University of North Carolina At Chapel Hill
The library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill contains the archives of the Order of Gimghoul, a secret society headquartered at the Gimghoul Castle. The order was founded in 1889 by Robert Worth Bingham, Shepard Bryan, William W. Davies, Edward Wray Martin, and Andrew Henry Patterson, who were students at the time.
The society is open to "notable" male students (rising juniors and higher), and faculty members by invitation. The society centers itself around the legend of Peter Dromgoole, a student who mysteriously disappeared from the UNC campus in 1833. The founders originally called themselves the Order of Dromgoole, but later changed it to the Order of Gimghoul to be, "in accord with midnight and graves and weirdness," according to the university's archives.
Tradition has it that the order upheld the "Dromgoole legend and the ideals of Arthurian knighthood and chivalry." From all accounts, the order is social in nature, and has no clandestine agenda. Membership is closed and information about the order is strictly confidential, as is access to archives which are less than 50 years old.
The Order of the Gorgon's Head, another secret society at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was founded in 1896 by Darius Eatman, Edward Kidder Graham, Ralph Henry Graves, Samuel Selden Lamb, Richard Henry Lewis, Jr., and Percy DePonceau Whitaker. Membership has always been limited to male members of the junior, senior, professional, and post-graduate classes along with male faculty members. Inductees may not be members of other societies. Officers include Princeps (chief officer), Quaestor, and Scriptor. The purpose of the Order is to promote friendship, good will, and social fellowship among its members. The Order of the Gorgon's Head was one of two "junior orders" established at the University in the 1890s. The two orders had written agreements that they would not attempt to recruit freshmen or sophomores. Each order had a lodge (the Gimghouls later built a castle), where members gathered for meetings and events. Each had secret rituals based on myths. Those of the Order of the Gorgon's Head centered on the myth of the Gorgons, three monstrous sisters prominent in ancient Greek and Roman lore.
The University's library also contains the archives of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies. The Societies were founded in 1795 by some of the first students to attend the University, and are the oldest public school societies in the nation. While at first maintaining strict secrecy in their proceedings, the Societies' meetings are now generally open to the public; however, the Societies reserve the right at all times to call an "Executive Session", at which point all non-members are escorted from the chambers. All undergraduates may attempt to join one of the two societies by petitioning, but only a select few are admitted, upon mutual agreement between current Society members.
Most recently, in 2011, the Daily Tar Heel reported the first of two donations to campus entities by a secret society named Infinity. In 2011, the society gifted $888.88 to the Eve Carson Scholarship fund, which honors the late Student Body President Eve Carson. In 2012, the society gifted $888.88 to the Student Enrichment Fund, a student-created fund allowing students to apply for grants to attend off-campus events such as speeches, conferences or other academic or extracurricular opportunities. The significance of the digit '8' comes from the symbol for infinity that resembles an eight on its side.
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