“To be worn over head and rest on shoulders. Full size. Fine natural painted. Heads kept in stock can be shipped on short notice.”
Freemasons: plotting in secret to run the world and conceal an age-old conspiracy, or getting drunk and running around wearing a donkey head? On the evidence of this old catalogue of “Burlesque and Side Degree Specialties, Paraphernalia and Costumes” by De Moulin Bros. & Co., I’m afraid the latter scenario seems much more likely. Sorry, conspiracy fans.
OR MAYBE I’M A NWO REPTOID TOO AND I’M IN THE PAY OF THE ILLUMINATI. STAY ASLEEP.
This is more hard drive detritus. I don’t know where these images came from or why I originally stored them. I know only that they’re from late 2001 or early 2002, and they therefore predate the books or sites that came out over the past few years with nutty material from these De Moulin catalogues. If anybody knows their origin and/or who originally scanned them, please let me know in the comments.
I’m not dissing those recent re-publications, incidentally. This stuff is entertaining, and bonkers. How radically culture changes even in so short a period as a hundred years. Sometimes it does 180 degree turns without us even noticing.
Splendid, here’s where we can buy the papier mache head of an Irishman, a Negro, a Jew, a Chinese [sic] or a Wench with movable mouth and eyelids. If you think this is racist, wait until you scroll down a bit. Unfortunately I don’t have the illustrations from page 118.
“The Mysteries of Freemasonry revealed by Léo Taxil.” Circa 1892-1897.
1890s flyer for a talk in Paris by Léo Taxil, part of a lengthy campaign in which he “exposed”– or in truth, made up– connections between Freemasonry, Satanism and other esoterica of the kind that still exercises simple-minded conspiracy theorists to this day. Taxil or his printer has appropriated occultist Eliphas Levi’s already iconic image of Baphomet (not Satan).
One pretty obvious tip-off should have been that he was already well-known as a disillusioned former Catholic who’d written satirical, mocking books about the evident absurdities, incongruities and logical errors present in Church doctrine and in the Bible, particularly if one took the Bible literally. One of his books was called The Amusing Bible. In the 1880s he alighted on some already existent conspiracy theories about Freemasonry, then spent over ten years puffing them up into grand accusations about the worship of Satan in modern Paris. He had a huge and lasting influence on popular Western culture, though unfortunately most people don’t know that he was making fun of the credulous and didn’t for one moment believe that evil fraternities ruled the world in cahoots with Satan. Taxil’s still sometimes cited in crank texts as an “authority” on occultism or Masons. The image of Baphomet was re-appropriated to Anton La Vey’s little club of genuine Satanists in the 20th century via Arthur Waite, via Taxil; many of their Satanist practices were actually made up originally by Taxil as well. Future founder of Scientology L. Ron Hubbard, Aleister Crowley and the pioneering rocket scientist Jack Parsons were also involved to various degrees in Satanism or occultism created in reality from Taxil’s fiction. I think I need a flowchart or something. Probably not until H.P. Lovecraft was there another individual who so inadvertently and yet so thoroughly provided a gateway for fiction to seep through into the real world.
Taxil was nearly lynched by a Catholic audience in Paris when he revealed that he’d been taking the mickey, thereby finding out that satire and subtlety are wasted on most people; even he had underestimated the gullibility and confirmation bias of the ostentatiously religious, and also their fury at having their pet conspiracy theories attacked with logic. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.