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"DIANA VAUGHAN" AND "THE HOAX OF THE CENTUKY." M Leo Taxil, who recently came forward in France aa a convert to Borne from atheism and Freemasonry, has boon making some extraordinary revelations with regard to hisrdle at a meeting in .Paris, Accordiijg to tho account given by the correspondent of the "Daily Te'egraph," M. Leo Taxil has made a general confession before the public, and unbluahingly proctained that he has been for yea« holering Pope, Cardinals, priests, and people. M. Leo Taxil, alias Gabriel Jogand, wrote some years «igo a series of anti-religionß novels aud pamphlets. He pretended to reveal the mysteries of the Vatican, and to make Dack•tairs revelations about distinguished ecclesiastics. Then he suddenly repented, retracted all his evil allegations, and went $0 confession to a J° priest ; and it was believed by hundreds of simpleminded persons, unversed in the guile of the world, that M. Taxii •was a sound, practical, and intelligent convert, who was an undoubted acquisition to Catholicism. "Three yearg ago the supposed convert was identified with the publication of a book called • ihe Devil in the Nineteenth Century.' The author was supposed to be » Dr Bataille, an ex-surgeon in the merchant service, who recounted aa a witness events in the extraordinary career of a young person nanzed Diana Vanghan. Thu damsel was said to be born o ' Protestant parents away down in Kentucky, and to have been made Palladian Grand Mistress of the Supreme and Mysterious Lodge of Universal Freemasonry. In thia capacity Diana was alleged to have married the devil Asmodeus, who was coinmander-in-chief of 70 legions of sat&nic spirits, Afltr these monstrosities ' had been launched, other publications, entitled 'Memoirs of an ex-Palia-diat* and 'The Kucharisiic >oven«, announced that Diana Vanghan had been converted to Catholicism. Sue was patronised, although she had never been seen, by Cardinal Parocchi, and even by the Pope himself. M. Leo. Taxil published her fame far end wide in religious newspapers and periodicals; but. in spite of all this, some Catholics began to have strong suspicions, ftnd^ at an Anti-Masonic Congress held last year in Trent her existence traa denied. This was supposed by the believers in Diana to be a bold step, for one man who had doubted BuJdenly found his head twisted around one night, and he remained for three weeks with his face where his poll ought to have been, and vice versa, until Mias Vanghan condescended to come from America in order to readjust him. In the meantime the sceptics and unbelievers -who refused to regard Diana as aught but a mythical personage persistently called on M. Taxil to produce her in the flesh, and to lei her be seen aud heard. "This the supposed convert promised to doi and he accordingly convoked a meeting, which took place in the Geographical frociety'a Hall on the Boulevard Samt»GermaiD, and was attended by many persons, including numerous priesis. It was promised that Diana would make statements about Palladism, the full truths of which were not to ba revealed until 1912. There were as© to be luminous projections, showing a PaJladiat as one of the Magi, and the pact which he bad made with tha serpent cut in three; ' the treaty between Thomas Vaughan i and Lucifer, Son of the Morning ; photographs of Albert Pike, Miss Liliana Pike, John Vaughan, and the damsel herself, who was suoposed to have contracted a diabolical marriage. It wa* also expected that a book was to be seen which had been written by the devil ; and much was heard abont a picture of Miss Vaughsn receiving a steel crown, made in the caverns of Gibraltar, from the hand t of AsBtodeoa; her batanio husband. All this imposture was frankly and audaciously unveiled by its organiser amid scenes of probations ana nproar. M. Taxil calmly announced that he was born a perpetrator of jokes at the expense of credulouß nnmanity. Fumiaterie was the foundation of his character as a Marseilles man, and at the aga oi nineteen he had terrified his feilowtownsmen by announcing that the port of the southern city was invaded by f harks of the most terrible species. Be also announced that there was a loot city under the Lake ot Geneva, ; and some people behoved thai ibey saw cafes-chnntante, houico, and gardens deep down in the recesses of blue Lake L maa. A Polish arcteeologin even went bo far as to wnte a treatise on the mat ter, in which he said that he had perceived something Jika an equestriaa statue ai the bottom oi the inland sea immortalised bj Gibbon, Boutseau, byron, and Mad mo de ouwl. ihen Taxil started the Diaoa Vaugban hoax. He vrat praj ed for by fervent monks and nuns, who almost regarded him as a father of she Church and a candidate (or canonisation, since he unmasked the Freemasons, and brought over to Catholicity women wedded to devils. At Home he was received with ooen arms, and had an audience at "the Vatican; but, as he assured his astonished auditors, he was only a false convert, acd Diana Vaughan was merely a type-writing young woman whom he employed as a secretary at £G per mouth. In thie capacity she wrote atd signed letters dictated by Taxil himself, and addressed to high prelates. A Triduum, or three days' prayer, was celebrated At the Sacra Ccear for Diaaft, Mid her hymn to Joan of Arc, a borrowed affair, was sung in several churches. Through Cardinal Parocchi, the (ype-writiug young damsel received the Papal Benediction, and was informed that her conversion was the most magnificent triumph of grace ever known. The Bishop of Charleston, who doubted Diana's existence, was, said Taxii, cold-shouldered by the Pope - and the Vicar-Apostolic of Gibraltar who inLrmed the Vatican ihat tbera were no caverns en the rock where Masonic emblems or steel crowns or devils were manufactured, was not listened to. Then the Italian clergy, according to the Jtomxer, triad to get up an imposture of ikeix own by stating that Joan of Ara'a heart was preserved iv one ef Italian cities." All this (tha conespondent Bays) was calmly and sardonically ottered - by the speaker, who, in conclusion, ■aid to the priests and Catholic *ri«n ;P««t that he sucerely pM tfaea as 4 tfa« hilltop. fo{

having assisted him in organising the finest hoax of the century, and one which crowned his career. Taxil was vigorously hooted as be ottered these words, and on leaving, the hill of the meeting he had 10 bo protected by th • police, who were in strong force, and he was followed not only by angry Catholics, but by per6odb who took up the cause of Freemasons.

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CURIOUS FRAUD IN FRANCE. Nelson Evening Mail, Volume XXXI, Issue 178, 29 July 1897

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