Free masons control the governments of the world

(chh). Sacrifices, occultism, wild orgies. And of course the pursuit of world domination. Much is said about Freemasons. We met one. Gabriel Pracht has the degree of master and is secretary of the lodge "Ludewig zur Treue" in Giessen. The long patron spoke to us about the great builder of all worlds, conspiracies and the importance of WhatsApp for the secret society.

A stately home with an English garden? Mysterious ornaments in the facade? Will a well-off gentleman open the wooden gate? No. Gabriel Pracht doesn't fit into the image that outsiders have of a Freemason. The 41-year-old wears jeans and a plaid shirt, and his villa turns out to be a single apartment in the north of Langgön. Instead of an opulent chandelier, a skull flag from the St. Pauli football club adorns his living room. Buccaneers instead of Freemasons? No. Gabriel is really a member of the Brotherhood. His signet ring gives him away.

Hand on heart: Do you want to usurp world domination?

Gabriel Pracht: (laughs): Absolutely not, even if that is often said of us. We have five ideals: freedom, equality, brotherhood, philanthropy and tolerance. That is in contradiction to a planned new world order.

So are the Freemasons not responsible for the "seeing eye" on the dollar bill?

Splendor: Another conspiracy theory that's not true. The "seeing eye" is an ancient Christian symbol, you can also find it in Aachen Cathedral. Many of our symbols are taken from Christianity.

Reality or fiction? One of the oldest conspiracy theories is that the US government is controlled by Freemasons. An indication is that with the pyramid and the all-seeing eye, two Masonic symbols can be seen on the dollar bill. In fact, the founding fathers George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were Freemasons. Many presidents such as Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were also members of the brotherhood.

Why are there so many theories?

Splendor: Because we don't reveal our rituals. We guard our arcanum, our secrets. If you do something in secret, it quickly becomes obscure. Then the speculation begins.

Then why the secrecy?

Pracht: On the one hand, because that way we can address all topics in the box. The point is to also hear opinions that are not commonplace. The box is a protected space in which you can try things out. On the other hand, confidentiality serves to protect. Some brothers do not want their membership to be known. They fear that it could be disadvantageous for them, for example if they have a strictly Catholic employer.

The Church has a problem with you?

Splendor: especially the Catholic one. It makes a claim to sole representation as far as faith is concerned. One of the prerequisites for Freemasons is to believe in a higher being. We call it the great builder of all worlds. How to fill in this symbol is up to you. We have many Christians, for them their God is the builder. For the Muslims it is Allah. But there are also Freemasons who do not believe in an ecclesiastical God.

Are there any advantages to membership?

Splendor: At least not professional. I'm not getting promoted any faster or making more money. Personally, however, it has brought me a lot. I perceive the world differently, even if it's just the fresh air in the morning. I've also become more tolerant.

Bloody rituals, sacrificed virgins, orgies, men who drink red wine from skulls: Dan Brown has contributed a lot to the occult myth of the Freemasons with his books - and thus brought the lodges a large number of visitors. Interest has risen sharply in recent years, says Pracht. But he didn't read the books himself.

How did you get into the Freemasons?

Pracht: I'm a tax officer, so you only have to deal with regulations and laws. I missed the human. Then in 2012 I came across the Freemasons on the Internet.

... and just called and asked for an appointment?

Splendor: I've sent an email. First you have an introductory meeting. If that goes well, you will be invited to a guest evening. After a year, the seeker can ask whether he or she will be accepted.

And then there is the mysterious admission ritual. How does that go?

Pracht: I am not allowed to reveal that.

A little maybe

Splendor: As with all our temple work, i.e. meetings, there is an exchange conversation with the master from the chair. Then symbolic journeys through danger are made.

That sounds cryptic ...

Splendor: It is something unusual, everyone experiences the ritual differently. Even if we have nothing to do with religion, it can be vaguely compared to a church service. With music and candles. Sometimes there are lectures followed by a discussion. Nothing obscure, we don't sacrifice virgins or anything.

Politics is taboo?

Splendor: Party politics, yes. But daily politics should not be missing. After all, that is what concerns us every day. I remember that on my first guest visit there was a lecture on euthanasia. The refugee drama is of course also discussed.

However, women are not welcome ...

Splendor: There are women's boxes and mixed boxes. But we are a lodge only for men. I think that's a good thing. This is not supposed to be a devaluation towards women, but men talk differently when they are among themselves.

Do you wear frocks to their meetings?

Splendor: No. We wear street clothes for guest evenings and fraternal conversations; for our ritual events we wear a black suit, white shirt, white tie, white gloves and Masonic clothing. So a badge, also called a bijou, and an apron. This belly band can also be used to distinguish between apprentice, journeyman and master.

Just a moment, says Pracht, and disappears into the next room. A little later he returns with a bag and shows his gloves and medals. He doesn't want to put it on for the photo; that is only allowed in the box. Then the phone rings. It's a Masonic brother. Pracht promises to call back later.

Are Freemasons also friends in private?

Splendor: Of course. We are normal people. We are up to no evil. We also have a Whatsapp group and talk about normal things in it. For example soccer.

Speaking of which: you have a St. Pauli flag hanging on the wall ...

Pracht: Yes, that fits. There is also a close community there, which advocates freedom, human love and especially tolerance. Just like us Freemasons.