by Anthony Forwood
There are certain secrets that the powers-that-be do not want the rest of mankind to know about. When they see that one of these secrets is becoming too perceptible to the public, they take measures to suppress or discredit it. The following is not only a historical review of how one of these secrets was discovered and then publicly suppressed and discredited, it is also an attempt to show what this phenomenal secret is and how, once it was discovered, was immediately put to use in a most deceptive way to capture and control the minds of an ever-growing segment of the population, from the top down.
There is a great deal of historical evidence to show that this secret had first been discovered long ago, carefully guarded within the ancient occult schools of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India, and has since found its way into the possession of certain secret societies that evolved out of those schools and have since become very powerful worldwide. These secret societies still exist today and include among their highest ranks the richest and most powerful people in the world. Although I don’t intend to cover the full historical background of this here, I’ll begin at the point where this secret appears to have first come into the hands of these secret societies, drawing on key pieces of evidence from the historical record.
Opening Pandora’s Box
In the mid-1700s, around the same time that Adam Weishaupt was busy forming the Order of the Illuminati on the instructions of Amschel Mayer Rothschild, a young French medical doctor named Franz Anton Mesmer was just beginning to discover a strange phenomenon that he called ‘animal magnetism’, which he thought was a magnetic fluidic force that circulated through the human body and could be manipulated with iron magnets. He viewed the human organism as a self-healing entity that required the proper balance of this universal magnetic fluid to affect the ebb and flow of the life force, and the techniques that he devised to manipulate what he perceived as this magnetic fluid were geared to restoring that balance in people suffering from illness. Through his experiments, first with the use of magnets but eventually with nothing more than the sweeping passes of his hands, he was able to affect cures for many ailments. At one point, up to two hundred patients a day were coming to him in search of his skills. This quickly caught the attention of many other doctors and physicians who began to investigate this phenomenon as well.Mesmer set up schools to teach his methods, charging a considerable fee for his instruction and having his students sign confidentiality agreements. This had the effect of assuring that his methods were valued enough among his students that the finer details of his art would remain secret, not being shared among the general public. Although this might have been a wise move from a financial standpoint and was only intended to safeguard his professional career, the secrecy surrounding the more controversial aspects of his discovery would continue right up to the present day, leaving the rest of the world with a far more limited understanding about hypnosis. His schools, by the way, also functioned as Masonic lodges, indicating that Mesmer was himself a Mason, and one of high standing, to have been allowed to open his own lodges.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here, since I still haven’t explained what these controversial aspects are…
A student of Mesmer’s, the Marques de Puységur, discovered some of the more interesting effects of this ‘magnetizing fluidic force’. He discovered that some individuals would fall into a trance state when animal magnetism was applied to them. Although they appeared to be asleep, they were still conscious and could reply to questions and convey information. In this trance state, the patient was also very suggestible, believing any idea or proposition that Puységur might offer as fact. Upon awakening from this trance state, the patient would remember nothing that had taken place while asleep. Puységur discovered that many people in this state could apparently diagnose their own illnesses and those of others, and even prescribe effective remedies for the conditions they perceived. For example, in 1784 Puységur reported that he could cause a sick young man named Victor to fall into a trance, during which he could communicate with the man as though he were awake. Victor proved to be extremely suggestible while in this state and showed a dramatic change in personality as well. He could suddenly speak very articulately, diagnose his own sickness, and even read the thoughts of Puységur. When Victor was awakened, he would have no memory of what had taken place. Through continuing investigation, Puységur also noticed that although magnetized subjects had no memory in the waking state of what took place in the state of magnetic sleep, they did retain a continuous memory from sleep state to sleep state.
These were very significant discoveries, because they revealed a number of remarkable aspects of the human mind that could be unleashed in this induced trance state:
- that a person in this trance state was extremely suggestible and would perceive things exactly as the ‘magnetizer’ described them;
- that spontaneously induced multiple personalities could arise during a hypnotic trance;
- that a person’s memory while in this trance state was continuous between these states while remaining separate from their waking memory;
- that telepathic communication between the ‘magnetizer’ and his subject arose spontaneously during a hypnotic trance.
On top of this, Puységur recognized that the cultivation of a special bond between the magnetizer and his subject was the key, rather than a magnetic fluid. He also recognized that the role of human will was important, and the need for the magnetizer and patient to both exercise ‘good will’, as well as to hold a firm belief and confidence in the power of animal magnetism, in order for the results to be effective.
From this time on, many other ‘magnetizers’ of that period began to report these same strange phenomena arising in their subjects again and again, and these would become some of the most controversial aspects reported in the literature on animal magnetism for many years.
But already, in the same year that Puységur made these findings, the powers-that-be were at work to stop the line of research that Mesmer had started and others were taking up as well. In 1784, the same year that Puységur reported his findings, the French government ordered two separate commissions to investigate Mesmer's claims. They were rigged investigations and only intended to discredit Mesmer and his work. Both commissions gave negative conclusions, dismissing the idea that a magnetic fluid was involved and alleging that the effects of animal magnetism were merely the products of the imagination.
In spite of this, many physicians who had been having positive results with Mesmer’s methods voiced their criticisms of the commissions, and mesmerism (as it was now being called) soon became very popular among the highest levels of society throughout the world.
By 1825, another French commission was convened, again investigating the subject of animal magnetism. When they gave their report in 1831, the conclusions were surprisingly different than those of the previous commissions. Amongst other things, they announced that they had been able to demonstrate the fact that some mesmeric subjects possessed clairvoyant power, that such subjects could, with their eyes closed, distinguish objects, tell the color and number of cards, and read lines of a book opened at a chance page. They also demonstrated that a person could be telepathically put into the trance state from a distance.
In 1829, during the time that this latter commission was still conducting its investigations, a physician and poet named Justinus Kerner published a book called Seeress of Prevorst, in which he described his treatment of a woman using animal magnetism. The woman proved to be a good subject and easily fell into trance. In this state, she had visions, premonitions, and clairvoyant experiences. Identical phenomena were occurring with many other experimenters as well, showing that there was certainly something remarkable going on when people were put in this trance state, even if Mesmer’s initial theories about a magnetic fluid being the cause were proving to be in error.
Apparently, with the many in the medical profession all discovering these amazing phenomena surrounding mesmerism, it would have been difficult for this commission to deny that there was something to it. But nonetheless, the commission’s conclusions caused a great deal of controversy in the scientific community.
The powers-that-be would have to come up with a different tactic to denounce these latest findings and safeguard their secret. It appeared that one such method had already been found when, soon after, a large sum of money was put up for offer to anyone who could demonstrate the reality of clairvoyant power to a committee appointed for the purpose. Many attempts were made, but all of them ended in dismal failure. I will explain in due course why this was, but for the time being, readers shouldn’t assume that it disproved their abilities in any way.
When mesmerism eventually reached America around 1835, it quickly became popular among the middleclass, mostly within developing spiritualist circles or as a form of stage or parlor-room entertainment. Lectures given by a man named Charles Poyen St. Sauveur on animal magnetism excited the imagination of the country and led to the emergence of magnetic practitioners of a peculiarly American type. Mesmerists began wandering the countryside with professional somnambulists (easily hypnotizable subjects) at their sides, stopping in each town along the way and giving medical clairvoyant readings. This all had a huge effect on the spiritualist movement by the turn of the twentieth century, and although it may have all been a natural development, it may have just as likely been by purposeful design. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…
By 1841, after witnessing several public experiments in mesmerism, Dr. James Braid came to the realization that mesmerism wasn’t caused by any magnetic fluid or the direct actions of the mesmerist on the subject, as Mesmer had believed, since Braid had discovered that a trance state could be induced in a person by merely having them stare at an object. In fact, a person could self-induce a trance state this way. After experimenting further, Braid concluded that the effects of mesmerism were due to a physiological condition of the nerves. He coined the term ‘hypnotism’ to replace ‘animal magnetism’ and ‘mesmerism’, doing away with many of the older ideas and the methods that they were applied. Braid also emphasized the role of suggestion both in producing the hypnotic state and in bringing about the effects associated with it. He recognized the post-hypnotic responses to these suggestions as well. Eventually Braid’s view became the dominant one and his terminology became the accepted nomenclature. Hypnotism began to be widely accepted among the medical community in France and Germany, and was more slowly taken up in England.
Other experimenters were discovering other remarkable aspects of this induced trance state at this time as well. It was in the 1840s that the first successful amputation was conducted using hypnosis as an anesthetic to block the pain. However, this quickly fell out of vogue in 1847 when ether began to be used instead. Nonetheless, another amazing aspect of this strange phenomenon had been revealed.
The secret was slowly becoming recognized…
The Dawn of the Dead?
In 1848, the earliest recorded case of modern spiritism in the USA occurred at the home of the Fox family in Hydesville, NY, and centered around the two Fox sisters, Margaret and Kate. Strange phenomena in the form of noises and moved objects first began to occur in the home early in the year, and increased in intensity over the next several months until the family was no longer able to sleep at night because of it. But even after moving out of the house, they soon discovered that the strange noises followed them. It was nine-year-old Kate who first noticed that the noises would respond to her own noises and gestures. Further exploration by the family revealed that the noises seemed to have intelligence behind them, since they would respond accurately to questions posed to them. News of this story traveled rapidly throughout the country and across the ocean to circulate among spiritualist circles in Europe.
Thus began a period of psychic exploration among a growing number of mostly amateur experimenters who would hold séances that focused mainly on producing table-rappings, table-tippings, disembodied voices, automatic writing, floating objects, apparitions, materializations, etc. The theories of the day were based on a very limited understanding of the phenomena that were being witnessed, and the idea that they were caused by disembodied spirits – and were therefore evidence of an afterlife – was only natural to assume. In fact, as time progressed and these phenomena were investigated more and more with that idea in mind, this assumption appeared to be true when these ‘spirits’, talking through an entranced medium, began to give details that would appear to be coming from a recently deceased friend or relative of someone who was present at the séance.
The hypnotic trance state, by the way, has always been an important factor in these channeled communications, and it was often the case that such a state would arise spontaneously in someone sitting in on a séance, and although the communications would often be very tentative at first, with each successive sitting they tended to come through more and more easily for that person. These people would become the ‘medium’ through which the spirits communicated, and they very often took on a markedly different voice, different manner of speaking, and different personality than when in a normal waking state. When it was the spirit of some deceased person who was being called up, the medium would often speak in a similar manner to how that person was known to, even if the medium had no idea what that person was like or how they had spoken when alive. This tended to convince many séance attendees that there was indeed an afterlife and that they were communicating with real spirits.
And so it quickly came to be believed that mediums could communicate with the dead, and this raised the hopes and interests of many people, particularly those who had lost loved ones and wished to make contact with them again, which in turn encouraged many charlatans to take advantage of the situation, devising schemes to find out some relevant background information on their prospective target and then appeasing that person’s wishful thinking by feeding this information back to them as ‘spirit communications’.
Not every medium was a charlatan, however, and very often these channeled communications proved remarkable without any cheating. But this isn’t to say that these were necessarily spirits communicating from the other side. As in the case of the young man named Victor who Puységur had reported on in 1784, and in many other cases like it that have been documented since, a person in a hypnotic trance state often appeared to be instilled with a personality and abilities that they didn’t possess in the normal waking state.
Besides channeling spirits, these mediums very often produced other remarkable phenomena as well. Aside from the already familiar table-rappings, automatic writing, levitation of objects, materializations, etc., they also revealed an ability to read minds and see what was going on in distant places (clairvoyance). Some even appeared to be able to predict future events, although there is little to no certainty that this was really ever the case, as I’ll try to explain later.
By about 1853 or so, spiritualism (as it came to be called) spread to England and Europe. Spiritualist churches were established, spiritualist alliances were formed, and spiritualist books and newspapers came into print. A proliferation of apparently paranormal spiritualistic phenomena began to take place like never before.
For the next half-century, hypnosis and psychic phenomena would remain intricately associated with each other, but somewhere along the way this would change, at least as far as anyone who wasn’t a skilled hypnotist understood it. For natural psychics, the hypnotic trance state wasn’t always necessary, or it would be assumed to just be a natural mental state for them when they were engaging their psychic abilities.
Enter the Masters of Deception
Within five years, one of the people who would play a very significant role in creating the modern-day New Age movement – Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who would eventually found the Theosophical Society – was just beginning to make a name for herself in Russia as a spiritualist. She started out as a parlor magician, and although she often used sleight-of-hand tricks and hidden props to fool her patrons, paranormal phenomena were known to spontaneously occur in her presence as well. In 1856, she was initiated into a form of Freemasonry called Carbonarism, and over the following years extended her membership to a number of other secret societies, reaching the highest degrees in some. These are probably where she gained much of her knowledge and later influence. By 1873, she arrived in America and quickly became a prominent figure in spiritualist circles there, gravitating towards the wealthier social circles.
Blavatsky was known to go into a self-induced trance state and then begin channeling spirits. These spirits weren’t of the usual type, however, and identified themselves as ‘Ascended Masters’ – advanced beings who claimed that they had evolved beyond the ordinary physical state and were now intent on seeking out those few candidates within the human species who were ready to advance to their level. Blavatsky’s channeled communications were heavily steeped in metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, much of it barely comprehensible to the average reader, but nonetheless amazing for its sheer volume and complexity. It was a mix of various different philosophies and occult teachings that Blavatsky had picked up throughout her travels, presented in the form of a cosmology that rewrote the entire history and evolution of the universe and mankind’s place in it.
I want to interject here and explain how I believe Blavatsky (and many other channelers) was able to produce such fantastically complex material that incorporated so many ideas from such diverse sources without making any apparent errors of memory or comprehension. The following comes from The Law of Psychic Phenomena, by Thompson Jay Hudson, published in 1899, and it provides an anecdotal example of the power of hypnosis to generate such material from the memory, the imagination, or perhaps even telepathically from the minds of others:
Place a man of intelligence and cultivation in the hypnotic state, and give him a premise, say in the form of a statement of a general principle of philosophy, and no matter what may have been his opinions in his normal condition, he will unhesitatingly, in obedience to the power of suggestion, assume the correctness of the proposition; and if given an opportunity to discuss the question, will proceed to deduce therefrom the details of a whole system of philosophy. Every conclusion will be so clearly and logically deducible from the major premise, and withal so plausible and consistent, that the listener will almost forget that the premise was assumed. To illustrate:
The writer once saw Professor Carpenter, of Boston, place a young gentleman in the hypnotic state at a private gathering in the city of Washington. The company was composed of highly cultivated ladies and gentlemen of all shades of religious belief; and the young man himself - who will be designated as C - was a cultured gentleman, possessed a decided taste for philosophical studies, and was a graduate of a leading college. In his normal condition he was liberal in his views on religious subjects, and, though always unprejudiced and open to conviction, was a decided unbeliever in modern spiritism. Knowing his love of the classics and his familiarity with the works of the Greek philosophers, the professor asked him how he should like to have a personal interview with Socrates.
“I should esteem it a great privilege, if Socrates were alive.” answered C.
“It is true that Socrates is dead,” replied the professor, “but I can invoke his spirit and introduce you to him. There he stands now.” exclaimed the professor, pointing towards a corner of the room.
C looked in the direction indicated, and at once arose, with a look of the most reverential awe depicted on his countenance. The professor went through the ceremonial of a formal presentation, and C, almost speechless with embarrassment, bowed with the most profound reverence, and offered the supposed spirit a chair. Upon being assured by the professor that Socrates was willing and anxious to answer any question that might be put to him, C at once began a series of questions, hesitatingly and with evident embarrassment at first; but, gathering courage as he proceeded, he catechised the Greek philosopher for over two hours, interpreting the answers to the professor as he received them. His questions embraced the whole cosmogony of the universe and a wide range of spiritual philosophy. They were remarkable for their pertinency, and the answers were no less remarkable for their clear-cut and sententious character, and were couched in the most elegant and lofty diction, such as Socrates himself might be supposed to employ. But the most remarkable of all was the wonderful system of spiritual philosophy evolved. It was so clear, so plausible, and so perfectly consistent with itself and the known laws of Nature that the company sat spell-bound through it all, each one almost persuaded, for the time being, that he was listening to a voice from the other world. Indeed, so profound was the impression that some of them - not spiritists, but members of the Christian Church - then and there announced their conviction that C was actually conversing either with the spirit of Socrates or with some equally high intelligence.
At subsequent gatherings other pretended spirits were called up, among them some of the more modern philosophers, and one or two who could not be dignified with that title. When a modern spirit was invoked, the whole manner of C changed. He was more at his ease, and the conversation on both sides assumed a purely nineteenth-century tone. But the philosophy was the same; there was never a lapse or an inconsistency. With the introduction of every new spirit there was a decided change of diction and character and general style of conversation, and each one was always the same, whenever reintroduced. If the persons themselves had been present, their distinctive peculiarities could not have been more marked; but if all that was said could have been printed in a book verbatim, it would have formed one of the grandest and most coherent systems of spiritual philosophy ever conceived by the brain of man, and its only blemish would have been the frequent change of the style of diction.
It must not be forgotten that C was not a spiritist, and that the whole bent of his mind inclined to materialism. He frequently expressed the most profound astonishment at the replies he received. This was held to be an evidence that the replies were not evolved from his own inner consciousness. Indeed, it was strenuously urged by some of the company present that he must have been talking with an independent intelligence, else his answers would have coincided with his own belief while in his normal condition.
Many instances of such feats are described in the older literature on hypnosis and mesmerism, so this was by no means an isolated case or a rare side effect of the hypnotic trance state. It only requires the application of properly presented suggestions to produce similarly amazing material from any properly hypnotized person. Blavatsky was a skilled hypnotist who had already studied many different occult teachings, and she knew how to put herself into a trance state, so in all probability she had drawn her material from her own memory and imagination, prompted by self-suggestion. Thompson J. Hudson, the author of the book from which the above quote was taken, provides many other examples of similar hypnotic feats that have been documented over the years, as well as a very thorough explanation of the hypnotic trance state from which the interested reader would gain a great deal more clarity regarding what is being discussed here. But as I will attempt to show with my more limited abilities to convince, there is no reason to think that some ‘independent intelligence’ or spirit was the source of the material in any of these cases – at least not any beyond the ordinary living human type.
But let’s move on, since we still have much more to cover…
At around the same time that Blavatsky was crossing the Atlantic on a steamship bound for New York, another development that appears to have been significant to our main story was unfolding in France…
In the early 1870s, a Frenchman named Joseph Alexander Saint-Yves d'Alveydre was in the process of formulating a political-occult ideology that he called ‘Synarchy’. This was a period in which many new political ideas were taking hold, and, like many others of a conservative philosophy, Saint-Yves was becoming alarmed by the rise of Anarchy, so he developed Synarchy as a means to counter it. Whereas Anarchists believed that the state should have no authority over the life and behavior of an individual, Synarchy took quite the opposite view, where the more control the state had over the individual, the better. Essentially, Synarchy advocated government by secret society or, in its own terms, by an elite of enlightened initiates who would rule from behind the scenes. It therefore wouldn’t matter which political party held power in a state or even what political system that state had. In order to implement this system, Synarchists would first have to take control of the key state institutions. Saint-Yves identified three key pillars of society that, once under the control of his elite, would allow them to rule without the population even being aware of their existence. These were the political and social institutions, the economic institutions and the religious institutions. Although Synarchy could thereby rule in any kind of state, for obvious reasons it would find itself more at home among totalitarian regimes. It would therefore attract a greater following from the political right. Synarchy was totally opposed to ideas of democracy and social equality, since it proposed that some people, i.e. Synarchists, are natural leaders. This system appealed to many powerful people and to many people who wanted power, and it soon came to be permanently adopted by many secret societies of the day.
Synarchy as devised by Saint-Yves was not a purely political movement. Having been active in the esoteric world of 19th century Europe, and a friend of such key figures as Victor Hugo and Lord Bulwer-Lytton, he incorporated specific mystical and occult ideas into his system that originated from these occultists. For instance, Saint-Yves believed in the existence of spiritually superior beings that could be contacted telepathically, and his elite were to be made up of people who were in telepathic communication with these beings. He himself claimed that he was in touch with these beings, and that they had given him the principles of Synarchy. Just as Blavatsky had done, he borrowed his ideas from both eastern and western occultism, and made his unknown superiors into spiritually advanced beings that lived in a remote part of Tibet, from where they guided the development of the human race. He introduced the concept of ‘Agartha’, a mysterious underworld realm peopled by these superior beings and hidden somewhere in the mountains of Tibet. Also like Blavatsky, Saint-Yves’ doctrines included ideas about the evolution and history of the human race that were later to become popular among occult and New Age circles. Also central to his reconstruction of history was that Atlantis had been an advanced, global civilization. Saint-Yves also promoted the idea of root races – a succession of dominant races that are each allocated a period of supremacy, but each destined to be supplanted by the next, superior race. The current dominant race, according to Saint-Yves, was the white Aryans. All of these ideas would become incorporated into subsequent occult systems, mostly through Madam Blavatsky and her Theosophical Society, where they would be further embellished and promoted.
I would like to call attention to a key point here that readers will probably have missed the full significance of, but which should become clearer as we progress. These ‘spiritually superior beings’ were depicted by Saint-Yves as being in telepathic communication with the elite Synarchists, who he said would be specifically chosen for this group because of this fact. Consider for a moment how this would have had to play out for someone to discover that they were one of these elite. Quite simply, they would have had to spontaneously receive telepathic communications from what appeared to be one of these superior beings – or at least somebody pretending to be one of them. And to receive telepathic communications, at least from someone pretending to be one of these beings, it would probably have been necessary to first put them into a hypnotic trance so as to establish a telepathic link with them. From that point on, convincing them that these superior beings were what they claimed would be rather easy. Unless the person was aware that they had been hypnotized and knew that hypnosis could induce a telepathic link with their hypnotizer, they would be very unlikely to figure out what was really going on.
As was already pointed out earlier, Saint-Yves’ ideologies had been quickly adopted by some very powerful secret societies (e.g. the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Illuminati, etc.) whose ranks were filled with people in positions of power, so he was very likely already involved with at least one of these secret societies himself for his ideologies to have come to their attention, and these secret societies were undoubtedly already quite familiar with the full range of hypnotic phenomena since many practicing hypnotists of the time were themselves involved with these secret societies, where their knowledge and skills would certainly have been put to use.
My research traces the origins of the Rosicrucians back to 1407, when it was a sect of alchemists and hermetic philosophers, while Freemasonry wasn’t founded until 1717 (by Rosicrucians), and Weishaupt (who was a Freemason) didn’t found the Order of the Illuminati until 1776. Blavatsky’s Theosophical Society had still not been established at this point and wouldn’t be for several years (in 1875). It is in Blavatsky’s teachings that we find the first mention of anything matching the ‘superior intelligences’ described by Saint-Yves (which she referred to as the ‘Mahatmas’), and so it stands to reason that Saint-Yves’ ideologies were adopted at least by Blavatsky, but probably by these other secret societies as well, since they’re all connected by way of their founders. At some point, Rosicrucianism also adopted ideas very similar to Saint-Yves (including these ‘superior intelligences’, which they called ‘Ascended Masters’), but when this was – before or after Saint-Yves formulated his doctrines – I’m not certain of. Rosicrucianism has its roots in alchemy and Hermeticism and has always involved itself in occult practices, including those of a psychic nature, so there’s little doubt that they would have experimented with hypnosis and knew of the various phenomena associated with it. Certain branches of Freemasonry are also known to study and practice occultism, often providing courses or seminars to its members, and hypnosis would undoubtedly be explored extensively in all three of these secret societies. As for Illuminism, there is very little information available on them at all, but since they’re an offshoot of Rosicrucianism and most or all of their members are likely drawn from the upper ranks of these other secret societies, it’s almost certain that they would have adopted some of Saint-Yves’ ideas as well.
What we see taking place here is the establishment of Saint-Yves’ doctrines within very prominent secret societies – all essentially linked together – that promoted to its membership the idea of superior intelligences that were guiding the affairs of mankind from the shadows by communicating with chosen individuals telepathically. In turn, these secret societies, which practiced hypnotic techniques on their members (often during initiation), were drawing in people who were in positions of power who would be effective in fulfilling their agendas, to which these members were sworn to dedicate themselves above all else.
Stay tuned for Part Two…