Strangers in the night: 'Hurst's secret society

Black hooded figures stalk the night, delivering tidings of their own design to both students and faculty. For the most part, their activities go unnoticed to the students of the college, but that, too, is by design. From building to building, all across campus, they leave a trinket behind, seemingly in random locations. In a locked display case in Hirt last year, attached to a projector screen in the Intelligence building before that, and several are attached to a professor’s door in Preston Hall. Last spring, without explanation, larger forms of these trinkets ended up in the student government offices and academic buildings, with single words emblazoned upon them. The spring of my freshman year, hundreds of pieces of paper with an unidentified coat of arms were found floating their way down the stairwells of McAuley Hall.

Are these instances simply attached to students enjoying themselves under the All Hallows Eve moonlight? Doubtful. Indeed, a simple search has turned up an image of a certain coat of arms and an interesting list that includes such esteemed groups like Scroll and Key and the Order of Greek Horsemen. It would appear, as we approach All Hallows Eve that Mercyhurst College has another entity residing inside its gates – a secret society.

The trinkets left by this group are harmless, of course. While their placement might seem random to me and you, the small monkeys that hang from doors and strings could mean anything to the group of students who leave them behind. These tiny monkeys and their arms seem to have some significance to the group, as a geocities site claiming to represent the group has an image of an interrupted infinity symbol – the same shape as the hooked arms of the monkeys.

Then there are the crests dropped throughout the male residence hall. What was their purpose? Perhaps this group, named Rho Mu Beta according to the list of collegiate secret societies, was in the midst of its so-called “tapping”, or recruiting, process.

There’s little to say about this group, because even though they’re listed as a secret society that has existed since 1979, very few people on campus have ever even heard of them. However, if their actions on campus were meant to intrigue those that noticed them, then I can say they have succeeded it piquing my interest. Also, to those students that may be members of this group, I repeat to you the same words that were hand-written on many of the crests dropped throughout my freshman residence hall:

“Haud Hostes Hostium”

As we start preparing for Halloween, the leaves start changing, and the evenings get cooler, I would like to think we’ll see what that phrase really means to this group, and we’ll find out more about who they truly are.