Author Bill Loomis Explores City’s Past in “Secret Societies in Detroit”

With the kind permission of the author

Secret societies have a rich history in Detroit. In his latest book, Secret Societies in Detroit, writer Bill Loomis delves into the secret world of these groups, from the lesser-known clubs to the more well-known (and notorious) organizations.

Here is a passage from the book’s introduction that will give an insight into Secret Societies in Detroit:

Many, if not most, of the clubs were secret, requiring passwords, secret handshakes, symbols, and guarded meetings that were closed to the public because most men loved being part of a secret, exclusive group. Sometimes secrecy was much more serious. During the war, secret clubs like the Civil War or the World War were formed IIout of real fear and distrust of strangers and even neighbors. Just belonging to the club could be viewed as treason. If you tell the wrong thing to the wrong person, you can be hanged.

Not all of the groups in this book began in Detroit. Some were national movements that found a home in Detroit and had an impact. Some reasons were noble, but too many were despicable. Courage and virtuous behavior for noble purposes lasted much longer than “great” deeds for low purposes. Followers were seldom as committed or ready to make sacrifices as the leaders believed; In most cases, the followers either didn’t exist or were no-shows.

In any case, these groups have been one way many people have dealt with the world in the past, and they are an aspect of human nature that is worth reconsidering. “

Listen: Bill Loomis on why he wrote Secret Societies in Detroit.

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