Because we haven’t posted enough chalking-related updates from the past few weeks, an anonymous tipster writes in to let you know about an amusing (or frightening, depending on who you are) happening on Church Street late last week:
I have a tip for Wesleying but would like to remain anonymous. Earlier today someone wrote the names of the Mystical 7 — a Wesleyan student secret society — out in chalk on the sidewalk on Church St near Olin. Later in the day, a bunch of the people whose names had been written were seen standing over the writing, looking fairly panicked, and then after that someone crossed the names out with more chalk. Here’s a photo of the names crossed out. FUCK SOCIAL HIERARCHY!!!!
According to one Wesleying staffer, “It’s intact in at least two places right now (beginning of CFA path and College Row near Zelnick).”
Well, we seem to have made someone in the Mystical Seven angry. To clear up some history for our audience and perhaps appease an irate spirit:
1. There are 2 M7s on campus. One is more or less the descendant of the Temple of the Wand from 1837. The other was formed in 1985. Both remain active.
2. In our posts, we try to consistently refer to these societies separately, as, respectively, old M7 and new M7. In this we have no choice, as we can’t go up to new M7 and say, “Hey guys, you’re making things really confusing when we blog about you. Can you change your name?” If you’re interested in questions of legitimacy, go to Olin and look at the Argus archives from the 90s, when the two groups were duking it out.
3. You may find that we sometimes refer to a Mr. Kylin. Kylin was in the class of 1984 and founded the new M7. He also runs The American Minerva, which has some publications from the original Cauldrons. We mention his name as a reference only. Unless you want me to unfurl a giant banner at the top of the page that says, “WESLEYING: REAL STUDENTS, REAL STUDENT LIFE, AND PS DON’T LISTEN TO ANYTHING KYLIN SAYS.”
4. For further reading regarding the M7(s), Benjamin Wyatt-Greene ’02 penned a thorough history that’s available here. You can also go to Special Collections and ask to see one of the first 19 Cauldrons; They are available for public viewing.
5. Finally, a while ago we speculated that the templum was to be renovated. Our anonymous Maraudin’ Mystic confirms,
– thanks for your concern, but the M7 templum renovation has been approved. the funny thing is that M7 has gotten stronger since the fire. oh well, it’ll be one hell of a grand opening party!
The Mystical 7 (as well as The Machine, the bastard child of Wesleyan’s own Theta Nu Epsilon) gets a shout-out in this sensationalist article about college secret soceties:
The world over has heard of Skull and Bones of Yale University. This elite secret society holds within its membership at least four U.S. Presidents. George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry are both members of Skull and Bones. This made the 2004 presidential election the first known election where two secret society members ran against each other. However, names like the Order of the Bull’s Blood, Mystical Seven Society, The Order of Gimghoul , Burning Spear, and Machine are less familiar. Make no mistake these too are powerful societies. The clear pronounceable difference between these organizations and Skull and Bones is that these secret societies were founded and continue to wield power at universities where ivy does not grow.
If the average college freshman is expecting to step on a campus where he or she leaves behind the stereotypical high school cliques then most will be given a false sense of freedom. Most college students are unknowingly under the yoke of the definite yet predominantly silent hold university secret societies possess on what is popularly called college life.
With the power of government, influence over tradition, and determination to plan the goings on at your local university know that elite secret societies participate in all these activities with only one goal – their ever advancing power. The aforementioned colleges and universities don’t immediately endear visions of prestige that one thinks of when Harvard or Yale is mentioned. However, like the members of Skull and Bones these secret societies members on public university campuses go on to powerful positions in local, state, and federal government, they become successful business men, and continue the ever connecting web of power.
Unknown to most Wesleyan undergraduates, the Mystical 7 are also responsible for repainting the Butts tunnels, tuition hikes, the $11 blueberries at Weshop, and setting North College on fire.
..Okay, so they actually did set North College on fire. As well as their own building. The Mystical 7: Recruiting the best and brightest pyromaniacs since 1837.
The Wes secret societies are just comin’ up like daisies. Theta Nu Epsilon has been chalking, postering and otherwise making their presence known…
And in Tuesday’s issue of the Argus, the Mystical Seven took the pains to remind campus of their existence.
Roll call, guys. Now where’s Skull and Serpent?
Yo, did you know we had Pre-Ministrial club?
Temperance Reform Club roster from 1898.
Mystical Seven in the 50’s was pretty out there. If, by any chance, there are any mystics reading this, you should try to find the arm bone the fellow on the top has in his mouth. And the alligator. The cat’s probably dead, though.
Skull was not quite as weird, but they got the cute pretension thing down.
Here’s an old faculty blotter. They have a little blurb about each professor. Check out the dude who’s “interested in witchcraft.”
An extant secret society, Corpse and Coffin, from the 1898 yearbook.
The 1946 yearbook has a lot of military portraits.
A drawing from 1898 showing “Froshie’s Dream.”
Finally, here’s good ol’ Dougie B. from 1959! He looks exactly the same.
To those of you who took the 2002 US History AP test–Here’s a familiar DBQ for you:
Source: Orestes A. Brownson, An address before the Society of the Mystical Seven at Wesleyan College, August 7, 1844.
I propose . . . to bestow . . . my remarks, my attention on several species of the genus QUACK REFORMERS . . . . The effort to cut loose from the past, and to create an entirely new social and industrial order . . . is the species of quackery practiced by our professed social reformers . . . . These systems of reform disown the past, condemn what has been, and propose the creation of an entirely new social order. . . . It is to no man’s credit that he disowns what has gone before him. . . . But what is this past which we in our folly condemn? It is that which has made us what we are. It is our mother. . . . Alas! He is a bad son who curses his own mother, and no good can come of him.
Wesleyan College? Boo, AP board!
(P.S. I’ve been asked why I focus more on the Mystical Seven and not the Skull & Serpent. This is because there’s just more information out there on the m7. That and if you google “Skull and Serpent” you get more Harry Potter fanfiction than I’m willing to deal with.)
While the Mystical Seven originated here at Wesleyan with the Temple of the Wand, the society enjoyed some infamy with chapters in other schools, especially in the South. And while the two m7 factions at Wesleyan are still snuffling about all secret-like, at schools like Mizzou, the society is prospering and members are prominent.
…Maybe a little too prominent.
More pictures from the Mizzou m7 tap day can be found here.
Here’s a really interesting old postcard showing the ruins of North College after a fire broke out on March 1, 1906. The fire was supposedly started accidentally by the Mystical 7, who met in the attic in those days. From The Mystical 7: A History:
Many of the Mystic Records were destroyed in the fire as well as the possessions of many students who were living in the North College Dorms, although fortunately nobody was killed. Within a few years of the fire enough money was raised by the newly formed Mystic Alumni association to begin construction of a new Mystic Templum.
You can buy this postcard here.
This entry from the Mystical 7 Cauldrons, called “Proceedings of the Eclectic Society,” dates from 1839 and is quite a fun read. For a society whose mission statement dedicates itself to change, Eclectic sure hasn’t changed much in the last 100+ years.
“…The members assembled according to custom in wheel barrows and were deposited by their respective attendants on their couches;—the President’s being raised 6 feet higher than the others for the purpose of being conspicuous. The records were then examined and received with slight amusement, Mr. Clark being fined for spilling his liquor. The Society then listened to a speech from the President upon the subject of mermaids; in which he established beyond a doubt the truth of their existence and gave an eloquent and animated account of their appearance and mode of life.”
The site says that the Cauldron in question is Volume 2, which is available for public viewing in Olin’s Special Collections