Benjamen Holmscroft was a British occultist and the founder of the Arcanum.
Little is known about Holmscroft's life prior to 1879, when he briefly joined the Hermetic Order of the Rising Day. After he quit that organization in disgust, he retired to Vannever Hall, which he claimed was his "family estate," though cursory research suggest this was false. In 1885 he sent out letters inviting a number of occult scholars to his estate, and on November 24 of that year he hosted a dinner at which the original executive committee of the Arcanum was founded.
Even with his new colleagues living under the same roof, very little about Holmscroft's history or personal life was ever known. He shunned cameras, and what photographs may exist are mostly lost. Arcanum members claimed that he appears to be in his "mid to late 40s" when he first founded the organization, but claimed to be 33; he did not look "much older than 40ish" when last seen publically in 1911. He spent the next few years as a recluse and died in 1914, but the funeral was a closed casket and his body was buried in the Arcanum's private cemetery.
Holmscroft had a remarkable and cosmopolitan knowledge of the occult, but his mysterious past and equally mysterious death trouble some members of the Arcanum, who suspect that he was not what he appeared to be. The Nine Mystic Traditions share this suspicion, having deduced that "Holmscroft" was the same person known as Bryon Hartswicke, who "inherited" Vannever Hall in the 17th century. They also suspect that Holmscroft and his associate Winthrop Murray are involved with the Red Monks, but can neither prove nor disprove the claim.