While shelving books in the library, a student worker came across what initially appeared to be a regular novel in the section near nation-states and the Anglosphere. Its title claimed to be Tess of the d’Urbervilles, written by Thomas Hardy – but when the student opened up the book, he found it to be a pageless and  hollowed-out fake.

Instead, the fake book served as a box containing a small stack of manila envelopes. Inside the envelopes were forms asking users to indicate their availability, objectives (the options were: discussion, spread messaging, projects, and brotherhood), interest in leadership positions, and topics of concern (the options were: post-democracy, nationalism, HBD, alternative right, cultural marxism, “The Cathedral,” and economic systems). The front of this form featured a design similar to the German Reichsadler, and the back read “DarkEn” – short for “Dark Enlightenment.”

What connections might there be between Columbia and the “Dark Enlightenment”? It has been brought to our attention that this term, as well as the eagle symbol on the front of this box and the terms “HBD” and “the Cathedral”, bear significant resemblances to Nazi imagery. Furthermore, the eagle as depicted by “DarkEn” might contain fascist symbols and imagery, with the eagle’s head and central line forming a fasces, and the “wings” forming a bundle of sticks.  The terms found on this form are listed on a Dark Enlightenment reading list, which aims to introduce its readers to the movement. This reading list includes the writer Mencius Moldbug (a pseudonym of Curtis Yarvin), who is cited as one of the most influential neo-reactionaires.

For just under decade, Yarvin ran an influential blog under this pseudonym. Similarly, the term “Cathedral” originates on Yarvin’s blog (and may be connected to cathedral imagery in Tess of the d’Urbervilles), which another influential member of the Dark Enlightnement movement, Nick Land, describes as “the entire social landscape of political bribery (‘lobbying’) exactly mapped, and the administrative, legislative, judicial, media, and academic privileges accessed by such bribes are converted into fungible shares…[the Cathedral] is the mapping of a ruling entity that is the truly dominant instance of the democratic polity.”  In addition, Land, who allegedly coined the term “Dark Enlightenment” after a “particularly horrible bout of amphetamine psychosis,” wrote an essay analyzing Moldbug entitled “The Dark Enlightenment”.  Although this would explain the choice of book and confirm a concrete connection to the movement, we are still unable to determine the box’s exact origin. We have, however, found an exact same hollowed-out book listed on Ebay.

Unfortunately, this isn’t Columbia’s first encounter with Dark Enlightenment. After publishing this article, we received reports of DarkEn recruitment posters spotted in Butler male bathrooms this past September.  The posters, as shown in the photo below, were stuck inside stalls and encouraged bystanders to join the movement on SureSpot, an encrypted messenger app.  Dark Enlightenment may also be connected to events which transpired at NYU last November, and could be connected to various college campuses with fake “White Student Union” Facebook pages, though we cannot definitively connect “Dark Enlightenment” organizations to any specific region outside the New York metropolitan area.

Upon a fuller understanding of the severity and magnitude of this book, its contents, and the group it is associated with, we temporarily removed this post from Bwog in order to investigate the issue further and to more carefully consider how to present the assembled facts. We only wished for the opportunity to give this tip the time and attention it deserved without compromising the integrity of our investigation. We have now put the post back up as we are currently confident it reports the issue at hand both truthfully and seriously. As a staff, we are concerned that this group has any form or presence on Columbia’s campus, especially when viewed in context with events which occured this semester. We in no way sympathize with this movement, and seek only to provide a complete picture of our investigation.

We will continue looking into this issue, and update the post further if we receive more information.

EDIT, as of 7:20 pm, 12/11/16: We have edited this post, because the original tone of the post was inappropriate for the severity of its content.

EDIT, as of 8:07pm, 12/12/16: The post has been returned to the website, now edited to include additional information regarding the context and implications of the original tip.

Photos via tipster