JEA: The following essay is extracted from the book Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked as the Secret Power Behind Communism. It was written in 1882 by Monsignor George F. Dillon. Many thanks to Darrell Wright who sent these archaic but true documents to me.
…by Monsignor George F. Dillon
BEFORE proceeding further with the history of Freemasonry, I shall stay a moment to consider a very remarkable feature in its strange composition, without which it scarcely ever appears. The world was never without wizards, witches, necromancers, jugglers, and those who really had, or through imposture, pretended to have, intercourse with demons. Masonry in its various ramifications is the great continuator of this feature of a past which we had thought departed for ever.
Spirit-rapping, table-turning, medium-imposture, etc., distinguish its adepts in Protestant countries and in Catholic ones. We have almost incredible stories of the intercourse with the devil and his angels, which men like the Carbonari of Italy maintain.
The excesses alleged against the Templars were also accompanied by secret signs and symbols which Masonry adopted. But whatever may have been the extent of this mysticism in Masonry before, a spurious kind of spiritism became part of its very essence since the advent of the celebrated Cagliostro, who travelled all over Europe under the instructions of Weishaupt, and founded more lodges than did any individual Freemason then or since.
The real name of this arch-imposter was Balsamo. He was an inveterate sorcerer, and in his peregrinations in the East, picked up from every source the secrets of alchemy, astrology, jugglery, legerdemain, and occult science of every kind about which he could get any information. Like the Masonry to which he became affiliated at an early period, he was an adept at acting and speaking a lie.
He suited Weishaupt, who, though knowing him to be an imposter, nevertheless employed for him the diffusion of Illuminism. Accompanied by his no less celebrated wife, Lorenza, he appeared in Venice as the Marquis Pelligrini, and subsequently traversed Italy, Germany, Spain, England, the Netherlands, and Russia. In the latter country he amassed, at the Court of Catherine II, an immense fortune.
In France, assisted by the efforts of the Illuminati, he was received as a kind of demigod, and called the divine Cagliostro. He established new lodges in all parts of the country. At Bordeaux he remained eleven months for this purpose. In Paris he established lodges for women of a peculiarly cabalistic and impure kind, with inner departments horribly mysterious.
At the reception of members he used rites and ceremonies exactly resembling the absurd practices of spirit mediums, who see and speak to spirits, etc., and introduced all that nonsense with which we are made now familiar by his modern followers. He claimed the power of conferring immortal youth, health, and beauty, and what he called moral and physical regeneration, by the aid of drugs and Illuminated Masonry. He was the father and the founder of the existing rite of Misraim—the Egyptian rite in Masonry.
The scoundrel became involved in the celebrated case of the “Diamond Necklace,” and was sent to the Bastille, from which he managed to pass to England, where, in 1787, he undertook to foretell the destruction of the Bastille, and of the Monarchy of France, the Revolution, and—but here he miscalculated— the advent of a Prince who would abolish Lettres de Cachet, convoke the States General, and establish the worship of Reason. All these measures were resolved on at Wilhelmsbad, and Cagliostro of course knew that well. His only miscalculation was regarding the Prince Grand Master.
The Revolution went on a little too far for the wretched Egalite, who ended his treason to his house by losing his head at the guillotine. As to Cagliostro, he made his way to Rome, where the Inquisition put an end to his exploits on detecting his attempts at Illuminism.
His secret powers could not deliver him from prison. He died there miserably, in 1795, after attempting to strangle a poor Capuchin whom he asked for as a confessor, and in whose habit he had hoped to escape. This impostor is of course made a martyr to the Inquisition accordingly.
Masonry does much to disown Cagliostro; but with a strange inconsistency it keeps the Egyptian rite founded by him, and clings to mysticism of the debased kind he introduced. It is wonderful how extremes thus meet—how men who make it a sign of intellectual strength to deny the existence of the God that made them bow down stupidly and superstitiously before devils, real or imaginary.
Necromancy is a characteristic of Antichrist, of whom we read, “that he will show great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if that were possible, even the elect.” He will be when, he comes both a Cromwell and a Cagliostro.
Jonas E. Alexis has degrees in mathematics and philosophy. He studied education at the graduate level. His main interests include U.S. foreign policy, the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict, and the history of ideas. He is the author of the new book Zionism vs. the West: How Talmudic Ideology is Undermining Western Culture. He teaches mathematics in South Korea.