July 8, 2019 8:51 pm

Dark Poutine podcast recap: The Cult of Brother XII and his Treasure

Global's Paul Johnson has the story of B.C.'s forgotten cult leader, Brother XII, and the mystery surrounding his disappearance.

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On this week’s Canada Day episode of the Dark Poutine podcast, we look at the Aquarian Foundation and Brother XII.

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Brother XII was born Edward Arthur Wilson in Birmingham, England, into a religious family. He was a sailor who turned up in B.C. by the late 1920s. Believing he was in touch with an ancient Egyptian spirit who named him Brother XII, he created the Aquarian Foundation in 1927.

The group was building a new society centered around a home near Nanaimo and a compound on De Courcy Island. His writings on the occult drew wealthy followers from around the world with his promises of salvation through a coming apocalypse in exchange for loyalty and money. It is rumoured that Brother XII amassed a large fortune.

READ MORE: ‘He could look into your soul’: The bizarre mystery behind a B.C. cult leader and his missing gold

Misuse of the Foundation funds and an extramarital affair with a woman who he claimed was his soul mate led to the breakup of the colony. The Aquarian Foundation was legally dissolved in 1929, though he continued his work with the followers who had remained loyal to him during the crisis, as well as a number of new recruits, but further lust for power, sex and money corrupted the group, who, after scandals and cruel treatment turned on Brother XII.

He and a female follower he claimed to be his wife, absconded with some of the treasure that the group had amassed. However, many believe there are still millions of dollars worth of Brother XII’s gold hidden somewhere in the area.

Sources:
The Brother XII Affair
Books by Brother XII on Amazon
BrotherXII.com  and the book Brother XII by John Oliphant
CBC – The Dream of Brother XII
Atlas Obscura entry about Brother XII
Theosophy.org – About Theosophy
Book – Canadian Mysteries of the Unexplained
Documentary – The Canadians: Brother Twelve

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