of Leo Taxil
Translated from Le Frondeur, April 25, 1897
All Rights Reserved
1733 16 St., N.W., Washington, DC 20009-3103
I N T R O D U C T I O N
A good practical joke can produce weeks of laughter; a grand joke is retold as the centerpiece of later get-togethers; a few jokes be-come legendary. Gabriel Jogand-Pagès, better known as Léo Taxil, played a legendary practical joke a century ago. He chose to ridicule the Roman Catholic Church's credulity about Freemasonry, and he seemed to have thought it all good fun. On April 19, 1897, Taxil confessed everything at a public meeting in Paris. His confession, however, hasn't stopped anti-Masons from rediscovering the hoax and reusing it to attack the Craft. Monsieur Taxil, like Dr. Frankenstein, could not foresee what his creation would do.
A transcript of Taxil's confession was published in the weekly Parisian newspaper, Le Frondeur, on April 25, 1897. It is a long, rambling speech that has never been published in English until now. Taxil's confession is both amusing and appalling and gives the reader a glimpse of the magnitude of his deceit. This translation represents many hours of tedious work by three ardent students of masonry. Taxil's text is colloquial and ungrammatical in many places, as well as being a verbal presentation. The translators have tried to be faithful to the original format while producing a readable text. Headings and subheading have been added to help readability. No other changes have been made in the text.
It is a sad commentary on the intellectual integrity of Freemasonry's
enemies that they continue to regurgitate Taxil's hoax with such zeal. A
bibliography of anti-Masonic uses of this hoax is appended to this
translation together with a bibliography of explanations of how Taxil
duped the enemies of Masonry.
With more or less impartiality, all newspapers reported the memorable evening at the Geographic Society on April 19. We thought the best thing to do was to reproduce the full text of M. Léo Taxil's conference.
Let us say first that the very numerous audience consisted mainly of press representatives from various countries and of all opinions, many priests, monks, very many ladies, some free-thinkers, some freemasons. The nunciature had sent two delegates; the archdiocese was also represented. Entrance was free, but one could get in only by showing nominal invitation cards which had been sent one month in advance.
First thing in the evening, a splendid typewriter offered by Miss Diana Vaughan was raffled. Its lucky winner was M. Ali Kental, Editor of the Ikdam, at Constantinople. Then M. Léo Taxil addressed the audience:
I feel bound to make such a statement and I also admit that I make it
easily. During these twelve years spent under the banner of the Church and
although I registered as a prankster, I realized how wrong it is to impute
the malice of some people to doctrines. It results from mankind itself. A
bad man remains bad, just like a good man acts with goodness, whether he
keeps his faith or loses it. Dishonest people as well as honest ones are
found everywhere. (Marks of approval).
He turned out to be a former military chaplain who became a Jesuit, a sly one among the sly! His appreciation was to be weighty.
Ah! It was a tough game that the two of us played!... I still have a headache when I think of it.... Among other things, the dear director made me practice the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. I thought little of these exercises, but at least I had to skim through the pages, so as to look as if I had gone deeply into these extraordinary meditations. It was not the right time to be caught.
My general confession let me win the battle. This general confession did not last less than three days. (Prolonged laughter) My last crushing blow came at the end of it.
I said everything, this, that, and other things, but my partner suspected there was a further big sin, very big, very big, which was hard to confess, a sin more painful to come out with than the admission of thousands and thousands of impieties.
At last, it had to come out, this monstrous sin.
Ladies and gentlemen, I don't want to keep you waiting as long as he had to: my big sin was a murder, a first-class murder, one of the best downright assassinations. No, I had not slaughtered an entire family, but without being a Tropmann or a Dumolard, I was good for the guillotine, no doubt, had I been found out.
I had taken care to investigate a few disappearances reported three years before by newspapers, and had imagined a little fairy-tale based upon one of them. But my reverend father didn't let me tell it all in details. He thought me capable of the most dreadful sacrileges, and found grounds to be pleasantly surprised. He did not however expect an assassin at his knees. (New laughter)
When the first words of admission fell from my lips, the reverend father jumped backwards in a most significant way. Ah! Now he understood my embarrassment, my difficulties, my way of discussing certain sins of less significance at such length.... And how ashamed I was when I confessed my crime!... Not only ashamed, but disconcerted, frightened.... A widow was part of the story, the reverend father let me promise that, in an indirect and indeed most ingenious way, I would bestow a rent on my victim's widow.... He did not want to hear any name, but what he was interested in was to know whether I had murdered with or without premeditation. After beating around the bush and falling under the weight of shame, I admitted premeditation, a true ambush.
It is my true duty to pay tribute to this reverend Jesuit father. I never got into troubles with the law. My prank thus allowed me to test the secrecy of confession. If one day I tell the story of these twelve years in details, I will do it just as today, with the strictest impartiality and with calm, Abbot Garnier! (Approval)
The main point at this stage was my first victory in the opening of the battle. Had anyone dared and told the reverend father I was not the most earnest convert, he would have gotten a strong rebuke. (Laughter)
I N T O T H E V A T I C A N
My confession of assassination was indeed a fantastic success; but the director of my retreat at Clamart had kept it secret. Evidently, what else could he tell the hierarchical authority who entrusted him to inspect the depths of my soul, except:
"-Léo Taxil?... I vouch for him!"
Once the mistrust of the Vatican was set aside, how could I make myself agreeable? In order to bring the hoax to the heights I dreamed of and which I had the inexpressible joy to reach, I had to make good a point most cherished by the Holy See within the program of the Church.
This part of my plan was settled from the start, as soon as I decided to inquire into Catholicism.
One year earlier, the Sovereign Pontiff had made himself notorious with the encyclical Humanum Genus, and this encyclical agreed with a well-established idea of the militant Catholics. Gambetta had said, "Clericalism, there is the enemy!" The Church, on the other side, said,
"The enemy is Freemasonry!"
Accordingly, slandering Freemasons was the best way to establish the foundations of the colossal prank of which I savored all the suave happiness in advance.
At first, Freemasons were indignant; they did not foresee that the patiently prepared conclusion of the hoax would result in a worldwide outburst of laughter. They actually thought I had joined for good. It was said and repeated that it was a way of avenging myself for having
been expelled from my Lodge in 1881, a well-known story which was not in the least dishonorable for me, but the mere consequence of a little row initiated by two men having nowadays disappeared, and disappeared under sad circumstances.
No! I was not avenging myself, I was having fun. And if one examines now the undersides of this campaign, even the Freemasons who were most hostile to me will acknowledge that I did not harm anyone. I would go as far as to say that I did a good turn to French Masonry. (Interruption: You go too far!...) Pardon me, wait until I explain myself, and I am sure you will agree with me. I mean that my publication of the rituals was certainly not irrelevant to reforms which resulted in suppressing outmoded practices which had become ridiculous in the eyes of all masons befriended with the notion of progress.
Let us leave this aside and summarize facts. Since my goal was to invent all the elements of contemporary devilry-which was a good bit stronger than the city under the Lake of Geneva-it was necessary to proceed step by step, foundations had to be set, the egg from which Palladism was to be born had to be laid and incubated. A prank of this size cannot be created in one day. (A voice: Obviously!)
From the first moment of my conversion, I had found out that a certain number of Catholics strongly believed that the name "Grand Architect of the Universe," adopted by Freemasonry to designate the Supreme Being without relating it to the particular way of any specific religion, that this name, as I say, is used in fact to skillfully conceal Master Lucifer or Satan, the devil!
More good men than can be imagined believe that the laws of nature are sometimes set aside by good or bad spirits, and even by simple mortals. I was amazed myself to be asked to perform a miracle.
A good canon of Fribourg once dropped by like a hurricane at my house and told me literally:
"-Ah! You, Mister Taxil, you are a saint! Because God rescued you from so deep an abyss, you must have a mountain of graces upon your head [sic]. As soon as I heard of your conversion, I took the train and here I am. On my return, I must be able to say not only that I saw you, but that you performed a miracle in front of me." (Laughter)
I was not expecting such a request.
"-A miracle! I answered: I don't understand you, Mister Canon.
"-Yes, a miracle, he repeated, it does not matter which, just so that I can bear witness to it!... Whatever miracle you wish!... What do I know?... Here, for example.... This chair ... turn it into a cane, an umbrella...." (Prolonged laughter)
I had gotten his point. I gently declined to perform such a wonder. And my Canon returned to Fribourg saying that if I was not performing miracles, it was out of humility.
Several months later, he sent me an gigantic Gruyère cheese on the crust of which he carved pious inscriptions, wild mystic hieroglyphs, with a knife-an excellent cheese by all means, which seemed never to come to an end and which I ate with infinite respect. (Laughter increases. Some Catholic listeners protest.)
Accordingly, my first books on Freemasonry consisted in a mixture of rituals, with short innocent parts inserted, apparently harmlessly interpreted. Each time an obscure passage occurred, I explained it in a way agreeable to Catholics who see Master Lucifer as the supreme grand-master of Freemasons. But only with a touch of suggestion. I was slowly smoothing the field first, in order to plough it later on, and then scatter the mystifying seeds which were to sprout so well.
After two years of this preparatory work, I went to Rome. (A voice: Ah! Here we are!) Received at first by Cardinals Rampolia and Parocchi, I had the pleasure of hearing them, one as well as the other, tell me my books were perfect. Yes indeed, the books unveiled exactly what was so well known in the Vatican, and it was truly fortunate that a convert published these famous rituals. (Laughter.)
Cardinal Rampolia called me "my dear," thick as thieves. And how much he regretted that I had been only a mere Apprentice in Masonry! But since I succeeded in getting at the rituals, nothing was more legitimate than printing them. He said he could identify therein all his previous readings from documents in the Holy See's possessions. He identified everything, even that which, by my doings, had the same worth as the sharks of Marseilles or the city under the Lake of Geneva. (A voice: Rascal! Scoundrel! Blackguard! Rogue!)
As for Cardinal Parocchi, what interested him most, was the question of Masonic Sisters. My precious revelations had taught him nothing new either. (Murmurs on one side; laughter on the other.)
I had come to Rome unexpected, unaware of the fact that a request for a private audience with the Sovereign Pontiff must be made a long time in advance, but I had the pleasant surprise of not waiting at all, and the Holy Father received me for three quarters of an hour.(A voice: You are a ruffian.)
To win this new game, I had played it safe during the first evening I spent alone with the Cardinal Secretary of State. Evidently, he had been entrusted with my preliminary examination. But the impression I wished to give him was that I was somehow exalted-not quite as much however as the good Canon of Fribourg. (Laughter)
The verbal report which Cardinal Rampolla must have given to the Holy Father granted me the reception I desired. Since the time of my admission under the banner of the Church, I had convinced myself of a basic truth, namely that one could not become a good author if one does not put oneself in the body of the person one represents, if one does not believe-at least momentarily-that all of it is true. When a scene of despair is played on the stage, tears should not be faked: the third-rate actor wipes dry eyes with his handkerchief; the artist cries actually.
--My son, what do you wish?
--Holy Father, to die at your feet, right now!... This would be my greatest happiness.
Having been an Apprentice only, I had great merit to have understood that "the devil is there." And the Sovereign Pontiff stressed on the word devil with an inflection which is easy for me to render. It seems that I can still hear him repeating: "The devil! The devil!"
When I left, I was sure that my plan could be carried out to the end. The important thing was not to stand out any more, once the fruit was ripe.
Now, the tree of contemporary luciferianism began to grow. I gave it all my care for a few more years.... Then I re-wrote one of my books, introducing a palladian ritual in it, allegedly obtained in communication, in fact prettily fabricated by me from beginning to end.
T H E S E A R C H F O R C O L L A B O R A T O R S
The time had come now for me to step aside, otherwise the most fantastic hoax of modern times would have failed sadly.
I started looking for the first collaborator I needed. It had to be someone who had traveled a lot and who might be able to describe a mysterious investigation in the luciferian Triangles, in the dens of this Palladism described as secretly directing all the Lodges and Back-Lodges of the entire world.
I happened then to meet again in Paris with an old college friend of mine, who had been a doctor aboard ships. At first, I did not put him on to the secret of the hoax at all.
I let him read various books of authors enthralled at my wonderful revelations. The most extraordinary one was authored by a Jesuit bishop, Msgr. Meurin, bishop of Port-Louis (Mauritius), who came to Paris in order to consult me. One can imagine how well informed he became!... (Laughter)
This excellent Msgr. Meurin, an erudite Orientalist, came out equal with the Polish archeologist who had recognized a fragment of an equestrian statue in the middle of a place in my underwater city. (New laughter)
Starting from the determined idea that Freemasons worship the devil, and convinced of the existence of Palladism, he discovered the most extraordinary things behind the Hebrew words used as passwords, etc., in the innumerable degrees of masonic rites.
Sashes, aprons, ritualistic tools, he scrutinized everything. He examined the smallest embroidered figures on the most insignificant pieces of material having belonged to a Freemason and, in the best faith in the world, he found my Palladism everywhere.
Among the most joyous times of my life, I will always recall the hours during which he read his manuscript to me. His thick volume, Freemasonry, Synagogue of Satan, was a wonderful help in convincing my doctor friend that there truly was a secret luciferian meaning in all of the masonic symbolism.
In fact, the doctor did not care a rap. But he had really studied spiritualism out of curiosity as an amateur. He knew that believers in supernatural manifestations, phantoms, ghosts, werewolves, etc. existed throughout the world. He knew that within small groups of occultists, likable pranksters let specters appear to good people who forgot all of Robert-Houdin's technique. But he did not know that such operations ever occurred in freemasonry. He did not know that there was a specific rite of luciferian and masonic occultism. He knew nothing of Palladism and of its triangles, of the Elected Wizards and of Templar Mistresses, and of all the astounding supreme organization imagined by me, the existence of which became scientifically established through the productions of Msgr. Meurin and others.
In my book, Are There any Women in Freemasonry?, I created the part of a Grand Mistress of Palladism, a Sophia-Sapho, disclosing only the initial letter of her alleged true name: a W. I confided the whole name to my doctor friend. He believed in the existence of Sophie Walder.
Let us understand each other right. Because of books such as Msgr. Meurin's, the doctor believed in Palladism and in the various individuals, heroes of my hoax, who began to appear therein. But I did not try in the least to make him believe in the reality of the supernatural manifestations which had to be told.
"-Do you want to collaborate on a work on Palladism?... As for me, I am thoroughly familiar with the subject, but the issue of rituals is far less interesting than recounting adventures as a witness, especially unbelievable ones.... Besides, to move good souls best, the narrator must himself be a hero. Not a convinced Palladist, but a zealous Catholic having put on the luciferian mask in order to make this mysterious inquiry at the peril of his life.... I will give you a pseudonym, because we shall say that for all sorts of reasons, the author cannot surrender his name to publicity: for example, he still has to write an inquiry about the nihilists.... (Laughter) You will be known only to a small group of ecclesiastics, that will be enough.... You will hand over to me the route of your voyages whereupon I shall design an outline which you will only have to embellish. Then I shall recopy your manuscript, correct it, cut out some parts and above all add a few ones.... Yours will be the medical part, the description of towns and some narratives. Mine will be the technical aspects of Palladism, information on all the individuals who are going to appear, and most of the added episodes.... I need your collaboration for some thirty or forty installments altogether.... Now don't worry about denials.... As you noticed in the works I gave you to read, there are two kinds of Palladists: nuts who really believe that Lucifer is the Good-God whose cult must be kept secret for a few more years still, and the wire-pullers who use the nutty ones as excellent subjects for their occultist experiments.... Neither sort will be able to protest publicly, since the first condition of belonging to Palladism is the most rigorous secrecy. Besides, should some of them protest, their denials would be without effect, since they would appear to have been made in self-defense."
My doctor friend agreed and in order to strengthen his own belief in the existence of Palladism in spite of the hoax of marvelous facts attributed by us to its Triangles, I let him receive several letters from Sophie Walder. Sophie was indignant that he pretended to have met her.
The doctor faithfully related these letters to me.
After receiving three or four of them, he told me:
"-I am afraid that this woman is going to make a scandal and demonstrate that the load of crap we spout about her is sheer nonsense." (Laughter.)
"Calm down. She protests for form's sake; in reality, she is thrilled to read that she has the talent of walking through walls and owns a snake who writes prophecies on her back with the tip of its tail. (Laughter) I got in touch with her and was introduced to her. She is a good girl. She is a Palladist hoaxster. She laughs her head off about all that. Do you want me to introduce you to her?"
He wanted to indeed! Boy! Was he happy to strike up an acquaintance with Sophie Walder! Several days later, I forwarded to my friend a letter from the Palladist grand-mistress. She agreed with the introduction. We were to meet at my house, and go from there to Sophia-Sapho who even invited us for dinner.... My friend came to my house in ceremonial full dress as if he was invited at the Elysée. I showed him the table in my house and then told him everything ... or, at least, almost everything.
Sophie Walder, a myth! Palladism, my most beautiful creation, only existed on paper and in a few thousand brains! He could not believe it. I had to show him some proof. Once convinced, he found the hoax even funnier and kept on working with me.
Among the things I forgot to tell him, there is one which he will learn at this conference, namely the reason why I picked Dr. Bataille as his pseudonym. --Allegedly, it was to stress the offensive character of war against Palladism. But my own true reason, my intimate reason as a dilettante hoaxster, was this: one of my oldest friends, deceased by now, a hoaxster of the supreme category, was the illustrious Sapeck, prince of hoaxterism in the Latin Quarter. In a way I was bringing him to life again without anybody's notice. Then Sapeck's true name was Bataille. (Long laughter.)
However my doctor friend was not enough to work my plan out. In The Devil in the 19th Century, my plan was to set the stage for the conversion of a luciferian Grand-Mistress. The book I had authored introduced Sophia-Sapho under the blackest colors. I had taken pains to make her as distasteful as possible for the Catholics: the accomplished type of an incarnate she-devil, wallowing in sacrilege, a true Satanist, such as one meets in Huysmans' books.
Sophia-Sapho, or Miss Sophie Walder, was there only to serve as a contrast to another luciferian, a sympathetic one, an angelic creature living in Palladist hell through the chance of birth. Her existence was to be revealed to the Catholic public through a work signed by Bataille. (A voice: Oh! The rogue!... Oh! The base villain!)
Now, since this exceptional luciferian woman was to convert at a given moment, I had to have someone in flesh and blood on hand, should it become necessary to produce her.
A little while before meeting again with my childhood friend, the doctor, the necessities of my profession let me meet a typist who was a European representative of one of the large typewriter manufacturers in the United States. At that time, I gave her lots of manuscripts to type. I met with a woman who was intelligent, active, sometimes traveling for business. Further gifted with a playful humor and an elegant simplicity, as in most of our Protestant families. One knows that Lutheran and Calvinist women, although proscribing luxury in the way they dress, nevertheless make concessions to fashion. Her family was French, father and mother French but deceased, the American origin went back to her great-grandfather only. In spite of the similarity in names, she had no family ties with Ernest Vaughan, former administrator of L'Intransigeant. There are several Vaughans in France. In England and in the United States, Vaughans are innumerable. I have to say that, because one might believe that Mr. Ernest Vaughan, with whom I was acquainted in the past and whose brother-in-law always remained one of my best friends, one might believe, as I say, that Mr. Ernest Vaughan was more or less indirectly an accomplice in my hoax. Such a misunderstanding should be avoided at all cost. Miss Diana Vaughan is in no way related to him, the homonymy is no more than sheer coincidence.
My luck could not have been better. Nobody was better qualified than Miss Vaughan to assist me. The question was: would she accept?
I could not ask her point-blank. I studied her first. Little by little, I interested her in devilry, which greatly amused her. She is, as I said, rather a free-thinker than a Protestant. Consequently, she was amazed to find out that in this century of progress, there are still people who believe seriously in all the nonsense of the Middle Ages.
Other voices: Keep on! Keep on!
My first approach to Miss Vaughan was on the subject of the letters of Sophie Walder. She agreed to let them be written by one of her friends. I had the proof, thusly, that women are much less talkative than one says and that if their weak point is curiosity, on the other hand one can count on their discretion. Miss Vaughan's friend never boasted to anybody to have written Sophie Walder's letters. Besides, there weren't many.
Finally, I convinced Miss Vaughan to become my accomplice for the final success of my hoax. I drew a fixed agreement with her: 150 francs per month for typing manuscripts as well as for letters which should be copied by hand. It goes without saying that should trips be necessary, all her expenses would be defrayed; but she never accepted any money as a gift. In fact, she enjoyed the prank quite a lot and took a liking to it. Corresponding with Bishops, Cardinals, receiving letters from the private secretary of the Sovereign Pontiff, telling them fairy tales, informing the Vatican about the dark plots of luciferians, all this set her in an inexpressible gaiety, she thanked me for associating her with this huge prank. Had she possessed the great wealth we attributed to her to make her prestige greater, she would have never accepted the price agreed for her collaboration, and further she would have paid for all the costs wholeheartedly.
She was the one who let us discover the existence of private postal agencies in order to reduce expenses. She had had the opportunity to have recourse to one of them in London, and told us about it. She also told me about the Alibi-Office in New York.
The Devil in the 19th Century was mainly written to introduce the existence of Miss Vaughan who was to play the main part in the hoax. Had her name been Campbell or Thompson, we would have given our sympathetic luciferian the name of Miss Campbell or Miss Thompson. We merely turned her into an American, born by chance in Paris. We let her family originate in Kentucky. This allowed us to make her part as interesting as possible by multiplying extraordinary wonders concerning her, which nobody was able to check. (Laughter) Another reason was that we located the center of Palladism at Charleston in the United States, with the late General Albert Pike, Grand Master of the Scottish Rite in South Carolina, as Founder. This celebrated Freemason, endowed with vast erudition, had been one of the highlights of the order. Through us, he became the first luciferian Pope, supreme chief of all freemasons of the globe, conferring regularly each Friday, at 3 p.m., with Master Lucifer in person. (Explosion of laughter)
A most curious point in the story is that some freemasons joined in the prank without in the least being asked to. Compared with the tugboat I had dispatched hunting for sharks in the coves of Marseille in my early years, the boat of Palladism was a true battleship.
With the help of Dr. Bataille, the battleship turned into a squadron. And when Miss Diana Vaughan became my auxiliary, the squadron grew into a full navy. (New laughter)
We saw indeed some Masonic journals, such as La Renaissance Symbolique, swallow a dogmatic circular about luciferian occultism, a circular dated July14, 1889, written by myself in Paris, and which I disclosed as having been brought from Charleston to Europe by Miss Diana Vaughan on behalf of Albert Pike, its author.
When I named Adriano Lemmi second successor to Albert Pike as luciferian Sovereign Pontiff-then Lemmi was not elected pope of the Freemasons in the Borghese palace, but in my office-, when this imaginary election became known, some Italian Masons, among which a Deputy at the Parliament, took it seriously. They were annoyed to learn through indiscretions of the profane press that Lemmi was secretive toward them, that he kept them aloof from the famous Palladism which the whole world spoke about. They met in Congress in Palermo, constituted in Sicily, Naples and Florence, three independent Supreme Councils, and named Miss Vaughan an honorary member and protectress of their federation.
An unexpected auxiliary-though by no means an accomplice, in spite of what he said-is Mr. Margiotta, a Freemason from Palmi, in Calabria. He began as one of the hoaxed, became more hoaxed than all the others and, what is most amusing, he told us he had met the Palladist grand-mistress during one of her trips to Italy. (Laughter) It is true that I had gently induced him to entrust me with this confidence. I had put in his head that the trip had really taken place; I had created around it an atmosphere of Palladism; I let him meet a chamberlain of Léo XIII in Rome who had dined with Miss Diana some times before. (Loud laughter and protests) Then I mentioned that during Miss Vaughan's imagined trip of 1889, when she was supposed to have brought the alleged dogmatic Albert Pike's circular letter to Europe, she had entertained many Freemasons in groups, in the course of two evenings in Naples, at Hotel Victoria. I knew that Mr. Margiotta, who is a poet, had dedicated a volume of verse to Bovio, and I had taken the trouble to tell him that the Freemasons were introduced to Miss Vaughan in 1889 by Bovio and by Cosma Panunzi. I added that these brothers had taken tea with her but were so many that she couldn't remember their names or faces. Timidly at first, Mr. Margiotta risked some allusions about this former meeting. Then, seeing that it seemed to work and that Miss Diana did not contradict him, he went all the way. He went indeed much too far. --Later, when I decided to prevent the mystification from collapsing under the silence of a Commission, our prank having been unmasked in the mean time in Germany, when I agreed with the doctor to tally-ho the panic of the mystified Cardinals, when Bataille and I, always in agreement, faked shooting at each other, Mr. Margiotta, having at last opened his eyes, feared ridicule and chose to declare himself an accomplice rather than a blind volunteer in our navy.
But we shouldn't appear more numerous than we actually were. We were three and that was enough. The editors themselves were mystified all the way. Anyway, they have nothing to complain about. First of all because our marvelous revelations brought them the most encouraging Episcopal congratulations, not counting those of the grave theologians who didn't bat an eyelid when our crocodile played the piano and Miss Vaughan traveled to various planets. Then, because our triple collaboration let them give two works to the public, which can compete with A Thousand and One Nights, works which have been devoured with delight and will still be read for a long time, not with conviction any more, possibly, but out of curiosity.
E L A B O R A T I O N S O N A T H E M E
I ask myself however to what extent the high approvers of unmasked Palladism have the right to get angry today. When one understands that one was fooled, the best thing to do is to laugh with the audience. Yes, Mister Abbot Garnier! And your getting cross will make you even more laughed at.
Abbott Garnier. --You are a scoundrel! (attempts are made to try and calm down Abbott Garnier.)
Firstly, those who were in good faith, entirely in good faith. They were the victims of their theological science and of their eagerly pursued studies of all that touches on Freemasonry. I had to immerse myself in these two sciences in order to imagine everything and in such a way that they wouldn't realize it was a prank. Can one believe, for instance, that it was easy to take M. de la Rive for a ride, he, the embodiment of an inquiring mind, who examines the slightest trifles with a microscope and who could beat our best investigating judges? He can boast of having given me trouble!... My whole Palladism had been solidly constructed as far as its masonic part is concerned, since some Freemasons-even "thirty-thirds" if you please!-did not take it for a shadowy mirage and asked to become members. (Laughter) The impossibility of Palladism becomes plain as the nose on one's face only because of the supernatural elements we filled it with. But these devilries were a warning only for those who do not believe in those devilries described in other books, in pious books. Asmodeus carrying Miss Diana Vaughan to the Garden of Eden is no more extraordinary than Master Satan taking up Jesus Christ himself on top of a mountain and showing him all the kingdoms of the Earth ... which is round! (Various voices: Bravo!) --Either one has faith or one has not. (Laughter)
Besides this first category of hoaxed people, however, there is a second one, and members of the latter one were not fully hoaxed. The good abbots and monks who admired Miss Vaughan because she was a converted Masonic luciferian Sister have the right to think that such female Masons exist. They have never seen or encountered any, but they may think that it is because there are none in their diocese. In Rome, it's another story. In Rome, all information is centralized. In Rome one cannot ignore that there are no female Masons other than the wives, daughters, or sisters of Freemasons, admitted to banquets, public feasts, or those who meet separately, very decently, in private societies comprising feminine elements only, such as the Sisters of the Eastern Star or the Daughters of the Revolution in the United States. (Signs of approval)
When one thinks about it, it is easy to understand that if Masonic sisters exist, such as the anti-Masons imagine, there would have been conversions and confessions a long time ago! The eagerness with which Miss Vaughan's alleged conversion was received in Rome is significant. Please notice that Msgr. Lazzareschi, delegate of the Holy See to the Anti-Masonic Union's central Committee, let a Thanksgiving Triduum be celebrated at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Rome!
The Hymn to Joan of Arc, supposedly composed by Miss Diana, words and music, was performed at the anti-Masonic feasts of the Roman Committee. This music became nearly sacred and sounded with grand solemnity in the basilicas of the Holy City. Its tune is that of the Philharmonic Syringe, a musical jest written for the entertainments of the harem by one of my friends, conductor of the orchestra of Sultan Abdul Aziz. (Prolonged laughter. Cries: It is abominable! Oh! The blackguard!)
Such Roman enthusiasm sets one thinking.
I shall recall two typical facts.
Under the pen-name "Dr. Bataille" I related-and under that of "Miss Vaughan" I confirmed-that the Masonic temple in Charleston contained a maze at the center of which stays the chapel of Lucifer....
the Pope became public. He had come to say: "It is false, absolutely false, that the Freemasons of Charleston are the chiefs of a supreme luciferian rite. I am especially well acquainted with the most important ones. They are Protestants, inspired by the best intentions. Not one of them considers practicing occultism. I visited their temple, none of the rooms indicated by Doctor Bataille or Miss Vaughan are to be found there. The map is a hoax." On his return from Rome, Msgr. Northrup did not protest any more and has kept silent ever since. Miss Diana Vaughan, on the contrary, replied to Msgr. Northrop's interview; she said the Bishop of Charleston was himself a Freemason and she received the Pope's blessing. (Sensation)
Second fact. Under the signatures of Bataille and Vaughan, I recounted and confirmed that immense secret workshops were located in Gibraltar under the English fortress, in which men-monsters fabricated all the instruments used in the ceremonies of Palladism, and Miss Diana Vaughan, asked about this by Roman high ecclesiastical dignitaries, enjoyed herself answering in her cutest style that nothing was more true and that the forges of the mysterious workshops of Gibraltar were fed by the very fires of Hell. (Laughter) Msgr. the Apostolic Vicar of Gibraltar wrote, on the other hand, that he confirmed what he had been forced to declare to various people, namely that the story of the secret workshops was an audacious invention, resting on no foundation whatsoever, nothing whatsoever, and that he was indignant to witness the creation of such legends. The Vatican did not publish the letter of the Apostolic Vicar of Gibraltar, and Miss Vaughan received the blessing of the Pope. (Applause. --Many voices: Bravo Taxil!)
Should I recall some of the letters of approval received by Miss Vaughan?
M. Léo Taxil --What! You dare deny it! Well, here is one, a letter of assent, and a weighty one!... It is from Cardinal Parocchi, Vicar of His Holiness; it is dated December 16, 1895:
It is with a lively but quite soft emotion that I received your good letter of 29 November, together with the copy of the Neuvaine Eucharistique.... His Holiness has entrusted me with bestowing upon you, on his behalf, a very special blessing....
My sympathies have been all yours for a long time. Your conversion is one of the most magnificent triumphs of grace that I am aware of. Right now, I am reading your Memoirs which are just fascinating.
Be assured that I have not forgotten you in the mean time, especially in my prayers to the Holy Sacrifice. As for you, do not cease to thank Our Savior Jesus Christ for the great mercy which He bestowed upon you and the magnificent token of love which He gave you.
Do accept my blessing and believe me,
All yours in the heart of Jesus.
Here is another one written on the official letterhead of the general leading Council of the Anti-Masonic Union, which is the highest action committee against freemasonry, a committee constituted by the Pope himself, a committee whose leader is an official representative of the Holy See, Msgr. Lazzareschi. Listen:
Monsignor Vincenzo Sardi, who is one of the private secretaries of the Holy Father, has entrusted me with writing to you, by the order of His Holiness himself.
I should also tell you that His Holiness read with great pleasure your Neuvaine Eucharistique.
Commander Alliata had an interview with the Cardinal Vicar concerning the veracity of your conversion. His Eminence is convinced; but He declared to our president that He cannot bear witness of it publicly. "I cannot betray the secrets of the Holy Office, is what His Eminence answered to Commander Alliata.
I am all yours, very devoted in Our Lord,
The private secretary of Léo XIII, the same Mister Vincenzo Sardi who was mentioned above, writes among other things:
I hasten to express the thanks which are due to you for sending your last book on Crispi....
This is a book in which, under the signature of Miss Diana Vaughan, I recounted that Crispi had a pact with a devil named Haborym, that Crispi was present in 1885 at a Palladistic meeting during which a devil named Bitru, introducing Sophie Walder to a certain number of Italian political men, announced to them that the said Sophie, on September 19, 1896, would give birth to a girl who was to become the grandmother of the Antichrist. I had sent the book to the Vatican. The private secretary of the Pope was expressing his thanks for it accordingly and added:
Keep on, Miss, keep on writing and unmasking the iniquitous sect! Which is the reason why Providence has permitted that you belonged to it for such a long time....
I recommend myself, with all my heart, to your prayers, and with a perfect esteem I declare myself your very devoted
The Civiltà Cattolica, the most important of all Catholic reviews in the world, the official organ of the Jesuits' General, a review published in Rome, issued the following lines in its issue no. 1,110 in September 1896:
We want at least once to give ourselves the pleasure of blessing publicly the names of the valorous champions who entered first the glorious arena, among them the noble Miss Diana Vaughan.
Miss Diana Vaughan, called from the depths of darkness to the light of God, prepared by divine Providence, armed with science and personal experience, turns towards the Church to serve it, and appears inexhaustible in her valuable publications which are un-paralleled for accuracy and usefulness."
In the entourage of the Sovereign Pontiff, Miss Vaughan was not merely considered as a heroic polemicist; she was set on the same level as the Saints. When she started to be attacked, the secretary of Cardinal Parocchi wrote her from Rome, October 19, 1886:
Keep on, Miss, through your pen and your piety, despite the efforts of hell, furnishing weapons to overwhelm the Enemy of mankind. All the Saints' deeds have been fought against; no wonder then that yours are not spared....
Please accept, Miss, the expression of my liveliest feelings of admiration and respect.
Secretary to H. E. Cardinal Parocchi
You know well, gentlemen Catholic journalists, that these letters have been actually sent to Miss Vaughan. They may embarrass you today; but they are historical documents; these have not been forged, and their eminent authors will not disown them.
And not only did they patronize this hoax; but believing the woman with whom they corresponded to have an exalted head, they urged her to enter their game for preparing their miracles.
Time is short today; nevertheless, I want to acquaint you with a fact along the same lines. Everybody knows that according to the Catholic legend, once Joan of Arc had been burned, the executioner was shocked to find out that, alone, the heart of the heroine had not been consumed; in vain, he threw more burning pitch and sulfur upon it, the heart would not burn. Finally, on the injunction of the bailiff who directed the torment, Joan's heart was thrown in the Seine. Now, the French clergy requests the canonization of Joan of Arc; but it is Rome which canonizes, and Rome is in Italy. The French clergy has already found a relic of the girl they put to death, namely a carbonized rib. In Italy, they are preparing something better than that. They support a nun of the third order in the extraordinary idea that she is the one who will retrieve the heart of Joan of Arc; no doubt an angel will bring it to her. This ultra-mystical nun of the third order has said so in a letter she wrote to Miss Vaughan, and the very secretary of the Cardinal Vicar recommended to Miss Vaughan to correspond with this pious person, to exchange with her impressions about the supernatural facts concerning Joan of Arc. It is easy to get what that means. Be sure that one day an angel will carry the heart, not to France, but to Italy, the same as angels carried the house of Nazareth to Lorette. Joan of Arc will be canonized, and all the French pilgrims who will come to Italy will not fail to make a visit to the Italian possessor of the miraculously retrieved heart; and their visits will be fruitful, won't they? (Laughter)
Indeed, Miss Vaughan has seen the favors of the princes of the Church fall upon her.
The masons of France, of Italy, of England, laughed in their sleeves and right they were. On the other hand, a German Mason, Findel, got real mad and thundered forth a very well written pamphlet. Great excitement. That pamphlet was like a paving stone in a frogs' pond.
A strong reaction appeared necessary. Findel endangered the final success of my hoax: his grand mistake was to think that it was a plot set up by the Jesuits-unfortunate Jesuits! I had sent them a fragment of the Moloch's tail, as a piece of evidence of Palladism! (Explosion of laughter)
Disquiet crept into the Vatican. Jumping from one extreme to another they got into a panic. They wondered whether they were not confronted with a hoax about to smash the Church instead of serving it. They named a secret commission of inquiry in order to ascertain what they were to believe.
Since then, the danger becoming great, my work was endangered, and I did not want to get shipwrecked. The danger was silence, strangling the hoax in the oubliettes of the Roman Commission, preventing Catholic papers from breathing a word.
My friend the doctor went to Cologne; from there, he put me in the picture. And forewarned I left for the Congress of Trent, well forewarned. When I came back, the first person I saw was my friend. I told him of my fear of silent strangling.
Then we agreed upon all that was to be done and written. If the editors of the Universe doubt it, I can name them parts they left out of the letters of Dr. Bataille. It was I who stoked their fire that way, then it was necessary for the world press to be made aware of this grand and bizarre epic. And a good deal of time was necessary so that the uproar of furious Catholics, the polemic with those in favor of Miss Diana Vaughan would catch the notice of the major newspapers, those who walk along with progress and count millions of readers.
T H E C O N C L U S I O N
In my general confession to the Jesuit father of Clamart, I had accused myself of an imaginary murder. Well, I will admit to a further crime. I committed infanticide. Palladism is now dead for good. Its father just murdered it.
(An indescribable tumult meets this conclusion. Some laugh more and more and applaud the lecturer. Catholics scream and hiss. Abbot Garnier steps on a chair and attempts to address the audience, but he is hindered by the hoot. A few listeners strike up the comic song by Meusy: O Sacred Heart of Jesus!)
T R A N S L A T O R S ' N O T E S
2. The French stereotype those born in Marseilles as makers of pranks.
3. Literally: The Hobby-Horse, Journal for Fools.
4. La Fronde was a seditious party during the minority of Louis XIV. It gave birth to the word Frondeur, designating generally speaking all those who criticize the authorities and the government without restraint or deference.
5. In French: Conseiller prudhommal.
6. This alludes to one of the Fables de La Fontaine, well known to French children, about a cat who covered himself with flour in hopes that mice would be fooled and come close enough to be caught.
7. "Partner" in the original French text.
8. Two murderers whose exactions and execution at the guillotine were famous in the time of Taxil.
9. Pope Léo XIII.
10. A famous French politician.
11. A stronghold of Catholicism in Switzerland.
12. Actor is meant here likely.
13. Residence of the President of the French Republic. 14. Part of Paris where many students live.
15. A Parisian daily newspaper.
16. Both sentences are based on a joke almost impossible to render in English. "Monter un bateau" is the French equivalent of "to pull one's leg." Taxil combines it with the tugboat of his youth, which grows into a squadron, and then a whole navy. Meaning that the prank becomes more and more enormous.
17. A religious ceremony which lasts three days.
18. This is an allusion to a legend from the 15th century that the birth house of the Virgin Mary in Nazareth was brought to Ancona in Italy by angels.
19. J.G. Findel, author of History of Freemasonry, 1861.
20. In addition to the obvious imagery of a stone disturbing frogs, French priests are sometimes called "frogs of the holy water basin."
21. An oubliette is a secret dungeon where people were thrown, forgotten, and died. Taxil plays on the double meaning of oublier, to forget, and oubliette.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ABOUT FREEMASONRY AND LUCIFER
(Leipzig: Max Hesse's Verlag, 1901), s.v. "Taxil, Leo."
Henry W. Coil, et al., Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia (Richmond, Va.: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co.,
1961), s.v. "Taxil, Leo."
Michel Gaudart de Soulages and Hubert Lamant, Dictionnaire des Francs-Maçons Français (Paris: Editions Albatros,
1980), s.v. "Taxil."
mus-Roman, 3vols.(Berlin: Verlag der Germania, 1897), vol. 2, pp. 43-59.
fonds inedit de la Bibliothèque National," Politica
Hermetica, no. 4, 1990, pp. 38-53.
Baylot de la Bibliothèque National," Politica Hermeti
ca, no. 4, 1990, pp. 55-67.
Franc-Maçons (Paris: Editions Pierre Belfond, 1975), s.v. "Taxil Gabriel-Antoine (Jogand-Pagès dit Léo),"
"Anti-Maçonnerie: Le XIXe siècle."
Franc-Maçons (Paris: Editions Pierre Belfond, 1974), s.v. "Taxil, Gabriel-Antoine (Jogand-Pagès dit Léo)," "Anti-Maçonnerie: Le XIXe siècle."
"Taxil-Schwindel, Der," FreiMaurer: Solange die Welt besteht, catalog of a special exhibition of the History Museum of Vienna, 18 September 1992-10 January 1993, pp. 268-370.
SOME ANTI-MASONIC BOOKS USING TAXIL'S HOAX
ABOUT FREEMASONRY AND LUCIFER
Editor's Note: These bibliographic references are taken from Art deHoyos and S. Brent Morris, Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? 2nd ed. (Silver Spring, Md., Masonic Information Center, 1997), pp. 7-11.