The Taxil Hoax, The Lie That Will Not Die
Some may not have ever heard of this hoax, but believe me when I say this; most every Freemason has, since it was a hoax designed to use Freemasonry against the Catholic church, by an anti-cleric and pornographic writer, who wrote his work under the pen name of Léo Taxil. To understand this hoax, and this hoaxer, one must understand Mr. Taxil, (1)(10) himself, whose real name is Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès.
Léo Taxil during his younger years.
Taxil was born in Marseille, France, March 21, 1854, and at the age of five, he was placed into a Jesuit seminary (1). Taxil’s parents wanted him to become a priest; a member of the clergy. The church takes children young, as it is known that a child’s mind is easily molded and programmed before the age of six or seven. By this time, they have them indoctrinated, and the programming will supposedly stick with them the rest of their life. During Taxil’s stay with the strict Jesuits, though, he turned against the Catholic church, wholeheartedly. It wasn’t long after he left the seminary, that he started writing anti-clerical and anti-Catholic pamphlets, literature, and books, while claiming to be a free-thinker of the enlightenment. (2) A few of these books were titled La Bible amusante (The Amusing Bible) and La Vie de Jesus (The Life of Jesus). He was also guilty of writing pornographic literature, that portrayed the Catholic clergy in a bad light. Some titles of this nature were Les Debauches d’un confesseur (Debauchery of a confessor) with Karl Milo, Les Pornographes sacrés: la confession et les confesseurs (Sacred Pornographers: confession and confessors), Les Amours de Pie IX (The Loves of Pius IX), and Les Maîtresses du Pape (The Mistresses of the Pope). Taxil new all too well that slush and muck, (yellow journalism), sells, and that the gullible spent a lot of money on it, along with it being a way to get back at the church over his time in their school. What happened while Taxil was in the Jesuit school, is anyone’s guess, but it definitely turned him firmly against Catholicism.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, listed under the article on impostors, and within the last paragraph, they speak of Léo Taxil and his work. Yes, the church is clearly admitting to being duped by a hoaxer, and for twelve long years.
Catholic Encyclopedia about Léo Taxil:
Of a different type is the most notorious imposture of modern times, that of “Léo Taxil” and “Diana. Vaughan”. Léo Taxil, whose true name was G. Jogand-Pagès, had long been known as one of the most blasphemous and obscene of the anti-clerical writers in France. He had been repeatedly sentenced to fines and imprisonment for the filthy and libellous works he published. For example, on account of his atrocious book Les Amours de Pie IX” [The Loves of Pius IX] he was sentenced to pay 60,000 francs at the suit of the pope’s nephew. He had also founded the “Anti-Clerical”, a journal which fanatically attacked all revelation and religion. In 1885 it was announced that Léo Taxil had been converted, and he soon proceeded to publish a series of pretended exposures of the practices of Freemasonry, and particularly of the “Satanisme” or Devil-worship with which he declared it was intimately bound up. Amongst other attractions he introduced a certain “Diana Vaughan”, the heroine of “Palladism”, who was destined to be the spouse of the demon Asmodeus, but clung to virtue, and was constantly visited by angels and devils. Various other writers, Bataille, Margiotta, Hacks, etc., exploited the same ideas and became in a measure Taxil’s confederates. In 1896-1897 the imposture was finally shown up and Taxil cynically admitted that Diana Vaughan was only the name of his typist. [See Portalié, “La Fin d’une mystification”, Paris, 1897, and H. Gruber (H. Gerber), “Léo Taxils Palladismus Roman”, and other works, 1897-8.[sic]
Quoting, Kembrew McLeod, from his book, Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, chap. 4, page 109 and 111. (9):
Between 1885 and 1897, the self-proclaimed “greatest joker of all times” transfixed the public with lurid revelations about Freemason black masses, orgies, and good ole Satan worship. Born in 1854 to a devoutly religious French family, the rebellious Jogand-Pagès developed a reputation as a prankster throughout his troubled Catholic education. In 1880, he broke off ties with his family, changed his name to Léo Taxil, and gleefully entered into a career of “poison-pen, yellow journalism.” He edited such journals as the Mudslinger and authored a popular sacrilegious text, The Amusing Bible for Grown-Ups and Children. Taxil also published outrageous political tracts such as Down with the Cloth! and wrote several pornographic novels (The Pope’s Mistress and The Debauches of a Confessor, to name a couple). He faced many duels, mostly over defamation, and by 1876 he had been put on trial thirteen times. But business was good. Down with the Cloth!—which labeled Pope Pius IX a “debaucher, forger, adulterer, and assassin”—sold 130,000 copies. The profits were more than enough to make up for the court-ordered damages”. [sic]
After Charles Hacks / Dr. Bataille confessed that his book was a lie, doubts about Vaughan’s existence intensified. (Hacks made it clear why he wrote The Devil in the Nineteenth Century: there was money to be made on the “known credulity and unknown idiocy of the Catholics.”) Taxil finally called a press conference at the Geographical Society in Paris, where he promised that Vaughan would at last make her public debut. After twelve eventful years, the prankster came clean. “My Reverend Fathers, Ladies, Gentlemen,” Taxil told the assembled priests and journalists. “First of all, it is appropriate to convey some thanks to those of my colleagues of the Catholic Press. . . . Do not get angry, my Reverend Fathers, but do laugh heartily when you are told now that what did happen is the very opposite of what you expected.” Taxil chose to begin and end his “funny as well as instructive hoax” in “April, the month of gaiety, the month of pranks.” [sic]
Even US News and World Report published an article about the Palladian lie, (11) and below, I quote it.
Taxil fabricated an entire cast of far-flung Masons. His most popular creation was Diana Vaughan, a member of a fictitious group of American Freemasons called the Palladian Order, whose inner workings she described in her autobiography. “Her Luciferian origin and principles,” Taxil wrote, “were shown . . . by the devils who attended her and through whose aid she made excursions to Mars.” Such accusations were eagerly imbibed by a public wary of the secretive and politically progressive Masons. [sic]
Taxil’s work informs today’s extremist Christian literature as well. Chick Publications, which distributes Christian tracts, offers a short comic strip that calls Masonry witchcraft and fezzes (worn by the Shriners, a subset of Masonry) “idols dedicated to a false god.” It even refers to Albert Pike, a real South Carolina Mason who was caricatured into a Satanist by Taxil. In his 1991 bestseller New World Order, evangelist Pat Robertson implicated Freemason “occultism” in a supposed international financial conspiracy. And a Mississippi group called Ex-Masons for Jesus brands the order a “pagan religion.” [sic]
Taxil himself had no intention of aiding any Christian cause: He wanted to embarrass Rome. After promising to present Diana Vaughan to the public in April 1897, he instead used the occasion to reveal himself as a fake and to thank the church for its gullibility. “Palladism, my most beautiful creation, never existed except on paper and in thousands of minds,” he told a crowd of 300. They were incensed, but Taxil had once more outwitted his audience: He had requested that all umbrellas and canes be checked at the door. [sic]
A sample of Léo Taxil’s anti-clerical and pornographic books are shown above. The fifth book: Le Diable au XIXe Siècle; ou, Les Mystères du Spiritisme, la Franc-Maçonnerie Luciférienne, (The Devil in the Nineteenth Century; or, The Mysteries of spiritualism, French-Freemasonry Luciferian), is the book which contained the entire hoax, and is shown above in a black and white cover.
As can be seen, from the Catholic Encyclopedia quotation above, Léo Taxil next started a magazine, named the ‘Anti-Clerical’, that he worked at until April 1885. According to his confession, in April 1897, he stated that he had told a partner, within this magazine, to not think that he was quitting nor a traitor, or actually being converted to Catholicism, but to the contrary, and that he would understand later. (3)
Taxil to his partner:
You have the right to say that I am a renegade, since I just published, four days ago, a letter in which I expressly retracted and disowned all my writings against religion. But I beg you to cross out the word traitor which in no ways applies to my case; there is not the shadow of treason in what I do today. What I tell you here, you cannot understand at the present moment; but you shall understand it later. (3) [sic]
Taxil had also told a friend of his, Stefano Canzio-Garibaldi, Giuseppe Garibaldi’s son-in-law, a similar thing. Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian general, politician, and nationalist who played a large role in the history of Italy.
My dear Canzio, I have to tell you, under the seal of secrecy, that in a short while, I shall make a complete and public break. Be surprised at nothing, and keep your trust in me in your heart. (3) [sic]
Thus, it was in 1885, that Taxil started working on the hoax, against the Catholic church, that would last twelve long years, and he was going to use Freemasonry to do it. Here, Taxil claimed that he had been converted, and sought out a priest, who he had been studying for sometime, to make some of the most sinful confessions to, and one was a murder, of which he never committed. Taxil said of the priest at the Clamart commune: “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” (3). Taxil had studied the murders and ‘disappearances’ that had happened for the three years before, and told the priest that he was responsible for one of them. The priest thought he was sincere over this, and announced to the entire church, that Léo Taxil had been converted to Catholicism, and had changed his ways. The priest would only vouch for Taxil, and never repeated his confession.
Taxil on the imaginary murder, from his 1897 confession. (3):
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 (8). 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.
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. [sic]
Pope Leo XIII, aka Vincenzo Gioacchino Raffaele Luigi Pecci, unknowingly, had helped to set up the entire prank, the year before, when he wrote the encyclical, Humanum Genus, on April 20th, 1884, which was a right nasty piece of work about Freemasonry, and everyone else who wasn’t a Catholic. It was a reactionary encyclical, written by the Pope, principally condemning Freemasonry by stating that the late 19th Century was dangerous for the church, due to the concepts and practices of Freemasonry, such as naturalism or natural law (essentially equal rights), popular sovereignty (government elected by the people, and thus, it was also against the divine right of kings, which the church had appointed) and the separation of church and state (where the church was denied any authority over the state, government, and its law). (4) In this encyclical, the Pope wrote that there were only two groups of people; those who were in his church to serve God, and everyone else, who were the kingdom of Satan. Naturally, this not only upset the Freemasons, but it did every Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and every other person, religious or not, in the world. The Popes bigotry and prejudice was showing itself, brightly, to everyone. Also, the leaders of France and the surrounding European countries were none too pleased with what the Pope proclaimed. Many were even furious with the Pope in the United States and elsewhere. Léo Taxil was going to use this to his advantage, and expose the church for what it was, at the time.
Some quotes from the Humanum Genus. My comments and corrections are [bracketed]. (5):
- “They deny that anything has been revealed by God …” [That is a lie.]
- “They preach and maintain the full separation of [the] Church from the State. So law and government are wrested from the wholesome and divine virtue of the Catholic Church”. [Another lie, as nothing is preached in Freemasonry. The Freemasons supporting the separation is true.]
- “In the instruction and education of children, they do not leave to the ministers of the Church any part …” [Not in public schools, no.]
- “They teach, that men have all the same rights”. [Oh, you mean we don’t? So, you and your monarchs are better than the rest of us?]
- “By opening their gates to persons of every creed they promote… religious indifference, the best way to annihilate every religion. The Catholic religion, being the only true one, cannot be joined with others without enormous injustice”. [Does it now? Why not admit that the Catholic church promotes hate, prejudice, bigotry, segregation, and separation?]
- “Naturalists and Freemasons deny original sin and do not acknowledge that our free will is bent to evil”. [Another lie, Freemasonry states none of the such. However, I do not personally believe in the rubbish of original sin, as if a child is born sinful. This lie did not come from the Pharisees, but from the early Greco-Roman Hellenists in the Catholic church.]
- “They leave to the members full liberty of thinking about God – whatever they like”. [Yes, that we do. We are a secular fraternity after all.]
- “[They believe that] those who rule [the people] have no authority, but by… the wishes of the people.” [Oh yes, I totally agree with that one.]
- “Separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ… The other is the kingdom of Satan”. [Yes, that is what this bigoted Pope, Leo XIII, actually wrote. All Protestants, or any other religion, are damned, according to him.]
The encyclical then proceeds to instruct the clergy to wage war against Freemasonry through pastoral letters, sermons, through formation of a similar Catholic fraternity, (the Knights of Columbus), and in the education of children, by brainwashing, such as the Jesuit schools. (5)
There is a good academic paper about the Humanum Genus, originally written for the course Communication and Rhetorical Theories, University of New York in Prague, Communications and Mass Media major, Fall 2005, By Ondřej Šmejkal:
There is one problem though: the evidence [of the Pope] is in fact no evidence at all. All those examples of the Masonic “mischief” are just claims. There is no evidence whatsoever as to where these claims came from. Did the Pope study the Masonic doctrine? Or perhaps, did He spoke with someone who did? Or did He perhaps read their pamphlets? All those questions remain unanswered, and yet despite the lack of support, the reader trusts in what is said. In any other circumstances, getting this kind of acceptance from the reader would be a serious problem, but in case of Papal documents, there is none. The Pope has the luxury we can only dream of – the Papal infallibility – which is essentially a thesis that the Pope can never be wrong whatsoever (“Infallibility”). This immunity to error is the guarantee that whatever the Pope says will be taken as the truth and will not be questioned. Therefore, the Pope does not need to back up His evidence. It is His authority, His ethos that does the trick.
The Pope also uses figurative language to a great extent, both to label the opponent as well as to describe the entire situation. Hence, from the very beginning, in Section 2 of Humanum Genus, the Pope metaphorically calls the Freemasons “partisans of evil” (24), later on “fatal plague” (ibid, Section 8, 97), or “evil sect, in which is revived the contumacious spirit of the demon” (ibid, Section 37, 521-2). Furthermore, He uses analogy to link the Freemasons to the medieval heretical sects:
Thus, with a fraudulent external appearance, and with a style of simulation which is always the same, the Freemasons, like the Manichees of old, strive, as far as possible, to conceal themselves, and to admit no witnesses but their own members (ibid, Section 9, 113-5).
As to the overall situation, the Holy Father metaphorically divides mankind into the “kingdom of God on Earth” and “the kingdom of Satan” (ibid, Section 1, 9-17). By using personification, He creates a notion of a struggle not jus[t] between individuals, but rather between two major institutions. Thus, as:
[…] the sect of Freemasons grew with a rapidity beyond conception in the course of a century and a half, until it came to be able, by means of fraud or audacity, to gain such entrance into every rank of the State as to seem to be almost its ruling power, […] this apostolic see denounced the sect of the Freemasons, and publicly declared its constitution, as contrary to law and right […] (ibid, Section 7, 74-7 & Section 6, 54-5). [sic]
One can see from the above, well written and peer reviewed paper, that the Pope’s deplorable actions are even evident to the European students of today. Šmejkal clearly sees the truth, as do I. I clearly see, that when Léo Taxil was accused of slander and libel, he was taken to court. However, the Pope thought that he could say anything he well pleased, lie or not, and that by him saying so, a lie was true, because he thought himself infallible, and so did the church. Now, one doesn’t have to wonder, much, about why Taxil went after the Pope and the church at this time. It was simply vengeance, over what they did to him, about his free-thinking and writing. Did you ever wonder why the United States Bill of Rights has the 1st Amendment?
What one must also understand, here, is that the French Freemasons of that time were not regular Freemasons, as they were under the Grand Orient de France, which had its warrant (charter) revoked in 1877, by the United Grand Lodge of England, after the Grand Orient admitted atheists into membership. After this time, the Grand Orient had became involved in politics, which is against the United Grand Lodge of England’s, (the mother and Premiere Grand Lodge), 1723 constitution, along with the Old Charges that it was written from. The British and the other European Grand Lodges, nor the United States Grand Lodges, had anything to do with this irregular practice, which was coming from a now clandestine Grand Lodge. However, that did not stop Pope Leo XIII, who had became Pope one year after the Grand Orient had became irregular, in 1878, from claiming that all Lodges were the same, (as regular Freemasons, everywhere, had already proclaimed their backing for the reformation, peoples natural rights, democracy, and liberty since its founding, in 1717), nor did it stop Taxil, who had not yet petitioned Freemasonry, for claiming so, and using it to his advantage.
Taxil went on, in his April 1897 confession, to speak of the Pope and his issuing of the Humanum Genus. (3):
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.
Taxil had indeed joined a Lodge of irregular Freemasonry, in 1881, which was Le Temple de L’Honneur français (The Temple of French Honor), in Paris, and under the Grand Orient, (the Lodge and membership of which the anti-Masons claim that Freemasonry doesn’t reveal). However, according to Lodge records, he was expelled over his views and his like for trouble making; in particular a fight, while only an Entered Apprentice. To claim that he was a full Mason, and knew more than an Entered Apprentice, is a fallacy. In Taxil’s confession of 1897, he alludes to joining in order to allegedly help with the hoax, and seems to claim that he purposely started a fight to get expelled. The Lodge records state differently. Many think that he wanted revenge for this, and Léo Taxil was not above revenge, as he had already created two large hoaxes, one at Marseille, which was a wild claim about a large number of vicious sharks swimming the coast, and one at Lake Geneva, where Taxil had people, even well known archaeologists, searching the bottom of the lake for a sunken ancient city, which did not exist. Both times, they were over Taxil feeling slighted by someone.
Next, Taxil started to plot, and he invented what became known as the Palladian, a fake Masonic order, supposedly a part of the Scottish Rite, that none other than Albert Pike had allegedly started in the US. However, Pike was up in age, and not able to defend nor refute anything that Taxil later dreamed up, especially after Pike died on April 2, 1891. Taxil grabbed onto one word that Pike had written in his book, Morals and Dogma, where he called the word lucifer, a “he” instead of an it, though Pike was correct in the rest about the Apocalypse and what lucifer means. Pike had questioned why the word, lucifer, was used to describe the spirit of darkness, when it was Latin for Light Bearer, Morning Star, and Son of the Morning, which is the planet Venus.
The first anti-Masonic books that Taxil published, revealed things such as the rituals held by the French Freemasons, and he also started to insinuate things, such as The Great Architect of the Universe was used as a secret name for satan instead of God, in his books. In 1892, Taxil also started publishing a paper, La France chrétienne anti-maçonnique (Christian Antimasonic France), with his staunch anti-Masonic publishing friend, Abel Clarin de la Rive, who worked under Taxil, since Taxil was the manager. Taxil goes on to say how he came up with the idea for this, below:
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! [sic]
Stories are told here and there in which the devil suddenly appeared in a Masonic Lodge and presided over the meeting. This is admitted among Catholics. [sic]
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. [sic]
After two years of this writing, Taxil went to Rome, where he was received well by Cardinals Rampolia and Parocchi. Again, Taxil reveals more of what happened while there, in his 1897 confession:
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.) [sic]
Here, Taxil states that he was also, indeed, received by the Pope, who had told him that he had all of his books. It seems that the Pope was willing to use any muck and slush as proof about Freemasonry, which Taxil’s writing fit to a tee. It is also revealed that Cardinal Parocchi was interested in Masonic sisters, which there are none in the fraternity of regular Freemasonry. A fraternity is for men, (frater meaning brother), and a sorority is for women. Below, Taxil reveals it all from the same 1897 confession (3):
Smiling, Léo XIII deigned to tell me that my life was still very useful in the fight for faith. Then he touched upon the question of Freemasonry. He owned all my new works in his personal library. He had read them from one end to the other and insisted upon the satanic guidance of the sect.
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. [sic]
Now, Palladism or Luciferian High-Masonry was born. The new book had the most enthusiastic reception, including all the magazines issued by the Fathers of the Society of Jesus. [sic]
The book in mention, Le Diable au XIXe siècle, (Devil in the Nineteenth Century), published in 1892, about the Palladian, was written after Pike had died in 1891, where he could not defend himself. Albert Pike had become instrumental in Taxil’s plans, and in them, he invented a new title for Pike, that of the Pope of Luciferianism within Freemasonry. The book was supposedly written by Dr. Bataille, but in fact, it was Taxil, himself, with the help of a friend who was supposedly a physician: “an old college friend of mine, who had been a doctor aboard ships” (3), who supposedly was named Charles Hacks. However, Dr. Bataille was supposedly the physicians pseudonym for the work he did.
Next, Taxil created a woman named Sophia Walder, but only called her Sophia-Sapho in the book, Are There any Women in Freemasonry. She became the ‘Grand Mistress of Palladism’. After getting his physician friend on board with the hoax, Taxil admitted: “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.” (3)
Taxil also invented a heroine by the name of Mrs. Diana Vaughan, who was supposedly a descendant of the Rosicrucian alchemist, Thomas Vaughan, to take Sophia Walder out of the spotlight, and to be her adversary. Mrs. Vaughan supposedly wrote, Confessions of an Ex-Palladist, in 1895, which was again written by Taxil. In reality, Vaughan was a typewriter saleswoman, from the US, who had agreed to help Taxil with his hoax, and for a price, to do his typing for him and pen any letters needed in a woman’s hand. After all, since the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite’s southern jurisdiction, who was also a licensed attorney, was no longer alive, then Taxil thought that he had nothing to worry about. However, this thinking is what led to the hoax unraveling about the seams later on. Below, is what Taxil had to say about his typist, the soon to be heroine, Diana Vaughan (3):
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. [sic]
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.[sic]
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. [sic]
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. [sic]
We saw indeed some Masonic journals, such as La Renaissance Symbolique, swallow a dogmatic circular about luciferian occultism, a circular dated July 14, 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. [sic]
You’ll notice from the above quotes, that Taxil said that he watched “La Renaissance Symbolique, swallow a dogmatic circular about luciferian occultism; a circular dated July 14, 1889“. That is the same circular or encyclical which Taxil showed to Abel Clarin de la Rive, and is responsible for the three famous paragraphs published in de la Rive’s book, La Femme et L’Enfant dans la Franc-Maconnerie Universelle, (Woman and child in Universal Freemasonry), of 1894, which was written about Albert Pike, and which there was no truth to whatsoever. Abel Clarin de la Rive recanted his writing, after Taxil admitted to the hoax in April 1897. Below are the three paragraphs in mention, which includes the footnote on the page, citing AC de la Rive’s source, at page 589:
That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?
Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive….
Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil. [sic]
*It was the Sister Diana Vaughan that Albert Pike,–in order to give her the greatest mark of confidence,–charged to carry his luciferian encyclical, to Paris, during the Universal Exposition [Exposition Universelle 1889]. [sic]
To the above, (which is quoted as proof by the ignorant anti-Masons), Abel Clarin de la Rive recanted what he wrote about Albert Pike and Freemasonry, in a magazine that he published, titled: Freemasonry Revealed, in the April 1897 issue, after he had taken over as the manager at the the magazine, in 1896, when Taxil left that position. (6) Abel Clarin de la Rive, then, changed the name of the magazine’s company to The Antimasonic France. The below is quoted from AC de la Rive, where he recants his part in this hoax, in his April 1897 magazine, just after Taxil confessed before the clergy and the press at his Paris conference. Abel Clarin de la Rive will not give Taxil any advertisement by mentioning him by name, so it is added in brackets.
With frightening cynicism, the miserable person we shall not name here, [Taxil], declared before an assembly, especially convened for him, that for twelve years, he had prepared and carried out to the end, the most extraordinary and most sacrilegious of hoaxes. We have always been careful to publish special articles concerning Palladism and Diana Vaughan. We are now giving, in this issue, a complete list of these articles, which can now be considered as not having existed. [sic]
AC de la Rive’s book, La Femme et L’Enfant dans la Franc-Maconnerie Universelle, (Woman and child in Universal Freemasonry), of 1894, which contained the fake Albert Pike Encyclical.
After this recant, The Antimasonic France took a nosedive for which it never came out of, and completely disappeared after AC de la Rive’s death in 1914. Taxil recalls what he thought of Abel Clarin de la Rive:
Can one believe, for instance, that it was easy to take Mr. 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! (3)
Now, we continue on with more of Taxil’s long-winded confession of 1897, though it is rightly hilarious:
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.
A voice.—That was a successful prank!
Another listener.—These freemasons were your accomplices!
M. LÉO TAXIL —You bet!… May I say again that I had only two auxiliaries who were in the secret of the prank: my doctor friend and Miss Diana Vaughan.
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. [sic]
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.
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!) [sic]
It is indeed hilarious, that those who still parrot this hoax, for all its worth, (whom are the conspiracy theorists or the uneducated and ignorant religious clergy), must be stating that they believe in this hoax, and by that, they are agreeing that they believe in the Taxil tale that states that a devil snake wrote prophecies on Diana Vaughan’s back, with the tip of its tail, and another devil, in order to marry a female Mason, (when there aren’t any women in regular Freemasonry), changed itself into a crocodile and played the piano well, along with Taxil’s yarn of our heroine, Diana Vaughan, traveling about to different planets in 1896. Then, there is the one about the king of the demons, Asmodeus, carrying Miss Diana Vaughan off to the Garden of Eden, and that she was supposed to be wed to this demon, yet, these buffoons must believe every word of it, since they quote the very texts that this is in! You can not pick and choose of what Taxil wrote to believe in. Taxil laughs about this, during his second confession in National Magazine a year before he died, in May 1906. That will be quoted at the end of this article.
Those who parrot Taxil’s slush will never reveal any of this to you, as they are either ignorant of it, or they actually know of it, and are willingly lying about it, in order to sell pamphlets, comics, books, DVDs, and to make money from conspiracy theory lectures. The more modern names of those who have quoted Taxil as fact, are Dr. James L Holly, Eustace Mullins, Bill Schnoebelen, Harmon R. Taylor, Martin Short, Jack Harris, Gary H. Kah, John Ankerberg, Pat Robertson, Larry Kunk et al, David Carrico, Dan Harting, J. Edward Decker, Jr., Cathy Bums, Jack Chick, David Icke, Alex Jones, Texe Marrs, John Todd (and his aliases), Milton William ‘Bill’ Cooper, and Kevin McNeil-Smith of Freemasonrywatch, along with many others that come to mind. Not in the least of whom are those that they copied their fallacies from, such as Edith Starr Miller, (Lady Queenborough), a vocal anti-Semite and bigot, who published portions of AC de la Rives work, swearing it all to be true, when it was all Léo Taxil’s writing. Next, there was the publishing of the fake Three World Wars letter, supposedly penned by Albert Pike to Giuseppe Mazzini, but in reality, it was written by its fraudulent and bigoted inventor, William Guy Carr, another bigoted anti-Semite and anti-Mason. After Carr was caught in the act, by actual scholars, falsifying this document, his publishing career was ended. These last two are both true charlatans, liars, and anti-Semitic bigots of the worst kind. Helena Blavatsky was another who parroted Taxil’s slush as fact. However, what a fool they are to those of us who are wise to them! What a fool they become, when outed like this! Brent Morris, PhD, a well renowned Masonic historian, stated that this hoax, which turned into an urban legend, reminded him of the legend of the “woman who dried her poodle in a microwave oven.” (6) Plus, what is really the kicker, is that many in the prejudiced and bigoted church clergy, will use the writings of an anti-cleric and pornographer, as fact, for their evidence against Freemasonry! [1a] If you think that there aren’t any people in this world whom aren’t gullible enough to fall for this muck, then think again. The problem is that the lying charlatans know it, and they use these poor gullible souls for monetary gain. These charlatans and prejudiced bigots are the ones that I wish to see utterly destroyed, by using their own words and facts against them.
Finally, we follow Taxil to the end of the April 19th, 1897 confession, with the quotes from him below:
Mr. Léo Taxil — 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…
Mr. Oscar Havard. — The bishop of Charleston declared this to be an imposture.
Mr. Léo Taxil — So it is. I was going to say so in a moment. But do not triumph yet. Wait a little!… I said that in the Masonic temple in Charleston one of the rooms, triangular in shape, called the Sanctum Regnum, has as its main ornament a monstrous statue of Baphomet, which the High-Masons worship. That in another room, a statue of Eve comes alive when a Templar Mistress is especially agreeable to Master Satan, and that this statue then turns into the demon Astarte, for a moment alive, and gives a kiss to the preferred Templar Mistress. I published the alleged map of this Masonic building, a plan which I designed myself. Now, Msgr. Northrop, Catholic bishop of Charleston, went to Rome expressly to assure the Sovereign Pontiff of the highest fantasy of these writings. This journey would have remained unknown if Msgr. Northrop, on his way to Rome, had not let himself be interviewed. Which is how what he came to tell 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.
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!)
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.
Before ending, I must pay my respects to an unknown hoaxster, a shrewd American colleague. Among hoaxsters, one understands each other from one end of the world to the other, without needing to exchange letters, without even having to drop a call. Respects, therefore, to the dear citizen of Kentucky, who had the friendly thought of helping us without any prior agreement, who confirmed the revelations of Miss Diana Vaughan to the Louisville Courier-Journal, who certified to whoever wanted to hear, that he had known Miss Diana Vaughan, intimately, for seven or eight years, and that he often met her in the various secret societies of Europe and America… where she never set foot. [2a]
You were told that Palladism would be knocked down today. Better still, it is annihilated, it is no more.
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!) [sic]
The confession was fully transcribed, in its entirety, in the Parisian newspaper Le Frondeur, on April 25, 1897, titled: Twelve Years Under the Banner of the Church, The Prank Of Palladism. Miss Diana Vaughan-The Devil At The Freemasons. A Conference held by M. Léo Taxil, at the Hall of the Geographic Society in Paris. A photo of the front page of this newspaper is below, as some of the anti-Masonic charlatans and liars try to claim that it doesn’t exist. Now, I wonder why? Maybe they’ll just say or write anything to try to discredit the truth; the light? One can find this same newspaper on digital file, at several large libraries, especially in France and the UK. The hoax was also reported with the full or partial transcript, as in Le Frondeur, in many issues of other newspapers and magazines around Europe, in their April and May editions!
Now, to the finale; Taxil’s second confession in the magazine, National Magazine, an Illustrated American Monthly, Volume 24: April – September, 1906, (7) where Taxil states that he actually did it all for the money, by being a Munchausen (liar) of the right kind. Below is directly quoted from the magazine. Léo Taxil died only a year later, in 1907.
Members of the Masonic orders understand the false exposure heaped upon that organization in anti-Mason wars. The Catholic church and many other religious orders have been the victims of these half-written and oftentimes venomous attacks. The confession of Taxil, the French Free-thinker, who first exposed Catholics and then Masons, makes interesting reading bearing on the present situation today. Similar motives actuate some of the “muck rakes” of today, as indicated in the following confession:
“The public made me what I am; the arch-liar of the period,” confessed Taxil, “for when I first commenced to write against the Masons my object was amusement pure and simple. The crimes I laid at their door were so grotesque, so impossible, so widely exaggerated, I thought everybody would see the joke and give me credit for originating a new line of humor. But my readers wouldn’t have it so; they accepted my fables as gospel truth, and the more I lied for the purpose of showing that I lied, the more convinced became they that I was a paragon of veracity.
“Then it dawned upon me that there was lots of money in being a Munchausen [liar] of the right kind, and for twelve years I gave it to them hot and strong, but never too hot. When inditing such slush as the story of the devil snake who wrote prophecies on Diana’s back with the end of his tail, I sometimes said to myself: ‘Hold on, you are going too far,’ but I didn’t. My readers even took kindly to the yarn of the devil who, in order to marry a Mason, transformed himself into a crocodile, and, despite the masquerade, played the piano wonderfully well.
“One day when lecturing at Lille, I told my audience that I had just had an apparition of Nautilus, the most daring affront on human credulity I had so far risked. But my hearers never turned a hair. ‘Hear ye, the doctor has seen Nautulius,’ they said with admiring glances. Of course no one had a clear idea of who Nautilus was, I didn’t myself, but they assumed that he was a devil.
“Ah, the jolly evenings I spent with my fellow authors hatching out new plots, new, unheard of perversions of truth and logic, each trying to outdo the other in organized mystification. I thought I would kill myself laughing at some of the things proposed, but everything went; there is no limit to human stupidity”. [sic]
National Magazine’s 1906 article of Taxil’s second confession. (Page 270 in the compiled article pdf version).
Last, a translation of another French article by Edmond Frank in l’Illustration, May 1. 1897- No. 2827: Paris, France, titled “A Hoax”.
Last April 19th, before numerous people in the amphitheatre of the Geographic Society, Mr. Gabriel Jogand-Pagès, also known as Léo Taxil, solemnly denounced the Catholicism to which he had converted, no less solemnly, twelve years ago. In itself, this single manifestation was not an important event: at most it might give substance to a “diverse subject” or an “echo” article in a newspaper. Why then has the press deigned to accord it historical and newsworthy status? And why do we resign ourselves here to allot it the full honours of noteworthiness? The personality of Mr. Léo Taxil, the particular character of his conversion in the past and his renounciation yesterday would suffice to motivate this publicity; it finds its justification in the general ideas that are put into play and the reflections suggested by an adventure where the burlesque mixed with the serious.
When, in 1889, Mr. Léo Taxil effected his first great coup, he was already enjoying a certain notoriety because of the publication of an entire special library dedicated to anti-clerical propaganda. It was not only the sin of non-belief that was weighing on his conscience; it was a heavy pile of volumes and of brochures; stories to keep you awake at night; grotesque pamphlets, read garbage; by which he pretended, by ridiculing and soiling the Catholic religion, it’s ministers and adepts; to educate the popular masses and to win them over to the cult of pure reason and Free Thinking. Furthermore, to promote his campaign–mostly a library campaign–he had used such unscrupulous means that, among the Freemasons of which he claimed to be, more than one had come to disavow a too compromising zealot.
Suddenly, after fifteen years of rude work spent paddling in the mire of a swampy but lucrative literature, the impious pamphleteer, soaked to the waist, finds a new calling. He renounces Satan and his base works: once so proud, he burns all that he has adored and adores all that he once burned: in short, he makes honorable public amends, confesses, attends mass, takes communion, and throws himself at the feet of the Sovereign Pontiff. “My son,” the Pope asks him, “what do you want?” – “Holy Father, to die at your feet, there, at this moment… It would be my greatest joy!” responds the prostate penitent. “Not to die,” answers Léon XIII with a benevolent smile, “your life is still very useful for the struggles of faith.”
This alleged conversion of Mr. Léo Taxil’s, which justly touched the Catholic world and the Free Thinking world, was but the prologue of a comedy, of an enormous farce in many acts, conceived and constructed by a hoaxer more inventive than concerned about his own dignity. Here is the scenario very briefly outlined:
Act One: Simulations of repentance and of penitence, pious practices proper to edifying the clergy and to capture it’s full confidence. Diffusion of small books directed against FreeMasonry.
Act Two: Invention of Palladism or High Luciferian Masonry, divulging of secret rites of lodges and back-lodges of the entire world, vowed to the cult of Lucifer.
Act Three: Entrance of Miss. Diana Vaughan, so called ex-luciferian of high mark, converted to Catholicism, who reveals in her “Memoires” the diablic mysteries of this damned sect, receives pontifical benediction and maintains a continuous correspondence with the most eminent members of the clergy.
Act Four and final scene: Evening of April 19th 1897, organized in Paris in the room of the Geographic Society, and announced with great fanfare. The announced programme includes:
1st: The raffle of a writing machine offered by Miss. Diana Vaughan;
2nd: A lecture entitled “Twelve years under the banner of the Church” by Mr. Léo Taxil.
3rd: Palladism exposed, a conference accompanied by light show projections by Miss. Diana Vaughan.
The writing machine is raffled and is won by a young journalist. The evening begins… but, to the great disappointment of the public, wisely composed of a mix of priests, avowed catholics and free thinkers (the organizer later admitted to having selected the audience), the most impatiently awaited person, the mysterious, the extraordinary heroine whose problematic existence would dispel much speculation, and whom some sceptics had dared to treat as a myth, having stayed until then in the corridors-Miss Diana Vaughan does not appear. Mr. Léo Taxil, in correct evening dress, occupies the stage, alone. With serene impudence, in even tones, he denounces his own imposture, completely empties his bag of malice, explains complacantly how, for twelve years, he has betrayed and duped the clergy and has made fun of everyone. “Ladies and Gentlemen,” he cried out in a peremptory manner, “I am admitting my crime. I commited infanticide: Palladism, now, is dead, very dead. Its father has just killed it.”
And he leaves the audience, first dumbfounded, more sickened than indignant by this sadly grotesque spectacle. Here now is the second great coup of the terrible “backslider” from religion.
As for Miss. Diana Vaughan, the pseudo-convert, he only half assasinated her; if she died with Palladism, of which she was the incarnation, she subsists and is doing wonderfully in the form of a young “typist”, meaning virtuoso of the writing machine, secretary and accomplice of Mr. Léo Taxil, at the modest monthly appointment of 150 francs. During the anti-masonic convention of Thirty, her patron had brought to Paris, as authentic document, a portrait representing the invisible American woman in her official dress of “grand mistress general inspector of the luciferian triangles”. It was “on sale”, according to commercial terms: it was paid for handsomely by a local photographer, whom we needed only to ask for the copy reproduced here.
“The most colossal hoax of modern times”, this is how Mr. Léo Taxil himself termed his enterprise, and, in his modest success, he does not hesitate to give himself the title of king of modern pranksters. He flatters himself in having used his natural talents, perfected with a gradual training, for the good of society, infected with the virus of superstition. Since the odiousness of his parodies and contradictory mummeries seem to evade Mr. Taxil, let us not pause to scold him on this point; let us stick to considering him the joyous and gigantic prankster that he claims to be.
Well! He singularly exaggerates the professional merits and importance of his role. Compared to the exaggeration of the Midi, the effect of the provincial sun, so prettily explained by Alphonse Daudet; our Marseillian bears, even under other skies; the hyperbolic mirage that makes a turnip into a jewelled carbuncle; the emulation of the illustrious Gaudissart and close cousin of the Tartarin, Taxil’s charades, as all the rest, assume magified proportions in his own eyes. Voluntarily, he measures his dimensions with the efforts and fabrication of his imagination. When all is said and done, he must reduce some of it. Coiffed with a fez reminiscent of the famous chechia feminine of legendary Tarasconnais; armed, not like her by an arsenal of guns, pistols and daggers, but with a writing desk and a box of traps, he too wanted, to hunt the big game, force to it’s repair the clerical Hydra. What has he gained? His dignity.
The unique concession that we might make to his vanity is to note that he is one of the first to have erected a social career, an industrial profession, on the art of fraud, nevertheless still classifying it among the flimsy fantasies. Mr. Léo Taxil, it is true, protests highly his complete disinterest. He affirms that he only worked for a greater glory. So, he must find himself well paid for his troubles, if in his eyes, glory consists in being doubly denounced, discredited, burned in all camps, in hearing himself referred to as “coquin, canaille, gredin, fripouille, crapule”, an unworldly crook, all epithets borrowed textually from the official report of the evening of April 19th. All published by the organizer himself that is! Each understands glory in his own fashion; and it is in this way that this grinning, chattering greybeard expresses his profound satisfaction.
But at least, may he no more abuse us with his superiority as a prankster. There is little to envy in seeing another, alone in amusing himself with his own self-importance; it is ungraceful to dress oneself up with human credulity when one is such a superb example of credulity in sincerely believing oneself the greatest hoaxer of the century. (12) [sic]
I imagine that some may hate me right now, (the charlatans and liars), but I do not care one whit about this type of person, since I would never associate myself with the likes of them to begin with. I am far above giving their type the time of day. What I do care about, though, is seeking more light and seeking the factual truth, as you the reader, or anyone else should too.
So Mote It Be
- Léo Taxil at Encyclopedia.com
- Rene Guenon and the Future of the West, Published, 1987, p.32-36, by Robin Waterfield.
- Taxil’s complete confession from the newspaper, Le Frondeur, April 25th, 1897. Translated from French to English by Alain Bernheim, A. William Samii, and Eric Serejski, “The Confession of Léo Taxil,” Heredom, Transactions of the Scottish Research Society, vol. 5, pp. 137-68. © 1997
- Humanum genus at Wikipedia
- Comments on the Humanum Genus
- The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Freemasonry, Second Edition, By S. Brent Morris, PhD
- National Magazine’s article on Taxil’s second confession. The National Magazine, an Illustrated American Monthly, Volume 24: April – September, 1906
- Tropmann and Dumolard were two French serial killers of the time.
- Pranksters: Making Mischief in the Modern World, New York University Press, 2014, by Kembrew McLeod.
- See my article: The psychology of conspiracy believers and theorists.
- US News and World Report, Devil in a Red Fez, The lie about the Freemasons lives on. Article by Dan Gilgoff, Aug. 18, 2002, read the article here.
- Reprinted from an article by Edmond Frank in l’Illustration, May 1. 1897- No. 2827: Paris, France. A Hoax. http://freemasonry.bcy.ca/texts/taxil_confession.html
[1a] The churches that are mentioned, will deny that Taxil is the source that they cite, by citing books from either conspiracy theorists, especially the older books by Edith Starr Miller and William Guy Carr, those written by people such as Taxil’s henchmen, or books by other clergy, such as Cardinal Rodriguez of Santiago, Chile, which are parroting Taxil’s words and the hoax. They have gone as far to make claims that Freemasonry is lying about Taxil’s two confessions, which are, in fact, both in print, and the proof is above.
[2a] Taxil is quoted as saying:
“Respects therefore to the dear citizen of Kentucky who had the friendly thought of helping us without any prior agreement, who confirmed the revelations of Miss Diana Vaughan to the Louisville Courier-Journal, who certified to whoever wanted to hear that he had known Miss Diana Vaughan intimately for seven or eight years and that he often met her in the various secret societies of Europe and America… where she never set foot”.
That newspaper was owned by some of my distant relation, the Bingham family of the US, Britain, and Ireland. I have two feelings about this. One, I wish the paper and my family had not helped to affect Freemasonry so, by lending Taxil any credence. Two, I am glad that the hoax exploded in Pope Leo XIII’s face, as it did, because he was a self-righteous, meddling, controlling, untruthful, and bigoted Pope, who was once cartooned in the US, as a skinny, large-nosed fox, that couldn’t reach the grapes overhead. The grapes were a metaphor for the US secular school system. One can see a US schoolhouse in the background of the sketch. The cartoon was titled “sour grapes”, and was in several publications of the time.
To put the Pope into more perspective, during this same time frame, he brought about the separation of church and state, by his own actions, in Chile, because of his pontifical benediction being extended over Chilean troops on the eve of the Battle of Chorrillos, during the War of the Pacific, in January 1881, where they looted the cities of Chorrillos and Barranco, including the churches, and their Chaplains headed the robbery at the Biblioteca Nacional del Perú, where the soldiers ransacked various items along with much capital, because Chilean Priests coveted rare and ancient editions of the Bible that were stored there. Paintings, wealth, gold, and rare copies of the bible were the Pope’s plunder. Later, a law on the separation of church and state followed. Maybe, Pope Leo XIII’s actions was where the Italian mafioso learned it all?
Last, during this same time, Pope Leo XIII did something that I would consider being of “idiotic significance,” where his words was against those in the English speaking world. Leo wrote the encyclical: Apostolicae Curae, which was about him proclaiming the invalidity of the Anglican churches orders published in 1896. It declared all Anglican ordinations to be “absolutely null and utterly void”. He seemed to think that he could override the Anglican Protestant church in its own country, that of Britain. Well, he did have it in his mind that he was infallible after all. Nuff Said.
Copyright CRIA Images.
There is no control of the public schools for you, in the US, Pope Leo XIII, so have a sour grape.