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J.M.: You may remember that the East Village Other's chart of the Illuminati Conspiracy (Memo #9) listed "The Holy Vehm" as an Illuminati front. I have finally found out what The Holy Vehm is (or, rather was). My source is Eliphas Levy's History of Magic, op. cit., pages 199-200:

They were a kind of secret police, having the right of life and death. The mystery which surrounded their judgments, the swiftness of their executions, helped to impress the imagination of people still in barbarism. The Holy Vehm assumed gigantic proportions; men shuddered in describing apparitions of masked persons, of summonses nailed to the doors of nobles in the very midst of their watch-guards and their orgies, of brigand chiefs found dead with the terrible cruciform dagger in their breasts and on the scroll attached thereto an extract from the sentence of the Holy Vehm. The Tribunal affected most fantastic forms of procedure: the guilty person, cited to appear at some discredited cross-road, was taken to the assembly by a man clothed in black, who bandaged his eyes and led him forward in silence. This occurred invariably at some unseemly hour of the night, for judgment was never pronounced except at midnight. The criminal was carried into a vast underground vault, where he was questioned by one voice. The hoodwink was removed, the vault was illuminated in all its depth and height, and the Free Judges sat masked and wearing black vestures.

The Code of the Vehmic Court was found in the ancient archives of Westphalia and has been printed in the Reichstheater of Muller, under the following title: "Code and Statutes of the Holy Secret Tribunal of Free Courts and Free Judges of Westphalia, established in the. year 772 by the Emperor Charlemagne and revised in 1404 by King Robert, who made those alterations and additions requisite for the administration of justice in the tribunals of the illuminated, after investing them with his own authority."

A note on the first page forbade any profane person to glance at the book under penalty of death. The word "illuminated", here given to the associates of the Secret Tribunal, unfolds their entire mission: they had to track down in the shadows those who worshipped the darkness; they counterchecked mysteriously those who conspired against society in favour of mystery; but they were themselves the secret soldiers of light, who cast the light of day on criminal plottings, and it is this which was signified by a sudden splendour illuminating the Tribunal when it pronounced sentence.

So now we have to add Charlemagne to the list of the Illuminated- along with Zoroaster, Joachim of Floris, Jefferson, Washington, Aaron Burr, Hitler, Marx, and Ma-dame Blavatsky. Could this all be a hoax?

ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #16 8/7 | The Illuminatus! Trilogy | ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #18 8/9