People act differently alone than as part of a group. Sometimes this can be a good thing. If you are among a group of law abiding citizens you are less likely to engage in bad behavior. It would be socially unacceptable to steal or use drugs in a public gathering where you are being observed. It is rare to see someone light up a joint in church or steal a box of girl scout cookies in front of a busy grocery store.
Yet, group behavior can also encourage people to act badly. Lately the news has had a number of cases concerning bad behaviors on campuses. One example is the Oklahoma fraternity caught chanting racial slurs. Another is the Penn State University fraternity that was suspended for a year for posting naked photographs of woman passed out at one of their parties.
Throughout time people have acted badly in the safety of groups. The Nazi’s and the KKK relied upon this type of group think to get otherwise law abiding citizens to act in an evil manner. Mob action is a crime in the State of Illinois. As a society we understand that groups acting in concert can be dangerous. Acting as a part of a group is not an excuse for bad behavior. It is the ultimate act of cowardice to defend personal evil behavior based on the argument “everyone else was doing it”.
I am of course not comparing fraternities and sororities to evil organizations like the KKK. Fraternities provide a home away from home for their members. They raise money for charities. They help their members with school and social adjustment.
Yet, what would happen if a fraternity were to use the secrecy of the fraternal system to hide a horrible secret. What if a fraternity were sacrificing co-ed’s to Ancient Egyptian God’s. The answer to that question is provided in my new novel The Fraternity of the Soul Eater.
A part of the fraternal system involves rituals. There are initiation ceremonies, secret hand shakes and memorizing rules and historic facts. There are of course rituals involving hazing. Some of these rituals are harmless fun and others involve dangerous practices. Alcohol abuse is not uncommon. Yet, the fictional rituals in The Fraternity of the Soul Eater takes maters much too far. The rituals in the book involve human sacrifice. Murder is necessary to prove your loyalty and gain admission into the fraternity from hell.
Membership in this fraternity does have its privileges as well. It turns out that the alumni are among the richest people in the world. Is the money the members receive payment from ancient deities in exchange for human souls? Is the money simply the result of former members supporting graduates when they complete their education?
We think of our colleges and universities as safe places where we can entrust our children. What better place to hide the evil defined with in the pages of this book. What better place to reshape the world.