- Who--or more precisely, what--is "the Fayette Factor?"
It's probably one of the strangest mysteries in American Forteana, first
discovered by researcher Bill Grimstad back in 1977. Namely, a surprisingly
high incidence of paranormal events linked to places named after one of
the USA's Founding Fathers--the Marquis de Lafayette. According to Grimstad,
"Lafayette traveled widely in this country (USA) and doubtless must
have been the inspiration for many or most of the 18-odd counties and 28
towns and cities across the land that I have been able to find with some
form of his name." Marie-Joseph Paul Roch de Motier, Marquis de Lafayette,
was born in 1757. His father, a French Army officer, was killed in the
battle of Minden in 1759, and the marquis was brought up by his mother's
prestigious family, the de Noailles.
- At the age of 18, he traveled to the Americas at his
own expense and became an aide to General George Washington, who loved
him like a son. By the end of the War of the American Revolution, Lafayette
commanded the Continental Army in Virginia. That's the Lafayette every
American schoolboy knows. But, as researcher Manly Palmer Hall has pointed
out, the marquis had ties to the esoteric groups of the late Eighteenth
Century. "In addition to his political pursuits," Grimstad wrote,
"Lafayette was busily involved in certain circles that should be of
interest to contemporary Illuminati buffs." According to Manly Palmer
Hall, Lafayette was an associate of both Dr. Anton Mesmer, "the Father
of Hypnotism," and Giuseppe Balsamo, better known as Cagliostro, a
Sicilian sorcerer who was an acolyte of Adam Weishaupt's Illuminati. Hall
wrote, "In 1785, the Marquis...joined the Egyptian Masonry of Cagliostro
and proclaimed his absolute confidence in the 'Grand Cophte.' (One of Balsamo's
many titles--J.T.) When Anton Mesmer arrived from Vienna with his theories
of animal magnetism, Lafayette was one of his first customers." Grimstad
adds, "But Lafayette also had the closest ties with Benjamin Franklin,
the American revolutionary sage (and member of (Sir Francis) Dashwood's
'Hell-Fire Club' in Britain (also known as the 'Medmenham Monks' of High
- As Hall puts it, 'Benjamin Franklin was a philosopher
and a Freemason--possibly a Rosicrucian initiate. He and the Marquis de
Lafayette-- also a man of mystery--constitute two of the most important
links that culminated in the establishment of the original thirteen American
colonies as a free and independent nation.'" "Lafayette, Hall
summarises, 'is a direct link between the (esoteric) political societies
of France and the young American government.'" (Editor's Comment:
Maybe one of our French readers could find out if any of Lafayette's ancestors
in either the de Motier or the de Noailles families ever had ties to the
Knights Templar or the Cathars.) How much of the marquis's involvement
in such matters was due to his deeply-held esoteric beliefs or to mere
socializing is something for historians of the future to determine. What's
of interest to Forteans is the uncanny number of paranormal incidents linked
to the name Lafayette. Grimstad has an impressive list.
- "In Fayette County, Alabama, is the Musgrove Methodist
Cemetery. The tombstone of one Robert L. Musgrove there bears a discoloration,
not especially realistic, that is locally believed to be the bridal- veiled
figure of Musgrove's fiancee. Apparently he was killed just before the
wedding, and the sorrowing girl" willed her image "onto the marble
by her many visits to the grave." (Editor's Comment: And I have to
wonder if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used this real-life case as the basis
for his Sherlock Holmes story, "The Musgrave Ritual.") "The
engima-laden state of Arkansas has two sites." "The city of Fayetteville,
in the northwest corner" of Arkansas, "has long been legendary
for oddities. UFOs and aerial lightshows, water monsters in the nearby
White River and Springheel Jack-type window peepers are among the manifestations."
- "In the southwest angle of Arkansas is a Bigfoot
hotspot that has been immortalised--in America, at least-- by the (1974)
movie The Legend of Boggy Creek. The critters have been known hereabouts
since 1856, centering their activities lately upon the town of Fouke in
Miller County and ranging eastward into Lafayette County." "In
the scenic Bluegrass area of Kentucky, the university city of Lexington
sits atop one of America's more dramatic lost cave stories. Historian G.W.
(George Washington) Ranck recorded in 1872 that hunters in 1776 had found
a tunnel behind a rock panel of 'peculiar workmanship' and covered with
hieroglyphics. The descending portal widened to a sort of gallery running
downward a few hundred feet to a huge underground room. Ranck cited the
hunters' reports that this chamber contained idols, altars and about 2,000
human mummies. Although the entrance to the amazing cavern was (of course--B.G.)
lost, there are still cave true-believers who poke about looking for the
weird mausoleum beneath this part of Fayette County." "Followers
of ghost lore may have heard of the recent (1976) antics of a supposed
phantom in Lilac Hill, a large old farmhouse at Fayette, Missouri. A number
of psychically-sensitive individuals have been trying to discern what is
troubling the alleged spirits, of whom there are said to be at least two."
- "In New York state, a farm near Cardiff, 10 miles
(16 kilometers) south of Syracuse, was the starting point in October 1869
for one of the more sensational fossil controversies. The 'Cardiff Giant'
is still displayed at museum near Cooperstown," and the weird stone
idol was found in a quarry near "the Nineteenth Century town of La
Fayette." Also, "it was in April of 1830 that the Church of Jesus
Christ of the Latter-Day Saints (also known as the Mormons--J.T.) was founded
by Joseph Smith and a few disciples, who claim to have received more than
a little help from certain angelic friends in the neighborhood. The place:
Fayette, New York." "Another haunted house story takes us to
an American state that perhaps rivals New York and Arkansas in the number
and interest of its anomalies. It also brings us back across the trail
of the peripatetic Marquis de Lafayette. This is the A.S. Slocumb Mansion,
located in the North Carolina city of Fayetteville. The Slocumb House is
supposed to have a number of special occupants. It also has, or had, a
secret vault in the basement and at least one tunnel leading to the Cape
Fear River channel." In 1977, the USA experienced one of the most
severe winters in its history. "As of February 3, 1977, the National
Weather Service announced that the 'hardest hit area' of the north-central
states region was Fayette County, Ohio."
- Bigfoot "became rather more aggressive on April
23, 1976 when it attempted to carry off a four-year-old boy from his backyard
on a farm in Tennessee. A sheriff's posse pursued the entity and seems
to have shot enough high-powered rifle fire into it to have felled King
Kong himself. However, as if tiring of the game, the creature finally leaped
out of its cul-de-sac and simply vanished. These events occurred within
a few miles of the hamlet called Fayetteville, Tennessee." "Now
I would like to consider some examples of a more ominous character,"
Grimstad wrote, "We find 'the Lafayette factor' in the Abraham Lincoln
assassination of the 1860s...A slippery character named Lafayette Baker
had been brought in to head the Secret Service by the enigmatic Edwin M.
Stanton, President Lincoln's arrogant Secretary of War. Otto Eisenschiml,
the pioneer revisionist historian of this amazingly crude murder conspiracy,
delved into the story as far as the surviving records would allow."
- "His findings suggest that Lafayette Baker and Stanton
had maneuvered to facilitate the escape into the South of assassin John
Wilkes Booth, and when that proved impossible (owing to Booth's broken
leg--J.T.) to ensure that the killer was not brought back and that his
evidently-incriminating diary did not survive intact." At the same
hour Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre, Secretary of State William Seward
"was attacked and savagely knifed by a deranged giant named Lewis
Paine, who had forced his way into the Seward home. This house fronted
upon Lafayette Square, just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House."
Residents of the District of Columbia sometimes refer to the area "as
'Tragedy Square.' No other section of Washington has had so much intrigue,
mystery, murder and macabre happenings as has the area directly opposite
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.'
- " The Fayette Factor has also come into play in
occult crimes, as well. "On July 3, 1977, 23-year-old Gary Rock was
charged on two counts of criminal homicide after two local volunteer firemen
were killed by a sniper while responding to a fire alarm at Rock's isolated
cabin, near Fayetteville, Pennsylvania." "On July 31, 1977, two
young people sitting in a parked car along the Brooklyn, New York seashore
were shot several times by a mysterious assailant who had become known
as 'the Son of Sam.' The girl, Stacy Moskowitz, died of her injuries; her
companion, Robert Violante, suffered eye damage. Miss Moskowitz was an
alumna of (Brooklyn's) Lafayette High School. When she and Violante were
shot, it was while they were sitting 'not far from Lafayette High School,'
according to the New York Times" of August 1, 1977, page 34-C. To
Grimstad's list, your editor can add one site which he has visited personally.
On Peirce Street in East Greenwich, Rhode Island is the General James Varnum
House. This fine old Georgian mansion was built in 1761, its grand opening
on the very day the Marquis de Lafayette turned four years old. During
the war, Lafayette was a frequent visitor to the Varnum House and visited
it yet again during his tour of the USA in 1826. Today the Varnum House
is notorious for its periodic ghost and poltergeist manifestations. It's
just all part of the enduring mystery we call "the Fayette Factor."
(See Fortean Times No. 25 for Spring 1978, "Fateful Fayette"
by Bill Grimstad, page 3; Why Was Lincoln Murdered? by Otto Eisenschiml,
Little, Brown & Co., Boston, Mass., 1937; America's Assignment with
Destiny by Manly Palmer Hall, Philosophical Research Society, Los Angeles,
Cal., 1951; and Weird America by Jim Brandon, E.P. Dutton Co., New York,
- From Loren Coleman
- Here are two more Fayette Factor items, a la'
- Fresh Fascination Focuses on the Fayette Factor
- Rocks Reportedly Thrown At Vehicles Along
- Police Search For Those Responsible
- Pittsburgh, PA
- FAYETTE COUNTY, Pa. -- State
police are looking for the people who threw rocks at vehicles along a Fayette
- The Ash family was driving home Saturday night along
Kreinbrook Hill Road in Bullskin Township when its sport utility vehicle
- A rock about the size of a baseball dented the roof,
the family said.
- Marian Ash said, "We thought maybe it was a rock
coming up from the wheel well. We were very fortunate that nobody was hurt."
- State police said another car was hit by another rock
about 10 minutes after the first one hit the SUV.
- Police continue to investigate.
- Green Goddess Takes A Dive In Fayette
- By Janell Bradley
- Courier Correspondent
- Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
- Waterloo-Cedar Falls, Iowa
- FAYETTE --- The green goddess
that reigned over Upper Iowa University survived a tornado in 1968 that
overpowered Northeast Iowa.
- But 40-50 mph wind gusts over the weekend apparently
wrestled the statue to the ground near Alexander-Dickman Hall.
- The incident occurred Saturday evening or early Sunday
morning, but no one has reported actually seeing what happened. University
students are on spring break, so few are on campus.
- The 9-foot tall, 250-pound goddess sustained damage on
her hand, and her face collapsed.
- Cliff Ozmun, assistant public relations director, said
the university will repair the statue, though just how that will be done
is still being investigated. The statue is made of copper, which requires
lower temperatures to mold than other metals.
- Formally named "Peace," the familiar green
goddess is actually one of six statues that once adorned the former Black
Hawk County Courthouse. The other five were called "Knowledge,"
"Justice," "Science," "Agriculture" and "Industry."
- Artist Robert De Glass created the figures. They were
placed atop the former courthouse in 1907. In 1963, that building was razed,
but the statues --- known locally as the Green Goddesses --- were spared.
- "Peace" was leased to Upper Iowa for $1. The
statue was placed on the dome of Alexander-Dickman Hall in 1964.
- Four of the other goddesses --- "Agriculture,"
"Justice," "History" and "Commerce" --- sit
on the edge of the River Plaza building in Waterloo. "Industry"
apparently was destroyed decades ago.