Between the Lines

Bohemians in the Redwoods

Every year at midsummer, the secret rulers of the world meet in solemn conclave down the street from me.  In the down-at-the-heels resort town of Monte Rio, on the banks of the Russian River in California’s wine country, is the Bohemian Grove, a 2,700-acre “encampment” that houses the members of the Bohemian Club, founded in 1872 by a bunch of journalists and their friends.  While the Bohemian Club’s official headquarters is in downtown San Francisco, on the edges of what is now the Tenderloin, it is to this sylvan glade of towering redwoods and rustic riverside lodges that the financial and political elites repair for three weekends of—well, it depends on whom you believe.

According to professional conspiracist Alex Jones, the attendees engage in “satanic rituals” that date all the way back to the blood orgies of a “Babylonian death cult.”  To Jones and his followers, the Bohemians are the Secret Masters of the Universe.  Human sacrifice, invocations of the Evil One, and nightly orgies under the stars—these are just a few of the exotic goings-on that supposedly transpire in that Camp of the Devils.

The reality is much more mundane.  Yes, there are rituals, albeit ones more comparable to those of pretentious frat boys than a satanic cult.  Much is made of the ritual of the slaying and “cremation” of “Dull Care,” carried out on a...

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