks who had overturned the monarchy and introduced parliamentary democracy. Rasputin, the monk of strange hypnotic powers who seemed to have total control over the current Czar and his family, was also associated with the same dervish orders, Jones said, as was Colonel Dragutin Dimitryevic, head of Serbian Military Intelligence, who was simultaneously, under the code name “Apis,” a member of “Union or Death,” a Pan-Serbian secret revolutionary group. “Between Rasputin, the Young Turks and Colonel Dimitryevic,” Jones said, “the whole Near Eastern and Balkan situation has steadily grown more unstable, so that all the alliances between England, France, Germany and Russia are breaking down, each Great Power suspecting the others of plotting to use the increasingly volatile situation for its own profit—even though the Young Turks are ostensibly sworn to fight to the death to keep the Great Powers out of that area. Ever since the Berlin-to-Baghdad Railway was built in ’96,” Jones went on, “some in our government have suspected Germany of intending to replace us in India, but now every major Power suspects every other Power of similar designs.”

“This grows deeper and darker as you proceed,” Sir John complained. “Are we dealing with a spiritual war between rival theologies or an economic war between rival commercial interests?”

“We are talking about Total War,” Jones said somberly.

Sir John looked up at Big Ben, towering in the distance,
stone-solid, tangible, real. But Shakespeare’s words came back to him:

these our actors

As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inhabit, shall dissolve

The Loch Ness monster and the Pan-Serbian Movement; bat-winged creatures that titter and the German secret police; incredible suicides and nameless perversions; worldwide assassinations and the secret history of Freemasonry; a murdered cat in a locked church and the Berlin-Baghdad railroad … Masks and masks-behind-the-masks. Sir John was no longer sure of anything. 358: the Serpent is the Messiah. I.N.R.I.: Jesus is Dionysus. HONI SOIT: The Order of the Garter was a secret witch-coven which had ruled Great Britain for five hundred years. Life itself was an Empedoclean paradox and David Hume was right: one cannot even prove, in logic, the existence of the ego itself.
Truth! Truth! Truth! crieth the Lord of the Abyss of Hallucinations

“You are aware, of course, Sir John,” Jones went on, “that the Bavarian Illuminati, financed by the Rothschilds, secretly masterminded the revolutions which overthrew the old monarchist-feudal order and opened the way to the Tree’ market system in which monopolized Capital has come to dominate the modern world. The Illuminati, needless to say, had motives of their own: ‘There is no God but Man’ was their slogan before it was Crowley’s. In fact, the Ordo Templi Orientis, in its modern form, was created by amalgamating Leopold Engels’ revived Illuminati in 1888 with P. B. Randolph’s Hermetic Brotherhood
of Light. Randolph, an American Negro, had started as a voodoo priest but received his advanced training from the same dervish order behind Rasputin and the Young Turks. Theodore Reuss, the Outer Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis, we have reason to believe, was not just a spy on Marx and his group for the German military intelligence, but actually a double agent, spying on Germany for the Marxists. Crowley himself has certain links with Commander Marsden of our own Army Intelligence which I do not pretend to fathom. Isn’t it strange to think all of this goes back ultimately to Mansur-el-Hallaj, the dervish who was stoned to death by the orthodox Moslems in the ninth century for saying ‘I am the Truth and there is nothing within my turban but God’? Yet it was through Mansur’s disciples that the Knights Templar were initiated into the secret black rites of Tantric sex-magick….”

And Old Mother Hubbard really is Isis in disguise and the bone she is seeking is the phallus of Osiris
, Sir John thought wildly.
Everything imaginable is true in some sense: if I believe enough that I can fly, I will simply float off into the stratosphere

“Arthur!” Verey cried, jolting Sir John out of these solipsistic reflections.

Jones and Babcock looked in the direction of the clergyman’s fixed stare. Across the street was a garden: Did a shadowy form move ambiguously therein, or was it just a tree swaying in the breeze?

“My God,” Verey whispered, almost staggering. “It’s my dead brother, Arthur!”

“It can’t be—you are confused,” Jones began to protest. The clergyman brushed him aside rudely.

BOOK: Masks of the Illuminati
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