Order denies links with loyalist group
October 28th 1999
By Liz Trainor
THE Orange Order last night denied it had links with a shadowy loyalist group which a former member claims has its roots in witchcraft rather than Protestantism.
The rebuttal came after the publication of the book Behind Closed Doors by ex-loyalist Paul Malcomson who claims hundreds are leaving the organisation because of bizarre ritual practices.
Mr Malcomson, a born-again Christian and a former member of the Royal Arch Purple which is an elite branch of Orangeism, claims recruits are put through a series of bizarre initiation practices which include:
- blindfolding the victim and making him kneel on a mock coffin while vowing to destroy his own life if he divulges the teachings of the order
- tying a rope around the neck of the recruit, who has most of his clothes and one shoe taken from him and a purple ribbon fastened to his shirt
- riding the goat a ritual in which the blindfolded initiate is wrapped in a canvas sheet and then kicked and tossed about by assembled members
- harsh beatings members beat the candidate across the legs and bare feet with brambles to the accompaniment of laughter