I am following a child. My name was called, and now, a kid, smartly dressed, not older than twelve, is leading the way down a corridor. He opens a door, revealing a dusky stairwell, down to the basement. A chair with a tiny bell, and a sheet of paper, telling me to strip down to my underwear, to put on the ceremonial garment, and to ring the bell. A brief moment of trepidation, and then I disrobe, and don the clothing the Order had provided for my initiation. I sit down, and I ring the bell. A bright chime echoes down the stairs, and instantly, I hear footsteps, coming up the stairs. They had been waiting.
My bare feet on the dirty basement floor. Puddles of water. An offering. I devour the Body of the Order. Drink the Blood of the Order. Blindfolded, left to walk in the dark. My past, erased. My inner soul, cleansed. A baptism.
I don’t even know why I decided on going through an initiation ceremony to a secret brotherhood. A sense of curiosity? Their promises of ulterior knowledge? Whatever the reason – here I was. I had expected strange rituals, cultism, a process of suffering to be reborn, to ascend. What I didn’t expect was for it all to be as beautiful as it was. The entire process of entering the Order, I can only describe it as serene, and peaceful. Meditative, almost. The Order showed me the path to Elysium. Starting from the moment you leave your clothes and possessions behind, the Initiation was a sequence of moments where you needed to take a leap of faith, to make a trust fall. To give up your senses and let them guide you. To have faith. To accept their embrace.
I traveled through the Order’s womb, and shed my previous life. Removed the restraints that kept me down before. Allowed to meet the Elders, the Origin. I was marked, and accepted.
As the door slammed shut behind me, I found myself in another dark basement room. There was only silence. The sound of my breathing felt sacrilegious. My clothes were waiting for me. On my arms and forehead, triangles in candle wax. Not saying a word, I emerged in the open air. I walk in Elysium now.
As an event, I believe Fraternity truly was remarkable. The ARG-like buildup for over three months is an absolute first in the European scare industry, adding an entire elaborate backstory to the experience. For anyone willing to invest their time, this is a fantastic bonus, and during the initiation, several story elements and easter eggs were implemented for us to encounter. On the other hand, not being aware of this backstory wouldn’t ever impact someone’s experience in a negative way. Regarding the feel of the event, even though it was marketed as an extreme show, I’d be hard-pressed to call it that. In fact, I am even reluctant to call Fraternity a scare attraction, in the classical sense. Fraternity evoked a range of emotions with me, but scared isn’t a word I would use. Nervous, and uncertain, for sure. A strange journey, a mysterious ritual, with nods to freemasonry and religious practices. The freedom of giving up certainties, of letting go. The act of handing yourself over and to show trust. A resulting state of calmness, of peace. I honestly think anyone willing to take a step into the unknown would have really enjoyed it. The execution was top notch, and the experience was truly something different. It was enticing, fascinating, intimate. Beautiful – for those who are willing to look for that beauty.