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Flat Earther Busted in Masonic Arson Spree
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Shutterstock Less than an hour after three Masonic lodges burned in Vancouver, Canada, a suspect appeared to appreciate the flames: “I just cleaned three satanic clubhouses and no one could do anything,” wrote Ben Kohlman continue Facebook on Tuesday morning. Kohlman, 42, has been charged with arson in one of the three flames and is expected to face similar charges in the attacks on the other two buildings, the Vancouver Sun reported. And although police have not announced a motive for the arson, Kohlman’s Facebook page contains anti-Masonic attacks shared from conspiracy sites, particularly sites on flat earth theory. The incident wouldn’t even be the first time in recent years that it concerns an apartment. More tried to burn down a Masonic lodge. An Australian flat earth convention went off the rails in 2018 when an organizer was charged with the same crime. When a Flat-Earther refused to admit and all hell broke, LooseFlat-dwellers believed – wrongly – that the planet was shaped like a disk and that these malevolent creatures tried to trick people into believing they lived on a globe. But the conspiracy movement has failed to reach a consensus on who exactly is behind the shameful conspiracy. While some shallow earth dwellers blame the government or invoke anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, others falsely accuse Freemasons (a fraternal society) of hiding the true shape of the earth. Conspiracy theories about groups like Freemasons are not without consequence. The group was falsely accused of having secret plans that led to the persecution of the Freemasons by the Nazi regime. During this time, fascists combined the brotherhood with Judaism to claim a “Judeo-Masonic” conspiracy. Mark Sargent, a prominent Earthman who does not do arson attorney, told The Daily Beast that Freemasons had caught the attention of some Flat Earthers because the group had a reputation for being a secret society while continuing to have a public presence. “A large part of the Flat Earth members are anchored in the general conspiracy world, which means that they are always informed about various societies that have been accused of keeping world secrets,” Sargent told The Daily Beast via email. “I feel bad for the masons because they are by far the most public of the secret societies. The lodges in the United States, for example, are usually large, stone, easily recognizable buildings and are located in just about every city you can think of. “Also easy to spot were the three buildings in the Vancouver area, all of which burned in the beginning hours of March 30th. Although no one was injured, one building was completely destroyed. About 40 minutes after the last fire, Kohlman wrote his Facebook post boasting about “cleaning satanic clubhouses,” CTV News reported for the first time. As of Thursday, it was unclear whether Kohlman, who was arrested in Burnaby, had a lawyer. Kohlman’s Facebook featured several recent attacks on Freemasons, including a post from a flat-earth meme page that falsely implied that the small fraternal organization actually controlled the world’s big tech companies, or that they were involved in conspiracies to help people Vaccinations harm. He has also repeatedly promoted a large flat-earth Facebook group and is a Facebook friend of Mak Parhar, a prominent Canadian flat-earther. Parhar, who did not return a request for comment, made headlines in 2020 when his yoga studio closed after it closed, falsely claiming that yoga could cure COVID-19. He soon became the subject of a criminal investigation after filming himself entering the COVID-19 area of a hospital. Parhar was finally arrested in November after allegedly traveling to the US for a flat-earth conference and not quarantining after returning to Canada. (Currently he’s battling the case with a false legal theory that he doesn’t have to obey certain laws or pay taxes.) Incredibly, Tuesday’s arson wasn’t the first time a Flat Earther was accused of burning a Masonic lodge . As CNET reported at the time, a fire in the lodge in 2018 turned Australia’s first attempt at a flat earth conference on its head. While the conference was still in the planning stages, the two organizers reportedly got into an argument that caused one (nicknamed “Tigger”) to get drunk and set fire to a Masonic lodge. “Tigger just lost the conspiracy,” his co-organizer told CNET earlier this year. “He tried to burn down a Masonic Lodge and was arrested.” In reality, the incident could have been worse. Tigger allegedly doused the door with a fast-burning fuel that burned out before it could spread to the rest of the building, his employee said. (Tigger confirmed to CNET the widespread attacks in the incident, blaming the arson for the arson.) The Masonic Lodge in question posted on Facebook that they had witnessed an attack, but members did not know if the arsonist was angry about their specific buildings or Masons in general. “We have no idea why he carried out this act,” the lodge told CNET. “It would be nice to know why.” In Canada, a Masonic organization condemned the fires. Dave Goddard, spokesman for the Grand Lodge of BC and Yukon in the area, told CTV News that Freemasons were not what Kohlman appeared to believe. “We as Freemasons do not externally express hatred of anyone,” said Goddard. “This person obviously has problems to deal with.” Read more at The Daily Beast. Do you have a tip? Submit it to The Daily Beast here. Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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