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It’s often said that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, yet Brother XII’s spiritual power took that maxim one step further. His spiritual magnetism, charisma and intensity was impossible for women to resist. Many fell in love with him, including Myrtle Wells Baumgartner, the wife of a New York doctor, who became twice pregnant in an attempt to give birth to his successor. Her dreams revealed that they were lovers in ancient Egypt and her mystical nature fused perfectly with his. When outraged Foundation members assailed him for marital infidelity, since he already had a wife, he declared there was a higher purpose to their union: “You cannot judge of this matter as though it were an ordinary personal delinquency. It is nothing of the kind. It is not self-gratification. It is self-immolation on the part of those who would give their bodies to be burned that we may bear witness to the Truth.”

Yet in his progressive descent, Brother XII abandoned Myrtle for another paramour, a manipulative and sinister adept of ritual magic named Mabel Skottowe. She called herself Madame Z and strode about the settlement berating malingerers with her vituperative tongue. “She is my eyes, my ears, my mouth,” Brother XII declared to the colony members. “Whatever she says, you are to take as coming from me.” Z brutally enforced Brother XII’s edicts and many of the disciples came to fear and despise her, though she and Brother XII remained inseparable, undergoing their own ritual marriage. Mary Connally invoked a Kipling aphorism to describe her: “The female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

Artist's impression of Madame Z from True magazine, July, 1955.

Madame Z Illustration