Saturday, August 8, 2009

Clue #96: The Black Hand of Serbia

Posted at 1:37 p.m. (PDT) on Tues., Aug. 4th:

Set events spiraling out of control: {then, in Serbian using Cyrillic characters, the phrase} Unification or Death

The phrase "Unification or Death" (in Serbian) was the motto of an early 20th century political conspiracy group, known (in English) as the Black Hand. (Their seal is shown above; the Cyrillic characters around the top half of the seal are what was shown in the Twitter clue.) Like the real-world Illuminati, the Black Hand embraced assassination as an acceptable means to meet its objectives. Unlike the real-world Illuminati, the Black Hand actually killed people, most famously including Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Princess Sophie; their assassination was the match that ignited the global agony of World War I.

Okay. So the Black Hand was a secret conspiratorial organization. But would there be any special reasons to mention them in a clue about The Lost Symbol? There sure are:
  • The members of the Black Hand were assassins. Dan Brown likes to begin his novels with assassinations--in his Langdon novels, these are gory, bloody, nasty assassinations.
  • The Black Hand started a global war. The Lost Symbol takes place in Washington, DC, where decisions are made about global war and peace.
  • The name, "Black Hand," has been used by several groups in addition to the Serbian nationalists of a century ago: gangsters in Italy, Islamist militants in Palestine in the 1930s, Frisian noblemen's forces, and several other real and hypothetical groups. We already have seen the Twitter clues use one name that points to two distinct groups: "Sons of Liberty" (Clue 34).

Put it all together, and one might expect some group known as "the Black Hand" to be involved in some highest-of-all-possible-stakes conspiracy: something that could lead to global warfare, in Washington, DC. This group might only share a name with the Serbian group mentioned in this clue.

Then again, perhaps the Dan Brown version of the Black Hand that started WWI was only a front for another secret society, one that started (in the real world) in a state adjoining the Austro-Hungarian Empire where Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, that is, Bavaria.

Where the Illuminati were founded.

(The name "Black Hand" shows up lots of places. I'm not even counting the band, the role-playing game villians, the comic book villians, or the inn--yes, the inn. Oh, all right, so it's a music album title. But if it were a real inn -- can you imagine making a reservation? "Hello, Black Hand Inn? Yes, I'd like to make a reservation for two, please, the Honeymoon Package: heart-shaped bathtub, candlelight dinner in the room, and complimentary assassination of all my sweetheart's former romantic interests.")

Copyright 2009 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.


  1. ive found another reference to aurora,but it's probably going nothing....the george washington memorial bridge is also known as aurora bridge. it was opened in 1930's which is why i think it might be irrelivant.

  2. Thanks for the reference, Brett. If this is the GW bridge in NYC, you've added to my knowledge of my hometown.

    Please take a look at my new Aurora response and tell me what you think. Also, KSKR posted a comment, at the request of another follower re the Sears Tower/silent upside down woman response. Take care!

  3. i think its refering to the GW memorial bridge in seattle :)

  4. Thanks for sharing,this is big credentials for us.


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