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For whatever reason, be it paranoia or in an attempt to besmirch the Fraternity, there are sometimes 'devils and demons' (or perhaps even those with whom the accuser does not agree) to whom Masonic membership is attributed - WRONGLY!

On this page, we'll debunk some of the myths.

Aleister Crowley - "The Great Beast" - Masonry's detractors make much of the supposed Masonic membership of this individual whose claims to immoral behavior are the antithesis of all that Freemasonry holds dear. Their charges are buttressed by a popular photograph of Crowley in regalia purporting to be a 33rd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. What's the truth?

In these days of increasingly strict copyright protection where, in the US at least, companies can claim the right to common phrases even, it's awfully hard to appreciate that how multiple and disparate organizations could/can all use a virtually identical name. Such, however, is the history surrounding Freemasonry. Other organizations and individuals took took the name but, most often, bastardized the concepts. Sometimes, regrettably, this occurred when someone who had previously been regularly made a Mason would decide - for whatever reason - that they could improve on things. 

Crowley joined a French Grand Lodge which was unrecognized by 'mainstream' Freemasonry. In fact, one of Crowley's well-known writings expresses his great disgust when he wasn't acknowledged as a Mason by those in London, his home at the time. Typical of his ego-centric behavior, he writes that he was far superior to those Masons anyway! Subsequently, he was ostensibly 'given' a 33rd Scottish Rite degree while traveling in Mexico. Once again, however, the organization that 'gave him' the degree was a spurious one, totally unrecognized by other Scottish Rite Bodies throughout the world.

In fact, it is an interesting side note to history that Crowley's ostensible 33rd Degree recognition had come from the same expelled Mason who had begun a thriving industry of duping people through the purchase of degrees by mail and which ultimately resulted in the successful  prosecution of the very first legal action for mail fraud in the United States. A further side note is that Crowley's organization - the OTO - was founded by a person who had joined Freemasonry but was a member for less than a couple of years before being dropped from the rolls. You can read a more complete history of the OTO and its pretended connections with Freemasonry here.

We should add parenthetically that because of the confusion which always surrounds discussions of 'regularity' and French Freemasonry, Crowley's Grand Lodge may have had some type of recognition with some US Grand Lodges as a result of the political situation in France during World War I. At that time, attempts to find Masonic 'homes' for US servicemen caused recognition (sometimes for purposes of visitation only) without proper investigation. Once acknowledged (or recognized), such relationships continued seemingly through inertia until a more formal body on grand lodge inter-relationships became more prominent. Arising from this confusion, one Mason posting on an internet newsgroup has asserted that Crowley should be recognized in his jurisdiction of Oregon as being legitimately a Mason. We asked that he obtain an official statement from his Grand Lodge to that effect but needless to say, it has not been forthcoming. Like much of Crowley's life, claims of lodge attendance etc. are murky and unverified. They are no less complex than the convoluted and often contradictory assumptions and claims surrounding Masonic recognition, de-recognition, and French Freemasonry.

Thomas Hamilton, the murderer of 16 children and their teacher in 1996 in Dunblane, Scotland. - Incomplete information at the time of this tragedy incorrectly attributed Masonic membership to Hamilton, perhaps because his grandfather who raised him after his natural parents had separated had been a Mason for some 40 years or perhaps because there were many other Thomas Hamiltons in the immediate area, two of whom were Masons (but both of whom were alive and well, one over 90 years of age). The Grand Master Mason of Scotland confirmed to British Parliament that neither Hamilton nor DCC McMurdo (the police official often blamed for Hamilton's continued possession of a gun permit) were ever Masons.

Of course, denials are useless when anti-Masons are intent on pushing their hatred. Their answer to the above: "Prove that he isn't a Mason!"

Our answer is, of course, that we can't prove a negative so if you assert that he's a Mason, show US the proof - and not just a bunch of hot air or cries that we're covering things up.

On January 28, 2009, Ervin Lupoe of Wilmington, California (a suburb of Los Angeles) killed his wife and his five children. He then committed suicide. He was distraught after both he and his wife had lost their jobs. This horrific event took on a Masonic twist when the police revealed that Mr. Lupoe had faxed a letter to a local television station just minutes before the horrific event occurred. At the bottom of the typed letter was a hand-written addition as shown on the right. Those who have been connected to the Masonic fraternity or who searched the web for just a few seconds would immediately recognize this as being a phrase which has been used by Masons in their rituals. One Masonic blogger made a post about the senselessness of it all and shortly thereafter, another Masonic blogger posted a much more sensationalized commentary broadly suggesting that the individual was a Mason. A third, perhaps recognizing that the facts did not support the claim of ostensible Masonic membership, used it as a convenient hook to re-energize his flagging and recently orphaned blog site. You can read the story here, a more detailed version here and see the full note here.

These bloggers' assumptions were made without any knowledge whatsoever of the facts and, like the passing along of the tale that President Obama is a Mason (he's NOT), simply makes the fraternity look foolish at best and completely uncaring at worst. How could a Mason let a Brother fall into such a horrid pit? Some bloggers, though, in an effort to spur 'referral revenue' have - in our opinion - simply put their fingers in gear before engaging their brain. It doesn't matter what the facts are, as long as the sensationalism will draw 'hits' it seems.

The simple fact is that Mr. Lupoe has not been shown to be a member of any regular/recognized Masonic body. The Grand Lodge of California has categorically stated that he is not a member there and as this page is written, we await citable confirmation of the same from the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California.

So why would such a phrase be added to a suicide note? We believe that when the facts come out there won't be a definite answer. Perhaps - like others - Mr. Lupoe saw the phrase on the internet. Who knows? Was he haunted by demons of 'new world order' domination? Did he think everyone who was 'out to get him' was a Mason? We may never know the answers to these questions.

What can be said is that this tragic and senseless incident leaves one numb. We've placed the story here, not so much because Mr. Lupoe is 'infamous' - though killing six people would easily qualify for that moniker - but because, like many other assumptions made about Masonic membership, it's totally unprovable. Those who lost their lives, particularly the innocent children, are mourned.

Timothy McVeigh was convicted of the worst act of domestic terrorism ever in the United States. He has been sporadically mentioned in various anti-Masonic venues as having been a Mason. In fact, a college student who was preparing a website for a Masonic lodge as part of their coursework suggested that we might want to add McVeigh as one of our 'black sheep'. He actually believed this totally ludicrous claim.

Again we remind readers: it's essentially impossible to prove a negative. However, let's look at the facts:

* No one has ever cited a lodge to which McVeigh supposedly belonged;

* McVeigh has been described in the press as (alternatively) an {extremist} "Christian Fundamentalist" and an atheist. Using either definition, he'd either self-disqualify or be ineligible for membership.

* He reportedly was a fan of and regular listener to the William Cooper radio program. Cooper was an avid anti-Mason.

* He reportedly slept with a copy of the 'Turner Diaries' under his pillow. This work contains a reference to Masonry in a very unfavorable light.

So where did the claim of Masonic membership arise? We'll bet we know!

It was first mentioned on the alt.freemasonry newsgroup on August 25, 1998 when a pseudonym who posted simultaneously under the name of "Raybert" and "TrueGspl" was angered by the a list of famous Freemasons and attempted to counter by listing a cacophony of world dictators, killers, etc. He referred to a "Timothy Levy". The reply from Mason Floyd Dennis asked if the poster meant McVeigh. You can read that message here. Kansan1225 also had made references to McVeigh as a CLuM - some sort of group who... well, check this page if you really want to.

The first time that there was an actual claim to Masonic membership rather than simple trolling was, we believe, also on the alt.freemasonry newsgroup within a few minutes of McVeigh's execution. A message posted there from a troll using the title of "Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons of North America" made the claim. Immediate challenge occurred and the poster's online history was only two days long! However, that's the way USENET works. It was a lie, plainly and simply - and even the most anti-Masonic person would have to admit how very unlikely it would have been for a young man such as McVeigh to have aligned himself with a bunch of people who didn't share either his youth or his anti-governmental ideas. Taking an oath to support the laws of his country and to try to be better each day is SO foreign to someone with the types of ideas that McVeigh espoused just 'doesn't wash'.

Santa Anna - Mexican general, president and politician, known as the Napoleon of the West, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, he has been described using many words, most of which are quite unflattering. He commanded the army which slaughtered the defenders of the Alamo. Joseph E. Bennett in his excellent work "Masons Along the Rio Bravo" wrote this about Santa Anna: "During this tour of duty in Texas, <at San Antonio de Bexar as a young military officer of 21 to battle troublesome rebels for the next seven years> Santa Anna is thought to have become a Scottish Rite (Escoceses) Mason. His Masonic affiliations were tenuous to say the least. No Body or Lodge has ever acknowledged Santa Anna as a member.  His claim to membership actually depends on the apron he claimed his own, plus the incidents in which he identified himself by the signs of recognition in use at that time.  If indeed Santa Anna was a Freemason, he was the most reprehensible example of what one should be." (Brother Bennett's excellent book is certainly worth reading for the story of the Alamo defenders, Texas Rangers, and so much more. It was published by the Grand Lodge of Texas and may be available from them.) 

Malachi / Dwight / Michael Z. York - You'll find more about him and his 'Fake Masonry' here

Anyone else you can think of? Let us know....

 

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