So there’s this annual gathering every July, where the richest, most powerful men on the planet gather amongst the Redwoods in Monte Rio, California for a members-only furlough. It’s called Bohemian Grove. This super random campground plopped on a 2,700 acre piece of land is a good 7 hour drive north of Los Angeles, surpassing San Francisco, where the gentleman’s club that owns the massive property is located. The gentleman’s club name? The Bohemian Club [fitting].
This two week tradition started in 1878, six years after the gentleman’s club was established by stage actor Harry Edwards. This little retreat is imbued with heavy drinking, confidential elitist meetings, and a Celtic worship known as “Druid”, which translates to “knower of the oak tree”. A noteworthy member by the name Richard Nixon encapsulates his experience at the Grove as “the most faggy goddamned thing you could ever imagine.”
Why is all this relevant? Well, for the same reason the historic 1957 mafia summit held at the home of gangster, Joseph Barbara, in upstate New York is so intriguing. [The gathering became known as the Apalachin Meeting, where an estimated 100 mafioso from Italy, the US, and Cuba got together to discuss their illegal operations following the Albert Anastasia murder that October. Mafia tangent concluded.]
The group of wealthy campers deny any form of “worship”, as they are simply “revering the Redwoods.” Members claim the purpose is to escape the “frontier culture” (or common men). The Grove is a cool kids party where if you turn one way, you’ll see our nation’s haute monde including George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Kissinger, or Alan Greenspan, then take a look in another direction and you’d see the likes of Clint Eastwood, Jack London, Mark Twain, Calvin Coolidge, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover or Walter Cronkite (all members of the Grove).
The Bohemian Grove is the birthplace of the Manhattan Project in 1942, which lead to the atomic bomb. A privileged meeting with a roster of big hitters including, but not limited to S-1 executives from Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, General Electric and Standard Oil reps, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Richard Feynman.
The motto of the Grove is “weaving spiders, come not here.” Its a line from William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Nights Dream,” indicating the members ought not to worry about work or business matters while at the club. Vanity Fair reported there’s still an absurd waitlist (33 years as of 1989) to gain access, and once you get to the front of the line, the initiation fee is only $25,000.
University of California, Santa Cruz psychology and sociology professor emeritus, G. William Domhoff, has studied the Bohemian Grove extensively and describes it as “a place where the powerful relax, enjoy each others company, and get to know some of the artists, entertainers, and professors who are included to give the occasion a thin veneer of cultural and intellectual pretension.”
I’m sure we’re all aware Alex Jones has a few screws loose, but his 1 1/2 hour Bohemian Grove escapade is video documented and worth a watch at 2x speed: Bohemian Grove – Alex Jones