Taxil hoax

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Taxil hoax was an 1890s hoax of exposure by Léo Taxil intended to mock not only Freemasonry but also the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to it.[1]

Poster advertising the work of Leo Taxil.

Taxil and Freemasonry[edit]

Léo Taxil was the pen name of Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès, who had been accused earlier of libel regarding a book he wrote called The Secret Loves of Pope Pius IX. On April 20, 1884, Pope Leo XIII published an encyclical, Humanum genus, that said that the human race was

separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ... The other is the kingdom of Satan... At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons.

After this encyclical, Taxil underwent a public, feigned conversion to Roman Catholicism and announced his intention of repairing the damage he had done to the true faith.

The first book produced by Taxil after his conversion was a four-volume history of Freemasonry, which contained fictitious eyewitness verifications of their participation in Satanism. With a collaborator who published as "Dr. Karl Hacks," Taxil wrote another book called the Devil in the Nineteenth Century, which introduced a new character, Diana Vaughan, a supposed descendant of the Rosicrucian alchemist Thomas Vaughan. The book contained many implausible tales about her encounters with incarnate demons, one of whom was supposed to have written prophecies on her back with its tail, and another who played the piano in the shape of a crocodile.[2]

Diana was supposedly involved in Satanic freemasonry but was redeemed when one day she professed admiration for Joan of Arc, at whose name the demons were put to flight. As Diana Vaughan, Taxil published a book called Eucharistic Novena, a collection of prayers which were praised by the Pope.

On April 19, 1897, Taxil called a press conference at which he claimed he would introduce Diana Vaughan to the press. He instead announced that his revelations about the Freemasons were fictitious. He thanked the clergy for their assistance in giving publicity to his wild claims.[3]

Parisian newspaper with the account of Leo Taxil's confession to the Taxil Hoax.

The confession was printed, in its entirety, in the Parisian newspaper Le Frondeur, on April 25, 1897, titled: Twelve Years Under the Banner of the Church, The Prank Of Palladism. Miss Diana Vaughan-The Devil At The Freemasons. A Conference held by M. Léo Taxil, at the Hall of the Geographic Society in Paris.[4]

The hoax material is still used to this day. Chick Publications publishes such a tract called The Curse of Baphomet[5] and Randy Noblitt's book on satanic ritual abuse, Cult and Ritual Abuse, also cites the Taxil hoax.[6]

A later interview with Taxil[edit]

In the magazine National Magazine, an Illustrated American Monthly, Volume XXIV: April - September, 1906, pages 228 and 229, Taxil is quoted as giving his true reasons behind the hoax. Ten months later, on March 31, 1907, Taxil died.

Members of the Masonic orders understand the false exposure heaped upon that organization in anti-Mason wars. The Catholic church and many other religious orders have been the victims of these half-written and oftentimes venomous attacks. The confession of Taxil, the French Free-thinker, who first exposed Catholics and then Masons, makes interesting reading bearing on the present situation today. Similar motives actuate some of the "muck rakes" of today, as indicated in the following confession:

"The public made me what I am; the arch-liar of the period," confessed Taxil, "for when I first commenced to write against the Masons my object was amusement pure and simple. The crimes I laid at their door were so grotesque, so impossible, so widely exaggerated, I thought everybody would see the joke and give me credit for originating a new line of humor. But my readers wouldn't have it so; they accepted my fables as gospel truth, and the more I lied for the purpose of showing that I lied, the more convinced became they that I was a paragon of veracity.

"Then it dawned upon me that there was lots of money in being a Munchausen of the right kind, and for twelve years I gave it to them hot and strong, but never too hot. When inditing such slush as the story of the devil snake who wrote prophecies on Diana's back with the end of his tail, I sometimes said to myself: 'Hold on, you are going too far,' but I didn't. My readers even took kindly to the yarn of the devil who, in order to marry a Mason, transformed himself into a crocodile, and, despite the masquerade, played the piano wonderfully well.

"One day when lecturing at Lille, I told my audience that I had just had an apparition of Nautilus, the most daring affront on human credulity I had so far risked. But my hearers never turned a hair. 'Hear ye, the doctor has seen Nautulius,' they said with admiring glances. Of course no one had a clear idea of who Nautilus was, I didn't myself, but they assumed that he was a devil.

"Ah, the jolly evenings I spent with my fellow authors hatching out new plots, new, unheard of perversions of truth and logic, each trying to outdo the other in organized mystification. I thought I would kill myself laughing at some of the things proposed, but everything went; there is no limit to human stupidity".

The Luciferian quote[edit]

A series of paragraphs about Lucifer are frequently associated with the Taxil Hoax. They read:

That which we must say to the world is that we worship a god, but it is the god that one adores without superstition. To you, Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, we say this, that you may repeat it to the brethren of the 32nd, 31st and 30th degrees: The masonic Religion should be, by all of us initiates of the higher degrees, maintained in the Purity of the Luciferian doctrine. If Lucifer were not God, would Adonay and his priests calumniate him?

Yes, Lucifer is God, and unfortunately Adonay is also god. For the eternal law is that there is no light without shade, no beauty without ugliness, no white without black, for the absolute can only exist as two gods; darkness being necessary for light to serve as its foil as the pedestal is necessary to the statue, and the brake to the locomotive....

Thus, the doctrine of Satanism is a heresy, and the true and pure philosophical religion is the belief in Lucifer, the equal of Adonay; but Lucifer, God of Light and God of Good, is struggling for humanity against Adonay, the God of Darkness and Evil.

While this quotation was published by Abel Clarin de la Rive in his Woman and Child in Universal Freemasonry, it does not appear in Taxil's writings proper, though it is sourced in a footnote to Diana Vaughan, Taxil's creation.[7]


  1. ^ written by Noah Nicholas and Molly Bedell (2006-08-01). "Mysteries Of The Freemasons — America". Decoding the Past. A&E Television Networks. The History Channel. 
  2. ^ Hause, Steven C. (Spring 1989). "Anti–Protestant Rhetoric in the Early Third Republic". French Historical Studies 16 (1): 192. JSTOR 286440. 
  3. ^ "The Confession of Leo Taxil". April 25, 1897. Archived from the original on 2007-03-03. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 
  4. ^ Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? Authors: de Hoyos, Arturo and Morris, S. Brent, 1988, 2nd edition, p. 27-36 & 195-228, Chap. 3, Leo Taxil: The Hoax of Luciferian Masonry, and Appendix 1, The Confession of Leo Taxil ISBN 1590771532
  5. ^ also called "That's Baphomet?"
  6. ^ King, EL. "Book review: Cult & Ritual Abuse — Its History, Anthropology, and Recent Discovery in Contemporary America". Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  7. ^ de Hoyos, Arturo; Morris, S. Brent (1998). "Albert Pike and Lucifer". Is It True What They Say About Freemasonry? (2nd edition (revised) ed.). Silver Spring, Maryland: Masonic Information Center. Retrieved 2007-10-25. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Melior, Alec (1961). "A Hoaxer of Genius-Leo Taxil (1890-7)". Our Separated Brethren, the Freemasons. trans. B. R. Feinson. London: G. G. Harrap & Co. pp. 149–55. 

External links[edit]