Monday, February 19


The Order of Mopses

The other day I chanced to find myself on the 86th Street Barnes and Noble (or rather, at one of them; like Starbucks, they replicate by spontaneous generation when nobody's looking) and was looking over that wellspring of Hermetic nuttiness that is the store's sales table. An Encyclopedia of Secret Societies and Hidden Knowledge, complete with a lurid-looking double-headed phoenix on the cover, beckoned. Reading other people's lunatic theories has always been a minor hobby of mine. The particular volume took a fairly cynical, mythbusting attitude to the subject-matter, which only added to the amusement value.

While extremely disappointed with the entry on Catholicism, I was able, however, to read of such hitherto-unknown wonders as those charming people the Lemurians; an underground city of multicolored plastic blocks in Antarctica, built by Martians (the encyclopedia was disappointingly skeptical on this one--I can't imagine why, can you?); and several pseudo-fraternal societies founded by Catholics after the Pope put the kibosh on Freemasonry in 1738. This last bit particularly intrigued me. Rogue Catholic ex-Masons? Sounds wonderfully paranoid. Not that I approve of secret societies, of course, I stand with the Church on that issue. But still.

Imagine my disappoinment when the first one mentioned (the Order of Gomogorgons, if I remember the spelling correctly), was essentially a bunch of bored Jacobites who liked spouting pseudo-Oriental gibberish, and the second, was the German Order of Mopses. Now who was Mopses? A sinister Egyptian deity? A fanatical eighth-century warrior? A Gnostic archon? No, actually, the order was was named after the pug dog (mops), and required its members to allegedly wear a dog-collar, bark and carry on in a similarly canine vein. Wikipedia confirms they existed, too, though the article appears to have been slightly vandalized recently.

But...pug dogs? No skulls and crossbones? No Jesuit blood oaths? No secret handshakes? No plots to extirpate heresy? What sort of Catholic cabal is this? Absolutely pathetic, boys. Count Cagliostro would not approve.

Now, only if I could get into the Knights of Malta... We all know they're the ones who control the world. And you get a cape, too.

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