Freemasons For Dummies
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Over the last three centuries, Freemasonry has been accused of everything from Satan worship and blood sacrifice to political assassination and world domination. Each of these Freemason myths has been reported throughout the world with breathless excitement.

The Illuminati

The conspiracy version of the butler in mystery novels is the Illuminati. If something goes too wrong or too right in the world, the conspiracy theorists will notoriously begin shouting “The Illuminati did it!” Over the years, the Illuminati became the general, all-purpose conspiracy theory boogeyman.

Adam Weishaupt conceived the Illuminati in Bavaria in the 1770s. Originally, the little group was based on ideals of the Enlightenment, and they questioned church teachings and the divine right of kings to keep their jobs. The Illuminati died out by about 1785. Somehow, conspiracy theorists began to equate the Illuminati and the Freemasons (perhaps because of their similar ideals, such as equality).

The secret Masonic 33rd degree

The 33rd degree is an honor bestowed on Scottish Rite Masons who have served the Scottish Rite or the community in extraordinary ways. It's an award of merit or service. It's not secretly conferred. In fact, the recipients of the 33rd degree are regularly listed with their photographs in Masonic magazines.

Jack the Ripper: A Freemason?!

In 1976, Stephen Knight published Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, in which he theorized that the Whitechapel killer of 1888 was, in fact, Dr. William Gull, private physician to Victoria, Queen of England. Knight alleged that Gull was a Freemason and had been ordered by the queen (or the prime minister) to kill five London prostitutes because they knew of a secret marriage between Vicky’s grandson, Prince Albert Edward, and a prostitute named Annie Crook.

This theory would have died out if it hadn’t been for a graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell called From Hell. In 2001, it was made into a film of the same name starring Johnny Depp.

No serious researcher believes the William Gull/Freemason theory. Sir William Gull was 72 years old with a heart condition and had recently suffered a stroke — hardly a likely man to run down dark alleys after young girls, much less engage in the grueling act of carving them up while they struggled. And the English public would hardly have needed to be protected from the scandals of philandering princes, as they were as common as ragweed.

Washington, D.C., is Satan’s road map!

Take a look at a map of Washington, D.C., and look just north and east of the White House. There it is! The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Rhode Island Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, Vermont Avenue and K Street NW does, indeed, form a five-pointed pentagram! It’s occult! It’s evil! It’s Satanic! And the Masons put it there!

Here’s the boring truth: George Washington hired Pierre Charles L’Enfant to create the design of the new federal city, but it was Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who made the initial recommendations of building and street placement, based on the topography of the land and his own ideas. Andrew Ellicott and Benjamin Bannecker were hired to survey and execute the designs. Of all those men, only Washington was a Freemason, and apart from choosing the site, he had little to do with the design.

Freemasons founded the Nazis

Not even close. In 1912, a group of German believers in the occult formed a fraternity called the Germanenorden. Germanenorden quickly suffered from internal struggles and split off another group called the German Order Walvater of the Holy Grail, founded by Hermann Pohl.

In 1918, Pohl started yet another occult group called Thule Gesellschaft. A year later, Thule merged with the Committee of Independent Workers, and renamed itself the German Workers’ Party. Adolf Hitler found a home in this hapless haven of political hobos and became Member #7 in the ragtag group.

Hitler quickly took over and chose the swastika as the group’s symbol. The next year, he changed its name yet again, this time to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party — or the Nazi Party, for short.

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