250-Year-Old Code Gets Cracked

For more than 200 years, this book concealed the arcane rituals of an ancient order. But cracking the code only deepened the mystery. The master wears an amulet with a blue eye in the center. Before him, a candidate kneels in the candlelit room, surrounded by microscopes and surgical implements. The year is roughly 1746. The initiation has begun. The master places a piece of paper in front of the candidate and orders him to put on a pair of eyeglasses. ‘Read,’ the master commands. The candidate squints, but it’s an impossible task. The page is blank. The candidate is told not to panic; there is hope for his vision to improve. The master wipes the candidate’s eyes with a cloth and orders preparation for the surgery to commence. He selects a pair of tweezers from the table. The other members in attendance raise their candles. The master starts plucking hairs from the candidate’s eyebrow. This is a ritualistic procedure; no flesh is cut. But these are ‘symbolic actions out of which none are without meaning,’ the master assures the candidate. The candidate places his hand on the master’s amulet. Try reading again, the master says, replacing the first page with another. This page is filled with handwritten text. Congratulations, brother, the members say. Now you can see.” w/ photos

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