The Owl is in his leafy temple. Let all within the Grove be reverent before him. Lift up your heads, oh ye trees, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting spires. For behold! Here is Bohemia’s shrine and holy are the pillars of this house.
Weaving spiders come not here.
With the ripple of waters, the song of birds,
Such music as inspires the sinking soul
Do we invite you to midsummer’s joy.
The sky above is blue and sewn with stars.
The forest floor is heaped with fragrant grit.
The evening’s cool kiss is yours. The campfires glow;
The birth of rosy-fingered dawn…
Shake off your sorrows with the city’s dust
And cast to the winds the cares of life.
But memories bring back the well-loved names
Of gallant friends who knew and loved this grove,
Dear boon companions of long ago.
Aye! Let them join us in this ritual,
And not a place be empty in our midst,
All of his battles to hold in this grey autumn
Of the world or in the springtime of your heart.
The Bohemian Club was founded by West Coast journalists in 1873, and in 1879 held its first annual summer retreat at its 2,700 acre private estate situated in the redwood forests around Monte Rio, Sonoma County, California. Its iconography was adopted at some point by the National Press Club, whose seal features the owl, the crooked staff, and the ‘eternal flame’ lamp used in Bohemian Grove opening ceremonies. The influence of the Grove spreads far beyond journalism, however, especially into politics and industry, and the annual encampment of the club throughout most of its existence has been attended by the elite of American and European society representing every arm of wealth and influence. Every American president in the twentieth century, for instance. Membership is restricted to the rich – the initiation fee is $25,000, in addition to the membership subscription, and there is a fifteen to twenty-year waiting list.
For more than a hundred years there have been rumours about what happens at the Grove, and especially about occult rituals being conducted there. Given the respectability and status of the membership, these stories might seem bizarre – government officials and corporate moguls participating in mock-human sacrifices and perverse sexual practices?
However, the rumours have persisted, and for the past thirty years there have been annual protests by local residents outside the private enclave. And from the 1970s onwards there have been numerous attempts, most of them unsuccessful, to infiltrate the annual convention and penetrate its secrecy. Meanwhile the mainstream media kept up a blanket of silence, and the stories of occult rituals at the Bohemian Grove were dismissed as ‘conspiracy theory’.
This changed on July 23rd 1981 when the ABC News network reported on the Bohemian Grove. The on-location report is read over stills and footage of the redwood forests of the acreage, including photographs of the giant statue of an owl which presides over the lakeside. It sounds almost like a press release, portraying the Bohemian Club as a retreat where business and political elites can relax in privacy. It confirms the prominent status of the Mandalay lodge, among several dozen within the Grove, and the membership of a number of well-known names:
“Among its members are businessmen like Leonard Firestone and Edgar Kaiser, and political figures like Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger, William French Smith and George Schultz. President Reagan, Vice-President Bush, and Defense Secretary Weinberger are members of other camps. Richard Nixon is a Bohemian, and so are high-ranking executives of such companies as Eastern Airlines, Standard Oil of Indiana, and Bank of America. For the most part, the men of Bohemian Grove are over 50, highly successful, and, according to many employees, politically conservative […]”
The release goes on to emphasize the exclusivity and privacy of the retreat, and to warn the public off:
“Membership of the grove is by invitation only, and is determined by such factors as social standing, occupation and personal connections. Privacy is one of the grove’s most cherished virtues. Members may not photograph, record, speak or write about activities at the retreat. While many public officials are Grove members, the press is a distinctly unwelcome guest.” [Footage of ABC news reporters in a car, getting turned away by security…]
Cut to Professor William Domhoff, author of The Bohemian Grove And Other Retreats: A Study in Ruling-class Cohesiveness. [G. William Dumhoff. Harper Torchbooks. 1975.]
Domhoff: “Well I think it’s a playground for the powerful, a place where wealthy men from all over the united states gather for two weeks to relive summer camp. With this ceremony called the Cremation of Care that begins the two-week encampment where the body of Dull Care, symbolizing woes and concerns, is burnt, on an altar, in front of a big owl statue. When that ceremony ends, they all start to cheer and yell and hand each other a beer.”
Presenter: “Other regular activities include the production of two plays, one of which involves major sets, orchestral music and extravagant costumes. The other play appears to be just a bit on the lighter side, at least judging from these old photos. [Photos of Kissinger in drag appear on the screen.] Members also spend time swimming, hiking, relaxing in the sun, and doing a bit of drinking from the Grove’s own privately labeled spirits. Like a boys’ camp, the Grove has a symbol, in this case a somewhat fierce-looking owl. It also has a patron saint, St John of Nepomuk, a legitimate 13th century Bohemian canonized for his sense of honor. What the Grove does not have is any women, not even as employees. Despite its camp-like atmosphere, the grove does host some serious business –”
Dumhoff: ‘The degree to which anything that happens at the Grove is political – the important speech have [sic] been made at the grove by for example by Richard Nixon. Eisenh0wer gave a speech there, it was the first time the West Coast establishment really saw him close up.”
Dumhoff massively downplays the political significance of the Bohemian Grove. According to the Club’s own annals, some of which were leaked in 1992 and more in 2005, discussions at the Grove have led to historic technological breakthroughs. The annals brag that the Manhattan Project was hatched inside the ‘Chalet’ (built in 1904, the first permanent building in the grove, intended as clubhouse) – as well as the Strategic Defense Initiative many years later. Top Soviet dignitaries, they record, met with US government officials and corporate leaders in the Chalet at the height of the Cold War. Geopolitical strategists like Henry Kissinger or Zbigniew Brzezinski have addressed the membership to set agendas and clarify direction.
The annual encampment, very early in its existence, seems to have become one of the most significant influence-markets in the world. The Federal Reserve, for instance, has been run by Bohemian Grove members since its inception in 1913. It was at the Grove in 1967 that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan hashed out differences over their presidential ambitions. The membership rosters confirm the ongoing attendance of the political establishment, including presidents Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, Dwight D Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon (who joined in 1963). The Bush family boasts four generations of members of the Bohemian Grove (as it does of Yale’s ‘Skull and Bones’ secret society). Bill Clinton is also a regular attender.
Photographs of pages from the annals confirm the presence at the Grove at various times of all American presidents since 1900, as well as British Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair, Alan Greenspan the director of the Federal Reserve, Henry Kissinger, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, newsman Walter Cronkite, numerous corporate leaders, Senate Majority Leaders, State Governors, and retired admirals. The Lakeside speakers in 2005 included Howard Leach (ex-Ambassador to France), David Gergen (policy adviser to four White House administrations), the naturalist Richard Leakey, former Governor of Colorado William Frist, and General Colin Powell.
Reagan and Nixon both wrote about the Grove in their memoirs. Nixon comments that it was his opportunities to speak at the ‘Lakeside Chats’ that gained him his chance at the Presidency. German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt’s memoirs [Men and Powers: A Political Retrospective, Random House (New York) 1990] hint at the Bohemian Grove as part of a secret establishment running the world, on a par with the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission.
Of course each year other guests come to the Grove simply to enjoy themselves. Herbert Hoover called it the world’s greatest men’s party; but it is clearly much more than that. There is more to the Grove than fishing, hiking, silly plays and lectures by the lake.
In the year 2000 the Texan broadcaster and activist Alex Jones achieved a four-hour infiltration of the summer encampment. Whatever one thinks of Jones, his trespass produced some fascinating footage. Filmed secretly from across the lake, among an audience of attendees, the video reveals the stone figure of an owl, representing the ancient god Moloch, surrounded by a ceremonial array of robed and hooded priests bearing flaming torches. An amplified voice (that of Walter Cronkite, reputedly) dramatically intones the dedicatory verses.
Bohemians and priests!
The desperate call of heavy hearts is answered!
By the power of your fellowship Dull Care is slain!
His body has been brought yonder to our funeral pyre to the joyous pipings of a funeral march.
Our funeral pyre awaits the corpse of Care.
At this point we see the dark shape of a barge approaching silently, the boatman’s face hidden by a skull mask. The effigy of a human child is carried from the boat, taken behind a screen and, after a reverent pause, burned in front of the owl. This is the famous Cremation of Care.
A deeper insight into activities at the Grove comes from Cathy O’Brien, a trafficked sex-slave who was taken to the Bohemian Grove several times during the nineteen-eighties and prostituted to ‘specific government targets’ in the ‘various kinky theme rooms.’ She calls the encampment a ‘political sex playground, providing a supposedly secure environment for politically affluent individuals to “party” without restraint.’ But she reveals the Grove’s role in secretly filming activities for the purpose of blackmail.
High-tech undetectable cameras using fiber optics, and fish-eye lens were in each of the elite club’s numerous sexual perversion theme rooms. […]
I was programmed and equipped to function in all rooms at Bohemian Grove in order to compromise specific government targets according to their personal perversions. ‘Anything, anytime, anywhere with anyone’ was my mode of operation at the Grove. I do not purport to understand the full function of this political cesspool […] as my perception was limited to my own realm of experience. [From The Trance-Formation of America by Cathy O’Brien and Mark Phillips].
O’Brien asserts that ‘copious quantities of drugs were consumed there’ and that girls like her were abused to fulfill one of the primary purposes of the Club: purveying perversion. Cathy was used in the full range.
The club offered a ‘Necrophilia’ theme room to its members. I was so heavily drugged and programmed when used in the necrophilia room, that the threat of actually ‘slipping through death’s door’ and being sacrificed before I knew it did not affect me. My whole existence was balanced precariously on the edge of death as a matter of routine anyway.
My robotic state did not permit me the ‘luxury’ of self-preservation, and I could only do exactly what I was told to do. My necrophilia room experience was only for the purpose of providing a compromising film of a targeted member anyway.
Other perversion theme rooms at the Bohemian Club included what I heard Ford refer to as the ‘Dark Room’. When he not so cleverly said, ‘Let’s go to the Dark Room and see what develops,’ I understood from experience that he was interested in indulging in his perverse obsession for pornography. In the Dark Room, members had sex with the same mind-controlled slave they were viewing in porn on a big screen television.
There was a triangular glass display centered in a main throughway where I was locked in with various trained animals, including snakes. Members walking by watched illicit sex acts of bestiality, women with women, mothers with daughters, kids with kids, or any other unlimited perverse visual display.
My purpose at the Grove was sexual in nature, and therefore my perceptions were limited to a sex slave’s viewpoint. As an effective means of control to ensure undetected proliferation of their perverse indulgences, slaves such as myself were subjected to ritualistic trauma. I knew each breath I took could be my last, as the threat of death lurked in every shadow.
Slaves of advancing age or with failing programming were sacrificially murdered ‘at random’ in the wooded grounds of Bohemian Grave, and I felt it was ‘simply a matter of time until it would be me’. Rituals were held at a giant, concrete owl monument on the banks of, ironically enough, the Russian (rushin’) River. These occultish sex rituals stemmed from the scientific belief that mind-controlled slaves required severe trauma to ensure compartmentalization of the memory, and not from any spiritual motivation.
My own threat of death was instilled when I witnessed the sacrificial death of a young, dark-haired victim at which time I was instructed to perform sexually ‘as though my life depended upon it’. I was told, ‘…the next sacrifice victim could be you. Anytime when you least expect it, the owl will consume you. Prepare yourself, and stay prepared.’
Thy malevolence which would pursue us here
Has lost its power under these friendly trees.
So shall we burn thee once again this night
And in the flames that eat thine effigy
We shall read the sign: midsummer set us free!
Be gone, detested Care, be gone!
Once more we banish thee.
Be gone, Dull Care!
Fire shall have its will of thee.
Be gone, Dull Care!
And all the winds make merry with thy dust.
Hail fellowship’s eternal flame!
Once again midsummer set us free!