Order denies links with loyalist group

Order denies links with loyalist group

Irish News

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

But Rev William Bingham, a high profile member of the Orange Order, said: “It is misleading to say they are part of the Orange family. “I have heard there have been a number of resignations as some people have listened to what Paul has said. “But they are an entirely separate organisation with chaplains and lodges. The Royal Arch Purple speaks for itself.”

Mr Malcomson, who is taking his campaign to Scotland, also plans to write a book on the Royal Black Preceptory.