Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries: Uncovering Mysterious Sites, Symbols, and Societies


The doors of some of the world?s best-hidden places and most secretive organizations have now been thrown wide open! Some of the names are familiar: Area 51, Yale?s Skull and Bones, Opus Dei, the Esalen Institute. Others are more obscure, hidden by fate or purposeful deception, such as the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, the super-secure facility where Vice President Dick Cheney was secreted after the 9/11 attacks, and Germany?s Wewelsburg Castle, which was intended to become the mythological ...
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The doors of some of the world’s best-hidden places and most secretive organizations have now been thrown wide open! Some of the names are familiar: Area 51, Yale’s Skull and Bones, Opus Dei, the Esalen Institute. Others are more obscure, hidden by fate or purposeful deception, such as the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, the super-secure facility where Vice President Dick Cheney was secreted after the 9/11 attacks, and Germany’s Wewelsburg Castle, which was intended to become the mythological centerpiece of the Nazi Regime. Readers can take an unprecedented look deep inside the off-the-map military installations and shadowy organizations that operate in the murkiest corners of our world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402762079
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 11/3/2009
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 787,323
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

STEPHEN KLIMCZUK is a world traveler and corporate strategist who recently served as head of strategy for late billionaire Sir John Templeton’s main private foundation.

GERALD WARNER OF CRAIGENMADDIE is a popular Scottish newspaper columnist and broadcaster who holds several distinguished European orders of knighthood.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Mysterious Heritage 7

Investigating (and, where necessary, debunking) the "Usual Suspects"

Rosslyn Chapel, Midlothian, Scotland 8

Rennes-le-Château, France: Wholly Bunk, Hoary Tale 12

Villa Tevere: The Headquarters of Opus Dei in Rome 16

The Hotel de Bilderberg and the Bilderberg Group, The Netherlands 19

Vauxhall Cross: London's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) Headquarters 22

Rosicrucian Park, San José, and Club 33, Anaheim, California 24

Chapter 2 Shrines and Sanctuaries, Ancient and Modern|27

Places of primordial spiritual impulses and folklore-and a psychedelic West Coast enclave

Ise Shrine, Japan 28

Yasukuni Shrine, Tokyo 31

Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet 34

The Shrine of the Oracle at Delphi, Greece 36

The Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California 41

Chapter 3 The Temple, the Ark, and the Grail 45

Undeniable surprises on the sober trail of Knights Templars, Freemasons, Holy Grail hunters, and Gnostics

The Bååtska Palace, Stockholm 46

The Chapel of the Ark, Aksum, Ethiopia 53

The Chapel of the Holy Grail, Valencia Cathedral, Spain 54

Significant Masonic Temples from Rome and Paris to Washington and Pushkin (Russia) 55

Gnosticism Today 59

Chapter 4 Gothic Nightmare 61

Himmler's "Black Camelot" and Nazi spiritual center, with side trips to other Germanic esoteric sites

Wewelsburg Castle, Westphalia, Germany 62

The Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland 71

Bollingen Tower, Lake Zurich, Switzerland 74

Chapter 5 Citadels of Chivalry 79

Remaining outposts of ancient noble and charitable brotherhoods at the service of humanity

The Knights of Malta, Rome 81

The Tuscan Order of St. StephenPope and Martyr, Pisa 88

The Teutonic Order 93

Chapter 6 Grottoes and Grotesques 98

Strange and historic passageways, caverns, and hiding places

The Passetto di Borgo, Rome 99

The Magic Door, Rome 105

The Grotto of the Beati Paoli, Palermo, Sicily 109

Priest Holes in England 112

Chapter 7 Modern-Day Bolt-Holes 119

Secret government installations, well-oiled for use in time of war or crisis

Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center, Bluemont, Virginia 120

The Federal Relocation Arc 128

Area 51: The Facility That Does Not Exist, Nevada 129

RAF Menwith Hill, Yorkshire, England 134

Chapter 8 Islands of Mystery 139

Five special island sanctuaries with their unique treasure hoards, inaccessibility, or spiritual significance

Montecristo: The Forbidden Island, Off the Italian Coast 141

Easter Island: Mysterious Graven Images 150

Isle of Lewis, Scottish Hebrides 153

Iona: St. Columba's Scottish Island Sanctuary 155

Svalbard: Norway's Arctic Eden 156

Chapter 9 Holies of Holies 159

Places on the trail of a higher reality, ultimate human destiny-and according to some, Apocalypse

Sancta Sanctorum, Rome's Lateran Palace 161

The Pauline Chapel, The Vatican's Apostolic Palace 163

The "Prophecies" of St. Malachy 164

The Monastery of St. Catherine of Sinai, Egypt 165

The Autonomous Monastic Republic of Holy Mount Athos, Greece 167

The Abbey of Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux, France 169

The Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey 171

Her Majesty's Chapels Royal of the Mohawks, Ontario, Canada 172

Counterfactual History: The Eternal "What If ...?" 175

Chapter 10 Hidden Totems 176

Treasured objects or talismans of great antiquity

The Stone of Destiny 177

The Holy Crown of St. Stephen of Hungary 183

The British and Polish Crown Jewels in Canada 188

The Holy Ampoule of the Kings of France 190

Joyeuse, the Sword of Charlemagne 192

The Holy Lance of St. Longinus: The "Spear of Destiny" 193

Oliver Cromwell's Head 195

Chapter 11 (Very) Private Banking 197

A discreet tour through the great temples of high finance and private wealth management

Rothschilds, London 198

Banks That Are No More 199

The Great Survivors: Goldman Sachs and the House of Lazard 201

The Wealth Managers, Including Coutts & Co.-the Queen's Bankers 202

The Swiss Banks: Models of Discretion 204

The German Private Banks: Oppenheim, Warburg, and Others 207

A Well-Connected American House: Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. 209

C. Hoare & Co. 210

The Enduring Allure of Gold 210

Chapter 12 University Secret Societies and Dueling Corps 212

Inside the closely guarded doors of fraternities and societies for the future elite

The Apostles of Cambridge and the Bullingdon Club of Oxford 213

Princeton's Eating Clubs 215

Harvard's Eating Clubs 216

Yale's Senior Societies: Skull and Bones and Its Rivals 217

Rivals to Skull and Bones 221

The German University "Corps" 224

The Mensur 229

Chapter 13 Jolly Good Fellowship 223

The lore, elegance, humor, and eccentricities of the great private clubs of London and the world

London's Private Clubs 235

White's The Oldest Club 235

Boodle's, Brooks's, and Others of Distinction 238

Other London Clubs of Distinction 240

Clubs Outside London and in Europe 245

America's Private Clubs 247

Sanctuaries: The Enduring Tradition 251

Index 253

About the Authors 259

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  • Posted November 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Check this out!

    Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries is a book about, well, secret places and hidden sanctuaries, many of which generate quite a hullabaloo. The authors have have opted here to out the truth, and during the process more than a few cultural icons are smashed and burned, but many are saved, depending on the facts of the case. Some of the stories are light-hearted and some are downright ghastly. The thread holding all this together is the authors sharp-witted running commentary laced with acerbic wit.

    The wide-ranging global tour begins at Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland and winds up at the Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles, or, rather, from the smoke and mirrors of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code to the cigar smoke of George Burns. The tour is all the more enjoyable because the authors have worked hard to find information not readily available anywhere else. I consider myself fairly well-versed, but I still picked up at least one new factoid per page. The volume dresses out to 251 pages, so that's a lot of factoids.

    I would like to see more pictures, perhaps posted on the companion blog ( I hope a sequel is being planned. I hear the Scientology people have built a secret prison up in Happy Valley ...

    A rewarding read, with a running time of about 10 cigars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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