Order of Gimghoul
The Order of Gimghoul is a collegiate secret society headquartered at Hippol (or Gimghoul) Castle in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The order was founded in 1889 by Robert Worth Bingham, Shepard Bryan, William W. Davies, Edward Wray Martin, and Andrew Henry Patterson, who were University of North Carolina students at the time.
The society is open to "notable" male students (rising juniors and higher), and faculty members by invitation. The society centers itself around the legend of Peter Dromgoole, a student who mysteriously disappeared from campus in 1833. The founders originally called themselves the Order of Dromgoole, but later changed it to the Order of Gimghoul, "in accord with midnight and graves and weirdness," according to archives.
Tradition has it that the order held to the "Dromgoole legend and the ideals of Arthurian knighthood and chivalry." From all accounts, the order is social in nature, and is believed to have no clandestine agenda. Membership is closed and information about the order is strictly confidential as is access to archives less than 50 years old.
The meeting place of the order, Hippol Castle, was built in 1924 at a cost of nearly $50,000. Thirteen hundred tons of rough stone were used in its construction giving it the appearance of a castle. To finance its construction, the Order sold 35 acres of property that was later designed the Gimghoul Neighborhood Historic District. The castle is located at the end of Gimghoul Road, not far from Old Chapel Hill Cemetery on campus near Carmichael Auditorium. According to real estate records, the 2.15-acre (8,700 m2) site is owned by a non-profit corporation entitled the Order of the Gimghoul and has a taxable value of over $1 million. The castle is a contributing building in the Chapel Hill Historic District.
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