The Confession of Leo Taxil

Le Froundeur, April 25, 1897

Twelve Years Under the Banner of the Church



A Conference held by M. Lo TAXIL
at the Hall of the Geographic Society in Paris

Part 5 of 6


It is a bit unusual indeed, that we managed to get our staggering stories swallowed in our 19th century.

I ask myself however to what extent the high approvers of unmasked Palladism have the right to get angry today. When one understands that one was fooled, the best thing to do is to laugh with the audience. Yes, Mister Abbot Garnier! And your getting cross will make you even more laughed at.

Abbott Garnier. --You are a scoundrel! (attempts are made to try and calm down Abbott Garnier.)

M. Lo Taxil (when the tumult calmed down) --Those hoaxed by Palladism can be divided into two categories.

Firstly, those who were in good faith, entirely in good faith. They were the victims of their theological science and of their eagerly pursued studies of all that touches on Freemasonry. I had to immerse myself in these two sciences in order to imagine everything and in such a way that they wouldn't realize it was a prank. Can one believe, for instance, that it was easy to take M. de la Rive for a ride, he, the embodiment of an inquiring mind, who examines the slightest trifles with a microscope and who could beat our best investigating judges? He can boast of having given me trouble!... My whole Palladism had been solidly constructed as far as its masonic part is concerned, since some Freemasons-even "thirty-thirds" if you please!-did not take it for a shadowy mirage and asked to become members. (Laughter) The impossibility of Palladism becomes plain as the nose on one's face only because of the supernatural elements we filled it with. But these devilries were a warning only for those who do not believe in those devilries described in other books, in pious books. Asmodeus carrying Miss Diana Vaughan to the Garden of Eden is no more extraordinary than Master Satan taking up Jesus Christ himself on top of a mountain and showing him all the kingdoms of the Earth ... which is round! (Various voices: Bravo!) --Either one has faith or one has not. (Laughter)

Besides this first category of hoaxed people, however, there is a second one, and members of the latter one were not fully hoaxed. The good abbots and monks who admired Miss Vaughan because she was a converted Masonic luciferian Sister have the right to think that such female Masons exist. They have never seen or encountered any, but they may think that it is because there are none in their diocese. In Rome, it's another story. In Rome, all information is centralized. In Rome one cannot ignore that there are no female Masons other than the wives, daughters, or sisters of Freemasons, admitted to banquets, public feasts, or those who meet separately, very decently, in private societies comprising feminine elements only, such as the Sisters of the Eastern Star or the Daughters of the Revolution in the United States. (Signs of approval)

When one thinks about it, it is easy to understand that if Masonic sisters exist, such as the anti-Masons imagine, there would have been conversions and confessions a long time ago! The eagerness with which Miss Vaughan's alleged conversion was received in Rome is significant. Please notice that Msgr. Lazzareschi, delegate of the Holy See to the Anti-Masonic Union's central Committee, let a Thanksgiving Triduum[17] be celebrated at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Rome!

The Hymn to Joan of Arc, supposedly composed by Miss Diana, words and music, was performed at the anti-Masonic feasts of the Roman Committee. This music became nearly sacred and sounded with grand solemnity in the basilicas of the Holy City. Its tune is that of the Philharmonic Syringe, a musical jest written for the entertainments of the harem by one of my friends, conductor of the orchestra of Sultan Abdul Aziz. (Prolonged laughter. Cries: It is abominable! Oh! The blackguard!)

Such Roman enthusiasm sets one thinking.

I shall recall two typical facts.

Under the pen-name "Dr. Bataille" I related-and under that of "Miss Vaughan" I confirmed-that the Masonic temple in Charleston contained a maze at the center of which stays the chapel of Lucifer....


M. Oscar Havard. --The bishop of Charleston declared this to be an imposture.

M. Lo Taxil --So it is. I was going to say so in a moment. But do not triumph yet. Wait a little!... I said that in the Masonic temple in Charleston one of the rooms, triangular in shape, called the Sanctum Regnum, has as its main ornament a monstrous statue of Baphomet, which the High-Masons worship. That in another room, a statue of Eve comes alive when a Templar Mistress is especially agreeable to Master Satan, and that this statue then turns into the demon Astarte, for a moment alive, and gives a kiss to the preferred Templar Mistress. I published the alleged map of this Masonic building, a plan which I designed myself. Now, Msgr. Northrop, Catholic bishop of Charleston, went to Rome expressly to assure the Sovereign Pontiff of the highest fantasy of these writings. This journey would have remained unknown if Msgr. Northrop, on his way to Rome, had not let himself be interviewed. Which is how what he came to tell the Pope became public. He had come to say: "It is false, absolutely false, that the Freemasons of Charleston are the chiefs of a supreme luciferian rite. I am especially well acquainted with the most important ones. They are Protestants, inspired by the best intentions. Not one of them considers practicing occultism. I visited their temple, none of the rooms indicated by Doctor Bataille or Miss Vaughan are to be found there. The map is a hoax." On his return from Rome, Msgr. Northrup did not protest any more and has kept silent ever since. Miss Diana Vaughan, on the contrary, replied to Msgr. Northrop's interview; she said the Bishop of Charleston was himself a Freemason and she received the Pope's blessing. (Sensation)

Second fact. Under the signatures of Bataille and Vaughan, I recounted and confirmed that immense secret workshops were located in Gibraltar under the English fortress, in which men-monsters fabricated all the instruments used in the ceremonies of Palladism, and Miss Diana Vaughan, asked about this by Roman high ecclesiastical dignitaries, enjoyed herself answering in her cutest style that nothing was more true and that the forges of the mysterious workshops of Gibraltar were fed by the very fires of Hell. (Laughter) Msgr. the Apostolic Vicar of Gibraltar wrote, on the other hand, that he confirmed what he had been forced to declare to various people, namely that the story of the secret workshops was an audacious invention, resting on no foundation whatsoever, nothing whatsoever, and that he was indignant to witness the creation of such legends. The Vatican did not publish the letter of the Apostolic Vicar of Gibraltar, and Miss Vaughan received the blessing of the Pope. (Applause. --Many voices: Bravo Taxil!)

Should I recall some of the letters of approval received by Miss Vaughan?

Various voices among the Catholic journalists --It's not true! There was no approval.


M. Lo Taxil --What! You dare deny it! Well, here is one, a letter of assent, and a weighty one!... It is from Cardinal Parocchi, Vicar of His Holiness; it is dated December 16, 1895:

Miss and dear Daughter in Our Lord,
It is with a lively but quite soft emotion
that I received your good letter of 29 November,
together with the copy of the Neuvaine Eucharis-
tique.... His Holiness has entrusted me with
bestowing upon you, on his behalf, a very special
My sympathies have been all yours for a long
time. Your conversion is one of the most magnifi-
cent triumphs of grace that I am aware of. Right
now, I am reading your Memoirs which are just
Be assured that I have not forgotten you in
the mean time, especially in my prayers to the
Holy Sacrifice. As for you, do not cease to thank
Our Savior Jesus Christ for the great mercy which
He bestowed upon you and the magnificent token of
love which He gave you.

Do accept my blessing and believe me,
All yours in the heart of Jesus.

L.M. Cardinal-Vicar.

Here is another one written on the official letterhead of the general leading Council of the Anti-Masonic Union, which is the highest action committee against freemasonry, a committee constituted by the Pope himself, a committee whose leader is an official representative of the Holy See, Msgr. Lazzareschi. Listen:

Rome, May 27, 1896.
Monsignor Vincenzo Sardi, who is one of the
private secretaries of the Holy Father, has
entrusted me with writing to you, by the order of
His Holiness himself.
I should also tell you that His Holiness read
with great pleasure your Neuvaine Eucharistique.
Commander Alliata had an interview with the
Cardinal Vicar concerning the veracity of your
conversion. His Eminence is convinced; but He
declared to our president that He cannot bear
witness of it publicly. "I cannot betray the
secrets of the Holy Office, is what His Eminence
answered to Commander Alliata.
I am all yours, very devoted in Our Lord,
Rodolfo Verzichi,
Secretary General

The private secretary of Lo XIII, the same Mister Vincenzo Sardi who was mentioned above, writes among other things:

Rome, July 11, 1896.
I hasten to express the thanks which are due
to you for sending your last book on Crispi....
This is a book in which, under the signature
of Miss Diana Vaughan, I recounted that Crispi had
a pact with a devil named Haborym, that Crispi was
present in 1885 at a Palladistic meeting during
which a devil named Bitru, introducing Sophie
Walder to a certain number of Italian political
men, announced to them that the said Sophie, on
September 19, 1896, would give birth to a girl who
was to become the grandmother of the Antichrist. I
had sent the book to the Vatican. The private
secretary of the Pope was expressing his thanks
for it accordingly and added:
Keep on, Miss, keep on writing and unmasking
the iniquitous sect! Which is the reason why
Providence has permitted that you belonged to it
for such a long time....
I recommend myself, with all my heart, to
your prayers, and with a perfect esteem I declare
myself your very devoted
Msgr. Vincenzo Sardi.

The Civilt Cattolica, the most important of all Catholic reviews in the world, the official organ of the Jesuits' General, a review published in Rome, issued the following lines in its issue no. 1,110 in September 1896:

We want at least once to give ourselves the
pleasure of blessing publicly the names of the
valorous champions who entered first the glorious
arena, among them the noble Miss Diana Vaughan.
Miss Diana Vaughan, called from the depths of
darkness to the light of God, prepared by divine
Providence, armed with science and personal
experience, turns towards the Church to serve it,
and appears inexhaustible in her valuable
publications which are un-paralleled for accuracy
and usefulness."
In the entourage of the Sovereign Pontiff,
Miss Vaughan was not merely considered as a heroic
polemicist; she was set on the same level as the
Saints. When she started to be attacked, the
secretary of Cardinal Parocchi wrote her from
Rome, October 19, 1886:
Keep on, Miss, through your pen and your
piety, despite the efforts of hell, furnishing
weapons to overwhelm the Enemy of mankind. All the
Saints' deeds have been fought against; no wonder
then that yours are not spared....
Please accept, Miss, the expression of my
liveliest feelings of admiration and respect.
A. Villard
Prelate of the Residence of His Holiness
Secretary to H. E. Cardinal Parocchi

You know well, gentlemen Catholic journalists, that these letters have been actually sent to Miss Vaughan. They may embarrass you today; but they are historical documents; these have not been forged, and their eminent authors will not disown them.

And not only did they patronize this hoax; but believing the woman with whom they corresponded to have an exalted head, they urged her to enter their game for preparing their miracles.

Time is short today; nevertheless, I want to acquaint you with a fact along the same lines. Everybody knows that according to the Catholic legend, once Joan of Arc had been burned, the executioner was shocked to find out that, alone, the heart of the heroine had not been consumed; in vain, he threw more burning pitch and sulfur upon it, the heart would not burn. Finally, on the injunction of the bailiff who directed the torment, Joan's heart was thrown in the Seine. Now, the French clergy requests the canonization of Joan of Arc; but it is Rome which canonizes, and Rome is in Italy. The French clergy has already found a relic of the girl they put to death, namely a carbonized rib. In Italy, they are preparing something better than that. They support a nun of the third order in the extraordinary idea that she is the one who will retrieve the heart of Joan of Arc; no doubt an angel will bring it to her. This ultra-mystical nun of the third order has said so in a letter she wrote to Miss Vaughan, and the very secretary of the Cardinal Vicar recommended to Miss Vaughan to correspond with this pious person, to exchange with her impressions about the supernatural facts concerning Joan of Arc. It is easy to get what that means. Be sure that one day an angel will carry the heart, not to France, but to Italy, the same as angels carried the house of Nazareth to Lorette.[18] Joan of Arc will be canonized, and all the French pilgrims who will come to Italy will not fail to make a visit to the Italian possessor of the miraculously retrieved heart; and their visits will be fruitful, won't they? (Laughter)

Indeed, Miss Vaughan has seen the favors of the princes of the Church fall upon her.

The masons of France, of Italy, of England, laughed in their sleeves and right they were. On the other hand, a German Mason, Findel,[19] got real mad and thundered forth a very well written pamphlet. Great excitement. That pamphlet was like a paving stone in a frogs' pond.[20]

A strong reaction appeared necessary. Findel endangered the final success of my hoax: his grand mistake was to think that it was a plot set up by the Jesuits-unfortunate Jesuits! I had sent them a fragment of the Moloch's tail, as a piece of evidence of Palladism! (Explosion of laughter)

Disquiet crept into the Vatican. Jumping from one extreme to another they got into a panic. They wondered whether they were not confronted with a hoax about to smash the Church instead of serving it. They named a secret commission of inquiry in order to ascertain what they were to believe.

Since then, the danger becoming great, my work was endangered, and I did not want to get shipwrecked. The danger was silence, strangling the hoax in the oubliettes[21] of the Roman Commission, preventing Catholic papers from breathing a word.

My friend the doctor went to Cologne; from there, he put me in the picture. And forewarned I left for the Congress of Trent, well forewarned. When I came back, the first person I saw was my friend. I told him of my fear of silent strangling.

Then we agreed upon all that was to be done and written. If the editors of the Universe doubt it, I can name them parts they left out of the letters of Dr. Bataille. It was I who stoked their fire that way, then it was necessary for the world press to be made aware of this grand and bizarre epic. And a good deal of time was necessary so that the uproar of furious Catholics, the polemic with those in favor of Miss Diana Vaughan would catch the notice of the major newspapers, those who walk along with progress and count millions of readers.


Before ending, I must pay my respects to an unknown hoaxster, a shrewd American colleague. Among hoaxsters, one understands each other from one end of the world to the other without needing to exchange letters, without even having to drop a call. Respects therefore to the dear citizen of Kentucky who had the friendly thought of helping us without any prior agreement, who confirmed the revelations of Miss Diana Vaughan to the Louisville Courier-Journal, who certified to whoever wanted to hear that he had known Miss Diana Vaughan intimately for seven or eight years and that he often met her in the various secret societies of Europe and America.... where she never set foot.


You were told that Palladism would be knocked down today. Better still, it is annihilated, it is no more.

In my general confession to the Jesuit father of Clamart, I had accused myself of an imaginary murder. Well, I will admit to a further crime. I committed infanticide. Palladism is now dead for good. Its father just murdered it.

(An indescribable tumult meets this conclusion. Some laugh more and more and applaud the lecturer. Catholics scream and hiss. Abbot Garnier steps on a chair and attempts to address the audience, but he is hindered by the hoot. A few listeners strike up the comic song by Meusy: O Sacred Heart of Jesus!)


Translated from Le Frondeur, April 25, 1897


Alain Bernheim, A. William Samii, and Eric Serejski

Reprinted from Heredom
The Transacations of the
Scottish Rite Research Society
vol. 5, 1996, pp. 137-168

(c) 1997 Scottish Rite Research Society
All Rights Reserved
1733 16 St., N.W., Washington, DC 20009-3103

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