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There's a Really Good Reason why the headquarters for the most powerful military force in the world is shaped like an occult Masonic symbol. No, really!

You see, the shape of the building makes for an incredibly efficient space. According to the United States Department of Defense, the building's current tenant, you can walk from any one point in the Pentagon to any other point in seven minutes or less.

Which is a really interesting statistic, especially delivered in a vacuum. How long does it take to get from any point in the Sears Tower to any other point, for instance? Does anyone know? I thought not. Granted, you need an elevator to do it, but still. If pentagonal shapes are the most efficient in the world, why aren't there pentagons on every corner?

No, no, I'm afraid a world-shattering Occult-Masonic-Demonic Conspiracy is the only explanation that holds up to the cold, harsh scrunity of the unwavering rational intellect.

But first, the official story of the U.S. military command center, so you'll at least know what the sinister puppet masters want you to believe.

The Pentagon was built in a big hurry, starting in July 1941 with a proposal written by General Brehon B. Sommervell, who (rather shockingly) does not appear to have been a Freemason, on orders from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the U.S. who was a 33rd degree intiated Mason inaugurated in 1933 (conspiracy).

Construction of the Pentagon began on, and you'll love this, September 11, 1941, exactly 60 years to the day before you-know-what. Tell me that's not a conspiracy of some sort!

The construction was remarkably swift and efficient for government work (conspiracy), partly because World War II conveniently broke out just three months after construction started (conspiracy). The building was ready for occupancy by April 1942 (although it wasn't quite complete for several months more).

The original five-sided design was allegedly concocted to allow for a pre-existing road on the property selected for the building. But when Roosevelt authorized the construction of the Pentagon, he moved it to another site a mile away while retaining the five-sides (conspiracy).

The new site was, to put it charitably, inconvenient (conspiracy). In fact, it was a submerged swampland. The government had to move 5.5 million tons of earth to the site in order to be able to build anything there in the first place (conspiracy).

Had Roosevelt been thinking ahead, he would have realized that triva like this could fuel scurrilous speculation of Masonic conspiracies (conspiracy) for years to come. But maybe that's what he wanted us to think he was thinking. Wait, I'm getting lost here...

OK, better get back to the facts. The exterior of the building is made of limestone, the interior of concrete. In order to distract Americans from the fact that the entire building is, in the final analysis, devoted to killing people, the Defense Department offers up a dazzling array of numerical trivia points

The Pentagon is a white five-sided building with five floors each made up of five concentric pentagons, separated by five interior courtyards with the fifth being a five-acre courtyard in the middle. It's 77.3 feet tall and 77 million cubic feet in volume, housing about 23,000 employees. It has 131 stairways and 13 elevators. It's covered by 7 acres of glass windows.

As you can plainly see, the building was designed by either some sort of brilliant occult numerologist, or possibly by a demented architect with a fixation on religious symbolism. Either way, it's a lot of fives (sacred pentagons, pentagrams, number associated with Satan) and sevens (number of God), with the ones and threes (symbolic of the trinity) thrown in for good measure. Whether or not it was actually intended to some massive occult-power-control-spooky-demon totem, it sure would be great for that purpose.

The Pentagon served as headquarters for the War Department on its launch in 1942, which was later rechristened the National Military Establishment in 1947, and then the Department of Defense in 1949. (Fortunately, someone stepped in before the no-good peaceniks could rename it the Department of Reluctant Defense As A Last Resort, the Department of You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry, or the Department of Love and Flowers.)

Aside from the prosecution of war, you'd be surprised at how little officially goes on at the Pentagon. Officially. Although, technically, some orders originate from the building, not to mention reams of paperwork , and guys like Donald Rumsfeld do hang their hats inside, the main action is almost always happening somewhere else, be it Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Evil-Doer to-be-announced-later.

Or that's how it was up until September 11, 2001.

It's possible you may have heard about what happened on that day, but in case it slipped your attention, four airliners were hijacked by the al Qaeda terrorist network. Two were crashed into the World Trade Center, one crashed in Pennsylvania after the passengers rose up against the hijackers, and one hit the Pentagon. Or so they say.

Which is as good as jumping-off point for the trip to Crazyland as anything. Now, it can hardly come as any great surprise that a massive pentagram-shaped white stone icon housing the top-secret heart of the military-industrial complex would engender a certain amount of healthy and imaginative theorizing (especially if you've been carefully reading up until now). It's like the pyramid on the dollar bill. Why even put it there unless you want people to talk?

The most popular recent conspiracy theory about the Pentagon has to do with the September 11 attack, which has inspired an entire generation to endlessly dissect the minutia of that day's video barrage, as a defense mechanism against thinking about the actual implications of such a disastrous and successful terrorist attack.

Rather than worry about the wave of militant fundamentalism that is actually sweeping the world with apocalyptic fervor, it's understandably easier to fixate on the small details, especially when those details suggest a massive yet conceptually simple conspiracy that comfortingly obscures the difficult dangers of the real world.

So, for instance, there's a French guy named Thierry Meyssan who has made a cottage industry out of suggesting that a missile hit the Pentagon on September 11, rather than American Airlines Flight 77, which is what They want you to believe.

The major basis for these claims can be summed up thusly: "It's obvious that a crashing 757 wouldn't cause the kind of damage that is clearly visible in pictures of the Pentagon."

The problem with this reasoning is fairly obvious: There is not a large body of data on what happens when you crash a 757 into a large concrete pentagon-shaped building. In fact, there's no data at all concerning what happens when you crash a 757 into a large concrete pentagon-shaped building except, presumably, the very pictures that the author is summarily dismissing.

So let's chalk this one up to "doubtful," and get back to the juicier Masonic stuff. There's still the matter of the giant occult symbol built by Freemasons to protect the heart of the nation's defenses. You'd think this would be less credible than the French conspiracy theory, but that's the way life is, full of curve balls when you least expect them.

As endless Web sites and self-published books will point out to you, there are rather a lot of pentagram-type shapes in the layout of Washington, D.C. Most of the authors will assure you that this is the result of a Masonic conspiracy.

Whether conspiracy or simply a quirk of urban planning, the fact is that you can trace fairly credible pentagram shapes over a map of the D.C. area. leaves it to you to decide the occult significance of this fact, or lack thereof. But consider the following:

The first image is an unretouched U.S. Geological Service satellite photo of Washington, D.C. The second image shows the devil pentagram with the tip at the Washington Monument (allegedly a Masonic-phallic totem) and the corners corresponding to the street layout. The arrow drawn through the center point of the Pentagon points to the general direction of the White House.

Now, the first problem with all this, from an occultist's point of view, is that you have to muck up the geometrically correct occult pentagram in order to make it do anything interesting. The most common way that conspiracy lovers do this is to mush up the pentagram so that it originates over the White House. The effect of this alteration is that the points of the central pentagon can be made to terminate at three Washington circles which each have six streets protruding from them. 6-6-6. Very nifty.

The downside of this is that the resulting pentagram is no longer a geometrically correct Satanic pentagram. Nor is it a particularly good Masonic pentagram. And while the arrow going through the Pentagon then points fairly well to the lower tip of the pentagram when viewing the map, the arrow is actually several thousand feet off when you drop from the orbital satellite point of view to actually look at where it lands on the ground.

Make of this what you will. It's interesting, and the pent shape is pretty visible, even if it doesn't spell out a 6-6-6. And let's face it, the whole damn idea of the Pentagon is pretty creepy anyway. And it all comes back to France, anyway, because the street layout was designed by a French guy named Pierre Charles L'Enfante, a Mason, who was commissioned to design the government center by George Washington, a Mason.

When you mix up the 9/11 theory with the occult symbol theory, you get something a little extra-special creepy. If the Pentagon is an occult powerhouse that holds the nation together, and al Qaeda blew it up on its 60th anniversary (while simultaneously creating the world's biggest enactment of "The Falling Tower" disaster card from the Tarot deck), then maybe Osama bin Laden is actually an evil Masonic sorceror who just killed the secret magickal spell that has held the United States together lo these many years.

Or, um, maybe not.

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