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The Order, also known as "The Organization", is the local, religious cult organization in the American ghost town of Silent Hill that has appeared as the main antagonistic faction throughout most of the Silent Hill videogame series. They are a religiously crooked secret society of doomsday zealots residing wihin the haunted township of Silent Hill and have expanded into other towns across the region, such as Shepherd's Glen.
The Order is a primary source of struggle for most of the Silent Hill games, and are responsible for the many dilemmas that the protagonists of the series face. The cult often resorts to murder, kidnapping, torture, and other acts of violence to meet its needs, though not all of their members are insane or violent.
The Order believes they are the "one true faith" and "one true religion", and all other religions are deceits and false truths. It is ambiguous if this is true, or if it is make-believe fantasy manifested by the ancient power of Silent Hill.
The cult's official seal is known as the Halo of the Sun and is often used or seen in the presence of cult members, particularly while conducting rituals. The Order is involved with esoteric occultism, black magic (sometimes referred as the dark arts), arcane ceremonies, and blood sacrifices.
The Order is prevalent in all of the games, and are deeply rooted in Silent Hill's history and culture. They are responsible for:
- Orchestrating the deaths of several people who developed the town, the local anti-drug mayor and his private investigator.
- Selling illegal drugs such as the hallucinogen PTV to tourists.
- Kidnapping young girls for their ceremonies. These abducted girls were intended to be used as prospective surrogate mothers. It is possible they were murdered after.
- Alessa Gillespie's immolation and supernatural rise to power, as well as the subsequent attempts to contain it.
- Running the Wish House Orphanage, and were responsible for Walter Sullivan's descent into madness. His murdering almost 21 people became known worldwide as "the Walter Sullivan case".
- Involvement in the damnation of Shepherd's Glen.
- Creation of multiple Books of Memories to imbue the writers with God's will.
Pyramid Head takes the form of an iconic figure of judgment and punishment of the Order's mythos, Valtiel. The creature itself even makes an appearance to follow Heather Mason (the reincarnation of Alessa) and the Order's God still sleeping within her womb.
When people refuse to convert to the Order, the cult often resorts to brainwashing, kidnapping, drug trafficking, child abuse, acts of violence, torture, and even murder. The Order uses each method to achieve different goals. Loyalty, discipline, and the rebuilding of their flock and faith requires many approaches to ensure that no one attempts to leave the Order. At the same time, the Order has certain goals to achieve in order to seek the path of the old ways as well as certain needs to fulfill. Without total control over the town and the people living within, the Order would not be able to achieve its true goals.
Some Order members threaten eternal damnation towards non-believers, especially those whom they consider as pagans, heretics, sinners, blasphemers, and mockers.
However, not all of their members are necessarily hateful or violent. Many of them are brainwashed, making them mentally and spiritually ill while occasionally also being twisted and depraved. Dr. Michael Kaufmann is an Order member, but he chooses not to be involved with the religious side of it. Some members, such as the unseen Confessor, are treated sympathetically. As with a real cult, some members are not so much evil as they are born into the environment of a cult. While the Order itself is evil, not all of the people within are as well. In truth, the Order genuinely believes that what they are doing will create a Paradise for what they believe is a tainted humanity.
Other Order members fear certain members among them with special powers, which was possibly given to them because of their "great faith".
Their occult and seemingly magical abilities are but further unexplained, as many of their rituals produce arcane effects that defy all logic. It is implied that the town itself is to blame for the power, along with a classic superstition of building on top of a Native American burial ground as explained in Silent Hill 2. Their tie to the forces of the Otherworld are also quite strong, as some members of the Order can even go so far as to manipulate it to a degree.
The Order themselves follows a philosophy of moral nihilism; they do not believe in "good" and "evil", only chaos and order, and feel this somehow justifies their wicked ways.
The Order takes inspiration and draws elements from other religions, such as the origins of Christianity, Japanese folklore, Aztec rituals, and Native American beliefs.
It is important to note that the Order itself is not the same as the religion of the land's original Native American inhabitants before the settlers arrived. The roots of this religious organization originally date back as far as the 17th century, with the burning of Jennifer Carroll in 1692 before she was declared as a saint afterwards by the Order. However, back then, they were not formally known as the Order.
When Silent Hill became a tourist location around the 1900s, the Order was formed at the same time, and were despised by most of the local citizens, thus their union was carried out in secret. With time, the cult infiltrated the public institutions of the town, gradually gaining more influence and power.
Since the Order is suggested to be the same as the Native American tribe's religion, it is possible that the cult's high priestess, Dahlia Gillespie, became their leader because of her family background of a coal company the Gillespies used at the Devil's Pit, which contain artifacts and human remains of the local region's former inhabitants.
The Order used the plant White Claudia for its mystical and hallucinogenic properties and to create the drug PTV, which they used for their ceremonies, and also distributed to the populace of Silent Hill.
After the events of Silent Hill in 1983, the cult was left in shambles and went through a period of inactivity. Father Vincent invested in the cult and revived it. After the events of Silent Hill 3 in 2000 including the demise of 2 ruling Order clerics Father Vincent and Sister Claudia, it can be speculated that all but one sect were eliminated. Detective Douglas Cartland worked to expose the "now defunct" Order, according to Paul Schieble's book "Through the Fog: A Skeptic in Silent Hill". Paul interviewed long time residents during his 2 year-stay in Silent Hill, many of them proclaiming the Order is the "great evil". Journalist Joseph Schreiber believed that while the Order itself was gone, the spirit of the cult was still alive in Silent Hill because there were too many weird things happening in the town.
After the events of Homecoming in 2007, the presumed final sect in Shepherd's Glen was destroyed, leading to the [supposed] death of the cult.
The Order worships the entities of the Otherworld of Silent Hill, which they believe house their faith's incarnation of God, which is often depicted as an orange haired Caucasian woman in flowing long red robes; it has been stated that this belief lies the foundation for the whole cult. Their mythos has a wide variety of angels and saints, including:
- Lobsel Vith
- Nicholas: saint, a Doctor of God.
- Jennifer Carroll: saint, Unwavering Faith under Death's Blade.
- Alessa Gillespie: saint, Holy Mother of God, Daughter of God.
The Order's main goal, as many of its members state, is to usher in the apocalypse and deliver the faithful to the "Eternal Paradise", an utopian world that is a place without hunger, illness, war or greed, a realm where all would lived by God's grace alone. This paradise means many different things to different members, but the goals remain the same, and this is brought about in ways that vary from sect to sect. Some try to actively aid it while others simply prepare for the inevitable.
As stated on several occasions, the Order themselves follows a philosophy of moral nihilism; they do not believe in terms of "good" or "evil", only the concepts of "chaos" and "order", and they feel this justifies their actions. Their ways are cruel and brutal, to ensure order remains in place. To ensure loyalty and discipline, many children under the Order's care are cruelly treated and disciplined harshly in some sects. Human life is inconsequential to them, as they are more than willing to sacrifice and kill to appease God. They believed in God, Paradise, sin, salvation, souls, Purgatory and Hell.
The Order's occult and seemingly magical abilities are further unexplained, as many of their rituals produce arcane effects that defy all logic. Their tie to the forces of the Otherworld is also quite strong, as some members of the cult can even go so far as to manipulate it to a degree.
The Order believes that humanity and society is but corrupt, drowning in pain and loss, shackled by sin, and that they are among the elite "chosen people" to bring about a new world unspoiled by evil. Claudia Wolf, a sister of the Order, believes that happy people are most often the cruelest and humanity has been contaminated by avaricious behavior and Earthly materials and base desires.
System of Beliefs
All members of the Order must have fully committed themselves to this purpose in their beliefs, their activities and their lives.
Membership within the Order is extended to all that seek the Old Ways.
Levels of Membership:
- Mother Circle
The Mother is considered the founding group of the Order.
- Daughter Circle
Any Second Generation group hived off of The Mother.
- Servant Circle
Any Third Generation group stemming from The Mother.
3. The High Council
The High Council is set in place as a tool for all within the Order to make use of. The purpose of the High Council shall be to aid in the process of group formation as needed, act as governing body in matters pertaining to the Order as a whole, and to be a judge/jury if asked to settle disputes.
4. Grievances and Discipline Procedures
All decisions made by the High Council are binding. Presenting your case before the Council implies your acceptance of their decision. Those seeking mediation must contact the Scribe.
- The High Council shall be called in to preside over disputes within a group to hear complaints and accusation of inappropriate acts, heresy, abuse of power by leaders, any other complaints that are deemed worthy to preserve the public image or internal integrity of the Order.
- The nature of the disciplinary action shall be decided at the sole discretion of The High Council. These actions shall contain, but not be limited to, assignment of manual labor, persecution of an individual member, execution or torture, and the banishment of a group.
- If an individual member wishes to leave the Order, he or she is required to bring his or her request to the High Council.
The Order is divided into several sects.
Sect of the Holy Woman
This sect, the Holy Woman Sect or the Sect of the Holy Woman, is centered around a priestess named Dahlia Gillespie. This sect believed that God would return to Earth one day and await her coming faithfully. However, Dahlia Gillespie had attempted to hasten God's rebirth by using an immolation ritual which meant her daughter, Alessa, would be used as a sacrifice. Members of this sect include Dahlia Gillespie, Claudia Wolf, Vincent Smith and Leonard Wolf. They believe that once God has come, She will cause the apocalypse and usher the faithful to paradise. Not all their members are active in this, however, such as Vincent. Claudia believes that a God born from pain and hatred would thereby be more sympathetic.
Sect of the Holy Mother
Members of the Holy Mother Sect or Sect of the Holy Mother (not to be confused with Alessa Gillespie, known as the Mother of God), used their self-run Wish House to raise a conjurer. They respected the Mother Stone as something sacred, and called the God "Holy Mother". This sect believed that the Holy Mother would be descended by a conjurer performing a ritual to descend the God into a sacred object. Members of this sect include Toby Archbolt. They are slightly more pacifistic than the Sect of the Holy Woman, though their cruelty is still directly shown by their treatment of the orphans in their care, including a younger Walter Sullivan. They also held a ritual for the resurrection of the dead, which James Sunderland may find in Silent Hill 2.
Sect of Valtiel
This sect, the Sect of Valtiel or the Valtiel Sect, is centered around the priest Jimmy Stone. This sect believed Valtiel to be the closest to God, and worshiped him as a divine executioner. Members of the Valtiel sect would don red pointed hoods and act like executioners in honor of Valtiel. Members of this sect include Jimmy Stone and George Rosten.
Sect of Shepherd's Glen
An unnamed sect of the Order residing in Shepherd's Glen, they are a splinter group, having broken away from the core of the Order to live more peaceful, stable lives. Though separate from the Order, many of the core beliefs are still upheld, including faith in their God and a desire for discipline.
The Founding Families that made up this sect entered into a pact with their God; if one child from each of the four families was sacrificed every 50 years, Shepherd's Glen would be spared from the effects of the Otherworld.
The families are: The Shepherds, the Holloways, the Bartletts, and the Fitches.
With Adam Shepherd's failure to fulfill his portion of the Pact, the agreement was broken, and Shepherd's Glen was left to the ravages of the Otherworld.
Demise of The Order
The original, true form of the Order has ceased to exist due to several events. The deaths of Sister Claudia and Father Vincent in Silent Hill 3 and the exposure of the Order by private investigator Douglas Cartland shortly thereafter ended the Holy Woman Sect in 1997. The Holy Mother and Valtiel Sects were effectively destroyed by Walter Sullivan as part of his three-fold killing spree.
Silent Hill Films
The Silent Hill film features a similar, yet different, fanatical religious cult called the Brethen as well, however, the director Christophe Gans has stated they are two separate cults. He implies that Jennifer Carroll was burned alive by the movie's cult, tying the Order to the movie cult and says they have "opposite" beliefs.
The sequel to the first film, Silent Hill: Revelation, which features the Order, contradicts Christophe Gans' statements by saying the Order and the first film's cult are actually one and the same. As noted, the Order is a rival cult of the Brethren in the first film. Like in the Silent Hill games, they are seen as cloaked figures dressed in dark belted clothing. It is revealed in the movie that the Brethren is in league with the Order who in the film are renamed The Order of Valtiel and has been aiding them in waiting a demon child whom the Order believed would bring forth the coming of their God and cleanse the mortal world of sin. In the end, they were destroyed after their leader Claudia Wolf was transformed into a demonic manifestation of her cultic devotion and died at the hands of Pyramid Head.
In the comics
In contrast to the Order's presentation in the game series, the Order of the Silent Hill comics universe is not a central element to the plot.
Presented as a clandestine group of religious human individuals, the Order's goal is to facilitate the birth of the entity Samael. In addition to being servants of Samael, the Order is also said to be able to control the monsters of Silent Hill. Whately appears to serve as the intermediary between the otherworldly Samael and members of the Order.
Though their connection is unclear, Christabella LaRoache appears to have entered into some kind of agreement with the Order, but is said to be guilty of betrayals against the group by trying to obtain the powers of Samael for herself.
- Adam Sheperd: The sheriff of Shepherd's Glen and member of the Sheperd's Glen Sect of the Order.
- Claudia Wolf: The high priestess of the Holy Woman Sect and new leader of the Order.
- Curtis Ackers: A local handyman in Sheperd's Glen and right-hand follower of Judge Holloway.
- Dahlia Gillespie: The main leader of the Order and high priestess of its two religious divisions, the Holy Woman Sect and the Holy Mother Sect.
- George Rosten: A priest of the Valtiel Sect, Jimmy Stone's right-hand man and mentor of Walter Sullivan.
- Jennifer Carroll: One of the founding members of the Order in the 17th century who was accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake by the puritanical citizens of Silent Hill.
- Jimmy Stone: A high priest of the Valtiel Sect and George Rosten's mentor.
- Leonard Wolf: Claudia's father and a member of the Order.
- Lillian Sheperd: Wife of Adam Shepherd. She's married into the family.
- Missionary: An unnamed transmutated fanatic member of the Order and a follower of Claudia Wolf.
- Judge Margaret Holloway - the famous judge in Sheperd's Glen and a prominent member of the Order.
- Martin Fitch: The chief doctor of Shepherd's Glen and a direct descendant of one of the town's founders who were former members of the Order themselves.
- Dr. Michael Kaufmann: A crooked doctor and an associate of the Order.
- Reverend Stone: One of the celebrated clerics of the Order cult in the history of Silent Hill.
- Mayor Sam Barlett - the mayor of Shepherd's Glen and a direct descendant of one of the town's founders who were former members of the Order themselves.
- Toby Archbolt: A crooked priest of the Order's Holy Mother Sect.
- Father Vincent: A high priest of the Holy Woman Sect within the Order who is at odds with fellow revered cult member Claudia Wolf.
- Walter Sullivan: A serial killer who was once brainwashed by Dahlia Gillespie to kill in the name of God and practiced the Order's w:c:evil21 Sacraments.
- Order Soldiers: Various members in miner suits acting as the foot soldiers of the Order.
- Scrapers: Demonic monsters who were transmutated human members of The Order themselves.
- When Harry Mason first encounters Dahlia Gillespie in the Balkan Church, she states that she has been expecting him, as it was "foretold by Gyromancy.". This suggests that she, and likely, the other members of the Order, engage in the practice of gyromancy. As the Halo of the Sun, the cult's very own symbol, is a circle whose circumference contains symbols, it is likely that it was the circle particularly used in the same practice.
- The Order were mentioned as the creators of the Book of Memories in the Silent Hill spin-off videogame Silent Hill: Book of Memories.
- The Order within Silent Hill is believed to represent the Molly Maguires (also called the "Mollies"), a secret society consisting of Irish and Irish-American coal miners, that used to coincide within the town of Centralia, Pennsyvania.
- The Order's alias is a name of a massive clandestine organization from the 2012 horror film The Cabin in the Woods.
- The Order is also the name of the antagonistic occult group in thelonelygirl15 video series, who also kidnaps girls for their ceremonies.
Monsters of Silent Hill