This is from a speech I gave in 1999 as we were about to move into 2000. I thought it might be appropriate as we near Halloween.

First, let’s look at the popular conceptions and misconceptions about a mysterious group called the Illuminati. Today’s idea of the Illuminati sounds as if it came out of James Bond novel where Bond derails the plans of groups like SPECTRE and SMERSH, which were fictional organizations intent on taking over the world and that is about how much credence today’s concept of the Illuminati holds.

There actually was a group called the Illuminati—more than 250 years ago. Much like our group, it was organized to oppose superstition, prejudice, abuses of state power, to support women's education gender equality and most of all end the domination of government, philosophy and science by the Roman Catholic Church.

Founded May 1, 1776, The Bavarian Illuminati would be considered a left wing liberal group today. It was made up of intellectuals, writers and educators. Just for information’s sake the Illuminati of Germany were officially outlawed in Bavaria when in 1777, Karl Theodor became ruler of Bavaria and banned all secret societies including the Illuminati. A government edict issued March 2, 1785 was the death knell for the Bavarian Illuminati.

Does it still exist? Yes and no. Several US fraternal organizations claim to be descended from the original Bavarian Illuminati. However, there is no evidence that these present-day groups have amassed any significant political power or influence. And, rather than trying to remain secret, they promote unsubstantiated links to the Bavarian Illuminati as a means of attracting membership.

In other words, to put it in the vernacular, it is bullshit. There is absolutely no present-day group that has amassed any significant political power or influence other than being secret, which seems a contradiction in terms as anybody can find the organizations with little trouble. Of course, conspiracy theorist claim that is exactly the idea the Illuminati want us to believe.

Modern day conspiracy theories try to tell us that world events are being controlled and manipulated by a secret society called the Illuminati. In addition, conspiracy theorists claim that many notable people were or are members of the Illuminati including current and past Presidents of the United States. In the mind of today’s church, many believe the organization exists and is controlled by Satan.

Of course, once again there is no evidence for either. Besides, there are real groups like the CIA, Mossad and the KGB that actually have overthrown governments, coordinated assassinations and more. The Illuminati? Like the scuba diver found in a tree after a forest fire—nothing but bullshit.

Since we’re talking about tricks of conspiracy theorists, let’s look at one most people have never examined. Halloween! When I was a kid, Halloween ranked as one of my least favorite holidays of an otherwise beautiful autumnal season. It used to be a favorite until some Protestant Christian churches turned October 31, into an extremely bad Hollywood Satanic movie.

In their depthless stupidity, short-sighted Christians have no idea that in condemning Halloween they go against the origin of their own religion—the Catholic Church. I know that pointing this out to the rabid Christian membership is pretty much a pointless exercise. Yet, believe me it is important to reveal the stupidity in religion especially when its advocates don’t read their own literatue.

For those who don't know and for those who claim authenticity for their church as the correct church, here's a surprise. The Catholic Church is the one true church as far as Christianity is concerned. All Christian churches are the offspring of the Catholic Church. Moreover, in running down innocent fun on Halloween, a large number of Christians miss an opportunity to celebrate an event that should be of significance to all Protestants--the origin of Protestantism. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 theses, signaling the reformation and split of the Catholic Church. Until that time, there was only one church and "no" Protestants.

Perhaps, some of you are unfamiliar with the roots of Halloween and in that, there is no shame. What is a shame is to condemn without evidence. Historically, Halloween started with the ancient Celts, but that is a story best left for you to research yourself because it is a convoluted and hardly convincing story.
However, there is a connection with Halloween and All Hallows' Day (All Saints' Day) which is a Christian holiday celebrated a day later on November 1. For most children, Halloween means free candy! That's it! The overwhelming majority think nothing more of Halloween than as a day when adults lose their minds and give away large amounts of candy.

If there is any evil in Halloween it comes from the gross capitalism associated with the day. It is a time to sell overpriced, poorly made costumes and tons of candy. Next to Christmas, it is second largest day in $4 billion in 1995. Perhaps, filthy lucre doesn't rate high on the condemnation chart. Again, this is another example of the bullshit that passes for truth because Americans are too damn lazy to do the footwork necessary to find out the truth. Much of the crap comes from half-baked myths with barely a shred of evidence.

I’m running out of time, so I’m going to wrap this up my toast to the New Year since there is so much consternation about crossing into the millennium even though that will not occur until 2001. So, here’s to the New Year. May it be as much as predicted and if that is the case; this is my last will and testament. I will be thinking of Nostradamus, Chicken Little and the Great Karnak as I sit on my roof, sipping champagne and watching the sky.

To my friends, I leave my personal writings and paintings, but I’m afraid it will be worthless after their retinas are evaporated. I hope the apocalypse is not immediate so that I can record the evacuation of Washington, D.C. as Congress deserts the Ship of State. Only they, along with a host of roaches may survive. Since I am a sinner by choice, I suspect that I will be left here when Elvis returns in his pink Cadillac with Frank Zappa riding shotgun. Of course, I’m curious to see how big the stage will need to be to hold him.

Hopefully, I will also get a chance to review my life as it flashes before my eyes. If the end of time pays any homage to technology, I can rewind certain parts of my life that were particularly lascivious and lewd. Here’s to all my ex-wives who I hope will get to ride in the Pink Cadillac and just give me back my stuff before I’m vaporized. Finally, I will toast all my cheap friends who wouldn’t come to my BYOB New Year’s Eve party as I watch the beautiful reds and pinks of destruction engulf the world.

Of course, if none of this comes to pass, then I will sit on my roof and toast the New Year and say to the planet that superstition is unbecoming to a world that has solved the deepest question in the universe—why does beer bubble from the bottom?

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Comment by Donald R Barbera on September 30, 2014 at 5:44pm

Michael--you are right on the money. I know at least one nonbeliever that believes in spirits, haunting, exorcism and more. I don't understand it. I' surprised that his head doesn't blow up from the cognitive dissonance. Personally, I think these folks just join the club because they don't know what they believe.

Comment by Michael Penn on September 30, 2014 at 8:22am
I've heard about and read about the Illuminati. I doubt that they are a big influence today or that they control the world. According to a man I met they are evil and really do control everything with the help of the devil. This conspiracy theorist puts signs and symbols to everything and told me all about it. Also that Germany and others have (and still are) trying to create the perfect man. To do that you have to come up with 43 blocks of DNA or something, and the real secret was that Jesus was androgenous. He is also not of this world, etc., etc.
ISIS and the beheadings are a lie also. ISIS HQ is right here in the USA. The American people are being lied to. Look it up. When I did I found a different thing. It's like saying USA can stand for United Systems Analyst. AAA is more than the auto club.
I'm perplexed about this man. How he can believe in spirits, the devil, conspiracy theories, a worldwide flood, and still claim that there is no god is totally beyond me. It would be easier to believe in fairies than to believe all the bullshit this man told me. Yet, there are many people like him out there creating more confusion every day - complete with their own blogspot to spread the "news."



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