Mysteries of the Freemasons   View more episodes

Aired at 09:00 AM on Wednesday, Feb 09, 2011 (2/9/2011)      View all transcripts from this day


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00:02:39 one of the keys to the freemason secret society lies buried in the saga of the first free masons: The great cathedral builders of northern europe.
00:02:53In the middle ages, these illiterate working men possessed the astonishing ability to transform raw stone into shimmering godly palaces.
00:03:07>> I think that building in stone has always been considered to be something akin to god.
00:03:15Major buildings tended to be temples and cathedrals.
00:03:19And the skills and knowledge to build them stemmed from geometry, which itself stemmed from astronomy.
00:03:26Astronomy was the heavens where the stars are, where the gods, or god is.
00:03:31And there was this thread of godliness.
00:03:38 there almost magical skills earned the stone masons a special place in medieval europe.
00:03:46They were free to travel across any border to wherever the work took them.
00:03:53For this rare privilege of freedom of movement, they were known as free stone masons.
00:04:03When a newcomer arrived at a work site, he faced a test.
00:04:08To prove his standing, he approached the master and shook his hand.
00:04:15Each of the three levels of skill - apprentice, journeyman and master had its own secret grip.
00:04:26The freemason secret society would adopt the stone masons handshakes as their own.
00:04:33A 19th century book claims to reveal the secret handshakes: "The grip of the entered apprentice is ma by pressing the thumb against the top of the first knuckle-joint of the fellow mason.
00:04:47"The pass grip of the fellow craft is taken as in an ordinary hand shake, and the mason presses the top of his thumb against the space between the first and second knuckle joints.
00:04:55"The real grip of a master.
00:04:56Mason firmly grasps the right hand of a fellow mason.
00:04:58The thumbs of both hands are interlaced.
00:05:00This grip is also called the " the handshakes were created in the stone masons' guilds, the medieval precursor of the trade union.
00:05:11Inside the guild, the culture was democratic.
00:05:15Every mason, from the richest master to the lowliest apprentice, addressed the other as brother.
00:05:24The tradition of equality is represented among modern freemasons by the medieval stone mason's symbol of the level.
00:05:32>> The level is to remind the mason that there are people of different cultures, different backgrounds, different professions - yet in the lodge, we all meet on the level.
00:05:43That's where it comes from.
00:05:44In the english language, being on the level, or level with me.
00:05:48It comes from masonic teaching.
00:05:50>> You end up on the level and it doesn't matter how great you are or how insignificant you are, everyone is going to the same place.
00:06:01You're going to the grave.
00:06:08 the simple tools of the medieval stone masons gave them a power beyond even their own understanding.
00:06:16The stone frame for this window at the jedburgh abbey in scotland was built without formula or equations, designed with a few turns of the master mason's compass.
00:06:43The stone masons favored particular proportions such as the ratio we now understand as 1.414 to one.
00:06:55That's the ratio of the length of jedburgh abbey to the length of it's nave.
00:07:02This ratio wasn't just considered pleasing to the eye, it was held as sacred, creating a mystical connection with the power of god.
00:07:15Geometry was often seen as more than a branch of mathematics, it was the all-powerful road to the divine.
00:07:25Today, the stone masons' combination of math and mysticism lives on in the secret society of freemasons.
00:07:35>> I think at the heart of freemasonry is this unstable mixture of two different views of the world.
00:07:48On one hand, you have the view that the world is complicated, it's mysterious, that people in the past knew things that we don't know today.
00:07:59On the other hand, you had another view of the world: That it's simple, that it's based on rules, and it's essentially mathematical and what freemasonry does is it takes these two views, which have now in our culture come separated, and it keeps them together.
00:08:17 the medieval stone masons mix of scientific skill, mystical thinking and democratic freedoms would prove irresistible to a radical, new brand of thinker emerging in europe.
00:08:29The scientists and philosophers of the enlightenment.
00:08:32In the 18th century, these high-born gentlemen would take over the free stone masons guild, and, with it, create a force that would change the world.
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00:12:47 the secret society of freemasons was born out of the stone masons guild sometime in the 1600s.
00:12:56The exact details of this strange transformation remains a mystery.
00:13:02>> We know that in 1599, when we have the oldest minutes of a lodge in scotland, that they are very definitely meeting as a labor union.
00:13:12And we know in 1717, when the four old lodges come together in london, that they're now gentleman's clubs.
00:13:18So during the 1600's, something happened.
00:13:22 what happened was the enormous upheaval in political and intellectual life known as the enlightenment.
00:13:29In britain, men like isaac newton turned away from church dogma and toward science and reason as ways to understand the world.
00:13:38>> Freemasonry is rooted in this period when science is becoming the center of learned culture.
00:13:48The center of science in this period is the royal society, and by the early 18th century, is being headed by sir isaac newton.
00:13:57>> They were intending to create a new belief system, a new cosmology, a new way of looking at the world more fitting with their own experience.
00:14:05 using only mathematics and observation, newton constructed a system of rational laws that explained the workings of the natural world without need of god's direct intervention.
00:14:20But for newton, the laws of gravity and motion did not explain everything.
00:14:25>> Newton and freemasonry share things.
00:14:28Not only of a view of the world which is mathematical, which is scientific, but also an interest in the ancient world and the mystical origins of humanity.
00:14:40 newton the scientist was also a devoted alchemist - in search of a chemical process to create the philosopher's stone, a magical substance that will cure disease, heal the soul, extend life and turn base metals into gold.
00:14:58He grew obsessed with the biblical description of solomon'semple, believing that its design must hold ancient wisdom and perhaps, the secret recipe for the philosopher's stone.
00:15:12>> Whilst a lot of this is theological and fanciful, in my view a lot of it is science too.
00:15:16Very ancient science.
00:15:18So there is a period in ancient history where the two became mixed together, where science and theology were two halves of the same thing.
00:15:27 newton drew up detailed diagrams of solomon's temple.
00:15:33Reconstructed its geometry.
00:15:36Made predictions of the future by interpreting its dimensions, but failed to discover the philosopher's stone.
00:15:46Enlightenment ideas had a profound effect on politics as well.
00:15:51Parliament executed charles 1 in 1649 for tyranny, set up a short-lived republic, and eventually a limited monarchy.
00:16:01King louis xiv and the rest of europe's absolute monarchs faced a direct challenge.
00:16:09Throughout europe, police suppressed enlightenment views and the church turned its attention to this new and powerful threat.
00:16:19>> If you were a person of science, if you were a person who favored liberal, humanistic tolerance, separation of church and state, you ran the risk of being on the other side of a political or religious inquisition.
00:16:33>> We must remember that in the medieval times, people didn't even own their bodies.
00:16:39If the church wanted to torture them, inquisition for some reason, that was sort of okay because they didn't own their bodies.
00:16:46 to avoid persecution, the modern-minded men hunted for safe places to meet and some found the stone masons guild - whose democratic values and practices seemed to embody enlightenment ideals to an astonishing degree.
00:17:01For the stone masons, these new gentleman masons provided a new respectability.
00:17:07>> If you think about the 18th century freemason lodges as sort of revolutionary coffeehouses, the ideas that are developing here are tolerance, brotherhood, egalitarianism --these are ideas that are new ideas in that time period.
00:17:28 over time, the gentleman displaced the workers, and in january 1717, at a pub in london, isaac newton's friend jean desagliers founded the first free mason grand lodge, named for the covered shed at every medieval construction site where the stone masons ate and drank.
00:17:51The freemason's basic charter made religious tolerance its a radical idea at the time.
00:18:01Masons elected their leaders democratically, a notion that would soon have sweeping impact.
00:18:09The masons embellished the legend of hiram abiff, the free builder and created an extensive language of symbols aimed at developing moral character and improving society.
00:18:23>> There are so many symbols in freemasonry that it's difficult to say which are the most important.
00:18:29The square reminds me to square my actions by the square of virtue.
00:18:33The compasses tell me that i should circumscribe my passions.
00:18:36The letter g stands for geometry, which was in the center of the masons life, or god, who is in the center of the freemason's life.
00:18:45>> The letter g refers to the supreme being, the grand architect of the universe.
00:18:50And we use that term to emphasize the freedom of religion - because people can define that supreme being any way they want.
00:19:01 the catholic church condemned freemasonry almost as soon as it began.
00:19:07In 1738, pope clement xii issued the first of what would become, over the centuries, a torrent of papal bulls attacking the freemasons.
00:19:17 the secret societies called the freemasons are depraved and perverted.
00:19:26They pose a great danger to the souls of the faithful.
00:19:30Therefore do we command most strictly that no catholic shall dare to enter, propagate or support these freemasons under pain of excommunication.
00:19:43>> The church tried everything in its power to halt this force, which we almost can't imagine today, the power of that political force.
00:19:53It caught like wild fire, because it represented a new way of thinking about the world; it was the wave of the future.
00:20:02 soon, democratic revolutions would wipe the old order away and the secret society of freemasons would be at the heart of it all.
00:20:15>> Benjamin franklin was at the center of the diplomatic movement of the american revolution.
00:20:22He belongs to a masonic lodge in france, the lodge of the nine sisters.
00:20:28In fact, benjamin franklin escorts voltaire, the greatest enlightenment figure of france, he escorts him into the lodge at a special meeting.
00:20:39So here you have two of the key figures of the enlightenment, and where do they meet?
00:20:45In the masonic lodge.ts to learn about saving?
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00:25:14 the accepted history of the freemasons links the secret society back to medieval stone ma but a deep tradition holds that the true roots of the society trace back to a 3,000 year old history tied to the legendary white knights of the crusades, the knights templar.
00:25:41>> The structure that I see, is that the rituals used by the freemasons today came from the knights templar, and the knights templar got them from the priests of jerusalem at the time of christ.
00:25:57 like the freemasons, the knights templar have been a source of fascination and mystery for centuries.
00:26:04As the pope's special "soldiers of christ," they killed countless thousands of infidels, mostly muslims, during the crusades, and grew to great wealth and power in medieval europe.
00:26:17But they began with a solitary group of nine frenchmen, who traveled to the holy land, in the year 1818, ostensibly to protect christian pilgrims.
00:26:28Once in jerusalem, they were housed at al-aqsa mosque, ground zero for the freemasons.
00:26:34Al-aqsa was built directly on top of the ruins of the jewish temples that proceeded it, including, according to tradition, the central icon in all of freemasonry: The temple of solomon.
00:26:49>> It was known in medieval times that the templars housed their horses underneath the southeastern platform in the area called solomon's stables.
00:27:00So the templars were involved in cleaninout this area and that was an extensive job.
00:27:07 on this much, historians agree.
00:27:10But since the middle ages, rumors and legends have held that the templars chose their dirty stables to dig for buried treasure.
00:27:20Solomon's gold; the plunder of ancient rome; the holy grail, and, perhaps, the lost secrets of the ancient jewish sect called the essenes whose strange rituals told the secret of how man might communicate with god directly as king solomon had.
00:27:44For author and freemason christopher knight, these essence documents, written by the authors of the dead sea scrolls, were the real treasure.
00:27:53>> And thelid charity, they had no income, and they just worked night and day digging - and they found their documents over those nine years, and theitreasures, and within months they were fabulously rich.
00:28:06 treasure-hunters or not, the templars returned to europe in 1127, and quickly gained the sponsorship of the church.
00:28:16Their group soon expanded in number to include 1,200 knights and more than 20,000 retainers.
00:28:23They diversified their services, inventing early forms of banking, shipping, and security.
00:28:29Within a generation, they were a powerful internaonal force.
00:28:34>> The knights templar were really the first multi-national banking concern and multi- national corporation of sorts.
00:28:41 strangely, the templar rules stipulated that their meetings could take place only at night.
00:28:47>> Perhaps similar to a board meeting today, outsiders were not allowed.
00:28:52So that opened up questions about what was really happening.
00:28:56>> And within just a handful of years, rumors were spreading that they were conducting strange rituals, which were apparently not christian.
00:29:05 these rituals, argues christopher knight, must have come to the templars from the scrolls they discovered under the temple.
00:29:13Rituals that served as the basis for the rebirth of an ancient religious practice, that bonded the templars together, in strength and in secrecy; a bond to be soon shared with the free masons.
00:29:29The templars embarked on a massive building program employing free stone masons to built the great cathedrals at chartres, notre dame, and many others across europe.
00:29:42>> The templar families had to bring in stonemasons and turn these people into, perhaps, something like lower level templars.
00:29:50They had to give them a ritual so they were bound to secrecy also.
00:29:56 christopher knight believes the templars powerful rituals live on in the freemason rituals of today, but that the meaning has been lost.
00:30:05>> There is one very good reason why freemasonry created this aura of secrecy.
00:30:10That is because of the rituals they conduct.
00:30:13They don't know why they conduct them.
00:30:16So, if you are open with somebody and you say, "yes, I went to this ritual and I had one trouser leg rolled up and my chest out to here and I was blindfolded and a noose around my neck and a " "oh, right. yeah.
00:30:28That's pretty weird.
00:30:29" " well, you are going to sound a fool.
00:30:34So you pretend it's secret.
00:30:36 in medieval europe, the templars power would not last.
00:30:42In 1307, the king of france, plotting to seize the templar fortune, sent out orders to strike down the templars in a single day.
00:30:52>> It was early in the morning at dawn that the frightening knock on the door came.
00:31:00Suddenly, the stampede began.
00:31:09The initial shock became a shock wave across all of europe.
00:31:17It is like every single company director of every corporation or government had been rounded up at dawn.
00:31:26It happened on friday the 13th, 1307.
00:31:30Some folklorists today believe that the friday the 13th superstition may originate from the templar arrests.
00:31:38>> Text of pope clement v's this order has aroused my anger and wrath because of the evil of its sons they fell ..
00:31:50 pope clement v, an ally of the king, condemned the knights templar.
00:31:54>> They were charged with blasphemy, heresy, spitting on the cross.
00:32:00They were accused possibly of worshiping a cat or a severed head, something allegedly called baphomet.
00:32:11 the exact meaning of the baphomet idol remains a mystery.
00:32:15The word may refer to mohammad, or to the greek words, "baphe" and "metis" " through the centuries, baphomet has become a powerful figure in satanic and occult practice.
00:32:30>> The most terrible thing they could be accused of really was denying the divinity of christ and the power of the cross.
00:32:37They never sought to deny that.
00:32:41And they were tortured pretty horribly.
00:32:44 in 1312, after five years of trials, and bloody executions, the pope disbanded the knights templar by decree.
00:32:54The order slipped into history or did it?
00:32:59>> Not all of the templars were rounded up or perhaps could have been because there were so many thousands of them.
00:33:09>> The templars went underground all over europe, and they did, as a matter of fact, create other offshoot secret societies, and tried to keep some of their traditions alive.
00:33:23>> Some say that some of them went and infiltrated the mason guild so they could travel freely.
00:33:31 for christopher knight, the place the knights templar brought their secret knowledge and their sacred scrolls was rosslyn chapel, in the scottish lowlands.
00:33:44>> Masonic ritual describes how king solomon met with his leading priests in a chamber underneath king solomon's temple.
00:33:54Now, rosslyn has exactly that.
00:33:56And masonic ritual describes exactly that.
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00:38:32 the mysterious rosslyn chapel just outside of edinburgh is the centerpiece of a controversial theory that sees the freemasons as the modern-day descendants of the medieval knights templar and of an ancient religious sect.
00:38:50>> Rosslyn is hugely important.
00:38:52It's the key to understanding masonic ritual.
00:38:56The masonic rituals that a used today, certainly the important ones and rosslyn chapel are two halves of the same thing.
00:39:03One unlocks the other.
00:39:06 rosslyn is covered with intricate carvings and sculpture.
00:39:09Imagery so plentiful and often so obscure that the exact purpose of the chapel has long been the subject of speculation.
00:39:21Rosslyn was the personal project of william saint clair, a 15th century nobleman, the official patron of the local stonemasons guild and according to the inscription added to his tomb long after his death, a knight templar, a hotly disputed claim.
00:39:39>> We have no documentable evidence that the founder, clair, was ever a knight templar.
00:39:46The suppression of the templar order was in 1312.
00:39:49But rosslyn wasn't started until 1446, well beyond that timeframe.
00:39:56Did the templars build rosslyn chapel?
00:39:59The answer is a definitive no.
00:40:03 but the templars did have a fortress near rosslyn.
00:40:07And the templars did try to survive as a secret society.
00:40:12In search of templar connections, thousands now flock to rosslyn every year, thanks to the chapel's featured role in the best-selling novel, the da vinci code.
00:40:23The staff is more than willing to point to any possible templar connection.
00:40:28>> One of the most intriguing ones, perhaps, is just behind me on the window here; the image of the knight templar on a horse and behind him a passenger.
00:40:36It's indicative of the knight templars in as much as they invariably had somebody on the horse behind them, it was kind of their - like being a boy scout really.
00:40:44You always had a buddy to look after.
00:40:47With the spear, and the cross on the back, that's very much a templar image.
00:40:53 christopher knight argues that the entire chapel was meant to be a recreation of solomon's temple.
00:40:59A signal to underground knights templar across the world that their ancient cult would rise again.
00:41:07He points to the half-built west wall of the chapel, a copy he believes, of jerusalem's wailing wall.
00:41:15And to the overall design, which knight believes was based on the structure that rose to replace the temple of solomon, herod's temple.
00:41:25>> Rosslyn chapel is a one-third scale copy of the herodian temple.
00:41:31When you marry together, the foundations of rosslyn and overlay them with the herodian temple in jerusalem, they are the same.
00:41:39They are perfect.
00:41:41It is an exact copy.
00:41:44 the freemason connection to rosslyn begins with solomon's temple, site of the central freemason legend of hiram abiff, the master murdered by jealous apprentices.
00:41:56At rosslyn, a corresponding myth centers on the spectacular, and strange, apprentice pillar.
00:42:02>> It's thought that clair had been to rome and seen a pillar, which he just thought was so exquisite he wanted to have replicated in his chapel.
00:42:12So he went to his master mason and said, "i've seen a pillar and I'd like you to build it for me.
00:42:17The master mason felt it was such a responsibility that he had to go to rome to see the original before he could build it and during that time, one of the apprentices had a dream.
00:42:28And in this dream he was told how to build the pillar.
00:42:31And he also saw himself completing it and william clair, fearing that his master mason may never return from rome, authorized the apprentice to do it and this is what he produced.
00:42:47However, the master mason did return.
00:42:50And on his arrival, when he saw the beautiful pillar, clearly enraged with envy he gave him a smash across the forehead with a mallet, killing him instantly.
00:43:00 so the apprentice dies from just the kind of blow that killed hiram abiff.
00:43:08>> All the other apprentices turned on the master mason and killed him on the spot.
00:43:14So the other apprentices decided that this story shouldn't be forgotten so they carved faces from the story on the interior of the chapel.
00:43:24That's actually the face of the apprentice.
00:43:28You can see that there is actually a big gash on the upper right hand side of his forehead, where the fatal mallet struck.
00:43:36 and directly opposite it, worn smooth by age, is the face of the master mason.
00:43:43>> Who rather ironically will be forced forever to look diagonally across the chapel at the apprentice pillar.
00:43:49 and other carvings may refer to the freemasons: The unusual postures of these figures matches exactly the curled position of a candidate in a freemason initiation ritual and there is more.
00:44:04>> Perhaps the most singly important item is a little carving of stones about that high, which shows a candidate being initiated, one would say, into freemasonry.
00:44:17But, of course, this is long before freemasonry.
00:44:20And there is a noose around the person's neck, which is part of the requirement for the first degree in freemasonry.
00:44:26And it's being held by someone who appears to be a templar, with the templar cross on his chest and the beard.
00:44:32And the point of convergence between the modern ritual on the first degree and this are so many that stistically it's impossible foit not to be directly connected in some way.
00:44:50 mainstream scholars dismiss knight's theory.
00:44:54Rosslyn, they say, is an amalgam of christian, celtic, and other folklore-based legends.
00:45:01William saint clair's attempt to preserve a threatened cultural heritage.
00:45:06>> Sir william foresaw the possible danger that certain belief systems or thoughts or images that had been previously burned in many inquisitional book burnings through the middle ages, might not get preserved for posterity.
00:45:24So, rosslyn is a bible or a book in stone.
00:45:32 these carvings present perhaps the greatest rosslyn mystery.
00:45:37They are identified as maize, corn, found only in the new world, carved 50 years before columbus set sail.
00:45:48A 500 year-old legend has it that william saint clair's grandfather, sir henry, was a knight templar who led an expedition to the new world and brought back corn - which his grandson celebrated in these carvings.
00:46:04>> We asked a botanist from the university to give us his opinion of this and when he looked at them, he wasn't convinced, until he found one more plant in rosslyn chapel, a small plant, and he said if you've got that one, then I'm prepared to believe that the other ones are genuine because this plant would only have been found in the new world.
00:46:24 the plant's name is the prairie trefoil.
00:46:29The evidence for the templar presence in america is circumstantial at best and, at present, dismissed by mainstream scholars.
00:46:39>> I personally think that while the evidence is very romantic and makes a great tale, that there's nothing there that supports it factually.
00:46:47>> A wonderful legend and a wonderful myth, and I put it in the camp of sort of greek myths.
00:46:53Great story, great narrative, highly unlikely.
00:46:59 but the vision of knights templar in america, turned to freemasons in america, persists.
00:47:08>> I think it is reasonable to suggest that the united states of america is the triumph of freemasonry, the ideals of equality and openness of thinking that were inside this early jewish priesthood, they used those masonic ideals to create this new utopia where everybody would be free, the land of the free.
00:47:32 freemasons ben franklin, george washington, paul revere and others would all play crucial roles in the american revolution.
00:47:44So crucial that they would give rise to the suspicion that america itself was a secret masonic project.
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00:51:50 washington dc, one of the most photographed cities in the world.
00:51:55Its monuments are powerful and familiar.
00:51:58Its history, well-known.
00:52:00Or is it?
00:52:02In recent years, a gathering storm of suspicions has brought renewed interest in an old idea that the united states is somehow under the control of a ..
00:52:16An innocent-seeming world-wide civic organization, with nearly two million members in the united states: The freemasons.
00:52:27And that washington dc is ground zero for that conspiracy.
00:52:32>> We know that dan brown, the author of the davinci code intends to set his sequel to the davinci code against the backdrop of freemasonry, and some of these interesting histories and mysteries that go back to the founding of america.
00:52:47 the symbols that reveal the freemasons' presence, whisper the rumors, are all around us, hidden in plain sight.
00:52:56Some are obvious like the compass and square, a public sign found on every freemason lodge, the g in the center refers, the freemasons say, to god, the grand architect of the universe.
00:53:09Other freemason symbols are more subtle.
00:53:12Even on the dollar bill, the theories allege, areecret codes understood by freemasons everywhere to mean that the plot to take over america is going well.
00:53:23Scholars find the idea ludicrous.
00:53:27>> They build this conspiracy theory, and they weave it together until it's this huge, giant, thing.
00:53:32The masons are just an element of it, because it includes the cia, the kgb, the pta and every other alphabet thing and, of course, they include the masons, because the masons have secrets.
00:53:45>> Anti-masons talk a lot about the masons trying to take over the world, the new wor you know.
00:53:51Do they really think that people like george washington, like benjamin franklin, were engaged in a conspiracy to take over the world?
00:53:59 the truth about the freemasons in america may be even stranger than the conspiracy theories.
00:54:05The story begins in england in the days of the founding freemason fathers.
00:54:11No one knows exactly how it happened but the medieval free stone masons guild was transformed in the 1700s by politically-minded noblemen into an entirely separate organization.
00:54:24These new freemasons wanted a secret club to advance their own blend of enlightenment ideals: Science, reason, equality, and freedom of thought.
00:54:35>> I think it's important to see freemasonry as a repository of intellectual knowledge, scientific knowledge, that, by definition, had to develop as a secret society because of the hegemony of the church in earlier times.
00:54:53>> In the late 1730s, the pope issues a papal bull stating that roman catholics cannot join the fraternity.
00:55:01Because free masonry, at its heart, is about breaking down religious barriers.
00:55:07It's bringing together people of different religious origins and for people who believe that the church is the center that other organizations dilute it, freemasonry is a frightening kind of thing.
00:55:22>> It caught like wildfire, because it represented a new way of thinking about the world that was the wave of the future.
00:55:30Great thinkers like voltaire in france, people like mozart composing the magic flute, which is a masonic allegory.
00:55:38Adam smith, david hume people we associate with the ideas that then led to the american relution.
00:55:46 benjamin franklin was one of the first americans to join the secret society.
00:55:51He underwent the bizarre ritual of the freemason initiation ceremony in philadelphia in 1731.
00:55:59>> These rituals used by freemasons are undoubtedly of ancient jewish origin, very old jewish origin, going back to the time of solomon, 3,000 years, probably.
00:56:09It is about death and resurrection, which is at the heart of the concept of freemasonry.
00:56:14Each freemason is physically resurrected from a symbolic death.
00:56:19 the freemasons' y and acceptance of men of different religious groups made them targets of suspicion.
00:56:26>> In the 1730s in america, there's a good deal of talk-- what is masonry's secret?
00:56:31It mattered if you were a presbyterian, or if you were a baptist.
00:56:35So masonry, in blurring those kind of lines, seems to many people to be upending some of the foundations of society.
00:56:46 freemasonry spread throughout the colonies.
00:56:49By the 1770s, revolution was in the air with american freemasons like paul revere taking the lead.
00:56:57>> The boston tea party is one point in which you can see freemasons actually being closely involved with one of the central events of the american revolution beca dragon tavern in boston, the meeting place of one of the key groups of masons.
00:57:18This is the center of a lot of the meetings about the tea party.
00:57:23In fact, there's a drawing of the green dragon tavern from this period, and actually, somebody has written on there, this is where we planned, what becomes the boston tea party.
00:57:33>> Paul revere, john hancock and joseph warren were all members of the lodge.
00:57:39We're talking about firebrand liberals!
00:57:43>> This lodge doesn't meet that night, and it's actually written in the minutes that, we >> one cannot truly understand how the american experiment came to be, how the ideals of the american revolution flourished, without studying the role of freemasonry.
00:58:04Masons are dangerous.
00:58:05A mason learns that he or she has a free will.
00:58:10A mason is very dangerous when it comes to systems of government that try to oppress the free mind of an individual.
00:58:22 with the mason- revolution underway, and the new nation defining itself, freemason ben franklin suggested an important change to thomas jefferson's draft of the declaration of independence.
00:58:34>> We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable.
00:58:40 the word sacred franklin, by now the grand master of the pennsylvania freemasons.
00:58:46A freemason's america in accordance with advanced enlightenment ideas would be bound by reason, not by faith.
00:58:54Franklin found a more acceptable word: self-evident.
00:58:59>> We hold these truths to be created equal.
00:59:04>> The declaration of independence is part of the same intellectual world as early freemasonry.
00:59:10It's a world where god still exists, but you don't emphasize the specific things that divide you, about religion.
00:59:22>> These individuals were not primarily christians in their belief system.
00:59:27They saw themselves as christians in a very broadly defined light.
00:59:32They talked about divine providence, they didn't talk about god.
00:59:36They tked about belief in man and the importance of doing good works in this life, on this earth.
00:59:43They talked about tolerance, progress, the need for men to band together to change society.
00:59:53 of the 56 men to sign the independence, nine were openly freemasons, including the presiding officer, john hancock.
01:00:03But america's most important founding freemason was none other than george washington.
01:00:09>> The fact that washington is a freemason isof enormous significance.
01:00:16George washington, joined even when he was just 20 years old, so anxious was he to join the fraternity.
01:00:22 with the war for independence underway, general washington, struggled to transform the rag-tag continental army into a unified fighting force.
01:00:31Freemason lodges set up inside army camps provided a place for discussion and the roots of the first truly american identity.
01:00:40>> You found that religious organizations were largely segregated by colony with calvinists to the north, quakers in the middle, anglicans in the south.
01:00:49But freemasonry was a group that transcended the boundaries.
01:00:54It provides a common bond of friendship that is so essential in maintaining esprit de corp.
01:01:00>> About 40% of all the officers belonged to the fraternity and quite often met within lodges that are held in the army camps.
01:01:12 but, the war did not begin well for the americans.
01:01:16Washington knew that without more supplies and better officers, the revolution was doomed.
01:01:23Washington's freemason brother, ben franklin took care of that problem, persuading the king of france to enter the war on america's side.
01:01:34>> Franklin was an ambassador to paris, to france, and you hear of course, well, he used his connections in france.
01:01:41What were those connections?
01:01:43He was a freemason.
01:01:45He was very active in freemasonry.
01:01:47In fact, benjamin franklin guided voltaire in his initiation in the lodge of the nine muses in paris.
01:01:56I mean he was so well connected, he used the masonic network to recruit great generals and officers from around europe who were willing to come, serve under another mason, george washington, fight for the ideals of the american revolution because those were also masonic ideals.
01:02:17 help came from german baron von steuben, a freemason who guided washingts through the hardships of valley forge.
01:02:25And the marquis de lafayette, a freemason who helped lead america to the ultimate victory over the british at yorktown.
01:02:33Without the freemason leadership, the revolution might never have been won.
01:02:40>> Wgton there, and with so many other figures, by the time the revolution is over, most americans have come to see masonry as a peculiarly patriotic nationalistic organization.
01:02:53>> Narrator: america was free.
01:02:55When washington swore his oath of office in 1789 on a bible borrowed from a masonic lodge held by a fellow mason the fraternity had a unique opportunity to help shape their new nation and they took it.
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01:07:09>> As americans learn about freemason history and the founding of this country, they will find some of the episodes to be shocking, strange, bizarre.
01:07:22 in the first days of the republic, president george washington, a freemason worshipful master, took a strong hand in designing the capital city that would bear his name.
01:07:32>> George washington is intimately involved with his creation, the creation of this new capital city right near his home.
01:07:40 in the summer of 1791, the president hired a revolutionary war veteran, major pierre-charles l£enfant, to work on the design of the city.
01:07:50L'enfant's plan would reflect washington's deepest beliefs starting with the freemason president's insistence that the district be set on an exact 10-mile square.
01:08:02>> The city was designed scientifically and geometrically.
01:08:08To send a very important message that unlike the old order where the reliance was on religion mainly to govern the affairs of the people.
01:08:19Under the new order, the reliance is going to be mainly on reason, the scientific method, geometry, to govern the affairs of the people.
01:08:33 many hands would thomas jefferson drew the initial street plan - an uncompromising grid.
01:08:40L'enfant added the distinctive radial streets shooting off at angles from focal points, like the capitol.
01:08:48Andrew ellicot, benjamin banneker and others would all contribute.
01:08:53None known to be freemasons - - but to many members of the fraternity, the result reflects a uniquely freemason vision of america.
01:09:02>> It reflects ideals of architecture and masonry espoused by the fraternity.
01:09:07You can see the various symbols of geometry that we use in freemasonry, the triangle, the concept of the three, the square, the concept of the four.
01:09:19 the freemasons used countless shapes and symbols to educate initiates in the ways of what was called, the craft.
01:09:26>> The masons in the 1700s understand the power of symbols to communicate deep psychological ideas, complex political ideas.
01:09:38They're almost zen-like in how simple they appear, and yet, how profound they might be.
01:09:44Some of them even the scholars and experts haven't decoded.
01:09:49 the most well-known freemason symbol is the sign of the linked compass and square.
01:09:56These simple tools of the medieval stonemasons remind the freemason to deal honestly - on the square - and to live a measured and moral life.
01:10:07Freemason akram elias sees the compass and square as part of the capital's masonic design.
01:10:13The coded symbols built into the city ban with washington, he believes, but their development has continued through the centuries.
01:10:22>> The top of the compass is the capitol - one axis of the compass goes to the white house, the other one is from the capitol to the jefferson memorial and then the square is from the lincoln memorial to white house, lincoln to jefferson.
01:10:43For the square and compasses to be completed, the jefferson merided be where it is today and you know that part of the river was land filled for about six years from 1933 to 1939.
01:10:56 roosevelt who -oops - happened to be a mason, by the way.
01:11:01I don't know, it's probably coincidence, of course it's coincidence.
01:11:04 not even all masons agree.
01:11:07>> Now akram and I do not see eye to eye and he's going to give you this lengthy explanation how washington was moved by his masonic ideals to incorporate the 10 mile square as a symbol of the perfection of the city, the perfection of the united states government, all based upon masonic ideals.
01:11:24If you take any rectangular grid pattern, you superimpose on it a radial design, you cannot avoid creating something that will look like a square and compass.
01:11:33And so no, I don't see them there at all.
01:11:37>> It's like etcha sketch - you start to trace things, if you go really far out you're going to see any conceivable masonic symbol is there somewhere.
01:11:46>> I can look at the streets of washington and also see a piggy and a horsey, uh, i don't think they're there.
01:11:55 imbued with a freemason code or not, the nation celebrated the founding of its new capitol with great patriotic fervor, and freemasons played the central role.
01:12:07>> In 1793, the freemasons were asked to lay the cornerstone of the united states capitol.
01:12:13>> Washington himself dressed in his full masonic regalia, performs a masonic ritual, which includes libations of corn, wine, a oil.
01:12:26>> Now maize is a symbol of abundance.
01:12:28Of prosperity.
01:12:31Oil is a symbol of peace.
01:12:33And wine is a symbol of happiness.
01:12:37>> Thomas jefferson talks about the capitol as being a temple.
01:12:41The first temple dedicated to the sovereignty of the people.
01:12:45They're acting, in some ways, as sort of priests of this new nation.
01:12:50They are taking on a sacred function.
01:12:55>> So mote it be, so mote it be.
01:13:01 the president's public embrace of freemasonry set the fraternity on an uninterrupted course toward power and influence.
01:13:08But that power would suddenly collapse in 1826.
01:13:12With a charge of murder.
01:13:19 with george washington as president and freemason, the secret society grew more public gaining membership, power and influence throughout the young united states.
01:13:30>> Freemasonry became very popular and as a result of that, some people started questioning, said what's happening here, it seems like everywhere you turn, you find a mason.
01:13:40Are these guys taking over the country?
01:13:43Do they have their own secret plot or something?
01:13:47 the freemasons were soon the center of america's first conspiracy theory.
01:13:54It began in france, where the french revolution turned into robespierre's reign of terror.
01:14:00Thousands were sent to the guillotine in the name o liberty.
01:14:05In 1798, in america, a shocking book appeared that claimed the french revolution - and the terror that followed was really the work of a small, devil-worshipping society that hid under the cover of the society of freemasons: The illuminati.
01:14:23>> The illuminati: Fascinating, powerful, connotative reference.
01:14:29Cultish, secret, symbolic rituals.
01:14:32The illuminati was a real historical movement created interestingly in the year 1776 in bavaria and they did attempt to foment revolutions and they did spread in secret to some other european countries.
01:14:48>> A number people begin to raise fears that the illuminati have come to america, that they're also trying to create that same sort of thing.
01:14:57 george washington was both president, and the country's most famous freemason.
01:15:02If the country believed the freemasons were corrupt, the government might collapse.
01:15:07>> George washington receives letters from important people in american society, asking him to declare that he is not a freemason.
01:15:17And george washington replies, sort of, I'm not now, and never have been a member of the illuminati, and he doesn't denounce freemasonry.
01:15:25 the freemason illuminati conspiracy theory was based on bad facts.
01:15:30The historical record shows that the illuminati existed as a group for less than ten years.
01:15:35The illuminati were abolished in 1785, with public trials and banishments.
01:15:41But the freemasons would never completely escape from the shadow of the illuminati.
01:15:49Against a growing tide of suspicion, by the 1820s, freemasons were in power all over the country in small towns, in state houses, and, with the election of freemason james monroe, in the white house as well.
01:16:04But the masons position of power and influence was about to end with a crime and a cover-up.
01:16:13Initiation rituals are at the core of freemasonry.
01:16:16These strange ceremonies draw on traditions thousands of years old.
01:16:21Every freemason experiences them and swears an oath promising death to anyone who reveals their secrets.
01:16:29In 1826, william morgan violated that oath.
01:16:34An ex-freemason in the western new york state town of batavia, morgan announced plans to publish a book exposing every detail of even the highest, most secret freemason rituals.
01:16:45Soon after, the heavy-drinking morgan was jailed on the trivial charge of defaulting on a two dollar sixty cent debt.
01:16:54>> For many masons, these were the culmination, the most sacred moments, within fraternal activity.
01:17:03The masons in the area around him do all sorts of things to try to stop him, from trying to speak to him to try to burn down the printing press.
01:17:11And eventually, they turn to kidnapping him.
01:17:15They take him out of the prison and they ride with him off into the night.
01:17:20Morgan is never seen again.
01:17:23 as the carriage pulled away, a witness heard morgan cry out, murder! murder!
01:17:30>> Many people think he was killed, which is my view.
01:17:33Some people say he was sent to canada, sent elsewhere.
01:17:37 four men, all local masons, were arrested and charged with kidnapping.
01:17:43>> As the wheels of justice turn, they don't turn very well, because masons seem to be trying to cover this up.
01:17:50You have masonic sheriffs packing juries, you have masonic organizations seemingly trying to remove witnesses from the area.
01:18:01 when the defendants were let off with light sentences, a public outcry erupted.
01:18:07Even dewitt clinton, the powerful governor of new york state and freemason was suspected of conspiracy.
01:18:14>> Public opinion convicted the masons, all of the masons, not just a group of renegade out-of-control local masons, but every mason everywhere was guilty of the murder.
01:18:24>> Americans come to see masonry in a new way.
01:18:29What had seemed to be the embodiment of everything that was right about america now seems to be the embodiment of everything that is wrong about america.
01:18:39Freemasonry seems to be an emblem of the compromises, of the failures of this world, a world which claimed to be equal, but yet was deeply stratified, deeply divided.
01:18:50So masons claimed to be about equality, but yet had kings, had high priests, had worshipful masters in their lodges.
01:19:02 by the time of the presidential campaign of 1831, a burgeoning anti-mason movement had coalesced into a powerful political force.
01:19:11>> The first third national party, quote, unquote, in the united states, was the anti-masonic party.
01:19:18I mean look how well, how narrowly defined it was, hunh, hunh you know, it was not like a libertarian party or a green party, it was an anti-masonic party.
01:19:28You create a national party against something.
01:19:30 the anti-masons lost their presidential bid in 1832 to andrew jackson, a democrat and a freemason.
01:19:37But the damage had been done.
01:19:40Small-town preachers poured down condemnation on the masons in their congregation labeling them blasphemers, atheists and expelled those who refused to quit the fraternity.
01:19:53New england schoolteachers shut their classroom doors to the children of freemasons.
01:19:58A group of wives and mothers even issued dark warnings about unnatural acts committed inside the all-male masonic lodges.
01:20:06>> In some places, this just devastates freemasonry.
01:20:10The vermont grand lodge simply closes up, they decide they can't continue to meet; the michigan grand lodge has the same experience.
01:20:20>> In new york, in new england, freemasonry was virtually destroyed.
01:20:25In maryland where my membership is, I believe we lost half our lodges.
01:20:30 the freemasons might have disappeared from america in the wake of what was known as the morgan affair.
01:20:37But the freemasons would rise again, propelled by a mysterious, charismatic leader who would transform the fraternity and lead to charges that the freemasons were secretly in league with the re moms, dads, veterans, coaches.
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01:24:47 the freemasons rise in america took a staggering blow with the kidnap and disappearance of william morgan in the 1820s.
01:24:57Over the next twenty years, the freemasons reinvented themselves as a large, but low-profile charitable organization.
01:25:06>> Masons no longer boast about how powerful they are.
01:25:09They no longer talk about how god created their fraternity.
01:25:14So masonry comes back, and by the 1860s, it is beginning to grow again in dramatic scale.
01:25:22 no one was more responsible for the freemasons growth in the 19th century than the controversial figure of albert pike.
01:25:30His work would transform the freemasons and provide the fuel for every freemason conspiracy theory to come.
01:25:38>> Pike made a tremendous contribution to freemasonry, but also, albert pike as a person, is one of the most controversial freemasons.
01:25:47 pike's work would bring charges of racism.
01:25:49Satanism and charges that a hidden cabal of leaders inside the society secretly directed a freemason conspiracy to rule america.
01:25:59>> He was 300 lbs, he was over 6' tall, and he looked for all the world like merlin the magician.
01:26:06>> He was a renaissance man in his knowledge and interest.
01:26:10One of the main things that he accomplished was rewriting the rituals.
01:26:15The rituals, those allegorical stories that teach the ethical and moral lessons.
01:26:21>> He wrote this incredible volume, morals and dogma, and he just went to town with all of the lure of ancient religion, philosophy, and esoteric things of all kinds.
01:26:35He might mention druids or gnostics or whatever as well as very christian themes or very classical themes.
01:26:42 pike combined ancient religions, astrology, myths and legends to create an elaborate new set of 33 masonic initiations.
01:26:52The conspiracy theories claim that these 33 strange ceremonies and degrees hold the key to understanding the truth about the freemasons.
01:27:02>> It's a philosophical system which teaches moral instruction.
01:27:05We have the lodge of perfection, which is the first 14 degrees.
01:27:10The chapter of rosy croix.
01:27:12The council of kadosh.
01:27:14And the consistory of the masters of the royal secret.
01:27:18 conspiracy theorists charge that these higher degrees are taught the true nature of the freemason conspiracy and that this truth is hidden from ordinary masons.
01:27:27They point to pike's own words, which seem to be teach the art of deception.
01:27:33 the first three degrees are but the outer court of the temple.
01:27:37Part of the symbols are displayed there to the initiate, but he is intentionally misled by false interpretations, their true explication is reserved for the adepts, the princes of masonry.
01:27:49>> The notion that the higher degrees conceal information from the lower degrees is actually taken out of context.
01:27:56The statement occurs in morals and dogma in the chapter on the knights kodosh, which is the ritual that reenacts the knights templar legend.
01:28:06The knights templar were the medieval monks that fought in the crusades that were destroyed by pope clement the v and king phillip the fair of france.
01:28:14Now pike taught that that degree should warn us about the abuses of power, he saw pope clement the v and phillip the fair as potential dangers to mankind, and believed the early masons veiled the meaning in allegories in the lower degrees in order to keep their ceremonies secret.
01:28:35 pike, who had been a confederate bridier general in the civil war, is also the source of another the question of his supposed relationship with the ku klux klan.
01:28:47>> I've even read that he supposedly wrote the rituals of the kkk - this is simply not true.
01:28:52I've looked through our entire collection of manuscripts from pike, his personal correspondence from the period of the civil war on up to the time that he died.
01:29:02There's not a single reference to the kkk.
01:29:04There's no evidence that pike was ever a member, much less that he wrote the rituals.
01:29:10 in an 1868 newspaper editorial, pike did write that nothing much would come of the klan, as it was poorly organized.
01:29:18He argued instead for a different secret society.
01:29:22We would unite every white man in the south, he wrote, who is opposed to negro suffrage, in onereatrder of southern brotherhood whose very existence should be concealed from all but its members.
01:29:38>> It's a little bit like thomas jefferson.
01:29:41There are sometimes contradictions that you cannot reconcile.
01:29:45I mean, he's a great founding father, you know, main drafter of the declaration of independence, yet his attitude towards slavery and what he did privately, I mean how can you have these two people be the same?
01:29:58Well they are.
01:29:59They are.
01:30:01And I guess we're human beings.
01:30:03 pike's freemason elite is the 33rd degree, called the inspectors general.
01:30:08To this day, this the freemasons in pike's southern jurisdiction.
01:30:1533Rd degree masons have included president harry truman, general douglas macarthur, and the once powerful and feared fbi director, j. edgar hoover.
01:30:25Every one of them, charge the conspiracy theories, manipulated events to help maintain control of america.
01:30:32The lack of evidence only seems to encourage the true believers.
01:30:37>> They accuse freemasons of doing wicked, terrible things.
01:30:40And when you tell them that it just doesn't happen, they just simply say, well, you don't know yet.
01:30:45You are not high enough.
01:30:46Well, I know plenty of extremely senior freemasons, grand masters running countries, and I know exactly what they know, because they ask me for advise on certain things.
01:30:58And there is no high level.
01:31:01It just doesn't exist.
01:31:03 the ultimate charge against the freemasons is that they worship the devil.
01:31:08The accusation seems to stem from a single paragraph in pike's 861 page book, morals and dogma.
01:31:17 lucifer, the son of the morning!
01:31:20Is it he who bears the light, and with its splendors intolerable blinds feeble, sensual, or selfish souls?
01:31:28Doubt it not!
01:31:31>> The morning star is the planet venus, in latin it's called lucifer.
01:31:37Which literally means light bearer.
01:31:39Because it rises just before the sun comes.
01:31:42And so it is the bringer of the light.
01:31:44>> And what he meant was that it heralds the dawn and brings light to mankind.
01:31:50And unfortunately, in other contexts, lucifer is satan, and away you go with that, so he appeared to praising and laudi satan, which was never his meaning, and it would be very wrong to take it that way.
01:32:06 the lucifer myth was exploited by a french author, pen-name leo taxil, who wrote a wildly popular series of pamphlets and books denouncing masonry in the 1890s.
01:32:17But in 1897, taxil proudly revealed that his depiction of albert pike as a satanist was a complete and utter hoax.
01:32:26But for the freemasons, the genie was out of the bottle.
01:32:30>> If you see the word lucifer in pike's book and taxil has told you that he's the sovereign pontiff of lucifer it all comes together!
01:32:38Those poor masons, they're misled by the evil inner circle!
01:32:43To the present people have breathlessly told their friends do you realize what the masons are doing?
01:32:49And I suspect these are the same people who send an email and say did you hear about the poor woman who dried her poodle in a microwave?
01:32:57 modern-day zealots even see signs of taxil's devil in the layout of the streets of washington dc.
01:33:04>> In the layout of washington you will find the image of an inverted 5- pointed star you're going to see two of the points sticking up and away you go, you've got now a satanic image and they believe that it was written into the design of washington.
01:33:22) very few rational people may truly believe the devil's face is embedded in the streets of washington.
01:33:30But no freemason mystery is more widespread than the rumors that swirl around the great seal of the united states and the strange symbols that appear on the one dollar bill.
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01:38:07 by the twentieth century, the freemasons were deeply ingrained in american life.
01:38:13Their house of the temple, completed in 1915, stands exactly 13 blocks from the white house.
01:38:20High above the 33 entrance steps, one for each freemason degree, stands an unfinished 13-step pyramid exactly the same design that appears on the back of the united states one dollar bill.
01:38:33For generations, americans have wondered about the possibility of a secret freemason code hidden on the dollar bill.
01:38:41>> People will tell you that it was put there by the freemasons, that there are secret words and anagrams.
01:38:49If you draw a hexagram around the great seal, the letters that it connects are m a s o n.
01:38:55That 1776 is the year the illuminati of bavaria was formed.
01:39:00That our all-seeing eye and unfinished pyramid are all there as our way of telling the world that we are in charge.
01:39:11 the symbols on the dollar bill are derived from the great seal of the united states.
01:39:16The familiar american bald eagle appears on the front.
01:39:20The reverse features the mysterious pyramid and an all-seeing eye.
01:39:27The true story of the great seal begins with a committee formed the same day the declaration of independence was signed july 4, 1776.
01:39:37It was designed by four separate committees, over 6 years.
01:39:42>> Only one freemason served on any of the committees and that was benjamin franklin.
01:39:47Franklin served on the first committee and he proposed as a design moses standing on the banks of the red sea, parting the waters while in the foreground were the children of israel and in the background the pharaoh and his hosts.
01:40:02 the final design was approved by congress in 1782.
01:40:06George washington, ben franklin, and other founding fathers were all freemasons.
01:40:11Every symbol on the great seal would share both their freeman heritage and their dreams for the new nation; beginning with the incomplete pyramid, a symbol for both the freemasons and their founding fathers.
01:40:25>> The pyramid is not unique to masonry.
01:40:28But masons give it great significance.
01:40:31You see, masons are builders.
01:40:33So we're talking here about the american experiment.
01:40:36It's a building process.
01:40:39>> The fact that it is uncompleted - this is the explanation that's given by the state department in the seal means that we have not completed and perfected our nation yet and we're still working on it.
01:40:51And we certainly are.
01:40:54 the pyramid is a familiar symbol.
01:40:57The eye emanating light is not.
01:41:00Possibly derived from the egyptian god's eye, by the renaissance the eye had become a common symbol for the all-seeing eye of the christian god, watching over all of creation.
01:41:12The freemasons would adopt the all-seeing eye but not until 14 years after it first appeared on the great seal.
01:41:20For the founding fathers the all-seeing eye was a way of acknowledging god without any reference to a specific church.
01:41:27>> They have an all-seeing eye to suggest the notion that somehow, without a specific christian god concept, someone, some being, some presence is overlooking the world.
01:41:42>> In masonry the concept is very simple.
01:41:46To defeat ignorance, to defeat tyranny, to defeat fanaticism, the three eternal enemies of the free mind, of the free mason, you need to seek light.
01:41:58You need to become an enlightened citizen.
01:42:02 no part of the great seal is more controversial than the latin phrase, novus ordo seclorum.
01:42:10The designer, charles thompson, a non-mason, borrowed the words from a 2000 year old latin poem.
01:42:16Translated the phrase reads, 'new order of the ages,' a reference to the dawn of the american era.
01:42:24The words have no direct connection to freemasonry at all.
01:42:28>> The idea of a new social order, which is what I think e nova order seclorum means, is the idea that we are building a new society, in the early united states.
01:42:41>> We're talking here about building a new experiment, building a new republic, building a new order that is different from the old order which was represented by an absolutist monarchy and an absolutist church.
01:42:55>> One of the ways I think it's mis-translated is new secular order, with the emphasis being on rooting out religion.
01:43:04So people look at this and see these conspiracy theories are missing the point, really, of the history of the american revolution, and it's ideals.
01:43:15 the founding fathers' ideals are embodied in washington dc, the city they built as a tribute to democracy.
01:43:23A new theory, first published by a french author in 1979, claims that the freemasons among the founding fathers also built a secret code into washington, making the entire city one vast pagan altar, a tribute to a goddess.
01:43:42The theory begins with the so- called federal triangle: The washington monument, the capitol building, and the white house.
01:43:52The significance, says the theory, can be found in the stars above.
01:43:58Every year between august 10th and 15th, just after sunset, three bright stars align directly over the federal triangle.
01:44:09>> You'll be looking at these three stars; arcturus, regulus, and spica.
01:44:17 arcturus appears above the washington monument, regulus, above the white house and spica above the capital.
01:44:28In the center of the triangle, hovering over the city's most important buildings shines the constellation virgo, the virgin goddess.
01:44:38This strange annual alignment might be coincidence or it might have been deliberately created by freemasons like george washington, practicing a strange and ancient religion.
01:44:51>> And from this comes this thhat the entire city of washington was oriented toward the virgo symbol in the sky, which would be the virgin, which would if you trace it back can be christian in nature, with the virgin mary, but if you trace it back far enough, you get right back to the greek goddess minerva, or isis, the egyptian goddess.
01:45:15The idea of orienting your city to a goddess would be to seek to get the divine benevolence from that goddess.
01:45:27 it seems an absurd theory on the surface.
01:45:31But there is this enigmatic portrait of the first freemason president george washington.
01:45:37Washington's son holds the central freemason symbol of the compass.
01:45:42Washington, his wife and his daughter clearly indicate three specific points on a map of washington dc of a triangle, location unknown.
01:45:53Freemason leader albert pike did call for a painting of constellations featuring virgo to be placed on the ceiling of every freemason lodge.
01:46:04And, 19th century masons did often reproduce images of virgo tended by a master mason sometimes under her zodiac sign.
01:46:15In fact, the zodiac sign of virgo appears repeatedly in washington.
01:46:21The district has a total of 53 zodiacs, more than any other capitol city in the world.
01:46:28Including this image of virgo rising, on the statue of james garfield, president, and freemason.
01:46:37As with so many freemason mysteries, the truth about virgo may never be known with 100 percent certainty.
01:46:47And while the freemasons have embodied the cherished american values of independence, equality and brotherhood since the first days of the revolution, their long history of keeping secrets means that the freemasons will never be entirely above suspicion.
01:47:06>> Having studied freemasonry for so long, it seems very strange to me that people see masonry as being something that has this extraordinarily wide ranging impact on society, and in a very bad kind of way.
01:47:21As a non-mason, as a scholar, I would have liked nothing more than to have found some major masonic conspiracy, and unfortunately for my fame, the idea that there's a secret masonic conspiracy just doesn't seem to hold up.
01:47:36 the debate about who the freemasons really are and what their impact has been on society, here in america, will most certainly continue.
01:47:44The myths, the rituals, and the secrecy that surround the freemasons all act to keep the mysteries unsolved and the conspiracy theories alive.
01:47:57The conspiracy theories alive.
01:48:03>> What if I were to tell you that of all of america's skyjackings, only one remains unsolved?
01:48:10[ Camera shutter clicking ] on november 24, 1971, a passenger using the name dan cooper hijacked northwest orient airlines flight 305 headed from portland to seattle.
01:48:22After threatening to blow up the plane with a bomb, cooper demanded four parachutes and $200,000.
01:48:29Fearing the worst, northwest airlines agreed.
01:48:32Once on the ground in seattle, cooper let the other passengers and some of the flight crew off the plane and had both the money and parachutes brought on board.
01:48:41The plane refueled, took off again, and, at 10,000 feet, cooper jumped from the backstairs of the boeing 727 into the pacific northwest night.
01:48:52He was never seen again.
01:48:54[ Camera shutter clicking ] the press began calling the cooper, and the fbi investigated thousands of leads.
01:49:02Suspects included a mass murderer, a college professor, a career criminal, and a world war ii veteran.
01:49:08But they were all ruled out as the culprit.
01:49:10In the last 40 years, new suspects have emerged, and now we have an unexamined lead that may point to an inside job.
01:49:18We need to decode who he was and how he may have managed to pull off this unbelievable stunt without ever getting caught.
01:49:26Whatever the case, I can tell you one thing -- when someone commits the perfect crime, I want to know who he is.
01:49:36I'm brad meltzer.
01:49:37I've spent my life collecting stories.
01:49:41The best include signs, symbols, and codes, secret meanings that are hidden in plain sight.
01:49:47Some have become the basis for my novels, but I've only scratched the surface of what's out there.
01:49:55History has given me the resources to investigate the rest.
01:50:02" >> you guys, just think about this for a minute.
01:50:19There's many, many suspects over the years, and this is like the oldest cold case -- the only unsolved skyjacking in aviation history.
01:50:26>> The problem is, there's been, like, hundreds of people that have either claimed to be this guy or they know this guy or they're related to this guy, so I'm a little skeptical whether this is gonna be the one.
01:50:35>> Buddy, mac, and scott are chasing down leads that point to kenny christiansen, a former northwest airlines employee, being d.b. cooper.
01:50:43Kenny was never really a suspect IN THE 1970s, BUT THE BOOK "Into the blast" uncovered new evidence that points to christiansen.
01:50:50And I was able to get the co-author, robert blevins, to agree to talk.
01:50:55>> You believe that kenny christiansen was d.b. cooper.
01:50:58Is that right?
01:50:59>> I would say 90% to 95% certain that he was.
01:51:04He worked for the airline.
01:51:06He had paratrooper training.
01:51:07He had the opportunity.
01:51:08He had a lot of unexplained spending within a few months after the hijacking.
01:51:12He lent his best frid's sister $5,000 in cash to buy a house.
01:51:16Then he used another $16,000 to buy another house for himself.
01:51:21As far as we can tell, kenny christiansen had one life before the hijacking and a completely different one afterwards.
01:51:30>> Christiansen was making $512 a month -- that's amonth-- working for northwest, so for him to suddenly have money to throw around was definitely suspicious.
01:51:39The fbi, though, ruled christiansen out as a suspect for three reasons -- one, he didn't match eyewitness descriptions, two, he wasn't a career criminal, and, three, they don't believe that the hijacker had military training.
01:51:53>> The parachute rig that the ..
01:51:56>> The parachute that cooper actually jumped with is called a navy backpack 6, and it's a smaller parachute, re of a military type, but a guy like kenny christiansen might pick that one over a big, newer sport parachute, especially a person who hadn't jumped in a while.
01:52:12>> Because he would be familiar with how it worked?
01:52:14>> That's right.
01:52:15>> The fact that kenny christiansen was a paratrooper -- and, obviously, cooper jumped out of a plane -- what helps match that up?
01:52:21I mean, was there something specific about the training?
01:52:24>> The skyjacker was a pretty tough guy anso was kenny, and kenny went through paratrooper training where they started out with 262 men and ended up with 80 that actually finished, and he was one of them.
01:52:34>> So, you think kenny did this and he survived the jump?
01:52:37>> Yes, I think he jumped out of the back of that 727, hit the ground, popped off his parachute, disconnected the harness and the container from it, buried the silk part, and put his briefcase and the money bag into the container for the parachute, put it on his back, and walked out of the woods.
01:52:53>> [ Chuckles ] >> another kind of crazy coincidence is this comic book here made into a hardback book, ..
01:53:02>> [ Laughs ] " >> dan cooper is the name he used boarding the plane.
01:53:06>> Yeah, it's the name he put on his boarding pass.
01:53:09The fbi has that picture on