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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Rosicrucians A mystical order said to have been started by Christian Rosenkreutz (1378-1484?) whose name translates as “Rosy Cross.”
      Very little is actually known about the origins of the group, though the modern Rosicrucians claim to be direct inheritors of the original purposes and philosophy. It appears to have an anti-Catholic outlook.
      The Rosicrucian order first came to the attention of the world in Paris in 1623, when anonymous leaflets were distributed around the city announcing the “invisible college” that had materialized there. It is perhaps no coincidence that a new booklet titled Fama Fraternitatis dealing with the life of the previously-unknown Christian Rosenkreutz had just been published by a Paris bookseller.
      A modern revival, the Ancient and Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross (AMORC) was begun in 1909 by H. Spencer Lewis, an advertising man in California. Lewis actually purported to change zinc into gold during a demonstration of alchemy before the press in 1916.
      AMORC continues today, operating from its base in San Jose, California, home of Rose-Croix University, complete with an Egyptian museum, sphinxes, a planetarium, and classrooms for studying science and parapsychology. The movement has advertised in every sort of magazine and newspaper, a major departure from the original “invisible college,” and teaches such subjects as universal peace, harmony, willpower, and wisdom.
      As with many political and religious groups, this sort of promise appeals to persons who feel alone and withdrawn from the world around them. It gives them a rather exclusive peer group, with a membership card, secret handshake, and secret passwords. Followers are told that they will develop exotic psychic powers and insights after studying——in person or by mail——the lessons offered. Much of the idea and theory being taught is based on alchemy.

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