Ask Dr. Eldritch

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Don't fall victim to vampires! Don't get slashed by a psycho! Don't get stuck, ASK DR. ELDRITCH!

Dear Dr. Eldritch,
Ask Dr. Eldritch Secret Society     I accidentally got involved in a secret society, and we're about to do something horrible. I can't go through with it, but I'm afraid of what they'll do to me if I try to quit!

This sort of thing shouldn't happen to me; I'm an ordinary suburban father with a great wife and a good job. I'd never done anything illegal before, never did drugs (well, not since college), and I coach my kids' soccer team. Totally normal.

Then all this happened. It started innocently enough; I overheard some buddies of mine talking about a club that they're in. When I asked them about it, they said that now that I knew of it, if I didn't join, they'd have to kill me, and we all laughed. So I went to a meeting and we hung out, drank beer and talked guy stuff.

Then there were the "initiation" rituals. At first, just shoplifting, petty vandalism and a road trip to Mexico (While I'm pretty sure I technically didn't violate my wedding vows, my wife would kill me if she knew what went on). All that was fun, but then we broke into a creepy mansion and stole some ancient relics. The place was supposed to be empty, but this old guy surprised us, and Greg shot him. I freaked out, but my friends said that if I told anyone, my wife would find out about Mexico.

When I finally agreed not to go to the police, they said I was ready to be a full-fledged member. Then they admitted that the society regularly uses theft, extortion and murder to call upon supernatural forces, merely to bring themselves success and good fortune! Next week, the entire society (over two hundred guys) is doing a ritual with one of the antiques we stole, a silvery egg-shaped thing. We're going to summon a powerful demon, and it will grant our wishes. But it demands blood from each of us in return!

How can I get out of this? I'm afraid that if I try to leave, I'm dead. Or they'll tell my wife about what I've done, which is just as bad.

-- Scared Soccer Dad, in the Suburbs

Dear Scared Soccer Dad,
    Ah, secret societies! The escapist amusement for those who can't figure out how to do something useful with their free time. Whether you're in it for power or merely to have a life outside the house, odds are it will go Horribly Wrong, and you'll find yourself sliding down the Slippery Slope and Circling the Drain faster than you can say "Holy Illuminati!"

I'll address your problem, but first I must point out that not all secret organizations are evil. Have you ever heard of "Codename: Knickers"? Probably not. It's a complex Live Action Role-Playing Game (or LARP), and a paragon of secretiveness. Despite being played in public using web and Bluetooth technology, and having an estimated 7,000 players worldwide, no written record of it can be found outside of the game. No list of participants exists, players don't acknowledge their involvement when they're not playing, and a Google search returns no results. I'm actually spoiling their record by even mentioning it, so let's pretend I didn't say anything. (And no, I'm not one of the players; it's just my job to Know Things.)

While that's just a game, non-evil fraternal organizations do exist. For example, The Secret Society of Guys Named Doug is supposedly dedicated to supreme global domination, but their meeting activities only involve drinking beer and watching the Golf Channel. At the other end of the spectrum, however, is The Completely Harmless Secret Society of Akron. Officially created to "be nice to puppies and kittens," they are bent on destroying the world. Their latest plan employed the mind-control chips in iPods, combined with synchronized ultra-low-frequency waves broadcast through satellite radio, in an effort to cause the Earth to "explode into a gajillion pieces." To state the obvious, all of their world-destroying attempts have been unsuccessful. So far.

But you want to know what to do. My best advice is not to get involved in the first place, but it's too late for that. My official recommendation is to gather your family, pack some essentials, disappear in the middle of the night and start a new life under assumed names elsewhere. I know that's inconvenient, but I couldn't possibly condone your covertly unscrewing the halves of the silver-egg thing, breaking off a few bits of the crystal at the center, and not showing up at the secret ceremony. This would cause the warding of the demonic entity to fail at a crucial part of the ritual, freeing it to rend the summoners, leaving you to express surprise and regret at the mysterious disappearance of several hundred local men, including your buddies, but since no record of your involvement exists, nobody would ever know what really happened or why. Tragic poetic justice, which I'm obviously not recommending. Dispose of the crystal bits in running water.

After an appropriate mourning period, join a bowling league. Most of those never dabble in the occult or try to rule the world.

Good luck, and let me know how it comes out!

-Dr. Eldritch

 
(DISCLAIMER: Anyone intelligent enough to be reading this should understand 1) Satire, and 2) That following the advice given may result in physical, mental, or spiritual harm to beings living, dead, or undead. The author does not suggest that anyone other that the originator of any given letter follow his advice, and cannot be held liable if anyone else does.
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