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When I was fifteen or thereabouts, I used to do GCSE Latin (it was a state grammar school, which explains this.) In this subject, I was sat next to a lad who we'll call Imadul, because that was his name. Imadul was Muslim and rather devout. I was kinda... well, apathetic, in that whether God existed or not and whether He was most beneficent and most merciful was far down my list of things to worry about (Getting into Nicole Graham's pants kinda overshadowed all that. I didn't, for the record. But anyhow.) One lunchtime, just after class, in about 2000 or so, he buttonholed me, and showed me a page he'd torn out an exercise book on which he'd drawn a pyramid with eyes on it.

"Hey Hazelnut," he said. "Do you know who the Freemasons are?"

"A bit," I said, kinda wanting to get to the dining hall as fast as possible because it was Lancashire hot pot, which was one of the few dishes that the school caterers generated that didn't taste like boiled Y-fronts.

Well, he went off on one about how they were all evil and going to take over the world. He then viciously scribbled over the pyramid eye symbol and whanged it into the bin with a vengeance. I wandered off and ate the Lancashire hot pot and sniggered at the fact that the biscuits also on offer were made by a company called Otis Spunkmeyer. From then on, whenever he ran into me, and even in the evenings via AOL Instant Messenger, he'd regale me with further tales of brutality and depravity about the Freemasons and suchlike. Eventually I bit. "So okay then," says I. "Where you get all this from."

That evening, in my e-mail, comes a sheaf of RealPlayer files, containing this audio tape called From the Shadows. He'd got it off his elder brother who'd got it up some bookshop somewhere, apparently. So I listened to it.

I'd never heard anything quite like it. According to From The Shadows:

  • The Freemasons started when the Knights Templar learnt secret Jewish black magic rituals and the concept of interest from the Holy Land.
  • They then began by controlling Scotland following the Battle of Bannockburn where they beat the English and went home. They later took over England when James I acceded.
  • They were responsible for the French Revolution, the American War of Independence, and the Russian Revolution.
  • They control the world through banking.
  • They are doing this because they're all a bunch of Satan Worshippers whose job it is to pave the way for the Antichrist, or the Dajjal as Islam refers to it, to come forward and suchlike.
  • They leave clues all over the place as to their existence, for inexplicable reasons.
  • They were responsible for the Gulf War in order to galvanise everyone against Muslims.
  • Therefore, you've got to sign up for immediate jihad, or God will spank you like the bitch that you are and whack your arse into hell when the Day of Judgement comes along.
  • And apparently the Jews are in on it also. Natch.

Okay. So far, so Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But then, about halfway through, I was served with an additional double-shotgun-blast of abject crazy. Apparently, the Freemasons, not content with running the entire world behind the scenes and overthrowing tyrannical regimes throughout history, setting up the French Revolution and the American War of Independence and causing sinful Western ideals like democracy, freedom of expression, and constitutional government to run rife throughout the land, which is bad enough, they also have nothing better to do than yank your chain by leaving stupid clues as to their existence. Like making Madonna's song "Like A Prayer" sound like it says, "Oh hear us Satan" if you play it backwards. Or making the streets round the White House form a set-square-and-compasses pattern. Or putting a pyramid with an eye on it on the back of a $1 bill. Or brewing up AIDS in a lab to depopulate Africa. Not to mention the fact that the godawful action film Independence Day features the world saved from aliens by Americans who have eyes-in-triangles on their airbases. And on top of that, apparently, and this is surely the conclusive proof of their unpleasantness, if you take a Coca Cola label, squint a bit, and turn it backwards, it looks like "No Mecca, No Muhammad" in Arabic.

Granted, I can't read Arabic, but I put that into Google Translate, and the result was this:

لا مكة، لا محمد

Hmm. Looks believable to me. Not. Still, the fact remains that I know a few Masons and they couldn't conspire to take over the small Cheshire village of Wildboarclough, let alone the world.

There's then some more crapthrowing about how the UN is supposed to become a world parliament, one world government, and all that and take over with its standing army and only a ragtag bunch of misfits from the Third World armed with unshakeable faith in their prophet can possibly resist their tyranny. Sorry, but lifting the plot to Command & Conquer convinces nobody. The UN couldn't organise an orgy in a very well equipped brothel, let alone a military takeover of the entire world. Apparently the evidence of this is due to their failure to step in in Bosnia and in Chechnya and in Rwanda in the 1990s. This, incidentally, was the theme of Megadeth's 2007 album "United Abominations," and by his own admission Dave Mustaine has since thrown in his lot with the black helicopters brigade, so... yeah.

I recently found a version of this tape of fail on Youtube, where someone had put it to scary music and clips of news reports. It had been a wee bit updated since then with a whole new chapter based on 9/11 Truthery. Specifically, the "Jews did it as a false flag operation and told all Jews who worked there to skive off that day" flavour. I did some digging and found that it was the product of a company called "Halaqah Media" whose other products include another tape of mad entitled "The Dark Face of Darwin." The central thesis of this work is that because Social Darwinism exists and apparently led to the Holocaust and Holodomor and Cultural Revolution and Atlantic slave trade, evolution is therefore clearly wrong. I think there's then some sort of link as to how the Freemasons are in on that as well. Yes, it's ripping off everyone's favourite Turkish creationist Harun Yahya. But I digress.

What really alarmed me about all this, though, is that this Imadul chappie wasn't stupid. He was actually very smart, and last I heard of it, he was doing a masters in political science at a very good London university. But the fact is, at 15 years of age, he was taken in by it, hook, line, sinker, reel, and pole. I can but hope he now sees it as the abject nonsense it really is, however, there are people who will believe this, genuinely. It's actually a little terrifying, to be fair.

If you want to hear it for yourself, dinner is served. In fact, on that page there's several courses of afters as well with other slices of whackjobbery like The Thirteenth Tribe - that's the one that Arthur Koestler pulled out his arse in 1982 about how Ashkenazi Jews are actually Turkish in origin or something. There's also a text transcript of From The Shadows as well. However, to listen to it it's only in RealPlayer, but you can find a proper copy on YouTube somewhere.

And that's about it really.

(Incidentally, I used to yank Imadul's chain quite mercilessly in the weeks that followed by drawing increasingly elaborate triangles with eyes in all over my stuff. It would send him quite apeshit. I even changed the title image to my website - a nasty little blob of puerile irrelevance that I'd posted on AOL Hometown - from the site's name in a mockup of the ElfQuest logo to a sinister glowing blue triangle eye with the name typed under it in Courier New. I'm not proud of this, but I was fifteen years old and everyone's a cunt at fifteen years old.)

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