Brother 12's bizarre sect

Door San Daniel gepubliceerd in Verhalen en Poëzie


'The island groups slightly off the coast of Vancouver BC, Canada have a mild climate compared to the rest of Canada. It is an area that I visit a few times a year to see relatives there. You take the boat from Vancouver and more often than not you can see whales on the crossing to the main island and seals. It was here that I heard from an old man about Brother 12, the prophet who would have been the reincarnation of an Egyptian God.

The archipelago owes its popularity to the warm Gulf Stream that passes by California and gives it a temperate and mild climate compared to the rest of Canada.

For hundreds of years, this part of British Columbia has attracted all kinds of utopian idealists, each building their own version of a better society. Needless to say, most of them change their minds when they experience the harsh realities of the BC coast.

From obscure Christian sects and mysterious Theosophists to determined back-to-the-landers and communities of all kinds, BC likely has a greater percentage of utopian failures than any other province in Canada. Why so much? And why do so many of them go so wrong? Is it just the environment itself? Or is it something deeper that causes these carefully constructed dreams to collapse?

"The problem is that utopian communities implicitly criticized people outside the community, after all, they are world improvers. That's why they quickly make enemies. Unfortunately, they often depend on the people around them to support them."
- Justine Brown


"Brother XII changed. Originally he was a humble man, and many people were impressed by him and his message. But gradually he got corrupt and you could say that it was money, sex and power that spoiled him. That's a simplistic version, so typical of cult leaders. ”- John Oliphant

Edward Wilson - Brother XII - became de facto king of his Aquarius Foundation colony in the forests near Nanaimo, the first outpost which he called 'Cedar by the Sea'. At its peak, he had more than 8,000 followers in Europe, Canada and the United States. Inundated with donations from wealthy fans eager to fund his social experiment, he hired shifts of local workers and expanded the colony to nearby Courcy & Valdes Islands.


'Edward Arthur Wilson (July 25, 1878 - November 7, 1934), better known as Brother XII, was an English mystic who founded a spiritual community in the late 1920s just south of the town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, off the west coast. from British Columbia, Canada.

On March 23, 1931, he legally changed his name to Amiel de Valdes), mystic and cult leader; he was born on July 25, 1878 in Birmingham, England.

Brother XII was one of the most intriguing cult figures of the 20th century, described by Professor James A. Santucci (California state University) as having 'the genius of a L. Ron Hubbard, (church of Scientology) the destructive power of a Jim Jones (destructive sect leader) ... and the hypnotic grasp of a Rasputin '. (Russian mystic at the court of Czaar Nicolas). "His group was a prototype of the new religious movements founded by charismatic leaders in the second half of the century.

Originally called Edward Arthur Wilson, he grew up in the Catholic Apostolic Church and was deeply influenced by her apocalyptic teachings. As a natural mystic, he would claim to have been in contact with higher beings and subtle worlds from an early age.

He became a navy man and worked as a sailor, helmsman and eventually captain. During his travels he immersed himself in the study of metaphysics and world religions, he was especially interested in the teachings of the Theosophical society.

In 1907 he moved with his wife and children to British Columbia, where he held various jobs, including that of a ship pilot. In his own words, he went through a "ceremony of devotion" in 1912 in which he learned of his occult mission. He then left his family, who returned to their homeland and resumed his wanderings and studies, to prepare for the spiritual work to which he would later be called.

During a stay in the south of France in the fall of 1924, impoverished and in poor health, Wilson heard the voice of an Egyptian deity telling him to prepare for his great task. The deity came to him in a dream.


This revelation was followed by an intense period of automatic writing and inspirational contact with a higher being who identified himself as a "Master of Wisdom" in an occult brotherhood known as the Great White Lodge, which Theosophists believe is the evolution of the humanity.

In 1925, Wilson began to receive teachings from this entity which he would publish the following year as The Three Truths: A Simple Statement of the Basic Philosophy of Life as explained and shown to "Brother XII" (the personal chêla of a Master) (London).



In 1926 he also published A message from the Masters of the Wisdom (London), the manifesto of the movement of which he was the spokesman. As a representative of the twelfth brother at the Great White Lodge, he adopted the name: The Brother, XII. Under the pseudonym E. A. Chaylor, Wilson wrote a number of articles in the Occult Review (London), the foremost occult magazine in the world; these caused a sensation in esoteric circles. Building on this publicity, Brother XII began recruiting members for the Aquarius Foundation, which he claimed would carry out the works of the lodge and be a literal "Ark of Refuge" in the destruction he predicted would affect the Western world and would overwhelm civilization.


Who or what was the 12th brother?

After the war, he spent several years in Italy, studying theosophy and other occult religions with a group of exiled cult members. There he was converted - or so he would say - to the doctrine of reincarnation and to the belief that within a measurable time the planet Aquarius, the eleventh sign of the zodiac, would collide with the Earth and destroy all mankind except for the chosen ones .

Wilson then conceived the idea of ​​posing as the earthly representative of a supernatural group he called the "Chela." This, like the zodiac, had twelve members who, besides Wilson, float around in space or the "Outer World". As Brother 12, he explained that his mission was to find an earthly refuge for the "chosen few" from impending doom. There, to make themselves worthy of their trust, the select few would follow "The Three Truths," as outlined in Wilson's privately printed book. These were work, order, and obedience - obedience to Brother 12, of course.

In the spring of 1927, Brother XII arrived in British Columbia, where he established the Aquarius Foundation headquarters in Cedar-by-the-Sea (Cedar), seven miles south of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The association received a statute from the province on May 16. By the end of the summer, the foundation had approximately 1,250 members in Canada and the United States, in addition to a core of several dozen followers who lived at the colony's headquarters. Attracted by Brother XII's compelling prose and personal charisma, many wealthy and socially prominent individuals joined the foundation, building several expensive homes in Cedar-by-the-Sea.

Brother XII was also active in politics. He argued that the world was fast moving towards a global dictatorship and warned that a network of interlocking monopolies would concentrate power in the hands of a few individuals who would rule the fate of the planet. In January 1928, he traveled to Washington, DC, to solicit support for a third party in the United States, to join Protestant groups, the Ku Klux Klan, and disaffected political elements opposed to the presidential candidates of Herbert Clark Hoover. as Alfred Emmanuel Smith (whose Roman Catholicism was divisive during that year's campaign).

Brother 12 ', was a small man with a skimpy beard and pale and ominous eyes, dressed in a yellow Buddhist cloak with black markings. Most of his followers were wealthy people - widows and retired businessmen.

One was a former U.S. Treasury Secret Service agent. All were mesmerized by Brother 12's theosophical and metaphysical outpourings and his promise that they were "chosen" to save mankind from impending doom, giving him their savings and full control over their lives. In April 1933, six years after he founded the colony, Brother 12, with an estimated half a million dollars of their money, (a considerable fortune at the time) disappeared, most of it sealed in gold coins in jars.




How did Brother 12 get his island and other belongings?

At a meeting in July, Brother 12, palm to his forehead, said he was about to be overcome by a Sahmadi (becoming one with higher powers through meditation): The Brethren in the Outside had a message for him and he had to go into a trance to receive it. He withdrew behind a black curtain. When he reappeared half an hour later, he stated that he had been "by projection" with the other brothers. They sat on the inner edge of a ring of clouds and stared down into "the Void".

At the bottom of the Void were all the stars and lower than the stars, the Earth and its tiny solar system. It was all surrounded by weird Aeolian music. Pink-cheeked cherubs fluttered, now here, now there, and angels lift by with a rush of wings and the twinkle of golden shoes.

The Holy Brothers of their Eminence had shown him where to build his "refuge" on Earth from the collision with Aquarius. An assistant had rolled out an admiralty card against the board, and Brother 12 pointed his finger at a spot off the west coast of North America — a place he said he had never been. There, he added, without blinking. On an inlet on the east coast of Vancouver Island, he would build his 'fortress for the future'. Those who accompanied him had to be "uncritical, quiet, and loyal." And as equals in a common society, they must "renounce all their worldly goods" - that was, to Brother 12.

That happened. He had a special attraction to women, especially to wealthy women, often widows. But women also left their husbands to join him.


One of the most enthusiastic new adherents was Mrs. Mary Connolly, who, ironically, would become Brother 12's nemesis. Once the wealthy socialite daughter of the US ambassador to Spain, she was now a sixty-two-year-old gray-haired widow. She wrote from her home in Asheville, N.C., to Brother 12, that she
had read his books and magazine The Chalice and that she was very interested in joining the foundation. She indicated that she had more than $ 20,000 to contribute and asked if she could meet Brother 12 before finally making a decision.

Brother 12 was deeply moved by the lucrative potential of such feelings. After an exchange of letters and telegrams, they met in the lobby of a Toronto hotel. There, Mrs. Connolly wrote a check for $ 25,850 and promised to join Brother 12 in BC after she settled her business in North Carolina.


On the way back by train, Brother 12 met Mrs. Myrtle Baumgartner, the wife of a wealthy physician in Clifton Hills, N.Y. Young. She was on her way to California for a vacation. Brother 12 soon had other plans for her. He approached her and convinced her that he had been Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld 26,000 years earlier. She, Myrtle, was his wife and sister, Isis, the goddess of motherhood and fertility. Their duty in their present reincarnation was to come together
in sacred unity to bring forth Horus, who would bear the sun on his forehead and be the savior of the world. Faced with this wonderful prospect, the woman did not hesitate. She wrote to her husband about her decision and went with her newfound deity to his paradise on Vancouver Island and donated everything she had to the 'Deity'

Like them, there were many who sought salvation or purpose in their lives.

But it wasn't just women of good faith. Among the believers were Alfred Barley, businessman and scientist, and his wife, who had been a teacher in London for nearly thirty years. Incredibly, this gullible but well-meaning couple decided to give up everything they had and follow the unlikely figure of Brother 12. They donated $ 14,000 in cash.



With the money an island was bought and the members had to work the ground with pickaxe and spade. Brother 12 became increasingly a dictator. The members were 'trapped' on the island, only Brother 12 had a boat. Work had to be done, hard work done, and Brother 12 picked up a mistress from the mainland. 'Madame Z'. She became his supervisor with whip and all in hand.

As time went on, Brother XII became more and more paranoid, His mistress, Mabel Skottowe, born Rowbotham ("Madame Z"), worked the members to the bone until bleeding, the tasks given were considered tests of their fitness to progress spiritually.

He also entered into more and more sexual relationships with the wives of the members, which led to conflict and dissatisfaction.

A man locked up in a basement on the north side of Valdes Island managed to escape and row to Nanaimo to report the circumstances to British Columbia Provincial Police, and eventually Brother XII's core group of disciples rebelled and sued  him to get back the money they contributed to his work. In a violent response, he destroyed the colony, demolished buildings and farm equipment, and sank his flagship sailboat Lady Royal.

He left the island with Madame'Z 'on the second boat he had, taking with him the jars of gold coins. That were 134 jars.

He was arrested on arrival and had to appear in court. There, curious scenes took place. The accusers were overcome with fear when they saw Brother 12 again. They feared they would be cursed. Brother 12 stared at the judge for a long time, instead of answering his questions, after which the judge lost his voice and made only sounds that were a cross between coughing and dog barking. The public complainant forgot what he had intended to say and the witnesses withdrew, shocked by what they had been watching.

Brother 12 went scot free and left the country to settle in Switzerland where he died 1934.

Be wary of false prophets, actually prophets in general! "


San Daniel 2020



07/08/2020 14:19

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