Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Clue #33: Adam Weishaupt, reputed honorary Founding Father

We now delve deep into the aluminum-hat sector of the Land of Conspiracy Theory.
The 33rd Twitter clue, sent at about 7:30 a.m. PDT, Wed. July 8th:
Ehrenhalber gruendervater?
[Note: I cannot represent in Blogger the u-umlaut -- the "u with two dots over it" in gruendervater, and so, per the usual practice, added the first "e."]
This is German for "honorary founding father?"; however, in contrast to Clue #29, which was about someone who is acknowledged by legitimate historians as an 'honorary founding father' (the French philosopher Voltaire), this Twitter clue involves someone who is only claimed as an 'honorary founding father' by the most fringe-y of conspiracy researchers.
You see, there is no German intellectual who provided philosophical inspiration to the American Founding Fathers, no parallel to Voltaire. (Military leaders of any nation, like the German von Steuben, do not count for the status of "founding father"; among American Founding Fathers, only Washington was military.) However, for over two centuries, it has been rumored that there was a German -- actually, a Bavarian -- who acted as the secret force behind the American Revolution: Adam Weishaupt, founder of the Bavarian Illuminati, upon whom I focused in my consideration of Clue #5.
A lot of people were actually less than happy with the American Revolution. A lot of Loyalists (people who supported the English crown) were put out by being forced to leave the former colonies for their political position. A lot of clergy of "established" churches (churches formerly supported by the government) were troubled by the withdrawal of support, which they took to be an attempt to undermine religion generally. Overall, many people in the new United States -- echoing even greater numbers of people in Europe, still under the power of Crown and Church -- were troubled by the direction that the new Republic was taking, in denying aristocrats and clergy their former privileged position in government.
Thus arose the rumor that the inspiration of the new Republic was actually the Illuminati, the anticlerical, antiroyalist secret society, also founded in 1776 (although in Bavaria) by Weishaupt (pictured above). Although the Illuminati were suppressed beginning in 1784, and essentially extinct by 1793, it was in their afterlife that the Illuminati really got going.
In the 1790s and thereafter, American clergy preached sermons from their pulpits against the supposed influence of the Illuminati in the United States. Books originally published in Europe alleging the ongoing Illuminist conspiracy, such as John Robison's Proofs of a Conspiracy (1797), were widely read in the United States and fanned the flames of what amounted to hysteria. The first novel by the first American to make his living as a novelist, Charles Brockden Brown's Wieland (and his unfinished Memoirs of Carwin the Biloquist) involved the role of an Illuminati agent in America impersonating the voice of God to convince a man to murder his wife and children. Thomas Jefferson himself had to answer charges that he was an Illuminatus.
It gets better. The 1970s-era Illuminatus! trilogy of novels, by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson (two editors at Playboy), put forth the rumor that Adam Weishaupt left Europe, came to the United States, murdered George Washington and actually took Washington's place as first President of the U.S. Now, looking at the portrait of Weishaupt above, you can see how this rumor began. However, incredibly enough, there are those who believe today that this actually happened!
No, it gets even better. Current on-the-fringe proponents of conspiracy theories -- people like Jim Marrs, Texe Marrs, and David Icke -- say that the modern world is under the secret control of the Illuminati even today. For Jim Marrs, the Illuminati are political powers; for Texe Marrs, they are Satanists; for David Icke, they are reptile-like space aliens. (No, I am not making this up.)
How will the Illuminati and Weishaupt figure into The Lost Symbol? Good question. In the Dan Brown universe, the Illuminati were a society of scientists founded in the 1500s in Rome; in reality, they were a society of anticlerical, antiroyalist conspirators founded in 1776 in Bavaria. Perhaps Brown will include Weishaupt and the Bavarian Illuminati as a later incarnation of his scientific society; after all, in Angels & Demons, Robert Langdon said the Illuminati had taken a "darker" turn. It looks as if Brown will be resurrecting the old rumors about the Illuminati being involved in the founding of the American republic. However, this being Dan Brown, you can be sure that he will add twists and turns and unforeseen developments galore.
Incidentally, it is a nice touch by the clue authors to make this the 33rd Twitter clue. Of course, the number "33" (in a triangle, yet!) figures into the newly released cover of The Lost Symbol (see the post on Clue #31). The ruling body of the Scottish Rite is described as the Supreme Council, 33rd degree. And, of course, in the fringe of the conspiracy theory community, Scottish Rite 33rd degree Freemasons supposedly rule the world.
Copyright 2009 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.


  1. "[Note: I cannot represent in Blogger the u-umlaut -- the "u with two dots over it" in gruendervater, and so, per the usual practice, added the first "e."]"

    Sure you can: Ehrenhalber gr├╝ndervater?

    Just hold down the "ALT" key and type in 0252 where you want the umlaut: ├╝.

  2. Esquire: Thank you for the tip! I'll modify this and an earlier post or two.

    I really do have the best people commenting on this blog.

  3. getler99@aol.comJuly 8, 2009 at 1:43 PM

    Mark--I took a close look at The Lost Symbol's jacket cover. Found some interesting stuff.

    Notice in the word "CODE" there's a dot in the middle of the letter O. This is the alchemy symbol for gold. And....if we take a close look, that symbol for gold lies on top of the zodiac circle in the faint background. This might be a reference to The Knights of the Golden Circle, a Scottish Rite Masonic and Confederate secret society that is the core subject matter for my non-fiction book, Rebel Gold.

    What's more, the letter E in "CODE" is actually the greek letter Tau, a symbol, some say, for Templar treasure.

    Exciting months ahead!

  4. I think that the Honorary Founding Father is Baron Von Steuben. He was the general who taught the Continental Army to drill like professional soldiers. He was a Freemason (as was Lafayette) and was Gen. Washington's chief-of-staff at the end of the American Revolution. He is one of four non-American citizens honored by statues in Lafayette Park across from the White House, the others being Marquis de Lafayette, General Kosciuszko, and Comte de Rochambeau.

    He was also made an honorary citizen of the US(by an act of the Pennsylvania legislature) in 1784. Furthermore, he was instrumental in founding the Society of the Cincinnati which could very possibly play a large role in the book.


  5. "The ruling body of the Scottish Rite is described as the Supreme Council, 33rd degree."

    The official title of the Supreme Council is "The Supreme Council (Mother Council of the World) of the Inspectors General Knights Commanders of the House of the Temple of Solomon of the Thirty-third Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Free Masonry of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America," indicating that members of the Council are 33rd degree Masons. In fact, that is the very definition of a 33rd degree Mason: to be invested with the 33rd degree makes you an honorary member of the Supreme Council with the rank of Inspector General Honorary. And while there are thousands of honorary 33rd degree Masons, the active membership of the Supreme Council is limited to--you guessed it--33 members, each with the rank of Sovereign Grand Inspector General, save the Sovereign Grand Commander, who is elected by the Supreme Council as the executive head of that body, and of the Rite as a whole.

  6. " said:
    Notice in the word "CODE" there's a dot in the middle of the letter O. This is the alchemy symbol for gold. And....if we take a close look, that symbol for gold lies on top of the zodiac circle in the faint background. This might be a reference to The Knights of the Golden Circle, a Scottish Rite Masonic and Confederate secret society that is the core subject matter for my non-fiction book, Rebel Gold."

    Where on earth did you get it that the KGC was in any way connected with the Scottish Rite? Also, the circle with the dot in the middle has a clear symbolic meaning to Freemasons.

  7. TO GETLER99:

    The markings you see do exist on the cover, but their interpretation is another matter.

    As Esquire notes, there is a well-known Blue Lodge Masonic interpretation to the point in a circle. There also is an alchemical interpretation for this symbol. At this point, they may _both_ be correct. (That Dan Brown . . . . .)

    However, I must vigorously disagree with the idea that the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) ever were a Scottish Rite Masonic organization. There are three problems with that idea:

    (1) The Scottish Rite only enrolls people who are already Master Masons. There is not a shred of evidence that the KGC members as a whole were.

    (2) The Scottish Rite has four well-defined bodies: the Lodge of Perfection, the Chapter of Rose Croix, the Council of Kadosh, and the Consistory of Masters of the Royal Secret. Each of these bodies is made up of men who have had specific degrees of initiation in the organization. For the KGC to be a Scottish Rite body of this sort would have required Pike to mangle the ritual degree structure that he devoted his life to creating. I don't think so.

    (3) Perhaps you propose that the KGC was a sort of side organization, like today's Knights of St. Andrews (a service organization within the Scottish Rite). But then all these KGC guys would have to be (a) regular Masons, and then (b) Scottish Rite initiates on top of that. Is there any evidence for any of that?

    Perhaps you are under the impression that there is some kind of Scottish Rite degree called Knight of the Golden Circle. Never was.

    Maybe I simply misunderstand. Tell us what you mean -- we really want to know.

    One more thing, though: the "E" in "CODE" is actually a combination of both capital "E" and capital "T," not a simple Tau.

    Good luck as you continue to analyze this fascinating bit of art.

    - - - - -


    I can understand where you're coming from with this. Maybe I am simply wrong.

    However, I really must stand by my guns here. The designation "Founding Father" refers to the intellectual founders of the nation, like Jefferson, Franklin, and so forth. Washington is very prominent among this group, but for his leadership of the Constitutional Convention etc.; his being a military leader does not enter into the matter.

    Similarly, the _honorary_ 'founding fathers' should be intellectual inspirations, real or imagined, for the Republic. Men like Voltaire. And, for the paranoid conspiracy crowd, Weishaupt.

    Thank you for mentioning the names of these four great military leaders. Without them, we wouldn't be here.

    - - - - -


    Thank you for giving the full and formal name of the Supreme Council. It is magnificent.

  8. Kathleen Koltko-RiveraJuly 8, 2009 at 9:58 PM

    Honey, (speaking as Mark's wife), given that my greatgrandfather, grandfather, and you were or are all 32nd degree Scottish Rite Freemasons in the Southern Jursdiction -- if you boys have this treasure trove of gold, I have a question for you.

    Where is MY gold bar????

    Love, Kathleen

    P.S. A late Mother's Day or early birthday present works fine for me.

  9. The treasure is too great for any one man. share it with the lostsymboltweet crew!

  10. Brett, I believe in sharing the wealth! I'll let you know as soon as my gold bar arrives. ;-) KSKR

  11. Mark, I have to agree with Millenial Mason. The first honorary Founding Father seemed to be Lafayette, based on the French language used and the pun of 'honorary', due to the honorary citizenship bestowed upon him. This second hint, in German, appears to confirm this, with Von Steuben being the obvious choice - similar to Lafayette in how he assisted the Revolution, as well as being a Freemason, and perhaps most pertinently (clue-wise) another 'honorary' American citizen.

    By the way, if you want to add to your list of "33" correspondences, it might be worth considering the release date of The Lost Symbol...

  12. @Greg... oooooh...wicked!

  13. Simple great! Collecting all lost symbol is a treasure.


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