—– and Finally the Unveiling of a Secret Society.
Sounds like the blurb on a Best Seller?
This actually happened.
Wolfgang Hock, a colleague, presented Christiane Schaefer,a Philologist was presented a rare manuscript in 1998 in Berlin.
After reaching Uppsala University, Stockholm, Christiane tried to find what it was all about but just couldn’t understand anything.
-January 2011, Schaefer attended an Uppsala conference on computational linguistics. Ordinarily talks like this gave her a headache. She preferred musty books to new technologies and didn’t even have an Internet connection at home. But this lecture was different. The featured speaker was Kevin Knight, a University of Southern California specialist in machine translation—the use of algorithms to automatically translate one language into another. With his stylish rectangular glasses, mop of prematurely white hair, and wiry surfer’s build, he didn’t look like a typical quant. Knight spoke in a near whisper yet with intensity and passion. His projects were endearingly quirky too. He built an algorithm that would translate Dante’s Inferno based on the user’s choice of meter and rhyme scheme. Soon he hoped to cook up software that could understand the meaning of poems and even generate verses of its own.
When Knight asked whether any one had some thing that needed code breaking, Chrisitiane remembered the manuscript and she gave it to him.
Through a painstaking process the Language was identified, German.
Then came the shocking discovery, The Manuscript was detailing the Initiation Ceremony of of ‘Oculist’ sect,’Active in the mid-18th century, the Oculists fixated on both the anatomy and symbolism of the eye. They focused on sight as a metaphor for knowledge. And they performed surgery on the eye. “We exceed all other [healers] by being able to pierce all cataracts, whether they’re fully developed or not,” the group boasted in its public—and uncoded—bylaws…..
Centered in the town of Wolfenbüttel, Germany, the Oculists, it was believed, played the role of gatekeepers to the burgeoning field of ophthalmology. They kept out the “charlatans” who could cause someone to “lose their eyesight forever.”
On their crest, the Oculists featured a cataract needle and three cats (which, of course, can see in near darkness). In their bylaws, the Oculists’ emphasis on the master’s “light hand” seemed to be a reference to members’ surgical skill. And they appeared to have a rather progressive attitude; women could be Oculists, just like men…
Starting on page 27 and continuing for the remaining 78 pages, the cipher detailed the rituals performed by the highest degrees of the Masonic order—rites unknown to ordinary Masons at the time. Nothing was omitted from the Copiale’s descriptions of these top-level rituals. Not the skulls. Not the coffins. Not removal of undergarments nor the nooses nor the veneration of Hiram Abiff, builder of the Great Temple of Jerusalem, whose decomposed body became the alchemical emblem for turning something rotten into something miraculous and golden.
Decades later, most of these practices became widely known as the Freemasons’ secrets seeped out. But in the 1740s they were still well concealed—except to the Oculists. The Oculists were a secret society that had burrowed deep into another secret society. Önnerfors noted that the cats on the Oculists’ insignia were watching over mice. It could be another Oculist joke — or a sign that they were spies.’
Interesting isn’t it?