Martin John Short (22 September 1943 – 27 August 2020) was a British TV documentary producer and author. He is best known for his exposés on organized crime and on Freemasonry.
After reading history at Cambridge University, Short worked from 1969 to 1984 on major current affairs programmes for the ITV companies Thames Television, Granada and London Weekend Television (on the Lebanon) and for Channel 4's Dispatches series (on the international arms trade). In 1998 he presented Charlie Richardson and the British Mafia for Longshot Productions and Channel 4. Short has also completed a television series based on his 1989 book Inside the Brotherhood (Further Secrets of the Freemasons), for the ITV network with Twenty Twenty Television and Granada.
As a result of his work on Freemasonry, Short made an extended appearance on Channel 4's After Dark television discussion series, and in 1989 was praised by then Labour MP Max Madden in his UK House of Commons Early Day Motions numbers 672and 673.
Short wrote, produced and narrated the prize winningITV documentary series on the Mafia in America, Crime Incorporated. To accompany the series he also wrote Crime Inc.: A History of Organized Crime in America. In addition to feature articles for The Times, The Spectator, New Statesman, Punch and Time Out, he co-authored (in 1977) The Fall of Scotland Yard about police corruption in London.
Freemasonry or Masonry consists of fraternal organisations that trace their origins to the local fraternities of stonemasons that from the end of the 14th century regulated the qualifications of stonemasons and their interaction with authorities and clients. Freemasonry has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories throughout the years. Modern Freemasonry broadly consists of two main recognition groups:
The history of Freemasonry encompasses the origins, evolution and defining events of the fraternal organisation known as Freemasonry. It covers three phases. Firstly, the emergence of organised lodges of operative masons during the Middle Ages, then the admission of lay members as "accepted" masons or speculative masons, and finally the evolution of purely speculative lodges, and the emergence of Grand Lodges to govern them. The watershed in this process is generally taken to be the formation of the first Grand Lodge in London in 1717. The two difficulties facing historians are the paucity of written material, even down to the 19th century, and the misinformation generated by masons and non-masons alike from the earliest years.
William Morgan was a resident of Batavia, New York, whose disappearance and presumed murder in 1826 ignited a powerful movement against the Freemasons, a fraternal society that had become influential in the United States. After Morgan announced his intention to publish a book exposing Freemasonry's secrets, he was arrested on trumped-up charges. He disappeared soon after, and was believed to have been kidnapped and killed by Masons from western New York.
Masonic conspiracy theories are conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry; hundreds of such conspiracy theories have been described since the late 18th century. Usually, these theories fall into three distinct categories: political, religious, and cultural. Many conspiracy theories have connected the Freemasons with worship of the devil; these ideas are based on different interpretations of the doctrines of those organizations.
The relationship between Mormonism and Freemasonry began early in the life Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, as his older brother Hyrum and possibly his father were Freemasons while the family lived near Palmyra, New York. In the late 1820s, the western New York region was swept with anti-Masonic fervor.
The United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) is the governing Masonic lodge for the majority of freemasons in England, Wales and the Commonwealth of Nations. Claiming descent from the Masonic grand lodge formed 24 June 1717 at the Goose & Gridiron Tavern in London, it is considered to be the oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in the world. Together with the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, they are often referred to by their members as "the home Grand Lodges" or "the Home Constitutions".
Prince Hall Freemasonry is a branch of North American Freemasonry for African Americans founded by Prince Hall on September 29, 1784. There are two main branches of Prince Hall Freemasonry: the independent State Prince Hall Grand Lodges, most of which are recognized by Regular Masonic jurisdictions, and those under the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge. Prince Hall Freemasonry is the oldest and largest predominantly African-American fraternity in the nation.
Anti-Masonry is "avowed opposition to Freemasonry". However, there is no homogeneous anti-Masonic movement. Anti-Masonry consists of radically differing criticisms from sometimes incompatible groups who are hostile to Freemasonry in some form.
The Grand Lodge of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons of Scotland is the governing body of Freemasonry in Scotland. It was founded in 1736. About one third of Scotland's lodges were represented at the foundation meeting of the Grand Lodge.
While many Christian denominations take no stance on or openly acknowledge and allow Freemasonry, some are outwardly opposed to it, and either discourage or outright prohibit their members from joining the fraternity.
A number of governments have treated Freemasonry as a potential source of opposition due to its secret nature and international connections. After the founding of modern speculative Masonry in England in 1717, several Protestant states restricted Masonic lodges: the Netherlands banned the lodge in 1735; Sweden and Geneva, in 1738; Zurich, in 1740; and Berne, in 1745. Catholic Spain, Portugal, France and Italy attempted to suppress Freemasonry after 1738. Bavaria followed in 1784; Austria, in 1795; Baden, in 1813; Russia, in 1822. It was also banned in Pakistan in 1972.
Freemasonry has had a complex relationship with women, which can be readily divided into many phases with no demonstrable relationship to each other until the 20th century. A few women were involved in Freemasonry before the 18th century; however the first printed constitutions of the Premier Grand Lodge of England appeared to bar them from the Craft forever.
The Illuminati is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1 May 1776 in Bavaria, today part of Germany. The society's goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. "The order of the day," they wrote in their general statutes, "is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them." The Illuminati—along with Freemasonry and other secret societies—were outlawed through edict by Charles Theodore, Elector of Bavaria with the encouragement of the Catholic Church, in 1784, 1785, 1787, and 1790. In the following several years, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed that they continued underground and were responsible for the French Revolution.
Christopher L. Hodapp is an American author and filmmaker, noted for his writings about Freemasonry, fraternalism, the Knights Templar, secret societies and conspiracy theories. He is the founding editor in chief of the Journal of The Masonic Society., and Associate Director of the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana.
Freemasonry in Denmark was first established in 1743 and is today represented by a number of Grand Lodges. The oldest and biggest Masonic Grand Lodge in Denmark is the Danish Order of Freemasons, in English also known as the Grand Lodge of Denmark.
The New Welcome Lodge, No. 5139, is a British Masonic Lodge open to all men working in the Palace of Westminster. At its founding, membership was limited to Labour Party Members of Parliament, but its scope was broadened soon after. The lodge is alleged to have influenced the outcome of the 1935 Labour Party leadership election.
Freemasonry in Romania traces its origins to the eighteenth century. Following an intricate history, all organised Freemasonry in the country ceased during the Communist era, although some lodges continued to operate in exile overseas. Freemasonry returned to Romania in the 1990s.
Todd E. Creason is an American author of both fiction and non-fiction, who writes primarily on the topic of Freemasonry. An active Freemason, Creason is best known as the author of the Famous American Freemasons series.
The Gallery Lodge is one of two Masonic lodges within the UK Parliament. The core of its membership are journalists accredited to Parliament. It is the only lodge that is exclusively for journalists.
Freemasonry in Scotland in Lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland comprises the Scottish Masonic Constitution as regular Masonic jurisdiction for the majority of freemasons in Scotland. There are also Lodges operating under the Scottish Masonic Constitution in countries outside of Scotland. Many of these are countries linked to Scotland and the United Kingdom through the Commonwealth of Nations and prior colonies and other settlements of the British Empire although there are several lodges in countries such as Lebanon, Belgium, Chile and Peru, which do not have such connections.