Crazy old Pat Robertson has a theory about the Haitian earthquake:
"And you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon the Third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And so the devil said, 'O.K., it's a deal.' "
I love that "true story" bit. Pat sounds like the Bottled Head of Nixon on Futurama
But I'd prefer to get my wacky history from someone who knows his chronology. That weirdly lovable scalawag Louis Napoleon was elected President of France in 1848. Not wanting to give up the gig, he staged a coup in December of 1851 and was crowned emperor in 1852, in a ceremony no-one really wanted to attend because it was all so very vulgar. The first Napoleon became emperor in 1804. The Haitian revolution broke out in 1791, when France was still a monarchy, although just barely. (Louis XVI did not officially lose power until the summer of 1792.)
Just last night, as it happens, I read a chapter by A.E. Waite ("Wisdom-while-you-Waite" to un-fans of his writing style) on The Saviors of Louis XVII. That was a small but "buzzy" faction in 19th century French politics that wanted a return to the monarchy. Many of them were Naundorffists -- people who believed that the Dauphin (the heir to the throne) had survived in the person of one Karl Wilhelm Naundorff, who had a record for counterfeiting and arson but still thought he'd make a really good king. (His family is still pressing
Naundorff was something of whack-job mystic, and so were many of his followers. Two of the leading "saviors" were Eugene Vintras and the defrocked priest Boullan, both accused of some rather extreme practices -- including child sacrifice, sex magic, devouring excrement and the classic old-school black mass, as seen in any number of those wonderful old Hammer horror movies. In fact, there were thaumaturges and mystagogues lurking around the goofball right-wing of French politics all the way up through Vichy. And maybe today.
My point is this: By Robertson's logic (if I may call it logic), the earthquake should have happened in France. That's where the devil stuff actually took place. Not Haiti.
(Huysmans once described such a ceremony, which he had reputedly witnessed. Oooh, scary!)
Incidentally, as the Haitian ambassador
has noted, the revolution in Haiti led directly to the Louisiana purchase. The devil works in mysterious ways, eh wot? For the real
history of Haiti, go here
: France and the U.S. were the true devils.
On a serious note: Please donate to Haitian relief. I have a link in the upper right-hand corner. Any charity endorsed by Bill Clinton is trustworthy.