Cult Leader Brother XII - Jo-Ann Carson

Cult Leader Brother XII

Brother XII’s life is a story of:  black magic, deception, embezzlement, intrigue, sadism, and most of all greed.
Born Edward Arthur Wilson in 1878 in England, Brother XII followed the ancient esoteric philosophy called Theosophy, which has three main beliefs: the unity of all life, immortality of the soul and law of karma. Theosophy became popular at the beginning of the twentieth century because many people felt threatened by all the changes in their world. Brother XII claimed to commune with spirits from another plane, the Great White Lodge, through visions.
In 1927, he created the Aquarian Foundation to create a new world order. His charismatic lectures, and his Theosophic books and pamphlets drew people from all over North America. At the height of his popularity there were two thousand in his group: wealthy businessmen, lawyers and heiresses who gave up their life savings to follow his creed and live and work in a commune in the Canadian wilderness.
They started out meeting in Cedar by the Sea near Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, then moved to land they purchased on DeCourcy and Valdes islands, a few miles away. As the Great Depression took over the world he warned his followers that others would come for their money. Chaos was looming all around them.  His commune became a fortress and he converted their money to gold bars which he then sealed with wax in mason jars and buried on the islands. As time passed, he kept digging it up and burying it again.
Brother XII’s fortress like community on DeCourcy was called the City of Refuge or the Ark. He claimed that his disciples could survive the coming Armageddon there.  Towards the end, his sadistic mistress, Madame Z, ruled over the workers with a leather whip, sequestering individuals, and isolating women.
Life in the commune slid from idealistic to dangerous. Members of the group took him to court three times with charges that ranged from misappropriating their money to sexually abusing minors, but in the end he escaped.
Some say Brother XII left with Madame Z in a tugboat. Some say he later faked his death in Switzerland. Some say his money is still buried on the islands…DSCN2149[1]
One thing is certain—the Islanders have many stories about the notorious Brother XII. In my book Black Cat Blues, I bring him to life through the journal of one of his many lovers.
Oh yeah – did I mention Brother XII once worked as a merchant marine, and brought back sexual practices from the Orient that shocked and  pleased many a woman?

0 Replies to “Cult Leader Brother XII”

  1. Thanks for this update, Jo-Ann. I’ve heard of his philosophy before but didn’t remember his name. You can kind of understand why those with money might turn to him and his island when all around them was imploding with the stock market crash. I’m sure eager for your book to sell. I want to read this story!
    Oddly, the part about Brother burying the gold fits with story idea I had when DH and I were visiting Moosehead Lake in Maine. It’s a huge lake dotted with islands, some of which people live on. That concept fascinates me ever since watching Sarah Richardson on HGTV redecorating her husband’s family lake house–somewhere in the middle of Canada, I think. 🙂

    1. Marsha
      I couldn’t believe it when I first heard the story of Brother XII and his gold. He really is the quintessential cult leader. We’ve visited the beautiful marine park on DecCourcy island where they have a fake treasure chest for tourists. History is amazing. Hope your editing is going well. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing.

    1. Pat
      I’m up for it. We’ll get a boat, some sunshine and maybe a bit of wine and see what we can find.
      What amazes me, is that no one seems to know what happened to all the gold. The communities out here are small, and rumors large. Secrets just don’t keep here, so what happened…?
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Not only does no one know what happened to the gold, we also do not know what became of brother twelve.They believe he died in 1934 however I may have some proof he was still alive in 1968. Four letters were sent to a famous author,Thomas P. Kelley, all sighned Twelve. I have those letters and they were sent to him after the death of his dear friend Herbert Emerson Wilson.

      1. I will give you two excerpts from the four letters that were written to Thomas P. Kelley from `Twelve` –
        From letter number one: `As you and I have never met it may be best to say that Herby gave me your address and said if he should happen to go away some night in his sleep for me to write you at that time he gave me your address and said to always keep in touch with you. Said you were a true friend and someday I may need you` – Twelve.
        From letter number two: `How did you come to write me in the first place you had a year to do so but you did not till H. left us then once he came back to you and whispered yes write him write your bro twelve` – Twelve.
        All the best,

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