I went to a decadent, $450-a-ticket party inspired by the Illuminati — and it was a totally surreal experience
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Mystery shrouds the Illuminati, a legendary group of the rich, powerful, and extremely secretive.
The original Bavarian Illuminati was a secret society that was rumored to control world affairs in the 1700s, including the French Revolution. More modern-day interpretations see the cult as in control much of pop culture.
I recently got a peek into this mysterious world during the immersive theater performance known as The Illuminati Ball, which took place at a majestic estate in the woods of Connecticut. Although I've been sworn to secrecy by a man wearing a mouse mask, who held a sword against the palm of my hands while I was blindfolded, I can tell you that it was a night I won't soon forget.
This multi-sensory theater show, which promises its guests a discovery of the "light of scientific truth" was written and directed by Cynthia Von Buhler, an artist of many mediums who is inspired by the absurd and surreal.
At $450 a ticket, the Illuminati Ball is the most expensive immersive theater show out right now — however, the limousine transportation, multicourse meal, milk baths, swimming, trapeze dancers, and other secret experiences explain the higher price point for this piece. We got a special invite from Von Buhler herself, and here's as much information as I can divulge of my experience.
Fire dancers greeted us when we first arrived. They would help illuminate our drum circle later in the night.
When applying to purchase tickets, guests are asked to identify themselves as either a pig, monkey, mouse, cow or chicken. Each animal represents various personality traits. Choose wisely — your self-identifying animal kinship will shape your entire night. I was a mouse: spirited, witty, listener.
History, mystery, and occult converge in King David’s fabled tomb
Were it not for an eccentric Finn and a former officer in the British army, King David’s family tombs might never have been found. No, we don’t mean the tomb on Mount Zion, whose doubtful sighting is based on Christian traditions from the Middle Ages. Rather, we are referring to a group of tunnels and caves in the City of David that more closely fit the biblical description. These were uncovered during excavations adjacent to Beit Meyuhas, a 19th-century house built by one of the first Jews to move outside the walls of the Old City.
It all started when Valter Henrik Juvelius met Captain Montague Parker. Juvelius was a Finnish surveyor, poet and philosopher who wrote his doctoral thesis on Jewish chronology. Obsessed with the possibility of locating the lost Holy Ark and Temple treasures, he planned to bring an expedition to the Land of Israel in their pursuit. Parker loved the idea.
Parker was a rich, noble, and possibly bored British ex-army captain. According to some accounts, before his departure, Parker attended a séance at which, in perfect English, King Solomon told him where to look.
Some say that Juvelius claimed to have read a secret book in an even more secret library which revealed the location of the treasures. Others, like lecturer Tal Chenya, say that Juvelius claimed his unique way of reading between the lines of the Bible would divulge the site.
Parker and Juvelius collected over $100,000 from supporters of their quest. They then bribed Turkish government officials into obtaining permission from the Jerusalem Pasha to dig in what we today call the City of David.
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Living there already was Rahamim Nathan Meyuhas, a butcher whose family had found its way to Jerusalem from Spain in 1510. The slaughterhouse he used for his animals operated before dawn and was located outside the Old City, where Meyuhas lived with his family. Since the doors of the Old City only opened when the sun rose, he decided to move outside the walls.
The Meyuhas house, located in Jerusalem’s City of David. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
In 1873 he picked a location known as the City of David, where there were few houses. Across the Kidron river bed in Silwan there was Arab settlement, but the Meyuhas family would be alone in the first Jewish home to be built in the area. For water they had the Shiloah, or Siloam Spring, and they grew all of the vegetables they ate.
We got a look at the historic Meyuhas house on a tour with Chenya, who guides regularly at the City of David. He told us that warm and friendly relationships sprang up between the Arabs and their Jewish neighbors across the way. Happy occasions like weddings and holidays were always celebrated together, with the Jews bringing matzah to the Arabs on Passover, and the Arabs big trays of honey to the Jews. For their weddings, the Arabs even made sure the Meyuhas family would have kosher food.
The Meyuhas house, built around 1873 in the City of David in Jerusalem. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
Juvelius and Parker arrived in 1909, hired several hundred Arab workers, and fenced off an area in the City of David not far from the Meyuhas house. Then they began to dig.
At one point Jerusalem’s Jews began to wonder what kind of shady happenings were taking place beyond the fence. Baron Edmund de Rothschild — a banker philanthropist who founded many an early settlement in the Land of Israel — got wind of their activities. Worried that Solomon’s crown and other treasures could end up in the hands of non-Jews, he decided to buy the property on which the excavations were taking place.
The two sides of the Kidron riverbed in Silwan. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
Parker was convinced that the treasures were actually somewhere on the Temple Mount. In 1911, when it became obvious that the adventure was coming to an end, he bribed the guard at the Temple Mount to look the other way. And one dark night when no one was supposed to be about, Parker and his crew dressed up as Muslims and began digging beneath the Dome of the Rock — the stone believed by some to hold up the world.
Unfortunately for Parker, they were not alone for long. That night an Arab Jerusalemite held a party and had so many guests that he had to find himself another place to sleep. He picked the Temple Mount, and after climbing up was shocked and startled to find people digging away under the stone.
The site believed to be the tomb of King David. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
As he screamed for help Parker and his associates fled from the spot, making it all the way to Jaffa. Unfortunately for them, the telegraph had already been invented and Jaffa gendarmes had instructions to search their luggage.
Parker wasn’t fazed for a minute. He invited the police to his yacht, where, he said, they could go through his bags in comfort. Then, Parker loaded the boat with a number of sacks and dashed off before the gendarmes arrived. Contemporary newspaper accounts related that he did make off with some fabulous treasures, from Solomon’s crown to Moses’ staff.
In 1913, Baron Rothschild asked archeologist Raymond Weill to excavate the property that he now owned in the City of David. Weill, the first Jewish archeologist to conduct excavations in Palestine, made two major discoveries. The first was an inscription discovered deep in a cistern. Written in Greek, it belonged to a synagogue over 2,000 years old.
The Siloam Pool in Jerusalem’s City of David. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
The inscription is attributed to Theodotos, a Jewish priest who was the head of the synagogue. It speaks of a synagogue founded by his forefathers where Jewish law was read and the Bible’s commandments taught. Also mentioned are a guest room, an inn, and water facilities. A copy of the inscription can be seen next to the caves today.
The second discovery was made on the slopes above the Siloam Pool: a Roman quarry next to a group of caves assumed to have been used for burial. According to the Bible, King David was buried “in the City of David” (1 Kings 2:10). Of course, we can’t know today what royal tombs looked like in David’s time. However, the Book of Nehemiah, written in the 5th century BCE, places them just about where Weill discovered the caves.
What are believed to be Roman burial caves above the Siloam Pool in Jerusalem’s City of David. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
Once Jews began returning to Jerusalem from their exile in Babylon, they began repairing the walls of the city: “Shallun… repaired the wall of the Pool of Siloam… as far as the steps going down from the City of David… Nehemiah son of Azbuk… made repairs up to a point opposite the tombs of David.” (Nehemiah 3:15)
Following Weill’s discovery, and as excavations continued at the end of World War I, the Meyuhas family was asked to leave so that workers could dig under their home. They left, but the house remained standing. Later on, Arabs moved into the City of David.
The area in Jerusalem’s City of David where Baron Edmund de Rothschild had archeologist Raymond Weill excavate. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
After Rothschild passed away in 1934, the property he had purchased was transferred to the Jewish National Fund (JNF).
Entrance to the City of David is NIS 28; half price for seniors, children and soldiers. While you can just appear at the ticket window, it is better to reserve in advance by calling (in Israel) 02-626-8700 or *6033, or visiting the City of David website.
Aviva Bar-Am is the author of seven English-language guides to Israel.
Shmuel Bar-Am is a licensed tour guide who provides private, customized tours in Israel for individuals, families and small groups.
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By Michael S. Rosenwald | The Washington Post
In early 2011, a branch of the very rich Rothschild family bought a controlling stake in Weather Central, a provider of weather forecasts to hundreds of broadcasters.
“As weather becomes more extreme around the planet, with greater human and financial ramifications,” Sir Evelyn de Rothschild said in a news release, “we believe that Weather Central will play a major role in mitigating damage and improving lives.”
This was big news in meteorology and broadcasting circles: It appeared the Rothschilds, a prominent business family, wanted to take on the Weather Channel to expand its media holdings.
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This also was big news for conspiracy theorists: To them, it appeared the Rothschilds, a prominent Jewish family who made a fortune in European banking in the 1700s, wanted to control the weather and profit from natural disasters.
The Rothschilds’ supposed control of the weather – a charge peddled last week by Washington, D.C., Council member Trayon White before he apologized for offending anyone – is just one of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unproven, bizarre and anti-Semitic allegations that have been leveled against the Rothschilds for centuries.
Read more on Silicon Valley growing out of control, the foods you shouldn’t be afraid to overindulge on and Jim Carrey’s paintings of Republicans.
The list of their supposed atrocities, spread by militant pastors, fringe political candidates, and garden-variety nut jobs, include controlling the world economy, bankrolling Hitler, plotting to kill presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, founding Israel, funding the Islamic State, inflicting financial distress on Asians and, most recently, messing with the weather.
“Man, it just started snowing out of nowhere this morning, man. Y’all better pay attention to this climate control, man, this climate manipulation,” White said in a video posted to Facebook. “And D.C. keep talking about, ‘We a resilient city.’ And that’s a model based off the Rothschilds controlling the climate to create natural disasters they can pay for to own the cities, man. Be careful.”
When did this craziness about the Rothschilds begin?
A long time ago.
The Battle of Waterloo.
In 1846, three decades after Napoleon’s French army had been vanquished in what is now Belgium by a British, Prussian and Dutch force, a political pamphlet, signed “Satan,” went 19th-century viral.
The Independent, a London newspaper, recounted the story of the pamphlet a few years ago under the headline “The Rothschild Libel”:
Here is the story that “Satan” told.
“Nathan Rothschild, the founder of the London branch of the bank, was a spectator on the battlefield that day in June 1815 and, as night fell, he observed the total defeat of the French army. This was what he was waiting for. A relay of fast horses rushed him to the Belgian coast, but there he found to his fury that a storm had confined all ships to port. Undaunted – ‘Does greed admit anything is impossible?’ asked Satan – he paid a king’s ransom to a fisherman to ferry him through wind and waves to England.
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“Reaching London 24 hours before official word of Wellington’s victory, Rothschild exploited his knowledge to make a killing on the Stock Exchange. ‘In a single coup,’ the pamphlet charged, ‘he gained 20 million francs.’ ”
And the rest is anti-Semitic history.
“Although this type of speculation was widespread throughout anti-Semitic circles in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it was notably strong in the United States, where radicals of every stripe seemed obsessed by financial conspiracies,” political scientist Michael Barkun wrote in his book “A Culture of Conspiracy,” published in 2003. “The Rothschilds, who combined Jewishness, banking, and international ties, presented an attractive target.”
They still do, just not via pamphlet.
The conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds – and other groups, Jewish or not – are spread in online forums, self-published books, right-wing and religious radio programs, and especially YouTube, where seemingly normal and harmless people spin complicated, illogical theories that viewers seeking to confirm their owns views can easily find.
Take a YouTuber identified as “hudna1,” with nearly 5,000 subscribers.
In September 2017, a month after Hurricane Harvey laid waste to Houston, hudna1 posted a lengthy video in which she explained how it all came back to the Rothschilds.
“I am not an engineer,” she said. “But I have common sense.”
Her common sense goes like this:
Strange things have been happening on the planet. For instance, whales have been jumping out of the ocean.
Because, she claimed, of electric waves being sent out from Alaska by a U.S. government project to manipulate weather patterns. Her uncle, who served in the U.S. Air Force, told her all about it.
Anyway, the Rothschilds, she said, had “friends in high places.” They bought that weather company, after all.
So: They know the people in the government making the whales jump out of the ocean, which is very bad.
So: They are behind the hurricane.
Why is she convinced?
For one thing, she did research – on YouTube, not Google, which apparently can’t be trusted. “YouTube has more information,” she said. “Google is discreet.”
(Fun fact: Google owns YouTube.)
Besides that, she prayed on it. And what came to her, in a vision, was a “funny looking ogre” who had a “comedic sense” and was “very surreal.”
“You,” a commenter wrote, “are a beautiful soul.”
Another wrote that “your observations are very insightful, I have learned so much from them.”
Just one quibble, however.
“The Rothschilds,” the commenter wrote, “are merely the Treasurer for the Vatican.”
Part of a continuing series about events of the past that remain relevant.
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