Earlier this week I posted about five secret societies, including a few that are more obscure. A day or two after that, we all learned that before he died, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was hunting with guys in a secret society for hunters. Since this group has a website, I would venture to say they are one of those groups who are not that secret, but who sometimes get together and do some secret things — or just enjoy formal dinners and hunting weekends.
Many people were surprised that there were secret societies for hunters. I wasn’t at all, since I’ve done so much research on secret societies lately. Many of them grow up around shared trades, occupations, and activities, just as Freemasonry did. There are at least three of them for foresters.
The Order of Saint Huburtus is named after the Catholic patron saint not only of hunters, but also of mathematicians, opticians, and metal workers. The group is frequently confused with the Order of St. Hubert, which is a totally different organization, although they were both founded centuries ago in Europe and named after the same guy.
A certain Count Anton von Sporck founded the original Venerable Order of Saint Huburtus in 1695 in Austria. Much later, they didn’t allow a prominent Nazi, Herman Göring, to join, which was a damn good call on their part. Because of this, Adolph Hitler banned the organization.
It got started up again around 1950, as kind of an offshoot of the secret men’s club the Bohemian Grove. The group only takes male members, and the most esteemed members are made Knights. Both of these things are fairly common for secret societies even today.
Membership is by invitation only. All the members seem to be wealthy, and I will hazard a guess that they are almost all white. Potential members need letters of recommendation and an $800 application fee.
People were freaking out about the fact that members wear long green robes, but I can’t say they look all that sinister — take a look and judge for yourself.
In general, I think people freak out unnecessarily about secret societies — but I guess if you’re secret, it’s natural for people to wonder what in the heck you are up to.
I find it more interesting to think about why people like secret societies so much. Maybe people crave the “magic” of rituals that is lacking in everyday life. No doubt, secret societies give members a sense of importance and belonging. And most of all, having secrets from the rest of the world can make a person feel more powerful… even if, as would seem to be the case with many of the members of the International Order of St. Huburtus, you were pretty powerful already.