In 1991, in the dead of night, a Sedona, Arizona couple, armed with digging implements, scaled the low brick wall surrounding the graveyard of Bruton Parish Church in the center of Williamsburg, Virginia. They were on a holy mission to save the world from Armageddon. Students of Marie Bauer Hall and her teachings, the couple believed that the key to the kingdom of heaven on earth was buried somewhere within that churchyard. Sir Francis Bacon's vault. Under the soil, inside the vault, were the secrets to the universe. And they were going to find them.
They believed, to the extent that they went "underground" for many years due
to death threats, that the CIA was trying to stop them. They also believed that the CIA was instrumental in suppressing knowledge of the vault and its contents, and that, among their weapons at hand, the CIA possessed a time machine built by the Nazis which enabled the suppressors to travel back and forth through time gathering intelligence and predicting that they (the couple) would eventually seek the truth. And they believed that they were Jesus Christ and Mary incarnate, and that they would eventually embody the second coming of Christ through their discovery of the secrets of the vault.
What they discovered was that the Williamsburg Police did not take kindly to
trespassers digging up ancient and historical graves in the middle of the night. The couple were arrested, and subsequently fined. An ignominious end to the saving of the world.
While the Sedona couple may not be representative of the believers in the
vault, they are certainly illustrative of the sort of passion and heartfelt
religious fervor which surrounds its discovery. It was this sort of fervor
which found church officials struggling in 1992, during their concession to
an official archeological dig which began in 1988. At one point during the
dig, officials were beleaguered by no less than seven "New Age" groups all
claiming proprietorship to the findings. Of which there were none.
One has to wonder, once confronted with such passionate fervor, who was
Francis Bacon? What inspires contemporary spiritual imaginations to adhere
to him? And to believe that his legacy is still with us?
One of the failings of the American educational system is a seeming
inability to pass on history which predates the American Revolution of 1776
or crosses any oceans. It is no wonder that most Americans have never heard
of Francis Bacon except, perhaps, in passing.
Historically, Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) was the fifth son born to
Nicholas Bacon, Sir Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, who, along
with William Cecil, ruled England under the watchful eye of Elizabeth I.
He was the second son of the second wife, and, as such, should never have
risen to such prominence. However, he was gifted and much in favor with
the court. It had long been speculated that he was not actually a Bacon,
but that he was born to Queen Elizabeth and her unacknowledged husband, and
raised as a ward by the Bacons. As such, he would have been the rightful
heir to the Tudor throne. In any event, he was held in high esteem at court. He was an especial favorite of Elizabeth, but was not elevated to any station during her reign. He was educated at Trinity College and Gray's Inn, as were many noblemen of the times.
When James succeeded to the throne, Bacon's fortunes turned. He was awarded
successive promotions until he finally achieved the very same honor his
father had held, Sir Lord Keeper of the Great Seal of England, was named
Chancellor, Lord Verulam, and Viscount of St. Albans. His voracious
appetite for learning and his keen mind made him the leading scholar of his
day, lauded greatly. A renowned speaker and revered writer, his writings
have endured the test of time. At the time of his death, his great plan for
a new republic (it was said that he considered America the optimal place to
test his plan) was still being created.
He was a Renaissance man, and he was a hundred years before his time. His
philosophy, vision, insistence on scientific observation and inquiry, and
adherence to scholarly endeavors paved the way to the Age of Enlightenment.
He is credited with inspiring the founding of the Royal Society, and
scholars throughout the ages have revered his work. Whether he was the
author of Shakespeare's work or not there is certainly ample reason to
believe that he might have been. His writing genius was certainly in that
calibre. He was also a translator and contributing author to the 1611 King
James version of the Bible. When one adds to all that his high-level
involvement in the Freemasons (he was the Grand Master of the London Lodge)
and the Rosicrucians, and his penchant for envisioning a utopian society, it
is no wonder that spiritual groups see him as a visionary and attribute
mystical aspects to his history.
In keeping with Masonic ideals, he espoused free education, scientific
exploration, democratic government, separation of church and state, and
global harmony. Although it appears he had only completed three of the six
aspects of his plan to achieve these goals prior to his death, proponents
who believe in the vault theory also believe that he did, in fact, finish
them and that they are contained within the vault. There is a wide variety
of belief as to what else might be in the vault, ranging from the secret to
Alchemy (the transmutation of base metals into gold) to the secret of
immortality, to how to overcome the limitations of matter with the mind.
Now, seekers of the vault are back. They want to dig again, and believe
that the vault is under the pyramidically-shaped monument erected to
Elizabeth and David Bray. They want the church to sponsor a dig this summer
when a landscaping project is planned for the churchyard.
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