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Devil Worship in France by a.E. Waite 1886

Devil Worship in France by a.E. Waite 1886

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Published by: James65r on Feb 27, 2010
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Devil Worship in France
by A.E. Waite
In spite of the sensational title, this book is actually a debunking of a notorious late19th century hoax. Leo Taxil, a French anti-clericalist, suddenly converted toCatholicism in the 1885 and wrote a number of books in which he claimed thatFreemasonry was a world-wide satanic conspiracy. Taxil started an anti-Masonicnewspaper. In 1887 Taxil even had an audience with Pope Leo XIII, whosubsequently sanctioned his anti-Masonic campaign.Waite systematically debunks Taxil in this book, citing factual inaccuracies, plagarism, and sheer absurdities. Waite is in top form here, witty, sarcastic, andutilizing extensive firsthand knowledge of Victorian mystical and masonic groups todemolish Taxil. Of interest isChapter VII, wherein Waite gives a detailed summaryof Taxil's pulp-fiction narrative, which has never been translated into English. It isamazing that anyone would take this yarn seriously, then or now.In 1897, the year after Waite published this book, Taxil announced at a pressconference that his conversion was a fraud, the books he had written were completefabrications, and that he had published them to embarass the Catholic church. Hismotive for targeting the Freemasons was because they had rejected his application to join them. Diana Vaughan, the central character in his book 
The Devil in the Nineteenth Century
, was also fiction--Diana Vaughan was the name of one of histypists.Unfortunately, no matter how absurd or discredited, this is the meme that refuses todie. Both Taxil and Waite have been quoted out of context numerous times by anti-Freemasons, conspiracy theorists and the simply paranoid to underpin their beliefsthat Lucifer is secretly worshipped by Masons. It is crucial that anyone investigatingthe issue (such as it is) read this book in its entirety in order to get perspective.
THE term Modern Satanism is not intended to signify the development of some newaspect of old doctrine concerning demonology, or some new argument for the personification of the evil principle in universal nature. It is intended to signify thealleged revival, or, at least, the reappearance to some extent in public, of a
, or formal religion of the devil, the existence of which, in the middle ages,is registered by the known facts of the Black Sabbath, a department, however, of historical research, to which full justice yet remains to be done. By the hypothesis,such a religion may assume one of two forms; it may be a worship of the evil principle as such, namely, a conscious attempt on the part of human minds to identifythemselves with that principle, or it may be the worship of a power which is regardedas evil by other religions, from which
 p. vi
view the worshippers in question dissent. The necessity for this distinction I shallmake apparent in the first chapter of this book. A religion of the darkness, subsistingunder each of these distinctive forms, is said to be in practice at the present moment,and to be characterised, as it was in the past, by the strong evidence of miracles,—inother. words, by transcendental phenomena of a very extraordinary kind, connectingin a direct manner with what is generically termed Black Magic. Now, Black Magic inthe past may have been imposture reinforced by delusion, and to state that it isrecurring at the present day does not commit anyone to an opinion upon its veridicalorigin. To say, also, that the existence of modern diabolism has passed from theregion of rumour into that of exhaustive and detailed statement, is to record a matter of fact, and I must add that the evidence in hand, whatever its ultimate value, can beregarded lightly by those only who are unacquainted with its extent and character.This evidence is, broadly, of three kinds:—(
) The testimony of independent
 p. vii
men of letters, .who would seem to have come in contact therewith; (
) the testimonyvolunteered by former initiates of such secret associations as are dedicated to a
) the testimony of certain writers, claiming special sources of information, and defending some affected interests of the Roman Catholic Church.My purpose in this book is to distinguish, so far as may be possible, what is true fromwhat is false in the evidence, and I have undertaken the task, firstly, because modernmystics are accused,
en masse
, of being concerned in this cultus; secondly, becausethe existence of modern Satanism has given opportunity to a conspiracy of falsehoodwhich is wide in its ramifications, and serious on account of its source; thirdly, because the question itself has awakened considerable interest both within andwithout transcendental circles, and it is desirable to replace hazy and exaggeratednotions by a clear and formal statement.I have connected the new diabolism with France in my title, because the evidence in
 p. viii
each of its kinds has been filed by French writers, and we have no other source of information. So far as that evidence is sound, we have to thank France for producingit; but, on the other hand, should it prove that a whole city of invention has beenconstructed, "with all its spires and gateways," upon a meagre basis of fact, it is just

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