Friday, April 15, 2011

Royal Arcanum of Richmond

Back in my roving antique-dealer days of the late 80s/early 90s, I came into possession of this highly important looking ribbon medal, bearing the words "Royal Arcanum, Richmond, KY, Inst. June 5, 1903."

In those pre-internet days, I was stumped as to who or what the Royal Arcanum were, but I had high hopes of it being some sort of occult secret society who perhaps conducted their clandestine meetings in an isolated field somewhere East of Redhouse, or perhaps in a room accesible only by a secret panel above Jett & Hall Shoes. Who knows what their arcane rites might involve, I mused to myself - perhaps they were an offshoot of the Knights Templar or the O.T.O. or the Brotherhood of Saturn or the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn or the Thule Society or Ordo A∴A∴ or the Hibernians or the Loyal Order of Moose or the Knights of the Golden Eagle or Aurum Solis or the Bohemian Club or the Council of Nine or the JASON Society or the Cult of the Serpent or the Vril Society or the International Order of Oddfellows or the Concatenated Order of Hoo-Hoo or the Rosicrucians or DeMolay or the Lions Club or the Shriners or the Elks Lodge or the Rotary Club or WISE or the Ruritans or Kiwanis.

Flash ahead to 1998, during my non-roving married-man days, when I put it up on eBay for a reasonable price (I don't recall exactly - probably $9.99) and no one bit. I also did a Yahoo search back then (remember those pre-Google days when Yahoo and AltaVista were the only major search engines?) for the Royal Arcanum and found nothing. Deciding that this must not be as exciting a find as I had hoped, I stuck it away somewhere and didn't think about it again for 13 years.

Now I've stumbled onto it again while rummaging through boxes of junk in storage, and now that we're in a Burroughsian future where everything is online, a quick Googling determined that the Royal Arcanum is still around today and is in the "fraternal life insurance business" and is not all that terribly interesting. At least not compared to, you know, the Illuminati, the Bilderbergers or the Priory of Sion.

Nevertheless, they sure had a cool ribbon back in the day when we Richmonders, along with the rest of the civilized world, understood the importance of pomp and ceremony. Not to mention the true meaning of membership in a true group.

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