Every summer, the world’s most elite and powerful men meet in the woods north of San Francisco. They don’t talk about work. Instead, they perform Druid-like rituals, burning coffin effigies in reverence to the large redwoods that surround their camp. Nixon, Bush, Ford, Reagan, Rumsfeld, Kissinger, Rockefeller—all of these men have been members of the super-secretive Bohemian Club. And this isn’t some conspiracy theory: the Bohemian Club is very, very real. And so is their annual retreat at their private camp, Bohemian Grove. Here are some shocking Bohemian Grove stories—some documented, some rumored—that might just make you start believing in conspiracies.
Some background information - the Bohemian Club was founded in 1872 by reporters who wanted to build a community in which they could appreciate the arts. Artists and musicians were welcome, and, over time, the club relaxed its rules: anyone who appreciated the arts could join, even non-creatives. This opened the floodgates, because if there’s one thing rich people who fancy themselves sophisticates love, it’s private clubs.
Soon, the club was overrun by the wealthy elite, the artists and journalists were pushed to the margins. As per club rules, at least ten percent of members must be artists, but realistically, only the most famous artists are allowed in. And, oh yeah: no women allowed.
One thing is very clear about Bohemian Grove: they don’t like outsiders. In 2008, a Vanity Fair reporter who infiltrated the camp was arrested for trespassing. It took an hour for members and security to suss out the fact that he didn’t belong. Impressive, since there were a few hundred men at the camp. You wouldn’t think it’d be too hard to blend into a crowd, right? But not this crowd. This crowd can tell who belongs and who doesn’t.
Despite the closed ranks, a few people have snuck into the club, and their testimonies give Bohemian Grove theories credence. Yet even those who got into the Bohemian Club weren't able to stay long enough to really integrate and figure out exactly what's happening in those woods. Until that happens, we’re left to speculate about a Bohemian Grove conspiracy. This list will take you through some theories about this exclusive camp. Get ready to put on your tinfoil hats.
They Perform Druidic Rituals
In 2000, Texas-based filmmaker Alex Jones snuck into Bohemian Grove with a video camera and filmed a very weird ritual: the Cremation of the Care. Members burnt a coffin in front of a 40-foot-tall owl, which they claim is a way of respecting the forest. The ritual involved elaborate costumes and torches, and the footage is undeniably creepy.
In an extensive piece on the Bohemian Club, journalist Mark Evans writes, "Peter Weiss, writing in Spy Magazine, November 1989, states, 'Bohemian Club literature . . . boosts that the Cremation of Care ceremony derives from Druid rites, medieval Christian liturgy, the Book of Common Prayer, Shakespearean drama, and nineteenth-century American lodge rites.' Is this the straight goods, or is it PR sugar coating of a darker sacrificial rite, terrifying even on a symbolic level?"
Was a Child Murdered There in 1984?
Mark Evans writes of a man named Paul Bonacci, who claims he saw a snuff film of a child being killed among some large trees.
To quote Evans, “John DeCamp's book, The Franklin Cover-Up, includes Paul Bonacci's testimony about a snuff film of a child being murdered on July 26, 1984 in California in ‘an area that had big trees.’ At a meeting in Santa Rosa, DeCamp told a group that he had edited out Bonacci's references to an enormous, moss-covered owl and men in hooded red robes because he not know [sic] then about the owl at the Grove and thought it ‘too far fetched for people to believe.’
In the fall of 1992, Paul Bonacci was shown a black and white photo of the moss-covered owl at the Grove and quickly identified it as the site of the July 1984 snuff film described in DeCamp's book. Although this testimony has been available to law enforcement officials since mid-October 1992, no official investigation has been made.”
An article on North Star Zone, a bonkers conspiracy theory website, details allegations of human sacrifice at Bohemian Grove.
"About the mid 1980s there were rumors of murders in remote parts of the property. A local police investigation went nowhere. State investigators on related criminal acts went nowhere. An observer and near victim has described the Bohemian Grove inner hideaways, the closed sanctum, even the decor at secret locations, places where no outsider goes (or servants according to our sources). Apparently there is an UNDERGROUND lounge (sign spelled U.N.derground) a Dark Room, a Leather Room and a Necrophilia Room."
They Put On a Strange, Sexist Play
The most unfortunate manifestation of the no women, no outsiders rule at the Bohemian Grove comes in the form of their entertainment. Each year, members of the club put on two plays: the Grove Play, or the High Jinks, which is serious, and the Low Jinks, which is not. Philip Weiss, writing for Spy magazine in 1989, described the Low Jinks as “vigorously lowbrow.” New plays are written and performed every year by Club members.
“The Jinks jokes about women were straight out of an old joke book,” writes Weiss. “‘My father said if you have a choice between an angry woman and a rabid dog, take the dog,’ Jason Jones Jr. said. ‘It's already got a fur coat and the license is a lot cheaper.’ And Rex Greed said, ‘The only difference between rape and rapture is salesmanship.’ The sensibility of the Grove recalls an era before the surgeon general's report on smoking, before the death of God and duty, before the advent of cholesterol and Sandra Day O'Connor (whose husband, John, bunks in Pelicans camp). The mood is reminiscent of high school. There's no end to the pee-pee and penis jokes, suggesting that these men, advanced in so many other ways, were emotionally arrested sometime during adolescence.”
They spent $75,000 on that play, by the way.