Category Archive: D

Mar 21

Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)

41st President of Haiti

41st President of Haiti

Jean-Claude Duvalier (French: [ʒɑ̃klod dyvalje]), nicknamed “Bébé Doc” or “Baby Doc” (July 3, 1951 – October 4, 2014), was the President of Haiti from 1971 until his overthrow by a popular uprising in 1986. He succeeded his father François “Papa Doc” Duvalier as the ruler of Haiti after the latter’s death in 1971. After assuming power, he introduced cosmetic changes to his father’s regime and delegated much authority to his advisors, though thousands of Haitians were killed or tortured, and hundreds of thousands fled the country. He maintained a notoriously lavish lifestyle (including a state-sponsored US$2 million wedding in 1980), and made millions from involvement in the drug trade and from selling body parts from dead Haitians while poverty among his people remained the most widespread of any country in the Western Hemisphere.

Relations with the United States improved after Duvalier’s ascension to the presidency, and later deteriorated under the Carter administration, only to again improve under Ronald Reagan due to the strong anti-communist stance of the Duvaliers.

Duvalier unexpectedly returned to Haiti on January 16, 2011, after two decades in self-imposed exile in France. The following day, he was arrested by Haitian police, facing possible charges for embezzlement. On January 18, Duvalier was charged with corruption. On February 28, 2013, Duvalier pleaded not guilty to charges of corruption and human rights abuse. He died of a heart attack on October 4, 2014, at the age of 63.

Taken from:

Jan 13

Maya Deren

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)


Maya Deren (April 29, 1917 – October 13, 1961), born Eleanora Derenkowskaia (Russian: Элеоно́ра Деренко́вская), was one of the most important American experimental filmmakers and entrepreneurial promoters of the avant-garde in the 1940s and 1950s. Deren was also a choreographer, dancer, film theorist, poet, lecturer, writer and photographer.

The function of film, Deren believed, like most art forms, was to create an experience; each one of her films would evoke new conclusions, lending her focus to be dynamic and always-evolving. She combined her interests in dance, voodoo and subjective psychology in a series of surreal, perceptual, black and white short films. Using editing, multiple exposures, jump cutting, superimposition, slow-motion and other camera techniques to her fullest advantage, Deren creates continued motion through discontinued space, while abandoning the established notions of physical space and time, with the ability to turn her vision into a stream of consciousness.

Perhaps one of the most influential experimental films in American cinema was her collaboration with Alexander Hammid on Meshes of the Afternoon (1943). She continued to make several more films of her own, including At Land (1944), A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), and Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) – writing, producing, directing, editing, and photographing them with help from only one other person, Hella Heyman, as camerawoman. She also appeared in a few of her films but never credited herself as an actress, downplaying her roles as anonymous figures rather than iconic deities.

Early Life

Deren was born in Kiev, Ukraine, into a Jewish family, to psychologist Solomon Derenkowsky and Marie Fiedler, who supposedly named her after Italian actress Eleonora Duse.

In 1922, the family fled the country because of anti-Semitic pogroms and moved to Syracuse, New York. Her father shortened the family name to “Deren” shortly after they arrived in New York. He became the staff psychiatrist at the State Institute for the Feeble-Minded in Syracuse.

In 1928, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Her mother moved to Paris, France to be with her daughter while she attended the League of Nations International School of Geneva in Switzerland from 1930 to 1933.

Deren began college at Syracuse University, where she studied journalism and also became active in the Trotskyist Young People’s Socialist League. Through the YPSL she met Gregory Bardacke, whom she married at the age of 18. After his graduation in 1935, she moved to New York City. She and her husband became active in various socialist causes in New York City. She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in literature and separated from Bardacke. The divorce was finalized in 1939. She attended the New School for Social Research and received a master’s degree in English literature at Smith College. Her master’s thesis was titled The Influence of the French Symbolist School on Anglo-American Poetry (1939).

Early career

After graduation from Smith, Deren returned to New York’s Greenwich Village, where she joined the European émigré art scene, and worked as an editorial assistant and free-lance photographer. She became known for her European-style handmade clothes, wild, curly hair, and fierce convictions. In 1941, Deren wrote and suggested a children’s book on dance to African American dancer and choreographer Katherine Dunham and later became her personal secretary. At the end of a tour, the Dunham dance company stopped in Los Angeles for several months to work in Hollywood. It was there that Deren met Alexandr Hackenschmied (later Hammid), a celebrated Czech-born photographer and cameraman who would become her second husband in 1942. Hackenschmied had fled from Czechoslovakia in 1938 after Hitler’s advance. They lived together in Laurel Canyon where he helped her with her still photography. After living in New York, “California presented rich sights in the Forties – urban Hollywood in its archetypal, image-ridden ‘glory,’ and lovely desert countryside;” her photographs focused on local fruit pickers and the surrealism of Los Angeles.

Ritual in Transfigured Time

By her fourth film, Deren discussed in An Anagram that she felt special attention should be given to unique possibilities of time and that the form should be ritualistic as a whole. Ritual in Transfigured Time began in August and was completed in 1946. It explored the fear of rejection and the freedom of expression in abandoning ritual, looking at the details as well as the bigger ideas of the nature and process of change.

Meditation on Violence

Deren’s Meditation on Violence was made in 1948. Chao-Li Chi’s performance obscures the distinction between violence and beauty. It was an attempt to “abstract the principle of ongoing metamorphosis,” found in Ritual in Transfigured Time, though Deren felt it was not as successful in the clarity of that idea, brought down by its philosophical weight.Halfway through the film, the sequence is rewound, producing a film loop.

Personal life

In 1943, she moved to a bungalow on Kings Road in Hollywood[4] and adopted the name Maya. Maya is the name of the mother of the historical Buddha as well as the dharmic concept of the illusory nature of reality. In Greek myth, Maia is the mother of Hermes and a goddess of mountains and fields. Also in 1943, Deren began making a film with Marcel Duchamp, The Witches’ Cradle, which was never completed.

In 1944, back in New York City, her social circle included Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, John Cage, and Anaïs Nin.[citation needed]

Many friends described her look as that of an exotic Russian Jew,[citation needed] contributing a part of her attractiveness to her bohemian, Greenwich Village lifestyle. In the December 1946 issue of Esquire magazine, a caption for her photograph teased that she “experiments with motion pictures of the subconscious, but here is finite evidence that the lady herself is infinitely photogenic.”[7] Her third husband, Teiji Ito said “Maya was always a Russian. In Haiti she was a Russian. She was always dressed up, talking, speaking many languages and being a Russian.”


Deren died in 1961, at the age of 44, from a brain hemorrhage brought on by extreme malnutrition. Her condition may have also been weakened by her long term dependence on amphetamines and sleeping pills prescribed by Dr. Max Jacobson, an arts scene doctor notorious for his liberal prescription of drugs who later became famous as one of President Kennedy’s physicians. Her father suffered from high blood pressure, which she may have had as well.

Her ashes were scattered in Japan at Mount Fuji.

Taken from:

Jan 13

Jeane L. Dixon

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)


Jeane L. Dixon (January 5, 1904 – January 25, 1997) was one of the best-known American astrologers and psychics of the 20th century, due to her syndicated newspaper astrology column, some well-publicized predictions, and a best-selling biography.

Early life

Dixon was born Lydia Emma Pinckert to German immigrants, Gerhart and Emma Pinckert, in Medford, Wisconsin, but raised in Missouri and California.Dixon’s birthdate was often reported as 1918, and Dixon would offer this date to reporters, at one point even producing a passport to this effect, but she once testified in a deposition that she was born in 1910.  An investigation by a reporter for the National Observer, who interviewed family members and examined official records, concluded she was born in 1904.

In Southern California, her father owned an automobile dealership with Hal Roach, an American film and television producer and director. Dixon claimed that while growing up in California, a “gypsy” gave her a crystal ball and read her palm, predicting she would become a famous “seer” and advise powerful people.

She was married to James Dixon, a divorced man, from 1939 until his death, but the union was childless. James Dixon was a car dealer in California, who later ran a successful real estate company in Washington DC. Dixon worked with her husband in the business for many years and served as the company’s president.

Career as a psychic

Dixon reportedly predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the May 13, 1956, issue of Parade Magazine she wrote that the 1960 presidential election would be “dominated by labor and won by a Democrat” who would then go on to “[B]e assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term.” She later admitted, “During the 1960 election, I saw Richard Nixon as the winner”, and at the time made unequivocal predictions that JFK would fail to win the election. By emphasizing a few coincidentally correct predictions and ignoring those that were wrong, and supported by an uncritical following among the media, she acquired both fame and notoriety. The ability to persuade the public in this matter is known as the ‘Jeane Dixon effect’.

Dixon was the author of seven books, including her autobiography, a horoscope book for dogs and an astrological cookbook. She gained public awareness through the biographical volume, A Gift of Prophecy: the Phenomenal Jeane Dixon, written by syndicated columnist Ruth Montgomery. Published in 1965, the book sold more than 3 million copies. She professed to be a devout Roman Catholic and attributed her prophetic ability to God. Another million seller, My Life and Prophecies, was credited “as told to Rene Noorbergen”, but Dixon was sued by Adele Fletcher, who claimed that her rejected manuscript was rewritten and published as that book. Fletcher was awarded five percent of the royalties by a jury.

President Richard Nixon followed her predictions through his secretary, Rose Mary Woods, and met with her in the Oval Office at least once, in 1971. The following year, her prediction of terrorist attacks in the United States in the wake of the Munich massacre spurred Nixon to set up a cabinet committee on counterterrorism. She was one of several astrologers who gave advice to Nancy Reagan.

The Jeane Dixon effect

John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term ‘the Jeane Dixon effect’, which references a tendency to promote a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger number of incorrect predictions. Many of Dixon’s predictions proved false, such as her claims that a dispute over the offshore Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu would trigger the start of World War III in 1958, that American labor leader Walter Reuther would run for President of the United States in the 1964 presidential election, that the second child of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his young wife Margaret would be a girl (it was a boy), and that the Russians would be the first to put men on the moon.


Dixon suffered a cardiac arrest and died at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C. on January 25, 1997. Many of her possessions ended up with Leo M. Bernstein, a Washington D.C. investor and banker, whose clients included Dixon. In 2002, he opened the Jeane Dixon Museum and Library in Strasburg, Virginia, to display what he owned. Bernstein died in 2008. In July 2009, the possessions, 500 boxes in all, were scheduled to be auctioned off.

Taken from:

Jan 13

François Duvalier

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)


40th President of Haiti


François Duvalier (French pronunciation: [fʁɑ̃swa dyvalje]; 14 April 1907 – 21 April 1971), also known as ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, was the President of Haiti from 1957 to 1971. He opposed a military coup d’état in 1950 and was elected as President in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform. His rule, based on a purged military, a rural militia known as the Tonton Macoute, and the use of a personality cult and voodoo, resulted in the murder of an estimated 30,000 Haitians and the exile of many more.
Prior to his rule, Duvalier, who was a physician by profession, was known for successfully fighting diseases and acquired the nickname ‘Papa Doc’ (“Daddy Doctor” in French). He took the title of President for Life in 1964 and remained in power until he died in 1971. He was succeeded by his son, Jean-Claude, who was nicknamed “Baby Doc”.

Early life and career

Duvalier was born in Port-au-Prince, the son of Duval Duvalier, a justice of the peace, and Ulyssia Abraham, a baker. He was largely raised by an aunt. He completed a degree in medicine from the University of Haiti in 1934. He served as staff physician at several local hospitals. He spent a year at the University of Michigan studying public health. In 1943, he became active in a United States-sponsored campaign to control the spread of contagious tropical diseases, helping the poor to fight typhus, yaws, malaria and other tropical diseases that ravaged Haiti for years.His patients affectionately called him “Papa Doc”, a moniker that he used throughout his life.Lucky enough to be schooled and literate in a country where few were educated, Duvalier witnessed the political turmoil of his country. The United States occupation of Haiti which began in 1915, left a powerful impression on the young Duvalier. He was also aware of the latent political power of the poor black majority and their resentment against the tiny mulatto elite. Duvalier became involved in the négritude movement of Haitian author Dr. Jean Price-Mars. He began an ethnological study of Vodou that later paid enormous political dividend. In 1938, Duvalier co-founded the journal Les Griots. In 1939, Duvalier married Simone Ovide, with whom he had four children: Marie Denise, Nicole, Simone and Jean-Claude.

Political rise

In 1946, Duvalier aligned himself with President Dumarsais Estimé and was appointed Director General of the National Public Health Service. In 1949, Duvalier served as Minister of Health and Labour; but, when General Paul Magloire ousted President Estimé in a coup d’état, Duvalier left the government and was forced into hiding until 1956, when an amnesty was declared.

In December 1956, Magloire resigned and left Haiti to the rule of a succession of provisional governments. On 22 September 1957, presidential elections pitted Louis Déjoie, a mulatto land-owner and industrialist from the north of Haiti, against Duvalier, who was backed by the military. Duvalier campaigned as a populist, using a noiriste strategy of challenging the mulatto elite and appealing to the Afro-Haitian majority. He described his opponent as part of the ruling mulatto class that was making life difficult for the country’s rural black majority. The election resulted in Duvalier defeating Déjoie with 678,860 votes. Déjoie polled 264,830 votes and independent candidate Jumelle a mere percentage of the electorate. Duvalier’s only opponent among the black proletarians, Daniel Fignolé, had been forced into exile before the election, conveniently leaving Duvalier a path for a landslide.


Consolidation of power

After being sworn in on 22 October, Duvalier exiled most of the major supporters of Déjoie and had a new constitution adopted in 1957 .

President Duvalier promoted and patronised members of the black majority in the civil service and the army. In mid-1958, the army, which had supported Duvalier earlier, tried to oust him in another coup, but failed. In response, Duvalier replaced the chief-of-staff with a more reliable officer and then proceeded to create his

own power base within the army by turning the army’s Presidential Guard into an elite corps aimed at maintaining Duvalier’s power. After this, Duvalier dismissed the entire general staff and replaced it with officers owing their positions and their loyalty to him. In 1958 three exiled Haitians and five Americans landed in Haiti and tried to overthrow Duvalier; all of them were killed.

In 1959, Duvalier created a rural militia, the Milice Volontaires de la Sécurité Nationale (MVSN, English: National Security Volunteer Militia), commonly referred to as the Tonton Macoute after a Creole term for the bogeyman, to extend and bolster support for the regime in the countryside. The Macoute, which by 1961 had twice the numbers of the regular army, never developed into a real military force but still was more than a mere secret police.

In the early years of his rule, Duvalier was able to take advantage of strategic weaknesses of his powerful opponents, mostly from the Mulâtre elite. These weaknesses included the opponents’ inability to coordinate their actions against the government, that grew increasingly stronger.

In the name of nationalism, Duvalier expelled almost all of Haiti’s foreign-born bishops, an act that earned him excommunication from the Catholic Church. In 1966, Duvalier managed to persuade the Holy See to allow him one-time permission to nominate the Catholic hierarchy for Haiti. This action solidified the change to the status quo: no longer was Haiti under the grip of the minority rich mulattoes, protected by the military, and supported by the church. Duvalier now exercised even more power in Haiti.

Heart attack and Barbot affair

On 24 May 1959, Duvalier suffered a massive heart attack, possibly due to an insulin overdose; he had been a diabetic since early adulthood and also suffered from heart disease and associated circulatory problems. During this heart attack he was unconscious for nine hours; many associates believed that he suffered neurological damage during these events that affected his mental health and made him paranoid.

While recovering, Duvalier left power in the hands of Clément Barbot, leader of the Tonton Macoutes. Upon his return, Duvalier accused Barbot of trying to supplant him as president and had him imprisoned. In April 1963, Barbot was released and began plotting to remove Duvalier from office by kidnapping his children. The plot failed and Duvalier subsequently ordered a massive search for Barbot and his fellow conspirators. When during the search Duvalier was told that Barbot had transformed himself into a black dog, Duvalier ordered that all black dogs in Haiti be put to death. Barbot was later captured and shot by the Tonton Macoutes in July 1963. In other incidents, Duvalier ordered the head of an executed rebel packed in ice and brought to him so he could commune with the dead man’s spirit. Peep holes were carved into the walls of the interrogation chambers, through which Duvalier personally observed Haitian detainees being tortured and submerged in baths of sulfuric acid; sometimes, he was directly in the room during the tortures.

Constitutional changes

In 1961, he began violating the provisions of the 1957 constitution: first he replaced the bicameral legislature with a unicameral body. Then he called a new presidential election in which he was the sole candidate, though his term was to expire in 1963 and the constitution prohibited re-election. The election was flagrantly rigged; the official tally showed 1,320,748 voted yes to another term for Duvalier, with none opposed.Upon hearing the results, Duvalier proclaimed: “I accept the people’s will. As a revolutionary, I have no right to disregard the will of the people.” The New York Times commented: “Latin America has witnessed many fraudulent elections throughout its history but none has been more outrageous than the one which has just taken place in Haiti.” On 14 June 1964, a constitutional referendum made Duvalier “President for Life”, a title previously held by seven Haitian presidents. This referendum was also blatantly rigged; an implausible 99.9 percent voted in favour, and all ballots were premarked “yes.” The new document granted Duvalier—or “Le Souverain,” as he was called—absolute powers as well as the right to name his successor.

Foreign relations

His relationship with the United States proved difficult. In his early years, Duvalier often rebuked the United States for its friendly relations with the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo (killed in 1961), while ignoring Haiti. The Kennedy administration (1961–63) was particularly disturbed by Duvalier’s repressive and authoritarian rule and allegations that he misappropriated aid money, then a substantial part of the Haitian budget, and a Marine mission to train the Tonton Macoute. Acting on the charges, Washington cut off most of its economic assistance in mid-1962, pending stricter accounting procedures, which Duvalier refused. Duvalier publicly renounced all aid from Washington on nationalist grounds, portraying himself as a “…principled and lonely opponent of domination by a great power.

Duvalier misappropriated millions of US dollars of international aid, including 15 million US dollars annually from the United States.He transferred this money to personal accounts. Another of Duvalier’s methods to obtain foreign money was to gain foreign loans, including 4 million USD from Cuban president Fulgencio Batista.

After the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963—which Duvalier later claimed resulted from a curse that he had placed on him—the U.S. eased its pressure on Duvalier, grudgingly accepting him as a bulwark against Communism. Duvalier attempted to exploit tensions between the United States and Cuba, emphasizing his anti-Communist credentials and Haiti’s strategic location as a means of winning U.S. support:

Communism has established centres of infection…No area in the world is as vital to American security as the Caribbean… We need a massive injection of money to reset the country on its feet, and this injection can come only from our great, capable friend and neighbor the United States.

After President Fulgencio Batista (a personal friend of Duvalier) was overthrown in the Cuban Revolution, Duvalier, worried that Fidel Castro would provide a safe haven for Haitian dissidents, attempted to win Castro over by recognizing his government, sending medicine, and pardoning several political prisoners, but to no avail; from the very start of his regime, Castro gave anti-Duvalier dissidents his full support.

Duvalier enraged Castro by voting against the country in an OAS meeting and subsequently at the UN where a trade embargo was imposed on Cuba. Cuba answered by breaking off diplomatic relations and Duvalier subsequently instituted a campaign to rid Haiti of communists.

Duvalier’s relationship with the neighbouring Dominican Republic was always tense: in his early years, Duvalier emphasised the differences between the two countries. In April 1963, relations were brought to the edge of war by the political enmity between Duvalier and the Dominican president Juan Bosch. Bosch, a left-leaning democrat, provided asylum and support to Haitian exiles who plotted against the Duvalier regime. Duvalier ordered his Presidential Guard to occupy the Dominican Embassy in Pétionville, aiming at apprehending an army officer believed to have been involved in Barbot’s plot to kidnap Duvalier’s children. The Dominican president reacted with outrage, publicly threatened to invade Haiti, and ordered army units to the frontier. However, as Dominican military commanders expressed little support for an invasion of Haiti, Bosch refrained from the invasion and settled for a mediation by the OAS.

Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia briefly visited Haiti in 1966 (he was the only head of state to visit the country during Duvalier’s presidency); during his visit, Duvalier awarded him the Necklace of the Order of Jean-Jacques Dessalines the Great, and Selassie, in turn, bestowed upon Duvalier the Great Necklace of the Order of the Queen of Saba.  Duvalier also supported Pan-African ideals.

Internal policies


Duvalier’s government was soon accused of being one of the most repressive in the hemisphere. Within the country, Duvalier used both political murder and expulsion to suppress his opponents; estimates of those killed are as high as 30,000. Attacks on Duvalier from within the military were treated as especially serious. When bombs were detonated near the Presidential Palace in 1967, Duvalier had nineteen Presidential Guard officers shot in Fort Dimanche. A few days later Duvalier had a public speech during which he read the “attendance sheet” with names of all 19 officers killed. After each name he said “absent”. After reading the whole list, Duvalier remarked, “All were shot.”

Haitian communists and suspected communists, in particular, bore the brunt of the government’s repression. Duvalier targeted them both as a means to secure U.S. support as a bulwark against Communist Cuba (see below) and on principle: Duvalier had personally been exposed to communist and left-wing ideas early in his life and rejected them. On 28 April 1969, Duvalier instituted a campaign to rid Haiti of all communists, promulgating a law stipulating that “Communist activities, no matter what their form, are hereby declared crimes against the security of the State,” and prescribing the death penalty for individuals prosecuted under this law.

Social and economic policies

Duvalier employed intimidation, repression and patronage to supplant the old mulatto elites with a new elite of his own making. Corruption — in the form of government rake-offs of industries, bribery, extortion of domestic businesses, and stolen government funds — enriched the dictator’s closest supporters. Most of these supporters held sufficient power to enable them to intimidate the members of the old elite who were gradually co-opted or eliminated.

Many educated professionals fled Haiti for New York City, Miami, French-speaking Montreal, Paris, and several French-speaking African countries, exacerbating an already serious lack of doctors and teachers. Some of the highly skilled professionals joined the ranks of several UN agencies to work in development in newly independent nations such as Ivory Coast, and Congo.

The government confiscated peasant land holdings and allotted them to members of the militia who had no official salary and made their living through crime and extortion. The dispossessed swelled the slums by fleeing to the capital to seek meager incomes to feed themselves. Malnutrition and famine became endemic.
Nonetheless, Duvalier enjoyed significant support among Haiti’s majority black rural population, who saw in him a champion of their claims against the historically dominant mulatto élite. During his fourteen years in power, he created a substantial black middle class, chiefly through government patronage. Duvalier also initiated the development of Mais Gate Airport, now known as Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

Personality cult and voodoo

Duvalier fostered a personality cult around himself, and claimed he was the physical embodiment of the island nation. He also started to revive the traditions of vodou, later on using them to consolidate his power as he claimed to be a houngan, or vodou priest himself. In an effort to make himself even more imposing, Duvalier deliberately modeled his image on that of Baron Samedi. He often donned sunglasses to hide his eyes and talked with the strong nasal tone associated with the loa. The Duvalier regime propaganda even stated that “Papa Doc: was one with the loas, Jesus Christ, and God himself”. The most celebrated image from the time shows a standing Jesus Christ with hand on a seated Papa Doc’s shoulder with the caption “I have chosen him”.  There was even a Duvalierist variant of the Lord’s Prayer.  Duvalier also held in his closet the head of his former opponent Blucher Philogenes, who tried to overthrow him in 1963.

Death and succession

Duvalier held Haiti in his grip until his death in early 1971. His 19-year-old son Jean-Claude Duvalier, nicknamed “Baby Doc”, succeeded him as president.

Taken from:

Sep 01

Jacques de Molay

Ken Weigand

Ken Weigand

Senior Director / Webmaster at National Paranormal Society
Ken is a graphic designer, web developer and co-founder of One True Paranormal, a para-group in southwest Missouri.
Ken Weigand

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demoly1-2 Jacques de Molay (French: [də mɔlɛ]; c. 1243 – 18 March 1314)[2] was the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, leading the Order from 20 April 1292 until it was dissolved by order of Pope Clement V in 1307.Though little is known of his actual life and deeds except for his last years as Grand Master, he is the best known Templar, along with the Order’s founder and first Grand Master, Hugues de Payens (1070–1136). Jacques de Molay’s goal as Grand Master was to reform the Order, and adjust it to the situation in the Holy Land during the waning days of the Crusades. As European support for the Crusades had dwindled, other forces were at work which sought to disband the Order and claim the wealth of the Templars as their own.

King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Templars, had De Molay and many other French Templars arrested in 1307 and tortured into making false confessions. When De Molay later retracted his confession, Philip had him slowly burned upon a scaffold on an island in the River Seine in Paris, in March 1314. The sudden end of both the centuries-old order of Templars and the dramatic execution of its last leader turned De Molay into a legendary figure.


Little is known of his early years, but De Molay was probably born in Molay, Haute-Saône, in the County of Burgundy, at the time a territory ruled by Otto III as part of the Holy Roman Empire, and in modern times in the area of Franche-Comté, northeastern France. His birth year is not certain, but judging by statements made during the later trials, was probably between 1240 and 1250. He was born, as most Templar knights were, into a family of minor or middle nobility. It is said he was dubbed a Knight at age 21 in 1265 and that he was executed in 1314 at age 70. These two facts lead to the belief that he was born in 1244. In 1265, as a young man, he was received into the Order of the Templars in a chapel at the Beaune House, by Humbert de Pairaud, the Visitor of France and England. Another prominent Templar in attendance was Amaury de la Roche, Templar Master of the province of France. Around 1270, De Molay went to the East (Outremer), though little is remembered of his activities for the next 20 years. demoly2


After the Fall of Acre to the Egyptian Mamluks in 1291, the Franks (Europeans) who were able to do so retreated to the island of Cyprus. It became the headquarters of the dwindling Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the base of operations for any future military attempts by the Crusaders against the Egyptian Mamluks, who for their part were systematically conquering any last Crusader strongholds on the mainland. Templars in Cyprus included Jacques de Molay and Thibaud Gaudin, the 22nd Grand Master. During a meeting assembled on the island in the autumn of 1291, De Molay spoke of reforming the Order, and put himself forward as an alternative to the current Grand Master. Gaudin died around 1292 and, as there were no other serious contenders for the role at the time, De Molay was soon elected.

In spring 1293, he began a tour of the West to try to muster more support for a reconquest of the Holy Land. Developing relationships with European leaders such as Pope Boniface VIII, Edward I of England, James I of Aragon and Charles II of Naples, De Molay’s immediate goals were to strengthen the defence of Cyprus and rebuild the Templar forces. From his travels, he was able to secure authorization from some monarchs for the export of supplies to Cyprus, but could obtain no firm commitment for a new Crusade. There was talk of merging the Templars with one of the other military orders, the Knights Hospitaller. The Grand Masters of both orders opposed such a merger, but pressure increased from the Papacy.

It is known that De Molay held two general meetings of his order in southern France, at Montpellier in 1293 and at Arles in 1296, where he tried to make reforms. In the autumn of 1296, De Molay was back in Cyprus to defend his order against the interests of Henry II of Cyprus, which conflict had its roots back in the days of Guillaume de Beaujeu.

From 1299 to 1303, De Molay was engaged in planning and executing a new attack against the Mamluks. The plan was to coordinate actions between the Christian military orders, the King of Cyprus, the aristocracy of Cyprus, the forces of Cilician Armenia, and a new potential ally, the Mongols of the Ilkhanate (Persia), to oppose the Egyptian Mamluks and retake the coastal city of Tortosa in Syria. For generations, there had been communications between the Mongols and Europeans towards the possibility of forging a Franco-Mongol alliance against the Mamluks, but without success. The Mongols had been repeatedly attempting to conquer Syria themselves, each time being forced back either by the Egyptian Mamluks, or having to retreat because of a civil war within the Mongol Empire, such as having to defend from attacks from the Mongol Golden Horde to the north.

In 1299, the Ilkhanate again attempted to conquer Syria, having some preliminary success against the Mamluks in the Battle of Wadi al-Khazandar in December 1299.

In 1300, De Molay and other forces from Cyprus put together a small fleet of 16 ships which committed raids along the Egyptian and Syrian coasts. The force was commanded by King Henry II of Jerusalem, the king of Cyprus, accompanied by his brother, Amalric, Lord of Tyre, and the heads of the military orders, with the ambassador of the Mongol leader Ghazan also in attendance. The ships left Famagusta on 20 July 1300, and under the leadership of Admiral Baudouin de Picquigny, raided the coasts of Egypt and Syria: Rosetta, Alexandria, Acre, Tortosa and Maraclea, before returning to Cyprus.

The Cypriots then prepared for an attack on Tortosa in late 1300, sending a joint force to a staging area on the island of Ruad, from which raids were launched on the mainland. The intent was to establish a Templar bridgehead to await assistance from Ghazan’s Mongols, but the Mongols failed to appear in 1300. The same happened in 1301 and 1302, and the island was finally lost in the Siege of Ruad on 26 September 1302, eliminating the Crusaders’ last foothold near the mainland. Following the loss of Ruad, De Molay abandoned the tactic of small advance forces, and instead put his energies into trying to raise support for a new major Crusade, as well as strengthening Templar authority in Cyprus. When a power struggle erupted between King Henry II and his brother Amalric, the Templars supported Amalric, who took the crown and had his brother exiled in 1306. Meanwhile, pressure increased in Europe that the Templars should be merged with the other military orders, perhaps all placed under the authority of one king, and that individual should become the new King of Jerusalem when it was conquered.


In 1305, the newly elected Pope Clement V asked the leaders of the military orders for their opinions concerning a new crusade and the merging of the orders. De Molay was asked to write memoranda on each of the issues, which he did during the summer of 1306. De Molay was opposed to the merger, believing instead that having separate military orders was a stronger position, as the missions of each order were somewhat different. He was also of the belief that if there were to be a new crusade, it needed to be a large one, as the smaller attempts were not effective.

On 6 June, the leaders of both the Templars and the Hospitallers were officially asked to come to the Papal offices in Poitiers to discuss these matters, with the date of the meeting scheduled as All Saints Day in 1306, though it later had to be postponed due to the Pope’s illness with gastro-enteritis. De Molay left Cyprus on 15 October, arriving in France in late 1306 or early 1307; however, the meeting was again delayed until late May due to the Pope’s illness.

King Philip IV of France, deeply in debt to the Templars, was in favor of merging the Orders under his own command, thereby making himself Rex Bellator, or War King. De Molay, however, rejected the idea. Philip was already at odds with the papacy, trying to tax the clergy, and had been attempting to assert his own authority as higher than that of the Pope.

For this, one of Clement’s predecessors, Pope Boniface VIII, had attempted to have Philip excommunicated, but Philip then had Boniface abducted and charged with heresy. The elderly Boniface was rescued, but then died of shock shortly thereafter. His successor Pope Benedict XI did not last long, dying in less than a year, possibly poisoned via Philip’s councillor Guillaume de Nogaret. It took a year to choose the next Pope, the Frenchman Clement V, who was also under strong pressure to bend to Philip’s will.

Clement moved the Papacy from Italy to Poitiers, France, where Philip continued to assert more dominance over the Papacy and the Templars. The leader of the Hospitallers, Fulk de Villaret, was also delayed in his travel to France, as he was engaged with a battle at Rhodes. He did not arrive until late summer, so while waiting for his arrival, de Molay met with the Pope on other matters, one of which was the charges by one or more ousted Templars who had made accusations of impropriety in the Templars’ initiation ceremony.

De Molay had already spoken with the king in Paris on 24 June 1307 about the accusations against his order and was partially reassured. Returning to Poitiers, De Molay asked the Pope to set up an inquiry to quickly clear the Order of the rumours and accusations surrounding it, and the Pope convened an inquiry on 24 August.


There were five initial charges lodged against the Templars. The first was the renouncement and spitting on the cross during initiation into the Order. The second was the stripping of the man to be initiated and the thrice kissing of that man by the preceptor on the navel, posteriors and the mouth. The third was telling the neophyte (novice) that unnatural lust was lawful and indulged in commonly. The fourth was that the cord worn by the neophyte day and night was consecrated by wrapping it around an idol in the form of a human head with a great beard, and that this idol was adored in all chapters. The fifth was that the priests of the order did not consecrate the host in celebrating Mass. Subsequently, the charges would be increased and would become, according to the procedures, lists of articles 86 to 127 in which will be added a few other charges, such as the prohibition to priests who do not belong to the order.

On 14 September, Philip took advantage of the rumors and inquiry to begin his move against the Templars, sending out a secret order to his agents in all parts of France to implement a mass arrest of all Templars at dawn on 13 October. Philip wanted the Templars arrested and their possessions confiscated to incorporate their wealth into the Royal Treasury and to be free of the enormous debt he owed the Templar Order.

De Molay was in Paris on 12 October, where he was a pallbearer at the funeral of Catherine of Courtenay, wife of Count Charles of Valois, and sister-in-law of King Philip. In a dawn raid on Friday, 13 October 1307, De Molay and sixty of his Templar brothers were arrested. Philip then had the Templars charged with heresy and many other trumped-up charges, most of which were identical to the charges which had previously been leveled by Philip’s agents against Pope Boniface VIII.

During forced interrogation by royal agents at the University of Paris on 24/25 October, De Molay confessed that the Templar initiation ritual included “denying Christ and trampling on the Cross”. He was also forced to write a letter asking every Templar to admit to these acts. Under pressure from Philip IV, Pope Clement V ordered the arrest of all the Templars throughout Christendom. The pope still wanted to hear De Molay’s side of the story, and dispatched two cardinals to Paris in December 1307. In front of the cardinals, De Molay retracted his earlier confessions. A power struggle ensued between the king and the pope, which was settled in August 1308 when they agreed to split the convictions.

Through the papal bull Faciens misericordiam, the procedure to prosecute the Templars was set out on a duality where one commission would judge individuals of the Order and a different commission would judge the Order as an entity. Pope Clement called for an ecumenical council to meet in Vienne in 1310 to decide the future of the Templars. In the meantime, the Order’s dignitaries, among them De Molay, were to be judged by the pope. In the royal palace at Chinon, De Molay was again questioned by the cardinals, but this time with royal agents present, and he returned to his forced admissions made in 1307.

In November 1309, the Papal Commission for the Kingdom of France began its own hearings, during which De Molay again recanted, stating that he did not acknowledge the accusations brought against his order. ny further opposition by the Templars was effectively broken when Philip used the previously forced confessions to sentence 54 Templars to be burnt at the stake on 10–12 May 1310. The council which had been called for 1310 was delayed for two years due to the length of the trials, but finally was convened in 1312.

On 22 March 1312, at the Council of Vienne, the Order of the Knights Templar was abolished by papal decree.


Of his death it is recorded: “The cardinals dallied with their duty until 18 March 1314, when, on a scaffold in front of Notre Dame, Jacques de Molay, Templar Grand Master, Geoffroi de Charney, Master of Normandy, Hugues de Peraud, Visitor of France, and Godefroi de Gonneville, Master of Aquitaine, were brought forth from the jail in which for nearly seven years they had lain, to receive the sentence agreed upon by the cardinals, in conjunction with the Archbishop of Sens and some other prelates whom they had called in.

Considering the offences which the culprits had confessed and confirmed, the penance imposed was in accordance with rule — that of perpetual imprisonment. The affair was supposed to be concluded when, to the dismay of the prelates and wonderment of the assembled crowd, De Molay and Geoffroi de Charney arose. They had been guilty, they said, not of the crimes imputed to them, but of basely betraying their Order to save their own lives. It was pure and holy; the charges were fictitious and the confessions false. Hastily the cardinals delivered them to the Prevot of Paris, and retired to deliberate on this unexpected contingency, but they were saved all trouble.

When the news was carried to Philippe he was furious. A short consultation with his council only was required. The canons pronounced that a relapsed heretic was to be burned without a hearing; the facts were notorious and no formal judgment by the papal commission need be waited for. That same day, by sunset, a pile was erected on a small island in the Seine, the Ile des Juifs, near the palace garden. There de Molay and de Charney were slowly burned to death, refusing all offers of pardon for retraction, and bearing their torment with a composure which won for them the reputation of martyrs among the people, who reverently collected their ashes as relics.” (Note: the account varies by one day, not unusual for chronicles of the middle ages.


September 2001, Barbara Frale found a copy of the Chinon Parchment in the Vatican Secret Archives, a document which explicitly confirms that in 1308 Pope Clement V absolved Jacques de Molay and other leaders of the Order including Geoffroi de Charney and Hugues de Pairaud. She published her findings in the Journal of Medieval History in 2004. Another Chinon parchment dated 20 August 1308 addressed to Philip IV of France, well-known to historians, stated that absolution had been granted to all those Templars that had confessed to heresy “and restored them to the Sacraments and to the unity of the Church”. deMolay1


The sudden arrest of the Templars, the conflicting stories about confessions, and the dramatic deaths by burning, generated many stories and legends about both the Order, and its last Grand Master. Conquest of Jerusalem n France in the 19th century, false stories circulated that de Molay had captured Jerusalem in 1300. These rumors are likely related to the fact that the medieval historian the Templar of Tyre wrote about a Mongol general named “Mulay” who occupied Syria and Palestine for a few months in early 1300.

The Mongol Mulay and the Templar de Molay were entirely different people, but some historians regularly confused the two. The confusion was enhanced in 1805, when the French playwright/historian François Raynouard made claims that Jerusalem had been captured by the Mongols, with de Molay in charge of one of the Mongol divisions. “In 1299, the Grand-Master was with his knights at the taking of Jerusalem.” This story of wishful thinking was so popular in France, that in 1846 a large-scale painting was created by Claude Jacquand, titled Molay Prend Jerusalem, 1299 (“Molay Takes Jerusalem, 1299”), which depicts the supposed event.

Today the painting hangs in the Hall of the Crusades in the French national museum in Versailles. In the 1861 edition of the French encyclopedia, the Nouvelle Biographie Universelle, it even lists de Molay as a Mongol commander in its “Molay” article: “Jacques de Molay was not inactive in this decision of the Great Khan. This is proven by the fact that Molay was in command of one of the wings of the Mongol army.

With the troops under his control, he invaded Syria, participated in the first battle in which the Sultan was vanquished, pursued the routed Malik Nasir as far as the desert of Egypt: then, under the guidance of Kutluk, a Mongol general, he was able to take Jerusalem, among other cities, over the Muslims, and the Mongols entered to celebrate Easter” —Nouvelle Biographie Universelle, “Molay” article, 1861. Modern historians, however, state that the truth of the matter is this: There are indeed numerous ancient records of Mongol raids and occupations of Jerusalem (from Western, Armenian, or Arab sources), and in 1300 the Mongols did achieve a brief victory in Syria which caused a Muslim retreat, and allowed the Mongols to launch raids into the Levant as far as Gaza for a period of a few months.

During that year, rumors flew through Europe that the Mongols had recaptured Jerusalem and were going to return the city to the Europeans. However, this was only an urban legend, as the only activities that the Mongols had even engaged in were some minor raids through Palestine, which may or may not have even passed through Jerusalem itself. Regardless of what the Mongols may or may not have done, de Molay was never a Mongol commander, and probably never set foot in Jerusalem.

The Shroud of Turin Geoffroi de Charny (the French Knight who died at the 1356 battle of Poitiers) and his wife Jeanne de Vergy are the first reliably recorded owners of the Shroud of Turin. This Geoffroi participated in a failed crusade under Humbert II of Viennois in the late 1340s. He is sometimes confused with Templar Geoffroi de Charney.

Historical origin of “Inquisition” charge of an idol of a bearded man As stated above, of the five original accusations made against the Knights Templars one was the “worshipping of an idol of a man with a long beard”.

It specifically states: “… The cord which the Templars wore over the shirt day and night as a symbol of chastity had been consecrated by wrapping it around an idol in the form of a human head with a great beard, and this head was adored in the chapters …” The image was never found. It never mentions the image to be de Molay.

Further, it seems to describe a rounded idol. If it existed at all, and was not just a product of torture, it could not have been the Shroud of Turin just by its description. There were many early iconic images of a bearded Jesus that existed at that time. Curse It is said that Jacques de Molay cursed King Philip IV of France and his descendants from his execution pyre. The story of the shouted curse appears to be a combination of words by a different Templar, and those of de Molay.

An eyewitness to the execution stated that de Molay showed no sign of fear, and told those present that God would avenge their deaths. Another variation on this story was told by the contemporary chronicler Ferretto of Vicenza, who applied the idea to a Neapolitan Templar brought before Clement V, whom he denounced for his injustice. Some time later, as he was about to be executed, he appealed “from this your heinous judgement to the living and true God, who is in Heaven”, warning the pope that, within a year and a day, he and Philip IV would be obliged to answer for their crimes in God’s presence.

It is true that Philip and Clement V both died within a year of Molay’s execution, Clement finally succumbing to a long illness on 20 April 1314, and Philip in a hunting accident. Then followed the rapid succession of the last Direct Capetian kings of France between 1314 and 1328, the three sons and a grandson of Philip IV. Within 14 years from the death of de Molay, the 300-year-old House of Capet collapsed. This series of events forms the basis of Les Rois Maudits (The Accursed Kings), a series of historical novels written by Maurice Druon between 1955 and 1977, which was also turned into two French television miniseries in 1972 and 2005. The American historian Henry Charles Lea wrote: “Even in distant Germany Philippe’s death was spoken of as a retribution for his destruction of the Templars, and Clement was described as shedding tears of remorse on his death-bed for three great crimes, the poisoning of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, and the ruin of the Templars and Beguines”.


Some 400 years after the death of de Molay and the dissolution of the Knights Templar, the fraternal order of Freemasonry began to emerge in northern Europe. The Masons developed an elaborate mythos about their Order, and some claimed heritage from entities in history, ranging from the mystique of the Templars to the builders of Solomon’s Temple. The stories of the Templars’ secret initiation ceremonies also proved a tempting source for Masonic writers who were creating new works of pseudohistory. As described by modern historian Malcolm Barber in The New Knighthood: “It was during the 1760s that German masons introduced a specific Templar connection, claiming that the Order, through its occupation of the Temple of Solomon, had been the repository of secret wisdom and magical powers, which James of Molay had handed down to his successor before his execution and of which the eighteenth-century Freemasons were the direct heirs.”

The modern Masonic Knights Templar is an international philanthropic and chivalric order affiliated with Freemasonry, and begun in Ireland perhaps as long ago as 1780. Unlike the initial degrees conferred in a Masonic Lodge, which only require a belief in a Supreme Being regardless of religious affiliation, the Knights Templar is one of several additional Masonic Orders in which membership is open only to Freemasons who profess a belief in the Christian religion. The full title of this Order is The United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta.

The story of de Molay’s brave defiance of his inquisitors has been incorporated in various forms into Masonic lore; most notably in the form of a youth group for young men aged 12 to 21, sponsored by Freemasonry, and named after the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar. DeMolay International, also known as “The Order of DeMolay,” was founded in Kansas City in 1919 by Freemason Frank S. Land.

Similar to what happens in Freemasonry, new members are ceremoniously initiated using “degrees” that are part of the Order’s secret ritual, authored, in the case of the Order of DeMolay’s ritual, by Frank A. Marshall at founder Land’s request in 1919. The first, and less dramatic of the two degrees is called “the Initiatory Degree,” wherein initiates are escorted around the meeting room and instructed in the precepts and Seven Cardinal Virtues of the Order. The second of the two degrees, known as “the DeMolay Degree,” which, along with the Initiatory Degree, members and observers are sworn to keep secret, dramatically recreates the trial, “before a Commission in its Council Chamber,” of the historic characters named in the ritual as “Jacques DeMolay and his three preceptors, Geoffroi de Charney, Godfrey de Goneville, and Hughes de Peralde.”

The DeMolay Degree, in which players dress in robes and other period costume, and appear on a dimly-lit stage whereupon they dramatically deliver memorized lines prescribed in the ritual, is described therein as depicting “the tragic climax in the career of Jacques DeMolay, the hero and martyr who is the exemplar of our Order.” The stage instructions include that “the foremost point to be remembered is to portray Jacques DeMolay as the hero and to select an interpretation for the DeMolay Degree which will enhance the lessons of fidelity and toleration.” The drama concludes with the commission condemning the four to life imprisonment; however, according to the ritual, “so incensed was the king at the noble defiance and defense of DeMolay and Geoffroi de Charney that he overrode the Commission’s verdict and hurried DeMolay and de Charney to the stake on an island near the Cathedral, where they were barbarously burned.”

1. Jacques de Molay 1244 – 1314. (2010, March 31). Retrieved from Templar history:

2. Hodappp, C. (2009, March 18). 695th Anniversary of the Death of Jacques de Molay. Retrieved from Templar Code for Dummies blog:

3. Trial of the Knights Templar: Arrests, charges, and subsequent events. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia:

4. Zolnai, A. (n.d.). Jacques de Molay. Retrieved from Project Beauceant:


Jan 03

Daniel Dunglas

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

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The most notable physical medium in the history of Spiritualism. There was a certain mystery about Home’s parentage. According to a footnote in his Incidents in My Life (1863), his father was a natural son of Alexander, the tenth earl of Home. Through his mother he was descended from a Highland family in which the traditional gift of second sight had been preserved. He was born on March 20, 1833, in Scotland.

Home was a sensitive, delicate child of a highly nervous temperament and of such weak health that he was not expected to live. Adopted by Mrs. McNeill Cook, a childless aunt, he passed his infancy at Portobello, Scotland, and was taken to the United States at the age of nine, growing up in Greeneville, Connecticut, and Troy, New York. It was noticed that he had keen powers of observation and a prodigious memory. He saw his first vision at age 13. A schoolfellow, Edwin, died in Greeneville and appeared to him in a bright cloud at night in Troy, thus keeping a childish promise with which they had bound themselves that he who died first would appear to the other. Home’s second vision came four years later. It announced the death of his mother to the hour.

From that time on his thoughts turned more and more to the life beyond. One night he heard loud, unaccountable blows, the next morning a volley of raps. His aunt, remembering the Hydesville rappings that had occurred two years before, believed him to be possessed by the devil and called for a Congregationalist, a Baptist, and a Methodist minister for exorcism. This being unsuccessful, she turned him out of doors. Thenceforth, although he never asked for or received direct payment, Home appears to have lived on the hospitality of friends attracted by his curious gift.

The first scientist to investigate Home’s phenomena was George Bush, a distinguished theologian and Oriental scholar from New York. The celebrated American poet William Cullen Bryant and a Professor Wells of Harvard University testified in a written statement to the reality of the phenomena. Professors Robert Hare and James Mapes, both famous chemists, and John Worth Edmonds of the United States Supreme Court owed much of their conversion to Spiritualism to this young man of frail health.

Home’s first levitation occurred in the South Manchester house of Ward Cheney, an eminent American manufacturer. Strains of music were heard when no instrument was near.

Nobody understood at that time the part the physical organism plays in the production of the phenomena. The demands made on Home were very heavy and the drain of nervous energy excessive. His intended medical studies had to be broken off because of illness; a trip to Europe being advised, Home went to England in April 1855. He first stayed at Cox’s Hotel in Jermyn Street, London, and was later the guest of J. S. Rymer, an Ealing solicitor.

The conversion of many of the later leaders of the Spiritualist movement in England was attributed to Home’s phenomena. When these phenomena attracted public attention Home found himself in the midst of a press war. Among the first who asked Home to attend a séance was Lord Brougham, who came to the sitting with Sir David Brewster. Home was proud of the impression he made upon these two distinguished men and wrote about it to a friend in the United States. The letter was published in the United States and found its way to the London press, whereupon Brewster at once disclaimed all belief in Spiritualism and set down the phenomena to imposture. At the same time his statements in private supported Home, and they too found their way into the newspapers.

More lasting harm was done to Home’s reputation by Robert Browning ‘s poem, “Mr. Sludge, the Medium,” which was generally taken to refer to Home. Browning and his wife, who accepted Spiritualism, had attended séances with Home. The poem was a malignant attack, since Browning had never claimed in public to have caught Home at trickery and in private admitted that imposture was out of the question. The reason for this vicious attack may have been jealousy over his wife’s enthusiasm for Home’s phenomena.

Other famous men of the day, such as Bulwer Lytton and William Thackeray, never spoke of their experiences in public. Thackeray made Home’s acquaintance in the United States when he lectured there. Both there and in London Thackeray availed himself of every opportunity of sitting with Home. He admitted to have found a genuine mystery and warmly endorsed Robert Bell’s anonymous article “Stranger than Fiction,” published in the Cornhill Magazine, which Thackeray then edited.

Bell’s account of a séance with Home starts with a quotation of a Dr. Treviranus to Coleridge: “I have seen what I would not have believed on your testimony, and what I cannot therefore, expect you to believe upon mine.” Thackeray was bitterly attacked for the publication of the article and it was said that the Cornhill Magazine dropped considerably in circulation as a consequence.

In the early autumn of 1855 Home went to Florence to visit Thomas A. Trollope. His name and fame soon spread there, too. False rumors arose among the peasants that he was a necromancer and administered the sacraments of the church to toads in order to raise the dead by spells and incantations. This rumor may explain an attempt against his life on December 5, 1855, when a man ambushed him late at night and stabbed him three times with a dagger. Home had a narrow escape. The attacker was never arrested, but Home was warned the following month by Signor Lan Ducci, minister of the interior to the grand duke of Tuscany, of his sinister reputation among the populace.

About this time he was told by the spirits that his power would leave him for a year. In Home’s state of seclusion from supernormal contact, Catholic influences found an easy inroad into his religious ideas. He converted to Catholicism and decided to enter a monastery. He was received by Pius IX and treated with favor. Home changed his mind, however, and left Italy for Paris, where, to the day from the announced suspension, his powers returned. The news reached the French court and Napoleon III summoned him to the Tuilleries.

The story of Home’s séance with Napoleon was not made public. The curiosity of the press was aroused, however, when the first séance was followed by many others.

An account of the first séance in Home’s autobiography, Incidents in My Life, tells how Napoleon followed every manifestation with keen and skeptical attention and satisfied himself by the closest scrutiny that neither deception nor delusion was possible. His and the empress’s unspoken thoughts were replied to, and the empress was touched by a materialized hand that, from a defect in one of the fingers, she recognized to be the hand of her late father.

The second séance was more forceful. The room was shaken; heavy tables were lifted and then held down to the floor by an alteration of their weight. At the third séance a phantom hand appeared above the table, lifted a pencil, and wrote the single word Napoleon in the handwriting of Napoleon I.

Prince Murat later related to Home that the Duke de Morny told Napoleon III that he felt it a duty to contradict the report that the emperor believed in Spiritualism. The emperor replied, “Quite right, but you may add when you speak on the subject again that there is a difference between believing a thing and having proof of it, and that I am certain of what I have seen.”

When, soon after these séances, Home left Paris for the United States, rumors were rife that his departure was compulsory. On his return to Paris, however, he was speedily summoned to Fontainebleau, where the king of Bavaria was interested in a séance. Home was in great power at the time and so much sought after that the Union Club, where fashionable sophisticates congregated, offered him 50,000 francs for a single séance. Home refused. A book, privately printed in France, recorded the strange experiences of the high society with Home’s mediumship.

Earlier, in Italy, Home had been introduced to the king of Naples. The German emperor and the queen of Holland soon joined the ranks of the curious who were besieging Home with requests for séances.

While enjoying the benevolence of crowned heads and the highest members of the aristocracy, Home had to wage a desperate struggle against the scandalmongers. Fantastic stories began to circulate as soon as he left Paris, and while he was regaining his shattered health in Italy it was even rumored that he was in the prison of Mazas.

In Rome during the spring of 1858 Home was introduced to Count Koucheleff-Besborodka and his wife. Soon after he became engaged to Alexandrina de Kroll, the count’s sister-inlaw. The wedding took place in St. Petersburg. It was a great society affair. Count Alexis Tolstoy, the poet, and Count Bobrinsky, a chamberlain to the emperor, acted as groomsmen. Alexandre Dumas, a guest of Count Koucheleff-Besborodka, was one of the witnesses.

Many of Dumas’s fantastic stories about spirits entering into inanimate objects were derived from Home’s mediumship. In Russia, as well as in many other countries, rumors circulated regarding Home’s mysterious powers. For instance, it was said that a great number of cats slept with him and by this means his body became so charged with electricity that he could produce raps at pleasure! In Paris the favorite story was that he carried a trained monkey in his pocket to twitch dresses and shake hands during the séances. From chloroforming and magnetizing the sitters, to possessing a magic lantern, to hiring secret police to obtain information for the sittings—every sort of wild explanation was attempted. Yet none of them could match the inspired inanity of one woman who was reported to have said, “Lor, sirs, it’s easy enough, he only rubs himself all over with a gold pencil first.”

From Home’s marriage to Alexandrina de Kroll a son was born. Shortly after Home returned to England, friends tried to bring about a meeting between him and Michael Faraday, the famous scientist and proponent of the involuntary muscular action theory to explain table movement. As the Morning Star reported, Faraday was not satisfied with demanding an open and complete examination, but wished Home to acknowledge that the phenomena, however produced, were ridiculous and contemptible. Thereafter, the idea of giving him a sitting was abandoned.

Home derived more satisfaction from his experiences with Dr. Ashburner, a royal physician, and John Elliotson, sometime president of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London, a character study of whom, as “Dr. Goodenough,” was drawn by Thackeray in Pendennis, and to whom the work was dedicated. When Ashburner became a believer in Spiritualism, Elliotson, who was one of the hardest materialists, became estranged from him and publicly attacked him for his folly. A few years later, however, Home and Elliotson met in Dieppe. The result was a séance, a strict investigation, and the conversion of Elliotson. On his return to London he hastened to seek reconciliation with Ashburner and publicly declared that he was satisfied of the reality of the phenomena and that they were tending to revolutionize his thoughts and feelings.

Home’s phenomena also radically changed Robert Chambers, coauthor, with Leitch Ritchie, of the anonymous Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), which startled the public by its outspoken skepticism. Chambers attended the séance Robert Bell wrote about in Cornhill Magazine. He was too afraid of losing his reputation to make a public statement, although he allegedly received startling evidence of continued personal identity from his deceased father and daughter. Nevertheless, Chambers anonymously wrote the preface to Home’s autobiography in 1862. Eight years later, during the Lyon-Home trial, he abandoned his attitude of reserve and gave an affidavit in Home’s favor.

For a time during 1859 to 1860, Home gave frequent joint séances with the American medium J. R. M. Squire, an editor of the Boston Banner of Light. Squire was introduced to London society under Home’s auspices and later in the year he was presented at court.

Home’s wife died in July 1862. Six months later his book Incidents in My Life was published. It attracted widespread notice in the press. The Morning Herald remarked, “We must note also the strangeness of the fact that Mr. Home has never been detected, if indeed he is an imposter.” The book sold very well and a second edition was published in a few months. This, however, did not relieve the money problems Home began to experience. Relatives disputed his right of inheritance to the fortune of his wife, and, looking about for a means of livelihood, he decided to develop his keen artistic perception. He hoped to become a sculptor and went to Rome to study.

The papal government, however, had not forgiven the breaking of his promise to enter a monastery. In January 1864 he was summoned before the chief of the Roman police and ordered, on the grounds of “sorcery,” to leave Rome within three days. Home claimed the protection of the English consul, and the order of expulsion was suspended on his promise that, during his stay in Rome, he would have no séance and would avoid—as much as possible—all conversations about Spiritualism. Because the manifestations were beyond his control, however, he was soon ordered to quit the papal territory. He left for Naples, where he was received by Prince Humbert, and returned in April to London to demand diplomatic representations on the subject of his expulsion. There was a debate in the House of Commons, but no representation was agreed upon.

Soon after, Home made another trip to the United States, hoping to achieve success as a reader because he had talent as a stage reciter. His public rendering of Henry Howard Brownell’s poems was very well received; on returning to Europe he continued this new career with a lecture on Spiritualism in London.

His health, however, could not stand the strain. Friends came to the rescue with the post of residential secretary at the foundation of the Spiritual Athenaeum, a kind of headquarters for London Spiritualists.

Then came the disastrous proposition of Jane Lyon, a wealthy widow, that she adopt Home, with the intention of securing his financial stability. Lyon took a fancy to Home and proposed to adopt him if he added her name to his own, in which case she was prepared to give him substantial wealth. Home assented and changed his name to Home-Lyon. Lyon transferred £60,000 to Home’s account and drew up a will in his favor. Later she repented her action and sued him for the recovery of her money on the basis that she was influenced by spirit communications coming through Home from her late husband.

While the suit was in progress, an attempt was made against Home’s life. He parried the blow of the assassin’s stiletto with his hand, which was pierced. The fantastic stories that were circulated around this incident are best illustrated by a reminiscence in the New York World on the report of his death, in which the paper stated that Lyon had a false left hand and Home actually made her believe that by mediumistic power he could create life in the artificial limb.

Lord Adare, in his privately published Experiences in Spiritualism with D.D. Home (1869), covers most of Home’s work for the period 1867 to 1869, including some 80 séances. In 1869 the London Dialectical Society appointed a committee for the investigation of Spiritualistic phenomena. The committee, before which Home appeared, had some of the most skeptical members of the society on its list, including atheist spokesman Charles Bradlaugh. Four séances were held, but because of Home’s illness the manifestations did not extend beyond slight raps and movements of the table. The committee reported that nothing material had occurred, but added that “during the inquiry Mr. Home afforded every facility for examination.”

In May 1871 Sir William Crookes began an investigation of Home and reached a very favorable opinion of what he saw. Before this investigation other important events took place in Home’s life. He won the lawsuit for his deceased wife’s fortune, became engaged to an aristocratic lady of wealth, and gave several séances in the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. During a lecture on Spiritualism he referred to some particulars of a séance held in the presence of a distinguished professor at the University of St. Petersburg. At the end of the lecture a Professor Boutlerof rose from his place and announced that he was the investigator to whom Home had referred. This dramatic scene was followed by an investigation by a committee from the university. The results were negative, since Home’s powers were allegedly at an ebb because of recurring illness.

In 1872 Home published the second series of his Incidents in My Life, including the principal affidavits in the Lyon lawsuit, and in 1873 he published his Lights and Shadows of Spiritualism. His opinions on fraudulent mediumship and his protest against holding séances in the dark were bitterly resented by other mediums. They said that he had little experience of the powers of others.

Kate Fox Jencken, of the Fox sisters, was the only medium with whom he was friendly. On a few occasions he sat jointly with William Stainton Moses. After the first such sitting, on December 22, 1872, Moses wrote in his notebook:

“Mr. D. D. Home is a striking-looking man. His head is a good one. He shaves his face with the exception of a moustache, and his hair is bushy and curly. He gives me the impression of an honest, good person whose intellect is not of high order. I had some talk with him, and the impression that I have formed of his intellectual ability is not high. He resolutely refuses to believe in anything that he has not seen for himself. For instance, he refuses to believe in the passage of matter through matter, and when pressed concludes the argument by saying ‘I have never seen it.’ He has seen the ring test, but oddly enough, does not see how it bears on the question. He accepts the theory of the return in rare instances of the departed, but believes with me that most of the manifestations proceed from a low order of spirits who hover near the earth sphere. He does not believe in Mrs. Guppy’s passage through matter, nor in her honesty. He thinks that regular manifestations are not possible. Consequently he disbelieves in public mediums generally. He said he was thankful to know that his mantle had fallen on me, and urged me to prosecute the inquiry and defend the faith. He is a thoroughly good, honest, weak and very vain man, with little intellect, and no ability to argue, or defend his faith.”

Home slowly broke with nearly all of his friends and spent most of his time on the Continent. In 1876 his death was falsely reported in the French press. He lived in declining health for ten more years and died on June 21, 1886. His grave is at St. Germain, Paris, and his tombstone is inscribed “To another discerning of Spirits.” In the Canongate of Edinburgh there is a fountain erected to his memory. It is not known who erected it nor why it was placed opposite the Canongate Parish Church.

Evaluating Home’s Work
Home demonstrated every known physical phenomenon of Spiritualism except apports and direct voice. He even possessed a latent faculty of direct voice. Faint whisperings were sometimes heard in his séances, but only of single words. He was mostly in a normal state during the phenomena but went into trance during the fire test, elongations, and occasionally during levitations.

The spirit teachings delivered through Home’s mouth by his control were sometimes absurd. The control, criticizing the knowledge of scientists, said that the sun was covered with beautiful vegetation and was full of organic life. When Lord Adare asked, “Is not the sun hot?” the control answered “No, the sun is cold; the heat is produced and transmitted to the earth by the rays of light passing through various atmospheres.”

Lord Adare, then earl of Dunraven, describes Home’s character in the 1924 edition of Experiences in Spiritualism with D. D. Home:

“He had the defects of an emotional character, with vanity highly developed (perhaps wisely to enable him to hold his own against the ridicule and obloquy that was then poured out upon spiritualism and everyone connected with it). He was liable to fits of great depression and to nervous crisis difficult at first to understand; but he was withal of a simple, kindly, humorous, lovable disposition that appealed to me…. He never took money for séances, and séances failed as often as not. He was proud of his gift but not happy in it. He could not control it and it placed him sometimes in very unpleasant positions. I think he would have been pleased to have been relieved of it, but I believe he was subject to these manifestations as long as he lived.”

Sir William Crookes summed up his opinion as follows:

“During the whole of my knowledge of D. D. Home, extending for several years, I never once saw the slightest occurrence that would make me suspicious that he was attempting to play tricks. He was scrupulously sensitive on this point, and never felt hurt at anyone taking precautions against deception…. To those who knew him Home was one of the most lovable of men and his perfect genuineness and uprightness were beyond suspicion….”

Frank Podmore, a most skeptical psychical researcher, said of Home:

“A remarkable testimony to Home’s ability whether as medium or simply as conjurer, is the position which he succeeded in maintaining in society at this time [1861] and indeed throughout his later life, and the respectful treatment accorded to him by many leading organs of the Press. No money was ever taken by him as the price of a sitting; and he seemed to have had the entree to some of the most aristocratic circles in Europe. He was welcomed in the houses of our own and of foreign nobility, was a frequent guest at the Tuilleries, and had been received by the King of Prussia and the Czar. So strong, indeed, was his position that he was able to compel an ample apology from a gentleman who had publicly expressed doubts of his mediumistic performance (Capt. Noble in the Sussex Advertiser of March 23, 1864) and to publish a violent and spiteful attack upon Browning on the occasion of the publication of Sludge (Spiritual Magazine, 1864, p. 315). His expulsion from Rome in 1864 on the charge of sorcery gave to Home for the time an international importance.”

Podmore added: “Home was never publicly exposed as an imposter; there is no evidence of any weight that he was even privately detected in trickery.”

Between the publication of his Modern Spiritualism in 1902 and The Newer Spiritualism in 1910, Podmore nevertheless succeeded in unearthing a single piece of so-called evidence of imposture in a letter from a Mr. Merrifield, dated August 1855 and printed in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (1903), in which the writer claims to have noticed that the medium’s body or shoulder sank or rose in concordance with the movements of a spirit hand and to have seen afterward “the whole connection between the medium’s shoulder and arm and the spirit hand dressed out on the end of his own.” This highly speculative statement was sufficient for Podmore to proceed to talk of Home as a practiced conjurer who dictated his own conditions in the experiments and produced his feats by trickery. The only admission Podmore made was that “we don’t quite see how some of the things were done and we leave the subject with an almost painful sense of bewilderment.”

Long after Home’s death various writers speculated on how Home’s feats might have been achieved by trickery, imputing that there must have been trickery. It is generally conceded that Home was never detected in trickery.

Attempts were also made to discredit Home’s unfortunate association with Jane Lyon and to suggest that Home tried to take advantage of a wealthy widow. But the evidence suggests that Home was pressured by a foolish and unstable woman. Her claim that Home used undue influence “from the spirit world” is refuted by her transferring allegiance to a Miss Nicholls, another medium, at the time she reneged on her commitment to Home. It was also claimed that Lyon wanted Home to be “something nearer than an adopted son,” and her change of heart stemmed from his repulsing her advances.

As far as Browning’s spiteful attack in “Mr. Sludge, the Medium” is concerned, the veteran psychical researcher E. J. Dingwall suggests in his book Some Human Oddities (1947) that Home might have given the impression of latent homosexual tendencies, which might have incensed Browning.

Home remains an enigma. He was never caught in fraud but accomplished things far beyond that which even contemporary scientific opinion admits are possible. He operated at a time when numerous others where doing similar things and were caught in fraud, often after successfully deceiving many learned and seemingly competent observers. There are two possibilities: he was either a very unusual person, capable of doing the phenomenal things reported of him, or he was one of the most clever frauds in the history of humanity. We may never know which one he was.

Dec 06

Catherine Deshayes

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)

deshayesCatherine Deshayes, sometimes known as Catherine Monvoisin, or simply La Voisin was a French serial killer. She was born around 1640, and executed as a witch on 16 February 1680, in Paris; together with several others. She played an important role in the so-called Affair of the Poisons. She lived from charging high fees to make horosocopes. She celebrated black masses, practiced abortions, sold love potions and poisons. She is said to have sacrificed infants.
Catherine Monvoisin, or Montvoisin, née Deshayes, known as “La Voisin” (c. 1640 – February 22, 1680), was a French fortune teller, poisoner and an alleged sorceress, one of the chief personages in the affaire des poisons, during the reign of Louis XIV.


Catherine Deshayes was married to Antoine Monvoisin, a jeweller with a shop at Pont-Marie in Paris. After her husband was ruined, La Voisin started her career by practising chiromancy and face-reading to support her family. She practiced medicine, especially midwifery, and performed abortions.

As for her practice in fortune telling, she was to say that she developed the talent God had given her.

She was to have been taught the art of fortune telling at the age of nine, and after her husband became ruined, she decided to profit by it. She studied the modern methods of physiology and reading the client’s future by reading their faces and hands. She also spend a lot of money to provide an atmosphere which could make the clients more inclined to believe in the prophecies. For example, she acquired a special robe of crimson red velvet embroidered with eagles in gold for a price of 1500 livres to perform in.

In 1665/66, her fortune telling was questioned by the priests of Saint Vincent de Paul’s order, the Congregation of the Mission, but La Voisin defended herself successfully before the professors at the Sorbonne.


During her work as a fortune teller, she noticed the similarities between her customers wishes about their future: almost all wanted to have some one fall in love with them, that some one would die so that they might inherit, or that their spouses would die, so that they might marry some one else. Initially, she told her clients that their will would be true if it was also the will of God. Then, she started to recommend to her clients some action that would make their dreams come true. These actions were initially to visit the church of some particular saint; eventually, she started to sell amulets and recommend magical practices of various kinds. The bones of toads, teeth of moles, Spanish flies, iron filings, human blood and mummy, or the dust of human remains, were among the alleged ingredients of the love powders concocted by La Voisin.

Finally, she started to sell aphrodisiacs to those who wished for people to fall in love with them, and poison to those who wished for some one to die. Her knowledge of poisons was not apparently so thorough as that of less well-known sorcerers, or it would be difficult to account for Louise de La Vallière’s immunity. The art of poisoning had become a regular science at the time, having been perfected, in part, by Giulia Tofana, a professional female poisoner in Italy, only a few decades before La Voisin.

She arranged black masses, where the clients could pray to the Devil to make their wishes come true. During at least some of these masses, a woman performed as an altar, upon which a bowl was placed: a baby was held above the bowl, and the blood from it was poured in to the bowl. She had a large network of colleagues and assistants, among them Adam Lesage, who performed allegedly magical tasks; the priests Étienne Guibourg and abbé Mariotte, who officiated at the black masses; and poisoners like Catherine Trianon.

La Voisin had many clients among the aristocracy and made a fortune from her business. Among her noted clients were countess de Soissons, duchess de Bouillon; Comtesse de Gramont (“la belle Hamilton”), François-Henri de Montmorency, duc de Luxembourg, princesse Marie Louise Charlotte de Tingry, marchioness Benigne d’Alluye, countess Claude Marie du Roure, count de Clermont-Lodéve, countess Jacqueline de Polignac, duchess Antoinette de Vivonne, Marquis Louis de Cessac, Marquis Antoine de Feuquieres and Marechal de la Ferthe.

La Voisin resided at Villeneuve-sur-Gravois, where she received her clients. She tended to her clients all day, and entertained at parties with violin music in her gardens at night, attended by Parisian upper class society. The house also included a furnace for the bodies of dead babies, who were then buried in the garden. She regularly attended at the services at the church of the Jansenist abbé de Sant-Amour, principal at the Paris University, and godmother of her daughter was the noblewoman de la Roche-Guyon. She supported a family of six, including her mother, and among her lovers were the executioner Andre Guillaume, Latour, vicomte de Cousserans, count de Labatie, the alchemist Blessis, the architect Fauchet and the magician Adam Lesage. At one point, Adam Lesage tried to induce her to kill her husband, but she regretted the plan and aborted the process. La Voisin was interested in science and alchemy and financed several private projects and enterprises, some of them made by con artists who tried to fool money out of her. Privately, she suffered from alcoholism, was apparently abused by Latour, and engaged in severe conflicts with her rival, poisoner Marie Bosse.

Connection to Madame de Montespan

The most important client of La Voisin Madame de Montespan, official royal mistress to King Louis XIV of France. Their contact were often performed through the companion of Montespan, Claude de Vin des Œillets. In 1667, Montespan hired La Voisin to arrange a black mass. This mass was celebrated in a house in Rue de la Tannerie. Adam Lesage and abbé Mariotte officiated, while Montespan prayed to win the love of the king. The same year, Montespan became the official mistress of the king, and after this, she employed La Voisin whenever a problem occurred in her relationship with the king.

In 1673, when the king’s interest in Montespan seemed to deteriorate, Montespan again employed La Voisin, who provided a series of black masses officiated by Etienne Guibourg. On a least one occasion, Montespan herself acted as the human altar during the mass. La Voisin also provided Montespan with aphrodisiac, with which Montespan drugged the King. During the king’s affair with Soubise, Montespan used aphrodisiac provided by Voisin’s colleague Francoise Filastre and made by Louis Galet in Normandy.

In 1677, Montespan made clear that if the king should abandon her, she would have him killed. When the King entered in to a relationship with Angélique de Fontanges in 1679, Montespan called for La Voisin and asked her to have both the king and Fontages killed. La Voisin hesitated, but was eventually convinced to agree. At the house of her colleague, Catherine Trianon, La Voisin constructed a plan to kill the king together with the poisoners Trianon, Bertrand and Romani, the last being also the fiancé of her daughter. Trianon was unwilling to participate and tried to make her change her mind by constructing an ill-fated fortune for her, but Voisin refused to change her mind. The group decided to murder the king by poisoning a petition, to be delivered to his own hands.

The 5 March 1679, La Voisin visited the royal court in Saint-Germain to deliver the petition. At that day, however, there were too many petitioners and the king did not take them in his hands, which made her return without having delivered it. Upon her return to her home in Paris, she was castigated by a group of monks. She handed the petition to her daughter and asked her to burn it, which she also did. The next day, she made plans to visit Catherine Trianon after mass, to plan the next murder attempt upon Louis XIV.

Investigation and execution

The death of the king’s sister-in-law, the Duchesse d’Orléans, had been falsely attributed to poison, and the crimes of Madame de Brinvilliers (executed in 1676) and her accomplices were still fresh in the public mind. In parallel, a riot took place where people accused witches of abducting children for the black masses, and priests reported that a growing number of people were confessing to poisoning in their confessions.

In 1677, the fortune teller Magdelaine de La Grange was arrested for poisoning, and claimed that she had information about crimes of high importance. The arrest of the successful fortune teller and poisoner Marie Bosse and Marie Vigoreux in January 1679, made the police aware that there existed a network of fortune tellers in Paris who dealt with the distribution of poison.

The 12 March 1679, La Voisin was arrested outside Notre-Dame de Bonne-Nouvelle after having heard mass, just before her appointed meeting at Catherine Trianon. In April 1679, a commission appointed to inquire into the subject and to prosecute the offenders met for the first time. Its proceedings, including some suppressed in the official records, are preserved in the notes of one of the official court reporters, Gabriel Nicolas de la Reynie.

At the arrest of La Voisin, her maid Margot stated that the arrest would mean the end of a number of people of all positions of society. The arrest of La Voisin was followed by the arrest of her daughter Marguerite Monvoisin, Guibourg, Lesage, Bertrand, Romain and the rest of her network of her associates. La Voisin was imprisoned at Vincennes, were she was subjected to questioning. On 27 December 1679, Louis XIV issued an order that the whole network should be exterminated by all methods regardless of the rank, gender or age of those involved.

La Voisin confessed to the crimes she was accused of and described the development of her career. She was never subjected to torture: a formal order was issued giving permission to the use of torture, but it was made clear that the order was not to be put in effect, and consequently it was never made use of. The reason it suggested to be the fear that she might give away the names of influential people if she was questioned under torture. La Voisin never mentioned the names of any of her clients during the interviews. She once mentioned to the guards, that the question she feared most was that they should ask her about her visits at the royal court. It is likely that she was referring to Montespan as her client and her attempt of murdering the king, and that she feared that such a confession should result in her execution for regicide. Her list of clients, the arranging of the black masses, her connection to Montespan and the murder attempt on the king was not to be revealed until after her death, when it was stated by her daughter and confirmed by the uncontaminated testimonies of the other accused.

La Voisin was convicted of witchcraft and was burned in public on the Place de Grève in Paris the 22 February 1680. In July, her daughter Marguerite Monvoisin revealed her connection to Montespan, which was confirmed by the statements of the other accused. This caused the monarch to eventually close the investigation, seal the testimonies and place the remaining accused outside of the public justice system by imprisoning them under a lettre de cachet.

Dec 06

Count Alessandro di Cagliostro

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)

220px-Giuseppe_BalsamoCount Alessandro di Cagliostro (Italian: [alesˈsandro kaʎˈʎɔstro]; 2 June 1743 – 26 August 1795) was the alias of the occultist Giuseppe Balsamo ([dʒuˈzɛppe ˈbalsamo]; in French usually referred to as Joseph Balsamo), an Italian adventurer.

The history of Cagliostro is shrouded in rumour, propaganda, and mysticism. Some effort was expended to ascertain his true identity when he was arrested because of possible participation in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe relates in his Italian Journey that the identification of Cagliostro with Giuseppe Balsamo was ascertained by a lawyer from Palermo who, upon official request, had sent a dossier with copies of the pertinent documents to France. Goethe met the lawyer in April 1787 and saw the documents and Balsamo’s pedigree: Balsamo’s great-grandfather Matteo Martello had two daughters: Maria, who married Giuseppe Bracconeri; and Vincenza, who married Giuseppe Cagliostro. Maria and Giuseppe Bracconeri had three children: Matteo; Antonia; and Felicità, who married Pietro Balsamo (the son of a bookseller, Antonino Balsamo, who had declared bankruptcy before dying at age 44). The son of Felicità and Pietro Balsamo was Giuseppe, who was christened with the name of his great-uncle and eventually adopted his surname, too. Felicità Balsamo was still alive in Palermo at the time of Goethe’s travels in Italy, and he visited her and her daughter.

Cagliostro himself stated during the trial following the Affair of the Diamond Necklace that he had been born of Christians of noble birth but abandoned as an orphan upon the island of Malta.

He claimed to have travelled as a child to Medina, Mecca, and Cairo and upon return to Malta to have been admitted to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, with whom he studied alchemy, the Kabbalah, and magic.

Early life
He was born to a poor family in Albergheria, which was once the old Jewish Quarter of Palermo, Sicily. Despite his family’s precarious financial situation, his grandfather and uncles made sure the young Giuseppe received a solid education: he was taught by a tutor and later became a novice in the Catholic Order of St. John of God, from which he was eventually expelled.

During his period as a novice in the order, Balsamo learned chemistry as well as a series of spiritual rites. In 1764, when he was seventeen, he convinced Vincenzo Marano—a wealthy goldsmith—of the existence of a hidden treasure buried several hundred years prior at Mount Pellegrino. The young man’s knowledge of the occult, Marano reasoned, would be valuable in preventing the duo from being attacked by magical creatures guarding the treasure. In preparation for the expedition to Mount Pellegrino, however, Balsamo requested seventy pieces of silver from Marano.

When the time came for the two to dig up the supposed treasure, Balsamo attacked Marano, who was left bleeding and wondering what had happened to the boy—in his mind, the beating he had been subjected to had been the work of djinns.

The next day, Marano paid a visit to Balsamo’s house in via Perciata (since then renamed via Conte di Cagliostro), where he learned the young man had left the city. Balsamo (accompanied by two accomplices) had fled to the city of Messina. By 1765–66, Balsamo found himself on the island of Malta, where he became an auxiliary (donato) for the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and a skilled pharmacist.

In early 1768 Balsamo left for Rome, where he managed to land himself a job as a secretary to Cardinal Orsini. The job proved boring to Balsamo and he soon started leading a double life, selling magical “Egyptian” amulets and engravings pasted on boards and painted over to look like paintings. Of the many Sicilian expatriates and ex-convicts he met during this period, one introduced him to a fourteen-year-old girl named Lorenza Seraphina Feliciani, whom he married.

The couple moved in with Lorenza’s parents and her brother in the vicolo delle Cripte, adjacent to the strada dei Pellegrini. Balsamo’s coarse language and the way he incited Lorenza to display her body contrasted deeply with her parents’ deep rooted religious beliefs. After a heated discussion, the young couple left.

At this point Balsamo befriended Agliata, a forger and swindler, who proposed to teach Balsamo how to forge letters, diplomas and myriad other official documents. In return, though, Agliata sought sexual intercourse with Balsamo’s young wife, a request to which Balsamo acquiesced.

The couple traveled together to London, where Balsamo allegedly met the Comte de Saint-Germain. He traveled throughout Europe, especially to Courland, Russia, Poland, Germany, and later France. His fame grew to the point that he was even recommended as a physician to Benjamin Franklin during a stay in Paris.

On April 12, 1776 Balsamo was admitted as a Freemason of the Esperance Lodge No. 289 in Gerrard Street, Soho, London. In December 1777 Balsamo and his wife left London. In February 1779 Balsamo traveled to Mitau. In September 1780 Balsamo made his way to Strasbourg. In September 1781 Egyptian Freemasonry was mentioned for the first time. In October 1784 Balsamo travelled to Lyon. On December 24, 1784 he founded the mother lodge La Sagesse Triomphante of his rite of Egyptian Freemasonry at Lyon. In January 1785 Balsamo went to Paris in response to the entreaties of Cardinal Rohan.

Affair of the diamond necklace
He was prosecuted in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace which involved Marie Antoinette and Prince Louis de Rohan, and was held in the Bastille for nine months but finally acquitted, when no evidence could be found connecting him to the affair. Nonetheless, he was asked to leave France, and departed for England. There he was accused by Theveneau de Morande of being Giuseppe Balsamo, which he denied in his published Open Letter to the English People, forcing a retraction and apology from Morande.

Betrayal, imprisonment, death and legacy
Cagliostro left England to visit Rome, where he met two people who proved to be spies of the Inquisition. Some accounts hold that his wife was the one who initially betrayed him to the Inquisition. On 27 December 1789, he was arrested and imprisoned in the Castel Sant’Angelo. Soon afterwards he was sentenced to death on the charge of being a Freemason. The Pope changed his sentence, however, to life imprisonment in the Castel Sant’Angelo. After attempting to escape he was relocated to the Fortress of San Leo where he died not long after.

Portuguese author Camilo Castelo Branco credits to Balsamo the creation of the Egyptian Rite of the Freemasons and intensive work in the diffusion of Freemasonry, by opening lodges all over Europe and by introducing the acceptance of women into the community.

Cagliostro was an extraordinary forger. Giacomo Casanova, in his autobiography, narrated an encounter in which Cagliostro was able to forge a letter by Casanova, despite being unable to understand it.

Occult historian Lewis Spence comments in his entry on Cagliostro that the swindler put his finagled wealth to good use by starting and funding a chain of maternity hospitals and orphanages around the continent.

He carried an alchemistic manuscript The Most Holy Trinosophia amongst others with him on his ill-fated journey to Rome and it is alleged that he wrote it.

Occultist Aleister Crowley believed Cagliostro was one of his previous incarnations.

Dec 06

Francis Dashwood

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)

SirfrancisdashwoodFrancis Dashwood, 15th Baron le Despencer PC FRS (December 1708 – 11 December 1781) was an English rake and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762–1763) and founder of the Hellfire Club.

Early life
Dashwood was born in Great Marlborough Street, London, in December 1708.He was only son of Sir Francis Dashwood, 1st Baronet (died 1724), and his second wife Mary, eldest daughter of Vere Fane, 4th Earl of Westmorland.

Dashwood was educated at Eton College where he became associated with William Pitt the Elder. Upon the death of his father on 4 November 1724, Dashwood, who only fifteen, inherited his father’s estates and the Baronetcy of Dashwood of West Wycombe.

Grand tours
Dashwood spent his youth and early manhood abroad gaining:

a European reputation for his pranks and adventures….

He roamed from court to court in search of notoriety. In Russia he masqueraded as Charles XII, and in that unsuitable character aspired to be the lover of the Tsarina Anne. In Italy his outrages on religion and morality led to his expulsion from the dominions of the Church.

However his sojourns abroad were not totally without merit, as they also contained within them classical aspects of the European Grand Tour. After travelling to France and then returning via Germany to England between January and September 1726, he did not venture abroad again until 1729, when he was away for two years returning in 1731. During this time he visited Italy (He was to return to Italy between 1739 to 1741 when stayed in Florence and Rome and visited Leghorn and the excavations at Herculaneum. While in Italy he befriended the philosopher and theologian Antonio Niccolini (1701–1769). In 1733—between the visits to Italy—Dashwood accompanied George, Lord Forbes, envoy-extraordinary, to St Petersburg, stopping on the way at Copenhagen. In the opinion of Patrick Woodland, the author of his biography in the ODNB (2004): “His intelligent and discriminating diary of this expedition offers important first-hand descriptions of both capitals at this date”.

Dilettanti Society and the Divan Club
In 1732 Dilettanti formed a dining club called the Society of Dilettanti with around 40 charter members (some of whom may have been members of Wharton’s original club) who had returned from the Grand Tour with a greater appreciation of classical art. William Hogarth drew Sir Francis Dashwood at his Devotions for dilettante Viscount Boyne.

“[I]f not the actual projector and founder of the [Dilettanti] Society, he was certainly its leading member in 1736”. He took a prominent part in the proceedings of the Dilettanti Society, and in 1742 George Knapton painted Dashwood’s portrait for the society. On 2 March 1746, when John, Earl of Sandwich was suspended from his office of archmaster for “his misbehaviour to and contempt of the Society”, Dashwood was elected in his place, and he presented to the King various petitions from the society when it was seeking to acquire a permanent home. In 1740 Dashwood was at Florence with Horace Walpole, Gray, and others, and shortly afterwards he got into trouble with Sir Horace Mann; there he also made the acquaintance of Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu. In 1743 Horace Walpole was not impressed and described the Dilettanti Society as “a club for which the nominal qualification is having been to Italy, and the real one, being drunk; the two chiefs are Lord Middlesex and Sir Francis Dashwood, who were seldom sober the whole time they were in Italy”. However Dilettanti Society did have a serious side and his work in that field resulted in his election as a FRS in June 1746 and FSA in June 1769. He also became a member of the Lincoln Club in the mid-1740s and of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce in 1754. He had connections with the Spalding Society and became vice-president of both the Foundling Hospital and the General Medical Asylum.

In 1744 he and fellow Dilettante the Earl of Sandwich founded the short-lived Divan Club for those who had visited the Ottoman Empire to share their experiences, but this club was disbanded two years later.

On his return to England he obtained a minor post in the household of Frederick Lewis, Prince of Wales, and this connection, coupled with the dismissal of his uncle the Earl of Westmorland from his colonelcy of the first troop of horse guards, made Dashwood a violent opponent of Walpole’s administration. He sponsored alleged spy-master Lord Melcombe’s membership of the Dilettanti.

During the general election of 1741 Dashwood fought vigorously against Walpole’s supporters, and secured a seat for himself at New Romney on 5 May. In Parliament he followed Samuel Sandys, 1st Baron Sandys, and vehemently attacked Sir Robert Walpole, declaring that abroad he was looked upon with contempt. Walpole’s fall made no difference to Dashwood’s position, and as a courtier of Frederick Lewis he was in chronic opposition to all George II’s governments.

In 1747 he introduced a poor-relief bill that recommended commissioning public works, such as the caves he later had excavated at West Wycombe Park, to combat unemployment, but it failed to pass.

Dashwood was re-elected for New Romney on 26 June 1747, and in January 1751 made a rather ostentatious disavowal of Jacobitism, of which Andrew Stone and others of George, Prince of Wales household were suspected. At Leicester House Dashwood abetted the influence of George Bubb Dodington (lord Melcombe), and opposed the Regency Bill of 15 May 1751. On 13 April 1749 he was created D.C.L. of Oxford University, and on 19 June 1746 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

The Hellfire Club
He was too young to have been a member of the very first Hellfire Club founded by the Duke of Wharton in 1719 and disbanded in 1721, but he and the Earl of Sandwich are alleged to have been members of a Hellfire Club that met at the George and Vulture Inn throughout the 1730s.

According to the 1779 book Nocturnal Revels, on the Grand Tour he had visited various religious seminaries, “founded, as it were, in direct contradiction to Nature and Reason; on his return to England, [he] thought that a burlesque Institution in the name of St Francis, would mark the absurdity of such Societies; and in lieu of the austerities and abstemiousness there practised, substitute convivial gaiety, unrestrained hilarity, and social felicity”.

The first meeting of the group known facetiously as Brotherhood of St. Francis of Wycombe, Order of Knights of West Wycombe was held at Sir Francis’ family home in West Wycombe on Walpurgis Night in 1752. The initial meeting was something of a failure and the club subsequently moved their meetings to Medmenham Abbey (about 6 miles from West Wycombe) where they called themselves the Monks of Medmenham.

About 1755 Dashwood founded the famous “Hell-fire Club”, or “monks of Medmenham Abbey”. Medmenham Abbey, formerly belonging to the Cistercian order, was beautifully situated on the banks of the Thames near Marlow, Buckinghamshire. It was rented, from Francis Duffield,by Dashwood, his half-brother Sir John Dashwood-King, his cousin Sir Thomas Stapleton, Paul Whitehead, John Wilkes, and others to the number of twelve, who frequently resorted thither during the summer. They had the it rebuilt by the architect Nicholas Revett in the style of the 18th century Gothic revival. It is thought that Hogarth may have executed murals for this building; none, however, survive.

Over the grand entrance was placed, in stained glass, the famous inscription on Rabelais’ abbey of Theleme, “Fay ce que voudras”, the “monks” were called Franciscans, from Dashwood’s Christian name, and they amused themselves with obscene parodies of Franciscan rites, and with orgies of drunkenness and debauchery which even John Almon, himself no prude, shrank from describing.

Dashwood, the most profane of that blasphemous crew, acted as a sort of high priest, and used a communion cup to pour out libations to heathen deities. He had not even the excuse of comparative youth to palliate his conduct; he was approaching fifty, and thus ten years older than Thomas Potter whom Almon describes as the worst of the set and the corrupter of Wilkes; he was nearly twenty years older than Wilkes, and two years older than “the aged Paul” (Whitehead), who acted as secretary and steward of the order of ill-fame, and was branded by Charles Churchill as “a disgrace to manhood”. As a contrast to Medmenham Abbey, Dashwood erected a church on a neighbouring hill, which, as Churchill put it in “The Ghost”, might “serve for show, if not for prayer”, and Wilkes was equally caustic in his references to Dashwood’s church “built on the top of a hill for the convenience and devotion of the town at the bottom of it”.

Later political career
On 15 April 1754 Dashwood was re-elected to parliament for New Romney, and when the Buckinghamshire militia was raised on the outbreak of the Seven Years’ War in 1757, Dashwood became its first colonel with Wilkes as his lieutenant-colonel. In the same year he made a praiseworthy effort to save the life of Admiral John Byng.

On 28 March 1761 he found a new seat in Parliament for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis (UK Parliament constituency); he was re-elected on 9 June 1762 on his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer, which he owed to his dependence upon Bute. “Of financial knowledge he did not possess the rudiments, and his ignorance was all the more conspicuous from the great financial ability of his predecessor Legge. His budget speech was so confused and incapable that it was received with shouts of laughter. An excise of four shillings in the hogshead, to be paid by the grower, which he imposed on cider and perry, raised a resistance through the cider counties hardly less furious than that which had been directed against the excise scheme of Walpole”. Dashwood accordingly retired with Bute from the ministry on 8 April 1763, receiving the sinecure Keepership of the Wardrobe.

On the 19 April he was summoned to Parliament as 15th Baron Le Despencer, the abeyance into which that barony had fallen on 26 August 1762, on the death of his uncle, John Fane, 7th Earl of Westmorland and 14th Baron Le Despencer, being thus terminated in Dashwood’s favour.

He was now premier baron of England, and in the same year he was made Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, being succeeded in the colonelcy of the militia by John Wilkes. As Lord Le Despencer he now sank into comparative respectability and insignificance. He took a disgraceful part with John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, in raking up charges against their common friend Wilkes in connection with the Essay on Woman, and during Lord North’s long administration from 1770 to 1781 he was joint Postmaster General. When, however, Chatham fell down in a swoon during his last speech in the House of Lords, Despencer was almost the only peer who came to his assistance. He died at West Wycombe after a long illness on 11 December 1781, and was buried in the mausoleum he had built there. His wife had died on 19 January 1769, and was also buried at Wycombe.

On 29 May 1744 Horace Walpole wrote: “Dashwood (Lady Carteret’s quondam lover) has stolen a great fortune, a Miss Bateman; but this match was not effected, and on 19 December 1745 Dashwood married at St. George’s, Hanover Square, Sarah, daughter of George Gould of Iver, Buckinghamshire, and widow of Sir Richard Ellis, third baronet of Wyham, Lincolnshire, who died on 14 January 1742. Horace Walpole described her as “a poor forlorn Presbyterian prude”; His marriage had no effect upon Dashwood’s profligacy; according to Wraxall he “far exceeded in licentiousness of conduct any model exhibited since Charles II”.

Dashwood left no legitimate issue, and the Barony of Le Despencer again fell into abeyance; his sister Rachel, widow of Sir Robert Austen, 4th Baronet of Bexley, Kent, illegally assumed the title Baroness Le Despencer, but on her death the abeyance was once more terminated in favour of her cousin, Thomas Stapleton, 16th Baron His granddaughter, Mary Frances Elizabeth, succeeded in 1848 as 17th Baroness, and her son, Evelyn Edward Thomas Boscawen, 17th Viscount Falmouth, succeeded as 18th Baron Le Despencer on 25 November 1891 — see Baron le Despencer. Dashwood’s baronetcy passed, on his death, to his half brother, Sir John Dashwood-King (1716-1793)…/Francis_Dashwood,_15th_Baron_le_D…

Dec 04

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

doyleSir Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859 – July 7, 1930) was a Doctor, Author, and Journalist.  Author Doyle scribed 60 mystery stories which featured the wildly popular detective character Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Watson. It was in 1890 that his novel A Study in Scarlet introduced the character of detective Sherlock Holmes. He’d also strove to spread his spiritualism faith through a series of books that were scribed from 1918 through 1926.

On May 22nd of 1859, Doyle was born to an affluent, strict Irish-Catholic family in Edinburgh, Scotland. Doyle’s mother, Mary, was a lively and well-educated woman who loved to read. She particularly delighted in telling her young son outlandish stories. Her great enthusiasm and animation while spinning wild tales sparked the child’s imagination. As Doyle would later recall in his biography, “In my early childhood, as far as I can remember anything at all, the vivid stories she would tell me stand out so clearly that they obscure the real facts of my life.”

[pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”30%”]At the age of 9, Doyle bid a tearful goodbye to his parents and was shipped off to England, where he would attend Hodder Place, Stonyhurst—a Jesuit preparatory school—from 1868 to 1870.[/pullquote] Doyle then went on to study at Stonyhurst College for the next five years. For Doyle, the boarding-school experience was brutal: many of his classmates bullied him, and the school practiced ruthless corporal punishment against its students. Over time, Doyle found solace in his flair for storytelling, and developed an eager audience of younger students.

When Doyle graduated from Stonyhurst College in 1876, his parents expected that he would follow in his family’s footsteps and study art, so they were surprised when he decided to pursue a medical degree at the University of Edinburgh instead. At med school, Doyle met his mentor, Professor Dr. Joseph Bell, whose keen powers of observation would later inspire Doyle to create his famed fictional detective character, Sherlock Holmes. At the University of Edinburgh, Doyle also had the good fortune to meet classmates and future fellow authors James Barrie and Robert Louis Stevenson. While a medical student, Doyle took his own first stab at writing, with a short story called The Mystery of Sasassa Valley. That was followed by a second story, The American Tale, which was published in London Society.

In 1880, Doyle returned to medical school. Back at the University of Edinburgh, Doyle became increasingly invested in Spiritualism or “Psychic religion,” a belief system that he would later attempt to spread through a series of his written works. By the time he received his Bachelor of Medicine degree in 1881, Doyle had denounced his Roman Catholic faith.

The prolific author also composed four of his most popular Sherlock Holmes books during the 1890s and early 1900s: The Sign of Four (1890), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1892), The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (1894) and The Hounds of Baskervilles, published in 1901. In 1893, to Doyle’s readers’ disdain, he had attempted to kill off his Sherlock Holmes character in order to focus more on writing about Spiritualism. In 1901, however, Doyle reintroduced Sherlock Holmes as a ghost in The Hounds of Baskervilles and later brought him back to life in

The Adventure of the Empty House so the lucrative character could earn Doyle the money to fund his missionary work. Doyle also strove to spread his faith through a series of written works, consisting of The New Revolution (1918), The Vital Message (1919), The Wanderings of a Spiritualist (1921) and History of Spiritualism (1926).

In 1928, Doyle’s final twelve stories about Sherlock Holmes were published in a compilation entitled The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.

Having recently been diagnosed with Angina Pectoris, Doyle stubbornly ignored his doctor’s warnings, and in the fall of 1929, embarked on a spiritualism tour through the Netherlands. He returned home with chest pains so severe that he needed to be carried on shore, and was thereafter almost entirely bedridden at his home in Crowborough, England. Rising one last time on July 7, 1930, Doyle collapsed and died in his garden while clutching his heart with one hand and holding a flower in the other.


Arthur Conan Doyle. (2014). The website. Retrieved 07:20, Nov 30, 2014, from

Dec 03

Dr. Dee

Ashley Ann Lewis

Ashley Ann Lewis

Director / Dept Chair Occult at National Paranormal Society
Ashley became interested in the paranormal at a young age, but at that young age she did not have much understanding in it at all. I wasn’t until 2010 that she really became interested. Thanks to a Resolve carpet cleaning can that flew across the room, Ashley among three others who witness what happen that night, they pulled a team together. Ashley is a heavy researcher and though she may find the answer to what she is searching for she’ll search even harder. She’s overly determined and takes her part in the paranormal field very seriously. Between working hard and spending every dime she had she became a found of a paranormal team that is based out of Historic Louisiana and was honored to take on a position as a Representative with The National Paranormal Society. There is still so much she does not understand which drives her to work even harder and to further educate herself on everything.
Ashley Ann Lewis

Latest posts by Ashley Ann Lewis (see all)

johndeeDr. Dee was a noted English mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, geographer, occultist, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. He also devoted much of his life to alchemy, divination, and Hermetic philosophy.

He straddled the worlds of science and magic just as they were becoming distinguishable. One of the most learned men of his time, he had lectured at the University of Paris when still in his early twenties. John was an ardent promoter of mathematics, a respected astronomer and a leading expert in navigation, having trained many of those who would conduct England’s voyages of discovery (he coined the term “British Empire”).

At the same time, he immersed himself in magic and Hermetic philosophy, devoting the last third of his life almost exclusively to these pursuits.

Early life
Dee was born in Tower Ward, London, to a Welsh family, whose surname derived from the Welsh du (“black”). His father Roland was a mercer and minor courtier. Dee attended the Chelmsford Catholic School (now King Edward VI Grammar School (Chelmsford)), then – from 1543 to 1546 – St. John’s College, Cambridge. His great abilities were recognized, and he was made a founding fellow of Trinity College. In the late 1540s and early 1550s, he traveled in Europe, studying at Leuven and Brussels and lecturing in Paris on Euclid.

Dee was offered a readership in mathematics at Oxford in 1554, which he declined; he was occupied with writing and perhaps hoping for a better position at court.

In 1555, Dee became a member of the Worshipful Company of Mercers, as his father had, through the company’s system of patrimony.

That same year, 1555, he was arrested and charged with “calculating” for having cast horoscopes of Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth; the charges were expanded to treason against Mary. Dee appeared in the Star Chamber and exonerated himself, but was turned over to the reactionary Catholic Bishop Bonner for religious examination. His strong and lifelong penchant for secrecy perhaps worsening matters, this entire episode was only the most dramatic in a series of attacks and slanders that would dog Dee through his life. Clearing his name yet again, he soon became a close associate of Bonner.

Dee presented Queen Mary with a visionary plan for the preservation of old books, manuscripts and records and the founding of a national library, in 1556, but his proposal was not taken up. Instead, he expanded his personal library at his house in Mortlake, tirelessly acquiring books and manuscripts in England and on the European Continent. Dee’s library, a center of learning outside the universities, became the greatest in England and attracted many scholars.

When Elizabeth took the throne in 1558, Dee became her trusted advisor on astrological and scientific matters, choosing Elizabeth’s coronation date himself. From the 1550s through the 1570s, he served as an advisor to England’s voyages of discovery, providing technical assistance in navigation and ideological backing in the creation of a “British Empire”, and was the first to use that term.Dee was also Elizabeth I’s spy.

In 1564, Dee wrote the Hermetic work Monas Hieroglyphica (“The Hieroglyphic Monad”), an exhaustive Cabalistic interpretation of a glyph of his own design, meant to express the mystical unity of all creation. This work was highly valued by many of Dee’s contemporaries, but the loss of the secret oral tradition of Dee’s milieu makes the work difficult to interpret today.

Later life
By the early 1580s, Dee was growing dissatisfied with his progress in learning the secrets of nature and with his own lack of influence and recognition. He began to turn towards the supernatural as a means to acquire knowledge. Specifically, he sought to contact angels through the use of a “scryer” or crystal-gazer, who would act as an intermediary between Dee and the angels.

Dee’s first attempts were not satisfactory, but, in 1582, he met Edward Kelley (then going under the name of Edward Talbot), who impressed him greatly with his abilities. Dee took Kelley into his service and began to devote all his energies to his supernatural pursuits. These “spiritual conferences” or “actions” were conducted with an air of intense Christian piety, always after periods of purification, prayer and fasting. Dee was convinced of the benefits they could bring to mankind. (The character of Kelley is harder to assess: some have concluded that he acted with complete cynicism, but delusion or self-deception are not out of the question. Kelley’s “output” is remarkable for its sheer mass, its intricacy and its vividness.) Dee maintained that the angels laboriously dictated several books to him this way, some in a special angelic language or name by the Golden Dawn, the Enochian language.

During a spiritual conference in Bohemia, in 1587, Kelley told Dee that the angel Uriel had ordered that the two men should share their wives. Kelley, who by that time was becoming a prominent alchemist and was much more sought-after than Dee, may have wished to use this as a way to end the spiritual conferences. The order caused Dee great anguish, but he did not doubt its genuineness and apparently allowed it to go forward, but broke off the conferences immediately afterwards and did not see Kelley again. Dee returned to England in 1589.

Final years
Dee returned to Mortlake after six years to find his library ruined and many of his prized books and instruments stolen. He sought support from Elizabeth, who finally made him Warden of Christ’s College, Manchester, in 1592. This former College of Priests had been re-established as a Protestant institution by a Royal Charter of 1578.

However, he could not exert much control over the Fellows, who despised or cheated him. Early in his tenure, he was consulted on the demonic possession of seven children, but took little interest in the matter, although he did allow those involved to consult his still extensive library.

He left Manchester in 1605 to return to London. By that time, Elizabeth was dead, and James I, unsympathetic to anything related to the supernatural, provided no help. Dee spent his final years in poverty at Mortlake, forced to sell off several of his possessions to support himself and his daughter, Katherine, who cared for him until the end. He died in Mortlake late in 1608 or early 1609 aged 82 (there are no extant records of the exact date as both the parish registers and Dee’s gravestone are missing).

Dee’s Philosophy
Dee was an intensely pious Christian, but his Christianity was deeply influenced by the Hermetic and Platonic-Pythagorean doctrines that were pervasive in the Renaissance. He believed that number was the basis of all things and the key to knowledge, that God’s creation was an act of numbering. From Hermeticism, he drew the belief that man had the potential for divine power, and he believed this divine power could be exercised through mathematics. His cabalistic angel magic (which was heavily numerological) and his work on practical mathematics (navigation, for example) were simply the exalted and mundane ends of the same spectrum, not the antithetical activities many would see them as today. His ultimate goal was to help bring forth a unified world religion through the healing of the breach of the Catholic and Protestant churches and the recapture of the pure theology of the ancients.

The British Museum holds several items once owned by Dee and associated with the spiritual conferences:

  • Dee’s Speculum or Mirror (an obsidian Aztec cult object in the shape of a hand-mirror, brought to Europe in the late 1520s), which was once owned by Horace Walpole.
  • The small wax seals used to support the legs of Dee’s “table of practice” (the table at which the scrying was performed).
  • The large, elaborately-decorated wax “Seal of God”, used to support the “shew-stone”, the crystal ball used for scrying.
  • A gold amulet engraved with a representation of one of Kelley’s visions.
  • A crystal globe, six centimeters in diameter. This item remained unnoticed for many years in the mineral collection; possibly the one owned by Dee, but the provenance of this object is less certain than that of the others.
  • In December 2004, both a shew stone (a stone used for scrying) formerly belonging to Dee and a mid-1600s explanation of its use written by Nicholas Culpeper were stolen from the Science Museum in London; they were recovered shortly afterwards.

His Works
Dee is reputed to have produced some 400 books and manuscripts, Here are just a few:

  • The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee, and the Catalogue of His Library of Manuscripts
  • The Private Diary of Dr. John Dee, and the Catalogue of His Library of … with James Orchard
  • The Calls of Enoch with Edward Kelley
  • Azogue: It is a section of the e-journal Azogue with original reproductions of Dee texts.
  • John Dee reports of Dee and Kelley’s conversations with Angels:
    o Mysteriorum Liber Primus (with Latin translations)
    o Notes to Liber Primus by Clay Holden
    o Mysteriorum Liber Secundus
    o Mysteriorum Liber Tertius…/practitioner2.html