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Today in Masonic History we discuss Gormogon.

Gormogon was a short lived 18th century society, believed to have been formed by an expelled Freemason.

The beginnings of Gormogon, in a sense, started at a session of the newly formed Grand Lodge of England. Phillip Wharton who became the Grand Master in 1722 is believed to have founded it. In 1723, at a Masonic session, he tried to make it so the Grand Master could not appoint his Deputy Grand Master, establishing it as an elected position. When the membership refused, the minutes of the session state "The late Grand Master went away from the Hall without Ceremony." Which has two interpretations, either Wharton declared the meeting closed and resigned his position without being properly relieved by the a new Grand Master or Wharton was relieved of his position as Grand Master.

Regardless of which method, he left the fraternity in 1723. The following year the first mention of Gormogon appeared in the London Daily Post. In the announcement, they claimed it was a society started in China "thousands of years before Adam." It claimed the society was started by Chin-Qua Ky-Po, first emperor of China. The known first emperor of China was Qin Shi Huang and lived between 260 B.C. and 210 B.C. The article also declared Freemasons were not welcome unless they were willing to leave the Masonic fraternity and be "degraded." Later indications helpded define "degraded" as burning your apron and white gloves. The same year a letter appeared announcing a prominent Freemason left the fraternity and joined it by being "degraded." It is presumed Wharton was the prominent Freemason mentioned.

Little was heard from the organization until 1728, when an article appeared announcing a meeting. This was a year after Wharton had been charged with High Treason for supporting the King of Spain during the 1727 siege of Gibraltar. Wharton never return to England for fear of being put on trial.

Wharton passed away on May 31st, 1731. After his passing there were no further announcements or articles. Although a poem written by Tim Bobbin which first appeared in 1757 has a dedication to Gormogon and seems to imply Bobbin was a member of the order, although no records remain. There is a medal which still exists in the British Museum.

Gormogon found new life in pop culture. In 2007 the Fox drama Bones did a season long story arch involving it. The first episode of the season titled "The Widow's Son in the Windshield" established a serial killer, they called Gormogon. The killer took an apprentice to teach them the craft of killing individuals involved in fraternal organizations like the Freemasons and Knights of Columbus (the apprentice's first victim was a member of Knights of Columbus). The storyline on Bones had no relation to the actual organization, with the exception both the fictional and the real targeted Freemasonry.

According to Cassell's Dictionary of Slang Gormogon is a contraction of the words gorgon and dragon. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the etymology as "meaningless: pseudo Chinese."

In the end the objective of Gormogon was meant to hold Freemasonry up for ridicule.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.