In the mysterious annals of Satanism, you still sometimes hear whispers of England’s infamous Hellfire Clubs, where the rich and powerful gathered to worship the devil… or at least, that was the gossip at the time. In reality, the only spirits most of the clubs invoked were the fermented kind. Joining us is Slava of Black Sky Brewery of Denver, Colorado.
- How Stuff Works, How Ben Franklin Helped Ignite the Jersey Devil Hysteria
- Black Sky Brewery in Denver, Colorado
- Royal Museums Greenwich, The Georgian Era
- Drinking and toasting in Georgian Britain Britain: group identities and individual agency, by Rémy Duthille
- Norfolk Towne Assembly, I’ll Be At My Club
- Dirty Sexy History, The Rakehell
- The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Satanism, & Secret Societies, by Evelyn Lord
- BBC, Digging up the truth about the notorious hellfire clubs
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Welcome to Black Mass Appeal, a podcast that brings modern Satanism to the masses. Today on Black Mass Appeal, because you asked for it, we’re finally joining the club. Also, Satanic Bay Area is pulling some strings with our latest YouTube offering and in the news, a devilish urban legend recalls a fiendish founding father. Joining me today, I’ve got Daniel.
Hey, my name is Daniel. I’m an organizer for Satanic Bay Area and I’m a member of the Satanic Temple and my Hellfire Club hits for two D12 damage and crits on a 19.
Also joining us is Tabitha.
Hey, this is Tabitha. I’m an administrator for Satanic Bay Area and H E L L C L U B *Simone laughs* …M O U S E!
It took me a second; it took me a second.
I- that’s all I got, but I think it’s okay. *laughs*
Well, joining us later on in the show will be Slava from Black Sky Brewery. And until then, you’ve got me; my name is Simone. I’m an administrator for Satanic Bay Area and I’d like to propose a toast! With some jam and some butter, preferably, like- I actually like blackberry jam.
Black Mass Appeal is a product of Satanic Bay Area and it is not associated with any other Satanic groups. This is a podcast for Satanists to discuss modern Satanism, its history, left-leaning political activism, and how Satanism relates to current events and pop culture. We’re for people who want to learn more about modern Satanism, whether you’re a newbie or already involved in Satanic groups. And, speaking of Satanic groups, what has Satanic Bay Area been up to lately, guys?
Did we ever talk about the butterfly effect on this show?
Not really? Are we going more Ashton Kutcher or are we-
Yeah, *giggles* the Ashton Kutcher vehicle. *more giggles*
Are you going Ashton Kutcher or we’re going, like, Isaac Asimov of A Sound of Thunder?
More Sound- I thought, I thought Bradbury was the Sound of Thunder?
Op! You are correct. I was thinking of a different story.
That’s what I had in mind. Although, on a note on that Ashton Kutcher movie, go back and watch the deleted original ending from that; it is incredibly fucked up and I’m not surprised that didn’t let them show that in theaters. This is probably the only chance I get to ever push that in my life, so look it up if you have the chance. But no, we are indeed talking about the law of unintended consequences. For example, earlier this year, they added the Muppet Show to Disney+, and that set in motion a string of events that has culminated just a couple of days before you hear this episode in our latest YouTube video project over on the Black Mass Appeal channel. And, how would my collaborators describe this to anybody who hasn’t seen it yet?
Uh, not appropriate for children, but fucking hilarious.
Yes. fucking hilarious. And, not appropriate for children.
Probably good for the young at heart, though, so, you know. Yes. So, probably some of you, at least, have already watched Mr. Mendez’s House, our latest upload over there, which can indeed only be described as a Satanic puppet show. In the style of a children’s show, although very consciously aimed at adults. I think the original script had more references to kids, ironically, but we cut most of those because we, we didn’t want to make it a vibe. And, I would imagine that the first question most people have is, where did these puppets come from and why do we have them?
Because we know *amazing* people. [truth]
Yeah, amazing people that just want to lik-, see, this is the problem, though, is because Daniel has these, like, harebrained ideas, and then we have all these awesome people that make it happen, *laughs* and then we all get roped into doing a puppet show.
Yeah, back around May, somebody on the Black Mass Appeal Discord- sorry, I say somebody; I know exactly who it was- very longtime listener and supporter, but I don’t know if they want to be singled out for this. *chuckles* -made a reference when discussing the Muppet Show to, ‘what if we did a puppet Black Mass?’ And, I thought, what if we did do that? What would it look like? And so, our friend Rebecca, great Satanist, great local friend of ours, and- I don’t believe in witchcraft, in the sense of, like, magic, but if there was anybody in the world who might, I think, had, like, Samantha from Bewitched powers, it might be Rebecca because she will say things, like, you know, she’s, she, she will start on these craft projects and then, like, four days later, she will produce the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen and I don’t know how she does it. [seriously, Rebecca is amazing and an incredible artist] I literally don’t know how she does it. So- I messaged her saying, ‘hey, hypothetically, if we needed a couple of puppets made up for something we may or may not be doing down the line, would you be down for [it]?’ Of course, being Rebecca, she immediately said, ‘you know, I’ve been wanting to make puppets for a while, so yeah, come on, let’s do this.’ And then once she made the puppets, we had to do the show, right? *chuckles*
I mean, they are so amazing looking. They are, like, pro-level Muppet puppets, just down to the last, tiniest details of their clothes and their accessories. Like, it looks so good! And they’re so each uniquely, like- they’re just total individuals; they have their own looks for each of them, their own styles. I just, I’m so blown away and so impressed.
Tabitha, how do you feel about your puppeteering?
I, I really like puppeteering, it turns out. I think it’s a lot of fun. My arm hurt for, like, four days afterward because it’s a lot of moving your hand up and down, which wow, you wouldn’t think would be that difficult until you do it for two hours. *laughs*
Yeah, mine too. My puppet, my puppetry work is not as good as Tabitha’s. I definitely did not want to be doing this myself. *Tabitha chuckles* I didn’t think I was good casting. But, I was the one who was available and this was my idea, so if I was not willing to stick my hand into it, then it wasn’t gonna get done. *chuckles*
I have to wonder if you guys don’t play, like, stringed instruments, so- because I have experienced much pain in my hands after practicing or playing for a long time, and so, I wonder if, you know, regular hand exercise *laughs* would assist in the puppeteering process.
Maybe. Maybe we should have you try out next time; I didn’t think about that. In any case, that is live over on YouTube right now. It’ll be in the show links; check it out. And, I just want to give an extra special thanks again- thank you very much to Rebecca, for providing those materials. Thank you to Simone for being our director on this. Thank you to Rosa who is our human Sesame Street stand-in character in the show; [they – Rosa has since changed their pronouns] did an excellent job. And, if people like this, perhaps you’ll see another one down the line. I feel, like, again, once we have the puppets, we kind of have to at least entertain the idea of a follow-up, but we will see. We will see what the response to this first one is.
And in other audio-visual entertainment, we also recently had our documentary night at the New Parkway in Oakland. Now, this was, the New Parkway is a super cool theater in Oakland that was putting out the call for community groups to offer to screen a film of their choosing and then have a Q&A afterward. Obviously, the film would have some sort of relation to the work or the work that they do. So, we screened the documentary How the Devil got His Horns, which is a look at visual depictions of Satan through art from His first appearance to throughout the Middle Ages, and it was really fun! We had a pretty good showing of folks, and some really good questions at the Q&A afterward. *chuckles* One of the funniest things, though, is that- so this was a- you know, they had arranged for it to be shown by using the Amazon Prime platform, and, you know, the, the documentary is actually quite short; it’s about an hour long. And so, I think they were not anticipating it being that short, so- they probably didn’t just glance at the running time because *chuckling* they let it run and it started to run- I think it was Anthony Bourdain’s first documentary that he made. It was an early one.
Yeah, he was extremely young in it.
So, everyone just sort of sat and watched Anthony Bourdain for five minutes until we, like, you know, gave a heads up to the theater that it was time to turn on the lights. I was very amused.
As we mentioned at the time, that actually is a very organic transition from Satan into Anthony Bourdain. Anthony Bourdain, twice nominated as a Patron Sinner; hasn’t made the cut either time, but I feel like next year is probably his year.
It was really good to see some familiar faces at the doc night; it was also nice, of course, to see some folks we’ve never met before and, who knows, maybe we’ll be meeting some of those folks again, down the line, and maybe we’ll also be at the New Parkway again down the line, but I guess we’ll see. Just a note that you are hearing this episode after our big Halloween ritual but before we actually do it, so we will have to get the highlights and the lowlights from that next time. The end of our very busy Halloween season. *chuckles*
Yeah, oh man, this is- I literally took two days off of work. I took Friday off to help. like. myself get my shit together, and then I took Monday off because I know I’m gonna need to recover from the weekend, and- it’s nice at my work that they never asked you why you want the time off, they just- if you have the PTO and you can, then you can go, but I was kind of looking forward to just writing, like, religious reasons *laughter* on, on my little form to say why, but they don’t, they don’t fucking care. But, anyway, so, yeah, Halloween season, finally, as you’re hearing this, is at an end. We’re gonna take ourselves a little bit of a breather and then we’ve got, you know, more fun stuff coming up down the road, which we will definitely let you know about.
And speaking of fun times with the people we love, I think we’ve got some, what is it? Podcatcher reviews, this time?
That’s right. Our reviews are coming from Podchaser [lol Daniel] today. Now, Podchaser is a new website and, I believe, they just came out with an app. Their goal is to be, kind of, like, the IMDB of podcasts, which I think is a really neat idea. You could follow your favorite shows, you could follow your favorite creators, which is convenient if they ever do guest spots on other shows, then you could see where they’re popping up. And, you can leave reviews! Now, Apple Podcasts, you can leave reviews there, but we’ve heard how terrible their interface is, and other major platforms, like Spotify, for some reason, don’t have reviews; I’m sure they’ve got their mysterious reasons why. Spotify actually I think just surpassed Apple Podcasts in terms of number of listeners, which, so they’re, they’re on their way to being the big one, but still, no reviews from them. So, we’re concentrating on Podchaser today. And, we want to note that if you leave a podcast review anywhere else that’s not on Apple Podcasts, or Podchaser, or your regular, kind of, platforms, just drop us a line! Let us know and we’re happy to read them because we just enjoy getting this feedback. So, our first review comes from Michael Clew: “I only listen to three podcasts, but BMA is my favorite. Even when talking about the Bible, or history, or Greece, this show is fun and the first thing I look for on Spotify every other week. I’ve been a loner all my life, a Satanist for just a few years. I got into Satanism through being an atheist, a metalhead, and studying everything I can.” That’s a very common formula. “I’ve been a listener of BMA for about a year now and always waiting for the next episode.”
That’s very sweet. Also Greece. *chuckling*
Okay, you know what, I’m just gonna come out and say it: Greek Satanists, reach out to us so that we can finally have the also Greece-themed episode-
-that obviously the universe wants. *Tabitha laughs* [i literally have no idea what they’re talking about]
Either that, or we got to take some sort of, like, vacation to Greece. We’ll figure that out.
In any case, thank you very much, Michael, we appreciate having you.
Our next review comes from Erebus Santana: “And now, a poem. For a Black Mass, their best in class./ Simone’s cats, Tabitha’s Sass./ Daniel is preaching heretical facts!/ Discussing dark truths,/ the doots and the news./ My wings are now burned, I have fallen, it’s true./ My Halo is broken, fixing it is not something I’d do./ I’m a heretic, I love it, I have one HELL of a view.”
Man, just, just snaps. *snaps from everyone*
Maximum effort; I appreciate it.
I want to point out: there’s going to be some poetry in the main topic, too. This is better. *laughter*
Yeah, by far! *laughing*
*laughing* This is better than what you got coming to you down the line.
Like, maximum creative points. If anyone wants to try and do a review in some sort of, something other than prose, I am so here for it.
Also, Erebus, don’t think I don’t see what you’re up to there. Erebus, also a Greek reference. I’m not-
You’re not slippin’ one past me. You’re obviously- it’s a conspiracy, *Simone laughs* is what it is, it’s a conspiracy, and I will not stand for it. *chuckling* Because I am indeed sitting.
*fake spits, laughing* Noooo!
Thank you to both of those; we loved it so much.
Okay, well, one thing we will stand for is the support from our listeners for our Patreon. Patreon is the sole means by which we financially power this show and a lot of the work that we do with Satanic Bay Area, so we have some new contributors to thank. First up, we have Sea of Fire and Ryan Fulcher. Then, in the Mark of the Beast Club, the folks who are contributing $6.66 per month, we have MissB, Hella McSushi. Mmm, sushi. Tim Furneaux, Alexis Perez, and Charles Perry. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping us out and supporting the show.
I must interject; I believe, even though it is spelled the French way there, that is pronounced Tim-ferno. [omg that’s amazing]
-I really appreciate the, the pun, but I just, I had to go for it because it’s, at last, like, a, one of they- the two languages I can pronounce things in. *Tabitha chuckles* Took that away from me.
You know, the ironic thing is, there is a long and spotted history of French Devil worship that we almost never talk about on this show. *chuckles* It’s, it’s, it’s always-
Well can we please switch to that from the German shit that we talked about all the goddamn time?! *Daniel laughs* You know, I was at- you know, our friend, the Tooth Fairy, who came to our rock and roll Black Mass, that actually does get another mention in this show, our friend, the Tooth Fairy, is the person who donated their recently-extracted wisdom teeth for our cauldron to the incredible impress- you know, everyone was so impressed. And, I was at their house the other day and I was talking about *in a fake German accent* Walpurgisnacht, and, dang, if she wasn’t laughing at my pronunciation in my face! I love you so much, *Tabitha laughs* but we need to switch to a language I can manage
In any case, thank you very much to our Patreon backers; we love you, we appreciate everybody who helps you make Black Mass Appeal still a part of our lives. I want to point out: so, you don’t just get a thank you when you’re a Patreon backer, you also get some rewards. Like, for example, this episode right here is coming your way because the Patreon backers specifically voted for it on our most recent poll. I also want to apologize; you’re supposed to be getting some bonus materials and bonus episodes over on the Patreon, but there haven’t been any uploads this month just because *seriously* Halloween season has been nuts for us. I’m sorry, we will get back on that horse soon, but I’m only human. *chuckles*
I mean, it’s, like, Halloween time for Satanists is like working at a mall at Christmas. We are a little bit busy.
And, like, trying to enjoy it as much as possible, too, so you’re like extremely busy trying to get projects done and everything but you’re also like, *in a frantic voice* ‘Ah, I gotta go look at pumpkins or something. Ah!’ *laughter*
It’s my favorite holiday of the year and I’m trying not to, like, stress myself out because I want it to be, you know, what I have in my head. I’m trying to enjoy it, but at the same time, like, I want it to be a good time for everyone who’s with me, with us, you know, like for our, our Satanic Bay Area members, and so, it’s, it’s just like Christmas for a lot of people. It’s, like, you’re running around, you got your list of to-do’s, and you gotta do your shopping and you gotta get this ready, and you gotta put on this event, and then, you really want to have a good time but also you really want to make sure that everyone else is having a good time because it’s just the best holiday of the year!
The ideal Halloween is a labor of love; we’ll get there someday. Just like we love everybody on Patreon who always makes this show possible. Speaking of looking at pumpkins, we completely forgot to talk about Tabitha’s annual Satanic Jack-o-Lantern carving party, the Offering to the Gourds, as we call it, which was just a couple of days before we recorded this. [so sad i had to miss itttt]
Yeah, we had a lot of fun. Of course, it- I decid- *giggles* I managed to make it on the night when the Bay Area was in a deluge of water.
Yeah, tell me about it. *laughs*
Yeah. But, Simone didn’t get to come because she was dealing with the water. *chuckles*
Yeah, it was gonna, it was gonna be a huge party, but it ended up being just a few folks, so- but I, it was still so much fun; we had a really good time.
The pictures of the pumpkins that you guys carved were so cute. The skeleton unicorn was super cute. The, the, kind of, like, Antifa Trident was super cute. But, yeah, I was not able to come- funnily enough, so, actually, it was raining really, really hard in the Bay Area that day, and I was looking at the rain and I was, like, ‘you know what, I don’t think it’s really safe for me to be on the road, so I’m just gonna, you know, keep it at home. And, it’s a *really* good thing that I did because, keeping it at home, I was watching a movie on the couch with my boyfriend and I noticed some water on the floor of our living room and at first I thought that I just spilled a drink, but no, we were flooding! And so, we had to drop everything, get sandbags, get towels, get a couple of friends with shovels to help us dig out and dig trenches and stuff, and it was quite the mess, but I just was thinking to myself that, thank Satan! If I had gone to this party, I would not have been home and we would not have been home for, like, four hours and it would have just come completely into our living room, so, you know, the big guy downstairs was looking out for me.
Yeah, like Simone, a lot of people had to bail at the last, bailout of the case where, because it just wasn’t safe to travel, and, of course, that was a smart decision on their part. We were bummed we did not get to see them, but it means that the people who were there meant even more to us and we had a great time. Hey, you know, there is always next year. That’s the great thing about Halloween, it comes back.
Maybe I’ll just carve pumpkins for Christmas. You know, all the stores have let Christmas creep come in and, like, if you go into Target, there’s, like, not even Halloween stuff anymore; it’s just Christmas, And so, I’m gonna give it back to them! I’m gonna get some pumpkins and I’m gonna carve Halloween faces into them and have them out for Christmas, so there! Take that Santa!
You’re joking, but we were, we were bringing that up at the party. We’re, like, ‘you know, these, an uncovered pumpkin lasts for a long time. We could be doing this in, like, May.’
That’s a good point.
And, hey, you know if kids come up to the door, we’ll give them candy. *laughter*
Here’s a candy cane, kid.
Evil candy. Wahaha!
They’re, they’re candy canes that have been pre-sucked into very sharp points. So, not really COVID-safe and not really, like, eyeball safe, but gets the point across.
Well, speaking of things that are destined to make headlines, I think we’re gonna take a break and come back with the news. *laughter*
That’s right. We’re gonna take a break and then you’ll hear Tabitha’s melodious doots, along with the news.
Black Mass Appeal 20:53
*interlude music plays*
*old-timey breaking news doots*
Woo! That extended remix of the doots means it’s time for the news! Today, we are reading from HowStuffWorks, How Ben Franklin Helped Ignite the Jersey Devil Hysteria. “With more than 1,195 residents per square mile. One square mile is equal to 2.6 square kilometers, FYI. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the US. And yet 22% of its total land area, representing a huge chunk of South Jersey, is covered by an expanse of sandy, swampy forests. Known as the Pine Barrens, this place is an outdoorsman’s paradise, with winding trails, campgrounds aplenty, rustic blueberry farms- and its own answer to Bigfoot…Believers call it the Jersey Devil. Skeptics call it a smear campaign. More precisely, some scholars see the Jersey Devil as the folkloric offspring of an old political feud, one that involved Benjamin Franklin of all people…During the late 17th and early 18th centuries…New Jersey was split somewhat vertically into ‘East Jersey’ and ‘West Jersey.’ The latter was the adopted home of Daniel Leeds…a Quaker and pamphlet-writer…In 1687, Leeds published the first edition of his very own almanac. This became a lightning rod for controversy; many Quakers who read the text objected to its use of astrology and ‘heathen’ Greco-Roman planet names…One prominent Quaker-“
*bursts out laughing* Sorry.
*sighing* -and also Greece! The heathen ass Greece. “One prominent Quaker, Caleb Pusey, took aim at Leeds by writing a pamphlet that called him ‘Satan’s harbinger’…Daniel Leeds died in 1720, but despite all the notoriety, his almanac lived on. Later editions were overseen by his son, Titan Leeds.” I guess people objected to his son’s name as well? “Benjamin Franklin owned a rival publication, ‘Poor Richard’s Almanack,’ which jokingly predicted- by way of astrology- that Titan Leeds would die October 17th, 1733. He didn’t. Leeds punched back by calling Franklin ‘a foul and a liar [spelled lyar]’ in print. Then, tongue planted firmly in cheek, Franklin suggested that Titan Leeds must surely be dead- and that his ghost was writing nasty things about him from beyond the grave…Details of the feud are explored in…’The Secret History of The Jersey Devil: How Quakers, Hucksters, and Benjamin Franklin Created a Monster.’ ‘[Franklin’s] statements about Leeds were, in reality, an attempt to discredit [his almanac] competitor by linking him to Satan…In that age it was not unusual to paint one’s enemies as stargazing agents of the [Devil]. The fact that Leeds promoted a belief in astrology…made perfect fodder’…Over the years, insinuations that the Leeds were somehow linked with Satan morphed into an East Coast horror story…author W. F. Mayer…met a resident who told him she’d once seen ‘the Leeds Devil.’ Mayer’s guide informed him that this was part of an old superstition. Supposedly, a woman known as ‘Mother Leeds’ had long ago given birth to a deformed monster still at large in the Barrens…In contemporary versions of the narrative, Mother Leeds is usually cited as an 18th-century witch…The rumor was that Mother Leeds bore a hideous beast…her offspring had a goat’s (or horse’s) head, a snakelike tail, hoofed legs and the wings of a great bat…Reported Jersey Devil sightings made great headline fodder. In the first decade of the 20th century, several Philadelphia newspapers ran stories about ‘curious hoof prints’ dotting snowy corners of the Pine Barrens. A few of these prints had supposedly turned up on rooftops…When it comes to dramatizing the Jersey Devil, nobody can top the Garden State’s one and only Bruce Springsteen. As a tribute to New Jersey’s favorite cryptid, the rockstar wrote a bluesy ballad called ‘A Night with The Jersey Devil’ back in 2007. ‘Dear friends and fans,’ wrote Springsteen at the time, ‘if you grew up in central or south Jersey, you grew up with the ‘Jersey Devil.’ Here’s a little musical Halloween treat. Have fun!'” Wow. So we’ve talked before on this show about, you know, folks trying to dehumanize and turn into monsters, the gods of other religions, the people of other religions, but, oof, Ben Franklin really made it personal.
So, why are we talking about this? Well, as mentioned, even though Halloween is over by the time you listen to this, it is a couple of days beforehand when we record and the story popped up as a little Halloween week content, and so we figured, okay, we can squeeze one last monster in here. Also, Ben Franklin is going to come up in our main topic today so the timing was great. Also, *chuckles* a couple of years back there was a Friends of the Satanic Temple New Jersey group that did incorporate the Jersey Devil into their logo and I was pretty envious of them for getting to do that. Our logo is awesome, but in terms of, in terms of unusual iconography, that, that is a good one, I have to admit, so that has stuck in my head ever since. I don’t know if my preoccupation with cryptozoology has ever come up on the show before, but it is a, it is a topic that I find intriguing. I want to point out: most cryptozoologists are kooks, so, you know, I don’t take them very seriously, but skeptical looks at folklore and urban legend, always interesting. I’m listening to, lately, to a podcast called Monster Talk, and-
-I really like their attitude because- their take on these stories is always, ‘boy, it’d be really cool if this was aliens. It’s not aliens, guys, but it would be cool if it was,’ which is sort of my attitude about things like this as well.
Daniel, I, I was just about to recommend Monster Talk. I listened to Monster Talk, starting, like, 10 years ago, and I was actually wondering if they were still around, so I’m really glad to hear that they are.
Oh, yeah, they, they’re putting out episodes weekly, as far as I can tell-
-and- yeah, they have a huge backlog *chuckles* that I’m never gonna make it all the way through, but nevertheless-
Yeah, no, seriously, I started listening to them in I think, like, 2010-2011 and listened to them for a good couple of years and, you know how it goes with podcasts, and I’m sure people have done this to us and I do not judge or hold any bad feelings about it- you know, you listen to a show and you like it, but then you skip one and then you kind of forget to listen to the next and eventually you stop listening to it. And, maybe it’s time to pick Monster Talk back up.
Could be, maybe. I also want to point out: we could well do a cryptid episode of this show come next Halloween because, unsurprisingly, there are a lot of people who try to link these myths to the Devil in- well, this one’s an obvious way, but there are some really weird fundie Bigfoot hunters that, um, it gets colorful. let’s call it that.
Ugh, I don’t even want to get into people who don’t believe in Evolution to, like, try and explain, like, a Bigfoot because I, that comes up sometimes.
Tabitha, do we have any cute Jersey Devil plushies around? I feel like we should, but I don’t think we do.
I don’t. Actually, I don’t think I have any cryptids. I guess the closest thing I have is the goat with the, with those sharp teeth.
I don’t even have a Mothman and I want a Mothman because I fuckin’ stan Mothman.
Oh, I love Mothman!
But, maybe that’s, maybe that’s the next collection, is just getting plushies of all the different cryptids. [welp, that makes this Christmas easier…]
Do we, so I know that Bigfoot, some people consider Bigfoot to be a, something that lives in Northern California, kind of Redwood forests. People report Bigfoots, kind of, up and down the West Coast and towards, like, the Rockies and stuff, but does California have its own special, specific cryptid? Does the Bay Area?
When Tabitha and I were in Monterey for her birthday a couple of years ago, we went down to the Monterey Bay Museum. There is a Monterey Bay sea monster called- ok, I take that back-
*laughing* Aquarium. We went to the-
-we went to the Aquarium, not the museum.
What did I say? Oh, sorry; yes. Monterey Bay Aquarium. There is- I was about to say there is a Monterey Bay sea monster, but of, course, there is not There is, however, a legend about a Monterey Bay sea monster! So, there’s that.
I’ll take it. I’ll just say it’s Nessie’s California cousin.
Oh, oh, oh, duh! Karl the Fog!
But that’s, like, [an] anthropomorphized weather event, less than a cryptid. [karlllll slay queen]
He is a cryptid! *laughing* No, I’m just kidding!
It’s our own special character, but I, but I wouldn’t, like, call it a cryptid. I do like Karl the fog; I miss Karl the fog, actually.
I want it to be a cryptid. *fake crying, laughing*
You know what, we’ll paint some eyes on it, some nice shining, red eyes, and then Karl the Fog can be a cryptid. [Karl, you’re whoever you want to be, sis]
Or the tower. The, um, Salesforce is our cryptid.
The Salesforce is a giant buttplug.
*sort of sentimentally* Yeah.
Well, in Northern California terms- I was just talking about this the other day at the Jack-o-Lantern party, too, there was a local cryptid legend around my small, crappy hometown, which, actually, oddly enough, has a connection to Oakland, so maybe we could float that one. Probably, probably, probably doesn’t have a lot of legs, though; I feel, like, *chuckling* this one’s never really caught on outside of the region.
Well, you know what, we’ll work on it and when we finally nail down our zoo of cryptids, we’ll bring it to you in a future show.
Hey, by the way, as long as we’re on the topic of the Jersey Devil for probably the only time in the history of this show, although you never know, anybody else see that movie from 2012 The Barrens?
No, I put that on my to-watch list on your recommendation, but I haven’t gotten to it.
I was hyped about this movie when it was coming out because hey, Jersey, Devil horror movie, don’t get a lot of those, and when I finally sat down to watch it, it was okay but I wasn’t that into it-this starring Stephen Moyer, everybody’s least favorite True Blood actor, and I’m not kidding, I looked at the-
*starts laughing, in what, I’m assuming is a Stephen Moyer true blood voice* Sookay! *Daniel bursts out laughing* That’s what he sounds like.
If you want me to give you a straight face while we finished the segment, you can never do that again. *laughs* I’m not kidding, I looked at the timer and there were, like, four minutes left to this movie, and I’m like, ‘okay, unless this, this, and this happened in the next four minutes, I’m gonna walk away from this really disappointed,’ and I’m not kidding, all of those things happened exactly the way I anticipated, and I’m like, ‘Okay! Touche!’ *laughing* You, you, you have firmly bested me, The Barrens, I, I concede on all fronts. So, it finished strong, I’ll tell you that!
All right, well, we’re going to take this break, and allow those of you who partake, to grab yourselves a beer, or other drink, and join us back for our main topic of Hellfire Clubs!
Black Mass Appeal 32:03
In the mysterious annals of Satanism, you still sometimes hear whispers of England’s infamous Hellfire Clubs, where the rich and powerful gathered to worship the Devil. Or, at least, that was the gossip at the time. In reality, the only spirits most of the clubs invoked were the fermented kind, which is why we’re joined today by Slava from Denver’s Black Sky Brewery. Slava, thank you for joining us on Black Mass Appeal.
Thanks for having me, guys.
Well, so, for folks who may not be familiar, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself and Black Sky Brewery.
Black Sky Brewery is a mom-and-pop operation in Denver, Colorado. I’ve been involved in brewing for about 16 years now, and, you know, at some point we decided to do our own thing. We are a metal brewery; we are beer, pizza, and metal, and we support different causes and collaborate with different metal bands. We’ll have some live shows once in a while. And, the way I got in touch with you guys was through Satanic Temple of Colorado because we do different beers for them once in a while, just as a fundraiser. We’re all big supporters of separation of church and state, supporters of [the] First Amendment, and just [a] mom and pop brewery that serves good beer, has good pizza, snacks, and loves metal. [um, this is so rad]
Now, I do want to give a couple of quick shoutouts here: shout out to Persephone, over a TST Colorado, for putting us in touch with the folks at Black Sky; we appreciate that. Also, we would be remiss if we did not shout out Josh, our local Satanic Bay Area Satanist brewer, but Josh [heyyy] has been on the show a couple of times previously, so we wanted to spread the net a little bit wider this time. Nevertheless, I’m sure he will pop up once again, and also, we will probably, probably have to be, probably be obliged to plug some of his materials in the show notes, as well, so keep an eye out for that. So, how did you get into brewing to begin with?
You know, a lot of people start with home brewing. I basically went and got a job at a beer factory. It was the old Breckenridge brewery. They were in Denver and I stopped by, have a beer, and just asked them and ended up getting into- I’m kind of hands-on; I went to art school. I like hands-on projects. I like working on old cars. You know, I used to play with a lot of Legos when I was a kid, so it was, it was, kind of, up my alley to work with my hands. I’m not really the office type. And between myself, and Harry Smith, and Lila Mackey, they are the owners, and I’ve known them for close to 20 years, we decided that it was time for us to move on and do our own thing. And, Harry has been a metalhead forever, since, you know, he was a teenager, *chuckles* so we, we just decided that it was- we’ve talked about it for so long, most people thought that we were full of shit and it wasn’t gonna happen, basically. *laughs* Like, half of our friends, so, like, ‘yeah, you guys keep talking about this, but-‘
*laughs* We’ve been there.
Yeah, in 2013, it took us almost a year, bout nine months, you know. We had a baby *laughs* and it ended up being a metal brewery. So, we just, we just put together our minds and went for it.
You know, we have had shows in the past discussing the conventional wisdom that metal is a gateway into Satanism. Never before have we considered that it is also a gateway into the brewing industry, so there you have it.
Yes, we love our beer and we love our metal. *laughs* That is true.
Hell yeah. Well, Daniel- so this is a topic, the Hellfire Clubs, it’s a topic that our listeners actually voted in, in our last Patreon poll, was it not?
Yes, and as a matter of fact- so, back when we first brainstormed this podcast, Simone started, of course, a spreadsheet about potential topics and-
*shouts* Love spreadsheets!
*laughs* Yes. And this topic was on the sheet from, I think, day one, if not, if it was not one of the very first things you put on there, it was not very long before it was [uniteligible]. And, so, we have discussed doing this one before. We put it on the most recent Patreon backer poll, it came in third in that poll after our recent Satanic organizing, and, weirdly enough, the minstrel myths episode, so there- we this, this is providing a critical window into our listener base, but I’m not necessarily sure what that window opens up to. *laughter* Nevertheless, here we are; Hellfire Clubs. And, of course, my immediate knee-jerk response to this was, well, let’s talk to a historian about this period, but, you know, we have had a lot of historians on the show already this year; it feels like a lot of academic types. [uh, they haven’t had ME on the show…rude.] And those were great guests, but I thought maybe a slightly different perspective, since so much of the history of these clubs is steeped, as it were, in the history of social drinking in England, and by extension, also America, I thought, maybe somebody who has a hand in that tradition would be, offer an interesting perspective, and that, of course, is why Slava is here.
And, just to mention, before I say anything else, this is, basically, my personal historical assumptions, *chuckles* because a lot of brewing comes from many different places and locations and available ingredients, so I should not be quoted. You use this for entertainment purposes only, please. *laughter* [as an actual classically trained historian, i appreciate you, Slava <3]
Was that a, as that a ‘don’t try this at home’ disclaimer? *laughs*
Pretty much, pretty much. I mean, you can, you can try whatever, you know, on your personal time, but yeah, so, so much of brewing history and, I mean- human history is so [intertwined], some people argue that beer predates bread, and it’s, every style was basically done out of necessity of not spoiling ingredients and what was available at the time, at that location, during harvest season, or planting season or, you know, so- but anything, anything that I am going to say, feel free to not quote me. *laughs* [honestly, this is already super interesting, food history is rad]
Well, I have to say, so- I, my only exposure to a “Hellfire Club” was through X-Men, so I am going to be learning a lot, I think, today. So, I, too, will have to be taken for entertainment purposes only because I’ll only be able to talk about, you know, the White Queen, or, or whatever.
That, that does segue into a, kind of, question for the table, was- I had the mild advantage of I’ve done a little bit of research on this topic, lo, many years ago; I think even before the Satanism. I’m not really sure what sparked my interest about this, at the time, but I do remember looking into it, maybe it was the X-men thing, I don’t know, so whether, I’m curious, whether any of us- what, if anything, any of us knew about this topic, or what associations we had with it previously? We already heard Simone; Tabitha, anything, anything from you?
I’m sorry, I don’t have anything.
The only name [that] came up, so far, when I’ve done a little research or talk to my friends, was Benjamin Franklin. *chuckles*
Oh, that’ll come up. *chuckles*
So, that was- Yeah. That was, that was the only thing, but I also do have quite a bit of a library. Previous to me having a brewing career, I did go to art school; I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts in animation, so I did tattooing for about 13 years; I ended up getting quite a collection of art books and maybe, somewhat, of an occult books, symbolism, things like that. I have, I believe, it’s an Italian print called De La Satanica [spelling? i couldn’t find this on google]? And, it is in Italian, French, and English, and part of the book, maybe it was, kind of, like, an annual, biannual quarterly publication, or something like that, almost looks like a magazine but it is a soft cover, quite large. They have, they do discuss different, old traditions, and Hellfire clubs are mentioned in that, basically crazy, drunk parties. *chuckles*
Hmm, sounds like our kind of scene. Yeah, when I, when I think of Hellfire Clubs, apart from X-Men, all I can pull are, kind of, images of gentleman’s clubs in, you know, a centuries past in England, in, you know, early America. I’m picturing, I’m picturing beautiful bookshelves filled with old leather-bound books and a nice leather chair with a roaring fire and everyone’s, you know, sitting around drinking and maybe smoking a cigar. That’s just the mental image that is conjured in my mind, No idea if that’s accurate, but I think we’re about to find out.
One thing that I discovered doing, poking around social media and similar user-generated content, is after the X-men, the major association a lot of people have with this term is the movie Eyes Wide Shut, which is not necessarily-
-not necessarily an appropriate- although, I don’t know if that’s what they had in mind when they made that film, but if they did, they might have nailed it, actually, come to think of it. On that note, content warning, in case it’s not already glaringly obvious, we are going to be discussing an awful lot of drinking in this episode, so if you are somebody who is in recovery, and prefers not to hear about that, maybe skip this one; we’ll hit you up next time. Just a note on that.
Okay, before we dive into this conversation, let’s start with some basics. Now, Daniel, can you tell us what exactly is a Hellfire Club?
Well, what people *thought* a Hellfire Club was, at the time, the time being 18th century England, was that it was a secret, private gentlemen’s club, where rich and powerful young people went to party and worship the Devil and there was, as is often the case on the topics of our shows, a pronounced moral panic about this for a couple of years, and we will see some reasons why that happened, too, coming up in just a few minutes here. This was the image that people had, was that it was, they were just dens of incredible licentiousness where these most morally bankrupt people imaginable went to do all the things that they couldn’t do, that were, that were unlicensed anywhere else and where we discovered that, not only were they being blasphemous, they were being openly Satanic.
Did this turn out to be true? I wonder. *chuckles*
So, it was just, it was Burning Man.
It was a Burning Man, it was Burning Man with leather-bound books. Come on!
Maybe same, like, ethos, different aesthetic? *laughter*
You can show up to, you can show up to Burning Man dressed in Regency fashion. Like, who’s going to challenge you, right? [that’s the dream, really]
That’s a good point.
Might be a little hot for the desert, though.
Also good point.
My friends asked me what we were going to talk about and I said Hellfire Clubs, they said, ‘well, what’s that?’ And, I said, ‘I think it was a bunch of, you know, like, well-off guys trying to get together and have a drinking club. You know, but, at that time, obviously, the church did not approve of anything outside of the church, so you know, the guy’s, like, hey, let’s drink some beers, and have fun, and don’t tell me what to do, I just want to party, but then the church was like, hey, it’s a baby-eating orgy, all right?’ *laughter* So, that, that’s how I explained it in a nutshell to my friends. *laughing*
I mean, I mean, yeah, if you had asked the average Londoner in, say, 721, what a Hellfire Club is, they would have told you that people go there to drink, they go there to do drugs, they go there to solicit sex workers and to have orgies, and to conduct Black Masses, and to commit ritual sacrifice, and to eat babies, and all of the usual notes. Now, the question for us historically is how much if any of this was true? You can probably tell from my tone what the answer to that is going to be, *but,* but there are, at least, *chuckling* some interesting ambiguities that we’re going to get to discuss.
Well, so let’s look into some of this research that Daniel has compiled for us. Tab, do you want to take this first passage, here?
From ‘The Georgian Era,’ Royal Museums Greenwich: “The Georgian Era spanned over the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Britain, all of whom were named George. During this time-“
Yes. It’s not Hanoverian, it’s, it’s grill.
He’s got, like, how many kids are all named George?
Like, six kids and they’re all named George. Something like that. *laughter*
*laughing* Just imagine, like, when you, when you cast your mind back, just make sure you’re thinking of George Forman. “During this time, the country established itself as a global power at the center of a turbulent empire. When Queen Anne died in 1714, she left no male heir; the crown passed to her nearest Protestant relative in northern Germany-” Wow, somebody named George. *laughter* George of the House of Hanover. “-a direct line of succession that continues to this day. While there were over 50 Roman Catholic relatives with stronger claims, George’s right to inheritance was asserted by the Act of Settlement 1701, the law designed by parliament to prevent Roman Catholic royalty from becoming members of the monarchy. In 1757, the British East India Company was victorious at the Battle of Plassey-” Plaseeyyyy. *laughs* Is it plas- oh, you- nobody knows.
I’m just thinking of wet ass plassey, but- *Tabitha bursts out laughig* Sorry. [so did i lol, good one Simone]
*laughing* Oh, shit. “…the British East India Company was victorious at the Battle of Plassey, the beginning of the almost 200 year-long British rule in India; with political control of India, the British reduced India to a supplier of raw materials. Britain effectively won the Seven-Years War in 1763, paving the way for the global dominance of the British empire. Through a mix of bribery and diplomacy, in 1801, an agreement united England and Scotland with Ireland as a new United Kingdom.”
So, we’ve, kind of, set the political and, sort of, cultural stage here where England is really becoming the dominant power; they’ve got this source of India, which, ugh, colonialism, but it has really paved the way for them to get these, these new materials, ingredients, right?
Yeah, so what’s really critical is, I think, the average person who looked at the tropes in historical imagery that is associated with the Georgian Era from about, you know, early 18th century through early 19th century, we would call that Victorian, because- but, really, this is the start of all of the things that we associate with Victorian: England as a colonial power, England as an industrial center, England as this, kind of, vast metropolitan center around London. And then, also, during this period, we see that there is this big, there’s this profound transformation of English cities: people are coming in by millions from the countryside, from Scotland, from Ireland, from Wales, and from Europe, to come to population centers like London, which explode in size, and, also, consequently, see this enormous blossoming in things like taverns, and theatres, and sex work, and, of course, those things have been part of English society for centuries, but here we see them on a scale that previously they had never been before.
So, and, kind of, goes in hand with that is part of the, you know, beginning of the Industrial Revolution, all of that. Before that time in the world, [a woman’s] job was to brew beer, and then once there is a development of different advances in technology, males overtake brewing as a thing, and this is pre-Louis Pasteur, so all the people moving and the city’s gaining all this population, which makes for pretty dirty water and just, kind of, unsanitary conditions, they did not know that- why beer didn’t make you sick, whereas the water did, and some water tables in England, at the time, are fairly shallow, so, you know, there’s a lot of human waste and all these different things and the water is basically just gross. *laughter* So, when you brew beer, they didn’t know that by boiling it, it made you not sick-
-and that, kind of, the bigger the cities, historically, the bigger the cities, the more filthy the conditions, but the beer was what made it acceptable and that’s why [the] British developed certain styles of beer, was because the, you had to drink table beer every day not to get sick. [seriously, food history is so cooooool]
That makes a lot of sense. And, I think, I think this is something that we see around the world, in terms of people would make wine or they would make other kinds of alcohol because just, water was not safe to drink and they didn’t know the exact mechanics of it, but the brewing process or, you know, fermenting process, or whatever, would help to make that beverage, or whatever, safe for people to drink.
Yeah, that is 100% correct, and if you look at Southern cultures where the grapes do better, there’s basically a line throughout Europe: South of the line, grapes do better, and that’s those tend to be wine cultures, and barley and hops, they do better in Northern climates, especially barley. Canada grows a lot of barley for North America. And, those tend to be all beer cultures, but they just didn’t know why everything made you sick but beer or wine didn’t.
That makes so much sense and I never thought about that. [literally i’m just like dancing i’m so excited]
A couple of other historical notes from this period, real quick, just to give people a solid sense of context. So, as the museum curator has mentioned here: yes, this is the royal family of today, they descend directly from these Georgian kings, who was mentioned, are only in it because of a law about religious conflicts; a very, very dicey proposition to put this German King on the English throne, and it worked, but had that not happened, we would not have the House of Windsor, we would not have so much of the contemporary British politics of today, so that’s kind of interesting. [i mean, there’s a lot more to it, but yes, that’s also a factor, but also there were a number of abdications that had to happen and Henry VIII not keeping it in his pants for Lizzy Dos to be on the throne right now] Also, yes, George- we’re talking about George, is George III is, is the fellow with the song in Hamilton that got stuck in your head, who presided over the UK, the, England’s loss of the American colonies. [George I – III are all kind of nuts; fun stuff there] And, then, also, a note that was tagged on to the end of this passage that we didn’t quite get to, is that, also, right at the end of the Georgian Era, around 1801 [*places fedora on head* ACTUALLY, the Georgian Era doesn’t end until 1837, with the death of William IV, and Victoria taking the throne, TYVM], “Through a combination of diplomacy and bribery, [they] finally managed to forge a United Kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland,” and although much of Ireland is independent today, that unification nevertheless still persists to some degree and still has a profound significance on regional politics there, especially after, especially post-Brexit, so a lot of those, a lot of the issues that we are still tussling with today, on some level, start here because of *chuckling* potentially very odd political compromises that were made at the time.
Okay, now let’s move on to “Drinking and Toasting in Georgian Britain” by Remy Duthille. “Toasting was an omnipresent ritual in Britain in the long 18th century. It served to cement collective identities and politico-religious allegiances, but the efficacy of such ritual depended on peer-pressure, which could weigh heavily on the individual. This patriotic self-identification was given ritual form in clubs, one of the archetypical forms of sociability in Britain in the period. Drinking and especially the practice of toasting were also essential to [a] club’s identity, cementing group identities and political ideologies. Drinks served as social markers: only the middling ranks and their betters could afford wine; the poor drank beer or gin. Punch emerged as a middle-class drink: both the exotic, imported, ingredients and the punchbowls manufactured in China turned punch into a symbol of Britain’s imperial dominance. Toasting was a highly ritualized process with predefined roles for the toast-master. In formal dinners toast lists were negotiated and drafted in advance. Clubs and societies, and later political parties, adopted standing toasts that reflected their identity.” Oh, man, so there’s a whole lot more to it than just, you know, your brother-in-law standing up at a wedding and, kind of, drunkenly telling tales about the bachelor party?
Yeah, I mean, I guess we should not be shocked to discover,’ hey, guess what drinking is political’ because as we’ve often discussed in the history of the show, *everything* turns out to be political. The only difference is how hard have you thought about it, previously. Case, in point, Slava, I am interested in your perspective, here. We still, to this day, I think, maintain this idea of beer, specifically, as a working-class beverage. Of course, we do have expensive, luxury beers that are marketed these days, but there is still, I think, that underlying sense of blue-collar identity, is something that is still tangible, and, again, we see that distinction becomes very important socially, here. Talk a little bit about that from your perspective, as somebody who works with it everyday.
Beer is 100% blue-collar. It’s a working man’s drink. And, I know, right now, beer is enjoying, kind of, a renaissance point with all the craft brewing over the last, you know, 10, 15, 20 years, but it has always been a working man’s drink. You- it’s, it’s not supposed to be fancy. *chuckles* You can make it fancy, but it’s not supposed to be. I mean, certain styles of beer, supposedly, once again, nobody has to quote me on this, but, you know, the difference between a dark stout and a porter was, basically, stouts are hardier type of version [I think he means this was the line of thinking at the time?] and porters who were working the docks in England, at the time, couldn’t afford such an expensive drink, so they made a lighter version of it: less ingredients, less alcohol, so a common man that was loading, unloading the docks can afford a dark beer because, once again, the water was fairly terrible, fairly high in mineral content, not very clean, so British beers, at the time, back then, were darker and hoppier, and, you know, to mask the quality of their water.
And, I’m also curious about- so, here, we find out that the ways that people drank could be highly ritualistic, and the word ‘ritual,’ some people see it as odd sometimes, but if we change it with a word, like ‘custom,’ or ‘tradition,’ or even ‘heritage,’ all of a sudden, people start to identify with that a little more strongly. Do you think about those sorts of things in your work or is it mostly it’s, like, well, this is the job that we do?
There’s always some sort of a ritual to, basically, any type of drinking activity. Certain, you know, certain European breweries, it’s very, very big, very popular to have specific glassware for your specific brewery. If you go somewhere in Belgium, depending on the beer you order, you get a specific type of a goblet or a drink. You know, Pilsner glasses are tall and skinny; Belgian glasses are more of a wide, shallow dish, goblet style, and the prime example is Trappist monks brewing their Belgian beer, which all the prophets to be, to be an abbey, to be a Trappist monk brewer, all the prophets have to go to their cause, but they all invest a lot into glassware and, you know, like, how everything is political, a lot of these things were also very religious. You know, they kind of go hand in hand, as far as the beer tradition goes. [preach it, slava!]
Now, this passage, called to mind, I remember, I think I was in college when I encountered the Toastmasters organization, which, to my understanding, was kind of a, sort of, not quite speech and debate because it wasn’t meant to be like debate, but it was about, it was all about public speaking, and I did a lot of speech and debate and I think they were, kind of, trying to get me to join them and I didn’t, but do we know anything more about that organization and how it kind of slots into this tradition?
I absolutely do not. I only remember they were involved in a really weird scandal the last couple of years, but the details of that escape me. *chuckling* I guess I’ll have to put that in the show notes.
Okay. All right. Well, the other thing I wanted to bring up that the passage- well, actually, what Slava just said, reminded me of, is that a lot of beers were created for their nutritional qualities. I mean, obviously cleaning the water, but nutritional qualities in terms of, maybe you don’t have enough to eat or you don’t have enough time to eat so that the beer would fill you up; is that right?
And, as well on the- yes, that is correct. On the same type of mindset, when people would do fasting, they still [allowed] you to drink beer. *Simone laughs* So, any of those, you know, ‘no meat on Friday,’ you can still drink beer, and they actually get quite a bit, up to five liters a day for the month of fasting.
If you don’t eat all day and you drink five liters, a gallon and a half of beer, a strong Belgian beer? Uh, yeah, yeah, you’re probably going to see God at some point. *laughter*
Happy Friday, everyone!
And, then, of course, as is going to, as we’re going to see when we get to the subject of the Clubs, if you’re drinking something else, if you’re drinking a lighter beer, if you’re drinking wine, if you’re drinking some other sort of distilled alcohol, this is telling us that you don’t have to rely on the necessity of something like beer as a staple. It, did that, this, is, it is conspicuous consumption: it is saying something about your class, and your wealth, and your success, and your station. So, again, what you drink, and where you drink, and who you’re drinking with, you’re- these people are not just partying- I mean, they are. They’re definitely getting wasted, but there is more to it than that. There is, there are layers of significance that would probably not be obvious to us today. Probably seem kind of weird.
I also really enjoy, like, the punch. Like, you know, punch is so middle class and, like, I don’t know, to me, I was just thinking of ,like, when I was younger, and you just get like a two-liter Hawaiian Punch and, like, a, some vodka and put that together and be, like, ‘mmm, look at me, high class as fuck!’ *Simone laughs*
Well, I guess if you have one of those fancy, imported bowls, then then you can feel fancy about it.
Yeah, if only. [i have one *sips punch* and, yes, i AM fancy]
Roughly around the time, they were, actually, promoting, as a government in England, they were promoting drinking more of the ale because it was a cleaner drink and, apparently, everybody was getting wasted on hard liquor, *chuckling* so there’s, there’s, like, propaganda, you know, hand-drawn pictures of streets, and [rubble?] on fire, you know, houses with windows missing because anybody drinks hard liquors, so, ‘please drink beer! Be safe! Be good!’ *laughter*
Slow it down a little bit!
Oh my gosh, that’s so funny.
This is an excerpt from a blog titled “‘I’ll Be At My Club'” by the Norfolk Towne Assembly. “…Clubs were, in effect, ‘second homes’ in the center of London where men could relax, mix with their friends, play parlor games, get a meal, and in some Clubs stay overnight. It was common for young, newly graduated men who had moved to London for the first time to live at their Club for two or three years before they could afford to rent a house or a flat. These Clubs allowed upper and upper-middle-class men with modest incomes to spend their time in grand surroundings: [the richer[ Clubs were built by the same architects as the finest country houses of the time and had similar [types of] interiors. These Clubs helped the sharing of information [and the] development of relationships between men of similar social standing. [These bonds helped confirm a] man’s identity. The confidential information that might be shared at a [man’s Club] was often useful as a tool to climb the social ladder and establish oneself in the commercial world. The times and places a man told stories, gossiped, and shared information showed [a man’s] awareness of proper behavior as well as his discretion.” So, in a certain sense, a club has an awful lot like a bar, or a drawing salon, or, kind of, like a fraternity house, quite frankly, the kinds of relationships- Yeah.
I was *just* about to say it: it sounded like a frat house.
Right. But, it is also seen something as, as more important there; if, you, you know, if you are a well-to-do young man from a good family and you want to make a future for yourself, being a part of a good Club is a great way to do that. The people you meet there are going to help you out; those are the connections that you’re going to need. And, the way you conduct yourself at a club tells people they can count on you, including, can you keep secrets? *laughs* But, also, at the same time, like you said, it’s not, they say, you know, when and how you gossip, so you’re expected to. You’re expected to share some juicy stuff, to keep everybody interested, but, at the same time, you got to do it just the right way, and when we get to the next message, we’ll see, maybe, what they have in mind there. Point being, to understand what a Hellfire Club is, we gotta understand what a Club is to begin with. And, again, I know these still exist today, and we have them in America, too, but it seems like they had a degree of prominence in this period and, again, later for the Victorians, that is not necessarily obvious to us, and so, this idea of clubs that were subversive would seem extra scandalous to somebody, since a Club is supposed to be this, sort of, conservative structure where people create, you know, that was to foster quality in these young men- and you will notice it is always men- this is an intensely masculine world that we are talking about.
Sounds kinda like a health club or a golf club today. Well-off, to-do males drinking, gossiping, having a good time. *laughs*
Well, yeah. Yeah. *laughs*
I’m remembering in- if you’ve watched the TV show, the BBC series, Sherlock- Sherlock’s older brother, Mycroft, belongs to a very particular kind of club where you’re not allowed to speak, but it’s just these very wealthy, powerful men sitting around in chairs, reading their financial papers, and then, you know, in some episodes, Watson comes blundering in and starts talking very loudly. So, it seems, like, to be, kind of, of that ilk, of a place, you know, a second home, where these particular kinds of people, these kinds of men could congregate and hang out, basically, and enjoy their riches and power.
Yeah, that’s actually a detail adapted out of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories; that’s the Diogenes Club, named after the hilarious, misanthropic Greek philosopher, who I didn’t know anything about until someone nominated him as a patron sinner, I think, two years ago, and, unfortunately, he did not win, but hysterical, hysterical stuff, reading about some of his outlooks and practices. And, I seem to remember, I don’t know if this comes up on the show, but I think they say, if you talk three times, you’re banned for life from the Diogenes Club. *laughs* Something else that I found very interesting in this passage here is you’ll notice that a club is also aspirational. Why are you living there? Because even though you are presumably wealthy and from a good family, you can’t necessarily afford a place on your own. You also can’t afford a grand country estate like you would probably want, but you can afford to hang out at a Club that simulates that experience for you until hopefully someday you are successful enough and do right enough by the family that you can do that on your own, so that is very intriguing. Again, so when we get into the idea of a club that is subversive, and evil, and undermines conventional society, it must seem particularly insidious when, again, the, the trappings of a club are supposed to be this idea that you are striving for something, so that’s, that, that really stuck out to me.
From “The Rakehell in Fact and Fiction,” Jude Knight, Dirty, Sexy History. “In Georgian England, a rakehell was defined as a person who was lewd, debauched, and womanizing. Rakes gambled, partied and drank hard, and they pursued their pleasures with cold calculation, seducing innocents, conducting orgies in public, waving a public flag of corrupt behavior under the noses of the keepers of moral outrage.” Oooh. *laughs* “For example, two of those who defined the term back in Restoration England simulated sex with one another while preaching naked to a crowd from an alehouse balcony. A rake’s position in society-“
*laughs* “-and their wealth meant they could ignore the law and public opinion. “Georgians-“
Isn’t that always the way?
Yeah. Well, it still is. *laughs* “Georgians expected men to be sexually active, and where women were concerned, they worked on the philosophy that if no one knew about it, it wasn’t happening. Lord Byron earned his appellation ‘rake’ with many sexual escapades, including- so rumor had it- an affair with his sister.” Uhh. *chuckles* “His drinking and gambling didn’t help, either, but none of these would have been particularly notable if they had not been carried out in public. The Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova mixed in the highest circles, and did not become notorious until he wrote the story of his life. On the other hand, William Cavendish, the fifth Duke of Devonshire, lived with his wife and his mistress, who was his wife’s best friend. The three did not share the details of their relationship with the wider world, so there was gossip, but not condemnation, and he was not regarded as a rake.”
Man, they were just having, you know, they were just living their throuple, polyamorous lives. Didn’t seem like anyone- *laughs* bothering anyone, but…
Nobody’s business but there’s. *Simone laughs*
If nobody knows, it isn’t anybody’s business. *laughs*
So, yeah, that term, ‘rakehell,’ which we usually run into as just ‘rake,’ especially in modern English. Apparently, there are a couple of competing etymologies on that, but I prefer this one, where they’re talking pretty literally. It’s the- the image is that, like, a yard rake; it’s the image of the rake that you would use to stir up a fire. You stir-
Oh, that makes sense.
-so it’s this idea that they are literally, like, stoking the fires of Hell with their, with their scandalous behavior, presumably just, just, just building up that Inferno for themselves later on. *laughs* I really love that image. [that’s so metal]
So, Ken Jennings, former Jeopardy champion, or, I think, still longest-running Jeopardy champion- I remember famously lost out on a question because, I think, the, you know, on Jeopardy the answer is the question and the question is the answer. The answer was, you know, like, a name for somebody who’s, like, licentious and hedonistic or something, I don’t remember the actual wording. But, so the, the correct question was, ‘what is a rake?’ But Ken Jennings rang in and said, ‘what is a hoe?’ Because the category was, like, garden tools so the answer was rake, but Ken Jennings said, ‘what is a hoe?,’ and I just fucking lost it. *laughter*
So, are they related, then? *laughing* I mean, rake, a hoe, hoe’s a rake? *laughs* [as an actual historian, probably yes lol]
Eyyyyy! They both belong in a tool shed.
*laughs* But that’s another distinction here: when we think about Victorian England, we think about prudery, even though there were also gigantic perverts, as we’re all well aware, but the difference may be being that that idea of- that notion of sexual propriety was much less pronounced, here, in the Georgian periods, like, yeah, nobody cares that the Duke of Devonshire has a mistress. Of course, he does! Why would he not, quite frankly? That was entirely normal; it was just a question of, you keep it to yourself. If you don’t, then all of a sudden- the fact that I had a word for this, for men who- it’s not just that they partied, and drank, and womanizer, it’s that they did it in this way that they really *wanted* your attention. They wanted- it’s almost, it’s almost, like, it’s almost, like, trolling, essentially. It’s, it’s, it’s- let’s just get the reaction.
They were being a Kardashian about it?
Yeah, kind of. And, so, this, again, tells you an awful lot about the, kind of, moral panic of the period: this idea that we’ve got these, we got these young men, these upstanding young men, who should be the pillars of our society and look what they’re doing! And, of course, as usual, when people say look what they’re doing, the response from certain folks is, ‘yeah, look what I am doing, actually, now that you mentioned it.’ *laughs*
Okay, so now we’re finally going to get into some Satan references. Tab, do you want to take this one?
From The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Satanism, and Secret Societies. Evelyn Lord, 2008. “London in 1721 was abuzz with rumors of highborn devil-worshippers who mocked church and religion and allegedly supped with Satan [if only]- rumors that went as far as the ears of King George I, and resulted in a royal proclamation against such clubs. Hell-Fire Clubs presented an enduring fascination with the forbidden fruit offered by the devil, and a flirtation with danger and the unknown. Members were invariably male, usually young and from the leisure class. These clubs issued a challenge to Satan himself to make himself known, and a challenge to the Church and [the] ethics of society to prevent this. For club members, Hell was a mere invention to frighten sinners.” Heyyyyy! That’s what I’m talking about. *chuckles* “However, most members’ aims were neither intellectual nor theological: they were seeking to shock society, cause havoc, and first and foremost, [to] have a good time. The Hell-Fire Clubs were symptomatic of an increasingly skeptical and ungodly society, which blasphemed and ignored the Sabbath practices in a way that the Church and reformers were determined to stop.”
Just having fun, that’s all. Just fun. *chuckles*
I know; it sounds extremely familiar. It’s, like, we’re doing it because it’s- because fuck you, that’s why. *laughs* Continuing: “Phillip, Duke of Wharton, the ‘Hell-Fire Duke,’ was born in 1698 into a Parliamentarian family. He was a restless soul, given to enthusiasm, lavish entertainment, and luxury. There is a great deal of speculation about the Hell-Fire Club of 1721 and not too many facts: evidence suggests that it was essentially a group of young gentlemen who meet together to toast the devil and indulge in other sacrilegious actions. [The conservative paper] *starts laughing* Applebee’s Journal. *laughing* Applebee’s has taken on the opposite connotation these days.
*laughing* I know, I like- I used to like getting day drunk at Applebee’s, *Tabitha laughs* so maybe it does kind of fit?
*still laughing* Oh, their food’s so bad. Anyway, that’s for another show. “…Applebee’s Journal claimed that 40 persons belonged to the Hell-Fire Club, including 15 ladies of quality. It placed their meetings at Somerset House in the Strand, a house in Westminster, and another in Conduit Street. Here they met to ridicule the Holy Trinity and religion by blasphemy and profanities. They took the names of the patriarchs and prophets, and when one of their numbers died he or she became their ambassador to Hell.” [dream job] [Simone and Tab start speaking over each other for a second and I can’t really make out what either is saying]
Yeah, this is sounding very familiar.
*definitely making shifty eyes* I feel, like, we should have one of these parties. *Simone laughs* I am a woman of quality or whatever. *laughs*
I’ve got a quality assurance sticker on my butt. *Tabitha cackles* [Simone’s on it with the jokes today]
“In fact, Applebee claimed, death had snatched four of them away in the midst of their foul deeds. Most of the evidence about Wharton’s Hell-Fire Club was speculative, but it would appear that such a club did exist in London in the 1720s and that it indulged in theological discussions that bordered on the blasphemous in denying the Trinity and questioning the doctrine of the established Church. There’s little evidence for the Satanic and sexual rituals they were assumed to commit. Wharton’s involvement [with] the Hell-Fire Club probably came to an end in 1722, as he found a new interest, the Freemasons.”
*starts laughing* Yes.
*laughing* Speaking of forgiving sin… [I can’t actually tell what Tab says here] *laughter*
My dad- the Freemasons, as I know them today, are just old men who sit around and argue about, like, parliamentary rules, and talk shit about each other behind each other’s backs, and…that’s about it actually.
This is sounding a lot like these clubs that we’re talking about.
So, yeah, here we have- this is the real deal. It was really called the Hellfire Club; it really existed. Rich men really showed up there to drink and say things that would be considered blasphemous, and sacrilegious, and Satanic. They probably toasted the Devil, which, as we’ve already seen, seems- this idea of meeting at a club and saying a toast to Satan seems silly to us, but at the time, it might not necessarily have been considered ridiculous. This would, might’ve been looked on as a very serious matter because these were places where you went to engage in very serious drinking. Drinking that had not just, was not just a party, it was an identity; it was a statement that you were making. And, so- and, again, it’s coming, it’s during this period when, you know, England is growing, things are changing, we have all of these moral concerns about these wealthy, lazy, decadent, young men and everything they’re getting up to, and now this! You know, it’s kind of the perfect powder keg to piss off certain kinds of people, and- Slava, anybody ever toast the Devil over Black Sky? I strongly suspect that maybe that has happened once or twice.
Oh, yeah, yeah. People, people yell out, you know, ‘Hail Satan.’ The- one of the beers I brewed for the Satanic Temple of Colorado was ‘Ale Satan.’ [yess] *laughs* As-
Oh, that’s, that’s as good of a pun as I’ve ever heard.
*laughing* Yeah. Well, I don’t come up with names, I just brew it, but that’s what they wanted to call it. But, our last beer was Adrenochrome. *laughter*
*laughing* That’s so good!
It goes from bad to worse, you know, something good in between. *laughs*
Oh, I love that so much. So, here’s my question for the table, is: so, if you read this book, Lord has a fairly skeptical attitude. She is convinced that there was, really, no actual Satanism going on in these Clubs at all, and I think she says that because she subscribes to the definition of that as, as, sort of, sincere Devil worship. However, *laughing* I think from our standard of Satanism, this actually, kinda, sounds like, maybe, we would qualify an awful lot of this, or, at the very least, a lot of what goes on when Satanists get together. *laughing again* It’s not necessarily that different from what we’re hearing about here as Tabitha and Simone already pointed out.
Well, my thing is always, I think that someone is a Satanist when they say that they’re a Satanist, and that’s a very modern definition. Because if we traveled back in time and talk to, oh, I don’t know, Shelley, or Byron, or whatever, would they have- or Blake even, would they have called themselves a Satanist? Hmm, probably not because it’s just not how it was used then, so that’s my, kind of, modern take on who is and who isn’t a Satanist, but looking at the behavior, the behavior is a lot more in line with, you know, what we do and we are Satanists. So, like- then again, we do know plenty of people, even within Satanic Bay Area, or people who are adjacent to our group, who do the same things we do, even come to our events and don’t consider themselves Satanists and that’s also fine by me, so. Yeah, it’s, it’s- the behavior is similar, but I don’t think that they would consider themselves Satanists and I’m fine with…honoring that? *chuckles*
Here’s my thing. Like, these guys were a bunch of fucking, like, wealthy layabouts, and I don’t really want to hang out with them, so I don’t want to think of them as Satanists. *chuckles* Like, ‘oh, great a bunch of wealthy white guys, like, being blasphemous.’ *fake impressed voice* Wow! I’m so impressed! *laughs*
That’s a good point.
That’s a really good-
I do like what they’re doing, though. I mean, I like the, you know, the blaspheming and the etcetera, but you know.
Yeah, that’s a great point. These guys are wealthy douchebags; a lot of the, a lot of their practices here are misogynistic or exploitative, and yet, there’s this just, sort of, there’s a sleazy-ness about it that is- it’s not necessarily the good kind of sleazy-ness, you know. It’s the kind that- I feel, like, I might not necessarily want to hang out at a lot of these clubs if I had the opportunity and lived in the period. On the other hand, I mean, relative to more conservative social forces that we’re working in the day, these guys are free thinkers, these guys are challenging the status quo and challenging conventional authority in a way that less privileged people did not have the opportunity to. So, we could suggest that, at least to one degree, they are using their station and their relative privilege in a way that is, is positive and challenging, and, again, you know, relative to what other men in similar situations are doing instead. I don’t know; some of this does not sound so bad, so- I am of two minds. *chuckling* I’m of two minds on the topic.
Yeah, that’s, that’s a good point because some of it just does feel like trolling, like, just trying to be shocking, where they’ve benefited from this societal structure, they know they will never have to pay real consequences, and, at any time, they can go ahead and give it up and, you know, become more respectable members of society. So, they’re just doing it, kind of, on a lark and not actually doing it to really do any pushback or try to affect societal change, so that, that is a big difference.
By the way, before we move on to the subject [unitelligible] the Devil, I have to tell this story. So, if you go back to Friday, October 13, 2017, we did a Friday the 13th Black Mass, just a couple of weeks before our Halloween Black Mass, which maybe was redundant, but then, you know, the opportunity presented itself. And, afterwards, it was very late; we were out at, I think, the only bar open in the Presidio at the time. Don’t ask why we were in the Presidio. No particular reason. We definitely weren’t trespassing anywhere. *Simone laughs* And, so, we had a reasonably big crowd, we had over a dozen people who had just come from the ritual and so we were feeling in very high spirits, and so we all got together, as we often do, we all toasted ‘Hail Satan’ together, which was quite loud when you get a dozen people saying it in a bar all at once, and the folks around us reacted, you know, but it was not necessarily a big deal. Later, a guy comes up, and I can tell from his voice that he is inebriated and a tourist, although I can’t place the accent, but he looks at me and goes, ‘did you say you’re from…Helsinki?’ *laughter* And, I just let him believe it. [this needs to become a thing taht we do now]
Yep, that- we’re all from Helsinki, buddy.
I mean, people ‘Hail Satan’ all the time, but going back to the point of, almost, basically the pro-trolling [I think that’s what he said?] because a lot of people that I do see toasting like that are basically of the atheist kind. Whereas, you know- like, I’m kind of in that camp myself, personally. We believe in nothing, Lebowski! *laughter* So, but, you know, but, but it does put people off. I remember, I saved an email, and it’s actually my first email from when we opened- we’ve been open for eight years- but somebody sent us an email saying that they love our beer and they love the atmosphere, but can we please take off of the bottom of the tab? When you get it, it says ‘Satan loves you.’ And, the point of that email was, ‘hey, I’m a Christian, and I’m not trying to, you know, push my beliefs onto you; please don’t push your beliefs onto me.’ Whereas our response was, ‘well, you’re expecting preferential treatment, so you are pushing your believes on me.’ So, we changed it to Latin, and now it says in Latin, ‘Satan loves you.’ And nobody has complained about that because you actually have to know what the hell it says.
Oh, no, you’re- I’m sorry, dear customer, you’re not going to Hell because of a receipt. Doesn’t everyone just immediately throw these away anyway? *laughs*
They want preferential treatment-
-because they’re not trying to push their beliefs on us. Well, here you are complaining, but, you know what, to each his own. Now that it’s in Latin. It’s in Latin, nobody knows. *laughs*
They just want free shit. Anytime you get emails like that, it’s because somebody wants some free shit. It’s stupid.
Okay, so now we’re going to continue with The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Satanism, and Secret Societies. “The Hell-Fire Clubs in Ireland were not the anti-Trinitarian debating shops of London in the 1720s, but more the full-blooded expression of contempt for religion and society that the sobriquet ‘Hell-Fire Club’ might suggest. The Irish Hell-Fire Club-” And, I really enjoy that they hyphenate Hell-Fire; I think it’s cute. “The Irish Hell-Fire Club was supposedly founded in 1735 by Richard Parsons, Earl of Rosse, who was already infamous in polite society for his blasphemy and obscene wit, and his eccentric habit of receiving visitors in the nude.” I’m assuming he was in the nude, or maybe the visitors were also in the nude. Unclear. “The club met at first in the Eagle Tavern in Cork Street, Dublin, ironically situated on land that the Duke of Wharton had once owned. It was the Irish Hell-Fire Club that was alleged to have indulged in Satanic rituals and to have made pacts with the Devil. One chair at their meetings was always left vacant for the Devil, and their mascot was a fierce black cat. A clergyman who bravely came to confront them at one of their meetings saw the cat served first at dinner and asked why. He was told that it was because the cat was the oldest person in the room, whereupon he suggested that it was no cat but the Devil incarnate. These legends have been grafted on to what was probably no more than a drinking club.” *sighs* I wish, I wish my Bubo my, my departed black cat were still with us so I can bring him to our rituals and have him, you know, have a nice canned cat food before we all started eating.
Awww. *Simone laughs* RIP Bubo.
Yes, we may wonder, how did I miss this anecdote when we did our Satanic Cats episode. The answer is there are just too many Satanic cats episodes for one podc- Satanic cats for one podcast, unfortunately.
I have a black kitty with me right now; her name is Olive because she’s a black olive.
Oh, that’s so cute!
*squeeing* I love it so much!
Well, from now on, from now on, Olive gets fed first.
Yeah, I keep finding them under our house. I- that’s a second one that was free-99. *laughs* You just don’t want to take them to shelters. *laughs*
Yeah. Well, continuing. “Although the Medmenham Friars, or the Knights of St. Francis as they were also known, were never called the Hell-Fire Club, this is the title by which they are known today, and their activities have become the model of how a Hell-Fire Club should proceed. Sir Francis Dashwood leased Medmenham Abbey-” That, that name just does not roll off the tongue. “The Abbey had been a monastery, and Dashwood and his friends had set about reviving the grounds to their own design. Over the great entrance was carved a motto: ‘Do what thou wilt.'” Hmm, that sounds familiar. “This presumably meant that inside the Abbey anything was permitted, including excessive drinking, sacrilege, and unlimited sexual license. This has led more imaginative writers to conjure up a picture of orgies, the Black Mass, and Satanic rituals. The original number of Friars was 12, including Sir Francis, representing, it is thought, the 12 apostles. These were the inner circle. Most of what we know about the 12 comes from [a] fictional account, but it is possible that he got his information from [an insider.] ‘Every sacred rite of religion was profaned, hymns and prayers were dedicated to the Devil. Banquets were held in the chapel, and brothers vied with each other in gross lewdness and impiety.'”
So, what’s interesting here: so this is 1751, when Dashwood, who was this infamous public scandal-monger, bought the site here, so he knows- that’s 30 years after the original Hell Fire Club, that’s a significant period of time; that’s about a generation, or maybe a little bit less, for somebody to be reviving this. And, I would not necessarily count the Friars as a Hell Fire Club because they didn’t call themselves that, *except* that, as mentioned, this is kind of the archetypal one; this is the one that people always think about and always talk about, even though, oddly enough, they didn’t use the name. There are lots of other clubs that we’re skipping over here, some which use the name, some of which use some other names, but these are, kind of, the big ones; the ones that stand out and created that lasting legacy and the weird rumors that some continue to persist about these sites. The Abbey is not there anymore, but the caves nearby are a big tourist attraction, these days, I’m told,
I’m also assuming that, because it’s England, it’s not med-men-ham, it’s just like, med-m. *laughs*
Yeah, we pronounce foreign words incorrectly all the time on this show. Let’s start in on English ones, too!
*laughing* It’s probably, like, med-miss-shire, or just, just some fucking letters that aren’t even there. *laughs*
No, no, usually you, they just added a bunch of extra ones, so it’s actually just med-him [Simone says something here, but I can’t quite make it out] Yeah, it should be, like, four letters long, but they just had to stick a bunch more consonants in there, so, even it out.
I am the wrong person to talk about this, as English is my third language. *laughs*
Trust me, you’re doing, you would do just as well with this as anybody else would. It’s, it’s, you know, England can only have this many regional accents on purpose. It’s a tiny island nation; they’re just doing it to piss us off. This initial Hell Fire Club scandal was a big deal; the King made a proclamation about it: there was a bill in Parliament suppressing the Clubs. This was a pretty big deal. I tried *very* hard to find that royal proclamation, and unfortunately, I just could not get it. Maybe it doesn’t exist anymore, or maybe it’s just not an easily accessible digital form. *However,* however, *laughs* I was able to secure a copy of a 1721 pamphlet that was published shortly after the scandal broke, titled “The Hellfire Club: A Society of Blasphemers.” This is an anonymous work and in a second, I think you’ll see why. *laughs, clears throat* [get ready for a poem!] “Now like the porcupine I’ll dart my Pen/ Against the very worst of Men,/ Each Member’s Glory is to profane,/ By taking God’s sacred Name in vain.” Yes, this is going to continue rhyming. “Religion their Scorn, Vice their Pride,/ The Clergy their Subject to deride;/ Virtue discountenanced by these beasts,/ [Whose] revelling at Bacchanalian Feasts,/ Makes them, when Fumes of Wine in Brains abound,/ Think, like Copernicus, the Earth turns round-” *chuckling* I’ve been there. “Here their profanity’s not to end,/ The Empire of the Devil to defend./ They go upon the diabolic theme,/ of striving whom God shall most blaspheme./ From whence their aims supposed to be/ To ridicule the Trinity.” I feel like that is supposed to elicit a gasp, but it’s just not coming out of me, I’ll tell you that. “If they can [thus blaspheme] their king,/ they’ll also strike with blaspheming sting./ Doubtless the Villains would rejoice to see,/ Rebellion get the best of Loyalty,/ but dare not raised feuds Allegiance hates,/ For fear their Limbs mount the City Gates.” *laughs* Wow, that took a turn. “Because of the rigor of our British laws,/ With negligence defends our Maker’s Cause./ Then hopes generations to relent/ And of their sins they will repent/ The difference betwixt virtue and vice:/ One gains hell, the other paradise./ And when vices overflow the land,/ Much longer it’s impossible to stand.” I want to point out it took pains to amend the meter on a lot of this, which is quite bad, but I couldn’t do anything about those last two lines; they just fall apart. *laughs*
*singing in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song* My name is Anonymous, and I’m here to say *laughter and cackling* that I worship Satan every day. Yeah!
As, as longtime listeners know: nothing entertains me more than moral outrage, especially *laughing* if it is phrased in the most high-toned possible way, and whoo, this is what, this is one for the record books, folks. *laughing* This is much longer, by the way, it goes on like this for 30 pages. *laughing*
*genuinely surprised* 30 pages?!
Yeah, and in fact, it takes forever to actually get to the Hell Fire Clubs. The first part of it is just talking about God created the heaven and the earth, and then Lucifer’s rebellion, and then Original Sin, and- just preaches on and on, and I’m, like, ‘fuck, man, you do remember what it said on the title page, right?’ But, what I like about this, other than that it’s hysterical, is that it, kind of, gives the game away. Why were these clubs a scandal, even though there are only a couple of them and they don’t seem like they were a big deal. Well, as I mentioned, it’s because the implications of some of the things they were doing were more serious than they probably seem to us, but I think the real reason is it’s an opportunity. It’s an opportunity to make hay [had to look this up, it means ‘make good use of an opportunity]; it’s an opportunity to push these conservative, reactionary agendas. *in a fake serious voice* British laws protect God’s creation! You know- that’s, that’s, that’s- they, they slipped that in there; that’s not an accident. It’s, it’s an opportunity, you know. It’s a weak spot to go and, to go and just, just *ram* that agenda home as hard as they can.
I think we need more bad poetry- actually, what am I am talking about? They have all those, like, really bad, like, Jesus songs that are, like- have you ever heard, like, Jesus rap songs; they’re real bad.
We could just set this to a beat.
Yeah, I think we could. We need, like, an old white lady with, like, blue eyeshadow to, to sing it though *Simone laughs* and she’s gonna have big shoulder pads or I’m not, I’m not gonna go. *laughs* [give me a few decades, Tab]
Slava, do you think we could maybe, do you think we could maybe gin up a metal cover of this? Do you think that’s, do you think that’s doable? *laughing* In your estimation? *Tabitha is giggling and says something in the background, but I can’t make it out]
I’m sure I know some people. *laughs* That’s one thing about metalheads: every single one is in, like, four different bands, at least, if not seven.
Yep. *laughs* From The Hell-Fire Clubs: A History of Anti-Morality; Jeffrey Ashe, 2000. “The proceedings sound comic rather than evil, and, we might conclude, just a rather immature joke. But an organized display of aristocratic scorn towards Christianity was more seditious and heavily charged than might appear: The Hell-Fire Club had come into being at a time when the Church of England was vulnerable and touchy. In 1717, Benjamin Hoadly, Bishop of Bangor, preached a sermon in George I’s presence denying that the Church had any special divine status. The Government approved. It printed thousands of copies of Hoadly’s sermon, which implied in practice that the clergy had no right to take political stands, and that their only duty in public affairs was to serve the state. The Church henceforth increasingly staffed by clergy whose ‘safe’ views took priority over character and scholarship. The Hell-Fire Club arose when the thing had just happened, at a juncture where more people than hitherto were looking upon the Church as discredited, and fair game. A membership of fourty-odd does not sound formidable, but the antics of ‘persons of quality-” Again?! *laughs* “-were liable to become public and set a fashion. The closest modern parallels to the Hell-Fire charades would not be the activities of any private club, but the sketches on television satire shows in the 1960s- which, when they satirized religion, drew furious complaints that the BBC was threatening the basis of Christian society.” Booo! *laughter*
So, it sounds like the Church was, like, losing power, so they’re real, like, reactive and defensive, and even though Hell Fire clubs were not widespread or hugely populated, even just a number of, as this passage says, a number of 40 people in a club if they were, you know, wealthy or influential enough, was still seen as a real, existential threat.
Yeah, what’s interesting, a point Ashe makes in the larger chapter here is that on the one hand, it is the Crown, it is the State, that was sabotaging and undermining the Church of England to begin with. But, at the same time, it was very important to preserve the appearance of the legitimacy of the Church for it still be politically useful, so to have these ne’er-do-well’s come in and, and- I like the comparison here to Monty Python- ‘and just take the piss right out of it’ in response was, potentially, seen as a disaster for this, for, you know, practical, mercenary, political reasons then, so- that is, that is a fascinating idea.
Like the Church of England in 1717, I am also vulnerable and touchy. *laughter* [girl, same]
It just keeps showing the veil of deception of mass control, and, I’m not 100% sure, but to quote a Satanist like Karl Marx, you know, ‘religion is the opiate of the masses.’ So, sometimes, sometimes it’s more masked and masqueraded as something else and, other times, you can see right through it.
Yeah, you know, it makes me think that- so we are seeing statistics that the power or the- the number of people who self-identify as Christian in the United States is on the decline. It’s still *by far* the majority, but it is on the decline, ever so slightly, and then the rise of alternative religions, like Satanism, is- you know, they’re on the rise; they’re growing. And, I feel like the folks who are on the Christian Right, evangelical, Christian, conservative, Right population are *freaking* out harder because of this tiny population of, you know, Satanists, and witches, and whatever has gotten, ever so slightly, less tiny. Kind of is mirrored here, in a way, where, you know, they’re, they’re losing power so they’re freaking out about a relatively- I mean, honestly, as much as I would like for Satanists and Satanic organizations to be effecting more change, right now they’re not so much, in terms of real political, legal change, and yet, some folks on the Right are freaking out as if we have just totally infiltrated *laughing* every branch of government.
Well, you know, an interesting point that some of- if you read histories and sociological studies of the Satanic Panic, a point they bring up that I’d never thought about before but is probably true is: we look at the 60s in the 70s and we tend to associate, think about the counterculture and its effect on our society, which was significant, especially in terms of things like women’s rights and relaxing sexual mores. But, they point out that we underestimate how big the backlash to that was, that the biggest and most significant fallout from that period was probably things like the rise of fundamentalist religion, and the mixing of fundamentalist religion with conservative politics, and groups like the Moral Majority, and these sorts of young, conservative movements that were galvanized by the impression that the counterculture was encroaching on everything, and we’re definitely seeing that again today. It’s this idea that when the, when, when counterculture and subversion makes even incremental progress, the conservative and reactionary backlash to that is going to be exponentially larger; they will interpret the challenge to them as being so much bigger than it really is and they will respond in what they think is direct proportion, but it’s actually probably an *laughing* overwhelming overreaction, and almost certainly we saw the same thing here. [my little historian heart has grown three sizes larger this day]
Continuing: “Devil-worship in [Medmenham Abbey] is another matter: the morbid or puerile anti-Christianity that goes in for Black Masses and deliberate evil seems foreign to the Medmenham kind…” Do what you will. [Slava makes it sound like this is part of the quote, but I don’t see this in the book itself, so I think he’s just referencing what they had talked about earlier] “…there is no hint of it in the more trustworthy materials. Members may well have [dabbled] in Italianate sorcery, and may [well] have done so in the free milieu of the Abbey. It is not likely, however, to have been part of the official programme. Lurid descriptions published years later speak of ‘black baptisms, the sprinkling of salt and sulfur, inverted crucifixes, black tapers, blood-red triangular wafers,’ but this is hearsay. [just sounds like my house] Only a single detail is at all specific: Henry Vansittart brought or sent a baboon from India, and his brother Robert presented it to the Order as a mascot. We are told that it attended the rituals dressed as a chaplain and Sir Francis gave it the Eucharist. The tradition of an outright Satanic cult, as distinct from occasional Hell-raising seances that may have been staged for fun, has no solid basis but this monkey.”
Hold on, we have to get a monkey? *laughs*
I was just thinking: okay, so we need a monkey, and we- I would like to do some more seances, I think that that would just be fun for us- but who’s gonna keep the monkey?
Can we just have a stuffed monkey? I don’t want to, I don’t want to take a monkey from, like, anywhere.
They’re, they’re difficult to keep.
A monkey cannot consent! *laughter*
I mean, I assume he can look after himself. He’ll get a place in the city; he’ll pick up some jobs on the side. He’ll be, it’ll be fine. [so curious george. he’s just describing curious george]
Oh, is he gonna stay at the club for a couple of years till he gets on his feet? *laughs*
Yeah, there you go! *Tabitha laughs*
What about a whole club full of monkeys? Monkeys only. *laughter*
I have a monkey. I have a monkey, but he’s my assistant brewer. That’s how I got into this. *laughter*
Oh, no! *laughter*
*laughing* That’s how you, that’s how you start! *laughs*
So, one thing we should mention- it didn’t make it into the notes, here, but the Medmenham Abbey is the one where Roeber [I think this is who Daniel is referring to, but I’m not totally sure. I studied early modern Europe, I’m not an Americanist *flips hair*] continues to persist that Ben Franklin was a member. This is probably not true, but he *was* friends with Francis Dashwood, and if he were to drop by some of the Club’s activities, it would not be that surprising because, you know, Franklin, he liked to drink. He liked to support his local sex worker, monetarily and, presumably, anatomically, so, actually, nothing would have been going on there that would have been at all for-
What? I’m just saying. *laughter, Daniel is definitely smirking* It wouldn’t have been that surprising if he had been, but there’s no positive evidence of that, one way or the other. Conspiracists like to talk about it, though.
I feel,l like, it should have been monetarily and mechanically. *laughs*
Hello! And, here we have “Digging Up the Truth about Hellfire Clubs;” Nuala McCann, BBC News, 2016. “Hell-Fire Clubs have always been shrouded in rumors of Devil worship and dark Satanic deeds. How do you separate fact from fiction? Drive out of south Dublin and there squats the shell of an old hunting lodge built for Irish Parliamentary Speaker William Connolly in 1725. Now, a team of archaeologists are excavating the site to find out more about two prehistoric passage tombs on the hill- similar to Newgrange in Ireland’s Boyne Valley,” which I probably just destroyed, I’m sorry to the Irish; *giggles* all of you. “To build the lodge, they say that Connelly’s workmen use stones from the ancient passage tombs- their destruction marks the start of the association of the site with the supernatural…Aisling Tierney, from Limerick, who has just finished a PhD in Bristol on the Hellfire Clubs, has been working on untangling the web of rumor and gossip and establishing the archaeological truth. Her interest was sparked when she came upon a copy of Geoffrey Ashe’s Hell-Fire Clubs: A History of Anti-Morality in a secondhand bookshop. The spark lit a fire. ‘There were parties, revels and prostitutes. There [was] sexual energy and drinking,’ she said. At that time, blasphemy against Catholicism was permitted, she pointed out. But were they actually Satan worshippers? ‘The newspapers of the time had stories of the Devil walking among them and those stories spread like wildfire in the 1720s and even reached papers in the New World,’ she [said.] ‘Yes, there was gossip and rumor, but there was also no actual physical evidence to suggest they viewed themselves as Devil worshippers.” So, there you have it.
So, yeah, so, this is the pattern that we seem to keep running up to right up into the modern day. We have this, kind of, urban myth that persists through history and then every time skeptical [uninteligible] investigate it, they tell us it’s ‘much ado about nothing.’ Why do we think the story sticks around, then? What, what’s everybody’s opinion?
It’s salacious! Of course it’s gonna stick around; it’s, you know, it’s about debauchery and, you know, goings-on behind closed doors. Like, what’s there not to love? You can literally make up anything that they were doing and you’d be just as right as anyone else.
So people, so people want it to be true, essentially; they liked this idea. The fact that it is offensive to some people makes them like it more, I think. *laughs*
I mean, it’s, it’s stickier; it sticks in your mind a bit more when it’s, you know, salacious like that.
Now, one thing that we did not get into in this BBC story is: there are some details about, potentially, about, not necessarily devil worship, but there were some dark sides to these clubs. For instance, the Dublin one- they also, they did dig up some corpses on the property there from around that period. Which, of course, could have been there for any number of reasons, but, nevertheless, you can imagine what people assumed about that.
*fake groans* Do we have to direct people to our human sacrifice episode again?
*laughing* Please do.
*laughing* Human sacrifice episode! Episode number…?
There we go. *Tabitha laughs*You can always rely on Daniel to know the number.
He’s so bizarre. I like him a lot. [d’awww]
Okay. And, so, to round out this conversation, we’re going to end with Generation of Swine by Hunter [S] Thompson from 1988. “In 18th century England, the king and half his ministers were involved in a whole network of strange and violent sex clubs, whipping parlors and half-secret cults that embraced everything from Satanism and human sacrifice to public beastiality.” Okay, so that’s not cool, but *clears throat* “This was the time of the infamous Hellfire Club: these people raised the orgy to an artform unknown since Caligula or even the fiendish Mongol Hordes of Genghis Khan. [Modern] diletantes would have been turned away at the door of the Hellfire Club, rejected as humorless churls and cheap masturbators-” *Daniel bursts into laughter* Are there expensive masturbators? I mean, I guess it depends-
Let’s, let’s sit Hunter Thompson down and find out. *giggles*
You know, no matter what the topic is, you can do it in style if you have the talent. *laughs*
“Their only ‘crimes,’ after all, have involved low rumors and innuendo and being seen in public with half-naked bimbos. The Earl of Sandwich would have taken great pride in being accused of these things. He was so constantly involved in orgies that he had little time for running the British Navy and entertaining the Empire on Five Oceans. King George III, meanwhile, was so crazed with his own warped fantasies that he had little time to deal with a nasty little colonial insurrection that would come to be called the ‘American Revolution.’ These were no amateur degenerates, like the ones we sneer at today: they put the whole British Empire on the road to ruin and thought nothing of it- nor cared, for that matter…When Captain Cook sent word back to London that he had Hawaii and all of Polynesia in the palm of his hand if only Sandwich would authorize a new mast for his flagship, the Earl ignored him. A few weeks later, Cook was murdered, but Sandwich never noticed. So much for Empire. These boys liked their orgies, and nothing was going to interfere. These were giants. They had standards- not like these whimpering mashers who keep fouling our headlines today.” *Daniel starts giggling* So, pining for the good old days of true debauchery?
*groaning* Ugh, jeez. It is funny to read that, like, at the end of all these things where all these people are, like, ‘yeah, they probably weren’t into that kind of stuff,’ and then Hunter S Thompson’s, like, *in a fake outraged voice, definitely shaking her fists in the air* ‘they were terrible!’ *laughs*
I am not the biggest Hunter Thompson fan, but I admit, I do get a kick out of his tirades sometimes, and I think the reason for it being, that he’s, kind of, like, the bizarre-o universe version of the moral outrage hysterics that I was talking about before. This is, this is, like, the Mirror Universe, evil version of that rhetoric. *laughs* So, how can I not love it to some degree? Of course, not a surprise that Thompson is not a great historian here; not only is he really making too much of the Hellfire clubs-
-we’ve gone from the King suppressing the Clubs, which did actually happen, to, apparently, being a charter member, and also, he seems to be under the impression that the British Empire went into decline before the 19th century, which is an interesting takeaway. *laughs* But, nevertheless, we do, at least, see here how, you know, the myth, kind of, trumps all; again, because whereas Thompson is *laughing* not so secretly admirable of this myth of, of all-consuming debauchery, everybody else, I think, is maybe a little more low key about it, but probably on some level still likes this idea in a way that maybe they’re not 100% personally honest with themselves about. *laughs* That’s my suspicion, anyway.
I’m just, I’m just- well, first of all, I always take Thompson with, like, a whole Morton’s little cylinder thing of salt, but I am trying to cast my mind back to, like, 1988, to provide context for this quote, and, like, well- who are the diletantes who would have been turned away from the door at the Hellfire Club? I’m thinking, the Brat Pack? Like, the cast of The Breakfast Club *laughs* is going to try and have an orgy and, and can’t hack it or something.
Slava, what’s your opinion? As somebody who has insight into a party scene that we’re probably not cool enough to be a member of, do you think that, how do you think we are stacking up, historically speaking, as US today, versus England in the 80s, versus England in the 1780s? *laughs*
You guys would know more about this, but, and I’m definitely not cool enough to be in the parties; I’m a rapidly aging dad *laughs* that makes beer. Hunter S Thompson is actually a Colorado staple because he has spent quite a bit of time here and, I believe, was a sheriff in one of the mountain towns? But, the only thing I have to add about the last part is that, you know, well, the little nuisance of the American Revolution- those guys all met up in the pubs. That’s how a lot of that planning, and all of that came about was, you know, under the pretense of going out and having a pint of ale was [how] our American Revolution [was] planned. So, I- I like all these guys. Some of them sound like professional trolls. That’s been going on then and is still going on now. *laughs*
So, over in England, the men of quality were drinking wine, and punch, and getting wasted at the Hell-Fire Clubs. Meanwhile, in America, our Founding Fathers were drinking beer and plotting revolution and we see who won out in the end.
Beer is a very powerful drink and it doesn’t care who you are, so you can achieve many different things while drinking. *laughter*
I gotta point out: using the term ‘Founding Fathers’ made me feel a little dirty, even when I’m saying it ironically; I don’t think I’m ever going to do that again. *laughs* So, I remember when I looked into this topic in the past, as I mentioned, I had, I was disappointed to find that, apparently, there’s not a whole lot to it. But, returning to it again, now, I’m reminded I’ve mentioned the Bible, the atheist Bible scholar Bart Ehrman on this show many times before, both because he’s famous and prolific and also because he has a very busy YouTube channel, so I get to catch up on his material a lot. And, a point that he often makes is that he says, the job of a historian is to find out what probably happened in the past, but you can never be 100% sure. There are only degrees of certainty. [this is how I know this guy is probably a medievalist or an ancient historian, etc lolz] So, what *probably* happened with Hellfire Clubs is that they were principally drinking clubs for bored young men and maybe some things got out of hand, but there is still some ambiguity there; there is still the potential to entertain things there that are more scandalous, more sinister, maybe more enticing or entertaining from our perspective. And, so, you know, we think of, we like to think of history as something that is solid, as something that we can refer to with authority, but that’s really not the nature of it. History is actually, kind of, the study of ambiguity and what we did, and that, I think, is something that this topic reinforces pretty strongly. I’m curious what everybody else thinks. Are you disappointed that there was not more to this; that there’s not more to work with? Or, is this, maybe, necessarily not a surprise, in hindsight, historically speaking? What is everybody else’s reactions at the table?
I’m not surprised that, you know- we have talked about secret societies and stuff before and they turned out to not be the, as fun or interesting as we had hoped they would be. With some of these clubs, [it] still sounds like they might be a fun Friday night. So, yeah, I’m not surprised. I guess I’m not terribly disappointed, either, but I did learn quite a lot today.
I have to agree. I’m not terribly surprised that it was just some guys hanging around and that the religious folks at the time blew it out of proportion, because I feel, like, history repeats itself and that happens a lot where people are doing something by themselves and, you know, might not be extremely Christian, and then Christians get real weird about it, and you know, it’s- I always think it’s funny with, like, that, kind of, like, kind of fetish, fetishization they even have with it, where they’re, like, *in a fake conspiracy whisper voice* ‘wait a minute, this is going on, and I bet this is going on, and I bet this is going on,’ and, like, then they, you know, have a cheap masturbation session or whatever. *laughs* But, yeah, so I guess I would- this is about what I expected from it, but I do like the idea of it and I, kind of, would, like, you know, I feel, like, it’s kind of halfway between, like, one of our salons and one of our rituals, and I think we could just, like, do that, if you guys wanted.
I mean, honestly, it kind of sounds like you guys said- somewhat of a fraternity; it’s fairly well-to-do young men partying, *laughs* so a lot of it- and just like I pointed out right now, it just gets blown out of proportion. People have a drinking club, or a partying club, and then anybody that doesn’t want to do that, kind of, hyper- makes, makes it way more of a deal than it actually is. You know, people, people who don’t drink beer, they tell you not to drink beer, but people who do drink beer, they don’t care if you do or not. Same goes for tattoos, and smoking, and worshiping. People that don’t do it, for some reason, always tend to have more opinions than people that do.
What’s striking to me, also, is the fact that, you know, like, if people were just hungry for scandal, it’s not like there wasn’t a lot to work with here. You remember that story we just blew past there *laughs* about the guys pretending to fuck on the balcony while they were preaching naked to the entire bar? Come on! Like, come on. Like, look at this; Ben Franklin and Francis Dashwood might be screwing escorts in a cave here and there may or may not be a baboon nearby. Like, there was plenty of stuff if you wanted to make hay out of it, but no, it’s got, they’ve gotta add the Devil. *laughs* That’s gotta be there; they’re *never* happy if it’s not Satan. [sounds like fan behavior to me]
*laughs* This kind of shit was happening without the Devil; like the apes, and fucking on balconies, and etcetera, *laughs* but they were doing it behind closed doors, Daniel! *laughs*
Well, we want to thank Slava from Black Sky Brewery for joining us today. Slava, if folks want to check out Black Sky Brewery when they’re in Denver, or online, where can they do that?
So, you guys can find us pretty close to downtown in Denver, if you’re actually there; it’s 490 Santa Fe. We’re in the art district. So, we have, like, First Friday Showings in the summer, and we have live [shows] sometimes, we got some art. You can always find us at BlackSkyBrewing.com. We’re pretty inclusive; we’re a bunch of metal heads, but we come from, some of us are from Connecticut; I personally was, I grew up in Moscow, but I grew up in Los Angeles, as well, so we get all kinds of crowds and it’s a mom and pop shop. I have 24 beers on tap right now. If you like good beer, and East Coast, New Haven style pizza, and some metal, we’re your place. Come check us out. BlackSkyBrewing.com, Instagram, Facebook, all the good media stuff.
Awesome. Sounds like, sounds like a good destination for a Satanic field trip.
Thanks for having me, you guys. I had a lot of fun. *laughter*
And, of course, if you want more information about this show, you could always visit us at BlackMassAppeal.com, Send us an email at BlackMassAppeaPod@gmail.com, and you can find us on social media as Black Mass Appeal on most platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
To find out more about Satanic Bay Area, check us out SatanicBayArea.com. You can find us on Facebook and on Instagram as Satanic Bay Area, or follow us on Twitter; the handle there as @satanicSF. You can also find Tabitha on Tik Tok; the handle there is @dailybaffirmations. And, if you want to come down and raise some hell in our club, consider joining us for Satanic Coffee Hour on the third Tuesday of every month at Wicked Grounds coffee shop in San Francisco, and, Tabitha, I don’t think they serve any beverages quite as stout as the ones we’ve been talking about on this episode there, but if they did, what would you want to see?
Well, I can interject and say that they got some pretty good milkshakes there.
Oh yeah, that’s true! That’s- *laughs* I don’t know what the proof on those milkshakes is, but I guess I’ll have to ask next time. *laughs*
Don’t mix milk and alcohol; it’s a bad idea. *laughter*
Well, I- Wicked Grounds is a dry establishment; I learned that because I did- when I was first coming in, did ask for a shot of something in my milkshake, and they were, like, ‘no can do, friend,’ and I was, like ‘that’s okay,’ and it was still delicious.
Well, on that note, do we want to toast ‘Hail Satan’ to go out on?
Three, two, one…
Black Mass Appeal 1:58:54
Hail Satan. *Bruce Springsteen’s A Night with the Jersey Devil plays*