A key source of contemporary Ninth Circle conspiracy theories, “L’Élue du Dragon” had a convoluted story leading to its publication in 1929.
by Massimo Introvigne
Article 2 of 6. Read article 1.
The theory that the Ninth Circle as a century-old secret society organizing Satanic sacrifices of children exists and operates today claims to be supported by a book that has remained in print for almost a century in various languages, “L’Élue du Dragon,” “The Elected of the Dragon.”
To understand how the book was produced, we should meet two key characters of the story: the Jesuit scholar Harald Richard (1867–1928) and a provincial French priest, Father Paul Boulin (1875–1933).
A professor of physics and natural sciences in several Jesuit institutions, Richard served from 1911 to 1918 as a missionary to Armenia, Syria, and Egypt. Coming back quite exhausted from his missions, he retreated to a Jesuit house in Lyon, where he built a reputation as an expert in parapsychology, and even proved his skills as a dowser. In the last years of his life, the Jesuit was frequently in Paray-le-Monial, known for its apparitions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the 17th century, which the Catholic Church had recognized as genuine.
Paray also hosted a curious Catholic-esoteric institution, the Hiéron du Val d’Or, founded by the Jesuit Victor Drevon (1820–1880) and Baron Alexis de Sarachaga-Bilbao y Lobanoff de Rostoff (1840–1918), where the theme of the fight between Catholics and Satanists was occasionally discussed within the framework of a complex esoteric history of the world.
Some considered Richard a pleasant man. Others reported he was dogmatic and arrogant. His sojourn in Paray-le-Monial involved Richard in a strange adventure that also included Boulin. The latter was a priest from the French region of the Aube, who had been ordained in 1901 and had published a series of nationalist and monarchist novels. In December 1912, Boulin founded a newspaper called “La Vigie.” Reportedly, it was connected to Sodalitium Pianum, known in France as “La Sapinière,” a secret Catholic organization created with the approval of Pope Pius X (1835–1914) to report to Rome priests and bishops who supported the liberal ideas of Modernism.
Some French Bishops strongly disapproved of the activities of the Sodalitium Pianum, considering it an organization spying on them on behalf of the Vatican. Because of these controversies, Father Boulin, whose “Vigie” came to be widely regarded as the organ in France of the Sodalitium Pianum, had to abandon Paris in 1913. He moved as a simple parish priest to the remote village of Saint-Pouange, in the Diocese of Troyes. This did not prevent him from continuing to publish his magazine. He even received in his humble provincial presbytery Mgr. Umberto Benigni (1862–1934), the international leader of Sodalitium Pianum.
Boulin was allowed to return to Paris after the First World War, where he continued his activities as a journalist using the pseudonym of Roger Duguet. Again, he found himself in trouble, because he translated Spanish books attacking the Jesuits, denouncing them as part of a subversive and proto-Masonic organization. Two of his translations from Spanish were placed by the Vatican on the Index of the forbidden books on May 2, 1923.
Boulin submitted, and from then on, using various pseudonyms, left the Jesuits alone and confined his attacks to Freemasons and Jews. He started cooperating with the well-known anti-Masonic crusader Mgr. Ernest Jouin (1844–1932) and his magazine and was involved in the launching of the ephemeral “Cahiers anti-judéo-maçonniques” (Anti-Jewish-Masonic Notebooks, 1932–1933). He should have changed in the meantime his opinions about the Jesuits, since he became the best friend of one of them, Father Richard.
At the beginning of 1928, or perhaps at the end of 1927, a person, whose identity Richard never revealed, gave to the Jesuit a manuscript reportedly found in 1885 in the Hiéron archives. The manuscript contained the memories of a female “grand initiate” of “High Freemasonry” or the “Ninth Circle,” who had reportedly been at the center of all the intrigues of Satanist (or Ninth Circle) Freemasonry in Paris in the years 1877–1880.
At the beginning of 1928, Richard started to copy and edit the manuscript, supplementing it with notes. He was however in poor health, and died on June 7, 1928.
Before dying, Richard had entrusted the manuscript to Boulin, whose skills as a novelist he knew and appreciated. Boulin put the text in a literary form, and took it to Jouin, asking him whether it would be appropriate to publish the text. The anti-Masonic virulence of the book was not greater than others Jouin had published before, but the personal apparitions of the Devil in the lodge were too much even for Jouin, who remained doubtful.
A few decades before, the Catholic Church had been embarrassed by the hoax of Léo Taxil (1854–1907), a Freemason who after a false conversion to Catholicism in 1885 had published tall tales about a Satanic hidden level of Freemasonry, only to reveal them in 1895 as a practical joke played at the expenses of gullible Catholics. Taxil too had claimed that the Devil personally appeared in high Masonic lodges, which made Jouin understandably suspicious.
However, the year following the death of Jouin, Boulin, writing under his pen name of Roger Duguet, claimed that finally the prelate had accepted the idea that the book should be published. “Mgr. Jouin and I, Boulin wrote, did not take the step [of publishing the work] if not after having consulted theologians.” They assured them of the perfect possibility of these diabolical manifestations, leaving only open the question of whether they were real apparitions of the Devil or hallucinations of Satanic mediums in trance. The book was thus published in 1929. It was reasonably, if not phenomenally, successful, and a second edition came out in 1932.