Conspiracy theories: uncovering America’s secrets?

Bohemian Grove exposed

More stories from Alyssa Anderson

Getting Weird
December 13, 2018


Every July, America’s most powerful men gather in the woods for weeks of rituals and secrecy at Bohemian Grove.

Deep in the Redwood Forest somewhere near Monte Rio, California, lies a place shrouded in mystery.

Legend has it America’s elite congregate here each July to perform occult rituals and “misbehave” during a week (or two or three) of drinking, tradition and secrecy. This place is called Bohemian Grove.

What began as a simple gathering of San Francisco-based artists, musicians and bohemians in 1878 grew into something straight out of a horror movie. The few pictures that exist of these secret gatherings depict cloaked men surrounding a 40-foot owl statue as they burn an effigy symbolizing care, according to an article from The Washington Post. Don’t worry, I’ll come back to this.

If this wasn’t weird enough already, the Bohemian Club, as they call themselves, is exclusively limited to some of the world’s most powerful men.

The membership list includes notable figures from Walter Cronkite to Richard Nixon. Every Republican president since Calvin Coolidge has supposedly taken part in the festivities, according to a list of members from Wikileaks. The Grove has been credited as the birthplace of the Manhattan Project, despite the club’s motto “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here,” meaning all business must be left outside, The Washington Post stated.

Though the happenings at Bohemian Grove are not technically a conspiracy or theory, I find it important to discuss the fact some of our nation’s most powerful gather in the middle of the woods to practice borderline witchcraft. Imagining George H.W. Bush and Richard Nixon wearing cloaks around a giant owl statue makes me question American politics more than I already do. And I’m not the only one.

The Grove is strictly limited to members and few people have successfully infiltrated the mysterious gatherings. In 1989, writer Philip Weiss posed as a guest for seven days, which led to his famous exposé “Inside Bohemian Grove” in Spy Magazine.

In 2000, radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones managed to sneak onto the premises with a video camera, capturing some of the only evidence of the club’s strange practices.

His hour-long video shows men in long, black cloaks burning an effigy in a ritual called “The Cremation of Care,” a traditional ceremony where Jones said they symbolically shed their conscience and empathy. Spooky.

I was first introduced to the mystery of Bohemian Grove after watching an especially strange episode of House of Cards. In this episode, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) travels deep into the woods to a place called Elysian Fields where he witnesses some of his fellow politicians take part in Satanic-esque rituals, even a human sacrifice.

Knowing House of Cards usually uses real political events as inspiration, I couldn’t help but investigate. To my surprise, Frank’s experience at Elysian Fields was not too far from reality. This discovery has caused me a great deal of anxiety; I’ve begun wondering what really goes on in the world of American politics.

While nobody has ever admitted to human sacrifices at The Grove, I wouldn’t put it past this band of hooligans we call politicians. The state of American politics is scary enough without the image of Donald Trump gallivanting through the woods in a black cloak creeping into my imagination.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to grab my camera and figure this out Alex Jones style. Who’s with me?