The Knights Templar, for instance, are a
perennial object of fascination and speculation. Whether the Templars were
the inspiration for the no less controversial Freemasons, a band of depraved
heretics or the innocent victims of a conspiracy born of greed and envy
remains a topic of lively debate.
Even a dubious organization like
the Priory of Sion can be shown to have had
a genuine, if recent, existence, though its claims to centuries of tradition
and hidden influence remain unsubstantiated. But there are other groups
which seem to exist only in that gray zone between reality and imagination,
ones whose origins, number, scope and purpose remain maddeningly vague.
It most often is mentioned as a Japanese secret society, but that is not necessarily the whole story. Other evidence, or at least allegation, argues that its true origins lay in China or Tibet and that its influence extended to the power centers of Tsarist Russia and Nazi Germany.
Historical figures from the Emperor Hirohito, to Adolf Hitler to Rasputin have been tied to the Green Dragon, legitimately or not. The waters have been further muddied by role-playing games which have combined the Society with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos and other fictional elements.
Determining what is "real" and what is the
playful figment of someone’s imagination can be tricky.
The BDS first appeared about 1901 and was an offshoot of another, older Japanese secret society, the Black Ocean or Genyosha. Like its parent, the Black Dragon was a militant, "ultra-nationalist" body which worked to expand Imperial Japan’s influence on the Asian mainland.
The BDS initially concentrated on combating Russian interests in the vast Chinese province of Manchuria. Indeed, the Society took its name from the "Black Dragon" or Amur River which separated Manchuria and Siberia.
The Black Dragon’s network of spies and
saboteurs took an active part in the subsequent Russo-Japanese War (1904-05)
and the Black Dragons later expanded their operations and influence
throughout Asia and Europe and even the Americas.
He reputedly was steeped in "extreme Eastern religious beliefs." 1
That suggests the mysticism and occultism
attributed the Green Dragon Society. Might the scheming and secretive Toyama
have played a guiding role in both societies?
If the Black Dragon Society was primarily
anti-Russian in its focus, might the Green Dragon have been anti-Chinese or
anti-Western? While the Black Dragon focused on the political side, did the
Green deal with the more secretive occult realm?
She recalls that her husband contemplated a,
Thus, in Chiang’s mind at least, the two Dragons
were entirely separate (though not necessarily unrelated), Japanese, and
appropriate models for secret intelligence gathering.
As such, it basically functioned as an extension of the Imperial Army’s "special organ," the Tokumu Kikan. Not to be outdone in anything, the Japanese Imperial Navy maintained its own secret service, the Joho Kyoko.
Just as the Army utilized the Black Dragon to augment or handle its "special needs," might the Navy have used the Green Dragon in the same way?
It is not insignificant that Ravenscroft was a follower of Anthroposophy and its founder Rudolf Steiner, and his book is a distinctly Anthroposophist take on the nefarious occult forces behind Hitler and his Nazi Regime. Ravenscroft firmly connects the Green Dragon to German geo-politician and mystic Karl Haushofer, one of Hitler’s presumed spiritual mentors.
According to Ravenscroft, Professor Haushofer,
Ravenscroft adds that,
The major problem with all this is that Ravenscroft’s sources are hazy or non-existent.
He likely took a cue from the 1960 work of Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier, The Morning of the Magicians.
Those authors claim that Haushofer,
Assuming this to be an allusion to the above
GDS, we are still faced with the lack of any identifiable source for the
The latter were, in fact, the "Adepts of Agharti and Schamballah" and their leader was a mysterious "Man with the Green Gloves." 6
It also turns out that the Green Dragons and the
Green Men had "been in astral communication for hundreds of years."
7 The united brethren soon established communication with the
rising Herr Hitler.
While fascinating, such assertions appear not to
have any basis in hard fact.
He was no Tibetan but, of all things, a Jew who
went under the name of Erik Jan Hanussen. When he became inconvenient
by accurately predicting the Reichstag Fire (or arranging it), his erstwhile
Nazi pals killed him.9
More to the point, perhaps, a Japanese Buddhist monk named Ekai Kawaguchi made two visits to Tibet in the years before World War I, around the same time Haushofer was in Tokyo.
On the surface, Kawaguchi seemed a simple religious devotee, but he is known to have had contact with at least one Japanese secret agent while in the Land of Eternal Snows, Narita Yasuteru, as well as an operative of British Indian intelligence.11
Kawaguchi also had links to Annie Besant and her Theosophist sect, another group accused of subversion and general skullduggery.12
More significantly, Kawaguchi was a devotee of
More recent sources emphasise the Green Dragon’s
intimate association with Zen, specifically its Soto branch, and claim that
the "Green Dragon has had a tradition of secret propagation," whatever
Interestingly, his main place of enlightenment was the Green Dragon Temple in Xian where he was trained in occult, tantric traditions originating in Tibet. Returning to Japan, Kukai incorporated these into his version of True Land (Shingon) Buddhism.15
The problem is that Shingon was and is quite
distinct from Zen, so which, if either, is connected to the Green Dragon?
One version of the Chinese Green Dragon’s history pegs it as a Taoist secret society formed in response to the 17th century persecutions launched by the Jesuit-influenced Emperor Kiang Hsi.
According to this, the secret society emerged from the Pure Thought Mystical School of Tao, and along with an implacable hatred for the Manchu Dynasty, it remained dedicated to the,
That sounds a bit like what Ravenscroft described.
The Green Dragon also reputedly operated under numerous aliases and disguises. A secretive and even sinister Green Dragon Society also shows up in at least two martial arts films: ‘The Deadly Sword’ (1978) and ‘Seven Promises’ (1980).
Finally, a Green Society or Green Gang was (and
arguably still is) a major force in the Chinese underworld.
Strangest of all, perhaps, is a 2004 article from the South China Morning Post which describes the recent arrest of three members of the "Green Dragon Temple Cult" on charges of running a prostitution ring.18
The female victims were assured a place in heaven if they earned enough money for the cult.
It is almost certainly the source for much of what he and others have had to say about the GDS since. The work in question is the 1933 Les Sept Tetes du Dragon Vert ["The Seven Heads of the Green Dragon" ] by Teddy Legrand.
The title evokes the dragon with "seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads" mentioned in Revelations 12:3, although that beast is red, not green.
At first glance the book seems to be just an
obscure piece of French pulp fiction, albeit one replete with real people
and real events along with many invented ones.
An interesting detail is that these secretive conspirators number precisely 72 and were, presumably, the "72 unknown superiors" of conspiratorial legend.19
To achieve its nefarious aim, the Green Dragon generates war, revolution and chaos, and its hand is the unseen common denominator in such seemingly disparate events as,
All in all, the Green Dragon sounds like another
version of the infamous
haunt so many conspiracy theories.
The "Two Z’s" were the interlocking arms
of the Swastika.
He had already starred in a series of pot-boiler spy novels by French writer Charles Lucieto, and the latest was an effort to continue the franchise after Lucieto’s recent death. Interestingly, Lucieto was a retired spy, having served the French secret service in World War I.
He liked to claim that his Nobody and similar
yarns were roman-a-clefs which revealed true, if hidden aspects of recent
history and current events. His publishers later implied that this had
something to do with his untimely demise.
That has led to the claim that the latter "inspired" or even directed his literary efforts as it had his predecessor’s.21
More importantly, perhaps, he was a self-proclaimed expert on the occult. Some years later, under the name Werner Gerson, he would author one of the first books on Nazi occultism.22 Mariel himself was a member of both the Freemasonic Martinist Order and a one-time French grand master of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC).23
Interestingly, in Les Sept Tetes… Mariel
the Martinist Order as a conspiratorial
sect which played a behind-the-scenes role in the French Revolution and
later political upheavals, and which just might have links to the mysterious
The chief object of fascination is an icon on St. Seraphim, supposedly found on the Tsarina Alexandra’s body, which bears a puzzling inscription, in English:
They quickly determine that the first element, which is accompanied by a six point "kabbalistic" symbol, stands for "Superieur Inconnu, Maitre Philippe" [Unknown Superior, Master Philippe], a French Martinist mystic who was an early guru to the Tsarina Alexandra.26
They also note the Tsarina’s predilection for
the "Tibetan" Swastika as a good luck symbol. The rest of the story
follows the duo’s efforts to discover who or what constitutes the Green
Interestingly, Colonel Stanislaus de Lazovert, one of the men later involved in the plot to kill the dissolute holy man, claimed that Rasputin was a member of the "Green Hand," a secret order presumably backed by Russia’s Austrian enemies.28
Most recently and reliably, Russian investigator
Oleg Shishkin linked Rasputin’s mysterious friends to a Berlin-inspired
conspiracy which included German occult lodges and members of the
ethnic-German Baltic nobility. Their secret brotherhood, Baltikum, used a
green swastika as its symbol.
Bautenas turns out to have been a very real
person: an ex-adherent of Baltikum, a close ally of Lithuanian politico
Augustine Valdemaras and leader of the fascistic Iron Wolf movement.
He also drops Gurdjieff’s and Besant’s names in
the same murky mess.
Legrand and Nobody enlist the aid of one of their old antagonists, Jewish-born "international spy" I.T. Trebitsch-Lincoln, whom has transformed himself into the Tibetan lama Dordji Den.
Here again, there is at least a kernel of truth;
in 1931 the chameleon-like Trebitsch was ordained a Buddhist monk and became
"the Venerable Chao Kung." 30
Was this the "control of the life forces" mentioned by Ravenscroft? Like a living statue, "not a muscle in his face moved" as the weird seer conversed in "excellent Oxford English." Nobody and friend finally realise that they are standing face-to-face with "one of those famous Greens."
The description has led one recent author,
Christian von Nidda, to conclude that the Greens were nothing less than
The true purpose of the Russian Revolution, he believed, was to destroy Europe’s eastern barrier against Asiatic intrusion.
Mariel sensed a kind of,
When the time came, the conspirators would
"substitute him" [the Man of the Two Z’s] as a means of bringing about
We are still left to wonder whether, if all the exaggeration, obfuscation, superstitious dread and outright lies were cleared aside, there would be anything there at all.