Days of Our Lives Spoilers December 16-20, 2019

Kristian Alfonso as Comm. Hope Williams Brady Hernandez/Princess Gina; Galen Gering as Det. Rafe Hernandez

Will can’t stand the guilt in regards to Adrienne’s death and goes to great lengths to ensure Sonny has a good future. While Rafe is on the hunt for the evil doctor, Roman becomes suspicious of Kate – as does Victor of Ciara – and someone surprises Stefano. Plus, John is faced with an ultimatum…

Days of our Lives spoilers for the week of December 16:

Finding Eric sanctimonious and hypocritical, questions Gabi’s threat level, and a low threshold for grieving.

Love triangles, a time jump, drawn out storylines, and the use of beloved vets! Relive the memorable moments in soaps 2019.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Monday December 16:

Will makes a difficult sacrifice for Sonny’s happiness.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Tuesday December 17:

Marlena gives John an ultimatum about “Hope.”

Days of our Lives spoilers for Wednesday December 18:

Rafe attempts to hunt down Rolf.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Thursday December 19:

Victor becomes suspicious of Ciara.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Friday December 20:

Roman realizes Kate is hiding someone in her room.

Stefano gets a surprise visitor.

Days of our Lives spoilers for the week of December 23:

Days of our Lives spoilers for Monday December 23:

Kayla and Justin plan a romantic Christmas together.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Tuesday December 24:

Eve and Hattie both receive an early Christmas gift.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Wednesday December 25:

“Stefano” secretly joins the Christmas party at the hospital.

John gets an unpleasant surprise at home.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Thursday December 26:

Marlena finds a mysterious gift in her purse.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Friday December 27:

Lani indirectly strikes back at Gabi.

Adrienne spoiler:  Adrienne died as a result of a car accident and her organs were donated.

Days of our Lives fall casting:

Sarah and Eric left town to seek help for Mickey, which means Linsey Godfrey and Greg Vaughan exited Days temporarily.

Sami Brady will turn up in Salem since Alison Sweeney confirmed her Days return.

There could be a new character in town or a recast to a returning one with Young and Restless alum Emily O’Brien spotted in Days cast photo.

Stefan, back from the dead? Brandon Barash is returning to Days but as whom?

Sheila heads back to town since Tionne ‘T-BOZ’ Watkins is returning to Days.

Li Shin, son of Mr. Shin, will arrive in Salem when Remington Hoffman appears on Days of our Lives.

Shawn Brady will reappear when Brandon Beemer returns to Days of our Lives.

Look for new characters Joe and Jeanne Marie to appear when actors take on small 2020 spring dayplayer Days roles.

General Hospital Spoilers December 16-20, 2019

Ingo Rademacher as Jasper “Jax” Jacks

Jax is faced with the unexpected, while Ava waits for the next shoe to drop. As Nina puts Obrecht in her place, Jordan refuses to back down, and Julian snaps…

General Hospital spoilers for Thursday December 12:

Ned offers to take over ELQ, Nelle gets what she wants, and Mike has a bad day.

Ned is questioned.

Chase makes a discovery.

Michael accepts the help he needs.

General Hospital spoilers for Friday December 13:

Jax discusses plans with Nina, Sonny confronts Carly about her secrets, Ava sends intriguing texts about her auction, and Laura fears Charlotte has made up her secret bodyguard.

Sonny deflects.

Ava piques Carly’s curiosity.

Nina is aghast.

New role for GH actress! Sydney Mikayla voices role in the Netflix series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.

Watch a preview of Jen Lilley’s Hallmark Christmas movie Angel Falls: A Novel Holiday.

General Hospital spoilers for the week of December 16:

Confusion over Peter’s arc, hopes the show doesn’t take Brook down a familiar path and is excited about Ava and Nina teaming up.

Love triangles, a time jump, drawn out storylines, and the use of beloved vets! Relive the memorable moments in soaps 2019.

General Hospital spoilers for Monday December 16:

Jax is in for a surprise.

Nina learns the truth.

Chase confides in Finn.

General Hospital spoilers for Tuesday December 17:

Valentin is delighted.

Ava is unconcerned.

Lulu feels helpless.

General Hospital spoilers for Wednesday December 18:

Ava lays in wait.

Kevin offers his insight.

Nina corners Obrecht.

General Hospital spoilers for Thursday December 19:

Franco is devastated.

Jordan shows no mercy.

Michael does his best.

General Hospital spoilers for Friday December 20:

Nelle plays it cool.

Julian loses his temper.

Anna and Finn have a difference of opinion.

General Hospital spoilers for the week of December 23:

Please note: A rep from the show has confirmed that some episodes will air out of order this week…

General Hospital spoilers for Monday December 23:

The residents of Port Charles are reminded of the true meaning of the holiday season in this year’s Dickensian twist.

General Hospital spoilers for Tuesday December 24:

General Hospital will air an encore episode today.

General Hospital spoilers for Wednesday December 25:

General Hospital will not be seen, due to sports programming.

General Hospital spoilers for Thursday December 26:

Joss is confused.

Danny visits Santa.

Nelle is insistent.

General Hospital spoilers for Friday December 27:

Jason questions Sonny’s motives.

Carly meets with Jax.

Nina is put in notice.

General Hospital Fall and Winter casting:

Tracy Quartermaine arrives in town when Jane Elliot returns to General Hospital.

Nurse Amy Driscoll will be back in Port Charles since Risa Dorken is returning to General Hospital.

The Bold & the Beautiful Spoilers December 16-20, 2019

Katherine Kelly Lang as Brooke Logan Forrester

Thomas puts a new plan into effect, Zoe manages a return to Forrester Creations, and Ridge isn’t ready to give up on his marriage.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Friday December 13:

Thomas urges Shauna to pursue his father in an effort to avoid a Ridge and Brooke reunion.

Liam seeks Steffy’s help in exposing Thomas’ schemes.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 16:

A bone to pick with Shauna, finds the fashion showdown fun but weird, and sides with Liam when it comes to Sally.

Love triangles, a time jump, drawn out storylines, and the use of beloved vets! Relive the memorable moments in soaps 2019.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Monday December 16:

Brooke, heartbroken, hopes Ridge will realize that Thomas hasn’t changed.

Steffy and Liam find Zoe when they go looking for Vinny and she fills them in on Thomas.

Poll: Will Steffy or Hope win the fashion showdown on B&B?

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Tuesday December 17:

Thomas makes a significant change in his plot to win over Hope.

Steffy and Liam recruit Zoe to help expose Thomas’ motives.

Greek TV’s 8 Lexeis actor Andreas Georgiou cast on Bold and Beautiful.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Wednesday December 18:

Hope is shocked to see Thomas’ romantic gesture toward Zoe.

Zoe falls on her sword with Steffy, who offers her a return to Forrester Creations.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Thursday December 19:

Hope questions Thomas’ burgeoning romance with Zoe.

Liam reluctantly agrees to Hope working with Thomas on her line.

Save the date… Jack Wagner’s When Calls the Heart Christmas movie premiere.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Friday December 20:

Ridge gives Brooke a chance to get back together.

Thomas believes that Hope will soon be his thanks to his ruse.

Also coming up this week on Bold and the Beautiful:

Thomas uses Zoe to make Hope jealous and devises a scheme to have Hope come by the house when he’s set up a romantic dinner for two.

After exhausting other options for a designer for her line ahead of the competition with Steffy, Hope resigns herself to working with Thomas as she knows Hope for the Future will be dead otherwise.

She’s returned from her movie set… Katrina Bowden is back at Bold and Beautiful taping scenes as Flo Fulton.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 23:

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Monday December 23:

Thomas requests the family meet at Forrester Creations.

Brooke confronts Steffy about bringing Zoe back to Forrester and gets an unexpected surprise.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Wednesday December 25:

An encore episode of Bold and Beautiful will air on Christmas Day.

Also coming up this week on Bold and the Beautiful:

Zoe complicates her deal with Steffy and Liam by moving forward with Thomas.

Sally is on the receiving end of Steffy’s admission about Liam.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 30:

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Tuesday December 31:

A new episode of Bold and Beautiful will air on the east coast, while the west coast is pre-empted for CBS Sports: The Sun Bowl.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Wednesday January 1:

An encore episode of Bold and Beautiful will air on the east coast, and the new episode from Tuesday December 31 will air on the west coast.

The Young & the REstless Spoilers December 16-20, 2019

Judah Mackey as Connor Newman

The Young & the Restless

Nick makes a sacrifice as Chelsea continues to navigate life with Adam and Connor, the Newmans meet as a family, and some of the Abbotts grow closer with Theo.

Young and Restless spoilers for Friday December 13:

Chance asks Abby on a date, Billy thinks everything in his life is perfect but him, and Phyllis tells Chance she saw him with a gun in Vegas.

Amanda and Billy grow closer.

Phyllis’ bluff is called by Chance.

Chelsea sets boundaries for Adam.

Ambitions recaps, Stephanie confronted her husband’s mistress, Stephen was revealed to be part of a shocking alliance and that might have been the end of Titus.

Young and Restless spoilers for the week of December 16:

Snarky scenes but doesn’t understand all the repetitive dialogue, hoping for a couples shake-up and wants to find out what happened in  Vegas already.

Love triangles, a time jump, drawn-out storylines, and the use of beloved vets! Relive the memorable moments in soaps 2019.

Young and Restless spoilers for Monday December 16:

Lola Theo taste test, Amanda opens up to Billy about being an orphan, Devon discovers information on Amanda’s past, and Lola & Theo support each other at Society, while Kyle & Summer collaborate at Jabot.

Nate and Abby make amends.

Devon carries a secret.

Martha Madison to open restaurant, Jason Cook writes and directs star-studded film, and more alum news.

Young and Restless spoilers for Tuesday December 17:

Chance Abby kiss, Adam asks Phyllis to seduce Nick, Chance and Abby kiss, and Sharon and Rey make Christmas plans.

Nikki warns Nick.

Adam oversteps.

Chelsea puts her relationship with Nick at risk.

Hoping to help… Y&R’s Cait Fairbanks shared her struggle with anxiety and eating disorders.

Coming in January! Hallmark Winterfest movies feature soap alums from numerous daytime shows.

Young and Restless spoilers for Wednesday December 18:

Victor opens up to Victoria.

Jack exerts control at Jabot.

Devon seeks justice.

Young and Restless spoilers for Thursday December 19:

Phyllis wants revenge.

Elena reaches a decision about Amanda.

Poll: Are hoping for a couples shake-up on Y&R with Kyle, Lola, Theo and Summer?

Young and Restless spoilers for Friday December 20:

Nikki and Victor hold a family meeting.

Theo bonds with Jack and Traci at the Abbott house.

Phyllis surprises Summer.

It’s time for Hallmark’s Christmas premieres featuring soap alums, including Jack Wagner in When Calls the Heart Christmas.

Also coming up on Young and Restless this week:

Elena finds the dossier on Amanda and not only realizes Devon’s been hiding it from her, but also that there is more to Amanda’s story, which again changes her perception of the woman.

Devon seeks dirt on someone.

Chelsea deals with a new reality.

Adam hides a secret.

Phyllis opens up to Jack.

Nick sacrifices for Chelsea.

Young and Restless spoilers for the week of December 23:

Young and Restless spoilers for Monday December 23:

An unexpected development occurs while Paul and Christine are out with Michael and Lauren.

Lauren and Michael’s son is home for the holidays when Zach Tinker returns to Young and Restless as Fenmore Baldwin.

Young and Restless spoilers for Thursday December 24:

A Newman is home for Christmas when Alyvia Alyn Lind returns to Y&R as Faith.

Young and Restless spoilers for Thursday December 26:

Victor and Nikki feel the true meaning of Christmas when an unexpected delivery arrives.

Elena and Nate hope for a Christmas miracle.

Chelsea and Adam work to save Christmas for Connor.

Kevin is given the ultimate Christmas gift from Chloe.

Also coming up on Young and Restless this week:

Jill gets surprising news.

Jack has a special gift for the Abbott family.

Young and Restless casting notes:

Watch for a guest spot by E! Daily Pop’s co-host as Young and Restless has cast Justin Sylvester.

Little Old Lady Killer: Juana Barraza

Juana Barraza (born 27 December 1957)is a Mexican former professional wrestler and serial killer dubbed La Mataviejitas (Sp. “The Old Lady Killer”) sentenced to 759 years in prison for killing between 42 and 48 elderly women.  The first murder attributed to Mataviejitas has been dated variously to the late 1990s and to a specific killing on 17 November 2003.  The authorities and the press have given various estimates as to the total number of the killer’s victims, with estimates ranging from 24 to 49 deaths.

Early life and family

Juana Barraza was born in Epazoyucan, Hidalgo, a rural area north of Mexico City.  Barraza’s mother, Justa Samperio, was an alcoholic who reportedly exchanged her for three beers to a man who repeatedly raped her in his care, and by whom she became pregnant with a son.  She had four children in total, although her eldest son died from injuries sustained in a mugging.  Prior to her arrest, Barraza was a professional wrestler under the ring name of La Dama del Silencio (The Lady of Silence).  She had a strong interest in lucha libre, a form of Mexican masked professional wrestling.


All of Barraza’s victims were women aged 60 or over, many of whom lived alone. Barraza bludgeoned or strangled them before robbing them.

Bernardo Bátiz, the chief prosecutor in Mexico City, initially profiled the killer as having “a brilliant mind, [being] quite clever and careful,” and suggested that the killer probably struck after gaining the trust of the intended victim. Investigating officers suspected that the killer posed as a government official, offering victims the chance to sign up for welfare programs.

The search for Barraza was complicated by conflicting evidence. At one point, the police hypothesized that two killers might be involved. An odd coincidence also distracted the investigation: at least three of Barraza’s victims owned a print of an eighteenth-century painting by French artist Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Boy in A Red Waistcoat.

The authorities believed that Juana Barraza was brilliant because she was a psychopath who felt no remorse. Furthermore, Barraza associated her elderly victims with her mother and believed that she was helping society by killing them. In order to gain the trust of her victims, Barraza posed as a government official who worked in social welfare. Because of this, Barraza is placed in the “care giving” category of female killers.

The trauma of Barraza’s childhood abuse was a factor in her murders. Police found evidence that some of her victims were also abused.


The authorities were heavily criticized by the media for dismissing evidence that a serial killer was at work in Mexico City as merely “media sensationalism” as late as the summer of 2005. Soon after setting an investigation in motion, the police incurred further criticism by launching what one journalist described as a “ham-fisted” and unproductive swoop on Mexico City’s transvestite prostitutes.

By November 2005, the Mexican authorities were reporting witness statements to the effect that the killer wore women’s clothing to gain access to the victim’s apartments. In one case a large woman in a red blouse was seen leaving the home of a murdered woman. Two months later, police began checking the fingerprints of bodies in the city’s morgues in the apparent belief that Mataviejitas might have committed suicide.

A major breakthrough in the case occurred on 25 January 2006, when a suspect was arrested fleeing from the home of the serial killer’s latest victim, Ana María de los Reyes Alfaro, who lived in the Venustiano Carranza borough of Mexico City. Alfaro, 82, had been strangled with a stethoscope.

To the surprise of many Mexicans, who had supposed the killer to be male, the suspect detained was Juana Barraza, 48, a female wrestler known professionally as The Silent Lady. Witnesses at previous murder scenes had described a masculine-looking woman] and police had previously looked for a transvestite although they later admitted that the former wrestler resembled composite images of the suspect.  Barraza closely resembled a model of the killer’s features, which showed La Mataviejitas with close-cropped hair dyed blonde and a facial mole, and was carrying a stethoscope, pension forms and a card identifying her as a social worker when she was detained.

Mexico City prosecutors said fingerprint evidence linked Barraza to at least 10 murders of the as many as 40 murders attributed to the killer.  The wrestler is said to have confessed to murdering Alfaro and three other women, but denied involvement in all other killings.  She told reporters she had visited Alfaro’s home in search of laundry work.

Trial and verdict

Barraza was tried in the spring of 2008, the prosecution alleging she had been responsible for as many as 40 deaths. She admitted to one murder, that of Alfaro, and told the police her motive was lingering resentment regarding her own mother’s treatment of her. On 31 March she was found guilty on 16 charges of murder and aggravated burglary, including 11 separate counts of murder. She was sentenced to 759 years in prison. Since sentences imposed in Mexican courts are generally served concurrently, but the maximum sentence under Mexican law is 60 years, she will most likely serve the full sentence in prison.

Portrayal on television

She was first portrayed in a TV series called “Mujer casos de la vida real” in the early 2000s. Mexican producer Pedro Torres brought the story to television on an episode of the 2010 Mexican television series Mujeres Asesinas 3 that was produced by Televisa. The episode is called “Maggie, Pensionada” starring the Mexican actress Leticia Perdigón as Maggie and Irma Lozano, Ana Luisa Peluffo and Lourdes Canale as victims.

Barraza was highlighted in the documentary Instinto Asesino which aired on Discovery en Español in 2010. The episode was entitled, “La Mataviejitas”.  Juana Barraza was also highlighted on the show La Historia Detras Del Mito, the episode was also entitled “La Mataviejitas”.

In September 2015, Barraza was highlighted in the Investigation Discovery series Deadly Women, in an episode titled “Payback”.

“Machismo”, the nineteenth episode of the first season of Criminal Minds is partly based on Barraza.

Cocaine Grandmother: Griselda Blanco

Griselda Blanco Restrepo (February 15, 1943 – September 3, 2012), known as La Madrina, the Black Widow, the Cocaine Godmother and the Queen of Narco-Trafficking, was a Colombian drug lord of the Medellín Cartel and a pioneer in the Miami-based cocaine drug trade and underworld during the 1980s, all the way to the early 2000s. It has been estimated that she was responsible for up to 20 00 murders while transporting cocaine from Colombia to New York, Miami and Southern California.  She was shot and killed on September 3, 2012, at the age of 69.


Early life

Blanco was born in Cartagena, Colombia, on the country’s north coast. She and her mother, Ana Lucía Restrepo, moved to Medellín when she was three years old. Upon arriving there, she quickly adopted a criminal lifestyle. Blanco’s former lover, Charles Cosby, recounted that at the age of 11, Blanco allegedly kidnapped, attempted to ransom and eventually shot a child from an upscale flatland neighborhood near her own neighborhood.  Blanco had become a pickpocket before she even turned 13. To escape the sexual assaults from her mother’s boyfriend, Blanco ran away from home at the age of 16 and resorted to looting in Medellín until the age of 20.

Drug business

In the mid-1970s, Blanco and her second husband Alberto Bravo illegally immigrated to the US with fake passports, settling in Queens, New York. They established a sizable cocaine business there, and in April 1975, Blanco was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges along with 30 of her subordinates. She fled to Colombia before she could be arrested, but returned to the United States, settling in Miami in the late 1970s.

Blanco’s return to the US from Colombia more or less coincided with the beginning of very public violent conflicts that involved hundreds of murders and killings yearly which were associated with the high crime epidemic that swept the City of Miami in the 1980s. Law enforcement’s struggle to put an end to the influx of cocaine into Miami led to the creation of CENTAC 26 (Central Tactical Unit), a joint operation between Miami-Dade Police Department and DEA anti-drug operation.

Blanco was involved in the drug-related violence known as the Miami Drug War or the Cocaine Cowboy Wars that plagued Miami in the late 1970s and early 1980s. This was a time when cocaine was trafficked more than marijuana.  It was the lawless and corrupt atmosphere, primarily created by Blanco’s operations, which led to the gangsters being dubbed the “Cocaine Cowboys” and their violent way of doing business as the “Miami drug war”.

Her distribution network, which spanned the United States, brought in US$80,000,000 per month.  Her violent business style brought government scrutiny to South Florida, leading to the demise of her organization and the free-wheeling, high-profile Miami drug scene of those times.

In 1984, Blanco’s willingness to use violence against her Miami competitors or anyone else who displeased her, led her rivals to make repeated attempts to assassinate her. In an attempt to escape the hits that were called on her, she fled to California.


On February 17, 1985, she was arrested by DEA agents in her home and held without bail. After her trial, Blanco was sentenced to more than a decade in jail.  While in prison, she continued to effectively run her cocaine business with the help of her son Michael Blanco.

By pressuring one of Blanco’s lieutenants, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office obtained sufficient evidence to indict Blanco for three murders. However, the case collapsed due to technicalities relating to a telephone-sex scandal between the star witness and female secretaries in the District attorney’s office. In 2002, Blanco suffered a heart attack while imprisoned.

In 2004, Blanco was released from prison and deported to Medellín, Colombia.  Before her death in 2012, the last sighting of Blanco was in May 2007 at the Bogotá Airport.


On the night of September 3, 2012, Blanco died after having been shot 2 times; once in the head and once in the shoulder by a motorcyclist in Medellín, Colombia.  She was shot at Cardiso butcher shop on the corner of 29th Street, after having bought $150 worth of meat; the middle-aged gunman climbed off the back of a motorbike outside the shop, entered, pulled out a gun, and shot Blanco two times before calmly walking back to his bike and disappearing into the city.  She was 69.

Personal life

Blanco’s first husband was Carlos Trujillo. Together they had three sons, Dixon, Uber, and Osvaldo, all of them poorly educated, and all of whom were killed in Colombia after being deported following prison sentences in the United States.

Her second husband was Alberto Bravo. In 1975, Blanco confronted Bravo, who was also her business partner, in a Bogotá nightclub parking lot about millions of dollars missing from the profits of the cartel they’d built together. The Guardian reports: “Blanco, then 32, pulled out a pistol, Bravo responded by producing an Uzi submachine gun and after a blazing gun battle he and six bodyguards lay dead. Blanco, who suffered only a minor gunshot wound to the stomach, recovered and soon afterwards moved to Miami, where her body count – and reputation for ruthlessness – continued to climb.”

Blanco had her youngest son, Michael Corleone Blanco, with her third husband, Darío Sepúlveda.  Sepúlveda left her in 1983, returned to Colombia, and kidnapped Michael when he and Blanco disagreed over who would take custody. Blanco paid to have Sepúlveda assassinated in Colombia, and her son returned to her in Miami.

According to the Miami New Times, “Michael’s father and older siblings were all killed before he reached adulthood. His mom was in prison for most of his childhood and teenage years, and he was raised by his maternal grandmother and legal guardians.”  In 2012, Michael was put under house arrest after a May arrest on two felony counts of cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.

Blanco was openly bisexual.  According to The New York Post, “Court records show Blanco was a drug addict who consumed vast quantities of ‘basuco’, a potent form of smokeable, unrefined cocaine … would force men and women to have sex at gunpoint, and had frequent bisexual orgies.” Her “favorite possessions included an emerald and gold MAC-10 machine pistol, Eva Perón’s pearls and a tea set once used by the Queen of England”. The report continues: “In court, it was revealed that Blanco killed three former husbands as well as strippers, business rivals – and innocent bystanders, including a 4-year-old boy.”

According to her youngest son Michael, Blanco became a born-again Christian.  She had a personal relationship with Anna Cruz, whom she loved as her daughter; Anna cut ties with her when she found out who Blanco really was.

In popular culture


Blanco features prominently in the documentary films Cocaine Cowboys (2006) and Cocaine Cowboys 2 (2008; also written as Cocaine Cowboys II: Hustlin’ with the Godmother).

And, as of yet, unreleased film titled The Godmother is currently in production, starring Jennifer Lopez as Blanco, which she also plans to produce. Lynderah Paul plays Blanco in her late teens.

HBO is developing a film with Jennifer Lopez attached to play the notorious drug lord. The film focuses on the rise and fall of “The Cocaine Godmother”.

Catherine Zeta-Jones filmed Cocaine Godmother, a television biopic on drug lord Griselda Blanco, which premiered in 2018 on Lifetime.


Buffalo, New York artists Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine use Blanco’s name in their label, Griselda by Fashion Rebels, abbreviated as GxFR

Rapper The Game references Griselda Blanco in his lyrics to “See No Evil” – “…karma catches up to all you head honchos/ Two dome shots to head, Griselda Blanco”

Rapper Pusha T references her in his lyrics to “Pain” (2013) – “Put your freedom over failure/Tryna find my Griselda (La Madrina!)/Might as well, they gon’ nail ya/Momma screaming like Mahalia”

Rapper Jacki-O released a mixtape entitled Griselda Blanco, La Madrina (2010) as an ode to Blanco’s lifestyle and character. Griselda Blanco’s son, Michael Blanco, later gave his blessing to promote the mixtape.

Rapper Lil Kim created alter ego “Kimmy Blanco” as tribute to Blanco; Kim debuted this persona in her 2013 single of the same name.

Toronto Eastside rap duo Pengz and Two Two released the single “Griselda Blanco” in August 2017.

Rap group Migos have made references to her in multiple songs, “Portland” by Drake, and their own song “F*** Up the Pot”.

Rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again references her in “Slime Belief” (2018) – “Can you make it better/ trap out like Griselda/ post up with barettes/ hustlin through the night

Rapper Slimesito has a song named “Griselda” which contains multiple references to Blanco.

Rapper Nicki Minaj references her in her freestyle “Suge Remix” (2019)- “Drug lord, Griselda/ I used to move weight through Delta”. She is also referenced on Nicki Minaj’s verse on Chance the Rapper’s song, “Slide Around” (2019) – “Me and my man Griselda and Pablo”.

Yeasayer’s song Grizelda is inspired by her, sung from the perspective of one of her hitmen.


Blanco played a minor role in Marlon James’ book A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014).

Blanco played a significant role in Jon Roberts’ book American Desperado (2011).


In Comedy Central’s Drunk History, season 3, episode 2 (“Miami”), Dan Harmon tells the story of the rise and fall of Blanco, starring Maya Rudolph (as Blanco), Horatio Sanz, and Joe Lo Truglio.

Blanco is portrayed by Mexican actress Ana Serradilla in the Spanish-language telenovela La Viuda Negra (2014), an adaptation of the book La patrona de Pablo Escobar de José Guarnizo.

Jada Pinkett Smith used her as a model for her character Fish Mooney on Gotham.

Blanco was also featured among the Deadly Women top 10 as #3 on the killer countdown.

The television series Get Shorty features a character named Amara de Escalones (played by Lidia Porto), who is based on Blanco.

Blanco was also featured on the Investigation Discovery series Evil Lives Here in an episode called “The Last Blanco”.

A very fictionalized version of Blanco known as La Madrina appears in the Archer episode “Smuggler’s Blues” (Season 5, Episode 7).

In the Netflix series Daybreak the career of Griselda Blanco serves as a role model for the child prodigy Angelica and her peddling of prescription drugs.


Griselda Blanco’s life, from her abusive childhood to her tragic death, was covered on the June 5, 2018 episode of Behind the Bastards, a podcast hosted by Robert Evans and the October 8, 2019 episode of She Sleuths, a true crime podcast hosted by Kristin Harris and Amy Springer.

Samuel Pepys (Part II)

Personal life

The diary gives a detailed account of Pepys’ personal life. He liked wine, plays, and the company of other people. He also spent time evaluating his fortune and his place in the world. He was always curious and often acted on that curiosity, as he acted upon almost all his impulses. Periodically, he would resolve to devote more time to hard work instead of leisure. For example, in his entry for New Year’s Eve, 1661, he writes: “I have newly taken a solemn oath about abstaining from plays and wine…” The following months reveal his lapses to the reader; by 17 February, it is recorded, “Here I drank wine upon necessity, being ill for the want of it.”

Pepys was one of the most important civil servants of his age, and was also a widely cultivated man, taking an interest in books, music, the theatre and science. He was passionately interested in music; he composed, sang, and played for pleasure, and even arranged music lessons for his servants. He played the lute, viol, violin, flageolet, recorder and spinet to varying degrees of proficiency.  He was also a keen singer, performing at home, in coffee houses, and even in Westminster Abbey.  He and his wife took flageolet lessons from master Thomas Greeting.  He also taught his wife to sing and paid for dancing lessons for her (although these stopped when he became jealous of the dancing master).

He was known to be brutal to his servants, once beating a servant Jane with a broom until she cried. He kept a boy servant whom he frequently beat with a cane, a birch rod, a whip or a rope’s end.

Pepys was an investor in the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa, which held the monopoly in England on trading along the west coast of Africa in gold, silver, ivory and slaves.

Sexual relations

Propriety did not prevent him from engaging in a number of extramarital liaisons with various women that were chronicled in his diary, often in some detail, and generally using a cocktail of languages (English, French, Spanish and Latin) when relating the intimate details. The most dramatic of these encounters was with Deborah Willet, a young woman engaged as a companion for Elisabeth Pepys. On 25 October 1668, Pepys was surprised by his wife as he embraced Deb Willet; he writes that his wife “coming up suddenly, did find me embracing the girl con [with] my hand sub [under] su


coats; and indeed I was with my main [hand] in her cunny. I was at a wonderful loss upon it and the girl also….” Following this event, he was characteristically filled with remorse, but (equally characteristically) continued to pursue Willet after she had been dismissed from the Pepys household.[44] Pepys also had a habit of fondling the breasts of his maid Mary Mercer while she dressed him in the morning.

“Mrs. Knep was the wife of a Smithfield horsedealer, and the mistress of Pepys”—or at least “she granted him a share of her favors”.  Scholars disagree on the full extent of the Pepys/Knep relationship, but much of later generations’ knowledge of Knep comes from the diary. Pepys first met Knep on 6 December 1665. He described her as “pretty enough, but the most excellent, mad-humored thing, and sings the noblest that I ever heard in my life.” He called her husband “an ill, melancholy, jealous-looking fellow” and suspected him of abusing his wife. Knep provided Pepys with backstage access and was a conduit for theatrical and social gossip. When they wrote notes to each other, Pepys signed himself “Dapper Dickey”, while Knep was “Barbry Allen” (that popular song was an item in her musical repertory).

Text of the diary

The diary was written in one of the many standard forms of shorthand used in Pepys’ time, in this case called tachygraphy and devised by Thomas Shelton. It is clear from its content that it was written as a purely personal record of his life and not for publication, yet there are indications that Pepys took steps to preserve the bound manuscripts of his diary. He wrote it out in fair copy from rough notes, and he also had the loose pages bound into six volumes, catalogued them in his library with all his other books, and is likely to have suspected that eventually someone would find them interesting.

Simplified Pepys family tree

This tree resumes, in a more compact form and with a few additional details, trees published elsewhere in a box-like form.   It is meant to help the reader of the Diary and also integrates some biographical information’s found in the same sources.

After the diary

Pepys’ health suffered from the long hours that he worked throughout the period of the diary. Specifically, he believed that his eyesight had been affected by his work.  He reluctantly concluded in his last entry, dated 31 May 1669, that he should completely stop writing for the sake of his eyes, and only dictate to his clerks from then on, which meant that he could no longer keep his diary.

Pepys and his wife took a holiday to France and the Low Countries in June–October 1669; on their return, Elisabeth fell ill and died on 10 November 1669. Pepys erected a monument to her in the church of St Olave’s, Hart Street, London. Pepys never remarried, but he did have a long-term housekeeper named Mary Skinner who was assumed by many of his contemporaries to be his mistress and sometimes referred to as Mrs. Pepys. In his will, he left her an annuity of £200 and many of his possessions.

Member of Parliament and Secretary to the Admiralty

In 1672 he became an Elder Brother of Trinity House and served in this capacity until 1689; he was Master of Trinity House in 1676–1677 and again in 1685–1686.  In 1673 he was promoted to Secretary to the Admiralty Commission and elected MP for Castle Rising in Norfolk.

In 1673 he was involved with the establishment of the Royal Mathematical School at Christ’s Hospital, which was to train 40 boys annually in navigation, for the benefit of the Royal Navy and the English Merchant Navy. In 1675 he was appointed a Governor of Christ’s Hospital and for many years he took a close interest in its affairs. Among his papers are two detailed memoranda on the administration of the school. In 1699, after the successful conclusion of a seven-year campaign to get the master of the Mathematical School replaced by a man who knew more about the sea, he was rewarded for his service as a Governor by being made a Freeman of the City of London. He also served as Master (without ever having been a Freeman or Liveryman) of the Clothworkers’ Company (1677-8).

At the beginning of 1679 Pepys was elected MP for Harwich in Charles II’s third parliament which formed part of the Cavalier Parliament. He was elected along with Sir Anthony Deane, a Harwich alderman and leading naval architect, to whom Pepys had been patron since 1662. By May of that year, they were under attack from their political enemies. Pepys resigned as Secretary to the Admiralty. They were imprisoned in the Tower of London on suspicion of treasonable correspondence with France, specifically leaking naval intelligence. The charges are believed to have been fabricated under the direction of Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury.  Pepys was accused, among other things, of being a papist. They were released in July, but proceedings against them were not dropped until June 1680.

Though he had resigned from the Tangier committee in 1679, in 1683 he was sent to Tangier to assist Lord Dartmouth with the evacuation and abandonment of the English colony. After six months’ service, he travelled back through Spain accompanied by the naval engineer Edmund Dummer, returning to England after a particularly rough passage on 30 March 1684.  In June 1684, once more in favour, he was appointed King’s Secretary for the affairs of the Admiralty, a post that he retained after the death of Charles II (February 1685) and the accession of James II. The phantom Pepys Island, alleged to be near South Georgia, was named after him in 1684, having been first “discovered” during his tenure at the Admiralty.

From 1685 to 1688, he was active not only as Secretary for the Admiralty, but also as MP for Harwich. He had been elected MP for Sandwich, but this election was contested and he immediately withdrew to Harwich. When James fled the country at the end of 1688, Pepys’ career also came to an end. In January 1689, he was defeated in the parliamentary election at Harwich; in February, one week after the accession of William III and Mary II, he resigned his secretaryship.

Royal Society

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1665 and served as its President from 1 December 1684 to 30 November 1686. Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica was published during this period, and its title page bears Pepys’ name. There is a probability problem called the “Newton–Pepys problem” that arose out of correspondence between Newton and Pepys about whether one is more likely to roll at least one six with six dice or at least two sixes with twelve dice.  It has only recently been noted that the gambling advice which Newton gave Pepys was correct, while the logical argument with which Newton accompanied it was unsound.

Retirement and death

He was imprisoned on suspicion of Jacobitism from May to July 1689 and again in June 1690, but no charges were ever successfully brought against him. After his release, he retired from public life at age 57. He moved out of London ten years later (1701) to a house in Clapham owned by his friend William Hewer, who had begun his career working for Pepys in the admiralty.  Clapham was in the country at the time; it is now part of inner London.

Pepys lived there until his death on 26 May 1703. He had no children and bequeathed his estate to his unmarried nephew John Jackson. Pepys had disinherited his nephew Samuel Jackson for marrying contrary to his wishes. When John Jackson died in 1724, Pepys’ estate reverted to Anne, daughter of Archdeacon Samuel Edgeley, niece of Will Hewer and sister of Hewer Edgeley, nephew and godson of Pepys’ old Admiralty employee and friend Will Hewer. Hewer was also childless and left his immense estate to his nephew Hewer Edgeley (consisting mostly of the Clapham property, as well as lands in Clapham, London, Westminster and Norfolk) on condition that the nephew (and godson) would adopt the surname Hewer. So Will Hewer’s heir became Hewer Edgeley-Hewer, and he adopted the old Will Hewer home in Clapham as his residence. That is how the Edgeley family acquired the estates of Samuel Pepys and Will Hewer, Sister Anne inheriting Pepys’ estate, and brother Hewer inheriting that of Will Hewer. On the death of Hewer Edgeley-Hewer in 1728, the old Hewer estate went to Edgeley-Hewer’s widow Elizabeth, who left the 432-acre (175-hectare) estate to Levett Blackborne, the son of Abraham Blackborne, merchant of Clapham, and other family members, who later sold it off in lots. Lincoln’s Inn barrister Levett Blackborne also later acted as attorney in legal scuffles for the heirs who had inherited the Pepys estate.

Pepys Library

Pepys was a lifelong bibliophile and carefully nurtured his large collection of books, manuscripts, and prints. At his death, there were more than 3,000 volumes, including the diary, all carefully catalogued and indexed; they form one of the most important surviving 17th-century private libraries. The most important items in the Library are the six original bound manuscripts of Pepys’ diary, but there are other remarkable holdings, including:

  •  Incunabula by William Caxton, Wynkyn de Worde, and Richard Pynson
  • Sixty medieval manuscripts
  • The Pepys Manuscript, a late-15th-century English choirbook
  • Naval records such as two of the ‘Anthony Rolls’, illustrating the Royal Navy’s ships c. 1546, including the Mary Rose
  •  Sir Francis Drake’s personal almanac
  • Over 1,800 printed ballads, one of the finest collections in existence.

Pepys made detailed provisions in his will for the preservation of his book collection. His nephew and heir John Jackson died in 1723, when it was transferred intact to Magdalene College, Cambridge, where it can be seen in the Pepys Building. The bequest included all the original bookcases and his elaborate instructions that placement of the books “be strictly reviewed and, where found requiring it, more nicely adjusted”.

Publication history of the diary

Motivated by the publication of Evelyn’s Diary, Lord Granville deciphered a few pages.  John Smith (later the Rector of St Mary the Virgin in Baldock) was then engaged to transcribe the diaries into plain English. He labored at this task for three years, from 1819 to 1822, unaware until nearly finished that a key to the shorthand system was stored in Pepys’ library a few shelves above the diary volumes. Others had apparently succeeded in reading the diary earlier, perhaps knowing about the key, because a work of 1812 quotes from a passage of it.  Smith’s transcription, which is also kept in the Pepys Library, was the basis for the first published edition of the diary, edited by Lord Braybrooke, released in two volumes in 1825.

A second transcription, done with the benefit of the key, but often less accurately, was completed in 1875 by Mynors Bright and published in 1875–1879.  This added about a third to the previously published text, but still left only about 80% of the diary in print.  Henry B. Wheatley, drawing on both his predecessors, produced a new edition in 1893–1899, revised in 1926, with extensive notes and an index.

All of these editions omitted passages (chiefly about Pepys’ sexual adventures) which the editors thought too obscene ever to be printed. Wheatley, in the preface to his edition noted, “a few passages which cannot possibly be printed. It may be thought by some that these omissions are due to an unnecessary squeamishness, but it is not really so, and readers are therefore asked to have faith in the judgement of the editor.”

The complete, unexpurgated, and definitive edition, edited and transcribed by Robert Latham and William Matthews, was published by Bell & Hyman, London, and the University of California Press, Berkeley, in nine volumes, along with separate Companion and Index volumes, over the years 1970–1983. Various single-volume abridgements of this text are also available.

The Introduction in volume I provides a scholarly but readable account of “The Diarist”, “The Diary” (“The Manuscript”, “The Shorthand”, and “The Text”), “History of Previous Editions”, “The Diary as Literature”, and “The Diary as History”. The Companion provides a long series of detailed essays about Pepys and his world.

The first unabridged recording of the diary as an audiobook was published in 2015 by Naxos AudioBooks.

On 1 January 2003 Phil Gyford started a weblog, that serialized the diary one day each evening together with annotations from public and experts alike. In December 2003 the blog won the best specialist blog award in The Guardian’s Best of British Blogs.


In 1958 the BBC produced a serial called Samuel Pepys!, in which Peter Sallis played the title role. In 2003 a television film The Private Life of Samuel Pepys aired on BBC2. Steve Coogan played Pepys. The 2004 film Stage Beauty concerns London theatre in the 17th century and is based on Jeffrey Hatcher’s play Compleat Female Stage Beauty, which in turn was inspired by a reference in Pepys’ diary to the actor Edward Kynaston, who played female roles in the days when women were forbidden to appear on stage. Pepys is a character in the film and is portrayed as an ardent devotee of the theatre. Hugh Bonneville plays Pepys. Daniel Mays portrays Pepys in The Great Fire, a 2014 BBC television miniseries. Pepys has also been portrayed in various other film and television productions, played by diverse actors including Mervyn Johns, Michael Palin, Michael Graham Cox and Philip Jackson.

BBC Radio 4 has broadcast serialized radio dramatizations of the diary. In the 1990s it was performed as a Classic Serial starring Bill Nighy, and in the 2010s it was serialized as part of the Woman’s Hour radio magazine programme.  One audiobook edition of Pepys’ diary selections is narrated by Kenneth Branagh. A fictionalized Pepys narrates the second chapter of Harry Turtledove’s science fiction novel A Different Flesh (serialized 1985–1988, book form 1988). This chapter is entitled “And So to Bed” and written in the form of entries from the Pepys diary. The entries detail Pepys’ encounter with American Homo erectus specimens (imported to London as beasts of burden) and his formation of the “transformational theory of life”, thus causing evolutionary theory to gain a foothold in scientific thought in the 17th century rather than the 19th. Deborah Swift’s 2017 novel Pleasing Mr Pepys is described as a “re-imagining of the events in Samuel Pepys’s Diary”.

Biographical studies

Several detailed studies of Pepys’ life are available. Arthur Bryant published his three-volume study in 1933–1938, long before the definitive edition of the diary, but, thanks to Bryant’s lively style, it is still of interest. In 1974 Richard Ollard produced a new biography that drew on Latham’s and Matthew’s work on the text, benefitting from the author’s deep knowledge of Restoration politics. Other biographies include: Samuel Pepys: A Life, by Stephen Coote (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2000) and, Samuel Pepys and His World, by Geoffrey Trease (London: Thames and Hudson, 1972).

The most recent general study is by Claire Tomalin, which won the 2002 Whitbread Book of the Year award, the judges calling it a “rich, thoughtful and deeply satisfying” account that unearths “a wealth of material about the uncharted life of Samuel Pepys”.

Samuel Pepys (Part I)

Samuel Pepys FRS (/piːps/ PEEPS; 23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalization of the Royal Navy.

The detailed private diary that Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War, and the Great Fire of London.

Early life

Bookplate, c. 1680–1690, with arms of Samuel Pepys: Quarterly 1st & 4th: Sable, on a bend or between two nag’s heads erased argent three fleurs-de-lis of the field (Pepys); 2nd & 3rd: Gules, a lion rampant within a bordure engrailed or (Talbot). Samuel Pepys was descended from John Pepys who married Elizabeth Talbot, the heiress of Cottenham in Cambridgeshire. The Pepys arms are borne by the Pepys family, Earls of Cottenham.

Pepys was born in Salisbury Court, Fleet Street, London on 23 February 1633, the son of John Pepys (1601–1680), a tailor, and Margaret Pepys (née Kite; died 1667), daughter of a Whitechapel butcher.  His great uncle Talbot Pepys was Recorder and briefly Member of Parliament (MP) for Cambridge in 1625. His father’s first cousin Sir Richard Pepys was elected MP for Sudbury in 1640, appointed Baron of the Exchequer on 30 May 1654, and appointed Lord Chief Justice of Ireland on 25 September 1655.

Pepys was the fifth of eleven children, but child mortality was high and he was soon the oldest survivor. He was baptised at St Bride’s Church on 3 March 1633.  Pepys did not spend all of his infancy in London; for a while, he was sent to live with nurse Goody Lawrence at Kingsland, just north of the city.  In about 1644, Pepys attended Huntingdon Grammar School before being educated at St Paul’s School, London, c. 1646–1650.  He attended the execution of Charles I in 1649.

In 1650, he went to the University of Cambridge, having received two exhibitions from St Paul’s School (perhaps owing to the influence of Sir George Downing, who was chairman of the judges and for whom he later worked at the Exchequer) and a grant from the Mercers’ Company.  In October, he was admitted as a sizar to Magdalene College; he moved there in March 1651 and took his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1654.

Later in 1654 or early in 1655, he entered the household of one of his father’s cousins, Sir Edward Montagu, who was later created the 1st Earl of Sandwich.

Pepys married fourteen-year-old Elisabeth de St Michel, a descendant of French Huguenot immigrants, first in a religious ceremony on 10 October 1655 and later in a civil ceremony on 1 December 1655 at St Margaret’s, Westminster.


From a young age, Pepys suffered from bladder stones in his urinary tract—a condition from which his mother and brother John also later suffered.  He was almost never without pain, as well as other symptoms, including “blood in the urine” (hematuria). By the time of his marriage, the condition was very severe.

In 1657 Pepys decided to undergo surgery; not an easy option, as the operation was known to be especially painful and hazardous. Nevertheless, Pepys consulted surgeon Thomas Hollier and, on 26 March 1658, the operation took place in a bedroom in the house of Pepys’ cousin Jane Turner.  Pepys’ stone was successfully removed and he resolved to hold a celebration on every anniversary of the operation, which he did for several years.  However, there were long-term effects from the operation. The incision on his bladder broke open again late in his life. The procedure may have left him sterile, though there is no direct evidence for this, as he was childless before the operation.  In mid-1658 Pepys moved to Axe Yard, near the modern Downing Street. He worked as a teller in the Exchequer under George Downing.

The diary

On 1 January 1660 (“1 January 1659/1660” in contemporary terms), Pepys began to keep a diary. He recorded his daily life for almost ten years. This record of a decade of Pepys’ life is more than a million words long and is often regarded as Britain’s most celebrated diary.  Pepys has been called the greatest diarist of all time due to his frankness in writing concerning his own weaknesses and the accuracy with which he records events of daily British life and major events in the 17th century.  Pepys wrote about the contemporary court and theatre (including his amorous affairs with the actresses), his household and major political and social occurrences.

Historians have been using his diary to gain greater insight and understanding of life in London in the 17th century. Pepys wrote consistently on subjects such as personal finances, the time he got up in the morning, the weather, and what he ate. He wrote at length about his new watch which he was very proud of (and which had an alarm, a new accessory at the time), a country visitor who did not enjoy his time in London because he felt that it was too crowded, and his cat waking him up at one in the morning.  Pepys’ diary is one of a very few sources which provides such length in details of everyday life of an upper-middle-class man during the seventeenth century.

Aside from day-to-day activities, Pepys also commented on the significant and turbulent events of his nation. England was in disarray when he began writing his diary. Oliver Cromwell had died just a few years before, creating a period of civil unrest and a large power vacuum to be filled. Pepys had been a strong supporter of Cromwell, but he converted to the Royalist cause upon the Protector’s death. He was on the ship that brought Charles II home to England. He gave a firsthand account of events, such as the coronation of King Charles II and the Restoration of the British Monarchy to the throne, the Anglo-Dutch war, the Great Plague, and the Great Fire of London.

Pepys did not plan on his contemporaries ever seeing his diary, which is evident from the fact that he wrote in shorthand and sometimes in a “code” of various Spanish, French, and Italian words (especially when describing his illicit affairs).  However, Pepys often juxtaposed profanities in his native English amidst his “code” of foreign words, a practice which would reveal the details to any casual reader. He did intend future generations to see the diary, as evidenced by its inclusion in his library and its catalogue before his death along with the shorthand guide he used and the elaborate planning by which he ensured his library survived intact after his death.

The women whom he pursued, his friends, and his dealings are all laid out. His diary reveals his jealousies, insecurities, trivial concerns, and his fractious relationship with his wife. It has been an important account of London in the 1660s. The juxtaposition of his commentary on politics and national events, alongside the very personal, can be seen from the beginning. His opening paragraphs, written in January 1660, begin:

Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain but upon taking of cold. I lived in Axe yard, having my wife and servant Jane, and no more in family than us three. My wife, after the absence of her terms for seven weeks, gave me hopes of her being with child, but on the last day of the year she hath them again. The condition of the State was thus. Viz. the Rump, after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert, was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the army all forced to yield. Lawson lie[s] still in the River and Monke is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert is not yet come in to the Parliament; nor is it expected that he will, without being forced to it.— Diary of Samuel Pepys, January 1660.

The entries from the first few months were filled with news of General George Monck’s march on London. In April and May of that year, he was encountering problems with his wife, and he accompanied Montagu’s fleet to the Netherlands to bring Charles II back from exile. Montagu was made Earl of Sandwich on 18 June, and Pepys secured the position of Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board on 13 July.  As secretary to the board, Pepys was entitled to a £350 annual salary plus the various gratuities and benefits that came with the job–including bribes. He rejected an offer of £1,000 for the position from a rival and soon afterwards moved to official accommodation in Seething Lane in the City of London.

Pepys stopped writing his diary in 1669. His eyesight began to trouble him and he feared that writing in dim light was damaging his eyes. He did imply in his last entries that he might have others write his diary for him, but doing so would result in a loss of privacy and it seems that he never went through with those plans. In the end, Pepys’ fears were unjustified and he lived another 34 years without going blind, but he never took to writing his diary again.

However, Pepys dictated a journal for two months in 1669–70 as a record of his dealings with the Commissioners of Accounts at that period.   He also kept a diary for a few months in 1683 when he was sent to Tangier, Morocco as the most senior civil servant in the navy, during the English evacuation. The diary mostly covers work-related matters.

Public life

On the Navy Board, Pepys proved to be a more able and efficient worker than colleagues in higher positions. This often annoyed Pepys and provoked much harsh criticism in his diary. Among his colleagues were Admiral Sir William Penn, Sir George Carteret, Sir John Mennes and Sir William Batten.

Pepys learned arithmetic from a private tutor and used models of ships to make up for his lack of first-hand nautical experience, and ultimately came to play a significant role in the board’s activities. In September 1660, he was made a Justice of the Peace; on 15 February 1662, Pepys was admitted as a Younger Brother of Trinity House; and on 30 April, he received the freedom of Portsmouth. Through Sandwich, he was involved in the administration of the short-lived English colony at Tangier. He joined the Tangier committee in August 1662 when the colony was first founded and became its treasurer in 1665. In 1663, he independently negotiated a £3,000 contract for Norwegian masts, demonstrating the freedom of action that his superior abilities allowed. He was appointed to a commission of the royal fishery on 8 April 1664.

Pepys’ job required him to meet many people to dispense money and make contracts. He often laments how he “lost his labour” having gone to some appointment at a coffee house or tavern, only to discover that the person whom he was seeking was not there. These occasions were a constant source of frustration to Pepys.

Major events

Pepys’ diary provides a first-hand account of the Restoration, and it is also notable for its detailed accounts of several major events of the 1660s, along with the lesser known diary of John Evelyn. In particular, it is an invaluable source for the study of the Second Anglo-Dutch War of 1665–7, the Great Plague of 1665, and the Great Fire of London in 1666. In relation to the Plague and Fire, C. S. Knighton has written: “From its reporting of these two disasters to the metropolis in which he thrived, Pepys’ diary has become a national monument.”  Robert Latham, editor of the definitive edition of the diary, remarks concerning the Plague and Fire: “His descriptions of both—agonizingly vivid—achieve their effect by being something more than superlative reporting; they are written with compassion. As always with Pepys it is people, not literary effects, which matter.”

Second Anglo-Dutch War

In early 1665, the start of the Second Anglo-Dutch War placed great pressure on Pepys. His colleagues were either engaged elsewhere or incompetent, and Pepys had to conduct a great deal of business himself. He excelled under the pressure, which was extreme due to the complexity and under-funding of the Royal Navy.  At the outset, he proposed a centralized approach to supplying the fleet. His idea was accepted, and he was made surveyor-general of victualling in October 1665. The position brought a further £300 a year.

Pepys wrote about the Second Anglo-Dutch War: “In all things, in wisdom, courage, force and success, the Dutch have the best of us and do end the war with victory on their side”. And King Charles II said: “Don’t fight the Dutch, imitate them”.

In 1667, with the war lost, Pepys helped to discharge the navy.  The Dutch had defeated England on open water and now began to threaten English soil itself. In June 1667, they conducted their Raid on the Medway, broke the defensive chain at Gillingham, and towed away the Royal Charles, one of the Royal Navy’s most important ships. As he had done during the Fire and the Plague, Pepys again removed his wife and his gold from London.

The Dutch raid was a major concern in itself, but Pepys was personally placed under a different kind of pressure: the Navy Board and his role as Clerk of the Acts came under scrutiny from the public and from Parliament. The war ended in August and, on 17 October, the House of Commons created a committee of “miscarriages”.  On 20 October, a list was demanded from Pepys of ships and commanders at the time of the division of the fleet in 1666.  However, these demands were actually quite desirable for him, as tactical and strategic mistakes were not the responsibility of the Navy Board.

The Board did face some allegations regarding the Medway raid, but they could exploit the criticism already attracted by commissioner of Chatham Peter Pett to deflect criticism from themselves. The committee accepted this tactic when they reported in February 1668. The Board was, however, criticized for its use of tickets to pay seamen. These tickets could only be exchanged for cash at the Navy’s treasury in London.  Pepys made a long speech at the bar of the Commons on 5 March 1668 defending this practice. It was, in the words of C. S. Knighton, a “virtuoso performance”.

The commission was followed by an investigation led by a more powerful authority, the commissioners of accounts. They met at Brooke House, Holborn and spent two years scrutinizing how the war had been financed. In 1669, Pepys had to prepare detailed answers to the committee’s eight “Observations” on the Navy Board’s conduct. In 1670, he was forced to defend his own role. A seaman’s ticket with Pepys’ name on it was produced as incontrovertible evidence of his corrupt dealings but, thanks to the intervention of the king, Pepys emerged from the sustained investigation relatively unscathed.

Great Plague

Outbreaks of plague were not particularly unusual events in London; major epidemics had occurred in 1592, 1603, 1625 and 1636.  Furthermore, Pepys was not among the group of people who were most at risk. He did not live in cramped housing, he did not routinely mix with the poor, and he was not required to keep his family in London in the event of a crisis.  It was not until June 1665 that the unusual seriousness of the plague became apparent, so Pepys’ activities in the first five months of 1665 were not significantly affected by it.  Indeed, Claire Tomalin writes that “the most notable fact about Pepys’ plague year is that to him it was one of the happiest of his life.” In 1665, he worked very hard, and the outcome was that he quadrupled his fortune.  In his annual summary on 31 December, he wrote, “I have never lived so merrily (besides that I never got so much) as I have done this plague time”.  Nonetheless, Pepys was certainly concerned about the plague. On 16 August he wrote:

But, Lord! how sad a sight it is to see the streets empty of people, and very few upon the ‘Change. Jealous of every door that one sees shut up, lest it should be the plague; and about us two shops in three, if not more, generally shut up.— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday, 16 August 1665.

He also chewed tobacco as a protection against infection, and worried that wig-makers might be using hair from the corpses as a raw material. Furthermore, it was Pepys who suggested that the Navy Office should evacuate to Greenwich, although he did offer to remain in town himself. He later took great pride in his stoicism.  Meanwhile, Elisabeth Pepys was sent to Woolwich.  She did not return to Seething Lane until January 1666, and was shocked by the sight of St Olave’s churchyard, where 300 people had been buried.

Great Fire of London

In the early hours of 2 September 1666, Pepys was awakened by his servant who had spotted a fire in the Billingsgate area. He decided that the fire was not particularly serious and returned to bed. Shortly after waking, his servant returned and reported that 300 houses had been destroyed and that London Bridge was threatened. Pepys went to the Tower to get a better view. Without returning home, he took a boat and observed the fire for over an hour. In his diary, Pepys recorded his observations as follows:

I down to the water-side, and there got a boat and through bridge, and there saw a lamentable fire. Poor Michell’s house, as far as the Old Swan, already burned that way, and the fire running further, that in a very little time it got as far as the Steeleyard, while I was there. Everybody endeavoring to remove their goods, and flinging into the river or bringing them into lighters that layoff; poor people staying in their houses as long as till the very fire touched them, and then running into boats, or clambering from one pair of stairs by the water-side to another. And among other things, the poor pigeons, I perceive, were loth to leave their houses, but hovered about the windows and balcony’s till they were, some of them burned, their wings, and fell down. Having staid, and in an hour’s time seen the fire: rage every way, and nobody, to my sight, endeavoring to quench it, but to remove their goods, and leave all to the fire, and having seen it get as far as the Steele-yard, and the wind mighty high and driving it into the City; and everything, after so long a drought, proving combustible, even the very stones of churches, and among other things the poor steeple by which pretty Mrs.———— lives, and whereof my old school-fellow Elborough is parson, taken fire in the very top, and there burned till it fell down…— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday, 2 September 1666.

The wind was driving the fire westward, so he ordered the boat to go to Whitehall and became the first person to inform the king of the fire. According to his entry of 2 September 1666, Pepys recommended to the king that homes be pulled down in the path of the fire in order to stem its progress. Accepting this advice, the king told him to go to Lord Mayor Thomas Bloodworth and tell him to start pulling down houses. Pepys took a coach back as far as St Paul’s Cathedral before setting off on foot through the burning city. He found the Lord Mayor, who said, “Lord! What can I do? I am spent: people will not obey me. I have been pulling down houses; but the fire overtakes us faster than we can do it.” At noon, he returned home and “had an extraordinary good dinner, and as merry, as at this time we could be”, before returning to watch the fire in the city once more. Later, he returned to Whitehall, and then met his wife in St. James’s Park. In the evening, they watched the fire from the safety of Bankside. Pepys writes that “it made me weep to see it”. Returning home, Pepys met his clerk Tom Hayter who had lost everything. Hearing news that the fire was advancing, he started to pack up his possessions by moonlight.

A cart arrived at 4 a.m. on 3 September and Pepys spent much of the day arranging the removal of his possessions. Many of his valuables, including his diary, were sent to a friend from the Navy Office at Bethnal Green.  At night, he “fed upon the remains of yesterday’s dinner, having no fire nor dishes, nor any opportunity of dressing anything.” The next day, Pepys continued to arrange the removal of his possessions. By then, he believed that Seething Lane was in grave danger, so he suggested calling men from Deptford to help pull down houses and defend the king’s property.  He described the chaos in the city and his curious attempt at saving his own goods:

Sir W. Pen and I to Tower-streete, and there met the fire burning three or four doors beyond Mr. Howell’s, whose goods, poor man, his trayes, and dishes, shovells, &c., were flung all along Tower-street in the kennels, and people working therewith from one end to the other; the fire coming on in that narrow streete, on both sides, with infinite fury. Sir W. Batten not knowing how to remove his wine, did dig a pit in the garden, and laid it in there; and I took the opportunity of laying all the papers of my office that I could not otherwise dispose of. And in the evening Sir W. Pen and I did dig another, and put our wine in it; and I my Parmazan cheese, as well as my wine and some other things.— Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday, 4 September 1666.

Pepys had taken to sleeping on his office floor; on Wednesday, 5 September, he was awakened by his wife at 2 a.m. She told him that the fire had almost reached All Hallows-by-the-Tower and that it was at the foot of Seething Lane. He decided to send her and his gold—about £2,350—to Woolwich. In the following days, Pepys witnessed looting, disorder, and disruption. On 7 September, he went to Paul’s Wharf and saw the ruins of St Paul’s Cathedral, of his old school, of his father’s house, and of the house in which he had had his stone removed.  Despite all this destruction, Pepys’ house, office, and diary were saved.

Limerick Soviet

The Limerick Soviet (Irish: Sóibhéid Luimnigh) was a self-declared Irish soviet that existed from 15 to 27 April 1919 in County Limerick, Ireland. At the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, a general strike was organized by the Limerick Trades and Labour Council, as a protest against the British Army’s declaration of a “Special Military Area” under the Defence of the Realm Act, which covered most of Limerick city and a part of the county. The soviet ran the city for the period, printed its own money and organized the supply of food.  The Limerick Soviet was one of a number of Irish soviets declared between 1919 and 1923.


From January 1919 the Irish War of Independence developed as a guerrilla conflict between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) (backed by Sinn Féin’s Dáil Éireann), and the British government. On 6 April 1919 the IRA tried to liberate Robert Byrne, who was under arrest by the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) police in a hospital, being treated for the effects of a hunger strike. In the rescue attempt Constable Martin O’Brien was fatally wounded and another policeman was seriously injured. Byrne was also wounded and died later on the same day.

In response, on 9 April British Army Brigadier Griffin declared the city to be a Special Military Area, with RIC permits required for all wanting to enter and leave the city as of Monday 14 April.  British Army troops and armored vehicles were deployed in the city.

On Friday 11 April a meeting of the United Trades and Labour Council, to which Byrne had been a delegate, took place. At that meeting Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) representative Sean Dowling proposed that the trade unions take over Town Hall and have meetings there, but the proposal was not voted on.  On Saturday 12 April the ITGWU workers in the Cleeve’s factory in Lansdowne voted to go on strike. On Sunday 13 April, after a twelve-hour discussion and lobbying of the delegates by workers, a general strike was called by the city’s United Trades and Labour Council. Responsibility for the direction of the strike was devolved to a committee that described itself as a soviet as of 14 April.  The committee had the example of the Dublin general strike of 1913 and “soviet” (meaning a self-governing committee) had become a popular term after 1917 from the soviets that had led to the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

Media attention

Members of the Limerick Soviet

A transatlantic air race was being organized from Bawnmore in County Limerick at the same time, but was cancelled. The assembled journalists from England and America took up the story of an Irish soviet and interviewed the organizers. The Trades Council chairman John Cronin was described as the “father of the baby Soviet.” Ruth Russell of the Chicago Tribune remarked on the religiosity of the strike committee, observed “the bells of the nearby St. Munchin’s Church tolled the Angelus and all the red-badged guards rose and blessed themselves.” The Sinn Féin Mayor of Limerick, Phons O’Mara told Russell there is no prospect of socialism, as “There can’t be, the people here are Catholics.”


The general strike was extended to a boycott of the troops. A special strike committee was set up to print their own money, control food prices and publish newspapers. The businesses of the city accepted the strike currency. Outside Limerick there was some sympathy in Dublin, but not in the main Irish industrial area around Belfast. The National Union of Railwaymen did not help.

The strike committee organized food and fuel supplies, printed its own money based on the British shilling, and published its own newspaper called ‘The Worker’s Bulletin’ Cinemas opened with the sign “Working under authority of the strike committee” posted.   Local newspapers were allowed to publish once a week as long as they had the caption “Published by Permission of the Strike Committee”.

On 21 April ‘The Worker’s Bulletin’ remarked that “A new and perfect system of organisation has been worked out by a clever and gifted mind, and ere long we shall show the world what Irish workers are capable of doing when left to their own resources.” On Easter Monday 1919, the newspaper stated “The strike is a worker’s strike and is no more Sinn Féin than any other strike.”

Liam Cahill argues “The soviet attitude to private property was essentially pragmatic. So long as shopkeepers were willing to act under the soviet’s dictates, there was no practical reason to commandeer their premises.”  While the strike was described by some as a revolution, Cahill adds that: “In the end the soviet was basically an emotional and spontaneous protest on essentially nationalist and humanitarian grounds, rather than anything based on socialist or even trade union aims.”

After two weeks the Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Limerick, Phons O’Mara, and the Catholic bishop Denis Hallinan called for the strike to end, and the Strike Committee issued a proclamation on 27 April 1919 stating that the strike was over.

History of Time Capsules

A time capsule is a historic cache of goods or information, usually intended as a deliberate method of communication with future people, and to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians.  The preservation of holy relics dates back for millennia, but the practice of preparing and preserving a collection of everyday artifacts and messages to the future appears to be a more recent practice. Time capsules are sometimes created and buried during celebrations such as a world’s fair, a cornerstone laying for a building, or at other ceremonies.

Early examples

It is widely debated when time capsules were first used, but the concept is fairly simple, and the idea and first use of time capsules could be much older than is currently documented.  The term “time capsule” appears to be a relatively recent coinage dating from 1938.

Around 1761, some dated artifacts were placed inside the hollow copper grasshopper weathervane, itself dating from 1742, atop historic Faneuil Hall in Boston.

A time capsule dating to 1777 was discovered within a religious statue in Sotillo de la Ribera.  A time capsule was discovered in November 30, 2017, in Burgos, Spain. A wooden statue of Jesus Christ had hidden inside it a document with economic, political and cultural information, written by Joaquín Mínguez, chaplain of the Cathedral of Burgo de Osma in 1777.

A Revolutionary-era time capsule, dating to 1795 and credited to Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, was temporarily removed in 2014 from the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in Boston.  It had been previously opened in 1855, and some new items had been added before it was reinstalled.  It was ceremonially reopened in January 2015 at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, with specific restrictions on media coverage, to preserve the fragile artifacts. The contents were displayed there briefly, and then reinstalled in their original location.  It is the oldest known time capsule in the United States.

20th century

In 1901, a time capsule was placed inside the head of the copper lion ornamenting the Old State House in Boston. It was opened in 2014, during repairs to the sculpture and building, with plans to add new artifacts and reinstall it in its original location.

The Detroit Century Box, a brainchild of Detroit mayor William C. Maybury, was created on December 31, 1900, and scheduled to be opened 100 years later. It was filled with photographs and letters from 56 prominent residents describing life in 1900 and making predictions for the future, and included a letter by Maybury to the mayor of Detroit in 2000. The capsule was opened by city officials on December 31, 2000, in a ceremony presided over by Mayor Dennis Archer.

The Crypt of Civilization (1936) at Oglethorpe University, intended to be opened in 8113, is claimed to be the first “modern” time capsule, although it was not called one at the time. George Edward Pendray is responsible for coining the term time capsule.  During the socialist period in the USSR, many time capsules were buried with messages to a future communist society.

The 1939 New York World’s Fair time capsule was created by Westinghouse as part of their exhibit. It was 90 inches (2.3 metres) long, with an interior diameter of 6.5 inches (16 cm), and weighed 800 pounds (360 kg). Westinghouse named the copper, chromium, and silver alloy “cupaloy”, claiming it had the same strength as mild steel. It contained everyday items such as a spool of thread and doll, a book of record (description of the capsule and its creators), a vial of staple food crop seeds, a microscope, and a 15-minute RKO Pathé Pictures newsreel. Microfilm spools condensed the contents of a Sears Roebuck catalog, dictionary, almanac, and other texts.

The 1939 time capsule was followed in 1965 by a second capsule at the same site, but 10 feet (3.0 m) to the north of the original. Both capsules are buried 50 feet (15 m) below Flushing Meadows Park, site of the Fair. Both the 1939 and 1965 Westinghouse Time Capsules are meant to be opened in 6939. More recently, in 1985, Westinghouse created a smaller, Plexiglas shell to be buried beneath the New York Marriott Marquis hotel, in the heart of New York’s theater district. However, this time capsule was never put in place.

There is documentation of at least three physical time capsules at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as a “virtual” or digital time capsule.

As of 2019, four time capsules are “buried” in space. The two Pioneer Plaques and the two Voyager Golden Records have been attached to spacecraft for the possible benefit of spacefarers in the distant future. A fifth time capsule, the KEO satellite, was scheduled to be launched in 2015–16.  However, it has been delayed several times and an actual launch date has not been given. After launch, it will carry individual messages from Earth’s inhabitants addressed to earthlings around the year 52,000, when it is due to return to Earth. As of July 2019, the satellite had not been launched.

The International Time Capsule Society was created in 1990 to maintain a global database of all known time capsules.


According to time capsule historian William Jarvis, most intentional time capsules usually do not provide much useful historical information: they are typically filled with “useless junk”, new and pristine in condition, which tells little about the people of the time. Many time capsules today contain only artifacts of limited value to future historians. Historians suggest that items which describe the daily lives of the people, who created them, such as personal notes, pictures, and documents, would greatly increase the value of the time capsule to future historians.

If time capsules have a museum-like goal of preserving the culture of a particular time and place for study, they fulfill this goal very poorly in that they, by definition, are kept sealed for a particular length of time. Subsequent generations between the launch date and the target date will have no direct access to the artifacts and therefore these generations are prevented from learning from the contents directly. Therefore, time capsules can be seen, in respect to their usefulness to historians, as dormant museums, their releases timed for some date so far in the future that the building in question is no longer intact.

Historians also concede that there are many preservation issues surrounding the selection of the media to transmit this information to the future.  Some of these issues include the obsolescence of technology and the deterioration of electronic and magnetic storage media (known as the digital dark age), and possible language problems if the capsule is dug up in the distant future. Many buried time capsules are lost, as interest in them fades and the exact location is forgotten, or they are destroyed within a few years by groundwater.

Archives and archival materials, including videos, might be the best types of time capsules, as long as the medium can still be used, or the data can be read by the latest technologies and software.

Cultural references

The 1947 docudrama The Beginning or the End is a semi-historical account of the creation of the first atomic bomb during World War II. The film begins with staged newsreel footage of the scientists and officers involved in the project (played by actors) burying a time capsule in Redwood National Forest in California. The capsule contained a copy of the film, along with a projector to view it on, and instructions for its operation set on a metal sheet. The purpose of the capsule was in line with the film’s title, about whether humanity will destroy itself now that it has the ability to, or whether it will rise above war as a whole and come together to use nuclear power for greater purposes. The film can be seen as an example of Cold War propaganda.

The 2009 dramatic film Knowing involves a time capsule being placed in the ground by an elementary school in 1959. After staring into the sun, a girl begins to hear voices and later begins to frantically write an incoherent set of numbers down onto a page that she is supposed to be writing a letter to a student in the future with. The capsule is sealed and opened in 2009 where the character John Koestler realizes that the list of numbers correlates to the dates and death tolls of major disasters, such as the September 11 attacks, the Lockerbie bombing, and other events resulting in mass death which occurred after the time capsule was buried, after his son Caleb Koestler receives the letter and brings it home.

Artists such as Andy Warhol, Christian Boltanski, and Louise Bourgeois are known for compiling collections of everyday artifacts that they associate with memories of the past, which are preserved in museums and archives.

Personal and domestic time capsules

Commercially-manufactured sealable containers are sold for protection of personal time capsules; some of the more durable waterproof containers used for geocaching may also be suitable. Many underground time capsules are destroyed by groundwater infiltration after short periods of time; caches stored within the wall cavities of buildings can survive as long as the building is used and maintained.

In 2016, the art collective Ant Farm displayed a show, The Present Is the Form of All Life: The Time Capsules of Ant Farm and LST, at the art center Pioneer Works, in Brooklyn, New York. The artists had previous experiences with failed time capsules, and were now exploring “digital time capsules” as a more durable form of preservation.  They have said, “We’ve come to understand that the best way to preserve digital media is to distribute it.”   Researchers have started to study methods of preserving digital data in forms that will still be usable in the distant future.

Chester A. Arthur (Part II)

Vice presidency

After the election, Arthur worked in vain to persuade Garfield to fill certain positions with his fellow New York Stalwarts—especially that of the Secretary of the Treasury; the Stalwart machine received a further rebuke when Garfield appointed Blaine, Conkling’s arch-enemy, as Secretary of State.  The running mates, never close, detached as Garfield continued to freeze out the Stalwarts from his patronage. Arthur’s status in the administration diminished when, a month before inauguration day, he gave a speech before reporters suggesting the election in Indiana, a swing state, had been won by Republicans through illegal machinations.  Garfield ultimately appointed a Stalwart, Thomas Lemuel James, to be Postmaster General, but the cabinet fight and Arthur’s ill-considered speech left the President and Vice President clearly estranged when they took office on March 4, 1881.

The Senate in the 47th United States Congress was divided among 37 Republicans, 37 Democrats, one independent (David Davis) who caucused with the Democrats, one Readjuster (William Mahone), and four vacancies.  Immediately, the Democrats attempted to organize the Senate, knowing that the vacancies would soon be filled by Republicans.  As vice president, Arthur cast tie-breaking votes in favor of the Republicans when Mahone opted to join their caucus.  Even so, the Senate remained deadlocked for two months over Garfield’s nominations because of Conkling’s opposition to some of them.  Just before going into recess in May 1881, the situation became more complicated when Conkling and the other Senator from New York, Thomas C. Platt, resigned in protest of Garfield’s continuing opposition to their faction.

With the Senate in recess, Arthur had no duties in Washington and returned to New York City.  Once there, he traveled with Conkling to Albany, where the former Senator hoped for a quick re-election to the Senate, and with it, a defeat for the Garfield administration.  The Republican majority in the state legislature was divided on the question, to Conkling and Platt’s surprise, and an intense campaign in the state house ensued.

While in Albany on July 2, Arthur learned that Garfield had been shot.  The assassin, Charles J. Guiteau, was a deranged office-seeker who believed that Garfield’s successor would appoint him to a patronage job. He proclaimed to onlookers: “I am a Stalwart, and Arthur will be President!”   Guiteau was found to be mentally unstable, and despite his claims to be a Stalwart supporter of Arthur, they had only a tenuous connection that dated from the 1880 campaign.  29 days before his execution for shooting Garfield, Guiteau composed a lengthy, unpublished poem claiming that Arthur knew the assassination had saved “our land [the United States]”. Guiteau’s poem also states he had (incorrectly) presumed that Arthur would pardon him for the assassination.

More troubling was the lack of legal guidance on presidential succession: as Garfield lingered near death, no one was sure who, if anyone could exercise presidential authority.   Also, after Conkling’s resignation, the Senate had adjourned without electing a president pro tempore, who would normally follow Arthur in the succession.   Arthur was reluctant to be seen acting as president while Garfield lived, and for the next two months there was a void of authority in the executive office, with Garfield too weak to carry out his duties, and Arthur reluctant to assume them.  Through the summer, Arthur refused to travel to Washington and was at his Lexington Avenue home when, on the night of September 19, he learned that Garfield had died.   Judge John R. Brady of the New York Supreme Court administered the oath of office in Arthur’s home at 2:15 a.m. on September 20. Later that day he took a train to Long Branch to pay his respects to Garfield and to leave a card of sympathy for his wife, afterwards returning to New York City. On the 21st, he returned to Long Branch to take part in Garfield’s funeral, and then joined the funeral train to Washington.   Before leaving New York, he ensured the presidential line of succession by preparing and mailing to the White House a proclamation calling for a Senate special session. This step ensured that the Senate had legal authority to convene immediately and choose a Senate president pro tempore, who would be able to assume the presidency if Arthur died. Once in Washington he destroyed the mailed proclamation and issued a formal call for a special session.

Presidency 1881–1885

Taking office

Arthur arrived in Washington, D.C. on September 21.  On September 22, he re-took the oath of office, this time before Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite. Arthur took this step to ensure procedural compliance; there had been a lingering question about whether a state court judge (Brady) could administer a federal oath of office.  He initially took up residence at the home of Senator John P. Jones, while a White House remodeling he had ordered was carried out, including addition of an elaborate fifty-foot glass screen by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Arthur’s sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, served as White House hostess for her widowed brother; Arthur became Washington’s most eligible bachelor and his social life became the subject of rumors, though romantically, he remained singularly devoted to the memory of his late wife.   His son, Chester Jr., was then a freshman at Princeton University and his daughter, Nell, stayed in New York with a governess until 1882; when she arrived, Arthur shielded her from the intrusive press as much as he could.

Arthur quickly came into conflict with Garfield’s cabinet, most of whom represented his opposition within the party. He asked the cabinet members to remain until December, when Congress would reconvene, but Treasury Secretary William Windom submitted his resignation in October to enter a Senate race in his home state of Minnesota.  Arthur then selected Charles J. Folger, his friend and fellow New York Stalwart as Windom’s replacement.  Attorney General Wayne MacVeagh next to resign, believed that, as a reformer, he had no place in an Arthur cabinet.   Despite Arthur’s personal appeal to remain, MacVeagh resigned in December 1881 and Arthur replaced him with Benjamin H. Brewster, a Philadelphia lawyer and machine politician reputed to have reformist leanings.  Blaine, nemesis of the Stalwart faction, remained Secretary of State until Congress reconvened, then departed immediately.  Conkling expected Arthur to appoint him in Blaine’s place, but the President chose Frederick T. Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, a Stalwart recommended by ex-President Grant.  Frelinghuysen advised Arthur not to fill any future vacancies with Stalwarts, but when Postmaster General James resigned in January 1882, Arthur selected Timothy O. Howe, a Wisconsin Stalwart.  Navy Secretary William H. Hunt was next to resign, in April 1882, and Arthur attempted a more balanced approach by appointing Half-Breed William E. Chandler to the post, on Blaine’s recommendation.  Finally, when Interior Secretary Samuel J. Kirkwood resigned that same month, Arthur appointed Henry M. Teller, a Colorado Stalwart to the office.   Of the Cabinet members Arthur had inherited from Garfield, only Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln remained for the entirety of Arthur’s term.

Civil service reform

In the 1870s, a scandal was exposed, in which contractors for star postal routes were greatly overpaid for their services with the connivance of government officials (including Second Assistant Postmaster General Thomas J. Brady and former Senator Stephen Wallace Dorsey).  Reformers feared Arthur, as a former supporter of the spoils system, would not commit to continuing the investigation into the scandal.  But Arthur’s Attorney General, Brewster, did in fact continue the investigations begun by MacVeagh, and hired notable Democratic lawyers William W. Ker and Richard T. Merrick to strengthen the prosecution team and forestall the skeptics.  Although Arthur had worked closely with Dorsey before his presidency, once in office he supported the investigation and forced the resignation of officials suspected in the scandal.   An 1882 trial of the ringleaders resulted in convictions for two minor conspirators and a hung jury for the rest.   After a juror came forward with allegations that the defendants attempted to bribe him, the judge set aside the guilty verdicts and granted a new trial.   Before the second trial began, Arthur removed five federal office holders who were sympathetic with the defense, including a former Senator.   The second trial began in December 1882 and lasted until July 1883 and, again, did not result in a guilty verdict.  Failure to obtain a conviction tarnished the administration’s image, but Arthur did succeed in putting a stop to the fraud.

Garfield’s assassination by a deranged office seeker amplified the public demand for civil service reform.  Both Democratic and Republican leaders realized that they could attract the votes of reformers by turning against the spoils system and, by 1882; a bipartisan effort began in favor of reform.  In 1880, Democratic Senator George H. Pendleton of Ohio introduced legislation that required selection of civil servants based on merit as determined by an examination. This legislation greatly expanded similar civil service reforms attempted by President Franklin Pierce 30 years earlier. In his first annual presidential address to Congress in 1881, Arthur requested civil service reform legislation and Pendleton again introduced his bill, but Congress did not pass it.  Republicans lost seats in the 1882 congressional elections, in which Democrats campaigned on the reform issue.  As a result, the lame-duck session of Congress was more amenable to civil service reform; the Senate approved Pendleton’s bill 38–5 and the House soon concurred by a vote of 155–47.  Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act into law on January 16, 1883.  In just two years’ time, an unrepentant Stalwart had become the president who ushered in long-awaited civil service reform.

At first, the act applied only to 10% of federal jobs and, without proper implementation by the president, it could have gone no further.  Even after he signed the act into law, its proponents doubted Arthur’s commitment to reform.  To their surprise, he acted quickly to appoint the members of the Civil Service Commission that the law created, naming reformers Dorman Bridgman Eaton, John Milton Gregory, and Leroy D. Thoman as commissioners.  The chief examiner, Silas W. Burt, was a long-time reformer who had been Arthur’s opponent when the two men worked at the New York Custom House.   The commission issued its first rules in May 1883; by 1884, half of all postal officials and three-quarters of the Customs Service jobs were to be awarded by merit.  That year, Arthur expressed satisfaction with the new system, praising its effectiveness “in securing competent and faithful public servants and in protecting the appointing officers of the Government from the pressure of personal importunity and from the labor of examining the claims and pretensions of rival candidates for public employment.”

Surplus and the tariff

With high revenue held over from wartime taxes, the federal government had collected more than it spent since 1866; by 1882 the surplus reached $145 million.  Opinions varied on how to balance the budget; the Democrats wished to lower tariffs, in order to reduce revenues and the cost of imported goods, while Republicans believed that high tariffs ensured high wages in manufacturing and mining. They preferred the government spend more on internal improvements and reduce excise taxes.  Arthur agreed with his party, and in 1882 called for the abolition of excise taxes on everything except liquor, as well as a simplification of the complex tariff structure.  In May of that year, Representative William D. Kelley of Pennsylvania introduced a bill to establish a tariff commission; the bill passed and Arthur signed it into law but appointed mostly protectionists to the committee. Republicans were pleased with the committee’s make-up but were surprised when, in December 1882, they submitted a report to Congress calling for tariff cuts averaging between 20 and 25%. The commission’s recommendations were ignored, however, as the House Ways and Means Committee, dominated by protectionists, provided a 10% reduction.   After conference with the Senate, the bill that emerged only reduced tariffs by an average of 1.47%. The bill passed both houses narrowly on March 3, 1883, the last full day of the 47th Congress; Arthur signed the measure into law, with no effect on the surplus.

Congress attempted to balance the budget from the other side of the ledger, with increased spending on the 1882 Rivers and Harbors Act in the unprecedented amount of $19 million.  While Arthur was not opposed to internal improvements, the scale of the bill disturbed him, as did its narrow focus on “particular localities,” rather than projects that benefited a larger part of the nation.  On August 1, 1882, Arthur vetoed the bill to widespread popular acclaim; in his veto message, his principal objection was that it appropriated funds for purposes “not for the common defense or general welfare, and which do not promote commerce among the States.”  Congress overrode his veto the next day and the new law reduced the surplus by $19 million.  Republicans considered the law a success at the time, but later concluded that it contributed to their loss of seats in the elections of 1882.

Foreign affairs and immigration

During the Garfield administration, Secretary of State James G. Blaine attempted to invigorate United States diplomacy in Latin America, urging reciprocal trade agreements and offering to mediate disputes among the Latin American nations. Blaine, venturing a greater involvement in affairs south of the Rio Grande, proposed a Pan-American conference in 1882 to discuss trade and an end to the War of the Pacific being fought by Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.  Blaine did not remain in office long enough to see the effort through, and when Frederick T. Frelinghuysen replaced him at the end of 1881, the conference efforts lapsed.  Frelinghuysen also discontinued Blaine’s peace efforts in the War of the Pacific, fearing that the United States might be drawn into the conflict.  Arthur and Frelinghuysen continued Blaine’s efforts to encourage trade among the nations of the Western Hemisphere; a treaty with Mexico providing for reciprocal tariff reductions was signed in 1882 and approved by the Senate in 1884.  Legislation required to bring the treaty into force failed in the House, however, rendering it a dead letter.  Similar efforts at reciprocal trade treaties with Santo Domingo and Spain’s American colonies were defeated by February 1885, and an existing reciprocity treaty with the Kingdom of Hawaii was allowed to lapse.

The 47th Congress spent a great deal of time on immigration, and at times was in accord with Arthur.  In July 1882 Congress easily passed a bill regulating steamships that carried immigrants to the United States. To their surprise, Arthur vetoed it and requested revisions, which they made and Arthur then approved.  He also signed in August of that year the Immigration Act of 1882, which levied a 50-cent tax on immigrants to the United States, and excluded from entry the mentally ill, the intellectually disabled, criminals, or any other person potentially dependent upon public assistance.

A more contentious debate materialized over the status of Chinese immigrants; in January 1868, the Senate had ratified the Burlingame Treaty with China, allowing an unrestricted flow of Chinese into the country. As the economy soured after the Panic of 1873, Chinese immigrants were blamed for depressing workmen’s wages; in reaction Congress in 1879 attempted to abrogate the 1868 treaty by passing the Chinese Exclusion Act, but President Hayes vetoed it.  Three years later, after China had agreed to treaty revisions, Congress tried again to exclude Chinese immigrants; Senator John F. Miller of California introduced another Chinese Exclusion Act that denied Chinese immigrants United States citizenship and banned their immigration for a twenty-year period.  The bill passed the Senate and House by overwhelming margins, but this as well was vetoed by Arthur, who concluded the 20-year ban to be a breach of the renegotiated treaty of 1880. That treaty allowed only a “reasonable” suspension of immigration. Eastern newspapers praised the veto, while it was condemned in the Western states. Congress was unable to override the veto, but passed a new bill reducing the immigration ban to ten years. Although he still objected to this denial of citizenship to Chinese immigrants, Arthur acceded to the compromise measure, signing the Chinese Exclusion Act into law on May 6, 1882.

Naval reform

In the years following the Civil War, American naval power declined precipitously, shrinking from nearly 700 vessels to just 52, most of which were obsolete. The nation’s military focus over the fifteen years before Garfield and Arthur’s election had been on the Indian wars in the West, rather than the high seas, but as the region was increasingly pacified, many in Congress grew concerned at the poor state of the Navy.  Garfield’s Secretary of the Navy, William H. Hunt, advocated reform of the Navy and his successor, William E. Chandler, appointed an advisory board to prepare a report on modernization.  Based on the suggestions in the report, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of three steel protected cruisers (Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago) and an armed dispatch-steamer (Dolphin), collectively known as the ABCD Ships or the Squadron of Evolution.  Congress also approved funds to rebuild four monitors (Puritan, Amphitrite, Monadnock, and Terror), which had lain uncompleted since 1877. The contracts to build the ABCD ships were all awarded to the low bidder, John Roach & Sons of Chester, Pennsylvania, even though Roach once employed Secretary Chandler as a lobbyist.   Democrats turned against the “New Navy” projects and, when they won control of the 48th Congress, refused to appropriate funds for seven more steel warships.  Even without the additional ships, the state of the Navy improved when, after several construction delays, the last of the new ships entered service in 1889.

Civil rights

Like his Republican predecessors, Arthur struggled with the question of how his party was to challenge the Democrats in the South and how, if at all, to protect the civil rights of black southerners.  Since the end of Reconstruction, conservative white Democrats (or “Bourbon Democrats”) had regained power in the South, and the Republican Party dwindled rapidly as their primary supporters in the region, blacks, were disenfranchised.  One crack in the solidly Democratic South emerged with the growth of a new party, the Readjusters, in Virginia.  Having won an election in that state on a platform of more education funding (for black and white schools alike) and abolition of the poll tax and the whipping post, many northern Republicans saw the Readjusters as a more viable ally in the South than the moribund southern Republican party.  Arthur agreed, and directed the federal patronage in Virginia through the Readjusters rather than the Republicans.  He followed the same pattern in other Southern states, forging coalitions with independents and Greenback Party members.  Some black Republicans felt betrayed by the pragmatic gambit, but others (including Frederick Douglass and ex-Senator Blanche K. Bruce) endorsed the administration’s actions, as the Southern independents had more liberal racial policies than the Democrats.  Arthur’s coalition policy was only successful in Virginia, however, and by 1885 the Readjuster movement began to collapse with the election of a Democratic president.

Other federal action on behalf of blacks was equally ineffective: when the Supreme Court struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in the Civil Rights Cases (1883), Arthur expressed his disagreement with the decision in a message to Congress, but was unable to persuade Congress to pass any new legislation in its place.  Arthur did, however, effectively intervene to overturn a court-martial ruling against a black West Point cadet, Johnson Whittaker, after the Judge Advocate General of the Army, David G. Swaim, found the prosecution’s case against Whittaker to be illegal and based on racial bias.  The administration faced a different challenge in the West, where the LDS Church was under government pressure to stop the practice of polygamy in Utah Territory.  Garfield had believed polygamy was criminal behavior and was morally detrimental to family values, and Arthur’s views were, for once, in line with his predecessor’s.  In 1882, he signed the Edmunds Act into law; the legislation made polygamy a federal crime, barring polygamists both from public office and the right to vote.

Native American policy

The Arthur administration was challenged by changing relations with western Native American tribes. The American Indian Wars were winding down, and public sentiment was shifting toward more favorable treatment of Native Americans. Arthur urged Congress to increase funding for Native American education, which it did in 1884, although not to the extent he wished.  He also favored a move to the allotment system, under which individual Native Americans, rather than tribes, would own land. Arthur was unable to convince Congress to adopt the idea during his administration but, in 1887, the Dawes Act changed the law to favor such a system.  The allotment system was favored by liberal reformers at the time, but eventually proved detrimental to Native Americans as most of their land was resold at low prices to white speculators.  During Arthur’s presidency, settlers and cattle ranchers continued to encroach on Native American territory.  Arthur initially resisted their efforts, but after Secretary of the Interior Henry M. Teller, an opponent of allotment, assured him that the lands were not protected, Arthur opened up the Crow Creek Reservation in the Dakota Territory to settlers by executive order in 1885.  Arthur’s successor, Grover Cleveland, finding that title belonged to the Native Americans, revoked Arthur’s order a few months later.

Health, travel, and 1884 election

Shortly after becoming president, Arthur was diagnosed with Bright’s disease, a kidney ailment now referred to as nephritis. He attempted to keep his condition private, but by 1883 rumors of his illness began to circulate; he had become thinner and more aged in appearance, and struggled to keep the pace of the presidency. To rejuvenate his health outside the confines of Washington, Arthur and some political friends traveled to Florida in April 1883.  The vacation had the opposite effect, and Arthur suffered from intense pain before returning to Washington.  Later that year, on the advice of Missouri Senator George Graham Vest, he visited Yellowstone National Park.   Reporters accompanied the presidential party, helping to publicize the new National Park system.   The Yellowstone trip was more beneficial to Arthur’s health than his Florida excursion, and he returned to Washington refreshed after two months of travel.

As the 1884 presidential election approached, James G. Blaine was considered the favorite for the Republican nomination, but Arthur, too, contemplated a run for a full term as president.  In the months leading up to the 1884 Republican National Convention, however, Arthur began to realize that neither faction of the Republican party was prepared to give him their full support: the Half-Breeds were again solidly behind Blaine, while Stalwarts were undecided; some backed Arthur, with others considering Senator John A. Logan of Illinois.  Reform-minded Republicans, friendlier to Arthur after he endorsed civil service reform, were still not certain enough of his reform credentials to back him over Senator George F. Edmunds of Vermont, who had long favored their cause.   Business leaders supported him, as did Southern Republicans who owed their jobs to his control of the patronage, but by the time they began to rally around him, Arthur had decided against a serious campaign for the nomination.  He kept up a token effort, believing that to drop out would cast doubt on his actions in office and raise questions about his health, but by the time the convention began in June, his defeat was assured.   Blaine led on the first ballot, and by the fourth ballot he had a majority.  Arthur telegraphed his congratulations to Blaine and accepted his defeat with equanimity.  He played no role in the 1884 campaign, which Blaine would later blame for his loss that November to the Democratic nominee, Grover Cleveland.

Arthur made appointments to fill two vacancies on the United States Supreme Court. The first vacancy arose in July 1881 with the death of Associate Justice Nathan Clifford, a Democrat who had been a member of the Court since before the Civil War.  Arthur nominated Horace Gray, a distinguished jurist from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to replace him, and the nomination was easily confirmed.  The second vacancy occurred when Associate Justice Ward Hunt retired in January 1882. Arthur first nominated his old political boss, Roscoe Conkling; he doubted that Conkling would accept, but felt obligated to offer a high office to his former patron.  The Senate confirmed the nomination but, as expected, Conkling declined it, the last time a confirmed nominee declined an appointment.  Senator George Edmunds was Arthur’s next choice, but he declined to be considered.  Instead, Arthur nominated Samuel Blatchford, who had been a judge on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for the prior four years.  Blatchford accepted, and his nomination was approved by the Senate within two weeks.  Blatchford served on the Court until his death in 1893.

Later years

Arthur left office in 1885 and returned to his New York City home. Two months before the end of his term, several New York Stalwarts approached him to request that he run for United States Senate, but he declined, preferring to return to his old law practice at Arthur, Knevals & Ransom.  His health limited his activity with the firm, and Arthur served only of counsel. He took on few assignments with the firm and was often too ill to leave his house.  He managed a few public appearances, until the end of 1885.

After spending the summer of 1886 in New London, Connecticut, he returned home where he became seriously ill, and on November 16, ordered nearly all of his papers, both personal and official, burned.   The next morning, Arthur suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and never regained consciousness; he died the following day, November 18, at the age of 57.  On November 22, a private funeral was held at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, attended by President Cleveland and ex-President Hayes, among other notables.  Arthur was buried with his family members and ancestors in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York. He was laid beside his wife in a sarcophagus on a large corner of the plot.  In 1889, a monument was placed on Arthur’s burial plot by sculptor Ephraim Keyser of New York, consisting of a giant bronze female angel figure placing a bronze palm leaf on a granite sarcophagus.

Arthur’s post-presidency was the second shortest of all presidents who lived past their presidency, after James K. Polk’s brief three-month retirement before he died.


Several Grand Army of the Republic posts were named for Arthur, including Goff, Kansas, Lawrence, Nebraska, Medford, Oregon, and Ogdensburg, Wisconsin.  On April 5, 1882, Arthur was elected to the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States (MOLLUS) as a Third Class Companion (insignia number 02430), the honorary membership category for militia officers and civilians who made significant contributions to the war effort.

Union College awarded Arthur the honorary degree of LL.D. in 1883.

In 1898, the Arthur memorial statue—a fifteen-foot (4.6 m), bronze figure of Arthur standing on a Barre Granite pedestal—was created by sculptor George Edwin Bissell and installed at Madison Square, in New York City.  The statue was dedicated in 1899 and unveiled by Arthur’s sister, Mary Arthur McElroy.  At the dedication, Secretary of War Elihu Root described Arthur as, “…wise in statesmanship and firm and effective in administration,” while acknowledging that Arthur was isolated in office and unloved by his own party.

Arthur’s unpopularity in life carried over into his assessment by historians, and his reputation after leaving office disappeared.  By 1935, historian George F. Howe said that Arthur had achieved “an obscurity in strange contrast to his significant part in American history.” By 1975, however, Thomas C. Reeves would write that Arthur’s “appointments, if unspectacular, were unusually sound; the corruption and scandal that dominated business and politics of the period did not tarnish his administration.”  As 2004 biographer Zachary Karabell wrote, although Arthur was “physically stretched and emotionally strained, he strove to do what was right for the country.”   Indeed, Howe had earlier surmised, “Arthur adopted [a code] for his own political behavior but subject to three restraints: he remained to everyone a man of his word; he kept scrupulously free from corrupt graft; he maintained a personal dignity, affable and genial though he might be. These restraints … distinguished him sharply from the stereotype politician.”

Arthur’s townhouse, the Chester A. Arthur Home was sold to William Randolph Hearst.   Since 1944 it has been the location of Kalustyan’s Spice Emporium.

Chester A. Arthur (Part I)

Chester Alan Arthur (October 5, 1829 – November 18, 1886) was an American attorney and politician who served as the 21st president of the United States from 1881 to 1885. He previously was the 20th vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the death of President James A. Garfield in September 1881, two months after Garfield was shot by an assassin.

Arthur was born in Fairfield, Vermont, grew up in upstate New York, and practiced law in New York City. He served as quartermaster general of the New York Militia during the American Civil War. Following the war, he devoted more time to Republican politics and quickly rose in New York Senator Roscoe Conkling’s political machine. Appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant to the lucrative and politically powerful post of Collector of the Port of New York in 1871, Arthur was an important supporter of Conkling and the Stalwart faction of the Republican Party. In 1878, the new president, Rutherford B. Hayes, fired Arthur as part of a plan to reform the federal patronage system in New York. When Garfield won the Republican nomination for president in 1880, Arthur, an eastern Stalwart, was nominated for vice president to balance the ticket. Four months into his term, Garfield was shot by an assassin; he died 11 weeks later, and Arthur assumed the presidency.

At the outset, Arthur struggled to overcome a negative reputation as a Stalwart and product of Conkling’s machine. To the surprise of reformers, he took up the cause of civil service reform. Arthur advocated and enforced the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act. He presided over the rebirth of the United States Navy, but was criticized for failing to alleviate the federal budget surplus, which had been accumulating since the end of the Civil War. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which resulted in denying citizenship to Chinese Americans until 1898 and barring Chinese immigration until 1943. Building on the 1875 Page Act, which barred Chinese women from entering the country, it was the first total ban on a nation or ethnic group from immigrating to the country.

Suffering from poor health, Arthur made only a limited effort to secure the Republican Party’s nomination in 1884; he retired at the close of his term. Journalist Alexander McClure later wrote, “No man ever entered the Presidency so profoundly and widely distrusted as Chester Alan Arthur, and no one ever retired … more generally respected, alike by political friend and foe.”  Although his failing health and political temperament combined to make his administration less active than a modern presidency, he earned praise among contemporaries for his solid performance in office. The New York World summed up Arthur’s presidency at his death in 1886: “No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation.”  Mark Twain wrote of him, “[I]t would be hard indeed to better President Arthur’s administration.”  Over the 20th and 21st centuries, however, Arthur’s reputation mostly faded among the public.

Early life

Birth and family

Chester Alan Arthur was born October 5, 1829, in Fairfield, Vermont.  Arthur’s mother, Malvina Stone, was born in Berkshire, Vermont, the daughter of George Washington Stone and Judith Stevens.  Her family was primarily of English and Welsh descent, and her grandfather, Uriah Stone, had served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution.  Arthur’s father, William Arthur, was born in Dreen, Cullybackey, County Antrim, Ireland to a Presbyterian family of Scots-Irish descent; he graduated from college in Belfast and emigrated to the Province of Lower Canada in 1819 or 1820.  Malvina Stone met William Arthur when Arthur was teaching school in Dunham, Quebec, near the Vermont border.  They married in Dunham on April 12, 1821, soon after meeting.  The Arthurs moved to Vermont after the birth of their first child, Regina.  They quickly moved from Burlington to Jericho, and finally to Waterville, as William received positions teaching at different schools.  William Arthur also spent a brief time studying law, but while still in Waterville, he departed from both his legal studies and his Presbyterian upbringing to join the Free Will Baptists; he spent the rest of his life as a minister in that sect.[6] William Arthur became an outspoken abolitionist, which often made him unpopular with some members of his congregations and contributed to the family’s frequent moves.  In 1828, the family moved again, to Fairfield, where Chester Alan Arthur was born the following year; he was the fifth of nine children.  He was named “Chester” after Chester Abell], the physician and family friend who assisted in his birth, and “Alan” for his paternal grandfather.  The family remained in Fairfield until 1832, when William Arthur’s profession took them on the road again, to churches in several towns in Vermont and upstate New York. The family finally settled in the Schenectady, New York area.

Chester A. Arthur Siblings

Regina (1822–1910), the wife of William G. Caw, a grocer, banker, and community leader of Cohoes, New York who served as town supervisor and village trustee

Jane (1824–1842)

Almeda (1825–1899), the wife of James H. Masten, who served as postmaster of Cohoes and publisher of the Cohoes Cataract newspaper

Ann (1828–1915), a career educator who taught school in New York, as well as working in South Carolina in the years immediately before and after the Civil War.

Malvina (1832–1920), the wife of Henry J. Haynesworth, who was an official of the Confederate government and a merchant in Albany, New York before being appointed as a captain and assistant quartermaster in the U.S. Army during Arthur’s presidency

William (1834–1915), a medical school graduate who became a career Army officer and paymaster, he was wounded during his Civil War service. William Arthur retired in 1898 with the brevet rank of lieutenant colonel, and permanent rank of major.

George (1836–1838)

Mary (1841–1917), the wife of John E. McElroy, an Albany businessman and insurance executive, and Arthur’s official White House hostess during his presidency

The family’s frequent moves later spawned accusations that Chester Arthur was not a native-born citizen of the United States. When Arthur was nominated for vice president in 1880, a New York attorney and political opponent, Arthur P. Hinman, initially speculated that Arthur was born in Ireland and did not come to the United States until he was fourteen years old. Had that been true, opponents might have argued that Arthur was constitutionally ineligible for the vice presidency under the United States Constitution’s natural-born-citizen clause.  When Hinman’s original story did not take root, he spread a new rumor that Arthur was born in Canada. This claim, too, failed to gain credence.


Arthur spent some of his childhood years living in the New York towns of York, Perry, Greenwich, Lansingburgh, Schenectady, and Hoosick.  One of his first teachers said Arthur was a boy “frank and open in manners and genial in disposition.”  During his time at school, he gained his first political inclinations and supported the Whig Party. He joined other young Whigs in support of Henry Clay, even participating in a brawl against students who supported James K. Polk.  Arthur also supported the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish republican organization founded in America; he showed this support by wearing a green coat.  After completing his college preparation at the Lyceum of Union Village (now Greenwich) and a grammar school in Schenectady, Arthur enrolled at Schenectady’s Union College in 1845, where he studied the traditional classical curriculum.  As a senior, he was president of the debate society and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.  During his winter breaks, Arthur served as a teacher at a school in Schaghticoke.

After graduating in 1848, Arthur returned to Schaghticoke and became a full-time teacher, and soon began to pursue an education in law.  While studying law, he continued teaching, moving closer to home by taking a job at a school in North Pownal, Vermont.  Coincidentally, future president James A. Garfield taught penmanship at the same school three years later, but the two did not cross paths during their teaching careers.  In 1852, Arthur moved again, to Cohoes, New York, to become the principal of a school at which his sister, Malvina, was a teacher.  In 1853, after studying at State and National Law School in Ballston Spa, New York, and then saving enough money to relocate, Arthur moved to New York City to read law at the office of Erastus D. Culver, an abolitionist lawyer and family friend.  When Arthur was admitted to the New York bar in 1854, he joined Culver’s firm, which was subsequently renamed Culver, Parker, and Arthur.

Early career

When Arthur joined the firm, Culver and New York attorney John Jay (the grandson of the Founding Father John Jay) were pursuing a habeas corpus action against Jonathan Lemmon, a Virginia slaveholder who was passing through New York with his eight slaves.  In Lemmon v. New York, Culver argued that, as New York law did not permit slavery, any slave arriving in New York was automatically freed.  The argument was successful, and after several appeals was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals in 1860.  Campaign biographers would later give Arthur much of the credit for the victory; in fact his role was minor, although he was certainly an active participant in the case.  In another civil rights case in 1854, Arthur was the lead attorney representing Elizabeth Jennings Graham after she was denied a seat on a streetcar because she was black.  He won the case, and the verdict led to the desegregation of the New York City streetcar lines.

In 1856, Arthur courted Ellen Herndon, the daughter of William Lewis Herndon, a Virginia naval officer.  The two were soon engaged to be married.  Later that year, he started a new law partnership with a friend, Henry D. Gardiner, and traveled with him to Kansas to consider purchasing land and setting up a law practice there.  At that time, the state was the scene of a brutal struggle between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces, and Arthur lined up firmly with the latter. The rough frontier life did not agree with the genteel New Yorkers; after three or four months the two young lawyers returned to New York City, where Arthur comforted his fiancée after her father was lost at sea in the wreck of the SS Central America.  In 1859, they were married at Calvary Episcopal Church in Manhattan.  The couple had three children:

  • William Lewis Arthur (December 10, 1860 – July 7, 1863), died of “convulsions”
  • Chester Alan Arthur II (July 25, 1864 – July 18, 1937), married Myra Townsend, then Rowena Graves, father of Gavin Arthur
  • Ellen Hansbrough Herndon “Nell” Arthur Pinkerton (November 21, 1871 – September 6, 1915), married Charles Pinkerton

After his marriage, Arthur devoted his efforts to building his law practice, but also found time to engage in Republican Party politics. In addition, he indulged his military interest by becoming Judge Advocate General for the Second Brigade of the New York Militia.

Civil War

In 1861, Arthur was appointed to the military staff of Governor Edwin D. Morgan as engineer-in-chief. The office was a patronage appointment of minor importance until the outbreak of the Civil War in April 1861, when New York and the other northern states were faced with raising and equipping armies of a size never before seen in American history.  Arthur was commissioned as a brigadier general and assigned to the state militia’s quartermaster department.  He was so efficient at housing and outfitting the troops that poured into New York City that he was promoted to inspector general of the state militia in March 1862, and then to quartermaster general that July.  He had an opportunity to serve at the front when the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment elected him commander with the rank of colonel early in the war, but at Governor Morgan’s request, he turned it down to remain at his post in New York.   He also turned down command of four New York City regiments organized as the Metropolitan Brigade, again at Morgan’s request.  The closest Arthur came to the front was when he traveled south to inspect New York troops near Fredericksburg, Virginia, in May 1862, shortly after forces under Major General Irvin McDowell seized the town during the Peninsula Campaign.  That summer, he and other representatives of northern governors met with Secretary of State William H. Seward in New York to coordinate the raising of additional troops, and spent the next few months enlisting New York’s quota of 120,000 men.   Arthur received plaudits for his work, but his post was a political appointment, and he was relieved of his militia duties in January 1863 when Governor Horatio Seymour, a Democrat, took office.  When Reuben Fenton won the 1864 election for governor, Arthur requested reappointment; Fenton and Arthur were from different factions of the Republican Party, and Fenton had already committed to appointing another candidate, so Arthur did not return to military service.

Arthur returned to being a lawyer, and with the help of additional contacts made in the military, he and the firm of Arthur & Gardiner flourished.  Even as his professional life improved, however, Arthur and his wife experienced a personal tragedy as their only child, William, died suddenly that year at the age of two.  The couple took their son’s death hard, and when they had another son, Chester Alan Jr., in 1864, they lavished attention on him.  They also had a daughter, Ellen, in 1871. Both children survived to adulthood.

Arthur’s political prospects improved along with his law practice when his patron, ex-Governor Morgan, was elected to the United States Senate.  He was hired by Thomas Murphy, a Republican politician, but also a friend of William M. Tweed, the boss of the Tammany Hall Democratic organization. Murphy was also a hatter who sold goods to the Union Army, and Arthur represented him in Washington. The two became associates within New York Republican party circles, eventually rising in the ranks of the conservative branch of the party dominated by Thurlow Weed.  In the presidential election of 1864, Arthur and Murphy raised funds from Republicans in New York, and they attended Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in 1865.

New York politician

The end of the Civil War meant new opportunities for the men in Morgan’s Republican machine, including Arthur.   Morgan leaned toward the conservative wing of the New York Republican party, as did the men who worked with him in the organization, including Weed, Seward (who continued in office under President Andrew Johnson), and Roscoe Conkling (an eloquent Utica Congressman and rising star in the party).  Arthur rarely articulated his own political ideas during his time as a part of the machine; as was common at the time, loyalty and hard work on the machine’s behalf was more important than actual political positions.

At the time, U.S. Custom Houses were managed by political appointees who served as Collector, Naval Officer and Surveyor. In 1866, Arthur unsuccessfully attempted to secure the position of Naval Officer at the New York Custom House, a lucrative job subordinate only to the Collector.  He continued his law practice (now a solo practice after Gardiner’s death) and his role in politics, becoming a member of the prestigious Century Club in 1867.  Conkling, elected to the United States Senate in 1867, noticed Arthur and facilitated his rise in the party, and Arthur became chairman of the New York City Republican executive committee in 1868.  His ascent in the party hierarchy kept him busy most nights, and his wife resented his continual absence from the family home on party business.

Conkling succeeded to leadership of the conservative wing of New York’s Republicans by 1868 as Morgan concentrated more time and effort on national politics, including serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee. The Conkling machine was solidly behind General Ulysses S. Grant’s candidacy for president, and Arthur raised funds for Grant’s election in 1868.  The opposing Democratic machine in New York City, known as Tammany Hall, worked for Grant’s opponent, former New York Governor Horatio Seymour; while Grant was victorious in the national vote, Seymour narrowly carried the state of New York.   Arthur began to devote more of his time to politics and less to law, and in 1869 he became counsel to the New York City Tax Commission, appointed when Republicans controlled the state legislature. He remained at the job until 1870 at a salary of $10,000 a year.  Arthur resigned after Democrats controlled by William M. Tweed of Tammany Hall won a legislative majority, which meant they could name their own appointee.  In 1871, Grant offered to name Arthur as Commissioner of Internal Revenue, replacing Alfred Pleasonton; Arthur declined the appointment.

In 1870, President Grant gave Conkling control over New York patronage, including the Custom House at the Port of New York. Having become friendly with Murphy over their shared love of horses during summer vacations on the Jersey Shore, in July of that year, Grant appointed him to the Collector’s position.  Murphy’s reputation as a war profiteer and his association with Tammany Hall made him unacceptable to many of his own party, but Conkling convinced the Senate to confirm him.  The Collector was responsible for hiring hundreds of workers to collect the tariffs due at the United States’ busiest port. Typically, these jobs were dispensed to adherents of the political machine responsible for appointing the Collector. Employees were required to make political contributions (known as “assessments”) back to the machine, which made the job a highly coveted political plum.  Murphy’s unpopularity only increased as he replaced workers loyal to Senator Reuben Fenton’s faction of the Republican Party with those loyal to Conkling’s. Eventually, the pressure to replace Murphy grew too great, and Grant asked for his resignation in December 1871.  Grant offered the position to John Augustus Griswold and William Orton, each of whom declined and recommended Arthur.   Grant then nominated Arthur, with the New York Times commenting, “his name very seldom rises to the surface of metropolitan life and yet moving like a mighty undercurrent this man during the last 10 years has done more to mold the course of the Republican Party in this state than any other one man in the country.”

The Senate confirmed Arthur’s appointment; as Collector he controlled nearly a thousand jobs and received compensation as great as any federal officeholder.  Arthur’s salary was initially $6,500, but senior customs employees were compensated additionally by the “moiety” system, which awarded them a percentage of the cargoes seized and fines levied on importers who attempted to evade the tariff.  In total, his income came to more than $50,000—more than the president’s salary, and more than enough for him to enjoy fashionable clothes and a lavish lifestyle.  Among those who dealt with the Custom House, Arthur was one of the era’s more popular collectors.  He got along with his subordinates and, since Murphy had already filled the staff with Conkling’s adherents, he had few occasions to fire anyone.   He was also popular within the Republican Party as he efficiently collected campaign assessments from the staff and placed party leaders’ friends in jobs as positions became available.  Arthur had a better reputation than Murphy, but reformers still criticized the patronage structure and the moiety system as corrupt.   A rising tide of reform within the party caused Arthur to rename the financial extractions from employees as “voluntary contributions” in 1872, but the concept remained, and the party reaped the benefit of controlling government jobs.  In that year, reform-minded Republicans formed the Liberal Republican party and voted against Grant, but he was re-elected in spite of their opposition.  Nevertheless, the movement for civil service reform continued to chip away at Conkling’s patronage machine; in 1874 Custom House employees were found to have improperly assessed fines against an importing company as a way to increase their own incomes, and Congress reacted, repealing the moiety system and putting the staff, including Arthur, on regular salaries.   As a result, his income dropped to $12,000 a year—more than his nominal boss, the Secretary of the Treasury, but far less than what he had previously received.

Clash with Hayes

Arthur’s four-year term as Collector expired on December 10, 1875, and Conkling, then among the most powerful politicians in Washington, arranged his protégé’s reappointment by President Grant.  By 1876, Conkling was considering a run for the presidency himself, but the selection of reformer Rutherford B. Hayes by the 1876 Republican National Convention preempted the machine boss.   Arthur and the machine gathered campaign funds with their usual zeal, but Conkling limited his own campaign activities to a few speeches.  Hayes’s opponent, New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden, carried New York and won the popular vote nationwide, but after the resolution of several months of disputes over twenty electoral votes (from the states of Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina), he lost the presidency.

Hayes entered office with a pledge to reform the patronage system; in 1877, he and Treasury Secretary John Sherman made Conkling’s machine the primary target.  Sherman ordered a commission led by John Jay to investigate the New York Custom House.  Jay, with whom Arthur had collaborated in the Lemmon case two decades earlier, suggested that the Custom House was overstaffed with political appointments, and that 20% of the employees were expendable, Sherman was less enthusiastic about the reforms than Hayes and Jay, but he approved the commission’s report and ordered Arthur to make the personnel reductions.  Arthur appointed a committee of Custom House workers to determine where the cuts were to be made and, after a written protest, carried them out.   Notwithstanding his cooperation, the Jay Commission issued a second report critical of Arthur and other Custom House employees, and subsequent reports urging a complete reorganization.

Hayes further struck at the heart of the spoils system by issuing an executive order that forbade assessments, and barred federal office holders from “…tak[ing] part in the management of political organizations, caucuses, conventions, or election campaigns.”   Arthur and his subordinates, Naval Officer Alonzo B. Cornell and Surveyor George H. Sharpe, refused to obey the president’s order; Sherman encouraged Arthur to resign, offering him appointment by Hayes to the consulship in Paris in exchange, but Arthur refused.   In September 1877, Hayes demanded the three men’s resignations, which they refused to give.  Hayes then submitted the appointment of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., L. Bradford Prince, and Edwin Merritt (all supporters of Conkling’s rival William M. Evarts) to the Senate for confirmation as their replacements.   The Senate’s Commerce Committee, chaired by Conkling, unanimously rejected all the nominees; the full Senate rejected Roosevelt and Prince by a vote of 31–25, and confirmed Merritt only because Sharpe’s term had expired.

Arthur’s job was only spared until July 1878, when Hayes took advantage of a Congressional recess to fire him and Cornell, replacing them with the recess appointment of Merritt and Silas W. Burt.  Hayes again offered Arthur the position of consul general in Paris as a face-saving consolation; Arthur again declined, as Hayes knew he probably would.   Conkling opposed the confirmation of Merritt and Burt when the Senate reconvened in February 1879, but Merritt was approved by a vote of 31–25, as was Burt by 31–19, giving Hayes his most significant civil service reform victory.  Arthur immediately took advantage of the resulting free time to work for the election of Edward Cooper as New York City’s next mayor.  In September 1879 Arthur became Chairman of the New York State Republican Executive Committee, a post in which he served until October 1881.   In the state elections of 1879, he and Conkling worked to ensure that the Republican nominees for state offices would be men of Conkling’s faction, who had become known as Stalwarts.  They were successful, but narrowly, as Cornell were nominated for governor by a vote of 234–216.  Arthur and Conkling campaigned vigorously for the Stalwart ticket and, owing partly to a splintering of the Democratic vote, were victorious.   Arthur and the machine had rebuked Hayes and their intra-party rivals, but Arthur had only a few days to enjoy his triumph when, on January 12, 1880, his wife died suddenly while he was in Albany organizing the political agenda for the coming year.   Arthur felt devastated, and perhaps guilty, and never remarried.

Election of 1880

Conkling and his fellow Stalwarts, including Arthur, wished to follow up their 1879 success at the 1880 Republican National Convention by securing the nomination for their ally, ex-President Grant.  Their opponents in the Republican Party, known as Half-Breeds, concentrated their efforts on James G. Blaine, a Senator from Maine who was more amenable to civil service reform.  Neither candidate commanded a majority of delegates and, deadlocked after thirty-six ballots, the convention turned to a dark horse, James A. Garfield, an Ohio Congressman and Civil War General who was neither Stalwart nor Half-Breed.

Garfield and his supporters knew they would face a difficult election without the support of the New York Stalwarts and decided to offer one of them the vice presidential nomination.  Levi P. Morton, the first choice of Garfield’s supporters, consulted with Conkling, who advised him to decline, which he did.   They next approached Arthur, and Conkling advised him to also reject the nomination, believing the Republicans would lose.  Arthur thought otherwise and accepted. According to a purported eyewitness account by journalist William C. Hudson, Conkling and Arthur argued, with Arthur telling Conkling, “The office of the Vice-President is a greater honor than I ever dreamed of attaining.”  Conkling eventually relented, and campaigned for the ticket.

As expected, the election was close. The Democratic nominee, General Winfield Scott Hancock, was popular and, having avoided taking definitive positions on most issues of the day, he had not offended any pivotal constituencies.  As Republicans had done since the end of the Civil War, Garfield and Arthur initially focused their campaign on the “bloody shirt”—the idea that returning Democrats to office would undo the victory of the Civil War and reward secessionists.

1880 electoral vote results

With the war fifteen years in the past and Union generals at the head of both tickets, the tactic was less effective than the Republicans hoped.  Realizing this, they adjusted their approach to claim that Democrats would lower the country’s protective tariff, which would allow cheaper manufactured goods to be imported from Europe, and thereby put thousands out of work.   This argument struck home in the swing states of New York and Indiana, where many were employed in manufacturing.  Hancock did not help his own cause when, in an attempt to remain neutral on the tariff, he said that “[t]he tariff question is a local question,” which only made him appear uninformed about an important issue.  Candidates for high office did not personally campaign in those days, but as state Republican chairman, Arthur played a part in the campaign in his usual fashion: overseeing the effort in New York and raising money.  The funds were crucial in the close election, and winning his home state of New York was critical. The Republicans carried New York by 20,000 votes and, in an election with the largest turnout of qualified voters ever recorded—78.4%—they won the nationwide popular vote by just 7,018 votes.  The Electoral College result was more decisive—214 to 155—and Garfield and Arthur were elected.

What Does the Bible Really Teach?: Chapter 7

Real Hope for Your Loved Ones Who Have Died

How do we know that the resurrections will really happen?

How does Jehovah feel about resurrecting the dead?

Who will be resurrected?

IMAGINE that you are running away from a vicious enemy.  He is much stronger and faster than you are.  You know that he is merciless because you have seen him kill some of your friends.  No matter how hard how you try to outrun him, he keeps getting closer.  There seems to be no hope.  Suddenly, though, a rescuer appears at your side.  He is more powerful than your enemy, and he promises to help you.  How relieved that makes you feel!

In a sense, you are being pursued by such an enemy.  All of us are.  As we learned in the preceding chapter, the Bible calls death an enemy.  None of us can outrun it or fight it off.  Most of us have seen this enemy claim the lives of people dear to us.  But Jehovah is far more powerful than death.  he is the loving Rescuer who has already shown that he can defeat this enemy.  And he promises to destroy theis enemy, death, once and for all.  The Bible teaches;  “The last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.” (1 Corinthians 15: 26)  That is good news!

1-3.  what enemy pursues all of us, and why will considering what the Bible teaches bring us some relief?

Let us take a brief look at how the enemy death affects us when it strikes.  Doing this will help us to appreciate something that will make us happy.  You see, Jehovah promises that the dead will live again. (Isaiah 26: 19)  They will be brought back to life.  that is the hope of the resurrection.

When A Loved One Dies

Have you lost a loved one in death?  the pain, the grief, and the feelings of helplessness can seem unbearable.  At such times, we need to go to God’s Word for comfort. (Read 2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4.)  The Bible helps us understand how Jehovah and Jesus feel about death.  Jesus, who perfectly reflected his Father, knew the pain of losing someone in death. (John 14: 9)  When he was in Jerusalem, Jesus used to visit Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha, who lived in the nearby town of Bethany.  They became close friends.  The Bible says:  “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” (John 11: 5)  As we learned in the preceding chapter, thou, Lazarus died.

How did Jesus feel about losing his friend?  The account tells us that Jesus joined Lazarus’ relatives and friends as they grieved over this loss.  Seeing them, Jesus was deeply moved.  He “groaned within himself and became troubled.”  Then, the account says, “Jesus gave way to tears.” (John 11: 33, 35)  Did Jesus’ grief mean that he had no hope?  Not at all.  In fact, Jesus knew that something wonderful was about to happen. (John 11: 3, 4)  Still, he felt the pain and sorrow that death brings.

4.  (a)  Why does Jesus’ reaction to the death of a loved one teach us about Jehovah’s feelings?  (b)  Jesus developed what special friendship?

5, 6.  (a)  How did Jesus respond when he was with Lazarus’ grieving family and friends?  (b)  Why is Jesus’ grief encouraging to us?

In a way, Jesus’ grief is encouraging to us.  It teaches us that Jesus and his Father, Jehovah, hate death.  but Jehovah God is able to fight and overcome that enemy!  Let us see what God enabled Jesus to do.

“Lazarus, Come Out!”

Lazarus had been buried in a cave, and Jesus asked that the stone sealing its entrance be taken away.  Martha objected because after four days, Lazarus’ body must have begun to decay. (John 11: 39)  From a human standpoint, what hope was there?

The stone was rolled away, and Jesus cried out with a loud voice:  “Lazarus, come out!”  What happened?  “The man who had been dead came out.” (John 11: 43, 44)  Can you imagine the joy of the people there?  Whether Lazarus was their brother, relative, friend, or neighbor, they knew that he had died.  Yet, here he was—the same dear man—standing among them again.  That must have seemed too good to be true.  Many no doubt embraced Lazarus joyfully.  What a victory over death!

  • The other accounts are found at 1 Kings 17: 17-24; 2 Kings 4: 32-37; 13: 20, 21; Matthew 28: 5-7; Luke 7: 11-17; 8: 40-56; Acts 9: 36-42; and 20: 7-12.

7, 8.  Why might the case of Lazarus have seemed hopeless to human onlookers, but what did Jesus do?

9, 10.  (a)  How did Jesus reveal the Source of his power to resurrect Lazarus?  (b)  What are some of the benefits of reading the Bible resurrection accounts?

The apostle Peter resurrected the Christian woman Dorcas. ~Acts 9: 36-42

Elijah resurrected a widow’s son. ~1 Kings 17: 17-24

The resurrection of Lazarus resulted in great joy. ~John 11: 38-44

Jesus did not claim to perform this amazing miracle on his own.  In his prayer just before calling out to Lazarus, he made it clear that Jehovah was the Source of the resurrection. (Read John 11: 41, 42.)  This was not the only time that Jehovah used his power in this way.  The resurrection of Lazarus is just one of nine miracles of this kind recorded in God’s Word.  To read and study these accounts is a delight. They teach us that God is not partial, for the resurrected ones include young and old, male and female, Israelite and non-Israelite.  And what joy is described in these passages!  For example, when Jesus raised a young girl from the dead, her parents “were beside themselves with great ecstasy” (Mark 5: 42)  Yes, Jehovah had given them a cause for joy that they would never forget.

Of course, those resurrected by Jesus eventually died again.  Does this mean that it was pointless to resurrect them?  Not at all.  These Bible accounts confirm important truths and give us hope.

Learning from the Resurrection Accounts

The Bible teaches that “the dead know nothing at all.” (Ecclesiastes 9: 5)  They are not alive and have no conscious existence anywhere.  The account of Lazarus confirms this.  Upon returning to life, did Lazarus thrill people with descriptions of heaven?  Or did he terrify them with horrible tales about a burning hell?  No.  The Bible contains no such words from Lazarus.  During the four days that he was dead, he knew “nothing at all.”  Lazarus had simply been sleeping in death.—John 11: 11.

11.  How does the account of Lazarus’ resurrection help to confirm the truth recorded at Ecclesiastes 9: 5?

12.  Why can we be sure that the resurrection of Lazarus really happened?

The account of Lazarus also teaches us that the resurrection is a reality, not a mere myth.  Jesus raised Lazarus in front of a crowd of eyewitnesses.  Even the religious leaders, who hated Jesus, did not deny this miracle.  Rather, they said:  ‘What are we to do, for this man [Jesus] performs many signs?” (John 11: 47)  Many people were to see the resurrected man.  As a result, even more of them put faith in Jesus.  They saw in Lazarus living proof that Jesus was sent by God.  This evidence was so powerful that some of the hardhearted Jewish religious leaders planned to kill both Jesus and Lazarus.—John 11: 53; 12: 9-11.

Is it unrealistic to accept the resurrection as a fact?  No, for Jesus taught that someday “all those in the memorial tombs” will be resurrected. (John 5: 28)  Jehovah is the Creator of all life.  Should it be hard to believe that he can re-create life?  Of course, much would depend on Jehovah’s memory.  Can he remember our dead loved ones?  Countless trillions of stars fill the universe, yet God knows the name of each one! (Isaiah 40: 26)  So Jehovah God can remember our loved ones in every detail, and he is ready to restore them to life.

How, though, does Jehovah feel about resurrecting the dead?  The Bible teaches that he is eager to raise the dead.  The faithful man Job asked:  “If a man dies, can he live again?”  Job was speaking about waiting in the grave until the time came for God to remember him.  He said to Jehovah:  “You will call, and I will answer you.  You will long for the work of your hands.”—Job 14: 13-15.

Just think!  Jehovah longs for the time when he will bring the dead back to life.  Is it not heartwarming to learn that Jehovah feels that way?  But what about this future resurrection?  Who will be resurrected, and where?

13.  What basis do we have for believing that Jehovah really can resurrect the dead?

14, 15.  As illustrated by what Job said, how does Jehovah feel about bringing the dead back to life?

16.  The dead will be resurrected to live in what kind of conditions?

“All Those in the Memorial Tombs”

The Bible’s resurrection accounts teach us much about the resurrection to come.  People who were restored to life right here on earth were reunion with their loved ones.  The future resurrection will be similar—but much better.  As we learned in Chapter 3, God’s purpose is that the whole earth be made into a paradise.  So the dead will not be raised to life in a world filled with war, crime, and sickness.  They will have an opportunity to live forever on this earth in peaceful and happy conditions.

Who will be resurrected?  Jesus said that “all those in the memorial tombs will hear his [Jesus’] voice and come out.” (John 5: 28, 29)  Similarly, Revelation 20: 13 says:  “The sea gave up the dead in it, and death and the Grave gave up the dead in them.” (See the Appendix pages 212-213.)  This collective grave will be emptied.  All those billions who rest there will live again.  the apostle Paul said:  “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 14; 15)  What does that mean?

“The righteous” include many of the people we read about in the Bible who lived before Jesus came to the earth.  You might think of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Ruth, Esther, and many others.  Some of these men and women of faith are discussed in the 11th chapter of Hebrews.  But “the righteous” also include Jehovah’s servants who die in our time.  Thanks to the resurrection hope, we do not have to be afraid of dying.—Hebrews 2: 15.

17.  How extensive will the resurrection be?

18.  Who are included among “the righteous” who are to be resurrected, and how may this hope affect you personally?

19.  Who are “the unrighteous,” and what opportunity does Jehovah kindly give them?

What about all the people who did not serve or obey Jehovah because they never knew about him?  These billions of “unrighteous” ones will not be forgotten.  They too will be resurrected and given time to learn about the true God and to serve him.  During a period of a thousand years, the dead will be resurrected and given an opportunity to join faithful humans on earth in serving Jehovah.  It will be a wonderful time.  This period is what the Bible refers to as Judgment Day.

Does this mean that every human who ever lived will be resurrected?  No.  The Bible says that some of the dead from a garbage dump located outside of ancient Jerusalem.  Dead bodies and garbage were burned there.  The dead whose bodies were thrown there were considered by the Jews to be unworthy of a burial and a resurrection.  So Gehenna is a fitting symbol of everlasting destruction.  Although Jesus will have a role in judging the living and the dead, Jehovah is the final Judge. (Acts 10: 42)  He will never resurrect those whom he judges to be wicked and unwilling to change.

The Heavenly Resurrection

The Bible also refers to another kind of resurrection, one to life as a spirit creature in heaven.  Only one example of this type of resurrections is recorded in the Bible, that of Jesus Christ.

  • For more information on Judgment Day and the basis for the judgment, please see the Appendix, pages 213-215.

20.  What is Gehenna, and who go there?

21, 22.  (a)  What other kind of resurrection is there?  (b)  Who was the first ever to receive a resurrection to spirit life?

After Jesus was put to death as a human, Jehovah did not allow His faithful Son to remain in the Grave. (Psalm 16: 10; Acts 13: 34, 35)  God resurrected Jesus, but not as a human.  The apostle Peter explains that Christ was “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” (1 Peter 3: 18)  This truly was a great miracle.  Jesus was alive again as a mighty spirit person! (Read 1 Corinthians 15: 3-6.)  Jesus was the first ever to receive this glorious type of resurrection, but he would not be the last.—John 3: 13.

Knowing that he would soon return to heaven, Jesus told his faithful followers that he would “prepare a place” for them there. (John 14: 2)  Jesus referred to those going to heaven as his “little flock.” (Luke 12: 32)  How many are to be in this relatively small group of faithful Christians?  According to Revelation 14: 1, the apostle John says:  “I saw, and look!  The Lamb [Jesus Christ] standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who have his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads.”

These 144,000 Christians, including Jesus’ faithful apostles, are raised to life in heaven.  When does their resurrection take place?  The apostle Paul wrote that it would occur during the time of Christ’s presence. (1 Corinthians 15: 23)  As you will learn in Chapter 9, we are now living in that time.  So those few remaining ones of the 144,000 who die in our day are instantly resurrected to life in heaven. (1 Corinthians 15: 51-55)  The vast majority of mankind, however, have the prospect of being resurrected in the future to life in Paradise on earth.

Yes, Jehovah really will defeat our enemy death and it will be gone forever! (Read Isaiah 25: 8.)  Yet, you ay wonder, ‘What will those resurrected to heaven do there?’  They will form part of a marvelous Kingdom government in heaven.  We will learn more about that government in the next chapter.

23. 24.  Who make up Jesus’ “little flock,” and how many will they number?

25.  What will be considered in the next chapter?

In Paradise, the dead will rise and be reunited with their loved ones.

What the Bible Teaches

  • The Bible’s resurrections accounts give us a sure hope.—John 11: 39-44.
  • Jehovah is eager to bring the dead back to life.—Job 14: 13-15.
  • All of those in the common grave of mankind will be resurrected.—John 5: 28, 29.

Pearl of Great Price: Introduction

The Pearl of Great Price

A Selection from the Revelations, Translations, and Narrations of Joseph Smith

First Prophet, Seer, and Revelator to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Published by

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

©2013 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

All rights reserved. 

Source:  2015/03/24


The Pearl of Great Price is a selection of choice materials touching many significant aspects of the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  These items were translated and produced by the Prophet Joseph Smith, and most were published in the Church periodicals of his day.

The first collection of materials carrying the title Pearl of Great Price was made in 1851 by Elder Franklin D. Richards, then a member of the Council of the Twelve and president of the British Mission.  Its purpose was to make more readily accessible some important articles that had had limited circulation in the time of joseph Smith.  As Church membership increased throughout Europe and America, there was need to make these items available.  The Pearl of Great Price received wide use and subsequently became a standard work of the Church by action of the First Presidency and the general Conference in Salt Lake City on October 10, 1880.

Several revisions have been made in the contents as the needs of the Church have required.  In 1878 portions of the book of Moses not contained in the first edition were added.  In 1902 certain part of the Pearl of Great Price that duplicated material also published in the Doctrine and Covenants were omitted.  Arrangements into chapters and verses, with footnotes, was done in 1902.  The first-publication in double-column pages, with index, was in 1921.  No other changes were made until April 1976, when two items of revelation were added.  In 1979 these two items were removed from the Pearl of Great Price and placed in the Doctrine and Covenants, where they now appear as sections 137 and 138.  In the present edition some changes have been made to bring the text into conformity with earlier documents. 

Following is a brief introduction to the present contents:

1.  Selections from the Book of Moses.  An extract from the book of Genesis of Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible, which he began in June 1830.

2.  The Book of Abraham.  An inspired translation of the writings of Abraham.  Joseph Smith began the translation in 1835 after obtaining some Egyptian papyri.  The translations was published serially in the Times and Seasons beginning March 1, 1842, at Nauvoo, Illinois.

3.  Joseph Smith—Matthew.  An extract from the testimony of Matthew in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible (see Doctrine and Covenants 45: 60-61 for the divine injunction to begin the translation of the New Testament).

4.  Joseph Smith—History.  Excerpts from Joseph Smith’s official testimony and history, which he and his scribes prepared in 1838-39 and which was published serially in the Times and Seasons in Nauvoo, Illinois, beginning on March 15, 1842.

5.  The Articles of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  A statement by Joseph Smith published in the Times and Seasons March 1, 1842, in company with a short history of the Church that was popularity known as the Wentworth Letter.

The Doctrine and Covenants: Section 1

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, on November 1, 1831, during a special conference of elders of the Church, held at Hiram, Ohio.  Many revelations had been received from the Lord prior to this time, and the compilation of these for publication in book form was one of the principal subjects passed upon at the conference.  This section constitutes the Lord’s preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation.

1-7, The voice of warning is to all people; 8-16, Apostasy and wickedness precede the Second Coming; 17-23, Joseph Smith is called to restore the earth the Lord’s truths and powers; 24-35, The Book of Mormon is brought forth and the true Church is established; 34-36, Peace will be taken from the earth; 37-39, Search these commandments.

1  Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say:  Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.

2  For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.

3  And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.

4 And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.

5  And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.

6  Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.

7  Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled.

8  And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious;

9  yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure—

10  Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.

11  Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:

12  Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which to come, for the Lord is nigh;

13  And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.

14  And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people.

15  For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

16  They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.

17  Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments.

18  And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—

19  The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—

20  But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;

21  That faith also might increase in the earth;

22  That mine everlasting covenant might be established;

23  That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.

24  Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weaknesses, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.

25  And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;

26  And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might me instructed;

27  And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;

28  And inasmuch as they were humble they might made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.

29  And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.

30  And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—

31  For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;

32  Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;

33  And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.

34  And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth:  I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh;

35  For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.

36  And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.

37  Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

38  What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.

39  For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever.  Amen.

1 Nephi: Chapter 9

Nephi makes two sets of records—Each is called the plates of Nephi—The larger plates contain a secular history; the smaller ones deal primarily with sacred things.  About 600-592 B.C.

1  And all these things did my father see, and hear, and speak, as he dwelt in a tent, in the valley of Lemuel, and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates.

2  And now, as I have spoken concerning these plates upon which I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; an these plates also are called the plates of Nephi.

3  Nevertheless, I have received a commandment of the Lord that I should make these plates, for the special purpose that there should be an account engraven of the ministry of my people.

4  Upon the other plates should be engraven an account of the reign of the kings, and the wars and contentions of my people; wherefore these plates are for the more part of the ministry; and the other plates are for the more part of the reign of the kings and wars and contentions of my people.

5  Wherefore, the Lord hath commanded me to make these plates for a wise purpose in him, which purpose I know not.

6  But the Lord knoweth all things from the beginning; wherefore, he prepareth a way to accomplish all his works among the children of men; for behold, he hath all power unto the fulfilling of all his words. And thus it is.  Amen.

Matthew: Chapter 18

1  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2   And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7  Woe unto the world because of offences!  For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

8  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them form thee:  it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

9  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:  it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

11  For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost.

12  How think ye?  If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:  if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

18  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound to heaven:  and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

21  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him?  till seven times?

22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times:  but, Until seventy times seven.

23  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king which would take account of his servants.

24  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

26  The servant therefore fell down and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27  Then the lord of that servant as moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence:  and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay, thee all.

30  And he would not:  but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Genesis: Chapter 18

1  And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre:  and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.

2  And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him:  and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground.

3   And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

4  Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

5  And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on:  for therefore are ye come to your servant.  And they said, So do, as thou hast said.

6  And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

7  And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8  And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

9  And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife?  And he said, Behold, in the tent,

10  And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.  And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

11  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being told also?

13  And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?

14  Is any thing too hard for the LORD?  At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

15  Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid.  And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh.

16  And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom:  and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.

17  And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18  Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19  For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

20  And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21  I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know.

22  And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom:  but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.

23  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24  Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city:  wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25  That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked:  and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee:  Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?

26  And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

27  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

28  Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous:  wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five?  And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

  29  And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there.  And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.

30  And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak:  Peradventure there shall thirty be found there.  And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

31  And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord:  Peradventure there shall be twenty found there.  And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.

32  And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once:  Peradventure ten shall be found there.  And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

33  And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham:  and Abraham returned unto his place.

Acts 2: 38

Acts 2: 38—Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Romans 5: 12—Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

Matthew 4: 10—Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

Acts 17: 10-11—And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea:  who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Daily Devotion: The Greatest

Daily Bible Verse

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. ~1 Corinthians 12: 27

Daily Inspiration

Of every true church it can be said, “you are the body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, the people of God, the children of God, the saints of God, the Church of God.”  And of every true Christian, it can be said, you are a member of these groups, which are one and the same group really but under different names.

Daily Prayer

Lord, there are many members but one Body.  And if each local church is “a body of Christ,” there is still that bigger, single, all-encompassing “the Body of Christ.”  There is a mystical union among all believers of all time and in all places who have been placed in union with your Son.  May I fellowship freely with all true sons of God that I meet and rejoice to see the work you have done in their lives.

The Greatest

By Frances Taylor

Humility is an interesting virtue. ~Matthew 11: 9-11

Jesus says very clearly who John the Baptist is, what his mission was, and his importance as the “greatest born of a woman.’  But he adds that the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he.  Who is the greatest?  Lots of people claim that title.  The greatest boxer, the greatest actor, the greatest magician, the greatest athlete, the greatest – whatever is a title fought over.  Even the apostles tried to juggle for position with Jesus.  If we want to be the greatest, Jesus tells us we need to be the least.  The greatest is the one who serves the others.  john the Baptist never claimed greatness for himself.  he made a point of saying that he wasn’t even worthy of tying the sandals on the feet of Jesus.  There are people who are truly great and history will tell us if they are or were the greatest.  But these are not usually people who claimed greatness; they are usually people who used their God-given talents to the best of their ability.  John was humble; he did what he was called to do, prepare the way for Jesus.  Humility is an interesting virtue.  It comes from the Latin word for earth – humus – and refers to being grounded.  The humble person knows that he or she is gifted and nurtures those gifts so that they might grow and then uses those gifts for the benefit of others.  the humble person doesn’t take credit for the gift, rather accepts that it’s a gift from God and gives God the glory.  Pride is the vice that takes credit for the gift.  Jesus did not come as a prince or a king being born in a palace, he came as a baby of humble origin.  He wanted us to know that he was one of us so that we could relate to him better.  May we all use our gifts to the best of our ability and always remember to thank the giver for the gift.

Prayer:  Lord we thank you for all you have done for us and for giving the example of John the Baptist for the good of others.  amen.

Lili'uokalani: The Last Queen of Hawaii

Liliʻuokalani (Hawaiian pronunciation: [liˌliʔuokəˈlɐni]; born Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Kamakaʻeha; September 2, 1838 – November 11, 1917) was the first queen regnant and the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, ruling from January 29, 1891, until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 17, 1893. The composer of “Aloha ʻOe” and numerous other works, she wrote her autobiography Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen during her imprisonment following the overthrow.

Liliʻuokalani was born on September 2, 1838, in Honolulu, on the island of Oʻahu. While her natural parents were Analea Keohokālole and Caesar Kapaʻakea, she was hānai (informally adopted) at birth by Abner Pākī and Laura Kōnia and raised with their daughter Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Baptized as a Christian and educated at the Royal School, she and her siblings and cousins were proclaimed eligible for the throne by King Kamehameha III. She was married to American-born John Owen Dominis, who later became the Governor of Oʻahu. The couple had no biological children but adopted several. After the accession of her brother David Kalākaua to the throne in 1874, she and her siblings were given Western style titles of Prince and Princess. In 1877, after her younger brother Leleiohoku II’s death, she was proclaimed as heir apparent to the throne. During the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, she represented her brother as an official envoy to the United Kingdom.

Liliʻuokalani ascended to the throne on January 29, 1891, nine days after her brother’s death. During her reign, she attempted to draft a new constitution which would restore the power of the monarchy and the voting rights of the economically disenfranchised. Threatened by her attempts to abrogate the Bayonet Constitution, pro-American elements in Hawaiʻi overthrew the monarchy on January 17, 1893. The overthrow was bolstered by the landing of US Marines under John L. Stevens to protect American interests, which rendered the monarchy unable to protect itself.

The coup d’état established the Republic of Hawaiʻi, but the ultimate goal was the annexation of the islands to the United States, which was temporarily blocked by President Grover Cleveland. After an unsuccessful uprising to restore the monarchy, the oligarchical government placed the former queen under house arrest at the ʻIolani Palace. On January 24, 1895, Liliʻuokalani was forced to abdicate the Hawaiian throne, officially ending the deposed monarchy. Attempts were made to restore the monarchy and oppose annexation, but with the outbreak of the Spanish–American War, the United States annexed Hawaiʻi. Living out the remainder of her later life as a private citizen, Liliʻuokalani died at her residence, Washington Place, in Honolulu on November 11, 1917.

Early life

Liliʻuokalani was born Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Kamakaʻeha on September 2, 1838, to the Analea Keohokālole and Caesar Kapaʻakea. She was born in the large grass hut of her maternal grandfather, ʻAikanaka, at the base of Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.   According to Hawaiian custom, she was named after an event linked to her birth. At the time she was born, Kuhina Nui (regent) Elizabeth Kīnaʻu had developed an eye infection. She named the child using the words; liliʻu (smarting), loloku (tearful), walania (a burning pain) and kamakaʻeha (sore eyes).   Upon her baptism by Reverend Levi Chamberlain, she was given the Christian name Lydia.

Her family were of the aliʻi class of the Hawaiian nobility and were collateral relations of the reigning House of Kamehameha, sharing common descent from the 18th-century aliʻi nui (supreme monarch) Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku. From her biological parents, she descended from Keaweaheulu and Kameʻeiamoku, two of the five royal counselors of Kamehameha I during his conquest of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Kameʻeiamoku, the grandfather of both her mother and father, was depicted, along with his royal twin Kamanawa, on the Hawaiian coat of arms.  Liliʻuokalani referred to her family line as the “Keawe-a-Heulu line” after her mother’s line.  The third surviving child of a large family, her biological siblings included: James Kaliokalani, David Kalākaua, Anna Kaʻiulani, Kaʻiminaʻauao, Miriam Likelike and William Pitt Leleiohoku II.   She and her siblings were hānai (informally adopted) to other family members. The Hawaiian custom of hānai is an informal form of adoption between extended families practiced by Hawaiian royals and commoners alike.   She was given at birth to Abner Pākī and his wife Laura Kōnia and raised with their daughter Bernice Pauahi.

In 1842, at the age of four, she began her education at the Chiefs’ Children’s School (later known as the Royal School). She, along with her classmates, had been formally proclaimed by Kamehameha III as eligible for the throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom.   Liliʻuokalani later noted that these “pupils were exclusively persons whose claims to the throne were acknowledged.”   She, along with her two older brothers James Kaliokalani and David Kalākaua, and her thirteen royal cousins, was taught in English by American missionaries Amos Starr Cooke and his wife, Juliette Montague Cooke.  The children were taught reading, spelling, penmanship, arithmetic, geometry, algebra, physics, geography, history, bookkeeping, singing and English composition by the missionary couple who had to control the moral and sexual development of their charges.   Liliʻuokalani was placed in the youngest section of the class with Princess Victoria Kamāmalu, Mary Polly Paʻaʻāina, and John William Pitt Kīnaʻu.   In later life, Liliʻuokalani would look back unfavorably on her early education remembering being “sent hungry to bed” and the 1848 measles epidemic that claimed the life of a classmate Moses Kekūāiwa and her younger sister Kaʻiminaʻauao.  The boarding school run by the Cookes was discontinued around 1850, so she, along with her former classmate Victoria, was sent to the relocated day school (also called Royal School) run by Reverend Edward G. Beckwith.  On May 5, 1853, she finished third in her class with Victoria and Nancy Sumner in the final exams.  In 1865, after her marriage, she informally attended Oʻahu College (modern day Punahou School) and received instruction under Susan Tolman Mills, who later cofounded Mills College in California.

Courtship and married life

After the boarding school was discontinued in 1850, Liliʻuokalani lived with her hānai parents at Haleʻākala, which she referred to in later life as her childhood home. Around this time, her hānai sister Pauahi married the American Charles Reed Bishop against the wishes of their parents but reconciled with them shortly before Pākī’s death in 1855. Kōnia died two years afterward and Liliʻuokalani came under the Bishops’ guardianship. During this period, Liliʻuokalani became a part of the young social elite under the reign of Kamehameha IV who ascended to the throne in 1855.  In 1856, Kamehameha IV announced his intent to marry Emma Rooke, one of their classmates. However, according to Liliʻuokalani, certain elements of the court argued “there is no other chief equal to you in birth and rank but the adopted daughter of Paki,” which infuriated the King and brought the Queen to tears. Despite this upset, Liliʻuokalani was regarded as a close friend of the new Queen, and she served as a maid of honor during the royal wedding alongside Princess Victoria Kamāmalu and Mary Pitman.   At official state occasions, she served as an attendant and lady-in-waiting in Queen Emma’s retinue. Visiting British dignitaries Lady Franklin and her niece Sophia Cracroft noted in 1861 that the “Honble. Lydia Paki” was “the highest unmarried woman in the Kingdom”.

Marriage consideration had begun early on for her. American merchant Gorham D. Gilman, a houseguest of the Pākīs, had courted her unsuccessfully when she was fifteen. Around the time of Kōnia’s final illness in 1857, Liliʻuokalani was briefly engaged to William Charles Lunalilo. They shared an interest in music composition and had known each other from childhood. He had been betrothed from birth to Princess Victoria, the king’s sister, but disagreements with her brothers prevented the marriage from materializing. Thus, Lunalilo proposed to Liliʻuokalani during a trip to Lahaina to be with Kōnia. A short-lived dual engagement occurred in which Liliʻuokalani was matched to Lunalilo and her brother Kalakaua to Princess Victoria. She ultimately broke off the engagement because of the urging of King Kamehameha IV and the opposition of the Bishops to the union.   Afterward, she became romantically involved with the American-born John Owen Dominis, a staff member for Prince Lot Kapuāiwa (the future Kamehameha V) and secretary to King Kamehameha IV. Dominis was the son of Captain John Dominis, of Trieste, and Mary Lambert Jones, of Boston. According to Liliʻuokalani’s memoir, they had known each other from childhood when he watched the royal children from a school next to the Cookes’. During a court excursion, Dominis escorted her home despite falling from his horse and breaking his leg.

John Owen Dominis, who later became Governor of Oʻahu

From 1860 to 1862, Liliʻuokalani and Dominis were engaged with the wedding set on her twenty-fourth birthday. This was postponed to September 16, 1862, out of respect for the death of Prince Albert Kamehameha, son of Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. The wedding was held at Haleʻākala, the residence of the Bishops. The ceremony was officiated by Reverend Samuel Chenery Damon in the Anglican rites. Her bridesmaids were her former classmates Elizabeth Kekaʻaniau and Martha Swinton. King Kamehameha IV and other members of the royal family were honored guests. The couple moved into the Dominises’ residence, Washington Place in Honolulu. Through his wife and connections with the king, Dominis would later become Governor of Oʻahu and Maui.  The union was reportedly an unhappy one with much gossip about Dominis’ infidelities and domestic strife between Liliʻuokalani and Dominis’ mother Mary who disapproved of the marriage of her son with a Hawaiian.  They never had any children of their own, but, against the wish of her husband, Liliʻuokalani adopted three hānai children: Lydia Kaʻonohiponiponiokalani Aholo, the daughter of a family friend; Joseph Kaiponohea ʻAeʻa, the son of a retainer; and John ʻAimoku Dominis, her husband’s son.

After her marriage, she retained her position in the court circle of Kamehameha IV and later his brother and successor Kamehameha V. She assisted Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV in raising funds to build The Queen’s Hospital. In 1864, she and Pauahi helped Princess Victoria established the Kaʻahumanu Society, a female-led organization aimed at the relief of the elderly and the ill. At the request of Kamehameha V, she composed “He Mele Lāhui Hawaiʻi” in 1866 as the new Hawaiian national anthem. This was in use until replaced by her brother’s composition “Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī”. During the 1869 visit of Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and the Galatea, she entertained the British prince with a traditional Hawaiian luau at her Waikiki residence of Hamohamo.

Heir apparent and regency

Elections of 1874

When Kamehameha V died in 1872 with no heir, the 1864 Constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom called for the legislature to elect the next monarch. Following a non-binding referendum and subsequent unanimous vote in the legislature, Lunalilo became the first elected king of Hawaii.  Lunalilo died without an heir in 1874. In the election that followed, Liliʻuokalani’s brother, David Kalākaua, ran against Emma, the dowager queen of Kamehameha IV.  The choice of Kalākaua by the legislature, and the subsequent announcement, caused a riot at the courthouse. US and British troops were landed, and some of Emma’s supporters were arrested. The results of the election strained the relationship between Emma and the Kalākaua family.

After his accession, Kalākaua gave royal titles and styles to his surviving siblings, his sisters, Princess Lydia Kamakaʻeha Dominis and Princess Miriam Likelike Cleghorn, as well as his brother William Pitt Leleiohoku, whom he named heir to the Hawaiian throne as Kalākaua and Queen Kapiʻolani had no children of their own. Leleiohoku died without an heir in 1877.  Leleiohoku’s hānai (adoptive) mother, Ruth Keʻelikōlani, wanted to be named heir, but the king’s cabinet ministers objected as that would place Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Ruth’s first cousin, next in line.  This would put the Kamehamehas back in succession to the throne again, which Kalākaua did not wish. On top of that, Kalākaua’s court genealogists had already cast doubt on Ruth’s direct lineage, and in doing so placed doubt on Bernice’s.  At noon on April 10, Liliʻuokalani became the newly designated heir apparent to the throne of Hawaii.  It was at this time that Kalākaua had her name changed to Liliʻuokalani (the “smarting of the royal ones”), replacing her given name of Liliʻu and her baptismal name of Lydia.  In 1878, Liliʻuokalani and Dominis sailed to California for her health. They stayed in San Francisco and Sacramento where she visited the Crocker Art Museum.

First regency

During Kalākaua’s 1881 world tour, Liliʻuokalani served as Regent in his absence.  One of her first responsibilities was handling the smallpox epidemic of 1881 likely brought to the islands by Chinese contracted laborers. After meeting her with her brother’s cabinet ministers, she closed all the ports, halted all passenger vessels out of Oʻahu, and initiated a quarantine of the affected. The measures kept the disease contained in Honolulu and Oʻahu with only a few cases on Kauaʻi. The disease mainly affected Native Hawaiians with the total number of cases at 789 with 289 fatalities, or a little over thirty-six percent.

It was during this regency that Liliʻuokalani visited the leper settlement at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi in September.   She was too overcome to speak and John Makini Kapena, one of her brother’s ministers, had to address the people on her behalf. After the visit, in the name of her brother, Liliʻuokalani made Father Damien a knight commander of the Royal Order of Kalākaua for his service to her subjects. She also convinced the governmental board of health to set aside land for a leprosy hospital at Kakaʻako.  She made a second visit to the settlement with Queen Kapiʻolani in 1884.

Liliʻuokalani was active in philanthropy and the welfare of her people. In 1886, she founded a bank for women in Honolulu named Liliuokalani’s Savings Bank and helped Isabella Chamberlain Lyman establish Kumukanawai o ka Liliuokalani Hui Hookuonoono, a money lending group for women in Hilo. In the same year, she also founded the Liliʻuokalani Educational Society, an organization “to interest the Hawaiian ladies in the proper training of young girls of their own race whose parents would be unable to give them advantages by which they would be prepared for the duties of life.” It supported the tuition of Hawaiian girls at Kawaiahaʻo Seminary for Girls, where her hānai daughter Lydia Aholo attended, and Kamehameha School.

Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria

In April 1887, Kalākaua sent a delegation to attend the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in London. It included his wife Queen Kapiʻolani, the Princess Liliʻuokalani and her husband, as well as Court Chamberlain Colonel Curtis P. Iaukea acting as the official envoy of the King.  The party landed in San Francisco and traveled across the United States visiting Washington, D.C., Boston and New York City, where they boarded a ship for the United Kingdom. While in the American capital, they were received by President Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances Cleveland. In London, Kapiʻolani and Liliʻuokalani received an official audience with Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace. Queen Victoria greeted both Hawaiian royals with affection, and recalled Kalākaua’s visit in 1881. They attended the special Jubilee service at Westminster Abbey and were seated with other foreign royal guests, and with members of the Royal Household.  Shortly after the Jubilee celebrations, they learned of the Bayonet Constitution that Kalākaua had been forced to sign under the threat of death. They canceled their tour of Europe and returned to Hawaii.

Liliʻuokalani was approached on December 20 and 23 by James I. Dowsett, Jr. and William R. Castle, members of the legislature’s Reform (Missionary) Party, proposing her ascension to the throne if her brother Kalākaua were removed from power. Historian Ralph S. Kuykendall stated that she gave a conditional “if necessary” response; however, Liliʻuokalani’s account was that she firmly turned down both men.  In 1889, a part Native Hawaiian officer Robert W Wilcox, who resided in Liliʻuokalani’s Palama residence, instigated an unsuccessful rebellion to overthrow the Bayonet Constitution.

Second regency and death of Kalākaua

Kalākaua arrived in California aboard the USS Charleston on November 25, 1890. There was uncertainty as to the purpose of the king’s trip. Minister of Foreign Affairs John Adams Cummins reported that the trip was solely for the king’s health and would not extend beyond California, while local newspapers and the British commissioner James Hay Wodehouse speculated that the king might go further east to Washington, D.C. to negotiate a treaty to extend the existing exclusive US access rights to Pearl Harbor, or the annexation of the kingdom. The McKinley Tariff Act had crippled the Hawaiian sugar industry by removing the duties on sugar imports from other countries into the US, eliminating the previous Hawaiian duty-free advantage under the Reciprocity Treaty of 1875.  After failing to persuade the king to stay, Liliʻuokalani wrote that he and Hawaiian ambassador to the United States Henry A. P. Carter planned to discuss the tariff situation in Washington.  In his absence, Liliʻuokalani was left in charge as regent for the second time. In her memoir, she wrote that “Nothing worthy of record transpired during the closing days of 1890, and the opening weeks of 1891.”

Upon arriving in California, Kalākaua, whose health had been declining, stayed in a suite at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.  Traveling throughout Southern California and Northern Mexico, the monarch suffered a stroke in Santa Barbara and was rushed back to San Francisco. Kalākaua fell into a coma in his suite on January 18, and died two days later on January 20.  The official cause of death was “Bright’s Disease with Uremic Blood Poisoning.”  The news of Kalākaua’s death did not reach Hawaii until January 29 when the Charleston returned to Honolulu with the remains of the king.


On January 29, 1891, in the presence of the cabinet ministers and the Supreme Court justices, Liliʻuokalani took the oath of office to uphold the constitution, and became the first and only queen of the Hawaiian Kingdom.  The first few weeks of her reign were obscured by the funeral of her brother. After the end of the period of mourning, one of her first acts was to request the formal resignation of the holdover cabinet from her brother’s reign. These ministers refused, and asked for a ruling by the Hawaii Supreme Court. All the justices but one ruled in favor of the Queen’s decision, and the ministers resigned. Liliʻuokalani appointed Samuel Parker, Hermann A. Widemann, and William A. Whiting, and reappointed Charles N. Spencer (from the hold-over cabinet), as her new cabinet ministers. On March 9, with the approval of the House of Nobles, as required by the Hawaiian constitution, she named as successor her niece Kaʻiulani, the only daughter of Archibald Scott Cleghorn and her sister Princess Likelike, who had died in 1887.  From April to July, Liliʻuokalani paid the customary visits to the main Hawaiian Islands, including a third visit to the leper settlement of Kalaupapa. Historian Ralph Simpson Kuykendall noted, “Everywhere she was accorded the homage traditionally paid by the Hawaiian people to their alii.”

Liliʻuokalani at Waipiʻo during her royal circuit of Oʻahu, 1891

Following her accession, John Owen Dominis was given the title Prince Consort and restored to the Governorship of Oʻahu, which had been abolished following the Bayonet Constitution of 1887.  Dominis’ death on August 27, seven months into her reign, greatly affected the new Queen. Liliʻuokalani later wrote: “His death occurred at a time when his long experience in public life, his amiable qualities, and his universal popularity, would have made him an adviser to me for whom no substitute could possibly be found. I have often said that it pleased the Almighty Ruler of nations to take him away from me at precisely the time when I felt that I most needed his counsel and companionship.”  Cleghorn, her sister’s widower, was appointed to succeed Dominis as Governor of Oʻahu. In 1892, Liliʻuokalani would also restore the positions of governor for the other three main islands for her friends and supporters.

From May 1892 to January 1893, the legislature of the Kingdom convened for an unprecedented 171 days, which later historians such as Albertine Loomis and Helena G. Allen dubbed the “Longest Legislature”.  This session was dominated by political infighting between and within the four parties: National Reform, Reform, National Liberal and Independent; none were able to gain a majority. Debates heard on the floor of the houses concerned the popular demand for a new constitution and the passage of a lottery bill and an opium licensing bill, aimed at alleviating the economic crisis caused by the McKinley Tariff. The main issues of contention between the new monarch and the legislators were the retention of her cabinet ministers, since political division prevented Liliʻuokalani from appointing a balanced council and the 1887 constitution gave the legislature the power to vote for the dismissal of her cabinet. Seven resolutions of want of confidence were introduced during this session, and four of her self-appointed cabinets (the Widemann, Macfarlane, Cornwell, and Wilcox cabinets) were ousted by votes of the legislature. On January 13, 1893, after the legislature dismissed the George Norton Wilcox cabinet (which had political sympathies to the Reform Party), Liliʻuokalani appointed the new Parker cabinet consisting of Samuel Parker, as minister of foreign affairs; John F. Colburn, as minister of the interior; William H. Cornwell, as minister of finance; and Arthur P. Peterson, as attorney general.  She chose these men specifically to support her plan of promulgating a new constitution while the legislature was not in session.

Promulgating a new constitution

The precipitating event leading to the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom was the attempt by Queen Liliʻuokalani to promulgate a new constitution to regain powers for the monarchy and Native Hawaiians that had been lost under the Bayonet Constitution. Her opponents, who were led by two Hawaiian citizens Lorrin A. Thurston and W. O. Smith and included six Hawaiian citizens, five US citizens and one German citizen.  Outraged by her attempt to promulgate a new constitution, they moved to depose the Queen, overthrow the monarchy, and seek Hawaii’s annexation to the United States.

Shortly after her accession, Liliʻuokalani began to receive petitions to re-write the Bayonet Constitution through the two major political parties of the time, Hui Kālaiʻāina and the National Reform Party. Supported by two-thirds of the registered voters, she moved to abrogate the existing 1887 constitution, but her cabinet withheld their support, knowing what her opponents’ likely response would be.

The proposed constitution (co-written by the Queen and two legislators, Joseph Nāwahī and William Pūnohu White) would have restored the power to the monarchy, and voting rights to economically disenfranchised native Hawaiians and Asians.  Her ministers and closest friends were all opposed to this plan; they tried unsuccessfully to dissuade her from pursuing these initiatives, both of which came to be used against her in the brewing constitutional crisis.

Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom

The political fallout led to citywide political rallies and meetings in Honolulu. Anti-monarchists, annexationists, and leading Reform Party politicians that included Lorrin A. Thurston, a grandson of American missionaries, and Kalākaua’s former cabinet ministers under the Bayonet Constitution, formed the Committee of Safety in protest of the “revolutionary” action of the queen and conspired to depose her.  Thurston and the Committee of Safety derived their support primarily from the American and European business class residing in Hawaiʻi. Most of the leaders of the overthrow were American and European citizens who were also Kingdom subjects. They also included legislators, government officers, and a justice of the Hawaiian Supreme Court.

In response, royalists and loyalists formed the Committee of Law and Order and met at the palace square on January 16, 1893. Nāwahī, White, Robert W. Wilcox, and other pro-monarchist leaders gave speeches in support for the queen and the government. To try to appease the instigators, the queen and her supporters abandoned attempts to unilaterally promulgate a constitution.

The same day, the Marshal of the Kingdom, Charles Burnett Wilson, was tipped off by detectives to the imminent planned coup. Wilson requested warrants to arrest the 13-member council of the Committee of Safety, and put the Kingdom under martial law. Because the members had strong political ties to United States Minister to Hawaii John L. Stevens, the requests were repeatedly denied by the queen’s cabinet, which feared that the arrests would escalate the situation. After a failed negotiation with Thurston, Wilson began to collect his men for the confrontation. Wilson and captain of the Royal Household Guard Samuel Nowlein had rallied a force of 496 men who were kept at hand to protect the queen.   Marines from the USS Boston and two companies of US sailors landed and took up positions at the US Legation, the Consulate, and Arion Hall. The sailors and Marines did not enter the palace grounds or take over any buildings, and never fired a shot, but their presence served effectively in intimidating royalist defenders. Historian William Russ states, “the injunction to prevent fighting of any kind made it impossible for the monarchy to protect itself”.

The queen was deposed on January 17, and the provisional government established under pro-annexation leader Sanford B. Dole was officially recognized by Stevens as the de facto government.   She temporarily relinquished her throne to the United States, rather than the Dole-led government, in hopes that the United States would restore Hawaii’s sovereignty to the rightful holder.  The government under Dole began using ʻIolani Palace as its executive building.   A delegation departed for Washington D.C. on January 19, to ask for immediate annexation by the United States.  At the request of the provisional government, Stevens proclaimed Hawaii a protectorate of the United States on February 1, to temporarily provide a buffer against domestic upheaval and interference by foreign governments.  The US flag was raised over the palace, and martial law was enforced. The annexation treaty presented to the US Senate contained a provision to grant Liliʻuokalani a $20,000 per annum lifetime pension, and Kaʻiulani a lump-sum payment of $150,000. The queen protested the proposed annexation in a January 19 letter to President Benjamin Harrison. She sent Prince David Kawānanakoa and Paul Neumann to represent her.

Neumann delivered a letter from the queen to Grover Cleveland, who began his second non-consecutive term as president on March 4.  The Cleveland administration commissioned the Blount Report, and based on its findings, concluded that the overthrow of Liliʻuokalani was illegal, and that Stevens and American military troops had acted inappropriately in support of those who carried out the overthrow. On November 16, Cleveland sent his minister Albert S. Willis to propose a return of the throne to Liliʻuokalani if she granted amnesty to everyone responsible. Her first response was that Hawaiian law called for property confiscation and the death penalty for treason, and that only her cabinet ministers could put aside the law in favor of amnesty.   Liliuokalani’s extreme position lost her the goodwill of the Cleveland administration.

Cleveland sent the issue to the Congress, stating, “The Provisional Government has not assumed a republican, or other constitutional form, but has remained a mere executive council, or oligarchy, without the consent of the people”.  The queen changed her position on the issue of amnesty, and on December 18, Willis demanded the provisional government reinstate her to the throne, but was refused. Congress responded with a US Senate investigation that resulted in the Morgan Report on February 26, 1894. It found Stevens and all parties except the queen “not guilty”, absolving them of responsibility for the overthrow.  The provisional government formed the Republic of Hawaii on July 4 with Dole as its president, maintaining oligarchical control and a limited system of suffrage.

Arrest and imprisonment

At the beginning of January 1895, Robert W. Wilcox and Samuel Nowlein launched a rebellion against the forces of the Republic with the aim of restoring the queen and the monarchy. Its ultimate failure led to the arrest of many of the participants and other sympathizers of the monarchy. Liliʻuokalani was also arrested and imprisoned in an upstairs bedroom at the palace on January 16, several days after the failed rebellion, when firearms were found at her home of Washington Place after a tip from a prisoner.

During her imprisonment, she abdicated her throne in return for the release (and commutation of the death sentences) of her jailed supporters; six had been sentenced to be hanged including Wilcox and Nowlein.   She signed the document of abdication on January 24. In 1898, Liliʻuokalani wrote:

For myself, I would have chosen death rather than to have signed it; but it was represented to me that by my signing this paper all the persons who had been arrested, all my people now in trouble by reason of their love and loyalty towards me, would be immediately released. Think of my position, — sick, a lone woman in prison, scarcely knowing who was my friend, or who listened to my words only to betray me, without legal advice or friendly counsel, and the stream of blood ready to flow unless it was stayed by my pen.— Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hawaii’s Story By Hawaii’s Queen

She was tried by the military commission of the Republic led by her former attorney general Whiting in the palace throne room on February 8. Defended at trial by another one of her former attorneys general Paul Neumann, she claimed ignorance but was sentenced to five years of hard labor in prison by the military tribunal and fined $5,000.  The sentence was commuted on September 4, to imprisonment in the palace, attended by her lady-in-waiting Eveline Townsend Wilson (aka Kitty), wife of Marshal Wilson.  In confinement she composed songs including “The Queen’s Prayer” (Ke Aloha o Ka Haku – “The Grace of the Lord”).

On October 13, 1896, the Republic of Hawaii gave her a full pardon and restored her civil rights.  “Upon receiving my full release, I felt greatly inclined to go abroad,” Liliʻuokalani wrote in her memoir.  From December 1896 through January 1897, she stayed in Brookline, Massachusetts, with her husband’s cousins William Lee and Sara White Lee, of the Lee & Shepard publishing house.[130] During this period her long-time friend Julius A. Palmer Jr. became her secretary and stenographer, helping to write every letter, note, or publication. He was her literary support in the 1897 publication of the Kumulipo translation, and helped her in compiling a book of her songs. He assisted her as she wrote her memoir Hawaii’s Story by Hawaii’s Queen.   Sara Lee edited the book published in 1898 by Lee & Shepard.


At the end of her visit in Massachusetts, Liliʻuokalani began to divide her time between Hawaii and Washington, D.C., where she worked to seek indemnity from the United States.

She attended the inauguration of US President William McKinley on March 4, 1897, with a Republic of Hawaii passport personally issued to “Liliuokalani of Hawaii” by the republic’s president Sanford B. Dole.   On June 16, McKinley presented the United States Senate with a new version of the annexation treaty, one that eliminated the monetary compensation for Liliʻuokalani and Kaʻiulani.  Liliʻuokalani filed an official protest with Secretary of State John Sherman the next day. The protest was witnessed by her agent and private secretary Joseph Heleluhe, Wekeki Heleluhe, and Captain Julius A. Palmer Jr., reported to be her American secretary.

In June 1897 President McKinley signed the “Treaty for the Annexation for the Hawaiian Islands”, but it failed to pass in the United States Senate after the Kūʻē Petitions were submitted by a commission of Native Hawaiian delegates consisting of James Keauiluna Kaulia, David Kalauokalani, William Auld, and John Richardson. Members of Hui Aloha ʻĀina collected over 21,000 signatures opposing an annexation treaty. Another 17,000 signatures were collected by members of Hui Kālaiʻāina but not submitted to the Senate because those signatures were also asking for restoration of the Queen. The petitions collectively were presented as evidence of the strong grassroots opposition of the Hawaiian community to annexation, and the treaty was defeated in the Senate— however, following its failure, Hawaii was annexed anyway via the Newlands Resolution, a joint resolution of Congress, in July 1898, shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish–American War.

The annexation ceremony was held on August 12, 1898, at ʻIolani Palace, now being used as the executive building of the government. President Sanford B. Dole handed over “the sovereignty and public property of the Hawaiian Islands” to United States Minister Harold M. Sewall. The flag of the Republic of Hawaii was lowered and the flag of the United States was raised in its place.   Liliʻuokalani and her family members and retainers boycotted the event and shuttered themselves away at Washington Place. Many Native Hawaiians and royalists followed suit and refused to attend the ceremony.

Crown Lands of Hawaii

Prior to the 1848 division of land known as the Great Māhele, during the reign of Kamehameha III, all land in Hawaii was owned by the monarchy. The Great Māhele subdivided the land among the monarchy, the government, and private ownership by tenants living on the land. What was reserved for the monarchy became known as the Crown Lands of Hawaii.  When Hawaii was annexed, the Crown Lands were seized by the United States government. The Queen gave George Macfarlane her power of attorney in 1898 as part of her legal defense team in seeking indemnity for the government’s seizure of the Crown Lands. She filed a protest with the United States Senate on December 20, 1898, requesting their return and claiming the lands were seized without due process or recompense.

That, the portion of the public domain heretofore known as Crown land is hereby declared to have been, on the twelfth day of August, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, and prior thereto, the property of the Hawaiian government, and to be free and clear from any trust of or concerning the same, and from all claim of any nature whatsoever, upon the rents, issues, and profits thereof. It shall be subject to alienation and other uses as may be provided by law. — Hawaiian Organic Act, Sec. 99

On April 30, 1900, the US Congress passed the Hawaii Organic Act establishing a government for the Territory of Hawaii.  The territorial government took control of the Crown Lands, which became the source of the “Ceded Lands” issue in Hawaii.  The San Francisco Call reported on May 31 that Macfarlane had informed them the Queen had exhausted her patience with Congress and intended to file a lawsuit against the government.  Former United States Minister to Hawaii Edward M. McCook said he believed that once President McKinley began his second term on March 1, 1901, that the government would negotiate a generous settlement with Liliʻuokalani.

During a 1900 Congressional deadlock, she departed for Honolulu with her Washington, D.C. physician Charles H. English (sometimes referred to as John H. English). Newspapers speculated that the Queen, having been diagnosed with cancer, was going home to die.  Historian Helena G. Allen made the case that English intended to gain title to crown lands for himself. According to Allen, the Queen balked at his draft of a settlement letter to Senator George Frisbie Hoar that he wanted her to copy in her handwriting and sign.  The doctor was terminated “without cause” a month after her returns and sued her.

The Pacific Commercial Advertiser lamented in 1903, “There is something pathetic in the appearance of Queen Liliuokalani as a waiting claimant before Congress.” It detailed her years-long residencies in the nation’s capital seeking indemnity, while legislators offered empty promises, but nothing of substance.

Liliʻuokalani v. the United States

In 1909, Liliʻuokalani brought an unsuccessful lawsuit against the United States under the Fifth Amendment seeking the return of the Hawaiian Crown Lands.  The US courts invoked an 1864 Kingdom Supreme Court decision over a case involving the Dowager Queen Emma and Kamehameha V, using it against her. In this decision the courts found that the Crown Lands were not necessarily the private possession of the monarch in the strictest sense of the term.

Later life and death

Although Liliʻuokalani was never successful in more than a decade of legal pursuits for recompense from the United States government for seized land, in 1911 she was finally granted a lifetime pension of $1,250 a month by the Territory of Hawaii. Historian Sydney Lehua Iaukea noted that the grant never addressed the question of the legality of the seizure itself, and the figure was greatly reduced from what she had requested for recompense.

In April 1917, Liliʻuokalani raised the American flag at Washington Place in honor of five Hawaiian sailors who had perished in the sinking of the SS Aztec by German U-boats. Her act was interpreted by many as her symbolic support of the United States.  Subsequent historians have disputed the true meaning of her act; Neil Thomas Proto argued that “[h]er gesture that day was intended to reflect the dignity with which she still held the right of her people to choose their own fate long after she was gone”.

By the end of that summer, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that she was too frail to hold her birthday reception for the public, an annual tradition dating back to the days of the monarchy.  As one of her last public appearances in September, she officially became a member of the American Red Cross.  Following several months of deteriorating health that left her without the use of her lower limbs, as well as a diminished mental capacity rendering her incapable of recognizing her own house, her inner circle of friends and caregivers sat vigil for the last two weeks of her life knowing the end was near. In accordance with Hawaiian tradition, the royal kāhili fanned her as she lay in bed. On the morning of November 11, Liliʻuokalani died at the age of seventy-nine at her residence at Washington Place.

Burial Vault of Queen Liliʻuokalani at the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii

The bells of Saint Andrew Cathedral and Kawaiahaʻo Church announced her death, tolling 79 times to signify her age. In keeping with Hawaiian tradition regarding deceased royalty, her body was not removed from her home until nearly midnight.  Her body lay in state at Kawaiahaʻo Church for public viewing, after which she received a state funeral in the throne room of Iolani Palace, on November 18. Composer Charles E. King led a youth choir in “Aloha ʻOe” as her catafalque was moved from the palace up Nuuanu Avenue with 1200-foot ropes pulled by 200 people, for entombment with her family members in the Kalākaua Crypt at the Royal Mausoleum of Mauna ʻAla. The song was picked up by the procession participants and the crowds of people along the route.  Films were taken of the funeral procession and later stored at ʻĀinahau, the former residence of her sister and niece. A fire on August 1, 1921, destroyed the home and all its contents, including the footage of the Queen’s funeral.

Religious beliefs

Educated by American Protestant missionaries from a young age, Liliʻuokalani became a devout Christian and adherent to the principles of Christianity. These missionaries were largely of Congregationalist and Presbyterian extractions, subscribing to Calvinist theology, and Liliʻuokalani considered herself a “regular attendant on the Presbyterian worship”.  She was the first member of the royal family to consistently and regularly attend service at Kawaiahaʻo Church since King Kamehameha IV converted to Anglicanism. On Sundays, she played the organ and led the choir at Kawaiahaʻo. She also regularly attended service at Kaumakapili Church and held a special interest in the Liliʻuokalani Protestant Church, to which she donated the Queen Liliʻuokalani Clock in 1892.

Historian Helena G. Allen noted that Liliʻuokalani and Kalākaua “believed all religions had their ‘rights’ and were entitled to equal treatment and opportunities”. Throughout her life, Liliʻuokalani showed a broad interest in the different Christian faiths including Catholicism, Mormonism, Episcopalianism and other Protestant denominations.  In 1896, she became a regular member of the Hawaiian Congregation at St. Andrew’s Cathedral associated with the Reformed Catholic (Anglican/Episcopal) Church of Hawaii, which King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma had founded.  During the overthrow and her imprisonment, Bishop Alfred Willis of St. Andrew’s Cathedral had openly supported the Queen while Reverend Henry Hodges Parker of Kawaiahaʻo had supported her opponents.  Bishop Willis visited and wrote to her during her imprisonment and sent her a copy of the Book of Common Prayer. Shortly after her release on parole, the former queen was baptized and confirmed by Bishop Willis on May 18, 1896, in a private ceremony in the presence of the sisters of St. Andrew’s Priory.  In her memoir, Liliʻuokalani stated:

That first night of my imprisonment was the longest night I have ever passed in my life; it seemed as though the dawn of day would never come. I found in my bag a small Book of Common Prayer according to the ritual of the Episcopal Church. It was a great comfort to me, and before retiring to rest Mrs. Clark and I spent a few minutes in the devotions appropriate to the evening. Here, perhaps, I may say, that although I had been a regular attendant on the Presbyterian worship since my childhood, a constant contributor to all the missionary societies, and had helped to build their churches and ornament the walls, giving my time and my musical ability freely to make their meetings attractive to my people, yet none of these pious church members or clergymen remembered me in my prison. To this conduct contrast that of the Anglican bishop, Rt. Rev. Alfred Willis, who visited me from time to time in my house, and in whose church I have since been confirmed as a communicant. But he was not allowed to see me at the palace.

She traveled to Utah in 1901 for a visit with Mormon president Joseph F. Smith, a former missionary to the Hawaiian Island. There she joined in services at the Salt Lake Tabernacle, and was feted at a Beehive House reception, attended by many expatriate Native Hawaiians.  In 1906, she was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Elder Abraham Kaleimahoe Fernandez.   However, her interest in Mormonism later waned.

The Queen was also remembered for her support of Buddhist and Shinto priests in Hawaii and became one of the first Native Hawaiians to attend a Buddha’s Birthday celebration of May 19, 1901, at the Honwangji mission. Her attendance in the celebration helped Buddhism and Shinto gain acceptance into Hawaiian society and prevented the possible banning of the two religions by the Territorial government. Her presence was also widely reported in Chinese and Japanese newspapers throughout the world, and earned her the respect of many Japanese people both in Hawaii and in Japan itself.


Liliʻuokalani was an accomplished author and songwriter. Her book Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen gave her view of the history of her country and her overthrow. She is said to have played guitar, piano, organ, ʻukulele and zither, and also sang alto, performing Hawaiian and English sacred and secular music.  In her memoirs she wrote:

To compose was as natural to me as to breathe; and this gift of nature, never having been suffered to fall into disuse, remains a source of the greatest consolation to this day.[…] Hours of which it is not yet in place to speak, which I might have found long and lonely, passed quickly and cheerfully by, occupied and soothed by the expression of my thoughts in music.

Liliʻuokalani helped preserve key elements of Hawaiʻi’s traditional poetics while mixing in Western harmonies brought by the missionaries. A compilation of her works, titled The Queen’s Songbook, was published in 1999 by the Queen Liliʻuokalani Trust.  Liliʻuokalani used her musical compositions as a way to express her feelings for her people, her country, and what was happening in the political realm in Hawaiʻi.  One example of the way her music reflected her political views is her translation of the Kumulipo, the Hawaiian creation chant. While under house arrest, Liliʻuokalani feared she would never leave the palace alive, so she translated the Kumulipo in hopes that the history and culture of her people would never be lost.  The ancient chants record her family’s genealogy back to the origin story of Hawaiʻi.

After Liliʻuokalani was imprisoned in the ʻIolani Palace, she was denied literature and newspapers, essentially cutting her off from her people, but she continued to compose music with paper and pencil while she was in confinement.   Another of her compositions was “Aloha ʻOe”, a song she had written previously and transcribed during her confinement. In her writings, she says, “At first I had no instrument, and had to transcribe the notes by voice alone; but I found, notwithstanding disadvantages, great consolation in composing, and transcribed a number of songs. Three found their way from my prison to the city of Chicago, where they were printed, among them the ‘Aloha ʻOe’ or ‘Farewell to Thee’, which became a very popular song.”  Originally written as a lover’s good-bye, the song came to be regarded as a symbol of, and lament for, the loss of her country. Today, it is one of the most recognizable Hawaiian songs.


Captain Julius A. Palmer Jr. of Massachusetts was her friend for three decades, and became her spokesperson when she was in residence at Boston and Washington D.C., protesting the annexation of Hawaiʻi. In the nation’s capital, he estimated that she had 5,000 visitors. When asked by an interviewer, “What are her most distinctive personal graces?”, Palmer replied, “Above everything else she displayed a disposition of the most Christian forgiveness.”  In covering her death and funeral, the mainstream newspapers in Hawaii that had supported the overthrow and annexation recognized that she had been held in great esteem around the world.  In March 2016, Hawaiʻi Magazine listed Liliʻuokalani as one of the most influential women in Hawaiian history.

The Queen Liliʻuokalani Trust was established on December 2, 1909, for the care of orphaned and destitute children in Hawaii. Effective upon her death, the proceeds of her estate, with the exception of twelve individual inheritances specified therein, were to be used for the Trust.  The largest of these hereditary estates were willed to her hānai sons and their heirs: John ʻAimoku Dominis would receive Washington Place while Joseph Kaiponohea ʻAeʻa would receive Kealohilani, her residence at Waikiki. Both men predeceased the Queen.   Before and after her death, lawsuits were filed to overturn her will establishing the Trust. One notable litigant was Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, the nephew of her brother Kalākaua and his wife Kapiʻolani and Liliʻuokalani’s second cousin, who brought a suit against the Trust on November 30, 1915, questioning the Queen’s competency in executing the will and attempting to break the Trust. These lawsuits were resolved in 1923 and the will went into probate.  The Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center was created by the Trust.

Liliʻuokalani and her siblings are recognized by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame as Na Lani ʻEhā (The Heavenly Four) for their patronage and enrichment of Hawaii’s musical culture and history.   In 2007, Honolulu magazine rated “Aloha ʻOe” as the greatest song in the history of Hawaiian music.  Songwriter Charles E. King, known as the composer of “Ke Kali Nei Au”, was tutored in music by her.  Entertainer Bina Mossman led the Bina Mossman Glee Club that rehearsed regularly at Washington Place, while Liliʻuokalani helped them with pronunciation of the Hawaiian language. At the queen’s funeral, the glee club was part of the kahili bearers who stood watch over the coffin for two hours at a time, waving the kahilis and singing Liliʻuokalani’s compositions.

The annual Queen Liliʻuokalani Outrigger Canoe Race, which follows an 18-mile course from Kailua Bay to Honaunau Bay, was organized in 1972 as an endurance training course for men, in preparation for the traditional Molokaʻi to Oʻahu canoe races. Women canoe teams were added in 1974. The race is held over Labor Day Weekend each year to coincide with Liliʻuokalani’s birthday on September 2.

In the 2001 naming of the “Queen Liliʻuokalani Center for Studies Services”, on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus, the Board of Regents noted, “As the last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani symbolizes an important link to traditional Hawaiian culture and society. Her influence is well understood, widely respected and has been a strong motivating factor in the widespread emergence of Hawaiian culture and the values embodied in it.”

In 2017, Edgy Lee researched and filmed Liliuokalani – Reflections of Our Queen, a documentary looking at the legacy of the queen in Hawaii. A showing at Washington Place fundraised for the museum.  Liliʻuokalani and the overthrow have been subject of documentaries including The American Experience: Hawaii’s Last Queen (1994) and Conquest of Hawaii (2003).

Numerous hula events are held to honor her memory, including the Queen Liliʻuokalani Keiki Hula Competition Honolulu, organized in 1976.  The County of Hawaii holds an annual He Hali’a Aloha no Lili’uokalani Festival, Queen’s Birthday Celebration at Liliʻuokalani Park and Gardens in Hilo, in partnership with the Queen Lili’uokalani Trust. The event begins with several hundred dancers showered by 50,000 orchid blossoms.

Titles, styles and arms

Titles and styles

  • 1838 – September 16, 1862: The Honorable Miss Lydia Kamakaʻeha Pākī
  • September 16, 1862–1874: The Honorable Mrs. Lydia Kamakaʻeha Dominis
  • 1874 – April 10, 1877: Her Royal Highness The Princess Lydia Kamakaʻeha Dominis
  •  April 10, 1877 – January 29, 1891: Her Royal Highness The Princess Liliʻuokalani, Heir Apparent
  • January 20, 1881 – October 29, 1881 and November 25, 1890 – January 29, 1891: Her Royal Highness The Princess Regent
  • January 29, 1891 – January 17, 1893: Her Majesty The Queen

Kalākaua and Liliʻuokalani held formal titles in both English and Hawaiian. The official title of Queen Liliʻuokalani was Ma ka Lokomaikaʻi o ke Akua, Moʻi Wahine o ko Hawaiʻi Pae ʻAina (“By the grace of God, Queen of the Hawaiian Islands).

Julian of Norwich

Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich, also known as Dame Julian or Mother Julian (late 1342 – after 1416) was an English anchorite of the Middle Ages. She wrote the earliest surviving book in the English language to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.

She lived throughout her life in the English city of Norwich, an important center for commerce that also had a vibrant religious life, but which during her lifetime was a witness to the devastating effects of the Black Death of 1348–50, the Peasants’ Revolt, which affected large parts of England in 1381, and the suppression of the Lollards. In 1373, aged thirty and so seriously ill she thought she was on her deathbed, Julian received a series of visions or “shewings” of the Passion of Christ. She recovered from her illness and wrote two versions of her experiences, the earlier one being completed soon after her recovery, and a much longer version, today known as the Long Text, being written many years later.

For much of her life, Julian lived in permanent seclusion as an anchoress in her cell, which was attached to St Julian’s Church, Norwich. Four wills in which sums were bequeathed to her have survived, and an account by the celebrated mystic Margery Kempe exists, which provides details of the counsel she was given by the anchoress.

Nothing is known for certain about Julian’s actual name, family, or education, or of her life prior to her becoming an anchoress. Preferring to write anonymously, and seeking isolation from the world, she was nevertheless influential in her own lifetime. Her manuscripts were carefully preserved by Brigittine and Benedictine nuns, all the scribes but one being women.  The Protestant Reformation prevented their publication in print for a very long time. The Long Text was first published in 1670 by the Benedictine Serenus de Cressy, under the title XVI Revelations of Divine Love, shewed to a devout servant of Our Lord, called Mother Juliana, an Anchorete of Norwich: Who lived in the Dayes of King Edward the Third. Cressey’s book was reissued by George Hargreaves Parker in 1843, and a modernized version of the text was published by J. T. Hecker in 1864. The work emerged from obscurity in 1901 when a manuscript in the British Museum was transcribed and published with notes by Grace Warrack. Since then many more translations of Revelations of Divine Love (also known under other titles) have been produced. Julian is today considered to be an important Christian mystic and theologian.


The English city of Norwich, where Julian probably lived all her life, was second in importance to London during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and at the centre of the country’s primary region for agriculture and trade.  During her life Norwich suffered terribly when the Black Death reached the city. The disease may have killed over half the population and returned in subsequent outbreaks up to 1387.  Julian was alive during the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, when the city was overwhelmed by rebel forces led by Geoffrey Litster, later executed by Henry le Despenser after his peasant army was overwhelmed at the Battle of North Walsham.  As Bishop of Norwich, Despenser zealously opposed Lollardy, which advocated reform of the Catholic Church, and a number of Lollards were burnt at the stake at Lollard’s Pit, just outside the city.

Norwich may have been one of the most religious cities in Europe at that time, with its cathedral, friaries, churches and recluses’ cells dominating both the landscape and the lives of its citizens. On the eastern side of the city was the Norman Cathedral (founded in 1096), the Benedictine Hospital of St. Paul, the Carmelite friary, St. Giles’ Hospital, the Greyfriars monastery, and to the south the priory at Carrow, located just beyond the city walls.  The priory’s income was mainly generated from ‘livings’ it acquired for renting its assets, which included the Norwich churches of St. Julian, All Saints Timberhill, St. Edward Conisford and St. Catherine Newgate, all now lost apart from St. Julian’s. Where these churches had an anchorite cell, they enhanced the reputation of the priory still further, as they attracted legacies and endowments from across society.

St Julian’s Church

Julian is associated with St Julian’s Church, Norwich, located off King Street in the south of the city centre, and which still holds services on a regular basis.  St. Julian’s is an early round-tower church, one of the 31 surviving parish churches of a total of 58 that were built in Norwich after the Norman conquest of England.

During the Middle Ages there were twenty-two religious houses in Norwich and sixty-three churches within the city walls, of which thirty-six had an anchorage.  No hermits or anchorites existed in Norwich from 1312 until the emergence of Julian in the 1370s.  It is not recorded when the anchorage at St. Julian’s was built, but it was used by a number of different anchorites up to the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, some of whom were named Julian. After this time the cell was demolished and the church stripped of its rood screen and statues. No rector was then appointed until 1581.

By 1845 St. Julian’s was in a very poor state of repair and that year the east wall collapsed. After an appeal for funds, the church underwent a ruthless restoration.  It was further restored in the 20th century, but was destroyed during the Norwich Blitz of 1942, when in June that year the tower received a direct hit. After the war, funds were raised to rebuild the church. It now appears largely as it was before its destruction, although its tower is much-reduced in height and a chapel has been built in place of the long-lost anchorite cell.


Uniquely for the mystics of the Middle Ages, Julian wrote about her visions.  She was an anchoress from at least the 1390s, and was the greatest English mystic of her age, by virtue of the visions she experienced and her literary achievement, but almost nothing about her life is known.  What little is known about her comes from a handful of sources. She provides a few scant comments about the circumstances of her revelations in her book Revelations of Divine Love, of which one fifteenth-century manuscript and a number of longer, post-Reformation manuscripts have survived.  The earliest surviving copy of Julian’s Short Text, made by a scribe in the 1470s, acknowledges her as the author of the work.

The earliest known reference to an anchorite living in Norwich with the name Julian comes from a will made in 1394.  There are four known wills which mention her, all of which were made by individuals living in Norfolk. Roger Reed, the rector of St Michael Coslany, Norwich, whose will of 20 March 1393/4 provides the earliest record of Julian’s existence, made a bequest of 12 shillings to be paid to “Julian anakorite”.  Thomas Edmund, a chantry priest from the Norfolk town of Aylsham, stipulated in his will of 19 May 1404 that 12 pennies be given to “Julian, anchoress of the church of St. Julian, Conisford” and 8 pennies to “Sarah, living with her”.  A Norwich man, John Plumpton, gave 40 pennies to “the anchoress in the church of St. Julian’s, Conisford, and a shilling each to her maid and her former maid Alice”, in his will dated 24 November 1415.  The fourth person to mention Julian was Isabelle, Countess of Suffolk (the second wife of William de Ufford, 2nd Earl of Suffolk), who made a bequest of 20 shillings to “a Julian reclus a Norwich” in her will dated 26 September 1416.[20] A bequest to an unnamed anchorite at St. Julian’s was made in 1429, there is a possibility she was alive at this time.

Julian was known as a spiritual authority within her community, where she also served as a counsellor and adviser.  In around 1414, when she was in her seventies, she was visited by the celebrated English mystic Margery Kempe. In The Book of Margery Kempe, which has been claimed to be the first ever autobiography to be written in English, she wrote about going to Norwich to obtain spiritual advice from Julian, where “dame jelyan showed her the grace that God put into her soul, of compunction, contrition, sweetness and devotion, compassion with holy meditation and high contemplation”, for she “good counsel could give”.  Margery Kempe never referred to Julian as an author, although she was familiar with the works of other spiritual writers, and mentioned them.


According to Julian’s book Revelations of Divine Love, at the age of thirty, and when she was perhaps an anchoress already, Julian fell seriously ill. On 8 May 1373 a curate was administering the last rites of the Catholic Church to her, in anticipation of her death. As he held a crucifix above the foot of her bed, she began to lose her sight and feel physically numb, but gazing on the crucifix she saw the figure of Jesus begin to bleed. Over the next several hours, she had a series of fifteen visions of Jesus, and a sixteenth the following night.

Julian completely recovered from her illness on 13 May. She wrote about her “shewings” shortly after she experienced them.  Her original manuscript no longer exists, but a copy survived, now referred to as her Short Text.  Twenty to thirty years later, perhaps in the early 1390s, she began a theological exploration of the meaning of her visions, now known as The Long Text. Consisting of eighty-six chapters and about 63,500 words, this second work seems to have gone through many revisions before it was finished, perhaps in the 1410s or 1420s.

Julian’s revelations, which appear to have been the first of their kind to occur in England for two centuries, mark her as unique amongst medieval mystics.  It is possible she was a lay person living at home when her visions occurred, as she was visited by her mother and other people shortly before her visions, and the rules of enclosure for an anchoress would not normally have allowed outsiders such access.

Personal life

The few autobiographical details Julian included in the Short Text, including her gender, were suppressed when she wrote her longer text later in life.  Historians are not even sure of her actual name. It is generally thought to be taken from St. Julian’s Church in Norwich, but it was also used in its own right as a girl’s name in the Middle Ages, and so could have been her actual Christian name.

Julian’s writings indicate that she was born in 1343, and died after 1416.  She was six when the Black Death arrived in Norwich, which may have killed a third of the city’s population.  It has been speculated that she was educated as a young girl by the Benedictine nuns of Carrow Abbey, as it is known that a school for girls existed there during her childhood.  Anchoresses did not usually have to come from a religious community, and it is unlikely that Julian ever became a nun.  There is no written evidence that she was ever a nun at Carrow Abbey during her lifetime, and as she referred in her writings to being visited by her mother at her bedside, commentators have suggested that she was living at home when her visions occurred.

According to several commentators, including Santha Bhattacharji in her article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Julian’s discussion of the maternal nature of God suggests that she knew of motherhood from own direct experience of bringing up her own children.  As plague epidemics were rampant during the 14th century, it has been suggested that Julian may have lost her own family as a result of plague.   By then becoming an anchoress she would have been kept in quarantine away from the rest of the population of Norwich.  However, nothing in her writings provides any indication of the plagues, religious conflict, or civil insurrection that occurred in the city during her lifetime.   Kenneth Leach and Sister Benedicta Ward SLG, the joint authors of Julian reconsidered (first published in 1988), are of the opinion that that she was a young widowed mother, and never a nun, based on a dearth of references about her occupation in life, and a lack of evidence to connect her with Carrow Priory, which would have honored her, and buried her in the priory grounds.

Life as an anchoress

As an anchoress, Julian would have played an important part within her community, devoting herself to a life of prayer to complement the clergy in their primary function as protectors of people’s souls.  Her solitary life would have begun upon the completion of an elaborate selection process.  An important church ceremony would have taken place at St. Julian’s Church, in the presence of the Bishop of Norwich.  During the ceremony, psalms from the Office of the Dead would have been sung for her, as if it were her own funeral, and at some point Julian would have been led to her cell door and into the room beyond. The door would afterwards have been sealed up, and she would have remained in her cell for the rest of her life.

Once her life of seclusion had begun, Julian would have had to follow the strict rules for anchoresses. Two important sources of information about the life led by an anchoress have survived. De institutione inclusarum was written in Latin by Ælred of Rieveaulx in c. 1162, and the Ancrene Riwle was written in Middle English in c. 1200.  Although originally made for three religious sisters to follow, The Ancrene Riwle became in time a manual for all female recluses.  The work regained its former popularity during the mystical movement of the fourteenth century and may have been available to Julian in a version she could read and become familiar with.   It stipulated that anchoresses lived a life of confined isolation, poverty, and chastity.  However, some anchoresses are known to have lived comfortably, and there are instances in which they shared their accommodations with fellow recluses.

As an anchoress living in the heart of an urban environment, Julian would not have led an entirely secluded life. She would have been permitted to make clothes for the poor, and she enjoyed the financial support of the more prosperous members of the local community, as well as the general affection of the population.  She would have in turn provided prayers, advice and counsel to the people, serving as an example of devout holiness.

According to one edition of the Cambridge Medieval History, it is possible that she met the English mystic Walter Hilton, who died when she was in her fifties and who may have influenced her writings in a small way.

Revelations of Divine Love

Julian of Norwich was, according to the historian Henrietta Leyser, “beloved in the twentieth century by theologians and poets alike”.  Her writings are unique, as no other works by an English anchoress have survived, although it is possible that some anonymous works may have been written by women. In 14th century England, when women were generally barred from high status positions, their knowledge of Latin would have been limited, and it is more likely that they read and wrote in English.  The historian Janina Ramirez has suggested that by choosing to write in her vernacular language, a precedent set by other medieval writers, Julian was “attempting to express the inexpressible” in the best way possible. Nothing written by Julian was ever mentioned in any bequests, nor written for a specific readership, or influenced other medieval authors, and almost no references were made of her writings from the time they were written until the beginning of the 20th century.

Julian was largely unknown until 1670, when her writings were published under the title XVI Revelations of Divine Love, shewed to a devout servant of Our Lord, called Mother Juliana, an Anchorete of Norwich: Who lived in the Dayes of King Edward the Third by Serenus de Cressy, a confessor for the English nuns at Cambrai.  Cressy, who knew nothing of Julian’s earlier Short Text, based his book on the Long Text, developed by her over a number of years, of which three manuscript copies survive. One copy of the complete Long Text, known as the Paris Manuscript, resides in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris. Two other manuscripts are now in the British Library.  One of the manuscripts was perhaps copied out by Dame Clementina Cary, who founded the English Benedictine monastery in Paris.

Modern interest in Julian’s book increased when Henry Collins published a new version of the book in 1877.  It became known still further after the publication of Grace Warrack’s 1901 edition, which included modernized language, as well as, according to the author Georgia Ronan Crampton, a “sympathetic informed introduction”.  The book introduced most early 20th century readers to Julian’s writings.

Julian’s shorter work, which may have been written not long after Julian’s visions in May 1373, is now known as her Short Text.  As with the Long Text, the original manuscript was lost, but not before at least one copy was made by a scribe, who named Julian as the author.  It was in the possession of an English Catholic family at one point.  The copy was seen by the antiquarian Francis Blomefield in 1745, after disappearing from view for 150 years, it was found in 1910, in a collection of contemplative medieval texts bought by the British Museum.   It was published by Reverend Dundas Harford in 1911.  Now part of MS Additional 37790, the manuscripts are held in the British Library.


Long Text

  • “MS Fonds Anglais 40 (previously Regius 8297): Liber Revelacionum Julyane, anachorite norwyche, divisé en quatre-vingt-six chapitres”. Archives et manuscrits. BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France), Paris.
  • “Sloane MS 2499: Juliana, Mother, Anchorite of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love, 1373”. Explore Archives and Manuscripts. British Library, London.
  • “Sloane MS 3705: Visions: Revelations to Mother Juliana in the year 1373 of the love of God in Jesus Christ”. Explore Archives and Manuscripts. British Library, London.
  • Westminster Cathedral Treasury MS 4 (written c.1450), now on loan to Westminster Abbey’s Muniments Room and Library. The manuscript includes extracts from Julian’s Long Text, as well as selections from the writings of the English mystic Walter Hilton.

Short Text

  • m”Add MS 37790 (An anthology of theological works in English (the Amherst Manuscript))”. Digitised Manuscripts. British Library. Free to read


“From the time these things were first revealed I had often wanted to know what our Lord’s meaning was. It was more than fifteen years after that I was answered in my spirit’s understanding. ‘You would know our Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well. Love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Hold on to this and you will know and understand love more and more. But you will not know or learn anything else — ever.”

  • Julian of Norwich, “Revelations of Divine Love”.
  • Julian of Norwich is now recognised as one of England’s most important mystics.
  • For the theologian Denys Turner the core issue Julian addresses in Revelations of Divine Love is “the problem of sin”. Julian says that sin is behovely, which is often translated as ‘necessary’, ‘appropriate’, or ‘fitting’.

Julian came to such a sense of the awfulness of sin that she believed the pains of hell are to be chosen in preference to it: “And to me was shown no harder hell than sin. For a kind soul has no hell but sin”. Julian believed that sin was necessary because it brings people to self-knowledge, which leads to acceptance of the role of God in their life.

Julian lived in a time of turmoil, but her theology was optimistic and spoke of God’s omnibenevolence and loves in terms of joy and compassion. Revelations of Divine Love “contains a message of optimism based on the certainty of being loved by God and of being protected by his Providence.”

The most characteristic element of her mystical theology was a daring likening of divine love to motherly love, a theme found in the Biblical prophets, as in Isaiah 49:15.  According to Julian, God is both our mother and our father. As Caroline Walker Bynum showed, this idea was also developed by Bernard of Clairvaux and others from the 12th century onward.  Some scholars think this is a metaphor rather than a literal belief.   In her fourteenth revelation, Julian writes of the Trinity in domestic terms, comparing Jesus to a mother who is wise, loving and merciful. F. Beer asserted that Julian believed that the maternal aspect of Christ was literal and not metaphoric: Christ is not like a mother, he is literally the mother.  Julian emphasized this by explaining how the bond between mother and child is the only earthly relationship that comes close to the relationship a person can have with Jesus.  She used metaphors when writing about Jesus in relation to ideas about conceiving, giving birth, weaning and upbringing.

Church of St. Julian in Norwich

She wrote, “For I saw no wrath except on man’s side, and He forgives that in us, for wrath is nothing else but a perversity and an opposition to peace and to love.”  She wrote that God sees us as perfect and waits for the day when human souls mature so that evil and sin will no longer hinder us.  “God is nearer to us than our own soul,” she wrote. This theme is repeated throughout her work: “Jesus answered with these words, saying: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.’ … This was said so tenderly, without blame of any kind toward me or anybody else”.

Monastic and university authorities might not have challenged her theology because of her status as an anchoress.  A lack of references to her work during her own time may indicate that she kept her writings with her in her cell, so that the religious authorities were unaware of them.

The revival of interest in her has been associated with a renewed interest in the English-speaking world in Christian contemplation.  The Julian Meetings, an association of contemplative prayer groups, takes its name from her, but is otherwise unconnected with Julian’s theology.

Adam Easton’s Defense of St Birgitta, Alfonso of Jaen’s Epistola Solitarii, and William Flete’s Remedies against Temptations, are all used in Julian’s text.


Depictions of Julian of Norwich (clockwise, from top left): the rood screen at St. Andrew and St. Mary Church, Langham, Norfolk; as part of the Bauchon Window, Norwich Cathedral; Norwich Cathedral; St. Julian’s Church, Norwich; Church of St. Andrew the Apostle, Holt, Norfolk.

Julian has never been canonized as a saint by the Anglican Church, but since 1980 has been commemorated with a feast day on 8 May.  The Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church also commemorate her on 8 May.

She has not been formally beatified or canonized in the Roman Catholic Church, so she is not currently listed in the Roman Martyrology or on the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.  However, she is popularly venerated by Catholics as a holy woman of God, and is therefore at times referred to as “Saint”, “Blessed”, or “Mother” Julian.  Julian’s feast day in the Roman Catholic tradition (by popular celebration) is on 13 May.

In 1997, Father Giandomenico Mucci reported that Julian of Norwich is on the waiting list to be declared a Doctor of the Church.  In light of her established veneration, it is possible she will first be given an ‘equivalent canonization’, in which she is decreed a saint by the Pope, without the full canonization process being followed.

At a General Audience on December 1, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI discussed the life and teaching of Julian. “Julian of Norwich understood the central message for spiritual life: God is love and it is only if one opens oneself to this love, totally and with total trust, and lets it become one’s sole guide in life, that all things are transfigured, true peace and true joy found and one is able to radiate it,” he said. He concluded: “‘And all will be well,’ ‘all manner of things shall be well’: this is the final message that Julian of Norwich transmits to us and that I am also proposing to you today.”



The Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes from Revelations of Divine Love in its explanation of how God can draw a greater good, even from evil.  Pope Benedict XVI dedicated his General Audience catechesis of 1 December 2010 to Julian of Norwich.

The poet T. S. Eliot incorporated “…All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well”, as well as Julian’s “the ground of our beseeching” from her fourteenth Revelation into Little Gidding, the fourth of his Four Quartets (1943).  Little Gidding raised the public’s awareness of Julian’s texts for the first time.  Sydney Carter’s song All Shall Be Well (sometimes called The Bells of Norwich), which uses words by Julian, was released in 1982.  She has been translated into numerous languages, including Russian.

Julian in Norfolk and Norwich

In 2013 the University of East Anglia honored Julian by naming its new study centre the Julian Study Centre.

Norwich’s Julian Week, an annual celebration of Julian, was begun in 2013. Organized by The Julian Centre, events held around the city included concerts, lectures, workshops and tours, with the stated aim of “educating all interested people about Julian of Norwich” and “presenting her as a cultural, historical, literary, spiritual, and religious figure of international significance”.

The Lady Julian Bridge, crossing the River Wensum, linking King Street and the Riverside Walk close to Norwich railway station, was named in honour of the anchoress. An example of a swing bridge, built to allow larger vessels to approach a basin further upstream, it was designed by the Mott MacDonald Group and completed in 2009.

Godzilla: Legendary Fictional Monster

Godzilla (Japanese: ゴジラ Hepburn: Gojira) (/ɡɒdˈzɪlə/; [ɡoꜜdʑiɾa] is a fictional monster, or kaiju, originating from a series of Japanese films of the same name. The character first appeared in Ishirō Honda’s 1954 film Godzilla and became a worldwide pop culture icon, appearing in various media, including 32 films produced by Toho, three Hollywood films and numerous video games, novels, comic books and television shows. Godzilla has been dubbed the King of the Monsters, a phrase first used in Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, the Americanized version of the original film.

Godzilla is depicted as an enormous, destructive, prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation. With the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Lucky Dragon 5 incident still fresh in the Japanese consciousness, Godzilla was conceived as a metaphor for nuclear weapons.  As the film series expanded, some stories took on less serious undertones, portraying Godzilla as an antihero, or a lesser threat who defends humanity. With the end of the Cold War, several post-1984 Godzilla films shifted the character’s portrayal to themes including Japan’s forgetfulness over its imperial past, natural disasters and the human condition.

Godzilla has been featured alongside many supporting characters. It has faced human opponents such as the JSDF, or other monsters, including King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla and Gigan. Godzilla sometimes has allies, such as Rodan, Mothra and Anguirus, and offspring, such as Minilla and Godzilla Junior. Godzilla has also fought characters from other franchises in crossover media, such as the RKO Pictures/Universal Studios movie monster King Kong, as well as various Marvel Comics characters, including S.H.I.E.L.D., the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.



Gojira (ゴジラ) is a portmanteau of the Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ, “gorilla”) and kujira (鯨, “whale”), owing to the fact that in one planning stage, Godzilla was described as “a cross between a gorilla and a whale”, due to its size, power and aquatic origin. One popular story is that “Gojira” was actually the nickname of a corpulent stagehand at Toho Studio.  Kimi Honda, the widow of the director, dismissed this in a 1998 BBC documentary devoted to Godzilla, “The backstage boys at Toho loved to joke around with tall stories”.

Godzilla’s name was written in ateji as Gojira (呉爾羅), where the kanji are used for phonetic value and not for meaning.[citation needed] The Japanese pronunciation of the name is [ɡoꜜdʑiɾa] the Anglicized form is /ɡɒdˈzɪlə/, with the first syllable pronounced like the word “god” and the rest rhyming with “gorilla”. In the Hepburn romanization system, Godzilla’s name is rendered as “Gojira”, whereas in the Kunrei romanization system it is rendered as “Gozira”.

During the development of the American version of Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Godzilla’s name was changed to “Gigantis”, a move initiated by producer Paul Schreibman, who wanted to create a character distinct from Godzilla.


Within the context of the Japanese films, Godzilla’s exact origins vary, but it is generally depicted as an enormous, violent, prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation.  Although the specific details of Godzilla’s appearance have varied slightly over the years, the overall impression has remained consistent.  Inspired by the fictional Rhedosaurus created by animator Ray Harryhausen for the film The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, Godzilla’s iconic character design was conceived as that of an amphibious reptilian monster based around the loose concept of a dinosaur with an erect standing posture, scaly skin, an anthropomorphic torso with muscular arms, lobed bony plates along its back and tail, and a furrowed brow.

Art director Akira Watanabe combined attributes of a Tyrannosaurus, an Iguanodon, a Stegosaurus and an alligator to form a sort of blended chimera, inspired by illustrations from an issue of Life magazine.  To emphasize the monster’s relationship with the atomic bomb, its skin texture was inspired by the keloid scars seen on survivors in Hiroshima.  The basic design has a reptilian visage, a robust build, an upright posture, a long tail and three rows of serrated plates along the back. In the original film, the plates were added for purely aesthetic purposes, in order to further differentiate Godzilla from any other living or extinct creature. Godzilla is sometimes depicted as green in comics, cartoons and movie posters, but the costumes used in the movies were usually painted charcoal grey with bone-white dorsal plates up until the film Godzilla 2000: Millennium.

Godzilla battles King Kong in King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962). This film attracted the highest Japanese box office attendance figures in the entire Godzilla series to date.

Godzilla’s signature weapon is its “atomic heat beam” (also known as “atomic breath”), nuclear energy that it generates inside of its body and unleashes from its jaws in the form of a blue or red radioactive beam.  Toho’s special effects department has used various techniques to render the beam, from physical gas-powered flames to hand-drawn or computer-generated fire. Godzilla is shown to possess immense physical strength and muscularity. Haruo Nakajima, the actor who played Godzilla in the original films, was a black belt in judo and used his expertise to choreograph the battle sequences.

Godzilla can breathe underwater and is described in the original film by the character Dr. Yamane as a transitional form between a marine and a terrestrial reptile. Godzilla is shown to have great vitality: it is immune to conventional weaponry thanks to its rugged hide and ability to regenerate, and as a result of surviving a nuclear explosion; it cannot be destroyed by anything less powerful. Various films, television shows, comics and games have depicted Godzilla with additional powers, such as an atomic pulse,[50] magnetism, precognition, fireballs, an electric bite, superhuman speed, laser beams emitted from its eyes and even flight.

Godzilla’s allegiance and motivations have changed from film to film to suit the needs of the story. Although Godzilla does not like humans, it will fight alongside humanity against common threats. However, it makes no special effort to protect human life or property and will turn against its human allies on a whim. It is not motivated to attack by predatory instinct: it does not eat people and instead sustains itself on nuclear radiation and an omnivorous diet.  When inquired if Godzilla was “good or bad”, producer Shogo Tomiyama likened it to a Shinto “God of Destruction” which lacks moral agency and cannot be held to human standards of good and evil. “He totally destroys everything and then there is a rebirth. Something new and fresh can begin.”

In the original Japanese films, Godzilla and all the other monsters are referred to with gender-neutral pronouns equivalent to “it”, while in the English dubbed versions, Godzilla is explicitly described as a male, such as in the title of Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. In the 1998 film Godzilla, the monster is referred to as a male and is depicted laying eggs through parthenogenesis. In the Legendary Godzilla films, Godzilla is referred to as a male.


Godzilla has a distinctive disyllabic roar (transcribed in several comics as Skreeeonk!), which was created by composer Akira Ifukube, who produced the sound by rubbing a pine-tar-resin-coated glove along the string of a contrabass and then slowing down the playback.  In the American version of Godzilla Raids Again (1955) titled Gigantis the Fire Monster, Godzilla’s iconic roar was mostly substituted with that of the monster Anguirus.  From The Return of Godzilla (1984) to Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991), Godzilla was given a deeper and more threatening-sounding roar than in previous films, though this change was reverted from Godzilla vs. Mothra (1992) onwards.  For the 2014 American film, sound editors Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl refused to disclose the source of the sounds used for their Godzilla’s roar.  Aadahl described the two syllables of the roar as representing two different emotional reactions, with the first expressing fury and the second conveying the character’s soul.


Godzilla’s size is inconsistent, changing from film to film, and even from scene to scene, for the sake of artistic license.  The miniature sets and costumes were typically built at a ​1⁄25–​1⁄50 scale and filmed at 240 frames per second to create the illusion of great size.[74] In the original 1954 film, Godzilla was scaled to be 50 m (164 ft) tall.  This was done so Godzilla could just peer over the largest buildings in Tokyo at the time. In the 1956 American version, Godzilla is estimated to be 122 m (400 ft) tall, because producer Joseph E. Levine felt that 50 m did not sound “powerful enough”.

As the series progressed Toho would rescale the character, eventually making Godzilla as tall as 100 m (328 ft).[77] This was done so that it would not be dwarfed by the newer, bigger buildings in Tokyo’s skyline, such as the 243-meter-tall (797 ft) Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building which Godzilla destroyed in the film Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah (1991). Supplementary information, such as character profiles, would also depict Godzilla as weighing between 20,000 and 60,000 metric tons (22,000 and 66,000 short tons).

In the American film Godzilla (2014) from Legendary Pictures, Godzilla was scaled to be 108.2 m (355 ft) and weighing 90,000 metric tons (99,000 short tons), making it the largest film version at that time.  Director Gareth Edwards wanted Godzilla “to be so big as to be seen from anywhere in the city, but not too big that he couldn’t be obscured”. For Shin Godzilla (2016), Godzilla was made even taller than the Legendary version, at 118.5 m (389 ft).[80] In Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017), Godzilla’s height was increased further still to 300 m (984 ft), the tallest height for the character to date. In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), Godzilla’s height was increased to 119.8 m (393 ft) from the 2014 incarnation.

Special effects details

Godzilla’s appearance has traditionally been portrayed in the films by an actor wearing a latex costume, though the character has also been rendered in animatronic, stop-motion and computer-generated form.  Taking inspiration from King Kong, special effects artist Eiji Tsuburaya had initially wanted Godzilla to be portrayed via stop-motion, but prohibitive deadlines and a lack of experienced animators in Japan at the time made suitmation more practical.

The first suit consisted of a body cavity made of thin wires and bamboo wrapped in chicken wire for support and covered in fabric and cushions, which were then coated in latex. The first suit was held together by small hooks on the back, though subsequent Godzilla suits incorporated a zipper. Its weight was in excess of 100 kg (220 lb). Prior to 1984, most Godzilla suits were made from scratch, thus resulting in slight design changes in each film appearance. The most notable changes during the 1960s-70s were the reduction in Godzilla’s number of toes and the removal of the character’s external ears and prominent fangs, features which would later be reincorporated in the Godzilla designs from The Return of Godzilla (1984) onward. The most consistent Godzilla design was maintained from Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989) to Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (1995), when the suit was given a cat-like face and double rows of teeth.

Several suit actors had difficulties in performing as Godzilla, due to the suits’ weight, lack of ventilation and diminished visibility.  Kenpachiro Satsuma in particular, who portrayed Godzilla from 1984 to 1995, described how the Godzilla suits he wore were even heavier and hotter than their predecessors because of the incorporation of animatronics.  Satsuma himself suffered numerous medical issues during his tenure, including oxygen deprivation, near-drowning, concussions, electric shocks and lacerations to the legs from the suits’ steel wire reinforcements wearing through the rubber padding.

The ventilation problem was partially solved in the suit used in 1994’s Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, which was the first to include an air duct, which allowed suit actors to last longer during performances. In The Return of Godzilla (1984), some scenes made use of a 16-foot high robotic Godzilla (dubbed the “Cybot Godzilla”) for use in close-up shots of the creature’s head. The Cybot Godzilla consisted of a hydraulically-powered mechanical endoskeleton covered in urethane skin containing 3,000 computer operated parts which permitted it to tilt its head and move its lips and arms.

In Godzilla (1998), special effects artist Patrick Tatopoulos was instructed to redesign Godzilla as an incredibly fast runner.  At one point, it was planned to use motion capture from a human to create the movements of the computer-generated Godzilla, but it was said to have ended up looking too much like a man in a suit.  Tatopoulos subsequently reimagined the creature as a lean, digitigrade bipedal, iguana-like creature that stood with its back and tail parallel to the ground, rendered via CGI.

Several scenes had the monster portrayed by stuntmen in suits. The suits were similar to those used in the Toho films, with the actors’ heads being located in the monster’s neck region, and the facial movements controlled via animatronics. However, because of the creature’s horizontal posture, the stuntmen had to wear metal leg extenders, which allowed them to stand two meters (six feet) off the ground with their feet bent forward. The film’s special effects crew also built a ​1⁄6 scale animatronic Godzilla for close-up scenes, whose size outmatched that of Stan Winston’s T. rex in Jurassic Park.  Kurt Carley performed the suitmation sequences for the adult Godzilla.

In Godzilla (2014), the character was portrayed entirely via CGI. Godzilla’s design in the reboot was intended to stay true to that of the original series, though the film’s special effects team strove to make the monster “more dynamic than a guy in a big rubber suit.  To create a CG version of Godzilla, the Moving Picture Company (MPC) studied various animals such as bears, Komodo dragons, lizards, lions and wolves which helped the visual effects artists visualize Godzilla’s body structure like that of its underlying bone, fat and muscle structure as well as the thickness and texture of its scales.  Motion capture was also used for some of Godzilla’s movements. T.J. Storm provided the performance capture for Godzilla by wearing sensors in front of a green screen.  Storm reprised the role of Godzilla in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, portraying the character through performance capture.  In Shin Godzilla, a majority of the character was portrayed via CGI, with Mansai Nomura portraying Godzilla through motion capture.


Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide and remains an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the kaiju subset of the tokusatsu genre. Godzilla’s vaguely humanoid appearance and strained, lumbering movements endeared it to Japanese audiences, who could relate to Godzilla as a sympathetic character, despite its wrathful nature.  Audiences respond positively to the character because it acts out of rage and self-preservation and show where science and technology can go wrong.

In 1967, the Keukdong Entertainment Company of South Korea, with production assistance from Toei Company, produced Yongary, Monster from the Deep, a reptilian monster who invades South Korea to consume oil. The film and character has often been branded as a knock-off of Godzilla.

Godzilla has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the United States, as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in general. The earlier Godzilla films, especially the original, portrayed Godzilla as a frightening nuclear-spawned monster. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese held about the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the possibility of recurrence.  As the series progressed, so did Godzilla, changing into a less destructive and more heroic character as the films became geared more towards children. Since then, the character has fallen somewhere in the middle, sometimes portrayed as a protector of the world from external threats and other times as a bringer of destruction.

In 1996, Godzilla received the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as being given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004 to celebrate the premiere of the character’s 50th anniversary film, Godzilla: Final Wars.  Godzilla’s pop-cultural impact has led to the creation of numerous parodies and tributes, as seen in media such as Bambi Meets Godzilla, which was ranked as one of the “50 greatest cartoons”, two episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the song “Godzilla” by Blue Öyster Cult.  Godzilla has also been used in advertisements, such as in a commercial for Nike, where Godzilla lost an oversized one-on-one game of basketball to a giant version of NBA player Charles Barkley.  The commercial was subsequently adapted into a comic book illustrated by Jeff Butler.  Godzilla has also appeared in a commercial for Snickers candy bars, which served as an indirect promo for the 2014 movie. Godzilla’s success inspired the creation of numerous other monster characters, such as Gamera, Reptilicus of Denmark, Yonggary of South Korea, Pulgasari of North Korea, Gorgo of the United Kingdom and the Cloverfield monster of the United States.

Godzilla’s fame and saurian appearance has influenced the scientific community. Gojirasaurus is a dubious genus of coelophysid dinosaur, named by paleontologist and admitted Godzilla fan Kenneth Carpenter.  Dakosaurus is an extinct marine crocodile of the Jurassic Period, which researchers informally nicknamed “Godzilla”.  Paleontologists have written tongue-in-cheek speculative articles about Godzilla’s biology, with Ken Carpenter tentatively classifying it as a ceratosaur based on its skull shape, four-fingered hands and dorsal scutes, and paleontologist Darren Naish expressing skepticism while commenting on Godzilla’s unusual morphology.

Godzilla’s ubiquity in pop-culture has led to the mistaken assumption that the character is in the public domain, resulting in litigation by Toho to protect their corporate asset from becoming a generic trademark. In April 2008, Subway depicted a giant monster in a commercial for their Five Dollar Footlong sandwich promotion. Toho filed a lawsuit against Subway for using the character without permission, demanding $150,000 in compensation.  In February 2011, Toho sued Honda for depicting a fire-breathing monster in a commercial for the Honda Odyssey. The monster was never mentioned by name, being seen briefly on a video screen inside the minivan.  The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society christened a vessel the MV Gojira. Its purpose is to target and harass Japanese whalers in defense of whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The MV Gojira was renamed the MV Brigitte Bardot in May 2011, due to legal pressure from Toho.  Gojira is the name of a French death metal band, formerly known as Godzilla; legal problems forced the band to change their name. In May 2015, Toho launched a lawsuit against Voltage Pictures over a planned picture starring Anne Hathaway. Promotional material released at the Cannes Film Festival used images of Godzilla.

Steven Spielberg cited Godzilla as an inspiration for Jurassic Park (1993), specifically Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), which he grew up watching. Spielberg described Godzilla as “the most masterful of all the dinosaur movies because it made you believe it was really happening.”  Godzilla also influenced the Spielberg film Jaws (1975).

The main-belt asteroid 101781 Gojira, discovered by American astronomer Roy Tucker at the Goodricke-Pigott Observatory in 1999, was named in honor of the creature.

Cultural ambassador

To encourage tourism in April 2015 the central Shinjuku ward of Tokyo named Godzilla an official cultural ambassador. During an unveiling of a giant Godzilla bust at Toho headquarters, Shinjuku mayor Kenichi Yoshizumi stated “Godzilla is a character that is the pride of Japan.” The mayor extended a residency certificate to an actor in a rubber suit representing Godzilla, but as the suit’s hands were not designed for grasping, it was accepted on Godzilla’s behalf by a Toho executive. Reporters noted that Shinjuku ward has been flattened by Godzilla in three Toho movies.

Kamehameha I

Kamehameha I (Hawaiian pronunciation: [kəmehəˈmɛhə]; c. 1758? – May 8 or 14, 1819), also known as Kamehameha the Great (full Hawaiian name: Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kauʻi Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea), was the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A statue of him was given to the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C. by the state of Hawaii as one of two statues it is entitled to give.

Birth and childhood

Paternity and birth dating

Kamehameha was born to Kekuʻiapoiwa II who was the niece of Alapainui, the usurping ruler of Hawaii Island who had killed the two legitimate heirs of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku during civil war. By most accounts he was born in Ainakea, Kohala, Hawaii.[2] His father was Keōua Kalanikupuapa’ikalaninui however, Native Hawaiian historian Samuel Kamakau states that Maui monarch Kahekili II had hanai adopted (traditional, informal adoption) Kamehameha at birth, as was the custom of the time. Kamakau believes this is why Kahekili II is often referred to as Kamehameha’s father however, the author also tells of how Kame’eiamoku (one of the royal twins and father of Hoapili) told Kamehameha I that he was actually the son of Kahekili II; “I have something to tell you: Ka-hekili was your father, you were not Keoua’s son. Here are the tokens that you are the son of Ka-hekili.”  King Kalakaua wrote that these rumors are scandals and should be very properly dismissed as they being the offspring of hatred and jealousies of later years.  Regardless of the rumors, Kamehameha was a descendant of Keawe through his mother Kekuʻiapoiwa II, Keōua acknowledged him as his son and is recognized by all the sovereigns[8] and most genealogists.

Accounts of Kamehameha I’s birth vary but sources place his birth between 1736 and , with historian Ralph Simpson Kuykendall believing it to be between 1748 – 1761.  An early source is thought to imply a 1758 dating due to the significance of the date matching a visit from Halley’s Comet and being close to the age Francisco de Paula Marín estimated.  This dating, however, does not work for many well-known accounts of the subject such as being a warrior with his uncle, Kalaniʻōpuʻu or being of age to produce his first children. The dating also places his birth after the death of his father. Kamakau published an account in the Ka Nupepa Kuokoa in 1867 placing the date around 1736.  He wrote, “It was during the time of the warfare among the chiefs of [the island of] Hawaii which followed the death of Keawe, chief over the whole island (Ke-awe-i-kekahi-aliʻi-o-ka-moku) that Kamehameha I was born”. However, his general dating has been challenged as twenty years too early over issues involving Kamakau’s inaccuracy of dating and the accounts of foreign visitors.  Regardless Abraham Fornander wrote in his book, “An Account of the Polynesian Race: Its Origins and Migrations”: “when Kamehameha died in 1819 he was past eighty years old. His birth would thus fall between 1736 and 1740, probably nearer the former than the latter”.   “A Brief History of the Hawaiian People” by William De Witt Alexander lists the birth date in the “Chronological Table of Events of Hawaiian History” as 1736.  In 1888 the Kamakau account was challenged by Samuel C. Damon in the missionary publication; The Friend, deferring to a 1753 dating that was the first mentioned by James Jackson Jarves. Regardless of this challenge, the Kamakau dating was widely accepted due to support from Abraham Fornander.

Concealment, childhood

At the time of Kamehameha’s birth, Keōua and his half-brother Kalaniʻōpuʻu were serving Alapaʻinui, ruler of Hawaiiʻs Island. Alapaʻinui had brought the brothers to his court after defeating both their fathers in the civil war that followed the death of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku. Keōua died while Kamehameha was young, so Kamehameha was raised in the court of his uncle, Kalaniʻōpuʻu.  The traditional mele chant of Keaka, wife of Alapainui, indicates that Kamehameha was born in the month of ikuwā (winter) or around November.  Alapai had given the child, Kamehameha, to his wife, Keaka, and her sister, Hākau, to care for after the ruler discovered the infant had survived.

On February 10, 1911, the Kamakau version was challenged again by the oral history of the Kaha family, as published in newspaper articles also appearing in the Kuoko. After the republication of the story by Kamakau to a larger English reading public in 1911 Hawaii, this version of the story was published by Kamaka Stillman, who had objected to the Nupepa article.

Unification of the islands

Hawaii Island

Kamehameha was raised in the royal court of his uncle Kalaniʻōpuʻu. He achieved prominence in 1782, upon Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s death. While the kingship was inherited by Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s son, Kīwalaʻō, Kamehameha was given a prominent religious position, guardianship of the Hawaiian god of war, Kūkāʻilimoku, as well as control of the district of Waipiʻo valley. The two cousins’ relationship was strained, caused when Kamehameha made a dedication to the gods instead of Kīwalaʻō. Kamehameha accepted the allegiance of a group of chiefs from the Kona district.

The other story is after the Prophecy was passed along by the High Priests/Priestesses and High Chiefs/Chiefesses. The fulfilling of the Prophecy by lifting the Naha Stone, singled out Kamehameha as the fulfiller of the Prophecy. Other ruling Chiefs, Keawe Mauhili, the Mahoe (twins) Keoua, and other Chiefs rejected the Prophecy of Ka Poukahi. The High Chiefs of Kauai and supported Kiwala`o even after learning about the Prophecy. The five Kona chiefs supporting Kamehameha were: Keʻeaumoku Pāpaʻiahiahi (Kamehameha’s father-in-law/grand Uncle), Keaweaheulu Kaluaʻāpana (Kamehameha’s uncle), Kekūhaupiʻo (Kamehameha’s warrior teacher), Kameʻeiamoku and Kamanawa (twin uncles of Kamehameha). They defended Kamehameha as the Unifier Ka Na`i aupuni. High Chiefs Keawe Mauhili and Keeaumoku were by genealogy the next in line for Ali`i Nui. Both chose the younger nephews Kiwala`o and Kamehameha over themselves. Kīwalaʻō was soon defeated in the first key conflict, the Battle of Mokuʻōhai, and Kamehameha and His Chiefs took over Konohiki responsibilities and sacred obligations of the districts of Kohala, Kona, and Hāmākua on Hawaiʻi Island.

The Prophecy included far more than Hawaiʻi Island. It went across and beyond the Pacific Islands to the semi-continent of Aotearoa (New Zealand). He was supported by his most political wife Kaʻahumanu and father High Chief Keeaumoku Senior Counselor to Kamehameha; She became one of Hawaiʻi’s most powerful figures. Kamehameha and his Council of Chiefs planned to unite the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Allies came from British and American traders, who sold guns and ammunition to Kamehameha. Another major factor in Kamehameha’s continued success was the support of Kauai Chief Ka`iana and Captain Brown, who used to be with Kaeo okalani. He guaranteed Kamehameha unlimited gunpowder from China and gave him the formula for gunpowder: sulfur, saltpeter/potassium nitrate, and charcoal, all abundant in the islands. Two westerners who lived on Hawaiʻi Island, Isaac Davis and John Young, married Native Hawaiian women and assisted Kamehameha.

Olowalu Massacre

In 1789, Simon Metcalfe captained the fur trading vessel the Eleanora while his son, Thomas Humphrey Metcalfe, captained the ship Fair American along the Northwest Coast. They were to rendezvous in what was then known as the Sandwich Islands. Fair American was held up when it was captured by the Spanish and then quickly released in San Blas. The Eleanora arrived in 1790, where it was greeted by chief Kameʻeiamoku. The chief did something that the captain took offense to, and Metcalfe struck the chief with a rope’s end. Sometime later, while docked in Honuaula, Maui, a small boat tied to the ship was stolen by native townspeople with a crewman inside. When Metcalfe discovered where the boat was taken, he sailed directly to the village called Olowalu. There he confirmed the boat had been broken apart and the man killed. He had already fired muskets into the previous village where he was anchored, killing some residents, Metcalfe took aim at this small town of native Hawaiians. He had all cannons moved to one side of the ship and began his trading call out to the locals. Hundreds of people came out to the beach to trade and canoes were launched. When they were within firing range, the ship fired on the Hawaiians, killing over 100. Six weeks later, Fair American was stuck near the Kona coast of Hawaii where chief Kameʻeiamoku was living. He had decided to attack the next foreign ship to avenge the strike by the elder Metcalfe. He canoed out to the ship with his men, where he killed Metcalfe’s son and all but one (Isaac Davis) of the five crewmen. Kamehameha took Davis into protection and took possession of the ship. Eleanora was at that time anchored at Kealakekua Bay, where the ship’s boatswain had gone ashore and been captured by Kamehameha’s forces because Kamehameha believed Metcalfe was planning more revenge. Eleanora waited several days before sailing off, apparently without knowledge of what had happened to Fair American or Metcalfe’s son. Davis and Eleanora’s boatswain, John Young, tried to escape, but were treated as chiefs, given wives and settled in Hawaii.

Death of Keōua Kuahuula

In 1790 Kamehameha advanced against the district of Puna deposing Chief Keawemaʻuhili. At his home in Kaʻū, where he was exiled, Keōua Kūʻahuʻula took advantage of Kamehameha’s absence and began an uprising. When Kamehameha returned, Keōua escaped to the Kīlauea volcano, which erupted. Many of warriors died from the poisonous gas.

When the Puʻukoholā Heiau was completed in 1791, Kamehameha invited Keōua to meet with him. Keōua may have been dispirited by his recent losses. He may have mutilated himself before landing so as to render himself an inappropriate sacrificial victim. As he stepped on shore, one of Kamehameha’s chiefs threw a spear at him. By some accounts, he dodged it but was then cut down by musket fire. Caught by surprise, Keōua’s bodyguards were killed. With Keōua dead, and his supporters captured or slain, Kamehameha became King of Hawaiʻi Island.

Maui and Oʻahu


In 1795, Kamehameha set sail with an armada of 960 war canoes and 10,000 soldiers. He quickly secured the lightly defended islands of Maui and Molokaʻi at the Battle of Kawela. He moved on to the island of Oʻahu, landing his troops at Waiʻalae and Waikīkī. Kamehameha did not know that one of his commanders, a high-ranking aliʻi named Kaʻiana, had defected to Kalanikūpule. Kaʻiana assisted in cutting notches into the Nuʻuanu Pali mountain ridge; these notches, like those on a castle turret, were to serve as gunports for Kalanikūpule’s cannon.  In a series of skirmishes, Kamehameha’s forces pushed Kalanikūpule’s men back until they were cornered on the Pali Lookout. While Kamehameha moved on the Pali, his troops took heavy fire from the cannon. He assigned two divisions of his best warriors to climb to the Pali to attack the cannons from behind; they surprised Kalanikūpule’s gunners and took control. With the loss of their guns, Kalanikūpule’s troops fell into disarray and were cornered by Kamehameha’s still-organized troops. A fierce battle ensued, with Kamehameha’s forces forming an enclosing wall. Using traditional Hawaiian spears, as well as muskets and cannon, they killed most of Kalanikūpule’s forces. Over 400 men were forced over the Pali’s cliff, a drop of 1,000 feet. Kaʻiana was killed during the action; Kalanikūpule was later captured and sacrificed to Kūkāʻilimoku.[citation needed]

In April 1810, King Kaumualiʻi of Kaua’i became a vassal of Kamehameha, who therefore emerged as the sole sovereign of the unified Hawaiian islands.[25][page needed] Angry over the settlement, several chiefs plotted to kill Kaumualiʻi with poison at the feast in his honor. Isaac Davis got word of this and warned the King who escaped unharmed quietly before the dinner. The poison meant for the king was said to instead have been given to Davis, who died suddenly.[citation needed]

Aliʻi nui of the Hawaiian Islands

As ruler, Kamehameha took steps to ensure the islands remained a united realm after his death. He unified the legal system. He used the products collected in taxes to promote trade with Europe and the United States.

The origins of the Law of the Splintered Paddle are derived from before the unification of the Island of great warrior, hit Kamehameha hard on the head with a large paddle, which broke the paddle. Kamehameha was stunned and left for dead, allowing the fisherman and his companion to escape. Twelve years later, the same fishermen were brought before Kamehameha for punishment. The king instead blamed himself for attacking innocent people, gave the fishermen gifts of land and set them free. He declared the new law, “Let every elderly person, woman, and child lie by the roadside in safety.” This influenced many subsequent humanitarian laws of war.

Young and Davis became advisors to Kamehameha and provided him with advanced weapons that helped in combat. Kamehameha was also a religious king and the holder of the war god Kukaʻ ilimoku. Vancouver noted that Kamehameha worshiped his gods and wooden images in a heiau, but originally wanted to bring England’s religion, Christianity, to Hawaiʻi. Missionaries were not sent from Great Britain because Kamehameha told Vancouver that the gods he worshiped were his gods with mana, and that through these gods, Kamehameha had become supreme ruler over all of the islands. Witnessing Kamehameha’s devotion, Vancouver decided against sending missionaries from England.

Later life

Statue of Kamehameha I in Hawai’i.

After about 1812, Kamehameha spent his time at Kamakahonu, a compound he built in Kailua-Kona.[citation needed] As was the custom of the time, he had several wives and many children, though he outlived about half of them.

Final resting place

When Kamehameha died on May 8 or 14, 1819, his body was hidden by his trusted friends, Hoapili and Hoʻolulu, in the ancient custom called hūnākele (literally, “to hide in secret”). The mana, or power of a person, was considered to be sacred. As per the ancient custom, his body was buried in a hidden location because of his mana. His final resting place remains unknown. At one point in his reign, Kamehameha III asked that Hoapili show him where his father’s bones were buried, but on the way there Hoapili knew that they were being followed, so he turned around.


Kamehameha had many wives. The exact number is debated because documents that recorded the names of his wives were destroyed. Bingham lists 21, but earlier research from Mary Kawena Pukui counted 26.  In Kamehameha’s Children Today authors Ahlo and Walker list 30 wives: 18 that bore children, and 12 that did not. They state the total number of children to be 35: 17 sons, and 18 daughters.   While he had many wives and children, his children through his highest-ranking wife, Keōpūolani, succeeded him to the throne. In Ho`omana: Understanding the Sacred and Spiritual, Chun stated that Keōpūolani supported Kaʻahumanu’s ending of the Kapu system as the best way to ensure that Kamehameha’s children and grandchildren would rule the kingdom.

Alice Hamilton: Birth of Occupational Medicine

Alice Hamilton (February 27, 1869[3] – September 22, 1970) was an American physician, research scientist, and author who was best known as a leading expert in the field of occupational health and a pioneer in the field of industrial toxicology.

Subsequent to her graduation from the University of Michigan Medical School, she became the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University. Her scientific research focused on the study of occupational illnesses and the dangerous effects of industrial metals and chemical compounds. In addition to her scientific work, Hamilton was a social-welfare reformer, humanitarian, peace activist, and a resident-volunteer at Hull House in Chicago. She was the recipient of numerous honors and awards, most notably the Albert Lasker Public Service Award for her public-service contributions.

Early life and family

Alice Hamilton, the second child of Montgomery Hamilton (1843–1909) and Gertrude (née Pond) Hamilton (1840–1917), was born on February 27, 1869, in Manhattan, New York City, New York.  She spent a sheltered childhood among an extended family in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where her grandfather, Allen Hamilton, an Irish immigrant, had settled in 1823. He married Emerine Holman, the daughter of Indiana Supreme Court Justice Jesse Lynch Holman, in 1828 and became a successful Fort Wayne businessman and a land speculator. Much of the city of Fort Wayne was built on land that he once owned. Alice grew up on the Hamilton family’s large estate that encompassed a three-block area of downtown Fort Wayne. The Hamilton family also spent many summers at Mackinac Island, Michigan. For the most part, the second and third generations of the extended Hamilton family, which included Alice’s family, as well as her uncles, aunts, and cousins, lived on inherited wealth.

Montgomery Hamilton, Alice’s father, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School. He also studied in Germany, where he met Gertrude Pond, the daughter of a wealthy sugar importer. They were married in 1866.  Alice’s father became a partner in a wholesale grocery business in Fort Wayne, but the partnership dissolved in 1885 and he withdrew from public life. Although the business failure caused a financial loss for the family, Alice’s outspoken mother, Gertrude, remained socially active in the Fort Wayne community.

Alice was the second oldest of five siblings that included three sisters (Edith, Margaret, and Norah) and a brother (Arthur “Quint”), all of whom were accomplished in their respective fields. The girls remained especially close throughout their childhood and into their professional careers.  Edith (1867–1963), an educator and headmistress at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, became a classicist and renowned author for her essays and best-selling books on ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Margaret (1871–1969), like her older sister Edith, became an educator and headmistress at Bryn Mawr School. Norah (1873–1945) was an artist, living and working at Hull House. Arthur (1886–1967), the youngest Hamilton sibling, became a writer, professor of Spanish, and assistant dean for foreign students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Arthur was the only sibling to marry; he and his wife, Mary (Neal) Hamilton, had no children.


Hamilton’s parents home schooled their children from an early age.  Following a family tradition among the Hamilton women, Alice completed her early education at Miss Porter’s Finishing School for Young Ladies (also known as Miss Porter’s School) in Farmington, Connecticut, from 1886 to 1888. In addition to Alice, three of her aunts, three cousins, and all three of her sisters were alumnae of the school.

Although Hamilton had led a privileged life in Fort Wayne, she aspired to provide some type of useful service to the world and chose medicine as a way to financially support herself.   Hamilton, who was an avid reader, also cited literary influence for inspiring her to become a physician, even though she had not yet received any training in the sciences: “I meant to be a medical missionary to Teheran, having been fascinated by the description of Persia in [Edmond] O’Donovan’s The Merv Oasis. I doubted if I could ever be good enough to be a real missionary, but if I could care for the sick, that would do instead.”

After her return to Indiana from school in Connecticut, Hamilton studied science with a high school teacher in Fort Wayne and anatomy at Fort Wayne College of Medicine for a year before enrolling at the University of Michigan Medical School in 1892.  There she had the opportunity of studying with “a remarkable group of men” – John Jacob Abel (pharmacology), William Henry Howell (physiology), Frederick George Novy (bacteriology), Victor C. Vaughan (biochemistry) and George Dock (medicine). During her last year of study she served on Dr. Dock’s staff, going on rounds, taking histories and doing clinical laboratory work.  Hamilton earned a medical degree from the university in 1893.

In 1893–94, after graduation from medical school, Hamilton completed internships at the Northwestern Hospital for Women and Children in Minneapolis and at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, a suburban neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, to gain some clinical experience.  Hamilton had already decided that she was not interested in establishing a medical practice and returned to the University of Michigan in February 1895 to study bacteriology as a resident graduate and lab assistant of Frederick George Novy. She also began to develop an interest in public health.

In the fall of 1895, Alice and her older sister, Edith, traveled to Germany. Alice planned to study bacteriology and pathology at the advice of her professors at Michigan, while Edith intended to study the classics and attend lectures. The Hamilton sisters faced some opposition to their efforts to study abroad. Although Alice was welcomed in Frankfurt, her requests to study in Berlin were rejected and she experienced some prejudice against women when the two sisters studied at universities in Munich and Leipzig.

When Alice returned to the United States in September 1896, she continued postgraduate studies for a year at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. There she worked with Simon Flexner on pathological anatomy. She also had the opportunity to learn from William H. Welch and William Osler.


Early years at Chicago’s Hull House

In 1897 Hamilton accepted an offer to become a professor of pathology at the Woman’s Medical School of Northwestern University. Soon after her move to Chicago, Illinois, Hamilton fulfilled a longtime ambition to become a member and resident of Hull House, the settlement house founded by social reformer Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr.  While Hamilton taught and did research at the medical school during the day, she maintained an active life at Hull House, her full-time residence from 1897 to 1919.  Hamilton became Jane Addams’ personal physician and volunteered her time at Hull House to teach English and art. She also directed the men’s fencing and athletic clubs, operated a well-baby clinic, and visited the sick in their homes.  Other inhabitants of Hull House included Alice’s sister Norah, and her friends Rachelle and Victor Yarros. Although Hamilton moved away from Chicago in 1919 when she accepted a position as an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, she returned to Hull House and stayed for several months each spring until Jane Addams’s death in 1935.

Through her association and work at Hull House and living side by side with the poor residents of the community, Hamilton witnessed the effects that the dangerous trades had on workers’ health through exposure to carbon monoxide and lead poisoning. As a result, she became increasingly interested in the problems the workers faced, especially occupational injuries and illnesses.  The experience also caused Hamilton to begin considering how to merge her interests in medical science and social reform to improve the health of American workers.

When the Woman’s Medical School closed in 1902, Hamilton took a position as bacteriologist with the Memorial Institute for Infectious Diseases, working with Ludvig Hektoen.  During this time, she also formed a friendship with bacteriologist Ruth Tunnicliffe. Hamilton investigated a typhoid epidemic in Chicago before focusing her research on the investigation of industrial diseases.  Some of Hamilton’s early research in this area included attempts to identify causes of typhoid and tuberculosis in the community surrounding Hull House.  Her work on typhoid in 1902 led to the replacement of the chief sanitary inspector of the area by the Chicago Board of Health.

The study of industrial medicine (work-related illnesses) had become increasingly important because the Industrial Revolution of the late nineteenth century had led to new dangers in the workplace. In 1907 Hamilton began exploring existing literature from abroad and noticed that industrial medicine was not being studied as much in America. She set out to change the situation and published her first article on the topic in 1908.

Medical Investigator

Hamilton began her long career in public health and workplace safety in 1910, when Illinois governor Charles S. Deneen appointed her as a medical investigator to the newly-formed Illinois Commission on Occupational Diseases.  Hamilton led the commission’s investigations, which focused on industrial poisons such as lead and other toxins.  She also authored the “Illinois Survey,” the commission’s report that documented its findings of industrial processes that exposed workers to lead poisoning and other illnesses. The commission’s efforts resulted in the passage of the first workers’ compensation laws in Illinois in 1911, in Indiana in 1915, and occupational disease laws in other states. The new laws required employers to take safety precautions to protect workers.

By 1916 Hamilton had become America’s leading authority on lead poisoning.  For the next decade she investigated a range of issues for a variety of state and federal health committees. Hamilton focused her explorations on occupational toxic disorders, examining the effects of substances such as aniline dyes, carbon monoxide, mercury, tetraethyl lead, radium, benzene, carbon disulfide and hydrogen sulfide gases. In 1925, at a Public Health Service conference on the use of lead in gasoline, she testified against the use of lead and warned of the danger it posed to people and the environment.  Nevertheless, leaded gasoline was allowed.  The EPA in 1988 estimated that over the previous 60 years that 68 million children suffered high toxic exposure to lead from leaded fuels.

Her work on the manufacture of white lead and lead oxide, as a special investigator for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is considered a “landmark study”.  Relying primarily on “shoe leather epidemiology” (her process of making personal visits to factories, conducting interviews with workers, and compiling details of diagnosed poisoning cases) and the emerging laboratory science of toxicology, Hamilton pioneered occupational epidemiology and industrial hygiene. She also created the specialized field of industrial medicine in the United States. Her findings were scientifically persuasive and influenced sweeping health reforms that changed laws and general practice to improve the health of workers.

During World War I, the US Army tasked her with solving a mysterious ailment striking workers at a munitions plant in New Jersey. She led a team that included George Minot, a Professor at Harvard Medical School. She deduced that the workers were being sickened through contact with the explosive trinitrotoluene (TNT). She recommended that workers wear protective clothing to be removed and washed at the end of each shift, solving the problem.

Hamilton’s best-known research included her studies on carbon monoxide poisoning among American steelworkers, mercury poisoning of hatters, and “a debilitating hand condition developed by workers using jackhammers.”  At the request of the U.S. Department of Labor, she also investigated industries involved in developing high explosives, “spastic anemia known as ‘dead fingers'” among Bedford, Indiana, limestone cutters, and the “unusually high incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis” among tombstone carvers working in the granite mills of Quincy, Massachusetts, and Barre, Vermont.  Hamilton was also a member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of the Mortality from Tuberculosis in Dusty Trades, whose efforts “laid the groundwork for further studies and eventual widespread reform in the industry.”

Women’s rights and peace activist

During her years at Hull House, Hamilton was active in the women’s rights and peace movements. She traveled with Jane Addams and Emily Greene Balch to the 1915 International Congress of Women in The Hague,[42] where they met Aletta Jacobs, a Dutch pacifist, feminist, and suffragist.[43][44] Rediscovered historical footage shows Addams, Hamilton, and Jacobs before the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on May 24, 1915, during a visit to German to meet government leaders.[45] She also visited German-occupied Belgium.[29]

Hamilton returned to Europe with Addams in May 1919 to attend the second International Congress of Women at Zurich, Switzerland. In addition, Hamilton, Addams, Jacobs, and American Quaker Carolena M. Wood became involved in a humanitarian mission to Germany to distribute food aid and investigate reports of famine.

Assistant professor, Harvard Medical School

In January 1919 Hamilton accepted a position as assistant professor in a newly-formed Department of Industrial Medicine (and after 1925 the School of Public Health) at Harvard Medical School, making her the first woman appointed to the Harvard University faculty in any field.  Her appointment was hailed by the New York Tribune with the headline: “A Woman on Harvard Faculty—The Last Citadel Has Fallen—The Sex Has Come Into Its Own”.  Her own comment was “Yes, I am the first woman on the Harvard faculty—but not the first one who should have been appointed!”

During her years at Harvard, from 1919 to her retirement in 1935, Hamilton never received a faculty promotion and held only a series of three-year appointments. At her request, the half-time appointments for which she taught one semester per year allowed her to continue her research and spend several months of each year at Hull House. Hamilton also faced discrimination as a woman. She was excluded from social activities, could not enter the Harvard Union, attend the Faculty Club, or receive a quota of football tickets. In addition, Hamilton was not allowed to march in the university’s commencement ceremonies as the male faculty members did.

Hamilton became a successful fundraiser for Harvard as she continued to write and conduct research on the dangerous trades. In addition to publishing “landmark reports for the U.S. Department of Labor” on research related to workers in Arizona copper mines and stonecutters at Indiana’s limestone quarries,  Hamilton also wrote Industrial Poisons in the United States (1925), the first American textbook on the subject, and another related textbook, Industrial Toxicology (1934).   At tetraethyl lead conference in Washington, D.C. in 1925, Hamilton was a prominent critic of adding tetraethyl lead to gasoline.

Hamilton also remained an activist in social reform efforts.  Her specific interests in civil liberties, peace, birth control, and protective labor legislation for women caused some of her critics to consider her a “radical” and a “subversive.”  From 1924 to 1930, she served as the only woman member of the League of Nations Health Committee.   She also visited the Soviet Union in 1924 and Nazi Germany in April 1933. Hamilton wrote “The Youth Who Are Hitler’s Strength,” which was published in The New York Times. The article described Nazi exploitation of youth in the years between the two world wars. She also criticized the Nazi education, especially its domestic training for girls.

Later years

After her retirement from Harvard in 1935, Hamilton became a medical consultant to the U.S. Division of Labor Standards.[58] Her last field survey, which was made in 1937–38, investigated the viscose rayon industry. In addition, Hamilton served as president of the National Consumers League from 1944 to 1949.

Hamilton spent her retirement years in Hadlyme, Connecticut, at the home she had purchased in 1916 with her sister, Margaret. Hamilton remained an active writer in retirement. Her autobiography, Exploring the Dangerous Trades, was published in 1943.[59] Hamilton and coauthor Harriet Louise Hardy also revised Industrial Toxicology (1949), the textbook that Hamilton had initially written in 1934. Hamilton also enjoyed leisure activities such as reading, sketching, and writing, as well as spending time among her family and friends.

Death and legacy

Hamilton died of a stroke at her home in Hadlyme, Connecticut, on September 22, 1970, at the age of 101.  She is buried at Cove Cemetery in Hadlyme.

Hamilton was a tireless researcher and crusader against the use of toxic substances in the workplace.  Within three months of her death in 1970, the U.S. Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act to improve workplace safety in the United States.

Recognition and awards

Hamilton was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Michigan, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College.

She was included in the American Men in Science: A Biographical Dictionary (1906).

In 1935 Eleanor Roosevelt presented Hamilton with the Chi Omega women’s fraternity’s National Achievement Award.

In 1947 Hamilton became the first woman to receive the Albert Lasker Public Service Award for her public service contributions.

In 1956 she was named TIME magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in medicine.

 In 1973 Hamilton was posthumously inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

On February 27, 1987, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health dedicated its research facility as the Alice Hamilton Laboratory for Occupational Safety and Health. The Institute also began giving an annual Alice Hamilton Award to recognize excellent scientific research in the field.

In 1995 the U.S. Postal Service honored Hamilton’s contributions to public health with a 55-cent commemorative postage stamp in its Great Americans series.

In 2000 the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, erected statues of Alice, her sister, Edith, and their cousin, Agnes, in the city’s Headwaters Park.

On September 21, 2002, the American Chemical Society designated Hamilton and her work in industrial toxicology a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of her pioneering role in the development of occupational medicine.

 Hamilton has been heralded as a pioneering female environmentalist.  The Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, sponsors an annual lecture named in recognition of her achievements in these areas.  Since 1997 the American Society for Environmental History has annually awarded the Alice Hamilton Prize for the best article published outside the Environmental History journal.

On September 26, 2018, one bust of Alice Hamilton was placed in the foyer of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Building of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and another bust, also by local sculptor Robert Shure, was placed in the Atrium in the Tosteson Medical Education Center of the Harvard Medical School.

Annually, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Committee on the Advancement of Women Faculty (CAWF) sponsors the annual Alice Hamilton lecture and award to recognize especially promising junior faculty women.

Selected published works


  •  Industrial Poisons in the United States (1925)
  • Industrial Toxicology (1934’ rev. 1949)
  • Exploring the Dangerous Trades: The Autobiography of Alice Hamilton, M.D. (1943).


  •  “Hitler Speaks: His Book Reveals the Man,” Atlantic Monthly (April 1933)
  • “The Youth Who Are Hitler’s Strength,” New York Times, 1933
  •  “A Woman of Ninety Looks at Her World,” Atlantic Monthly (1961)

The Bawdy House Riots of 1668

The 1668 Bawdy House Riots (also called the Messenger riots after rioter Peter Messenger) took place in 17th-century London over several days in March during Easter Week, 1668.  They were sparked by Dissenters who resented the King’s proclamation against conventicles (private lay worship) while turning a blind eye to the equally illegal brothels.  Thousands of young men besieged and demolished brothels throughout the East End, assaulting the prostitutes and looting the properties.  As the historian Tim Harris describes it:

“The riots broke out on Easter Monday, 23 March 1668, when a group attacked bawdy houses in Poplar. The next day crowds of about 500 pulled down similar establishments in Moorfields, East Smithfield, St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, and also St Andrew’s, Holborn, the main bawdy house districts of London. The final assaults came on Wednesday, mainly in the Moorfields area, one report claiming there were now 40,000 rioters – surely an exaggeration, but indicating that abnormally large numbers of people were involved. … On all days the crowds were supposedly armed with ‘iron bars, polaxes, long staves, and other weapons’, presumably the sort of tools necessary for house demolition. The rioters organized themselves into regiments, headed by a captain, and marching behind colours.”

These were not the first anti-brothel riots in 17th-century London. Between 1603 and 1642, Shrove Tuesday riots (mostly involving attacks by apprentices on brothels and playhouses ostensibly to remove sources of temptation during Lent) had occurred at least twenty-four times.  They were to some degree tolerated and the people involved had rarely been punished severely.  However, the 1668 riots were different in both size and duration, involving thousands of people and lasting for several days.  In their aftermath, fifteen of the rioters were indicted for high treason, and four suspected ringleaders were convicted and hanged.

Samuel Pepys recorded the events in his Diary on 24th and 25th March. He documented the attack on the property of brothel keeper Damaris Page, “the great bawd of the seamen”, “the most Famous Bawd in the Towne.” ] She was a deeply unpopular figure because of her practice of press-ganging her dock worker clientele into the navy, and her bawdy house was an early target of the riots.  She appeared before a local magistrate, Robert Manley, as a victim of the riots who had lost significant property; she was one of the main witnesses brought against Robert Sharpless, a central instigator of the riots. Her evidence was notably given significant weight during the court case, despite being an unmarried woman and a brothel keeper.

The Poor-Whores Petition

During the riots, attacks were made on the court, the Duke of York, and the bishops. Demands were made for religious toleration and protesters’ slogans included “Liberty of Conscience!”  Rioters drew up ‘mock Petitions’ from the ‘poor whores’ which stressed support for whores by Catholics, and by Anglicans leading the campaign against Nonconformist worship. And a satire made the point explicit in discussion of a bill to be passed in Parliament for a ‘full Toleration of all Bawdy-houses’ but for the suppression of ‘all Preaching, Printing, Private Meetings, Conventacles, etc.’  Prostitutes and brothel owners such as Damaris Page and Elizabeth Cresswell who had been affected by the riots published The Poor Whores’ Petition, a satirical letter addressed to the King Charles II’s mistress Lady Castlemaine. It requested that she come to the aid of her “sisters” and pay for the rebuilding of their property and livelihoods, and sought to mock the perceived extravagance and licentiousness of Lady Castlemaine and the royal court. The perceived immoral behaviour of the King, who had been engaged in a series of extra-marital affairs with high-profile courtesans, and the debauchery in his court, were seen as one of the causes of the riots.  Pepys mentions that the riots were perceived as anti-royal demonstrations by working-class apprentices centered on Moorfields, with echoes of the Puritanism of the Cromwellian era. He noted, “How these idle fellows have had the confidence to say that they did ill in contenting themselves in pulling down the little bawdy-houses, and did not go and pull down the great bawdy-house at Whitehall.”

Evil May Day Riots

Evil May Day or Ill May Day is the name of a riot which took place in 1517 as a protest against foreigners living in London. Apprentices attacked foreign residents. Some of the rioters were later hanged although King Henry VIII granted a pardon for the remainder following public pleadings from his wife, Catherine of Aragon.


In the early part of the reign of King Henry VIII, Londoners came to resent the presence of foreigners arriving from the continent, especially immigrant Flemish workers and the wealthy foreign merchants and bankers of Lombard Street.

According to the chronicler Edward Hall (c. 1498–1547), a fortnight before the riot an inflammatory xenophobic speech was made on Easter Tuesday by a Dr Bell at St. Paul’s Cross at the instigation of John Lincoln, a broker. Bell called on all “Englishmen to cherish and defend themselves, and to hurt and grieve aliens for the common weal”.  Over the following two weeks there were sporadic attacks on foreigners and rumors abounded that “on May Day next the city would rebel and slay all aliens”.

The mayor and aldermen, afraid of any possible disturbances, announced on 8:30 pm 30 April that there would be a 9:00 pm curfew that night. John Mundy, a local alderman, travelling through Cheapside on his way home that night, saw a group of young men after the curfew. Mundy ordered the men to remove themselves from the streets to which one replied: “Why?” Mundy replied: “Thou shalt know” and grabbed his arm to arrest him. The man’s friends defended him and Mundy fled “in great danger”.

The riot

Within a few hours approximately a thousand young male apprentices had congregated in Cheapside. The mob freed several prisoners who were locked up for attacking foreigners and proceeded to St Martin le Grand, a liberty north of St Paul’s Cathedral where numerous foreigners lived. Here they were met by the under-sheriff of London, Thomas More, who attempted in vain to persuade them to return to their homes. As soon as more had calmed them, however, the inhabitants of St Martin started to throw stones, bricks, bats and boiling water from their windows, some of which fell on an official who screamed: “Down with them!”

This sparked panic in the mob and they looted foreigners’ houses there and elsewhere in the city, although no one was killed.  The Duke of Norfolk entered the city with his private army of 1300 retainers to suppress the riots.  By 3 am the riot had died down, and three hundred people arrested were pardoned. However thirteen of the rioters were convicted of treason and executed on 4 May and Lincoln was executed three days later. This account by Hall is mirrored by a letter to the Venetian doge written five days after the riot.  While the mob were on the rampage, Sir Richard Cholmeley, the Lieutenant of the Tower of London furiously ordered the firing of some of the Tower’s artillery at the city, drawing the ire of the city elders.

In other versions the rioters closed the city gates to prevent the King’s guard from being reinforced and then temporarily took control over the city. King Henry was woken up in the middle of the night at his residence in Richmond and was told of the mayhem ensuing in the capital. Then forces under the command of the Duke of Norfolk (or the Earl of Shrewsbury and Duke of Suffolk) and his son the Earl of Surrey finally arrived in the city and seized prisoners.

The aftermath

By 5 May there were over five thousand troops in London.  When the prisoners had an audience with King Henry in Westminster Hall, the nobility then got on its knees to plead for a pardon for the prisoners. Henry announced the pardon after his wife, Catherine of Aragon, appealed before him to spare the lives of the rebels for the sake of their wives and children. At this the prisoners “took the halters from their necks and dance.

TPK Stories on Anchor

Soap Spoilers–the-Restless-Spoiliers-December-9-13–2019-e9df93–the-Beautiful-Spoilers-December-9-13–2019-e9dfc1–2019-e9dfee–2019-e9dfi4

Episode 17: Desperate Passions (A Todd Manning Fanfiction)

The Murder of Jason Sweeney

Daily Devotion

1 Nephi: Chapter 8

Lehi sees a vision of the tree of life-He partakes of its fruit and desires his family to do likewise—He sees a rod of iron, a strait and narrow path and the mists of darkness that enshroud men—Sariah, Nephi, and Sam partake of the fruit, but Laman and Lemuel refuse.  About 600-592 B.C.

1  And it came to pass that we had gathered together all manner of seeds of every kind, both of grain of every kind, and also of the seeds of fruit of every kind.

2  And it came to pass that while my father tarried in the wilderness he spake unto us, saying:  Behold, I have dreamed a dream; or, in other words, I have seen a vision.

3  And behold, because of the thing which I have seen, I have reason to rejoice in the Lord because of Nephi and also of Sam; for I have reason to suppose that they, and also many of their seed, will be saved.

4  But behold, Laman and Lemuel, I fear exceedingly because of you; for behold, methought I saw in my dream, a dark and dreary wilderness.

5  And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me.

6  And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him.

7  And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste.

8  And after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness, I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me, according to the multitude of his tender mercies.

9  And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field.

10  And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.

11  And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted.  Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen.

12  and as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.

13  And as I cast my eyes round about, that perhaps I might discover my family also, I beheld a river of water; and it ran along, and it was near the tree of which I was partaking the fruit.

14  And I looked to behold from whence it came; and I saw the head thereof a little way off; and at the head thereof I beheld you mother Sariah, and Sam, and Nephi; and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go.

15  And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit.

16  And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also.

17  And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes toward the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them.

18  And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me and partake of the fruit.

19  And I beheld a rod of iron, and it extended along the bank of the river, and led to the tree by which I stood.

20  And I also beheld a strait and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron, even to the tree by which I stood; and it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world.

21  And I saw numberless concourses of people, many of whom were pressing forward, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which I stood.

22  And it came to pass that they did come forth, and commence in the path which led to the tree.

23  And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost.

24  And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree.

25  And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed.

26  And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it tood as it were in the air, high above the earth.

27  And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit.

28  And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost.

29  And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father.

30  But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree.

31  And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building.

32  And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads.

33  And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building.  And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not.

34  These are the words of my father:  For as many as heeded them, had fallen away.

35  And Laman and Lemuel partook not of the fruit, said my father.

36  And it came to pass after my father had spoken all the words of his dream or vision, which were many, he said unto us, because of these things which he saw in a vision, he exceedingly feared for Laman Lemuel; yea, he feared lest they should be cast off from the presence of the Lord.

37  And he did exhort them then with all the feeling of a tender parent, that they would hearken to his words, that perhaps the Lord would be merciful to them, and not cast them off; yea, my father did preach unto them.

38  And after he had preached unto them, and also prophesied unto them of many things, he bade them to keep the commandments of the Lord; and he did cease speaking unto them.

Matthew: Chapter 17

1  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,

2  And was transfigured before them:  and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

3  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

4  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here:  if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

5  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:  and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

6  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

7  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

8  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

9  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

10  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and  they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed.  Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

13  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

14  And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,

15  Lord, have mercy on my son:  for he is lunatic, and sore vexed; for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

16  And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

17  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?  how long shall I suffer you?  bring him hither to me.

18  And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him:  and the child was cured from that very hour.

19  Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

20  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief:  for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

21  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

22  And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:

23  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.  And they were exceeding sorry.

24  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

25  He saith, Yes.  And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers?

26 Peter saith unto him, Of Strangers.  Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

27  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money:  that take, and give unto them for me an thee.

Genesis: Chapter 17

1  And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 

2  And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.

3  And Abram fell on his face:  and God talked with him, saying,

4  As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.

5  Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.

6  And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and king shall come out of thee.

7  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

8  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

9  And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.

10  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

11  And ye shall circumcised the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.

12  And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

13  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised:  and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

14  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

15  And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name be.

16  And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her:  yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations: kings of people shall be of her.

17  Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said into his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old?  And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

18  And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!

19  And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shall call his name Isaac:  and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

20  And for Ishmael, I have heard thee:  Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and ill multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

21  But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.

22  And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

23  And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.

24  And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

25  And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.

26  In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.

27  And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

Mark 16: 16

Mark 16: 16—The law and the prophets were until john:  since that time the kingdom of god is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Acts 2: 36-37—Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that god hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.  Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Acts 2: 38—then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the3 gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 8: 35—Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

Acts 8: 38—And he commanded the chariot to stand still:  and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

Acts 16: 30-31—And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Acts 16: 33—And he took them the same house of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

Galatians 3: 26—For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

God Hears and Answers

Daily bible verse

Riches profit not in the day of wrath:  but righteousness delivereth from death. ~Proverbs 11: 4

Daily Inspiration

Many may heap up earthly treasures and trust n them to deliver them, but even with mere men, money cannot always avail.  Not all judges will take a bribe, and no gift will pacify those who have been deeply offended and severely misused.  How much less can money avail anything at all on the day of God’s holy wrath!

Daily Prayer

Lord, though a man gain all the money in the world, he could not buy salvation from you.  your anger against sin cannot be appeased by any riches that men might try to offer, and the offer itself would insult your holiness.  Nor can good works, long prayers, or self-affliction avail anything.  It is only the blood of your Son Jesus Christ that can quench the fire of your wrath.  In that alone I ever trust.

He Hears and Answers

By Frances Taylor

God listens to us and he answers. ~Isaiah 30: 19

God is promising the people of Judah that the Lord will take care of them and not to trust human leaders to protect them.  the people don’t listen and form alliances that lead to war and devastation and eventual exile.  God keeps trying to tell us the same thing.  We need to trust in him.  we depend on our leaders to keep us safe.  How often do we think of praying for our country, our city, our neighborhoods?  God listens to us and answers.  Sometimes we don’t understand the answer because we are asking for the wrong thing.  Do we pray that our leaders do what we want them to do, or do we pray that they listen to God and do his will?  do our actions support our prayers?

For example, do we vote for candidates wo do our will, or do God’s will?  do we support programs that promote justice for all?  In our workplace do we treat everyone with dignity?  Do we do the same in our neighborhoods?  Do we pray for those we consider to be enemies?  We may not understand the viewpoints of other people, or cultures, but do we pray that they too, listen to the voice of God and follow his will for them?

Last year, twelve young boys and their young coach were trapped in a cave in Thailand.  Every news cast showed people all over the world praying for their rescue.  It made difference what language they prayed in, or what religion they professed, everyone was praying.  It took time and the efforts of many people from many countries working together to remove water from the cave, to get food and oxygen to the boys and they were finally rescued.  The following day, the pumps broke and the water rushed in and the cave filled.  We prayed, god listened, the boys lived.  When we pray, he hears and answers.  The question is, are we praying?

Prayer:  gracious God, you are always there for us, all we need to do is reach out in faith and trust, pray and know that you are listening.  Thank you.  amen.

Spoilers: December 9-13, 2019

Devon (Bryton James) has Amanda Sinclair (Mischael Morgan) on his mind.

The Young & the Restless

Changes are afoot once again at Jabot, Amanda piques the curiosity of more than one man, and Nick’s in need of protection.

Soap alums in Hallmark Winterfest movie premieres.

Young and Restless spoilers for Friday December 6:

Nick sports a grim look, Chance busts Abby as the thief, Connor doesn’t need anyone but his parents, and Nick confides in Phyllis.

Adam’s concerned about his influence on Connor.

Phyllis and Abby spar.

Watch Kelly Kruger on Entertainment Tonight, along with her husband and baby daughter.

Young and Restless spoilers for the week of December 9:

The blackout seemed too subtle to be soapy, lost with Billy’s plot, and happy to finally see certain characters fired up.

Young and Restless spoilers for Monday December 9:

Chance busts Abby, Elena accuses Devon of being obsessed with Amanda, who makes a cryptic phone call, Chance is impressed with Abby, and Mariah worries about Summer being single.

Amanda is on Devon’s mind.

Chance gets an offer.

Summer receives a warning from Mariah.

Young and Restless spoilers for Tuesday December 10:

Sharon’s plan goes awry.

Nick is protected by his parents.

Young and Restless spoilers for Wednesday December 11:

Jack changes things at Jabot in a big way.

Young and Restless spoilers for Thursday December 12:

Amanda and Billy grow closer.

Phyllis’ bluff is called by Chance.

Young and Restless spoilers for Friday December 13:

Nate and Abby make amends.

Also coming up on Young and Restless this week:

After Nate and Devon have a conversation about Elena’s concerns regarding Amanda, Victor presents Devon with a dossier his people have come up with showing that some things about Amanda don’t add up. This prompts Devon to want to find out more.

Phyllis’ buttons are pushed by Adam.

Kyle celebrates success.

Billy wrestles with old habits.

Nate wants to be more than friends with Amanda.

Abby and Chance kiss.

Young and Restless spoilers for the week of December 16:

Young and Restless spoilers for Monday December 16:

Chelsea puts her relationship with Nick at risk.

Also coming up on Young and Restless this week:

Devon seeks dirt on someone.

Chelsea deals with a new reality.

Adam hides a secret.

Phyllis opens up to Jack.

Young and Restless spoilers for the week of December 23:

Lauren and Michael’s son is home for the holidays when Zach Tinker returns to Young and Restless as Fenmore Baldwin.

Young and Restless spoilers for Monday December 23:

A Newman is home for Christmas when Alyvia Alyn Lind returns to Y&R as Faith.

Young and Restless spoilers for Wednesday December 25:

Victor and Nikki feel the true meaning of Christmas when an unexpected delivery arrives.

Elena and Nate hope for a Christmas miracle.

Chelsea and Adam work to save Christmas for Connor.

Kevin is given the ultimate Christmas gift from Chloe.

Young and Restless casting notes:

Watch for a guest spot by E! Daily Pop’s co-host as Young and Restless has cast Justin Sylvester.

Thomas (Matthew Atkinson) devises a Forrester competition in order to get closer to Hope (Annika Noelle).

The Bold & the Beautiful

A fashion competition heats up at Forrester Creations, while Thomas continues to scheme and Liam plots to expose him.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Friday December 6:

Ridge and Shauna discuss his marriage, Ridge urges Brooke to forgive Thomas, Shauna is left disappointed, and Hope is ready to get back to work.

Thomas wants Hope to work with him at Forrester Creations and uses Douglas in his attempt to convince her.

With divorce papers in hand, Ridge goes to Brooke with a way to mend their marriage.

Watch Darin Brooks on Entertainment Tonight, along with his wife and baby daughter.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 9:

Missing the Forrester Thanksgiving, anticipating a Shauna/Brooke run-in, and a thumbs down to one contrived plot.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Monday December 9:

Steffy and Thomas argue about Hope.

Brooke tells Ridge what it will take for them to reunite.

Soap alums in Hallmark Winterfest movie premieres.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Tuesday December 10:

Shauna makes a stunning admission as she comforts Ridge.

Thomas tries to convince Hope to work with him in a Forrester fashion competition.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Wednesday December 11:

Steffy and Hope decide they’ll square off in the fashion competition.

Liam learns why Wyatt’s relationship with Sally became complicated.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Thursday December 12:

Thomas urges Shauna to pursue his father in an effort to avoid a Ridge and Brooke reunion.

Liam seeks Steffy’s help in exposing Thomas’ schemes.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Friday December 13:

Brooke, heartbroken, hopes Ridge will realize that Thomas hasn’t changed.

Steffy and Liam find Zoe when they go looking for Vinny and she fills them in on Thomas.

Also coming up this week on Bold and the Beautiful:

Thomas is pleased with Ridge’s decision about Brooke.

Thomas devises a fashion competition between Steffy’s Intimates line and Hope for the Future to get closer to Hope. Steffy teams with Sally and along the way things get personal. Steffy is glad to see her brother back at work but is concerned about his motives. Ridge is put in the middle.

After Brooke and Ridge sign divorce papers, Shauna tells Ridge it’s not his fault and that she loves him.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 16:

Liam and Steffy look to get Zoe’s help figuring out Thomas’ motives.

Hope realizes Thomas’ romantic set-up is for another woman.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 23:

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Wednesday December 25:

An encore episode of Bold and Beautiful will air on Christmas Day.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for the week of December 30:

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Tuesday December 31:

A new episode of Bold and Beautiful will air on the east coast, while the west coast is pre-empted for CBS Sports: The Sun Bowl.

Bold and the Beautiful spoilers for Wednesday January 1:

An encore episode of Bold and Beautiful will air on the east coast, and the new episode from Tuesday December 31 will air on the west coast.

Bold and the Beautiful casting notes:

Due to a new movie project, Katrina Bowden will be off Bold and Beautiful for a short time.

Wlllow (Katelyn MacMullen) has a pregnancy scare!

General Hospital

Everyone is filled with emotion and not all are good. While a few people are stunned, one becomes very concerned, as another’s curiosity is piqued. Nina contemplates a big business move, and Laura goes out of her way to make things rough on Peter…

General Hospital spoilers for Thursday December 5:

Nelle greets someone, Nina finds Nikolas’ ring while visiting Ava, Valentin and Martin encounter a masked Nikolas, and Sam becomes cellmates with Nelle.

Jordan’s findings are inconclusive.

Sonny is sympathetic.

Willow confides in Sasha.

General Hospital spoilers for Friday December 6:

Brook Lynn is lectured by Olivia, Peter orders a hit on Andre and ‘Drew’ to ensure the procedure doesn’t happen, Ned worries Brook Lynn is in trouble and Griffin returns to reassure Carly and Sonny.

Maxie and Lulu catch up.

Jason surprises Ned.

Franco completes an important project.

The Writers Guild of America Awards daytime nominees have been announced with soap opera writers being recognized.

Matt Cohen returns to GH as Griffin Munro!

General Hospital spoilers for the week of December 9:

NuNik has Dustin rooting for Valentin, Carly and Sonny’s actions stunned, and Ava and Nina teaming up is a delicious turn of events.

General Hospital spoilers for Monday December 9:

Elizabeth attempts to express her gratitude.

Trina helps at the gallery.

Nina considers a new business partner.

An expert reveals to whether or not Kendra poisoning Alexis was realistic.

General Hospital spoilers for Tuesday December 10:

Liz has questions.

Anna seems unsettled.

Laura sabotages Peter.

Read 20 things to know about General Hospital’s Brad Cooper – gallery included.

General Hospital spoilers for Wednesday December 11:

Carly is alarmed.

Nelle makes a call.

Willow is shocked.

General Hospital spoilers for Thursday December 12:

Ned is questioned.

Chase makes a discovery.

Michael accepts the help he needs.

General Hospital spoilers for Friday December 13:

Sonny deflects.

Ava piques Carly’s curiosity.

Nina is aghast.

Anthony Montgomery appears on Magnum PI tonight.

General Hospital spoilers for the week of December 16:

General Hospital spoilers for Monday December 16:

Jax is in for a surprise.

Nina learns the truth.

Chase confides in Finn.

General Hospital spoilers for Tuesday December 17:

Valentin is delighted.

Ava is unconcerned.

Lulu feels helpless.

General Hospital spoilers for Wednesday December 18:

Ava lays in wait.

Kevin offers his insight.

Nina corners Obrecht.

General Hospital spoilers for Thursday December 19:

Franco is devastated.

Jordan shows no mercy.

Michael does his best.

General Hospital spoilers for Friday December 20:

Nelle plays it cool.

Julian loses his temper.

Anna and Finn have a difference of opinion.

General Hospital Fall and Winter casting:

Tracy Quartermaine arrives in town when Jane Elliot returns to General Hospital.

Nurse Amy Driscoll will be back in Port Charles since Risa Dorken is returning to General Hospital.

Chad (Billy Flynn) and Abigail (Kate Mansi) work to find out who pushed Jennifer (Melissa Reeves) off the balcony.

Days of Our Lives

John and Marlena come to a conclusion regarding Stefano, as Gabi sends Eli on a wild goose chase in order to stop Chad in his tracks. While Ciara goes to great lengths to uncover Xander’s secret, Xander receives news from Sarah about Eric and a shared custody agreement. Plus, Ben fights for Will, as Lani is faced with a blast from the past…

Patience tested during time jump, feeling curiosity and an overabundance of impatience to find out what happened in this past year in Salem.

Days of our Lives spoilers for the week of December 2:

Stefano & Gina drinking to his resurrection and Marlena and John pondering the phoenix’s return.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Monday December 2:

Abe endorses Kayla and Justin, Ben saves Will from Clyde, Kayla asks Justin to move in with her, and Abe offers to call Celeste for John and Marlena.

John and Marlena suspect Stefano is the one who reached out to her.

Justin and Kayla discuss taking a huge step in their relationship.

Ciara updates Ben on her investigation.

Clyde makes an attempt on Will’s life!

In the first Last Blast Reunion recap, Belle and Chloe plan a reunion after running into Kevin and are shocked when Philip shows up.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Tuesday December 3:

Ben horrified father stabbed him, Ben rats out Clyde after getting stabbed by his father, Eric talks custody with Sarah, and Rafe gives Evan advice.

Ben tries to stop Clyde from hurting Will.

Ciara breaks into Xander’s metal box to uncover his secret.

Nicole urges Eric to forgive her.

Evan pulls Sonny into a kiss!

Actress Chrishell Hartley breaks silence on Justin Hartley divorce via social media post.

Day’s alum in Hallmark Winterfest movie premiere.

Twins Caleb and Kyler Ends is the new David, a.k.a. Jordan’s son, starting today.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Wednesday December 4:

JJ pops pills after Kristen calls Jennifer, Eli protests to much about being over Lani, and Kate waits tables at Brady Pub.

Gabi sends Eli off to Rome to thwart Chad.

Abigail tells “Hope” she doesn’t believe Eve pushed her mother.

Lani reveals to Abe she’s made a commitment to someone.

JJ is desperate to uncover Kristen’s location.

Read about Billy Flynn’s comedic futuristic play “Disposable Necessities,” that tells a story similar to what’s happening in Salem.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Thursday December 5:

Abby wants eve’s case files, Sarah kisses Xander after he agrees to Eric’s terms, Jennifer gasps after flashing back to the night she was pushed, and Kate speaks her mind.

Sarah tells Xander that Eric is willing to share custody… but on one condition.

“Hope” offers resistance when Abigail asks to look into Jennifer’s case.

Rafe questions “Hope’s” odd behavior.

Eric introduces Mickey to Roman and Marlena.

Kyle Lowder and Jen Lilley join soap stars ringing in the holidays with the Salvation Army.

Day’s poll: Love it? Hate it? Still processing? Tell us your thoughts on the Stefano reveal.

In the latest Last Blast Reunion recap, Shawn arrives to find Belle hugging Philip, and the crew reminisces as someone lurks outside.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Friday December 6:

Eli runs into novice, a stunned Eli sees Lani, JJ pulls a gun on Kristen, and Mickey is rushed to the hospital.

Lani is stunned when she comes face-to-face with someone from Salem.

Gabi and Chad go head-to-head for control over DiMera.

JJ trails Eli, hoping he’ll lead him to Kristen.

Marlena tells Eric that Mickey has a fever.

Watch Days alum Darin Brooks on Entertainment Tonight, along with his wife and baby daughter.

Days of our Lives spoilers for the week of December 9:

Eli finds Lani dressed as a nun and JJ plans to kill Kristen.

Loving the writing for Xander, but hoping he keeps his bad boy ways, into Kate and Roman, and feeling the excitement of the Rome arrivals.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Monday December 9:

Abigail brings Jennifer back to the scene of the crime to jog her memory.

JJ confronts Kristen about Haley’s death.

Chad admits to Kate he’s been in contact with his father.

Lani is stunned to learn Eli’s in a relationship with Gabi.

Going! Linsey Godfrey & Greg Vaughan exit Days in a storyline-dictated move.

Day’s poll: Are you enjoying Justin & Kayla as a couple?

Days of our Lives spoilers for Tuesday December 10:

Lani makes a huge appeal to JJ to spare Kristen.

Gabi tries to throw Chad out of the house.

Kate’s secret is revealed.

Abigail questions Hope about the night her mother was pushed off the balcony.

Confirmed! Alison Sweeney will return to Days as Sami Brady.

The Writers Guild of America Awards daytime nominees have been announced with soap opera writers being recognized.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Wednesday December 11:

Eric and Sarah receive upsetting news about Mickey. Their baby has cancer.

Hope is tempted to eliminate Abigail.

Justin moves in with Kayla.

Ben informs Ciara his legal situation just got worse.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Thursday December 12:

Will and Justin come face-to-face.

Kate blasts Sonny when she learns he shared a kiss with Evan.

After hearing the news about Mickey, Nicole tries to comfort Eric.

Sarah and Eric make a big decision to help their daughter.

Days of our Lives spoilers for Friday December 13:

Feeling the pressure, Hope makes plans to flee Salem.

Chad helps Abigail investigate her mother’s case.

Xander becomes suspicious of Ciara.

Jack brings Jennifer home from the hospital, and they share a little romance.

Days of our Lives fall casting:

There could be a new character in town or a recast to a returning one with Young and Restless alum Emily O’Brien spotted in Days cast photo.

Li Shin, son of Mr. Shin, will arrive in Salem when Remington Hoffman appears on Days of our Lives.

Stefan, back from the dead? Brandon Barash is returning to Days but as whom?

Shawn Brady heads back to town when Brandon Beemer returns to Days of our Lives.

Though we might not be seeing Philip Kiriakis back in Salem, he’ll turn up on the latest Days of our Lives digital series Last Blast Reunion with Jay Kenneth Johnson spotted at the Days studio.

Sheila heads back to town since Tionne ‘T-BOZ’ Watkins is returning to Days.

What Are UFOs? (Part II)

Condon Committee

A public research effort conducted by the Condon Committee for the USAF, which arrived at a negative conclusion in 1968, marked the end of the U.S. government’s official investigation of UFOs, though various government intelligence agencies continue unofficially to investigate or monitor the situation.

Controversy has surrounded the Condon Report, both before and after it was released. It has been observed that the report was “harshly criticized by numerous scientists, particularly at the powerful AIAA … [who] recommended moderate, but continuous scientific work on UFOs.”  In an address to the AAAS, James E. McDonald stated that he believed science had failed to mount adequate studies of the problem and criticized the Condon Report and earlier studies by the USAF as scientifically deficient. He also questioned the basis for Condon’s conclusions and argued that the reports of UFOs have been “laughed out of scientific court.”  J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer who worked as a USAF consultant from 1948, sharply criticized the Condon Committee Report and later wrote two nontechnical books that set forth the case for continuing to investigate UFO reports.

Ruppelt recounted his experiences with Project Blue Book, a USAF investigation that preceded Condon’s.

Notable US cases

  • The Roswell UFO incident (1947) involved New Mexico civilians, local law enforcement officers, and the U.S. military, the latter of whom allegedly collected physical evidence from the UFO crash site.
  • The Mantell UFO incident January 7, 1948
  • The Betty and Barney Hill abduction (1961) was the first reported abduction incident.
  •  In the Kecksburg UFO incident, Pennsylvania (1965), residents reported seeing a bell shaped object crash in the area. Police officers, and possibly military personnel, were sent to investigate.
  • The Travis Walton abduction case (1975): The movie Fire in the Sky (1993) was based on this event, but greatly embellished the original account.
  • The “Phoenix Lights” March 13, 1997
  • 2006 O’Hare International Airport UFO sighting
  • Document on sighting of a UFO occurred on December 16, 1977, in the state of Bahia, Brazil.


On October 31, 2008, the National Archives of Brazil began receiving from the Aeronautical Documentation and History Center part of the documentation of the Brazilian Air Force regarding the investigation of the appearance of UFOs in Brazil. Currently this collection gathers cases between 1952 and 2016.


In Canada, the Department of National Defence has dealt with reports, sightings and investigations of UFOs across Canada. In addition to conducting investigations into crop circles in Duhamel, Alberta, it still considers “unsolved” the Falcon Lake incident in Manitoba and the Shag Harbour UFO incident in Nova Scotia.

Early Canadian studies included Project Magnet (1950–1954) and Project Second Storey (1952–1954), supported by the Defence Research Board.


On March 2007, the French space agency CNES published an archive of UFO sightings and other phenomena online.

French studies include GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN (1977–), within CNES (French space agency), the longest ongoing government-sponsored investigation. About 22% of 6000 cases studied remain unexplained.  The official opinion of GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN has been neutral, stating on their FAQ page that their mission is fact-finding for the scientific community, not rendering an opinion. They add they can neither prove nor disprove the Exterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH), but their Steering Committee’s clear position is that they cannot discard the possibility that some fraction of the very strange 22% of unexplained cases might be due to distant and advanced civilizations.  Possibly their bias may be indicated by their use of the terms “PAN” (French) or “UAP” (English equivalent) for “Unidentified Aerospace Phenomenon” (whereas “UAP” as normally used by English organizations stands for “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon”, a more neutral term). In addition, the three heads of the studies have gone on record in stating that UFOs were real physical flying machines beyond our knowledge or that the best explanation for the most inexplicable cases was an extraterrestrial one.

In 2008, Michel Scheller, president of the Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France (3AF), created the Sigma Commission. Its purpose was to investigate UFO phenomenon worldwide.  A progress report published in May 2010 stated that the central hypothesis proposed by the COMETA report is perfectly credible.  In December 2012, the final report of the Sigma Commission was submitted to Scheller. Following the submission of the final report, the Sigma2 Commission is to be formed with a mandate to continue the scientific investigation of UFO phenomenon.

The most notable cases of UFO sightings in France include the Valensole UFO incident in 1965 and the Trans-en-Provence Case in 1981.


According to some Italian ufologists, the first documented case of a UFO sighting in Italy dates back to April 11, 1933, to Varese. Documents of the time show that an alleged UFO crashed or landed near Vergiate. Following this, Benito Mussolini created a secret group to look at it, called Cabinet RS/33.

Alleged UFO sightings gradually increased since the war, peaking in 1978 and 2005. The total number of sightings since 1947are 18,500, of which 90% are identifiable.

In 2000, Italian ufologist Roberto Pinotti published material regarding the so-called “Fascist UFO Files”, which dealt with a flying saucer that had crashed near Milan in 1933 (some 14 years before the Roswell, New Mexico, crash), and of the subsequent investigation by a never mentioned before Cabinet RS/33, that allegedly was authorized by Benito Mussolini, and headed by the Nobel scientist Guglielmo Marconi. A spaceship was allegedly stored in the hangars of the SIAI Marchetti in Vergiate near Milan.

Notable cases

  • A UFO sighting in Florence, October 28, 1954, followed by a fall of angel hair.
  • In 1973, an Alitalia airplane left Rome for Naples sighted a mysterious round object. Two Italian Air Force planes from Ciampino confirmed the sighting.  In the same year there was another sighting at Caselle airport near Turin.
  • In 1978, two young hikers, while walking on Monte Musinè near Turin, saw a bright light; one of them temporarily disappeared and, after a while, was found in a state of shock and with a noticeable scald on one leg. After regaining consciousness, he reported having seen an elongated vehicle and that some strangely shaped beings descended from it. Both the young hikers suffered from conjunctivitis for some time.
  • A close encounter reported in September 1978 in Torrita di Siena in the Province of Siena. A young motorist saw in front of him a bright object, two beings of small stature who wore suits and helmets, the two approached the car, and after watching it carefully went back and rose again to the UFO. A boy who lived with his family in a country house not far from there said he had seen at the same time “a kind of small reddish sun”.
  • Yet in 1978, there has been also the story of Pier Fortunato Zanfretta, the best known and most controversial case of an Italian alleged alien abduction. Zanfretta said (also with truth serum injected) to have been kidnapped by reptilian-like creatures on the night of 6 December and 7 December while he was performing his job at Marzano, in the municipality of Torriglia in the Province of Genoa; 52 testimonies of the case from other people were collected.

United Kingdom

The UK’s Flying Saucer Working Party published its final report in June 1951, which remained secret for over 50 years. The Working Party concluded that all UFO sightings could be explained as misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena, optical illusions, psychological misperceptions/aberrations, or hoaxes. The report stated: “We accordingly recommend very strongly that no further investigation of reported mysterious aerial phenomena be undertaken, unless and until some material evidence becomes available.”

Eight file collections on UFO sightings, dating from 1978 to 1987, were first released on May 14, 2008, to The National Archives by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).   Although kept secret from the public for many years, most of the files have low levels of classification and none are classified Top Secret. 200 files are set to be made public by 2012. The files are correspondence from the public sent to the British government and officials, such as the MoD and Margaret Thatcher. The MoD released the files under the Freedom of Information Act due to requests from researchers. These files include, but are not limited to, UFOs over Liverpool and the Waterloo Bridge in London.

On October 20, 2008, more UFO files were released. One case released detailed that in 1991 an Alitalia passenger aircraft was approaching London Heathrow Airport when the pilots saw what they described as a “cruise missile” fly extremely close to the cockpit. The pilots believed that a collision was imminent. UFO expert David Clarke says that this is one of the most convincing cases for a UFO he has come across.

A secret study of UFOs was undertaken for the Ministry of Defence between 1996 and 2000 and was code-named Project Condign. The resulting report, titled “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Defence Region”, was publicly released in 2006, but the identity and credentials of whomever constituted Project Condign remains classified. The report confirmed earlier findings that the main causes of UFO sightings are misidentification of man-made and natural objects. The report noted: “No artefacts of unknown or unexplained origin have been reported or handed to the UK authorities, despite thousands of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena reports. There are no SIGINT, ELINT or radiation measurements and little useful video or still IMINT.” It concluded: “There is no evidence that any UAP, seen in the UKADR [UK Air Defence Region], are incursions by air-objects of any intelligent (extraterrestrial or foreign) origin, or that they represent any hostile intent.” A little-discussed conclusion of the report was that novel meteorological plasma phenomenon akin to ball lightning are responsible for “the majority, if not all” of otherwise inexplicable sightings, especially reports of black triangle UFOs.

On December 1, 2009, the Ministry of Defence quietly closed down its UFO investigations unit. The unit’s hotline and email address were suspended by the MoD on that date. The MoD said there was no value in continuing to receive and investigate sightings in a release, stating:

 … in over fifty years, no UFO report has revealed any evidence of a potential threat to the United Kingdom. The MoD has no specific capability for identifying the nature of such sightings. There is no Defence benefit in such investigation and it would be an inappropriate use of defence resources. Furthermore, responding to reported UFO sightings divert MoD resources from tasks that are relevant to Defence.”

The Guardian reported that the MoD claimed the closure would save the Ministry around £50,000 a year. The MoD said that it would continue to release UFO files to the public through The National Archives.

Notable cases

According to records released on August 5, 2010, British wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill banned the reporting for 50 years of an alleged UFO incident because of fears it could create mass panic. Reports given to Churchill asserted that the incident involved a Royal Air Force (RAF) reconnaissance aircraft returning from a mission in France or Germany toward the end of World War II. It was over or near the English coastline when it was allegedly intercepted by a strange metallic object that matched the aircraft’s course and speed for a time before accelerating away and disappearing. The aircraft’s crew was reported to have photographed the object, which they said had “hovered noiselessly” near the aircraft, before moving off.  According to the documents, details of the coverup emerged when a man wrote to the government in 1999 seeking to find out more about the incident and described how his grandfather, who had served with the RAF in the war, was present when Churchill and U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower discussed how to deal with the UFO encounter.  The files come from more than 5,000 pages of UFO reports, letters and drawings from members of the public, as well as questions raised in Parliament. They are available to download from The National Archives website.

In the April 1957 West Freugh incident in Scotland, named after the principal military base involved, two unidentified objects flying high over the UK were tracked by radar operators. The objects were reported to operate at speeds and perform maneuvers beyond the capability of any known craft. Also significant is their alleged size, which – based on the radar returns – was closer to that of a ship than an aircraft.

In the Rendlesham Forest incident of December 1980, U.S. military personnel witnessed UFOs near the air base at Woodbridge, Suffolk, over a period of three nights. On one night the deputy base commander, Colonel Charles I. Halt, and other personnel followed one or more UFOs that were moving in and above the forest for several hours. Col. Halt made an audio recording while this was happening and subsequently wrote an official memorandum summarizing the incident. After retirement from the military, he said that he had deliberately downplayed the event (officially termed ‘Unexplained Lights’) to avoid damaging his career. Other base personnel are said to have observed one of the UFOs, which had landed in the forest, and even gone up to and touched it.


The Uruguayan Air Force has conducted UFO investigations since 1989 and reportedly analyzed 2,100 cases of which they regard approximately 2% as lacking explanation.

Astronomer reports

The USAF’s Project Blue Book files indicate that approximately 1% of all unknown reports came from amateur and professional astronomers or other users of telescopes (such as missile trackers or surveyors). In 1952, astronomer J. Allen Hynek, then a consultant to Blue Book, conducted a small survey of 45 fellow professional astronomers. Five reported UFO sightings (about 11%). In the 1970s, astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock conducted two large surveys of the AIAA and American Astronomical Society (AAS). About 5% of the members polled indicated that they had had UFO sightings.

Astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who admitted to six UFO sightings, including three green fireballs, supported the Extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFOs and stated he thought scientists who dismissed it without study were being “unscientific.” Another astronomer was Lincoln LaPaz, who had headed the Air Force’s investigation into the green fireballs and other UFO phenomena in New Mexico. LaPaz reported two personal sightings, one of a green fireball, the other of an anomalous disc-like object. (Both Tombaugh and LaPaz were part of Hynek’s 1952 survey.) Hynek himself took two photos through the window of a commercial airliner of a disc-like object that seemed to pace his aircraft.

In 1980, a survey of 1800 members of various amateur astronomer associations by Gert Helb and Hynek for CUFOS found that 24% responded “yes” to the question “Have you ever observed an object which resisted your most exhaustive efforts at identification?”

Identification of UFOs

Fata Morgana, a type of mirage in which objects located below the astronomical horizon appear to be hovering in the sky just above the horizon, may be responsible for some UFO sightings. (Here, the shape floating above the horizon is the reflected image of a boat.) Fata Morgana can also distort the appearance of distant objects, sometimes making them unrecognizable.

Lenticular clouds have in some cases been reported as UFOs due to their peculiar shape.

Studies show that after careful investigation, the majority of UFOs can be identified as ordinary objects or phenomena. The most commonly found identified sources of UFO reports are:

  • Astronomical objects (bright stars, planets, meteors, re-entering man-made spacecraft, artificial satellites, and the Moon)
  •  Aircraft (aerial advertising and other aircraft, missile launches)
  • Balloons (toy balloons, weather balloons, large research balloons)
  • Other atmospheric objects and phenomena (birds, unusual clouds, kites, flares)
  • Light phenomena mirages, Fata Morgana, ball lightning, moon dogs, searchlights and other ground lights, etc.


A 1952–1955 study by the Battelle Memorial Institute for the USAF included these categories as well as a “psychological” one.

An individual 1979 study by CUFOS researcher Allan Hendry found, as did other investigations, that only a small percentage of cases he investigated were hoaxes (<1 %) and that most sightings were actually honest misidentifications of prosaic phenomena. Hendry attributed most of these to inexperience or misperception.

Claims by military, government, and aviation personnel

Since 2001 there have been calls for greater openness on the part of the government by various persons. In May 2001, a press conference was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., by an organization called the Disclosure Project, featuring twenty persons including retired Air Force and FAA personnel, intelligence officers and an air traffic controller.   They all gave a brief account of what they knew or had witnessed, and stated that they would be willing to testify to what they had said under oath to a Congressional committee. According to a 2002 report in the Oregon Daily Emerald, Disclosure Project founder Steven M. Greer has gathered 120 hours of testimony from various government officials on the topic of UFOs, including astronaut Gordon Cooper and a Brigadier General.

In 2007, former Arizona governor Fife Symington came forward and belatedly claimed that he had seen “a massive, delta-shaped craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona” in 1997.

On September 27, 2010, a group of six former USAF officers and one former enlisted Air Force man held a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on the theme “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Have Been Compromised by Unidentified Aerial Objects.”   They told how they had witnessed UFOs hovering near missile sites and even disarming the missiles.

From April 29 to May 3, 2013, the Paradigm Research Group held the “Citizen Hearing on Disclosure” at the National Press Club. The group paid former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel and former Representatives Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Roscoe Bartlett, Merrill Cook, Darlene Hooley, and Lynn Woolsey $20,000 each to hear testimony from a panel of researchers which included witnesses from military, agency, and political backgrounds.

Apollo 14 astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell claimed that he knew of senior government employees who had been involved in “close encounters” and because of this he has no doubt that aliens have visited Earth.

In May 2019, The New York Times reported that American Navy fighter jets had several encounters with unexplained objects while conducting exercises off the eastern seaboard of the United States from the summer of 2014 to March 2015. The Times published a cockpit instrument video of an object moving at high speed near the ocean surface as it appeared to rotate. Pilots observed that the objects were capable of high acceleration, deceleration and maneuverability. In two separate incidents, a pilot reported his cockpit instruments locked onto and tracked objects but he was unable to see them through his helmet camera. In another encounter, an object described as a sphere encasing a cube passed between two jets as they flew about 100 feet apart.  Nonetheless, some at the very highest levels of government may be skeptical of such accounts.

Extraterrestrial hypothesis

While technically a UFO refers to any unidentified flying object, in modern popular culture the term UFO has generally become synonymous with alien spacecraft; however, the term ETV (ExtraTerrestrial Vehicle) is sometimes used to separate this explanation of UFOs from totally earthbound explanations.

Associated claims

Besides anecdotal visual sightings, reports sometimes include claims of other kinds of evidence, including cases studied by the military and various government agencies of different countries (such as Project Blue Book, the Condon Committee, the French GEPAN/SEPRA, and Uruguay’s current Air Force study).

A comprehensive scientific review of cases where physical evidence was available was carried out by the 1998 Sturrock panel, with specific examples of many of the categories listed below.

Radar contact and tracking, sometimes from multiple sites. These have included military personnel and control tower operators, simultaneous visual sightings, and aircraft intercepts. One such example were the mass sightings of large, silent, low-flying black triangles in 1989 and 1990 over Belgium, tracked by NATO radar and jet interceptors, and investigated by Belgium’s military (included photographic evidence).  Another famous case from 1986 was the Japan Air Lines flight 1628 incident over Alaska investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Photographic evidence, including still photos, movie film, and video.

Claims of physical trace of landing UFOs, including ground impressions, burned or desiccated soil, burned and broken foliage, magnetic anomalies[specify], increased radiation levels, and metallic traces. (See, e. g. Height 611 UFO incident or the 1964 Lonnie Zamora’s Socorro, New Mexico encounter of the USAF Project Blue Book cases.) A well-known example from December 1980 was the USAF Rendlesham Forest incident in England. Another occurred in January 1981 in Trans-en-Provence and was investigated by GEPAN, then France’s official government UFO-investigation agency. Project Blue Book head Edward J. Ruppelt described a classic 1952 CE2 case involving a patch of charred grass roots.

Physiological effects on people and animals including temporary paralysis, skin burns and rashes, corneal burns, and symptoms superficially resembling radiation poisoning, such as the Cash-Landrum incident in 1980.

Animal/cattle mutilation cases, which some feel are also part of the UFO phenomenon. Biological effects on plants such as increased or decreased growth, germination effects on seeds, and blown-out stem nodes (usually associated with physical trace cases or crop circles)

Electromagnetic interference (EM) effects. A famous 1976 military case over Tehran, recorded in CIA and DIA classified documents, was associated with communication losses in multiple aircraft and weapons system failure in an F-4 Phantom II jet interceptor as it was about to fire a missile on one of the UFOs.

Apparent remote radiation detection, some noted in FBI and CIA documents occurring over government nuclear installations at Los Alamos National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1950, also reported by Project Blue Book director Edward J. Ruppelt in his book.

Claimed artifacts of UFOs themselves, such as 1957, Ubatuba, Brazil, magnesium fragments analyzed by the Brazilian government and in the Condon Report and by others. The 1964 Lonnie Zamora incident also left metal traces, analyzed by NASA.  A more recent example involves a tear drop-shaped object recovered by Bob White and was featured in a television episode of UFO Hunters.

Angel hair and angel grass, possibly explained in some cases as nests from ballooning spiders or chaff.


Ufology is a neologism describing the collective efforts of those who study UFO reports and associated evidence.

Some ufologists recommend that observations be classified according to the features of the phenomenon or object that are reported or recorded. Typical categories include:

  • Saucer, toy-top, or disk-shaped “craft” without visible or audible propulsion.
  •  Large triangular “craft” or triangular light pattern, usually reported at night.
  • Cigar-shaped “craft” with lighted windows (meteor fireballs are sometimes reported this way, but are very different phenomena).
  • Other: chevrons, (equilateral) triangles, crescent, boomerangs, spheres (usually reported to be shining, glowing at night), domes, diamonds, shapeless black masses, eggs, pyramids and cylinders, classic “lights.”
  • Popular UFO classification systems include the Hynek system, created by J. Allen Hynek, and the Vallée system, created by Jacques Vallée.

Hynek’s system involves dividing the sighted object by appearance, subdivided further into the type of “close encounter” (a term from which the film director Steven Spielberg derived the title of his 1977 UFO movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind).

Jacques Vallée’s system classifies UFOs into five broad types, each with from three to five subtypes that vary according to type.

Scientific skepticism

A scientifically skeptical group that has for many years offered critical analysis of UFO claims is the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI).

One example is the response to local beliefs that “extraterrestrial beings” in UFOs were responsible for crop circles appearing in Indonesia, which the government and the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) described as “man-made”. Thomas Djamaluddin, research professor of astronomy and astrophysics at LAPAN stated: “We have come to agree that this ‘thing’ cannot be scientifically proven. Scientists have put UFOs in the category of pseudoscience.”

Conspiracy theories

UFOs are sometimes an element of conspiracy theories in which governments are allegedly intentionally “covering up” the existence of aliens by removing physical evidence of their presence, or even collaborating with extraterrestrial beings. There are many versions of this story; some are exclusive, while others overlap with various other conspiracy theories.

In the U.S., an opinion poll conducted in 1997 suggested that 80% of Americans believed the U.S. government was withholding such information. Various notables have also expressed such views. Some examples are astronauts Gordon Cooper and Edgar Mitchell, Senator Barry Goldwater, Vice Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter (the first CIA director), Lord Hill-Norton (former British Chief of Defense Staff and NATO head), the 1999 French COMETA study by various French generals and aerospace experts, and Yves Sillard (former director of CNES, new director of French UFO research organization GEIPAN).

It has also been suggested by a few paranormal authors that all or most human technology and culture is based on extraterrestrial contact (see also ancient astronauts).

Famous hoaxes

The Maury Island incident

George Adamski, over the space of two decades, made various claims about his meetings with telepathic aliens from nearby planets. He claimed that photographs of the far side of the Moon taken by the Soviet lunar probe Luna 3 in 1959 were fake, and that there were cities, trees and snow-capped mountains on the far side of the Moon. Among copycats was a shadowy British figure named Cedric Allingham.

 Ed Walters, a building contractor, in 1987 allegedly perpetrated a hoax in Gulf Breeze, Florida. Walters claimed at first having seen a small UFO flying near his home and took some photographs of the craft. Walters reported and documented a series of UFO sightings over a period of three weeks and took several photographs. These sightings became famous, and are collectively referred to as the Gulf Breeze UFO incident. Three years later, in 1990, after the Walters family had moved, the new residents discovered a model of a UFO poorly hidden in the attic that bore an undeniable resemblance to the craft in Walters’ photographs. Most investigators, like the forensic photo expert William G. Hyzer, now consider the sightings to be a hoax.

In popular culture

UFOs have constituted a widespread international cultural phenomenon since the 1950s. Gallup Polls rank UFOs near the top of lists for subjects of widespread recognition. In 1973, a survey found that 95 percent of the public reported having heard of UFOs, whereas only 92 percent had heard of U.S. President Gerald Ford in a 1977 poll taken just nine months after he left the White House,   A 1996 Gallup Poll reported that 71 percent of the United States population believed that the U.S. government was covering up information regarding UFOs. A 2002 Roper Poll for the Sci-Fi Channel found similar results, but with more people believing that UFOs are extraterrestrial craft. In that latest poll, 56 percent thought UFOs were real craft and 48 percent that aliens had visited the Earth. Again, about 70 percent felt the government was not sharing everything it knew about UFOs or extraterrestrial life.

Another effect of the flying saucer type of UFO sightings has been Earth-made flying saucer craft in space fiction, for example the United Planets Cruiser C57D in Forbidden Planet (1956), the Jupiter 2 in Lost in Space, and the saucer section of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek, and many others.

UFOs and extraterrestrials have been featured in many movies.

What Are UFOs? (Part I)

Unidentified flying object (UFO) is the popular term for any aerial phenomenon that cannot immediately be identified. Most UFOs are identified on investigation as conventional objects or phenomena. The term is widely used for claimed observations of extraterrestrial spacecraft.


The term “UFO” (or “UFOB”) was coined in 1953 by the United States Air Force (USAF) to serve as a catch-all for all such reports. In its initial definition, the USAF stated that a “UFOB” was “any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object.” Accordingly, the term was initially restricted to that fraction of cases which remained unidentified after investigation, as the USAF was interested in potential national security reasons and “technical aspects” .

During the late 1940s and through the 1950s, UFOs were often referred to popularly as “flying saucers” or “flying discs”. The term UFO became more widespread during the 1950s, at first in technical literature, but later in popular use. UFOs garnered considerable interest during the Cold War, an era associated with a heightened concern for national security, and, more recently, in the 2010s, for unexplained reasons.  Nevertheless, various studies have concluded that the phenomenon does not represent a threat to national security, nor does it contain anything worthy of scientific pursuit (e.g., 1951 Flying Saucer Working Party, 1953 CIA Robertson Panel, USAF Project Blue Book, Condon Committee).

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a UFO as “An unidentified flying object; a ‘flying saucer’.” The first published book to use the word was authored by Donald E. Keyhoe.

As an acronym, “UFO” was coined by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed Project Blue Book, then the USAF’s official investigation of UFOs. He wrote, “Obviously the term ‘flying saucer’ is misleading when applied to objects of every conceivable shape and performance. For this reason the military prefers the more general, if less colorful, name: unidentified flying objects. UFO (pronounced Yoo-foe) for short.”  Other phrases that were used officially and that predate the UFO acronym include “flying flapjack”, “flying disc”, “unexplained flying discs”, and “unidentifiable object”.

The phrase “flying saucer” had gained widespread attention after the summer of 1947. On June 24, a civilian pilot named Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine objects flying in formation near Mount Rainier. Arnold timed the sighting and estimated the speed of discs to be over 1,200 mph (1,931 km/h). At the time, he claimed he described the objects flying in a saucer-like fashion, leading to newspaper accounts of “flying saucers” and “flying discs”.  UFOs were commonly referred to colloquially, as a “Bogey” by military personal and pilots during the cold war. The term “bogey” was originally used to report anomalies in radar blips, to indicate possible hostile forces that might be roaming in the area.

In popular usage, the term UFO came to be used to refer to claims of alien spacecraft, and because of the public and media ridicule associated with the topic, some ufologists and investigators prefer to use terms such as “unidentified aerial phenomenon” (UAP) or “anomalous phenomena”, as in the title of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP).  “An omalous aerial vehicle” (AAV) or “unidentified aerial system” (UAS) are also sometimes used in a military aviation context to describe unidentified targets.


Studies have established that the majority of UFO observations are misidentified conventional objects or natural phenomena—most commonly aircraft, balloons including sky lanterns, satellites, and astronomical objects such as meteors, bright stars, and planets. A small percentage are hoaxes.  Fewer than 10% of reported sightings remain unexplained after proper investigation, and therefore can be classified as unidentified in the strictest sense. While proponents of the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) suggest that these unexplained reports are of alien spacecraft, the null hypothesis cannot be excluded that these reports are simply other more prosaic phenomena that cannot be identified due to lack of complete information or due to the necessary subjectivity of the reports. Instead of accepting the null hypothesis, UFO enthusiasts tend to engage in special pleading by offering outlandish, untested explanations for the validity of the ETH. These violate Occam’s razor.

Almost no scientific papers about UFOs have been published in peer-reviewed journals.[14] There was, in the past, some debate in the scientific community about whether any scientific investigation into UFO sightings is warranted with the general conclusion being that the phenomenon was not worthy of serious investigation except as a cultural artifact.  UFOs have been the subject of investigations by various governments who have provided extensive records related to the subject. Many of the most involved government-sponsored investigations ended after agencies concluded that there was no benefit to continued investigation.

The void left by the lack of institutional or scientific study has given rise to independent researchers and fringe groups, including the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in the mid-20th century and, more recently, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).  The term “Ufology” is used to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying objects.

UFOs have become a prevalent theme in modern culture, and the social phenomena have been the subject of academic research in sociology and psychology.

Early history

Unexplained aerial observations have been reported throughout history. Some were undoubtedly astronomical in nature: comets, bright meteors, one or more of the five planets that can be readily seen with the naked eye, planetary conjunctions, or atmospheric optical phenomena such as parhelia and lenticular clouds. An example is Halley’s Comet, which was recorded first by Chinese astronomers in 240 BC and possibly as early as 467 BC. Such sightings throughout history often were treated as supernatural portents, angels, or other religious omens. Some current-day UFO researchers have noticed similarities between some religious symbols in medieval paintings and UFO reports though the canonical and symbolic character of such images is documented by art historians placing more conventional religious interpretations on such images.

Julius Obsequens was a Roman writer who is believed to have lived in the middle of the fourth century AD. The only work associated with his name is the Liber de prodigiis (Book of Prodigies), completely extracted from an epitome, or abridgment, written by Livy; De prodigiis was constructed as an account of the wonders and portents that occurred in Rome between 249 BC-12 BC. An aspect of Obsequens’ work that has inspired much interest in some circles is that references are made to things moving through the sky. These have been interpreted as reports of UFOs, but may just as well describe meteors, and, since Obsequens, probably, write in the 4th century, that is, some 400 years after the events he describes, they hardly qualify as eye-witness accounts.

On April 14, 1561, residents of Nuremberg described the appearance of a large black triangular object. According to witnesses, there were also hundreds of spheres, cylinders and other odd-shaped objects that moved erratically overhead.

On January 25, 1878, the Denison Daily News printed an article in which John Martin, a local farmer, had reported seeing a large, dark, circular object resembling a balloon flying “at wonderful speed.” Martin, according to the newspaper account, said it appeared to be about the size of a saucer, one of the first uses of the word “saucer” in association with a UFO.

In April 1897, thousands of people reported seeing “airships” in various parts of the United States. Many signed affidavits. Scores of people even reported talking to the pilots. Thomas Edison was asked his opinion, and said, “You can take it from me that it is a pure fake.”

On February 28, 1904, there was a sighting by three crew members on the USS Supply 300 miles (483 km) west of San Francisco, reported by Lieutenant Frank Schofield, later to become Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Battle Fleet. Schofield wrote of three bright red meteors – one egg shaped and the other two rounds – that approached beneath the cloud layer, then “soared” above the clouds, departing after two to three minutes. The largest had an apparent size of about six Suns, he said.

The three earliest known pilot UFO sightings, of 1,305 similar sightings catalogued by NARCAP, took place in 1916 and 1926. On January 31, 1916, a UK pilot near Rochford reported a row of lights, resembling lighted windows on a railway carriage, which rose and disappeared. In January 1926 a pilot reported six “flying manhole covers” between Wichita, Kansas, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. In late September 1926 an airmail pilot over Nevada said he had been forced to land by a huge, wingless, cylindrical object.

On August 5, 1926, while traveling in the Humboldt Mountains of Tibet’s Kokonor region, Russian explorer Nicholas Roerich reported, members of his expedition saw “something big and shiny reflecting the sun, like a huge oval moving at great speed. Crossing our camp the thing changed in its direction from south to southwest. And we saw how it disappeared in the intense blue sky. We even had time to take our field glasses and saw quite distinctly an oval form with shiny surface, one side of which was brilliant from the sun.”  Another description by Roerich was of a “shiny body flying from north to south. Field glasses are at hand. It is a huge body. One side glows in the sun. It is oval in shape. Then it somehow turns in another direction and disappears in the southwest.”

In the Pacific and European theatres during World War II, “foo fighters” (metallic spheres, balls of light and other shapes that followed aircraft) were reported and on occasion photographed by Allied and Axis pilots. Some proposed Allied explanations at the time included St. Elmo’s fire, the planet Venus, hallucinations from oxygen deprivation, or German secret weapons.

In 1946, more than 2,000 reports were collected, primarily by the Swedish military, of unidentified aerial objects over the Scandinavian nations, along with isolated reports from France, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The objects were referred to as “Russian hail” and later as “ghost rockets” because it was thought that the mysterious objects were possibly Russian tests of captured German V1 or V2 rockets. Although most were thought to be such natural phenomena as meteors, more than 200 were tracked on radar by the Swedish military and deemed to be “real physical objects.” In a 1948 top secret document, Swedish authorities advised the USAF Europe that some of their investigators believed these craft to be extraterrestrial in origin.


UFOs have been subject to investigations over the years that varied widely in scope and scientific rigor. Governments or independent academics in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Peru, France, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, and the Soviet Union are known to have investigated UFO reports at various times.

Among the best known government studies are the ghost rockets investigation by the Swedish military (1946–1947), Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the USAF from 1947 until 1969, the secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951), the secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 by the Battelle Memorial Institute, and the Brazilian Air Force’s 1977 Operação Prato (Operation Saucer). France has had an ongoing investigation (GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN) within its space agency Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) since 1977; the government of Uruguay has had a similar investigation since 1989.

Project Sign

Project Sign in 1948 produced a highly classified finding (see Estimate of the Situation) that some UFO reports probably had an extraterrestrial explanation.

Project Sign’s final report, published in early 1949, stated that while some UFOs appeared to represent actual aircraft, there was not enough data to determine their origin.

Project Grudge

Project Sign was dismantled and became Project Grudge at the end of 1948. Angered by the low quality of investigations by Grudge, the Air Force Director of Intelligence reorganized it as Project Blue Book in late 1951, placing Ruppelt in charge. Blue Book closed down in 1970, using the Condon Committee’s negative conclusion as a rationale, thus ending official Air Force UFO investigations. However, a 1969 USAF document, known as the Bolender memo, along with later government documents, revealed that non-public U.S. government UFO investigations continued after 1970. The Bolender memo first stated that “reports of unidentified flying objects that could affect national security … are not part of the Blue Book system,” indicating that more serious UFO incidents already were handled outside the public Blue Book investigation. The memo then added, “reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose.”[note 2] In addition, in the late 1960s a chapter on UFOs in the Space Sciences course at the U.S. Air Force Academy gave serious consideration to possible extraterrestrial origins. When word of the curriculum became public, the Air Force in 1970 issued a statement to the effect that the book was outdated and that cadets instead were being informed of the Condon Report’s negative conclusion.

USAF Regulation 200-2

Air Force Regulation 200-2, issued in 1953 and 1954, defined an Unidentified Flying Object (“UFOB”) as “any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object.” The regulation also said UFOBs were to be investigated as a “possible threat to the security of the United States” and “to determine technical aspects involved.” The regulation went on to say that “it is permissible to inform news media representatives on UFOB’s when the object is positively identified as a familiar object,” but added: “For those objects which are not explainable, only the fact that ATIC [Air Technical Intelligence Center] will analyze the data is worthy of release, due to many unknowns involved.”

Project Blue Book

J. Allen Hynek, a trained astronomer who served as a scientific advisor for Project Blue Book, was initially skeptical of UFO reports, but eventually came to the conclusion that many of them could not be satisfactorily explained and was highly critical of what he described as “the cavalier disregard by Project Blue Book of the principles of scientific investigation.”[48] Leaving government work, he founded the privately funded CUFOS, to whose work he devoted the rest of his life. Other private groups studying the phenomenon include the MUFON, a grass roots organization whose investigator’s handbooks go into great detail on the documentation of alleged UFO sightings.

Like Hynek, Jacques Vallée, a scientist and prominent UFO researcher, has pointed to what he believes is the scientific deficiency of most UFO research, including government studies. He complains of the mythology and cultism often associated with the phenomenon, but alleges that several hundred professional scientists—a group both he and Hynek have termed “the invisible college”—continue to study UFOs in private.

Scientific studies

The study of UFOs has received little support in mainstream scientific literature. Official studies ended in the U.S. in December 1969, following the statement by the government scientist Edward Condon that further study of UFOs could not be justified on grounds of scientific advancement.  The Condon Report and its conclusions were endorsed by the National Academy of Scientists, of which Condon was a member. On the other hand, a scientific review by the UFO subcommittee of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) disagreed with Condon’s conclusion, noting that at least 30 percent of the cases studied remained unexplained and that scientific benefit might be gained by continued study.

Critics argue that all UFO evidence is anecdotal and can be explained as prosaic natural phenomena. Defenders of UFO research counter that knowledge of observational data, other than what is reported in the popular media, is limited in the scientific community and that further study is needed.

No official government investigation has ever publicly concluded that UFOs are indisputably real, physical objects, extraterrestrial in origin, or of concern to national defense. These same negative conclusions also have been found in studies that were highly classified for many years, such as the UK’s Flying Saucer Working Party, Project Condign, the U.S. CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel, the U.S. military investigation into the green fireballs from 1948 to 1951, and the Battelle Memorial Institute study for the USAF from 1952 to 1955.

Some public government reports have acknowledged the possibility of physical reality of UFOs, but have stopped short of proposing extraterrestrial origins, though not dismissing the possibility entirely. Examples are the Belgian military investigation into large triangles over their airspace in 1989–1991 and the 2009 Uruguayan Air Force study conclusion.

Some private studies have been neutral in their conclusions, but argued that the inexplicable core cases call for continued scientific study. Examples are the Sturrock panel study of 1998 and the 1970 AIAA review of the Condon Report.

United States

U.S. investigations into UFOs include:

According to UFO researcher Timothy Good, he received a letter from the Army’s director of counter-intelligence confirming the existence of the Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit. Good claims the letter shows that the IPU was established by the U.S. Army sometime in the 1940s and disestablished sometime during the late 1950s.

  • Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the USAF from 1947 until 1969
  • The secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951)
  • Ghost rockets investigations by the Swedish, UK, U.S., and Greek militaries (1946–1947)
  •  The secret CIA Office of Scientific Investigation (OS/I) study (1952–53)
  • The secret CIA Robertson Panel (1953)
  • The secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 by the Battelle Memorial Institute (1951–1954)
  • The Brookings Report (1960), commissioned by NASA
  • The public Condon Committee (1966–1968)
  • The private, internal RAND Corporation study (1968)
  • The private Sturrock panel (1998)
  •  The secret Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program which was funded from 2007 to 2012.

Thousands of documents released under FOIA also indicate that many U.S. intelligence agencies collected (and still collect) information on UFOs. These agencies include the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), FBI, CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), as well as military intelligence agencies of the Army and U.S. Navy, in addition to the Air Force.

The investigation of UFOs has also attracted many civilians, who in the U.S formed research groups such as NICAP (active 1956–1980), Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) (active 1952–1988), MUFON (active 1969–), and CUFOS (active 1973–).

In November 2011, the White House released an official response to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited this planet and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings. According to the response, “The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race.”  Also, according to the response, there is “no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.”  The response further noted that efforts, like SETI and NASA’s Kepler space telescope and Mars Science Laboratory, continue looking for signs of life. The response noted “odds are pretty high” that there may be life on other planets but “the odds of us making contact with any of them—especially any intelligent ones—are extremely small, given the distances involved.”

Post-1947 sightings

Following the large U.S. surge in sightings in June and early July 1947, on July 9, 1947, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) intelligence, in cooperation with the FBI, began a formal investigation into selected sightings with characteristics that could not be immediately rationalized, such as Kenneth Arnold’s. The USAAF used “all of its top scientists” to determine whether “such a phenomenon could, in fact, occur.” The research was “being conducted with the thought that the flying objects might be a celestial phenomenon,” or that “they might be a foreign body mechanically devised and controlled.” Three weeks later in a preliminary defense estimate, the air force investigation decided that, “This ‘flying saucer’ situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomenon. Something is really flying around.”

A further review by the intelligence and technical divisions of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Field reached the same conclusion. It reported that “the phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious,” that there were objects in the shape of a disc, metallic in appearance, and as big as man-made aircraft. They were characterized by “extreme rates of climb [and] maneuverability,” general lack of noise, absence of trail, occasional formation flying, and “evasive” behavior “when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar,” suggesting a controlled craft. It was therefore recommended in late September 1947 that an official Air Force investigation be set up to investigate the phenomenon. It was also recommended that other government agencies should assist in the investigation.

Project Sign

This led to the creation of the Air Force’s Project Sign at the end of 1947, one of the earliest government studies to come to a secret extraterrestrial conclusion. In August 1948, Sign investigators wrote a top-secret intelligence estimate to that effect, but the Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg ordered it destroyed. The existence of this suppressed report was revealed by several insiders who had read it, such as astronomer and USAF consultant J. Allen Hynek and Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, the first head of the USAF’s Project Blue Book.

Another highly classified U.S. study was conducted by the CIA’s Office of Scientific Investigation (OS/I) in the latter half of 1952 in response to orders from the National Security Council (NSC). This study concluded UFOs were real physical objects of potential threat to national security. One OS/I memo to the CIA Director (DCI) in December read:

 …the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention … Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such a nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or any known types of aerial vehicles.

The matter was considered so urgent that OS/I drafted a memorandum from the DCI to the NSC proposing that the NSC establish an investigation of UFOs as a priority project throughout the intelligence and the defense research and development community. It also urged the DCI to establish an external research project of top-level scientists, now known as the Robertson Panel to analyze the problem of UFOs. The OS/I investigation was called off after the Robertson Panel’s negative conclusions in January 1953.

What Are Crop Circles? (Part II)

Legal implications

In 1992, Hungarian youths Gábor Takács and Róbert Dallos, both then 17, were the first people to face legal action after creating a crop circle. Takács and Dallos, of the St. Stephen Agricultural Technicum, a high school in Hungary specializing in agriculture, created a 36-metre (118 ft) diameter crop circle in a wheat field near Székesfehérvár, 43 miles (69 km) southwest of Budapest, on June 8, 1992. On September 3, the pair appeared on Hungarian TV and exposed the circle as a hoax, showing photos of the field before and after the circle was made. As a result, Aranykalász Co., the owners of the land, sued the teens for 630,000 Ft (~$3,000 USD) in damages. The presiding judge ruled that the students were only responsible for the damage caused in the circle itself, amounting to about 6,000 Ft (~$30 USD), and that 99% of the damage to the crops was caused by the thousands of visitors who flocked to Székesfehérvár following the media’s promotion of the circle. The fine was eventually paid by the TV show, as were the students’ legal fees.

In 2000, Matthew Williams became the first man in the UK to be arrested for causing criminal damage after making a crop circle near Devizes.  In November 2000, he was fined £100 and £40 in costs.  As of 2008, no one else has been successfully prosecuted in the UK for criminal damage caused by creating crop circles.


The scientific consensus on crop circles is that they are constructed by human beings as hoaxes, advertising, or art.  The most widely known method for a person or group to construct a crop formation is to tie one end of a rope to an anchor point and the other end to a board which is used to crush the plants. Sceptics of the paranormal point out that all characteristics of crop circles are fully compatible with their being made by hoaxers.

Bower and Chorley confessed in 1991 to making the first crop circles in southern England.  When some people refused to believe them, they deliberately added straight lines and squares to show that they could not have natural causes. In a copycat effect, increasingly complex circles started appearing in many countries around the world, including fractal figures. Physicists have suggested that the most complex formations might be made with the help of GPS and lasers. In 2009, a circle formation was made over the course of three consecutive nights and was apparently left unfinished, with some half-made circles.

The main criticism of alleged non-human creation of crop circles is that while evidence of these origins, besides eyewitness testimonies, is essentially absent, some are definitely known to be the work of human pranksters, and others can be adequately explained as such. There have been cases in which researchers declared crop circles to be “the real thing”, only to be confronted with the people who created the circle and documented the fraud, like Bower and Chorley and tabloid Today hoaxing Pat Delgado, the Wessex Sceptics and Channel 4’s Equinox hoaxing Terence Meaden, or a friend of a Canadian farmer hoaxing a field researcher of the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network In his 1997 book The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Carl Sagan concludes that crop circles were created by Bower and Chorley and their copycats, and speculates that UFOlogists willingly ignore the evidence for hoaxing so they can keep believing in an extraterrestrial origin of the circles.  Many others have demonstrated how complex crop circles can be created.  Scientific American published an article by Matt Ridley, who started making crop circles in northern England in 1991. He wrote about how easy it is to develop techniques using simple tools that can easily fool later observers. He reported on “expert” sources such as The Wall Street Journal, who had been easily fooled and mused about why people want to believe supernatural explanations for phenomena that are not yet explained. Methods of creating a crop circle are now well documented on the Internet.

Some crop formations are paid for by companies who use them as advertising.  Many crop circles show human symbols, like the heart and arrow symbol of love, stereotyped alien faces,

Hoaxers have been caught in the process of making new circles, such as in 2004 in the Netherlands for example.

Advocates of non-human causes discount on-site evidence of human involvement as attempts to discredit the phenomena.  Some even argue a conspiracy theory, with governments planting evidence of hoaxing to muddle the origins of the circles.  When Ridley wrote negative articles in newspapers, he was accused of spreading “government disinformation” and of working for the UK military intelligence service MI5.  Ridley responded by noting that many cereologists make good livings from selling books and providing high-priced personal tours through crop fields, and he claimed that they have vested interests in rejecting what is by far the most likely explanation for the circles.

In serious science magazines from the 80s and 90s, for example Science Illustrated, one could read reports on that the plants were bent by something that could be microwave radiation, rather than broken as they would become by physical impact. The magazines also contained serious reports of the absence of human influence and measurement of unusual radiation. Today, this is considered to be pseudoscience, while at the time it was subject of serious research. At that time, it was also more likely that an unknown factor was behind the incidents, not least seen in light of the fact that GPS was not available to the public.

Alternative explanations


It has been suggested that crop circles may be the result of extraordinary meteorological phenomena ranging from freak tornadoes to ball lightning, but there is no evidence of any crop circle being created by any of these causes.

In 1880, an amateur scientist, John Rand Capron, wrote a letter to the editor of journal Nature about some circles in crops and blamed them on a recent storm, saying their shape was “suggestive of some cyclonic wind action”.

In 1980, Terence Meaden, a meteorologist and physicist, proposed that the circles were caused by whirlwinds whose course was affected by southern England hills.  As circles became more complex, Terence had to create increasingly complex theories, blaming an electromagneto-hydrodynamic “plasma vortex”.  The meteorological theory became popular, and it was even referenced in 1991 by physicist Stephen Hawking who said that, “Corn circles are either hoaxes or formed by vortex movement of air”.  The weather theory suffered a serious blow in 1991, but Hawking’s point about hoaxes was supported when Bower and Chorley stated that they had been responsible for making all those circles.  By the end of 1991 Meaden conceded that those circles that had complex designs were made by hoaxers.


Since becoming the focus of widespread media attention in the 1980s, crop circles have become the subject of speculation by various paranormal, ufological, and anomalistic investigators ranging from proposals that they were created by bizarre meteorological phenomena to messages from extraterrestrial beings.  There has also been speculation that crop circles have a relation to ley lines.  Many New Age groups incorporate crop circles into their belief systems.

Some paranormal advocates think that crop circles are caused by ball lighting and that the patterns are so complex that they have to be controlled by some entity.  Some proposed entities are: Gaia asking to stop global warming and human pollution, God, supernatural beings (for example Indian devas), the collective minds of humanity through a proposed “quantum field”, or extraterrestrial beings.

Responding to local beliefs that “extraterrestrial beings” in UFOs were responsible for crop circles appearing, the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) described crop circles as “man-made”. Thomas Djamaluddin, research professor of astronomy and astrophysics at LAPAN stated, “We have come to agree that this ‘thing’ cannot be scientifically proven.” Among others, paranormal enthusiasts, ufologists, and anomalistic investigators have offered hypothetical explanations that have been criticized as pseudoscientific by skeptical groups and scientists, including the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry.  No credible evidence of extraterrestrial origin has been presented.

Animal activity

In 2009, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania stated that Australian wallabies had been found creating crop circles in fields of opium poppies, which are grown legally for medicinal use, after consuming some of the opiate-laden poppies and running in circles.

Changes to crops

A small number of scientists (physicist Eltjo Haselhoff, the late biophysicist William Levengood) have found differences between the crops inside the circles and outside them, citing this as evidence they were not man-made.

Levengood published papers in journal Physiologia Plantarum in 1994 and 1999.  In his 1994 paper he found that certain deformities in the grain inside the circles were correlated to the position of the grain inside the circle.  In 1996 sceptic Joe Nickell objected that correlation is not causation, raised several objections to Levengood’s methods and assumptions, and said “Until his work is independently replicated by qualified scientists doing ‘double-blind’ studies and otherwise following stringent scientific protocols, there seems no need to take seriously the many dubious claims that Levengood makes, including his similar ones involving plants at alleged ‘cattle mutilation’ sites.” (in reference to cattle mutilation).


In 2000, Colin Andrews, who had researched crop circles for 17 years, stated that while he believed 80% were man-made, he thought the remaining circles, with less elaborate designs, could be explained by a three-degree shift in the Earth’s magnetic field, that creates a current that “electrocutes” the crops, causing them to flatten and form the circle.


Researchers of crop circles have linked modern crop circles to old folkloric tales to support the claim that they are not artificially produced.  Circle crops are culture-dependent: they appear mostly in developed and secularized Western countries where people are receptive to New Age beliefs, including Japan, but they don’t appear at all in other zones, such as Muslim countries.

Fungi can cause circular areas of crop to die, probably the origin of tales of “fairie rings”. Tales also mention balls of light many times but never in relation to crop circles.

A 17th-century English woodcut called the Mowing-Devil depicts the devil with a scythe mowing (cutting) a circular design in a field of oats. The pamphlet containing the image states that the farmer, disgusted at the wage his mower was demanding for his work, insisted that he would rather have “the devil himself” perform the task. Crop circle researcher Jim Schnabel does not consider this to be a historical precedent for crop circles because the stalks were cut down, not bent. The circular form indicated to the farmer that it had been caused by the devil.

In the 1948 German story Die zwölf Schwäne (The Twelve Swans), a farmer every morning found a circular ring of flattened grain on his field. After several attempts, his son saw twelve princesses disguised as swans, which took off their disguises and danced in the field. Crop rings produced by fungi may have inspired such tales since folklore holds these rings are created by dancing wolves or fairies.

What Are Crop Circles? (Part I)

A crop circle, crop formation, or corn circle is a pattern created by flattening a crop, usually a cereal. The term was first coined in the early 1980s by Colin Andrews.  Crop circles have been described as all falling “within the range of the sort of thing done in hoaxes” by Taner Edis, professor of physics at Truman State University.  Although obscure natural causes or alien origins of crop circles are suggested by fringe theorists, there is no scientific evidence for such explanations, and all crop circles are consistent with human causation.

The number of crop circles has substantially increased from the 1970s to current times. There has been little scientific study of them. Circles in the United Kingdom are not distributed randomly across the landscape but appear near roads, areas of medium to dense population and cultural heritage monuments, such as Stonehenge or Avebury.  In 1991, two hoaxers, Bower and Chorley, took credit for having created many circles throughout England after one of their circles was described by a circle investigator as impossible to be made by human hand.

Formations are usually created overnight, although some are reported to have appeared during the day.  In contrast to crop circles or crop formations, archaeological remains can cause cropmarks in the fields in the shapes of circles and squares, but they do not appear overnight, and they are always in the same places every year. Nearly half of all crop circles found in the UK in 2003 were located within a 15 km radius of the Avebury stone circles.


The concept of “crop circles” began with the original late-1970s hoaxes by Doug Bower and Dave Chorley.  They said that they were inspired by the Tully “saucer nest” case in Australia, where a farmer claimed to first have seen a UFO, then found a flattened circle of swamp reeds.

Before the 20th century

A 1678 news pamphlet The Mowing-Devil: or, Strange News Out of Hartfordshire is claimed by some crop circle devotees to be the first depiction of a crop circle.  Crop circle researcher Jim Schnabel does not consider it to be a historical precedent because it describes the stalks as being cut rather than bent.

In 1686, British naturalist Robert Plot reported on rings or arcs of mushrooms proposed air flows from the sky as a cause.  In 1991 meteorologist Terence Meaden linked this report with modern crop circles, a claim that has been compared with those made by Erich von Däniken.

An 1880 letter to the editor of Nature by amateur scientist John Rand Capron describes how a recent storm had created several circles of flattened crops in a field.

20th century

In 1932, archaeologist E. C. Curwen observed four dark rings in a field at Stoughton Down near Chichester, but could examine only one: “a circle in which the barley was ‘lodged’ or beaten down, while the interior area was very slightly mounded up.”

In 1963, amateur astronomer Patrick Moore described a crater in a potato field in Wiltshire, which he considered was probably caused by an unknown meteoric body. In nearby wheat fields, there were several circular and elliptical areas where the wheat had been flattened. There was evidence of “spiral flattening”. He thought they could be caused by air currents from the impact, since they led towards the crater.   Astronomer Hugh Ernest Butler observed similar craters and said they were likely caused by lightning strikes.

In the 1960s, in Tully, Queensland, Australia, and in Canada, there were many reports of UFO sightings and circular formations in swamp reeds and sugar cane fields.  For example, on 8 August 1967, three circles were found in a field in Duhamel, Alberta, Canada; Department of National Defence investigators concluded that it was artificial but couldn’t say who made them or how.  The most famous case is the 1966 Tully “saucer nest”, when a farmer said he witnessed a saucer-shaped craft rise 30 or 40 feet (12 m) from a swamp and then fly away. On investigating he found a nearly circular area 32 feet long by 25 feet wide where the grass was flattened in clockwise curves to water level within the circle, and the reeds had been uprooted from the mud.  The local police officer, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the University of Queensland concluded that it was most probably caused by natural causes, like a down draught, a willy-willy (dust devil), or a waterspout. In 1973, G.J. Odgers, Director of Public Relations, Department of Defence (Air Office), wrote to a journalist that the “saucer” was probably debris lifted by the causing willy-willy. Hoaxers Bower and Chorley said they were inspired by this case to start making the modern crop circles that appear today.

The first film to depict a geometric crop circle, in this case created by super-intelligent ants, is Phase IV in 1974. The film has been cited as a possible inspiration or influence on the pranksters who started this phenomenon.

Since the 1960s, there had been a surge of UFOlogists in Wiltshire, and there were rumours of “saucer nests” appearing in the area, but they were never photographed.  There are other pre-1970s reports of circular formations, especially in Australia and Canada, but they were always simple circles, which could have been caused by whirlwinds.  In Fortean Times David Wood reported that in 1940 he had already made crop circles near Gloucestershire using ropes.  In 1997, the Oxford English Dictionary recorded the earliest usage of the term “crop circles” in a 1988 issue of Journal of Meteorology, referring to a BBC film.  The coining of the term “crop circle” is attributed to Colin Andrews in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

The majority of reports of crop circles have appeared in and spread since the late 1970s as many circles began appearing throughout the English countryside. This phenomenon became widely known in the late 1980s, after the media started to report crop circles in Hampshire and Wiltshire. After Bower’s and Chorley’s 1991 statement that they were responsible for many of them, circles started appearing all over the world.  To date, approximately 10,000 crop circles have been reported internationally, from locations such as the former Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, Japan, the U.S., and Canada. Sceptics note a correlation between crop circles, recent media coverage, and the absence of fencing and/or anti-trespassing legislation.

Although farmers expressed concern at the damage caused to their crops, local response to the appearance of crop circles was often enthusiastic, with locals taking advantage of the increase of tourism and visits from scientists, crop circle researchers, and individuals seeking spiritual experiences.  The market for crop-circle interest consequently generated bus or helicopter tours of circle sites, walking tours, T-shirts, and book sales.

21st century

Since the start of the 21st century, crop formations have increased in size and complexity, with some featuring as many as 2,000 different shapes and some incorporating complex mathematical and scientific characteristics.

The researcher Jeremy Northcote found that crop circles in the UK in 2002 were not spread randomly across the landscape. They tended to appear near roads, areas of medium-to-dense population, and cultural heritage monuments such as Stonehenge or Avebury. He found that they always appeared in areas that were easy to access. This suggests strongly that these crop circles were more likely to be caused by intentional human action than by paranormal activity. Another strong indication of that theory was that inhabitants of the zone with the most circles had a historical tendency for making large-scale formations, including stone circles such as Stonehenge, burial mounds such as Silbury Hill, long barrows such as West Kennet Long Barrow, and white horses in chalk hills.

Bower and Chorley

In 1991, self-professed pranksters Doug Bower and Dave Chorley made headlines claiming it was they who started the phenomenon in 1978 with the use of simple tools consisting of a plank of wood, rope, and a baseball cap fitted with a loop of wire to help them walk in a straight line.  To prove their case they made a circle in front of journalists; a “cereologist” (advocate of paranormal explanations of crop circles), Pat Delgado, examined the circle and declared it authentic before it was revealed that it was a hoax.  Inspired by Australian crop circle accounts from 1966, Bower and Chorley claimed to be responsible for all circles made prior to 1987, and for more than 200 crop circles in 1978–1991 (with 1000 other circles not being made by them).  After their announcement, the two men demonstrated making a crop circle. According to Professor Richard Taylor, “the pictographs they created inspired a second wave of crop artists. Far from fizzling out, crop circles have evolved into an international phenomenon, with hundreds of sophisticated pictographs now appearing annually around the globe.”

Smithsonian magazine wrote:

Since Bower and Chorley’s circles appeared, the geometric designs have escalated in scale and complexity, as each year teams of anonymous circle-makers lay honey traps for New Age tourists.

Art and business

Since the early 1990s, the UK arts collective Circlemakers, founded by artists Rod Dickinson and John Lundberg (and subsequently including artists Wil Russell and Rob Irving), have been creating crop circles in the UK and around the world as part of their art practice and for commercial clients.

The Led Zeppelin boxed set that was released on 7 September 1990, along with the remasters of the first boxed set, as well as the second boxed set, all feature an image of a crop circle that appeared in East Field in Alton Barnes, Wiltshire.

On the night of 11–12 July 1992, a crop-circle making competition with a prize of £3,000 (funded in part by the Arthur Koestler Foundation) was held in Berkshire. The winning entry was produced by three Westland Helicopters engineers, using rope, PVC pipe, a plank, string, a telescopic device and two stepladders.  According to Rupert Sheldrake, the competition was organized by him and John Michell and “co-sponsored by The Guardian and The Cerealogist”. The prize money came from PM, a German magazine. Sheldrake wrote that “The experiment was conclusive. Humans could indeed make all the features of state-of-the-art crop formations at that time. Eleven of the twelve teams made more or less impressive formations that followed the set design.”

In 2002, Discovery Channel commissioned five aeronautics and astronautics graduate students from MIT to create crop circles of their own, aiming to duplicate some of the features claimed to distinguish “real” crop circles from the known fakes such as those created by Bower and Chorley. The creation of the circle was recorded and used in the Discovery Channel documentary Crop Circles: Mysteries in the Fields.

In 2009, The Guardian reported that crop circle activity had been waning around Wiltshire, in part because makers preferred creating promotional crop circles for companies that paid well for their efforts.

A video sequence used in connection with the opening of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London showed two crop circles in the shape of the Olympic rings. Another Olympic crop circle was visible to passengers landing at nearby Heathrow Airport before and during the Games.

A 7-acre (2.8-hectare) crop circle depicting the emblem of the Star Wars Rebel Alliance was created in California in December 2017 by an 11-year-old boy as a spaceport for X-wing fighters.

Secret Science: Alchemy (Conclusion)

Modern historical research

The history of alchemy has become a significant and recognized subject of academic study.  As the language of the alchemists is analyzed, historians are becoming more aware of the intellectual connections between that discipline and other facets of Western cultural history, such as the evolution of science and philosophy, the sociology and psychology of the intellectual communities, kabbalism, spiritualism, Rosicrucianism, and other mystic movements.  Institutions involved in this research include The Chymistry of Isaac Newton project at Indiana University, the University of Exeter Centre for the Study of Esotericism (EXESESO), the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism (ESSWE), and the University of Amsterdam’s Sub-department for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents. A large collection of books on alchemy is kept in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam. A recipe found in a mid-19th-century kabbalah based book features step by step instructions on turning copper into gold. The author attributed this recipe to an ancient manuscript he located.

Journals which publish regularly on the topic of Alchemy include ‘Ambix’, published by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, and ‘Isis’, published by The History of Science Society.

Core concepts

Western alchemical theory corresponds to the worldview of late antiquity in which it was born. Concepts were imported from Neoplatonism and earlier Greek cosmology. As such, the Classical elements appear in alchemical writings, as do the seven Classical planets and the corresponding seven metals of antiquity. Similarly, the gods of the Roman pantheon who are associated with these luminaries are discussed in alchemical literature. The concepts of prima materia and anima mundi are central to the theory of the philosopher’s stone.



Hermes Trismegistus Thoth Poimandres


Corpus Hermeticum The Kybalion

“Three Parts of the Wisdom of the Whole Universe”

Alchemy Astrology Theurgy








Holy Royal Arch Freemasonry

Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn

Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor

Hermetic Brotherhood of Light

Knights Templar

Knights Templar (Freemasonry)

Ordo Templi Orientis

Rosicrucian Order

 Scottish Rite Freemasonry


Hermetic Qabalah

Influence and influences

Occult and divinatory tarot


Aleister Crowley

John Dee Manly P Hall Arthur Edward Waite Thābit ibn Qurra Paracelsus Giordano Bruno Ahmad al-Būni Eliphas Levi William Westcott Franz Bardon Jakob Böhme

In the eyes of a variety of esoteric and Hermetic practitioners, alchemy is fundamentally spiritual. Transmutation of lead into gold is presented as an analogy for personal transmutation, purification, and perfection.  The writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus are a primary source of alchemical theory. He is named “alchemy’s founder and chief patron, authority, inspiration and guide”.

Early alchemists, such as Zosimos of Panopolis (c. AD 300), highlight the spiritual nature of the alchemical quest, symbolic of a religious regeneration of the human soul.  This approach continued in the Middle Ages, as metaphysical aspects, substances, physical states, and material processes were used as metaphors for spiritual entities, spiritual states, and, ultimately, transformation. In this sense, the literal meanings of ‘Alchemical Formulas’ were a blind, hiding their true spiritual philosophy. Practitioners and patrons such as Melchior Cibinensis and Pope Innocent VIII existed within the ranks of the church, while Martin Luther applauded alchemy for its consistency with Christian teachings.  Both the transmutation of common metals into gold and the universal panacea symbolized evolution from an imperfect, diseased, corruptible, and ephemeral state toward a perfect, healthy, incorruptible, and everlasting state, so the philosopher’s stone then represented a mystic key that would make this evolution possible. Applied to the alchemist himself, the twin goal symbolized his evolution from ignorance to enlightenment, and the stone represented a hidden spiritual truth or power that would lead to that goal. In texts that are written according to this view, the cryptic alchemical symbols, diagrams, and textual imagery of late alchemical works typically contain multiple layers of meanings, allegories, and references to other equally cryptic works; and must be laboriously decoded to discover their true meaning.

In his 1766 Alchemical Catechism, Théodore Henri de Tschudi denotes that the usage of the metals was merely symbolic:

Q. When the Philosophers speak of gold and silver, from which they extract their matter, are we to suppose that they refer to the vulgar gold and silver?

 A. By no means; vulgar silver and gold are dead, while those of the Philosophers are full of life.

Magnum opus

The Great Work of Alchemy is often described as a series of four stages represented by colors.

Nigredo, a blackening or melanosis

Albedo, a whitening or leucosis

Citrinitas, a yellowing or xanthosis

Rubedo, a reddening, purpling, or iosis

Modern alchemy

Due to the complexity and obscurity of alchemical literature, and the 18th-century disappearance of remaining alchemical practitioners into the area of chemistry; the general understanding of alchemy has been strongly influenced by several distinct and radically different interpretations.  Those focusing on the exoteric, such as historians of science Lawrence M. Principe and William R. Newman, have

interpreted the ‘decknamen’ (or code words) of alchemy as physical substances. These scholars have reconstructed physicochemical experiments that they say are described in medieval and early modern texts.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, focusing on the esoteric, scholars, such as George Calian and Anna Marie Roos, who question the reading of Principe and Newman, interpret these same decknamen as spiritual, religious, or psychological concepts.

Today new interpretations of alchemy are still perpetuated, sometimes merging in concepts from New Age or radical environmentalism movements.  Groups like the Rosicrucians and Freemasons have a continued interest in alchemy and its symbolism. Since the Victorian revival of alchemy, “occultists reinterpreted alchemy as a spiritual practice, involving the self-transformation of the practitioner and only incidentally or not at all the transformation of laboratory substances”, which has contributed to a merger of magic and alchemy in popular thought.

Traditional medicine

Traditional medicine can use the concept of the transmutation of natural substances, using pharmacological or a combination of pharmacological and spiritual techniques. In Ayurveda, the samskaras are claimed to transform heavy metals and toxic herbs in a way that removes their toxicity. These processes are actively used to the present day.

Spagyrists of the 20th century, Albert Richard Riedel and Jean Dubuis, merged Paracelsian alchemy with occultism, teaching laboratory pharmaceutical methods. The schools they founded, Les Philosophes de la Nature and The Paracelsus Research Society, popularized modern spagyrics including the manufacture of herbal tinctures and products.  The courses, books, organizations, and conferences generated by their students continue to influence popular applications of alchemy as a New Age medicinal practice.


Alchemical symbolism has been important in depth and analytical psychology and was revived and popularized from near extinction by the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Initially confounded and at odds with alchemy and its images, after being given a copy of the translation of The Secret of the Golden Flower, a Chinese alchemical text, by his friend Richard Wilhelm, Jung discovered a direct correlation or parallels between the symbolic images in the alchemical drawings and the inner, symbolic images coming up in dreams, visions or imaginations during the psychic processes of transformation occurring in his patients. A process, which he called “process of individuation”. He regarded the alchemical images as symbols expressing aspects of this “process of individuation” of which the creation of the gold or lapis within were symbols for its origin and goal.  Together with his alchemical mystica soror, Jungian Swiss analyst Marie-Louise von Franz, Jung began collecting all the old alchemical texts available, compiled a lexicon of key phrases with cross-references and pored over them. The volumes of work he wrote brought new light into understanding the art of transubstantiation and renewed alchemy’s popularity as a symbolic process of coming into wholeness as a human being where opposites brought into contact and inner and outer, spirit and matter are reunited in the hieros gamos or divine marriage. His writings are influential in psychology and for persons who have an interest in understanding the importance of dreams, symbols and the unconscious archetypal forces (archetypes) that influence all of life.

Both von Franz and Jung have contributed greatly to the subject and work of alchemy and its continued presence in psychology as well as contemporary culture. Jung wrote volumes on alchemy and his magnum opus is Volume 14 of his Collected Works, Mysterium Conuinctionis. Ralph Metzner, speaking to CG Jung Society of Seattle, 2014, sees the historical emergence of psychedelics in the work of alchemists.


Alchemy has had a long-standing relationship with art, seen both in alchemical texts and in mainstream entertainment. Literary alchemy appears throughout the history of English literature from Shakespeare to J. K. Rowling, and also the popular Japanese manga Full Metal Alchemist. Here, characters or plot structure follow an alchemical magnum opus. In the 14th century, Chaucer began a trend of alchemical satire that can still be seen in recent fantasy works like those of Terry Pratchett.

Visual artists had a similar relationship with alchemy. While some of them used alchemy as a source of satire, others worked with the alchemists themselves or integrated alchemical thought or symbols in their work. Music was also present in the works of alchemists and continues to influence popular performers. In the last hundred years, alchemists have been portrayed in a magical and spagyric role in fantasy fiction, film, television, novels, comics and video games.

Secret Science: Alchemy (Part V)

Later modern period

Robert Boyle

The decline of European alchemy was brought about by the rise of modern science with its emphasis on rigorous quantitative experimentation and its disdain for “ancient wisdom”. Although the seeds of these events were planted as early as the 17th century, alchemy still flourished for some two hundred years, and in fact may have reached its peak in the 18th century. As late as 1781 James Price claimed to have produced a powder that could transmute mercury into silver or gold. Early modern European alchemy continued to exhibit a diversity of theories, practices, and purposes: “Scholastic and anti-Aristotelian, Paracelsian and anti-Paracelsian, Hermetic, Neoplatonic, mechanistic, vitalistic, and more—plus virtually every combination and compromise thereof.”

Robert Boyle (1627–1691) pioneered the scientific method in chemical investigations. He assumed nothing in his experiments and compiled every piece of relevant data. Boyle would note the place in which the experiment was carried out, the wind characteristics, the position of the Sun and Moon, and the barometer reading, all just in case they proved to be relevant.  This approach eventually led to the founding of modern chemistry in the 18th and 19th centuries, based on revolutionary discoveries of Lavoisier and John Dalton.

Beginning around 1720, a rigid distinction began to be drawn for the first time between “alchemy” and “chemistry”.  By the 1740s, “alchemy” was now restricted to the realm of gold making, leading to the popular belief that alchemists were charlatans, and the tradition itself nothing more than a fraud.  In order to protect the developing science of modern chemistry from the negative censure to which alchemy was being subjected, academic writers during the 18th-century scientific Enlightenment attempted, for the sake of survival, to divorce and separate the “new” chemistry from the “old” practices of alchemy. This move was mostly successful, and the consequences of this continued into the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

During the occult revival of the early 19th century, alchemy received new attention as an occult science.  The esoteric or occultist school, which arose during the 19th century, held (and continues to hold) the view that the substances and operations mentioned in alchemical literature are to be interpreted in a spiritual sense, and it downplays the role of the alchemy as a practical tradition or protoscience.  This interpretation further forwarded the view that alchemy is an art primarily concerned with spiritual enlightenment or illumination, as opposed to the physical manipulation of apparatus and chemicals, and claims that the obscure language of the alchemical texts was an allegorical guise for spiritual, moral or mystical processes.

In the 19th-century revival of alchemy, the two most seminal figures were Mary Anne Atwood and Ethan Allen Hitchcock, who independently published similar works regarding spiritual alchemy. Both forwarded a completely esoteric view of alchemy, as Atwood claimed: “No modern art or chemistry, notwithstanding all its surreptitious claims, has any thing in common with Alchemy.”  Atwood’s work influenced subsequent authors of the occult revival including Eliphas Levi, Arthur Edward Waite, and Rudolf Steiner. Hitchcock, in his Remarks Upon Alchymists (1855) attempted to make a case for his spiritual interpretation with his claim that the alchemists wrote about a spiritual discipline under a materialistic guise in order to avoid accusations of blasphemy from the church and state. In 1845, Baron Carl Reichenbach, published his studies on Odic force, a concept with some similarities to alchemy, but his research did not enter the mainstream of scientific discussion.

In 1946, Louis Cattiaux published the Message Retrouvé, a work that was at once philosophical, mystical and highly influenced by alchemy. In his lineage, many researchers, including Emmanuel and Charles d’Hooghvorst, are updating alchemical studies in France and Belgium.

Women in alchemy

Several women appear in the earliest history of alchemy. Michael Maier names Mary the Jewess, Cleopatra the Alchemist and Taphnutia as the four women who knew how to make the philosopher’s stone.  Zosimos’ sister Theosebia (later known as Euthica the Arab) and Isis the Prophetess also played a role in early alchemical texts.

The first alchemist whose name we know is said to have been Mary the Jewess (c. 200 A.D.).  Early sources claim that Mary (or Maria) devised a number of improvements to alchemical equipment and tools as well as novel techniques in chemistry.  Her best known advances were in heating and distillation processes. The laboratory water-bath, known eponymously (especially in France) as the bain-marie, is said to have been invented or at least improved by her.  Essentially a double-boiler, it was (and is) used in chemistry for processes that require gentle heating. The tribikos (a modified distillation apparatus) and the kerotakis (a more intricate apparatus used especially for sublimations) are two other advancements in the process of distillation that are credited to her.  The occasional claim that Mary was the first to discover hydrochloric acid is not accepted by most authorities.  Although we have no writing from Mary herself, she is known from the early-fourth-century writings of Zosimos of Panopolis.

Due to the proliferation of pseudepigrapha and anonymous works, it is difficult to know which of the alchemists actually women were. After the Greco-Roman period, women’s names appear less frequently in the alchemical literature. Women vacate the history of alchemy during the medieval and renaissance periods, aside from the fictitious account of Perenelle Flamel. Mary Anne Atwood’s A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery (1850) marks their return during the nineteenth-century occult revival.

Secret Science: Alchemy (Part IV)

Medieval Europe

The introduction of alchemy to Latin Europe may be dated to 11 February 1144, with the completion of Robert of Chester’s translation of the Arabic Book of the Composition of Alchemy. Although European craftsmen and technicians preexisted, Robert notes in his preface that alchemy was unknown in Latin Europe at the time of his writing. The translation of Arabic texts concerning numerous disciplines including alchemy flourished in 12th-century Toledo, Spain, through contributors like Gerard of Cremona and Adelard of Bath.  Translations of the time included the Turba Philosophorum, and the works of Avicenna and al-Razi. These brought with them many new words to the European vocabulary for which there was no previous Latin equivalent. Alcohol, carboy, elixir, and athanor are examples.

Meanwhile, theologian contemporaries of the translators made strides towards the reconciliation of faith and experimental rationalism, thereby priming Europe for the influx of alchemical thought. The 11th-century St Anselm put forth the opinion that faith and rationalism were compatible and encouraged rationalism in a Christian context. In the early 12th century, Peter Abelard followed Anselm’s work, laying down the foundation for acceptance of Aristotelian thought before the first works of Aristotle had reached the West. In the early 13th century, Robert Grosseteste used Abelard’s methods of analysis and added the use of observation, experimentation, and conclusions when conducting scientific investigations. Grosseteste also did much work to reconcile Platonic and Aristotelian thinking.

Through much of the 12th and 13th centuries, alchemical knowledge in Europe remained centered on translations, and new Latin contributions were not made. The efforts of the translators were succeeded by that of the encyclopaedists. In the 13th century, Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon were the most notable of these, their work summarizing and explaining the newly imported alchemical knowledge in Aristotelian terms.  Albertus Magnus, a Dominican friar, is known to have written works such as the Book of Minerals where he observed and commented on the operations and theories of alchemical authorities like Hermes and Democritus and unnamed alchemists of his time. Albertus critically compared these to the writings of Aristotle and Avicenna, where they concerned the transmutation of metals. From the time shortly after his death through to the 15th century, more than 28 alchemical tracts were misattributed to him, a common practice giving rise to his reputation as an accomplished alchemist.  Likewise, alchemical texts have been attributed to Albert’s student Thomas Aquinas.

Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar who wrote on a wide variety of topics including optics, comparative linguistics, and medicine, composed his Great Work (Latin: Opus Majus) for Pope Clement IV as part of a project towards rebuilding the medieval university curriculum to include the new learning of his time. While alchemy was not more important to him than other sciences and he did not produce allegorical works on the topic, he did consider it and astrology to be important parts of both natural philosophy and theology and his contributions advanced alchemy’s connections to soteriology and Christian theology. Bacon’s writings integrated morality, salvation, alchemy, and the prolongation of life. His correspondence with Clement highlighted this, noting the importance of alchemy to the papacy.  Like the Greeks before him, Bacon acknowledged the division of alchemy into practical and theoretical spheres. He noted that the theoretical lay outside the scope of Aristotle, the natural philosophers, and all Latin writers of his time. The practical, however, confirmed the theoretical thought experiment, and Bacon advocated its uses in natural science and medicine.  In later European legend, however, Bacon became an archmage. In particular, along with Albertus Magnus, he was credited with the forging of a brazen head capable of answering its owner’s questions.

Soon after Bacon, the influential work of Pseudo-Geber (sometimes identified as Paul of Taranto) appeared. His Summa Perfectionis remained a staple summary of alchemical practice and theory through the medieval and renaissance periods. It was notable for its inclusion of practical chemical operations alongside sulphur-mercury theory, and the unusual clarity with which they were described.  By the end of the 13th century, alchemy had developed into a fairly structured system of belief. Adepts believed in the macrocosm-microcosm theories of Hermes, that is to say, they believed that processes that affect minerals and other substances could have an effect on the human body (for example, if one could learn the secret of purifying gold, one could use the technique to purify the human soul). They believed in the four elements and the four qualities as described above, and they had a strong tradition of cloaking their written ideas in a labyrinth of coded jargon set with traps to mislead the uninitiated. Finally, the alchemists practiced their art: they actively experimented with chemicals and made observations and theories about how the universe operated. Their entire philosophy revolved around their belief that man’s soul was divided within himself after the fall of Adam. By purifying the two parts of man’s soul, man could be reunited with God.

In the 14th century, alchemy became more accessible to Europeans outside the confines of Latin speaking churchmen and scholars. Alchemical discourse shifted from scholarly philosophical debate to an exposed social commentary on the alchemists themselves.  Dante, Piers Plowman, and Chaucer all painted unflattering pictures of alchemists as thieves and liars. Pope John XXII’s 1317 edict, Spondent quas non exhibent forbade the false promises of transmutation made by pseudo-alchemists. In 1403, Henry IV of England banned the practice of multiplying metals (although it was possible to buy a license to attempt to make gold alchemically, and a number were granted by Henry VI and Edward IV). These critiques and regulations centered more around pseudo-alchemical charlatanism than the actual study of alchemy, which continued with an increasingly Christian tone. The 14th century saw the Christian imagery of death and resurrection employed in the alchemical texts of Petrus Bonus, John of Rupescissa, and in works written in the name of Raymond Lull and Arnold of Villanova.

Nicolas Flamel is a well-known alchemist, but a good example of pseudepigraphy, the practice of giving your works the name of someone else, usually more famous. Although the historical Flamel existed, the writings and legends assigned to him only appeared in 1612.  Flamel was not a religious scholar as were many of his predecessors, and his entire interest in the subject revolved around the pursuit of the philosopher’s stone. His work spends a great deal of time describing the processes and reactions, but never actually gives the formula for carrying out the transmutations. Most of ‘his’ work was aimed at gathering alchemical knowledge that had existed before him, especially as regarded the philosopher’s stone.  Through the 14th and 15th centuries, alchemists were much like Flamel: they concentrated on looking for the philosophers’ stone. Bernard Trevisan and George Ripley made similar contributions. Their cryptic allusions and symbolism led to wide variations in interpretation of the art.

Renaissance and early modern Europe

During the Renaissance, Hermetic and Platonic foundations were restored to European alchemy. The dawn of medical, pharmaceutical, occult, and entrepreneurial branches of alchemy followed.

In the late 15th century, Marsilo Ficino translated the Corpus Hermeticum and the works of Plato into Latin. These were previously unavailable to Europeans who for the first time had a full picture of the alchemical theory that Bacon had declared absent. Renaissance Humanism and Renaissance Neoplatonism guided alchemists away from physics to refocus on mankind as the alchemical vessel.

Esoteric systems developed that blended alchemy into a broader occult Hermeticism, fusing it with magic, astrology, and Christian cabala.  A key figure in this development was German Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486–1535), who received his Hermetic education in Italy in the schools of the humanists. In his De Occulta Philosophia, he attempted to merge Kabbalah, Hermeticism, and alchemy. He was instrumental in spreading this new blend of Hermeticism outside the borders of Italy.

Philippus Aureolus Paracelsus, (Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, 1493–1541) cast alchemy into a new form, rejecting some of Agrippa’s occultism and moving away from chrysopoeia. Paracelsus pioneered the use of chemicals and minerals in medicine and wrote, “Many have said of Alchemy, that it is for the making of gold and silver. For me such is not the aim, but to consider only what virtue and power may lie in medicines.”

His hermetical views were that sickness and health in the body relied on the harmony of man the microcosm and Nature the macrocosm. He took an approach different from those before him, using this analogy not in the manner of soul-purification but in the manner that humans must have certain balances of minerals in their bodies, and that certain illnesses of the body had chemical remedies that could cure them.  Paracelsian practical alchemy, especially herbal medicine and plant remedies has since been named spagyric (a synonym for alchemy from the Greek words meaning to separate and to join together, based on the Latin alchemic maxim: solve et coagula).  Iatrochemistry also refers to the pharmaceutical applications of alchemy championed by Paracelsus.

John Dee (13 July 1527 – December, 1608) followed Agrippa’s occult tradition. Although better known for angel summoning, divination, and his role as astrologer, cryptographer, and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, Dee’s alchemical Monas Hieroglyphica, written in 1564 was his most popular and influential work. His writing portrayed alchemy as a sort of terrestrial astronomy in line with the Hermetic axiom As above so below.  During the 17th century, a short-lived “supernatural” interpretation of alchemy became popular, including support by fellows of the Royal Society: Robert Boyle and Elias Ashmole. Proponents of the supernatural interpretation of alchemy believed that the philosopher’s stone might be used to summon and communicate with angels.

Entrepreneurial opportunities were common for the alchemists of Renaissance Europe. Alchemists were contracted by the elite for practical purposes related to mining, medical services, and the production of chemicals, medicines, metals, and gemstones.  Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, in the late 16th century, famously received and sponsored various alchemists at his court in Prague, including Dee and his associate Edward Kelley. King James IV of Scotland, Julius, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Henry V, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Augustus, Elector of Saxony, Julius Echter von Mespelbrunn, and Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel all contracted alchemists.  John’s son Arthur Dee worked as a court physician to Michael I of Russia and Charles I of England but also compiled the alchemical book Fasciculus Chemicus.

Although most of these appointments were legitimate, the trend of pseudo-alchemical fraud continued through the Renaissance. Betrüger would use sleight of hand, or claims of secret knowledge to make money or secure patronage. Legitimate mystical and medical alchemists such as Michael Maier and Heinrich Khunrath wrote about fraudulent transmutations, distinguishing themselves from the con artists.  False alchemists were sometimes prosecuted for fraud.

The terms “chemia” and “alchemia” were used as synonyms in the early modern period, and the differences between alchemy, chemistry and small-scale assaying and metallurgy were not as neat as in the present day. There were important overlaps between practitioners, and trying to classify them into alchemists, chemists and craftsmen is anachronistic. For example, Tycho Brahe (1546–1601), an alchemist better known for his astronomical and astrological investigations, had a laboratory built at his Uraniborg observatory/research institute. Michael Sendivogius (Michał Sędziwój, 1566–1636), a Polish alchemist, philosopher, medical doctor and pioneer of chemistry wrote mystical works but is also credited with distilling oxygen in a lab sometime around 1600. Sendivogious taught his technique to Cornelius Drebbel who, in 1621, applied this in a submarine. Isaac Newton devoted considerably more of his writing to the study of alchemy (see Isaac Newton’s occult studies) than he did to either optics or physics. Other early modern alchemists who were eminent in their other studies include Robert Boyle, and Jan Baptist van Helmont. Their Hermeticism complemented rather than precluded their practical achievements in medicine and science.

Secret Science: Alchemy (Part III)

Islamic world

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the focus of alchemical development moved to the Islamic World. Much more is known about Islamic alchemy because it was better documented: indeed, most of the earlier writings that have come down through the years were preserved as Arabic translations.  The word alchemy itself was derived from the Arabic word al-kīmiyā (الكيمياء). The early Islamic world was a melting pot for alchemy. Platonic and Aristotelian thought, which had already been somewhat appropriated into hermetical science, continued to be assimilated during the late 7th and early 8th centuries through Syriac translations and scholarship.

In the late 8th century, Jābir ibn Hayyān (Latinized as “Geber” or “Geberus”) introduced a new approach to alchemy, based on scientific methodology and controlled experimentation in the laboratory, in contrast to the ancient Greek and Egyptian alchemists whose works were often allegorical and unintelligible, with very little concern for laboratory work.  Jabir is thus “considered by many to be the father of chemistry”, albeit others reserve that title for Robert Boyle or Antoine Lavoisier. The science historian, Paul Kraus, wrote:

To form an idea of the historical place of Jabir’s alchemy and to tackle the problem of its sources, it is advisable to compare it with what remains to us of the alchemical literature in the Greek language. One knows in which miserable state this literature reached us. Collected by Byzantine scientists from the tenth century, the corpus of the Greek alchemists is a cluster of incoherent fragments, going back to all the times since the third century until the end of the Middle Ages.

The efforts of Berthelot and Ruelle to put a little order in this mass of literature led only to poor results, and the later researchers, among them in particular Mrs. Hammer-Jensen, Tannery, Lagercrantz, von Lippmann, Reitzenstein, Ruska, Bidez, Festugiere and others, could make clear only few points of detail ….

The study of the Greek alchemists is not very encouraging. An even surface examination of the Greek texts shows that a very small part only was organized according to true experiments of laboratory: even the supposedly technical writings, in the state where we find them today, are unintelligible nonsense which refuses any interpretation.

It is different with Jabir’s alchemy. The relatively clear description of the processes and the alchemical apparati, the methodical classification of the substances, mark an experimental spirit which is extremely far away from the weird and odd esotericism of the Greek texts. The theory on which Jabir supports his operations is one of clearness and of an impressive unity. More than with the other Arab authors, one notes with him a balance between theoretical teaching and practical teaching, between the ‘ilm and the amal. In vain one would seek in the Greek texts a work as systematic as that which is presented, for example, in the Book of Seventy.

Jabir himself clearly recognized and proclaimed the importance of experimentation:

The first essential in chemistry is that thou shouldest perform practical work and conduct experiments,

for he who performs not practical work nor makes experiments will never attain to the least degree of mastery.

Early Islamic chemists such as Jabir Ibn Hayyan, Al-Kindi (“Alkindus”) and Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (“Rasis” or “Rhazes”) contributed a number of key chemical discoveries, such as the muriatic (hydrochloric acid), sulfuric and nitric acids, and more. The discovery that aqua regia, a mixture of nitric and hydrochloric acids, could dissolve the noblest metal, gold, was to fuel the imagination of alchemists for the next millennium.

Islamic philosophers also made great contributions to alchemical hermeticism. The most influential author in this regard was arguably Jabir. Jabir’s ultimate goal was Takwin, the artificial creation of life in the alchemical laboratory, up to, and including, human life. He analyzed each Aristotelian element in terms of four basic qualities of hotness, coldness, dryness, and moistness.  According to Jabir, in each metal two of these qualities were interior and two were exterior. For example, lead was externally cold and dry, while gold was hot and moist. Thus, Jabir theorized, by rearranging the qualities of one metal, a different metal would result.  By this reasoning, the search for the philosopher’s stone was introduced to Western alchemy. Jabir developed an elaborate numerology whereby the root letters of a substance’s name in Arabic, when treated with various transformations, held correspondences to the element’s physical properties.

The elemental system used in medieval alchemy also originated with Jabir. His original system consisted of seven elements, which included the five classical elements (aether, air, earth, fire, and water) in addition to two chemical elements representing the metals: sulphur, “the stone which burns”, which characterized the principle of combustibility, and mercury, which contained the idealized principle of metallic properties. Shortly thereafter, this evolved into eight elements, with the Arabic concept of the three metallic principles: sulphur giving flammability or combustion, mercury giving volatility and stability, and salt giving solidity.  The atomic theory of corpuscularianism, where all physical bodies possess an inner and outer layer of minute particles or corpuscles, also has its origins in the work of Jabir.

From the 9th to 14th centuries, alchemical theories faced criticism from a variety of practical Muslim chemists, including Alkindus, Abū al-Rayhān al-Bīrūnī, Avicenna and Ibn Khaldun. In particular, they wrote refutations against the idea of the transmutation of metals.

East Asia

Whereas European alchemy eventually centered on the transmutation of base metals into noble metals, Chinese alchemy had a more obvious connection to medicine. The philosopher’s stone of European alchemists can be compared to the Grand Elixir of Immortality sought by Chinese alchemists. However, in the hermetic view, these two goals were not unconnected, and the philosopher’s stone was often equated with the universal panacea; therefore, the two traditions may have had more in common than initially appears.

Black powder may have been an important invention of Chinese alchemists. As previously stated above, Chinese alchemy was more related to medicine. It is said that the Chinese invented gunpowder while trying to find a potion for eternal life. Described in 9th-century texts and used in fireworks in China by the 10th century, it was used in cannons by 1290.  From China, the use of gunpowder spread to Japan, the Mongols, the Muslim world, and Europe. Gunpowder was used by the Mongols against the Hungarians in 1241 and in Europe by the 14th century.

Chinese alchemy was closely connected to Taoist forms of traditional Chinese medicine, such as Acupuncture and Moxibustion.In the early Song dynasty, followers of this Taoist idea (chiefly the elite and upper class) would ingest mercuric sulfide, which, though tolerable in low levels, led many to suicide.  Thinking that this consequential death would lead to freedom and access to the Taoist heavens, the ensuing deaths encouraged people to eschew this method of alchemy in favor of external sources (the aforementioned Tai Chi Chuan, mastering of the qi, etc.)

Secret Science: Alchemy (Part II)

Hellenistic Egypt

The start of Western alchemy may generally be traced to ancient and Hellenistic Egypt, where the city of Alexandria was a center of alchemical knowledge, and retained its pre-eminence through most of the Greek and Roman periods.  Here, elements of technology, religion, mythology, and Hellenistic philosophy, each with their own much longer histories, combined to form the earliest known records of alchemy in the West. Zosimos of Panopolis wrote the oldest known books on alchemy,[citation needed] while Mary the Jewess is credited as being the first non-fictitious Western alchemist.  They wrote in Greek and lived in Egypt under Roman rule.

Mythology – Zosimos of Panopolis asserted that alchemy dated back to Pharaonic Egypt where it was the domain of the priestly class, though there is little to no evidence for his assertion.  Alchemical writers used Classical figures from Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology to illuminate their works and allegorize alchemical transmutation.  These included the pantheon of gods related to the Classical planets, Isis, Osiris, Jason, and many others.

The central figure in the mythology of alchemy is Hermes Trismegistus (or Thrice-Great Hermes). His name is derived from the god Thoth and his Greek counterpart Hermes. Hermes and his caduceus or serpent-staff, were among alchemy’s principal symbols. According to Clement of Alexandria, he wrote what were called the “forty-two books of Hermes”, covering all fields of knowledge.  The Hermetica of Thrice-Great Hermes is generally understood to form the basis for Western alchemical philosophy and practice, called the hermetic philosophy by its early practitioners. These writings were collected in the first centuries of the Common Era.

Technology – The dawn of Western alchemy is sometimes associated with that of metallurgy, extending back to 3500 BC.  Many writings were lost when the emperor Diocletian ordered the burning of alchemical books after suppressing a revolt in Alexandria (AD 292). Few original Egyptian documents on alchemy have survived, most notable among them the Stockholm papyrus and the Leyden papyrus X. Dating from AD 250-300, they contained recipes for dyeing and making artificial gemstones, cleaning and fabricating pearls, and manufacturing of imitation gold and silver.  These writings lack the mystical, philosophical elements of alchemy, but do contain the works of Bolus of Mendes (or Pseudo-Democritus), which aligned these recipes with theoretical knowledge of astrology and the classical elements.  Between the time of Bolus and Zosimos, the change took place that transformed this metallurgy into a Hermetic art.

Philosophy – Alexandria acted as a melting pot for philosophies of Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Stoicism and Gnosticism which formed the origin of alchemy’s character.  An important example of alchemy’s roots in Greek philosophy, originated by Empedocles and developed by Aristotle, was that all things in the universe were formed from only four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. According to Aristotle, each element had a sphere to which it belonged and to which it would return if left undisturbed.  The four elements of the Greek were mostly qualitative aspects of matter, not quantitative, as our modern elements are; “…True alchemy never regarded earth, air, water, and fire as corporeal or chemical substances in the present-day sense of the word. The four elements are simply the primary, and most general, qualities by means of which the amorphous and purely quantitative substance of all bodies first reveals itself in differentiated form.”  Later alchemists extensively developed the mystical aspects of this concept.

Alchemy coexisted alongside emerging Christianity. Lactantius believed Hermes Trismegistus had prophesied its birth. St Augustine later affirmed this in the 4th & 5th centuries, but also condemned Trismegistus for idolatry.  Examples of Pagan, Christian, and Jewish alchemists can be found during this period.

Most of the Greco-Roman alchemists preceding Zosimos are known only by pseudonyms, such as Moses, Isis, Cleopatra, Democritus, and Ostanes. Others authors such as Komarios, and Chymes, we only know through fragments of text. After AD 400, Greek alchemical writers occupied themselves solely in commenting on the works of these predecessors.  By the middle of the 7th century alchemy was almost an entirely mystical discipline.  It was at that time that Khalid Ibn Yazid sparked its migration from Alexandria to the Islamic world, facilitating the translation and preservation of Greek alchemical texts in the 8th and 9th centuries.


The 2nd millennium BCE text Vedas describes a connection between eternal life and gold.  The use of Mercury for alchemy is first documented in the 3rd- or 4th-century BCE text Arthashastra. Buddhist texts from the 2nd to 5th centuries mention the transmutation of base metals to gold. Greek alchemy may have been introduced to Ancient India through the invasions of Alexander the Great in 325 BC, and kingdoms that were culturally influenced by the Greeks like Gandhāra, although hard evidence for this is lacking.

The 11th-century Persian chemist and physician Abū Rayhān Bīrūnī, who visited Gujarat as part of the court of Mahmud of Ghazni, reported that they have a science similar to alchemy which is quite peculiar to them, which in Sanskrit is called Rasayāna and in Persian Rasavātam. It means the art of obtaining/manipulating Rasa: nectar, mercury, and juice. This art was restricted to certain operations, metals, drugs, compounds, and medicines, many of which have mercury as their core element. Its principles restored the health of those who were ill beyond hope and gave back youth to fading old age.

The goals of alchemy in India included the creation of a divine body (Sanskrit divya-deham) and immortality while still embodied (Sanskrit jīvan-mukti). Sanskrit alchemical texts include much material on the manipulation of mercury and sulphur, that are homologized with the semen of the god Siva and the menstrual blood of the goddess Devī.

Some early alchemical writings seem to have their origins in the Kaula tantric schools associated to the teachings of the personality of Matsyendranath. Other early writings are found in the Jaina medical treatise Kalyāṇakārakam of Ugrāditya, written in South India in the early 9th century.

Two famous early Indian alchemical authors were Nāgārjuna Siddha and Nityanātha Siddha. Nāgārjuna Siddha was a Buddhist monk. His book, Rasendramangalam, is an example of Indian alchemy and medicine. Nityanātha Siddha wrote Rasaratnākara, also a highly influential work. In Sanskrit, rasa translates to “mercury”, and Nāgārjuna Siddha was said to have developed a method of converting mercury into gold.

Scholarship on Indian alchemy is in the publication of The Alchemical Body by David Gordon White.  A modern bibliography on Indian alchemical studies has been written by White.

The contents of 39 Sanskrit alchemical treatises have been analyzed in detail in G. Jan Meulenbeld’s History of Indian Medical Literature.  The discussion of these works in HIML gives a summary of the contents of each work, their special features, and where possible the evidence concerning their dating. Chapter 13 of HIML, Various works on rasaśāstra and ratnaśāstra (or Various works on alchemy and gems) gives brief details of a further 655 (six hundred and fifty-five) treatises. In some cases Meulenbeld gives notes on the contents and authorship of these works; in other cases references are made only to the unpublished manuscripts of these titles.

A great deal remains to be discovered about Indian alchemical literature. The content of the Sanskrit alchemical corpus has not yet (2014) been adequately integrated into the wider general history of alchemy.

Secret Science: Alchemy (Part I)

Alchemy (from Arabic: al-kīmiyā) was an ancient branch of natural philosophy, a philosophical and protoscientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia, originating in Greco-Roman Egypt in the first few centuries.

Alchemists attempted to purify, mature, and perfect certain materials.  Common aims were chrysopoeia, the transmutation of “base metals” (e.g., lead) into “noble metals” (particularly gold); the creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.  The perfection of the human body and soul was thought to permit or result from the alchemical magnum opus and, in the Hellenistic and Western mystery tradition, the achievement of gnosis. In Europe, the creation of a philosopher’s stone was variously connected with all of these projects.

In English, the term is often limited to descriptions of European alchemy, but similar practices existed in the Far East, the Indian subcontinent, and the Muslim world.  In Europe, following the 12th-century Renaissance produced by the translation of Medieval Islamic works on science and the rediscovery of Aristotelian philosophy, alchemists played a significant role in early modern science (particularly chemistry and medicine). Islamic and European alchemists developed a structure of basic laboratory techniques, theory, terminology, and experimental method, some of which are still in use today. However, they continued antiquity’s belief in four elements and guarded their work in secrecy including cyphers and cryptic symbolism. Their work was guided by Hermetic principles related to magic, mythology, and religion.

Modern discussions of alchemy are generally split into an examination of its exoteric practical applications and its esoteric spiritual aspects, despite the arguments of scholars like Holmyard and von Franz that they should be understood as complementary. The former is pursued by historians of the physical sciences who examine the subject in terms of early chemistry, medicine, and charlatanism, and the philosophical and religious contexts in which these events occurred. The latter interests historians of esotericism, psychologists, and some philosophers and spiritualists. The subject has also made an ongoing impact on literature and the arts. Despite this split, which von Franz believes has existed since the Western traditions’ origin in a mix of Greek philosophy that was mixed with Egyptian and Mesopotamian technology,  numerous sources have stressed an integration of esoteric and exoteric approaches to alchemy as far back as Pseudo-Democritus’s first-century AD On Physical and Mystical Matters (Greek: Physika kai Mystika).

Although alchemy is popularly associated with magic, historian Lawrence M. Principe argues that recent historical research has revealed that medieval and early modern alchemy embraced a much more varied set of ideas, goals, techniques, and practices:

Most readers probably are aware of several common claims about alchemy—for example, … that it is akin to magic, or that its practice then or now is essentially deceptive. These ideas about alchemy emerged during the eighteenth century or after. While each of them might have limited validity within a narrow context, none of them is an accurate depiction of alchemy in general.”[


The word alchemy comes from Old French alquemie, alkimie, used in Medieval Latin as alchymia. This name was itself brought from the Arabic word al-kīmiyā (الكيمياء‎ or الخيمياء‎) composed of two parts: the Late Greek term khēmeía (χημεία), khēmía (χημία), meaning ‘to fuse or cast a metal’, and the Arabic definite article al- (الـ‎), meaning ‘The’.  Together this association can be interpreted as ‘the process of transmutation by which to fuse or reunite with the divine or original form’. Its roots can be traced to the Egyptian name kēme (hieroglyphic 𓆎𓅓𓏏𓊖 khmi), meaning ‘black earth’ which refers to the fertile and auriferous soil of the Nile valley, as opposed to red desert sand.

According to the Egyptologist Wallis Budge, the Arabic word al-kīmiyaʾ actually means “the Egyptian [science]”, borrowing from the Coptic word for “Egypt”, kēme (or its equivalent in the Mediaeval Bohairic dialect of Coptic, khēme). This Coptic word derives from Demotic kmỉ, itself from ancient Egyptian kmt. The ancient Egyptian word referred to both the country and the colour “black” (Egypt was the “Black Land”, by contrast with the “Red Land”, the surrounding desert); so this etymology could also explain the nickname “Egyptian black arts”. However, according to Mahn, this theory may be an example of folk etymology.  Assuming an Egyptian origin, chemistry is defined as follows:

Chemistry, from the ancient Egyptian word “khēmia” meaning transmutation of earth, is the science of matter at the atomic to molecular scale, dealing primarily with collections of atoms, such as molecules, crystals, and metals.

Thus, according to Budge and others, chemistry derives from an Egyptian word khemein or khēmia, “preparation of black powder”, ultimately derived from the name khem, Egypt. A decree of Diocletian, written about 300 AD in Greek, speaks against “the ancient writings of the Egyptians, which treat of the khēmia transmutation of gold and silver”.

The Medieval Latin form was influenced by Greek chymeia (χυμεία) meaning ‘mixture’ and referring to pharmaceutical chemistry.


Alchemy encompasses several philosophical traditions spanning some four millennia and three continents. These traditions’ general penchant for cryptic and symbolic language makes it hard to trace their mutual influences and “genetic” relationships. One can distinguish at least three major strands, which appear to be largely independent, at least in their earlier stages: Chinese alchemy, centered in China and its zone of cultural influence; Indian alchemy, centered on the Indian subcontinent; and Western alchemy, which occurred around the Mediterranean and whose center has shifted over the millennia from Greco-Roman Egypt, to the Islamic world, and finally medieval Europe. Chinese alchemy was closely connected to Taoism and Indian alchemy with the Dharmic faiths, whereas Western alchemy developed its own philosophical system that was largely independent of, but influenced by, various Western religions. It is still an open question whether these three strands share a common origin, or to what extent they influenced each other.

Catholic Church and Pedophilia (Conclusion)

United Nations

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, in early 2014, issued a report asserting that the pope and the Roman Catholic Church have not done enough and protect their reputation rather than protect children. The panel of the committee wants all known or suspected child molesters removed, archives on abusers and Bishops who covered up abuse opened, and instances of abuse handed to law enforcement agencies to be investigated and prosecuted. A joint statement of the panel said:

The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by, and the impunity of, the perpetrators

Due to a code of silence imposed on all members of the clergy under penalty of excommunication, cases of child sexual abuse have hardly ever been reported to the law enforcement authorities in the countries where such crimes occurred.

Committee chair, Kirsten Sandberg enumerated some major findings that abusive priests were sent to new parishes or other countries without police being informed, that the Vatican never insisted on bishops reporting abuse to police and that known abusers still have access to children. Barbara Blaine of SNAP said:

This report gives hope to the hundreds of thousands of deeply wounded and still suffering clergy sex abuse victims across the world. Now it’s up to secular officials to follow the U.N.’s lead and step in to safeguard the vulnerable because Catholic officials are either incapable or unwilling to do so.[355]

The UN report prompted discussions of specific areas of controversy, including secrecy among bishops and Vatican statements denying responsibility which in canon law they have.

British author and Catholic social activist Paul Vallely wrote that he felt the UN report had been hurt by the Commission having gone well beyond the issue of child abuse to issues such as contraception. However, he also felt the report did bring important pressure on the Vatican on important issues like reporting cases to police.

Media coverage

The media coverage of Catholic sex abuse cases is a major aspect of the academic literature surrounding the pederastic priest scandal.

In 2002, the discovery that the sex abuse by Catholic priests was widespread in the U.S. received significant media coverage. For the first 100 days The New York Times had 225 pieces, including news and commentary, and the story appeared on its front page on 26 occasions.

Commentator Tom Hoopes wrote that:

During the first half of 2002, the 61 largest newspapers in California ran nearly 2,000 stories about sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, mostly concerning past allegations. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government’s discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools.

Anglican writer Philip Jenkins supported many of these arguments stating that media coverage of the abuse story had become “…a gross efflorescence of anti-Catholic rhetoric.”

Walter V. Robinson, an American journalist and journalism professor, led the Boston Globe’s coverage of the Roman Catholic sex abuse cases, for which the newspaper won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Robinson was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist in Investigative Reporting in 2007.

In Ireland television journalism similarly played a key role in helping public awareness of widespread sexual abuse of children by priests.

A The Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll found that 64 percent of those queried thought Catholic priests “frequently” abused children; however, there is no data that indicates that priests commit abuse more often than the general population of males.

BBC documentary in 2006

Produced by a victim of clerical sex abuse for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in 2006, the documentary Sex Crimes and the Vatican included the claim that all allegations of sex abuse are to be sent to the Vatican rather than the civil authorities, and that “a secret church decree called ‘Crimen sollicitationis’ … imposes the strictest oath of secrecy on the child victim, the priest dealing with the allegation, and any witnesses. Breaking that oath means instant banishment from the Catholic Church – excommunication.”  The documentary quoted the 2005 Ferns Report: “A culture of secrecy and fear of scandal that led bishops to place the interests of the Catholic Church ahead of the safety of children”.

Canon lawyer Thomas Doyle, who was included in the documentary as supporting the picture that it presented, later wrote with regard to the 1962 Crimen solicitations and the 2001 De delictis gravioribus as well as the Church’s formal investigation into charges of abuse: “There is no basis to assume that the Holy See envisioned this process to be a substitute for any secular legal process, criminal or civil. It is also incorrect to assume, as some have unfortunately done, that these two Vatican documents are proof of a conspiracy to hide sexually abusive priests or to prevent the disclosure of sexual crimes committed by clerics to secular authorities.”  However, two years later in 2008 Doyle said of attempts to reform the Catholic Church that it was like “trudging through what can best be described as a swamp of toxic waste”.

The Church was reluctant to provide to the civil authorities information about the Church’s own investigations into charges. In the BBC documentary, Rick Romley, a district attorney who initiated an investigation of the Diocese of Phoenix, stated that “the secrecy, the obstruction I saw during my investigation was unparalleled in my entire career as a DA…it was so difficult to obtain any information from the Church at all.” He reported archives of documents and incriminating evidence pertaining to sex abuse that were kept from the authorities, which under the law could not be subpoenaed.  “The Church fails to acknowledge such a serious problem but more than that, it is not a passiveness but an openly obstructive way of not allowing authorities to try to stop the abuse within the Church. They fought us every step of the way.”

Debate over causes

There have been many debates over the causes of sex abuse cases.

Moral relativism

In 2019, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI published a letter (in German and then translated into English) in which he provided a unified perspective on several issues that, together, he believes contributed to the sexual abuse scandal. One of the chief reasons put forth by the Pope was the push by several prominent theologians for relativistic perspective on morality where “there could no longer be anything that constituted an absolute good, any more than anything fundamentally evil; (there could be) only relative value judgments.”

Seminary training

The 2004 John Jay Report, a report commissioned by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated “the problem was largely the result of poor seminary training and insufficient emotional support for men ordained in the 1940s and 1950s.”  A report by the National Review Board issued simultaneously with the John Jay Report pointed to two major deficiencies on the part of seminaries: failure to screen candidates adequately, followed by failure to “form” these candidates appropriately for the challenges of celibacy. These themes are taken up by a recent memoir by Vincent J. Miles that combines a first-hand account of his life in a minor seminary during the 1960s with a review of the scientific literature about sexually abusive behavior. Miles identifies specific aspects of seminary life that could have predisposed future priests to engage in such behavior.

Impact of psychology from previous decades

Some bishops and psychiatrists have asserted that the prevailing psychology of the times suggested that people could be cured of such behavior through counseling.  Thomas Plante, a psychologist specializing in abuse counseling and considered an expert on clerical abuse, states “the vast majority of the research on sexual abuse of minors didn’t emerge until the early 1980s. So, it appeared reasonable at the time to treat these men and then return them to their priestly duties. In hindsight, this was a tragic mistake.”

Robert S. Bennett, the Roman Catholic Washington attorney who headed the National Review Board’s research committee, identified “too much faith in psychiatrists” as one of the key problems concerning Catholic sex abuse cases.  About 40% of the abusive priests had received counseling before being reassigned.

Pedophilia and ephebophilia

In Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, Cimbolic & Cartor (2006) noted that because of the large share of post-pubescent male minors among cleric victims there is need to further study the differential variables related to ephebophilia (sexual interest in mid-to-late adolescents, generally ages 15 to 19, versus pedophilia (sexual interest in prepubescent children, generally those 13 years of age or younger) offenders.[376] Cartor, Cimbolic & Tallon (2008) found that 6 percent of the cleric offenders in the John Jay Report are pedophiles, 32 percent ephebophiles, 15 percent attracted to 11 and 12 year olds only (both male and female), 20 percent indiscriminate, and 27 percent mildly indiscriminate.

They also found distinct differences between the pedophile and ephebophile groups. They reported that there may be “another group of offenders who are more indiscriminate in victim choice and represent a more heterogeneous, but still a distinct offender category” and suggested further research to determine “specific variables that are unique to this group and can differentiate these offenders from pedophile and ephebophile offenders” so as to improve the identification and treatment of both offenders and victims.

All victims in the John Jay report were minors. Using a non-standard definition of “pre-pubescent”, the Causes and Context Study of the John Jay College estimated that only a small percentage of offender priests were true pedophiles.  The study classified victims as pre-pubescent if they were age 10 or younger, whereas the age bracket specified in the current guidelines issued by the American Psychiatric Association is “generally age 13 or younger”.   A recent book estimates that if the latter definition were used instead of the former, the percentage of victims classified as prepubescent would have been 54% rather than the 18% figure cited by the Causes and Context report, and that a higher percentage of priests would therefore have been classified as pedophiles.  The same book also points out that with the pending new definition of “pedohebephilic disorder” in DSM-5, an even higher percentage of victims would fall into a category consistent with their abusers having a recognized psychosexual disorder.

Statement of Pope Francis

In July 2014, Pope Francis was quoted as having said in an interview that about 8,000 Catholic clergy (2% of the total), including bishops and cardinals, were pedophiles. The Vatican indicated the interview had not been recorded nor notes taken during it and that quotes may have been misattributed in a deliberate attempt to manipulate readers. They stated that Pope Francis had not indicated that any cardinal abusers remained in their position.

Gay priests and homosexuality

According to the John-Jay-Report, 80.9% of the abuse victims in the United States were male;  and a study by Dr. Thomas Plante found the number may be as high as 90%.  A number of books, such as The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church have argued that homosexual priests view sex with minors as a “rite of passage” for altar boys and other pre-adult males.  William Donohue of the Catholic League argued that the Church’s pedophile problem was really a “homosexual crisis”,  which some have dismissed as unwarranted by arguing that there’s a lack of correlation between a man identifying as homosexual and any particular likelihood he will abuse children.  In the United States Father Cozzens quoted figures from 23 percent to 58 percent of homosexual priests, with a higher percentage among younger priests.  On the other hand, research on pedophilia in general shows a majority of abusers identify themselves as heterosexual, and the Causes and Context Study of the John Jay Institute found no statistical support for linking homosexual identity and sexual abuse of minors.  Additionally The New York Times reported “the abuse decreased as more gay priests began serving the church.”

Clerical celibacy

Opinion seems divided on whether there is any definite link or connection between the Roman Catholic institution of celibacy and incidences of child abuse by Catholic clergy.

A 2005 article in the conservative Irish weekly the Western People proposed that clerical celibacy contributed to the abuse problem by suggesting that the institution of celibacy has created a “morally superior” status that is easily misapplied by abusive priests: “The Irish Church’s prospect of a recovery is zero for as long as bishops continue blindly to toe the Vatican line of Pope Benedict XVI that a male celibate priesthood is morally superior to other sections of society.”[389] Christoph Schönborn and Hans Küng have also said that priestly celibacy could be one of the causes of the sex abuse scandals within the Catholic Church.

Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, said, “We don’t see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else. I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others.”  Philip Jenkins, a long-time Catholic turned Episcopalian, asserts that his “research of cases over the past 20 years indicates no evidence whatever that Catholic or other celibate clergy are any more likely to be involved in misconduct or abuse than clergy of any other denomination—or indeed, than non-clergy. However determined news media may be to see this affair as a crisis of celibacy, the charge is just unsupported.”

Male culture of the church

Italian academic Lucetta Scaraffia [it] wrote in L’Osservatore Romano that a greater presence of women in the Vatican could have prevented clerical sexual abuse from taking place.

This view has been challenged and severely criticized by several scholars for denying the cases of nuns implicated in sexual abuse and pedophilia. In 1986, a history scholar from Stanford University recovered archival information about investigations from 1619 to 1623 involving nuns in Vellano, Italy, secretly exploiting illiterate nuns for several years.  In 1998, a religious research national survey on revealed a very high number of nuns reporting childhood victimizations of sexual abuse by other nuns. It was further noted that the majority of nun-abuse victims are of the same sex.  In 2002, Markham examined the sexual histories of nuns to find several cases of nuns sexually abusing children.

Priest shortage

It has been argued that a shortage of priests caused the Roman Catholic hierarchy to act in such a way to preserve the number of clergy and ensure that sufficient numbers were available to man their congregations despite serious allegations that some of these priests were unfit for duty.  Others disagree and assert that the Church hierarchy’s mishandling of the sex abuse cases merely reflected their prevailing attitude at the time towards any illegal or immoral activity by clergy.

Purported declining standards in the prevailing culture

In The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church, author George Weigel claims that it was the infidelity to orthodox Roman Catholic teaching, the “culture of dissent” of priests, women religious, bishops, theologians, catechists, Church bureaucrats, and activists who “believed that what the Church proposed as true was actually false” was mainly responsible for the sexual abuse of parishioners’ children by their priests.  Cardinal Theodore Edgar McCarrick, a retired Archbishop of Washington who was himself later laicized due to sexual misconduct, blamed the declining morals of the late 20th century as a cause of the high number of child molestations by priests.

The hypothesis that a purported decline in general moral standard was associated with an increase in abuse by clergy was promoted by a study by John Jay College funded by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The study claimed that the liberal 1960s caused the increase in abuse, and the conservative Reagan years led to its decline. The study was branded the ‘Woodstock Defence’ by critics who said that the study’s own figures showed a surge in abuse reported from the 1950s, and the passage of time meant that reports of abuse from earlier decades were unlikely.

Criticism, accusations of exaggeration of attachments and silence about other environments

Philip Jenkins, professor at the Department of Religion and History at Penn State University, questioned the theses of increased sexual abuse among priests, saying the percentage of priests accused of molesting minors is 1.8%, much of which is not about pedophilia alone.  Hofstra University researcher Charol Shakeshaft was the author of a report on sexual offenses in schools. As she said, the problem of sexual violence is much more serious in schools than in the Church.

Think the Catholic Church has a problem? (…) The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.— Charol Shakeshaft

According to the report, up to 422,000 students from California will be victims of sexual violence in the future.[400] A report issued by Christian Ministry Resources (CMR) in 2002 stated that contrary to popular opinion, there are more allegations of pedophilia in Protestant congregations than Catholic ones, and that sexual violence is most often committed by volunteers rather than by priests.  It also criticized the way the media reported sexual crimes in Australia. The Royal Commission in Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse revealed that between January 1950 and February 2015, 4,445 people alleged incidents of child sexual abuse in 4,765 claims. The media reportedly reported that as many as 7% of priests were accused of being a pedophile, but ignored the same report on the Protestant Churches and Jehovah’s Witnesses; Gerard Henderson stated:

That’s 2,504 incidents or allegations in the period between 1977, when the Uniting Church was formed, and 2017. This compares with 4,445 claims with respect to the Catholic Church between 1950 and 2015. And the Catholic Church is five times larger than the Uniting Church. Moreover, the Royal Commission did not include allegations in the period 1950 to 1977 with respect to the Presbyterian, Congregational and Methodist communities which folded into the Uniting Church in 1977. This would take the number of allegations beyond 2,504, especially since it seems that child sexual abuse was at its worst in the 1960s and 1970s. (…) Allegations against the Jehovah Witness religion, on a per capita basis, are dramatically higher than for either the Catholic or the Uniting churches.— Gerard Henderson

Popular culture

Many popular culture representations have been made of the sex abuse of children cases.


A number of memoirs and non-fiction books have been written about these issues, including Andrew Madden’s Altar Boy: A Story of Life After Abuse, Carolyn Lehman’s Strong at the Heart: How it Feels to Heal from Sexual Abuse, Larry Kelly’s The Pigeon House which deals with abuse in the Pigeon House TB Sanatorium at Ringsend;, and Kathy O’Beirne’s bestseller Kathy’s Story, which details physical and sexual abuse suffered in a Magdalene laundry in Ireland. Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Ed West has asserted that Kathy Beirne’s story is “largely invented”, based on Hermann Kelly’s Kathy’s Real Story, a book by the journalist on the Irish Daily Mail; Kelly is also former editor of The Irish Catholic.

Films and documentaries

The Magdalene laundries were the subject of a drama film called The Magdalene Sisters (2002), which generated controversy as it was early in the revelations about abuses at Catholic homes. In 2006, a documentary called Deliver Us From Evil directed by Amy Berg and produced by Berg and Frank Donner was made about sexual abuse; it primarily focused on one priest and his crimes. It showed how far some clergy went in order to cover up the many reports of sexual abuse.

Many other fictional feature films have been made about the continuing revelations of sex abuse within the Church, including:

  • Judgment (1990)
  • The Boys of St. Vincent (1992)
  • Primal Fear (1996)
  •  Suing the Pope (2002), BBC documentary by Colm O’Gorman
  • Song for a Raggy Boy (2003)
  • Bad Education (2004), film by Pedro Almodóvar.
  • Twist of Faith (2004), an HBO film
  • Holy Water-Gate (2004), documentary
  • Our Fathers (2005), a Showtime movie based on the book by David France
  • Hand of God (2006), documentary filmed for Frontline
  • Sex Crimes and the Vatican (2006), documentary filmed for the BBC Panorama Documentary Series that purports to show how the Vatican has used Crimen sollicitationis to silence allegations of sexual abuse by priests.
  • Doubt (2008), based on the eponymous play
  • What the Pope Knew, 2010 Panorama (BBC) episode
  • Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, 2012 HBO film
  • Calvary, 2014 Irish drama
  • Obediencia Perfecta, 2014 film
  • Ray Donovan Showtime TV Series (2013)
  • Spotlight (2015), drama based on the Boston Globe’s investigation and publishing about clergy abuse
  • The Keepers (2017), American documentary web series that was released on Netflix
  • By the Grace of God (2019), French-Belgian drama
  • Tell No One (2019), Polish documentary film by Tomasz Sekielski

A daily updated list of films and documentaries is available at the “Literature List Clergy Sexual Abuse” composed by journalist and author Roel Verschueren [nl].


In 2005, Limp Bizkit released the album The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1), which focuses on dark lyrical subject matter, including Catholic sex abuse cases, terrorism and fame.[408] Comedian Tim Minchin has the songs “The Pope Song”, and “Come Home (Cardinal Pell)”.

Catholic Church and Pedophilia (Part VII)

The Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi

On May 9, 2019, Pope Francis issued the Motu Proprio Vos estis lux mundi  requiring both clerics and religious brothers and sisters, including Bishops, throughout the world to report sex abuse cases and sex abuse cover-ups by their superiors.  Under the new Motu Proprio, all Catholic dioceses throughout the world are required to establish stable mechanisms or systems through which people may submit reports of abuse or its cover-up by June 2020.  All metropolitan Archdioceses are also required to send reports to the Holy See on the progress of the investigation, whether in their Archdiocese or suffragan dioceses, every 30 days and to complete the investigation within 90 days unless granted an extension.[319] The law is effective for a 3-year experimental period with a vacatio legis of 1 June 2019. According to Canon law professor Kurt Martens:

This new law is without a doubt a rare gift to the entire church and sets, along with the companion Vatican law providing for jail time for any public official of the Vatican who fails to report abuse, an unmistakable new course. The painful, sometimes bitter, experience of the church in the United States and the voices of the faithful worldwide have helped bring about a change in attitude and a change in law. There is no turning back now, and the tone has been set for the future.

Criticisms of church responses:

While the church in the United States claims to have addressed the issue, some disagree. Mark Honigsbaum of The Guardian wrote in 2006 that, “despite the National Review Board’s own estimates that there have been some 5,000 abusive priests in the US, to date 150 have been successfully prosecuted.” Some critics of the church, such as Patrick Wall, attribute this to a lack of cooperation from the church. In California, for example, the archdiocese has sought to block the disclosure of confidential counseling records on two priests, arguing that such action would violate their First Amendment right on religious protection.  Paul Lakeland claims Church leaders who enabled abuse were too frequently careless about their own accountability and the accountability of perpetrators.

In 2010, the BBC reported that the latest research by experts indicate that Catholic priests may be no more likely than others to abuse. However, a major cause of the scandal was the cover-ups and other alleged shortcomings in the way the church hierarchy have dealt with the abuses.  Particularly, the actions of Catholic bishops in responding to allegations of clerical abuse were harshly criticized.

In September 2010, Pope Benedict XVI lamented that the Roman Catholic Church had not been vigilant enough or quick enough in responding to the problem of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.  Pope Benedict laicized 400 priests for abuses in two years of his papacy.  A representative of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), a group representing abuse victims, criticized the pope’s remarks as “disingenuous” because, in her opinion, the church had in fact been “prompt and vigilant” in concealing the scandal.  After Benedict’s resignation in 2013, he was criticized by SNAP for allegedly protecting the church’s reputation “over the safety of children.” Representatives from the Center for Constitutional Rights (at the time engaged in an International Criminal Court case against Pope Benedict in which they were acting for SNAP), alleged that Pope Benedict had been directly involved in covering up some of the crimes.

For non-removal

The Catholic hierarchy has been criticized for not acting more quickly and decisively to remove, laicize and report priests accused of sexual misconduct. Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said: “We have said repeatedly that … our understanding of this problem and the way it’s dealt with today evolved, and that in those years ago, decades ago, people didn’t realize how serious this was, and so, rather than pulling people out of ministry directly and fully, they were moved.”

One early opponent of the treatment of sexually abusive priests was Father Gerald Fitzgerald, the founder of The Congregation of the Servants of the Paraclete. Although Fitzgerald started the Servants of the Paraclete to assist priests who were struggling with alcohol and substance abuse problems, he soon began receiving priests who had sexually abused minors. Initially, Fitzgerald attempted to treat such priests using the same spiritual methods that he used with his other “guests”. However, as he grew convinced of the futility of treating sexually abusive priests, Fitzgerald came to oppose vehemently the return of sexual abusers to duties as parish priests. He wrote regularly to bishops in the United States and to Vatican officials, including the pope, of his opinion that many sexual abusers in the priesthood could not be cured and should be laicizied immediately.

Eventually, Fitzgerald lost control of the Servants of the Paraclete. The center began to employ medical and psychological professionals who added psychiatry and medical treatment to the spiritual regimen of treatment favored by Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald continued to oppose these modifications to his treatment regimen until his death in 1969.

Bishop Manuel D. Moreno of Tucson, Arizona, United States repeatedly attempted to have two local abusive priests laicized and disciplined, pleading unsuccessfully in a letter of April 1997 with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to have one laicized; he was first suspended in 1990 and convicted by the church in 1997 of five crimes, including sexual solicitation in the confessional. The two were finally laicized in 2004.[328] Bishop Moreno had been strongly criticized for failing to take action until details of his efforts became public.

In a The New York Times article, Bishop Blase J. Cupich, chairman of the United States Bishops Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, is quoted explaining why Father Fitzgerald’s advice “went largely unheeded for 50 years”: First, “cases of sexually abusive priests were considered to be rare.” Second, Father Fitzgerald’s, “views, by and large, were considered bizarre with regard to not treating people medically, but only spiritually, and also segregating a whole population with sexual problems on a deserted island.” And finally, “There was mounting evidence in the world of psychology that indicated that when medical treatment is given, these people can, in fact, go back to ministry.” This was a view which Cupich characterized as one that “the bishops came to regret.”

In 2010 several secular and liberal Catholics were calling for Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, citing the actions of then Cardinal Ratzinger’s blocking of efforts to remove a priest convicted of child abuse.  The pope did eventually resign in 2013, although he said that he did so because of his declining health.

In 2012, Monsignor William Lynn became the first United States church official to be convicted of child endangerment because of his part in covering up child sex abuse allegations by clergy. Lynn was responsible for making recommendations as to the assignment of clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He was found guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child.  On 24 July 2012, Lynn was sentenced to three to six years in prison.

For secrecy among bishops

As reported by the Boston Globe, some bishops had facilitated compensation payments to victims on condition that the allegations remained secret.[335] For example, according to the Boston Globe, the Archdiocese of Boston secretly settled child sexual abuse claims against at least 70 priests from 1992 to 2002.

In November 2009, the Irish Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse reported its findings in which it concluded that:

“The Dublin Archdiocese’s pre-occupations in dealing with cases of child sexual abuse, at least until the mid-1990s, were the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the Church, and the preservation of its assets. All other considerations, including the welfare of children and justice for victims, were subordinated to these priorities. The Archdiocese did not implement its own canon law rules and did its best to avoid any application of the law of the State”.

In April 2010, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins wanted to prosecute the Pope for crimes against humanity due to what they see as his role in intentionally covering up abuse by priests.  In a CNN interview a few days later, however, Dawkins declined to discuss the international crime law court’s definition of crimes against humanity, saying it is a difficult legal question.  In April 2010, a lawsuit was filed in the Milwaukee Federal Court by an anonymous “John Doe 16” against the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI. The plaintiff accused Ratzinger and others of having covered up abuse cases to avoid scandal to the detriment of the concerned children.  In February 2011, two German lawyers initiated charges against Pope Benedict XVI at the International Criminal Court. As one of the reasons for the charges they referred also to the “strong suspicion” that Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, covered up the sexual abuse of children and youths and protected the perpetrators.

Internal division became public, with Christoph Cardinal Schönborn accusing Cardinal Angelo Sodano of blocking Ratzinger’s investigation of a high-profile case in the mid-1990s.

In the trial of the French bishop Pierre Pican, who received a suspended jail sentence for failing to denounce an abusive priest, the retired Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos wrote a letter to support Pican in his decision. Exposed to heavy critiques, Hoyos claimed to have had the approval of Pope John Paul II.

In 2011 Hoyos was heavily criticized again. This time the Congregation for the Clergy was blamed of having opposed in 1997 to the newly adopted rules of the Irish bishops, demanding the denouncement of every abusive priest to the police. The Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin described the cooperation with the Congregation for the Clergy as “disastrous”.

A Vatican spokesman stated, “When individual institutions of national churches are implicated, that does not regard the competence of the Holy See…The competence of the Holy See is at the level of the Holy See.”

Citing canons 331 and 333 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, James Carroll of The Boston Globe asserted that “On the question of how far papal authority extends, the canon law of the Catholic Church could not be clearer” and alleges that the Holy See’s denial of competency contravenes canon law. Canon 331 states that “The vicar of Christ… possesses full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is always able to exercise freely”, and canon 333 states that “…By virtue of his office, the Roman pontiff not only possesses power over the universal church, but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groups of them.”

Silvano Tomasi, the Holy See’s ambassador to the U.N. stated that the Vatican was not responsible for abusive priests because “priests are citizens of their own states, and they fall under the jurisdiction of their own country” but the United Nations report differed claiming that since priests are “bound by obedience to the pope” under canon law, then the Holy See is accountable. The report also urged the Vatican to insist that priests and bishops involve the police in all abuse reports and end a “code of silence” leading to whistleblowers being “ostracized, demoted and fired.”

For lack of transparency in proceedings at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

To place the cases under the competence of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been criticized by some as making the process more secretive and lengthening the time required to address the allegations. For example, in his biography of John Paul II, David Yallop asserts that the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against sexually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to merely get a reply.

Vatican officials have expressed concern that the church’s insistence on confidentiality in its treatment of priestly sexual abuse cases was seen as a ban on reporting serious accusations to the civil authorities. Early in 2010 Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the head of the Congregation for Clergy, finally said that instances of sexual abuse by priests were “criminal facts” as well as serious sins and required co-operation with the civil justice system. Italian academic Lucetta Scaraffia [it] described the conspiracy involved in hiding the offense as omerta, the Mafia code of silence, and said that “We can hypothesize that a greater female presence, not at a subordinate level, would have been able to rip the veil of masculine secrecy that in the past often covered the denunciation of these misdeeds with silence”.

Some parties have interpreted the Crimen sollicitationis – a 1962 document (“Instruction”) of the Holy Office (which is now called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) codifying procedures to be followed in cases of priests or bishops of the Catholic Church accused of having used the sacrament of Penance to make sexual advances to penitents – as a directive from the Vatican to keep all allegations of sexual abuse secret, leading to widespread media coverage of its contents.  Daniel Shea, the US lawyer who found the document, said that the document “proves there was an international conspiracy to hush up sex abuse issues”.  The Vatican responded that the document was not only widely misinterpreted, but moreover had been superseded by more recent guidelines in the 1960s and 1970s, and especially the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

For failure to prevent further abuse

“It is easy to think that when we talk about the crisis of child rape and abuse that we are talking about the past – and the Catholic Church would have us believe that this most tragic era in church history is over. It is not. It lives on today. Pedophiles are still in the priesthood. Coverups of their crimes are happening now, and bishops in many cases are continuing to refuse to turn information over to the criminal justice system. Cases are stalled and cannot go forward because the church has such power to stop them. Children are still being harmed and victims cannot heal. ”— Abuse victim, Mary Dispenza

Mary Dispenza states further that crimes against children took place in the past, take place now and will continue in the future unless Pope Francis and the bishops act decisively to ensure that child safety has higher priority than protecting priests and the image of the Catholic Church.

Catholic Church and Pedophilia (Part VI)


Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, sent a letter which became known as the Crimen sollicitationis. In this letter, addressed to “all Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops and other Local Ordinaries, including those of Eastern Rite”, the Holy Office laid down procedures to be followed in dealing with cases of clerics (priests or bishops) of the Catholic Church accused of having used the sacrament of Penance to make sexual advances to penitents; its rules were more specific than the generic ones in the Code of Canon Law.

In addition, it instructed that the same procedures be used when dealing with denunciations of homosexual, pedophile or zoophile behaviour by clerics. It repeated the rule that any Catholic who failed for over a month to denounce a priest who had made such advances in connection with confession was automatically excommunicated and could be absolved only after actually denouncing the priest to the Ordinary of the place or to the Holy Congregation of the Holy Office, or at least promising seriously to do so.


The Vatican promulgated a revised Code of Canon Law which included a canon (1395, §2) which explicitly named sex with a minor by clerics as a canonical crime “to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants.” According to De delictis gravioribus, the letter sent in May 2001 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) – Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and according to Father Thomas Patrick Doyle, who has served as an expert witness on Pontifical Canon Law, Crimen Sollicitationis was in force until May 2001.


In April, Pope John Paul II issued a letter stating that “a sin against the Sixth Commandment of the Decalogue by a cleric with a minor under 18 years of age is to be considered a grave sin, or ‘delictum gravius.'”  In the letter, Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela (Safeguarding the Sanctity of the Sacraments), “§1 Reservation to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) is also extended to a delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years. §2 One who has perpetrated the delict mentioned in §1 is to be punished according to the gravity of the offense, not excluding dismissal or deposition.”  In other words, the CDF was given a broader mandate to address the sex abuse cases only from 2001 – prior to that date, the 1917 Code of Canon Law permitted sexual abuse cases by the clergy to be handled by the Congregation, for the Congregation to open cases itself, or for the Ordinary to handle judgement. All priestly sex crimes cases were placed under the CDF which, in the majority of cases, then recommended immediate action.

The “Guide to Understanding Basic CDF Procedures concerning Sexual Abuse Allegations” explain briefly the procedures which have been derived from the 1983 Code of Canon Law and put in place since 30 April (the same day).  Among the points made:

Every allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest is investigated by the local diocese and, if there is even a “semblance of truth” the case is referred to the Vatican CDF. “The local bishop always retains power to protect children by restricting the activities of any priest in his diocese.”

Civil law concerning reporting of crimes to the appropriate authorities should always be followed.

The CDF may authorize the local bishop to try the case. If a priest (who has the right of appeal to the CDF) is found guilty, a number of canonical penalties are possible, including dismissal from the clerical state. “The question of damages can also be treated directly during these procedures.”

Some cases can be referred directly to the Pope, who can issue a decree of dismissal from the priesthood ex officio.

Other disciplinary measures short of dismissal are available where the priest has undertaken to live a life of prayer and penance, but he can be dismissed if he breaks the conditions imposed.

The CDF continues to update the 2001 law (Motu Proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis tutela) in the light of special faculties granted to the CDF by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

In May, in line with the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, a letter from the CDF was sent to the Catholic bishops.


The Vatican instituted reforms to prevent future United States abuse by requiring background checks for all church employees who have contact with children.  Since then, in the US, over 2 million volunteers and employees; 52,000 clerics; 6,205 candidates for ordination have had their backgrounds evaluated.

In June, the USCCB established the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”, a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy.


Pope John Paul II stated that “there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young”.

In April, the Pontifical Academy for Life organized a three-day conference, entitled “Abuse of Children and Young People by Catholic Priests and Religious”, where eight non-Catholic psychiatric experts were invited to speak to near all Vatican dicasteries’ representatives. The panel of experts overwhelmingly opposed implementation of policies of “zero-tolerance” such as was proposed by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. One expert called such policies a “case of overkill” since they do not permit flexibility to allow for differences among individual cases.


In June, Louisville, Kentucky lawyer William McMurry filed suit against the Vatican on behalf of three men alleging abuse as far back as 1928, accusing church leaders of organizing a cover-up of cases of sexual abuse of children.


In August, Pope Benedict was personally accused in a lawsuit of conspiring to cover up the molestation of three boys in Texas by Juan Carlos Patino-Arango in Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. He sought and obtained immunity from prosecution as head of state of the Holy See. The Department of State “recognize[d] and allow[ed] the immunity of Pope Benedict XVI from this suit.”  

In November, the Vatican published Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation for Persons with Homosexual Tendencies, issuing new rules which forbid ordination of men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies.” While the preparation for this document had started ten years before its publication, this instruction is seen as an official answer by the Catholic Church to what was seen as a “pedophile priest” crisis.  The US National Review Board cited the preponderance of adolescent males among the victims of clerical sexual abuse of minors in its report. The document was criticized by the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries for what some see as its implying that homosexuality is tied to the sexual abuse of children.


Archbishop Csaba Ternyak, secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, put the following question to the experts: “[T]o what degree one can talk about the rehabilitation of the offender, what are the most effective methods of treatment, and on what grounds we can say that a person who has never offended is at risk to sexually molest someone?”

Ternyak spoke about the way that the crisis had damaged the priest-bishop relationship. He noted that there was a “sense of gloom” felt by the overwhelming majority of priests who had not been accused of any abuse but nonetheless who perceived that their bishops had turned against them and therefore had “become disillusioned about the effectiveness of the laws of the Church to defend their dignity and their inalienable rights”. Ternyak also noted that “there have been more than a few suicides among accused priests.”


In April, during a visit to the United States, Pope Benedict admitted that he was “deeply ashamed” of the clergy sex abuse scandal that has devastated the American church. Benedict pledged that pedophiles would not be priests in the Roman Catholic Church.  Pope Benedict also apologized for child abuse scandal in Australia.

In November, the United States Court of Appeals in Cincinnati denied the Vatican’s claim of sovereign immunity, and allowed a lawsuit against the Catholic Church government by three men who claim they were sexually abused as children by priests in the Louisville, Kentucky, US archdiocese to proceed. The Vatican did not appeal the ruling.


Two researchers reported that abuse cases had “steeply declined” after 1985 and that responses to abuse had changed substantially over 50 years, with suspension becoming more common than reinstatement.

In a statement, read by Archbishop Silvano Maria Tomasi at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on 22 September 2009, the Holy See stated that the majority of Catholic clergy who had committed acts of sexual abuse against under-18-year-olds should not be viewed as pedophiles, but as homosexuals who are attracted to sex with adolescent males. The statement said that rather than pedophilia, “it would be more correct to speak of ephebophilia; being a homosexual attraction to adolescent males … Of all priests involved in the abuses, 80 to 90% belong to this sexual orientation minority which is sexually engaged with adolescent boys between the ages of 11 and 17.”

However, Margaret Smith and Karen Terry, two researchers who worked on the John Jay Report, cautioned against equating the high incidence of abuse by priests against boys with homosexuality, calling it an oversimplification and “an unwarranted conclusion” to assert that the majority of priests who abused male victims are gay. Though “the majority of the abusive acts were homosexual in nature … participation in homosexual acts is not the same as sexual identity as a gay man.” She further stated that “the idea of sexual identity [should] be separated from the problem of sexual abuse… [A]t this point, we do not find a connection between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse from the data that we have right now.” Tomasi’s move angered many gay rights organisations, who claimed it was an attempt by the Vatican to redefine the Church’s past problems with pedophilia as problems with homosexuality.

Empirical research shows that sexual orientation does not affect the likelihood that people will abuse children.  Many child molesters cannot be characterized as having an adult sexual orientation at all; they are fixated on children.


In April 2010, in response to extensive negative publicity and criticism of the Pope, the Vatican entered what the Associated Press called “full damage control mode”.  Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s secretary of state, during a visit to Chile, linked the scandal to homosexuality.  In response to widespread criticism of that statement, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Bertone’s statement went outside the remit of church authorities, while maintaining that “the statement was aimed at ‘clarifying’ Cardinal Bertone’s remarks and should not be seen as the Holy See ‘distancing’ itself from them.” He also noted that 10 per cent of the cases concerned paedophilia in the “strict sense”, and the other 90 per cent concerned sex between priests and adolescents. Giovanni Maria Vian, editor of L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s official newspaper, said the continuing criticism of Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican in handling the clerical sex abuse crisis is part of a media campaign to sell newspapers.  The Pope issued a statement that the “Church must do penance for abuse cases”.

Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna explained in an interview with the Italian newspaper “Avvenire”: “Between 1975 and 1985 I do not believe that any cases of pedophilia committed by priests were brought to the attention of our Congregation. Moreover, following the promulgation of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, there was a period of uncertainty as to which of the “delicta graviora” were reserved to the competency of this dicastery. Only with the 2001 “Motu Proprio” did the crime of pedophilia again become our exclusive remit… In the years (2001–2010) the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) had “considered accusations concerning around three thousand cases of diocesan and religious priests, which refer to crimes committed over the last fifty years.”

Pope Benedict issued an apology to those who had suffered from child abuse in Ireland in March 2010.  The letter stated that the Pope was “truly sorry” for what they had suffered, and that “nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity violated.” Nevertheless, the letter was not enough to satisfy many critics, who felt that the letter failed to address their concerns, and mistakenly presented the abuse as an issue within the Church in Ireland, rather than acknowledging that it was a systemic problem.

In July 2010 the Vatican issued a document to clarify their position. They doubled the length of time after the 18th birthday of the victim that clergymen can be tried in a church court and to streamline the processes for removing abusive priests.  However, the new rules were less strict than those already in place in the United States and lacked the clarity that pedophilia is a civil offense of the existing rules there.


In May, the Vatican published new guidelines, drawn up by Cardinal William Levada, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, on dealing with the clergy sexual abuse cases.  The guidelines tell the bishops and heads of Catholic religious orders worldwide to develop “clear and coordinated” procedures for dealing with the sexual abuse allegation by May 2012.  The guidelines instruct the bishops to cooperate with the police and respect the relevant local laws in investigating and reporting allegations of sexual abuse by the clergy to the civic authorities, but do not make such reporting mandatory. The guidelines also reinforce bishops’ exclusive authority in dealing with abuse cases. Victims advocacy groups criticized the new guidelines as insufficient, arguing that the recommendations do not have the status of church law and do not provide any specific enforcement mechanisms.


The Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (Italian: Pontificia Commissione per la Tutela dei Minori) was instituted by Pope Francis on 22 March 2014 for the safeguarding of minors.  It is headed by Boston’s cardinal archbishop, Sean P. O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap..

In November 2014, Pope Francis laicized and excommunicated abusive priest Father Jose Mercau of Argentina.


At the beginning of 2018, Francis denied overwhelming reports of widespread sexual abuse by priests in Chile. In the face of the resulting outcry, he introduced an investigation that led to every bishop in Chile submitting his resignation; only a few of these were accepted, however.

At mid-year, amidst a series of abuse scandals in many countries, including the revelation that over a 50-year period, more than 300 priests were plausibly accused of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania alone, Pope Francis spoke of his “shame”, without however offering concrete steps to remove abusive priests or sanction those who took part in cover-ups.


From 21 to 24 February 2019, a four-day Catholic Church summit meeting was held in Vatican City, called the Meeting on the Protection of Minors in the Church (Italian: Incontro su “La Protezione dei Minori nella Chiesa”) with the participation of the presidents of all the episcopal conferences of the world to discuss preventing sexual abuse by Catholic Church clergy.

On March 26, 2019, one month after the summit was held, Pope Francis adopted:

  • Vatican Law No. CCXCVII On the protection of minors and vulnerable persons;
  • the Motu Proprio On the protection of minors and vulnerable persons;
  • the Guidelines of the Vicariate of Vatican City on the protection of minors and vulnerable persons.

According to Andrea Tornielli, these:

Are very specific laws, norms and indications destined, first of all, for those to whom they are addressed: in fact, they concern only Vatican City State, where a large number of priests and religious work, but where there are very few children. Although they have been conceived and written for a unique reality, in which the highest religious authority is also the sovereign and legislator, these three documents contain exemplary indications that take into account the most advanced international parameters.”

Law No. CCXCVII requires Vatican City officials, including those in the Roman Curia, and diplomatic personnel of the Holy See, such as the Apostolic Nuncios, to report sex abuse.  Failure to do so can result in a fine of up to 5,000 euros (about $5,600) or, in the case of a Vatican gendarme, up to six months in prison.  In addition, all crimes related to child abuse, including mistreatment, are persecutable “ex officio”, even when the purported victim does not file an official report. The law also extends the statute of limitations to 20-year prescription that, in the case of and offence against a minor, begin to count from on his or her eighteenth birthday. In addition, the Governorate of the Vatican City State is required to set up, within the Vatican Department of Health and Welfare, service to support and assist the victims of abuse, providing them with medical and psychological assistance and informing them of their rights and of how to enforce them.

The motu proprio extends the application of the Vatican law to the Roman Curia and its personnel. It requires that, when recruiting staff, the candidate’s suitability to interact with minors must be ascertained.

The Guidelines for the Vicariate of Vatican City are addressed to the canons, parish priests and coadjutors of the two parishes located within the Vatican, as well as to the priests, deacons and educators of the Saint Pius X Pre-Seminary, to all the religious men and women who reside in the Vatican, and to all those who work within the ecclesiastical community of the Vicariate of Vatican City. The guidelines require that, in the course of pastoral activities, those persons must always be visible to others when they are in the presence of minors, and that it is strictly forbidden to establish a preferential relationship with a single minor, to address a minor in an offensive way or to engage in inappropriate or sexually allusive conduct, to ask a minor to keep a secret, to photograph or to film a minor without the written consent of his parents. The Vicar of Vatican City has also the obligation to report to the Promoter of Justice any news of abuse that is not manifestly unfounded, and to remove the alleged perpetrator of the abuse from pastoral activities as a precautionary measure.

Catholic Church and Pedophilia (Part V)


When sexual scandals involving Catholic priests in the US came to light in 2002, the Philippines media began reporting on abuses by local priests. In July of that year, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines apologized for sexual misconduct committed by its priests over the last two decades and committed to drafting guidelines on how to deal with allegations of such offenses. According to Archbishop Orlando Quevedo, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference, about 200 of the country’s 7,000 priests may have committed “sexual misconduct” – including child abuse, homosexuality and affairs – over the past two decades.

In August 2011, activist women’s group “Gabriela” assisted a 17-year-old girl in filing sexual abuse allegations against a priest in Butuan province. The bishop of Butuan, Juan de Dios Pueblos, took the priest under his custody without handing him over to civil and church authorities.  This behaviour was also heavily criticized by retired Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, who blamed Pueblos for showing his priests the “wrong way”.

Episcopal responses

United States

In June 2002, the USCCB established the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People”, a comprehensive set of procedures for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. The charter includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, reporting, and prevention of future acts of abuse.

The USCCB’s National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People now requires dioceses faced with an allegation of child sexual abuse (where the victim is currently a minor) to alert the authorities, conduct an investigation, and (in the case of an admission of guilt or finding of guilt by an appropriate investigation) remove the accused from duty.

The Board also approached John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct a descriptive study of the nature and scope of the problem of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church as well as the costs to the church of the scandal. Data collection commenced in March 2003, and ended in February 2004. The findings of this study are discussed elsewhere on this page.

United Kingdom

The 2001 Lord Nolan recommendations, accepted in full by the bishops, became model guidelines for other bishops’ conferences around the world, and a model for other institutions in Britain.[255] One guideline was that in each parish there should be a “safeguarding officer”, a lay person who would vet through the Criminal Records Bureau, a government agency, anyone in the parish who had access to young people or vulnerable adults, and would be a contact for anyone with any concerns.

Holy See’s Response

John L. Allen, Jr., Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, commented that many American Catholics saw the Vatican’s initial silence on the Boston Globe stories as showing a lack of concern or awareness about the issue. However, Allen said that he didn’t know anyone in the Roman Curia who was not at least horrified “by the revelations that came out of the Globe and elsewhere” or who would defend “Cardinal Law’s handling of the cases in Boston” or “the rather shocking lack of oversight that revealed itself” though “they might have different analyses of what should have happened to him”.  Allen described the Vatican’s perspective as being somewhat skeptical of the media handling of the scandal. In addition, he asserted that the Vatican viewed American cultural attitudes toward sexuality as being somewhat hysterical as well as exhibiting a lack of understanding of the Catholic Church.

No one [in the Vatican] thinks the sexual abuse of kids is unique to the States, but they do think that the reporting on it is uniquely American, fueled by anti-Catholicism and shyster lawyers hustling to tap the deep pockets of the church. And that thinking is tied to the larger perception about American culture, which is that there is a hysteria when it comes to anything sexual, and an incomprehension of the Catholic Church. What that means is that Vatican officials are slower to make the kinds of public statements that most American Catholics want, and when they do make them they are tentative and halfhearted. It’s not that they don’t feel bad for the victims, but they think the clamor for them to apologize is fed by other factors that they don’t want to capitulate to.

According to Allen, cultural differences between the Vatican and American Catholics complicated the process of formulating a comprehensive response to the sexual abuse scandal: “there is a lot about the American culture and the American Church that puzzles people in the Vatican, and there is much about the Vatican that puzzles Americans and English speakers generally.”

Catholic Church and Pedophilia (Part IV)

Church responses

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The responses of the Catholic Church to the sex abuse cases can be viewed on three levels: the diocesan level, the episcopal conference level, and the Vatican. Responses to the scandal proceeded at levels in parallel, with the higher levels becoming progressively more involved as the gravity of the problem became more apparent. For the most part, responding to allegations of sexual abuse in a diocese was left to the jurisdiction of the local bishop or archbishop. According to Thomas Plante, a psychologist specializing in abuse counseling and considered an expert on clerical abuse, “unlike most large organizations that maintain a variety of middle management positions, the organizational structure of the Catholic Church is a fairly flat structure. Therefore, prior to the Church clergy abuse crisis in 2002, each bishop decided for himself how to manage these cases and the allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Some have handled these matters very poorly (as evidenced in Boston) while others have handled these issues very well.”

After the number of allegations exploded following the Boston Globe’s series of articles, the breadth and depth of the scandals became apparent in dioceses across the United States. The U.S. bishops felt compelled to formulate a coordinated response at the episcopal conference level. Although the Vatican did not respond immediately to the series of articles published by the Boston Globe in 2002, it has been reported that Vatican officials were, in fact, monitoring the situation in the U.S. closely.

John L. Allen, Jr., senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, characterized the reaction of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) as calling for “swift, sure and final punishment for priests who are guilty of this kind of misconduct.”  In contrast to this, Allen characterized the Vatican’s primary concern as wanting to make sure “that everyone’s rights are respected, including the rights of accused clergy” and wanting to affirm that it is not acceptable to “remedy the injustice of sexual abuse with the injustice of railroading priests who may or may not be guilty.”

Diocesan responses

United States

According to the John Jay Report, one in four child sex abuse allegations were made within 10 years of the incident.  Half were made between 10 and 30 years after the incident and the remaining 25% were reported more than 30 years after the incident. The Report points at: failure by the RCC hierarchy in the United States to grasp the seriousness of the problem, overemphasis on the need to avoid a scandal, use of unqualified treatment centers for clergy removed for rehabilitation, a sort of misguided willingness by bishops to forgive sexual misconduct as a moral failing and not treat it a crime, allowance of recidivism upon reassignment of the priest, and insufficient accountability of the hierarchy for inaction.

Rehabilitation efforts

Since 2002, a major focus of the lawsuits and media attention has been criticism of the approach taken by bishops when dealing with allegations of sexual abuse by priests. As a general rule, the allegations were not reported to legal authority for investigation and prosecution. Instead, many dioceses directed the offending priests to seek psychiatric treatment and for assessment of the risk of re-offending. In 2004, according to the John Jay report, nearly 40% of accused priests participated in psychiatric treatment programs. The remaining priests did not undergo abuse counseling because allegations of sexual abuse were only made after their death. The more allegations made against a priest, the more likely he was to participate in treatment.

Some bishops repeatedly moved offending priests from parish to parish after abuse counseling, where they still had personal contact with children. According to the USCCB, Catholic bishops in the 1950s and 1960s viewed sexual abuse by priests as “a spiritual problem, one requiring a spiritual solution, i.e. prayer”.

However, starting in the 1960s, the bishops came to adopt an emerging view based on the advice of medical personnel who recommended psychiatric and psychological treatment for those who sexually abused minors. This view asserted that with treatment, priests who had molested children could safely be placed back into ministry, although perhaps with certain restrictions such as not being in contact with children.  This approach viewed pedophilia as an addiction, such as alcoholism which can be treated and restrained.

Some of the North American treatment facilities most frequently used for this purpose included the Saint Luke Institute in Maryland; centers operated by the Servants of the Paraclete in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and St. Louis, Missouri; John Vianney Center in Downingtown, Pennsylvania; the Institute of Living in Hartford, Connecticut; and the Southdown Institute near Toronto, Ontario in Canada.  This approach continued into the mid-1980s, a period which the USCCB characterizes as the “tipping point in the understanding of the problem within the church and in society”. According to researcher Paul Isley, however, research on priest offenders is virtually nonexistent and the claims of unprecedented treatment success with clergy offenders have not been supported by published data.

Prevention efforts

The USCCB perceived a lack of adequate procedures for the prevention of sexual abuse of minors, the reporting of allegations of such abuse and the handling of those reports. In response to deficiencies in canonical and secular law, both ecclesiastical and civil authorities have implemented procedures and laws to prevent sexual abuse of minors by clergy and to report and punish it if and when it occurs. In June 2002, the USCCB adopted a zero tolerance policy to future sex abuse that required responding to allegations of sexual abuse.  It promulgated a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that pledged the Catholic Church in the U.S. to providing a “safe environment” for all children in Church-sponsored activities.

The Charter instituted reforms to prevent future abuse by requiring background checks for Church employees.  The Charter requires dioceses faced with an allegation to alert the authorities, conduct an investigation and remove the accused from duty.  A Dallas Morning News article reported nearly two-thirds of the bishops attending the conference had covered for sexually abusive priests.[236] According to Catholic News Service by 2008, the U.S. church had trained “5.8 million children to recognize and report abuse,” run criminal checks on volunteers and employees and trained them to create a safe environment for children.

Reception by the laity

A 2006 study by Jesuit Georgetown University Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) found lay Catholics were unaware of the specific steps that the church has decided to take, but 78% strongly approved reporting allegations of sexual abuse to civil authorities and 76% strongly approved of removing people credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Ongoing investigations

In 2005, Kathleen McChesney of the USCCB said “In 2004, at least 1,092 allegations of sexual abuse were made against at least 756 Catholic priests and deacons in the United States. [ … ] What is over is the denial that this problem exists, and what is over is the reluctance of the Church to deal openly with the public about the nature and extent of the problem.”

In early 2009, the sexual impropriety including molesting boys by Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion of Christ, a Roman Catholic congregation of pontifical right made up of priests and seminarians studying for the priesthood, was disclosed publicly.  In March, the Vatican ordered an apostolic visitation of the sexual abuse scandal in the Legion of Christ.  In June 2009 Vatican authorities named five bishops from five different countries, each one in charge of investigating the Legionaries in a particular part of the world.


In June 2001, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in Ireland established the Catholic Church Commission on Child Sexual Abuse (Ireland), also known as the Hussey Commission, to investigate how complaints about clerical abuse of minors have been handled over the last three decades.

In February 2002, 18 religious orders agreed to provide more than 128 million euros (approximately $128 million) in compensation to the victims of childhood abuse. Most of the money was raised from church property transfers to the State; in fact the actual value of the settlement is estimated to be about half that, and the Archbishop of Dublin in 2009 accused the orders of falling short even on the amount promised, and said the church’s failure to complete transfers of cash, property and land worth at least €128 million over the past seven years “is stunning”.

The agreement also stipulated that any victims who accepted monetary settlements would waive their right to sue both the church and the government, and that the identities of the accused abusers was to be kept secret.  In 2009 the orders agreed to increase their contribution; it was learned that total compensation paid to victims was about €1.2 billion, so that until then the promised €128 m had been about 10% of the total.

In September 2010 the Vatican announced that it would shortly begin an investigation into how the Irish Catholic Establishment’s handling of the sex abuse and subsequent scandal. This enquiry will include consulting groups representing victims. Irish Survivors of Child Abuse (Soca), stated that “Irish Soca and other survivors’ groups are excited over the apostolic visitation because it’s the end of allowing the Irish hierarchy to handle the scandal and crises on their own.”