Knights of the Mystic Chain
Degree of Mystery

This ritual was adopted by the Supreme Lodge in 1900.

Officers should wear robes, Turkish fezzes, wigs and beard. The following articles should be on hand: Regulation sword and belt, hoodwink, one pair roller skates, one old shirt, one old hat, shaving outfit (consisting of one large wooden razor, piece of oil cloth to fit around candidate during the shaving act, or large sheet will answer the purpose), water pail, lather pail, large paint brush and cake of soap, towel, bottle of seltzer water, one saw-horse, old saw, stick of wood, oil can for water, tin-seated chair, spirit or oil lamp, tunnel de trouble and ball.
COMMANDER: The officers will assume their stations. If any are present who are not qualified to sit with us in the Degree of Mystery, they will please retire. Marshal, you will satisfy yourself that all present are chosen Mysterious Sir Knights.
MARSHAL, after examining Sir Knights, retires to Degree of Mystery, and says: Your instructions have been obeyed, and I am satisfied that all present are qualified to remain with us.
COMMANDER: Vice Commander, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
VICE-COMMANDER, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Chaplain, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
CHAPLAIN, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: Guard, are you perfectly satisfied that all present are qualified Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery?
GUARD, shall satisfy himself and say: I am.
COMMANDER: I do then declare this Degree Lodge open for the degree of Mystery; let us direct our deliberations with brotherly dignity, and with due regard for our fraternal obligations. One rap.
COMMANDER: Marshal, you will retire and report the names in waiting to be initiated in the Degree of Mystery of the Knights of the Mystic Chain.
Marshal salutes and retires; returns again, saying:
MARSHAL: Commander, I find ... ready to become a Mysterious Knight.
COMMANDER: Recorder, has ... been proposed and elected according to the rules of the Mystic Chain?
RECORDER: He has, Commander.
COMMANDER: Has the required fee been received?
RECORDER: It has, Commander.
COMMANDER: I appoint Sir Knight ... to act with the Marshal as Aide for this occasion. Marshal, you will go to the ante-room, prepare the candidate, if be able to undergo our trials and temptations.
MARSHAL: I will obey your commands retires to the ante-room.
In Ante-Room.
MARSHAL: Before proceeding on the journey you have requested permission to make, I must require of you certain pledges: First, will you promise upon your honor as a man to obey the officers during your journey? I await your answer?
MARSHAL: you promise not to reveal to any human being anything that would give them knowledge of any of this degree or work, or private transactions of the Knights of the Mystic Chain? I await your answer.
MARSHAL: Are you perfectly willing to submit yourself to severe and searching tests, in order that you may he able to demonstrate your sincerity and good intentions, and will you absolve the officers and Sir Knights from all blame or censure, should they in any manner displease or offend you in their efforts this night to impress upon your heart the sentiments and teachings of Kindness, Mercy and Charity, the cardinal virtues of the Knights of the Mystic Chain?
If he declines to answer in the affirmative to all, he cannot be admitted.
MARSHAL: I now have your voluntary pledge of obedience, but it is still time for you to retire if you fear the consequences of the ceremonies into which you are about to enter. Are you satisfied to proceed?
MARSHAL: Then submit to this hoodwink. Your eyes must be securely covered, so that you cannot gaze upon the mysteries of the Mystic Chain until you shall earn that right. Raps at door.
GUARD: Who comes here? What are your wants?
MARSHAL: A candidate, long anxious to behold the mysteries of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, for whom we vouch.
GUARD, reporting to Vice-Commander, keeping wicket open: A candidate, long anxious to receive the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, vouched for by Knights of the order, stands waiting to enter.
VICE-COMMANDER: Let him enter with those who avouch him.
Guard opens door, and Marshal, Aide and candidate march twice around the hail, and are stopped by the Guard. Candidate should have on a pair of roller skates, but must be supported by Marshal and Aide, who can allow him to slide about, but care should he taken that he does not fall. Candidate should also have on an old torn shirt and dilapidated hat.
GUARD: Great Cesar! Marshal, what have you there?
MARSHAL: A candidate, whom I am taking to the Vice-Commander.
GUARD: Have you the audacity to present a stranger to the Vice-Commander in that condition? Look he has his skates on, and his toilet generally needs arranging.
MARSHAL: He will be all right shortly; don’t fear.
GUARD: I cannot permit any one to pass in that condition. Marshal, you had better spruce him up a bit; put a coat upon him, shine his shoes, and make him look presentable.
Marshal, aide, and candidate retire to ante-room, remove skates and torn shirt; and the candidate, having put his coat on, they re-enter, and stop before the guard.
MARSHAL: Everything you mention has been done.
GUARD: Well, he can: but say, Marshal, have you shaved him?
MARSHAL: Have I shaved him? No, I forgot that.
GUARD: Well, he must be shaved before you apply for admission here for him.
Marshal and aide move to the centre of the room. Aide throws oil-cloth over the candidate and ties it about his neck, so that his clothes cannot be soiled. The oil-cloth about the neck should have a row of sponges about it, in order that no water may go down the neck. Candidate is placed in a chair, partly reclining, to resemble a barber’s chair. Aide should have a bucket of lather, large brush, and wooden razor, also a syphon bottle of seltzer.
MARSHAL to candidate, as he is appearing to arrange matters for business: It is a long time since you have been shaved here. I thought I was going to lose your custom. How are they voting down your way this season? Politics lively as usual?
The marshal can ask such questions as come to mind while arranging the candidate. When all is ready, the aide will apply the lather in goodly quantities. If he splutter. and fumes, when it gets in his mouth and nose, use the syphon of seltzer to remove a portion of the lather, standing at the side of the candidate, so as not to force it straight into his mouth or nose; then proceed to remove the lather with a wooden razor. When the shaving is completed, take the candidate to the ante-room, bathe his face in Florida water, etc., and get him in a good humor. The Marshal re-enters with the candidate, who is taken once around the hall, stopping before the Guard.
MARSHAL: All the details have been carried out.
GUARD: Pass on.
Candidate is marched to Vice-Commander.
MARSHAL: Vice-Commander, this candidate, long anxious to behold the mysteries of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, begs to be allowed to know what are the full benefits of the Order, and to learn its mysteries.
VICE-COMMANDER: Has he the necessary qualifications? Is he straight of limb and sound of body, and able to undergo our trials and temptations?
GUIDE: He has the necessary qualifications.
VICE-COMMANDER: Candidate, do you reaffirm upon your honor that you will conform to the laws, rules and usages of the Order, and the Degree of Mystery, which is now being conferred?
VICE-COMMANDER: Then listen and profit, my friend. We believe the Supreme Being gave intelligence to us to devise means for self-help in time of need. It is a part of His divine plan that we should avail ourselves of the methods when devised, and secure the help needed.
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of life,
Be not like dumb driven cattle,
Be a hero in the strife.
The mysteries can only be learned from our Commander, and I now release you to your guides, who will conduct you on your journey through the Mystic Chain, and at last send you to the Commander. “Remember to be kind to one another.” Marshal, present this candidate to the Chaplain, that he may there take his obligation.
Marshal, candidate and Aide now march around hall and are stopped by Guard.
GUARD: Who comes here?
MARSHAL: A candidate instructed by the Vice-Commander, and sent to our Chaplain to take the obligation.
GUARD: Is he worthy?
GUARD: How do you know, have you tried him?
MARSHAL: No, not having had an opportunity.
GUARD: I like that. This indiscriminate presenting to Chaplain must stop. We haven’t time for drones and dullards, but only those with sound head, good heart, and willing hand can pass these portals. Only those who succeed by honest labor deserve our consideration or the benefits of our order; so you must understand that every one must prove himself deserving before he passes this way.
MARSHAL: I have not had an opportunity to personally test this candidate, yet he is of good report and I will vouch for him.
GUARD: Nothing short of proof will do.
MARSHAL: How can he prove it tonight, at this late hour, when honest labor is all at an end?
GUARD: He might augment our winter store of wood, which, as Mystic Chainers, we provide; try him on that wood-pile over there and we can soon tell if he be used to honest labor.
Marshal takes candidate to center of room where a saw-horse, saw and stick of wood should be at hand. Candidate, blindfolded, is placed in position, given a saw and told to go to work. Aide should have a can of water ready and liberally apply so as to bind the saw. Members should encourage candidate by advice and witticisms. When the wood is sawed, Marshal and candidate go to the Guard.
MARSHAL: Guard, this candidate has proven himself worthy to take his obligation.
GUARD: Pass on.
Candidate is marched before Chaplain.
MARSHAL: Chaplain, this candidate has heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain from our Vice-Commander, and comes to you that he may make his vow.
CHAPLAIN: My friend, you have heard the benefits of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. Are you willing to conform to our laws, rules and usages, and to make your vows and take your obligations?
Commander calls up Lodge by three raps, followed by Past Commander, Vice-Commander and Chaplain.
Marshal removes blindfold.
CHAPLAIN: Say, pronouncing your name in full and repeating after me: I, ..., do solemnly promise, in the presence of God and these witnessing Knights, that I will never divulge the secrets of the Knights of the Mystic Chain. I further promise that I will obey all orders issued by this Lodge, its officers acting as such the Grand Lodge under whose jurisdiction it may be, and will pay due respect to the Supreme Lodge. So help me God.
I further do solemnly and sincerely promise that I will never reveal any of the signs, pass-words, hand grasps, or any of the secret work of the Degree of Mystery of this order.
Further, I do solemnly affirm that I will, to the best of my ability, live and practice the teachings of this order, and be ready, at all times, to warn a brother against danger, and assist him in distress when in my power.
Replace blindfold.
Marshal, present this candidate to the Past Commander for further instruction.
Marshal and candidate march around hall and are stopped by the Guard.
GUARD: Slay! What are your wants?
MARSHAL: A candidate who has been instructed by the Vice-Commander, and has made his obligation to the Chaplain, now seeks wisdom from the Past Commander.
GUARD to candidate: Give me the instructions received by you from the Vice-Commander.
Guard waits a moment for reply.
GUARD: Away with him.
MARSHAL: No; let him think a moment.
GUARD: Well, sit down I have some. business to look after and may he you can in a few minutes recall the instructions given you.
Marshal seats candidate upon a tin-seated chair, under which is placed a spirit lamp, which should he lighted from a candle, so that no noise of lighting may be heard after seating candidate. Candidate is allowed to leave chair of his own free will, and is then prompted by the Marshal to give the Vice-Commander’s instructions: “Remember to he kind to one another.”
GUARD, as candidate rises: Now give the instructions you received from the Vice-Commander.
CANDIDATE:  “Remember to be kind to one another.”
GUARD: Pass on.
Guides now march candidate to Past Commander’s chair.
Marshal: Past Commander, this candidate has heard the benefits of Knights of the Mystic Chain from our Vice-Commander, and has made his obligations to our Chaplain, and is sent to you for further instruction.
PAST COMMANDER: Welcome, my friend; the true-hearted are always gladly received. I am glad to see you thus advancing in our progressive order. I trust that you will lay to heart the instructions you have thus far received, and will with a receptive mind and loyal heart harken to those that may hereafter be given you. I will not detain you on your pathway through the stages of the Mystic Chain further than to impress upon you the crowning grace and glory of our order: the heaven descended attribute of love. Love is the ladder on which we mount from earth to the radiant regions above. Plant your aspiring feet upon the successive rounds of this ladder:
Thus alone shall you attain
To that summit whence the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
Your guides will now take you on your way, and will at last send you to our Commander. The journey is short, up hill and down dale.
Candidate is taken before Guard.
MARSHAL: Guard, this candidate, after receiving some of the lessons this degree imparts, desires to be allowed to see our Commander, and there to receive his commands.
GUARD: Friend, go with our Marshal and prove that you have not only the physical ability, but the disposition, will and determined spirit to overcome all impediments in your desire to see our Commander, who sits the other side of yonder wall. Go, but many will try to thwart you in your passage.
Marshal takes candidate a few feet further on and makes him crawl on hands and knees into the tunnel, telling him not to brook any attempt to prevent his passage, but to push right along. The Aide is sent in at the other end (or the other candidate, if two are going through). After several minutes exercise the Aide or second candidate may he withdrawn.
The tunnel is made from netting, or small cord; is from thirty to thirty-six feet long, twenty-four inches in diameter; six hoops of same diameter placed at different positions hold the tunnel in proper shape. Guy ropes should he attached to several of the hoops for members to hold, which tends to keep it in better shape during use.
A round ball twenty inches in diameter, stuffed with resilient material is used in the tunnel to impede the progress of the candidate in making his way to the Commander. This ball should be between the candidate and the Aide, who usually goes in to assist in impeding the progress of the candidate.
MARSHAL, as candidate advances into tunnel: Listen, friend; you are now to work your way into the inner circle of the Mystic Chain. The passage is roughly constructed, and multitudes of opposing obstacles are found therein; failures are frequent; brook no interference; push right along. Energy, pluck and determination always win. Should you succeed in reaching the inner circle you will there be introduced to our Commander, who will give you such instructions as will inure to your good. Make no haste; proceed slowly; push everything before you.
The Aide or second candidate should be withdrawn. Marshal takes candidate to ante-room, removes blindfold, while Aide clears Lodge room, after which Marshal enters with candidate and presents him to Commander.
MARSHAL: Commander, I have in charge a candidate who has shown a desire to become a Mysterious Knight of the Mystic Chain. He has worked his way through the crowded tunnel, and by perseverance and toil has overcome all obstacles found in the way, and has at last reached thus far. He now stands before you, and it gives me great pleasure to introduce him to you for further instructions.
COMMANDER:  I welcome and congratulate you. Your progress has been one of toil and difficulty. May it impress upon you what was intended in the lesson of this degree. The broad and liberal principles upon which this order is founded should commend themselves to your earnest consideration. This order does not tolerate licentiousness or vice. We desire to live in conformity to law, and upon religion is based our strongest lessons. Our first lesson is Kindness: a due consideration of our brothers’ privileges and wants. Our second is that heaven-born quality, Mercy, which is ever ready to stoop to the lowest when in distress or trouble. In conclusion, ever bear in mind that your character will affect the world for good or evil. The crown and glory of life is character. It is the noblest possession of man. Prize it above wealth, above all that glittering gold can bestow. A good name is the jewel of the soul.
Who steals my purse steals trash , ‘tis something, nothing;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him
And makes me poor indeed.
I will now instruct you in the secret work of this degree. In order to gain admission to the Degree of Mystery of a lodge of the Knights of the Mystic Chain, you will approach the ante-room door and attract the attention of the Sentry, who will raise the wicket, and ask, “Who comes here?” You will reply, “A Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain.” The Sentry will respond, “Approach, Mysterious Sir Knight, and give the pass-word,” which you will do by whispering the word “Kindness”, when you will be admitted to the ante-room. You will then approach the Lodge room door (giving one rap), which will be answered by the Guard (giving one rap), and replied to by you, giving the same (one rap), when the wicket will be raised and the Guard will ask, “Who comes here?” You will respond, “A Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain,” giving name and number of your Lodge and rank. The wicket is then closed. The Guard then reports to Vice-Commander, who, if it be correct, orders him to receive the pass-word and admit you. The Guard will then raise the wicket and say, “Approach, Mysterious Sir Knight, and give the pass-word,” which you will do by whispering the word “sum”, which is interpreted I am. You will then be admitted to the Lodge, if working in Degree of Mystery, when you will approach the altar and salute the Commander with the sign of this degree, by placing index finger of the right hand perpendicularly on chin, other fingers closed. The Commander will respond with a salute, after which you may take your seat.
This sign is given by all Mysterious Sir Knights on leaving or entering the Lodge room while the Lodge is in session, and by all Knights when the Lodge is open in the Degree of Mystery. Kneel on your right knee. Commander, laying sword lightly on right shoulder of candidate, says: “I pronounce you a Mysterious Sir Knight of the Mystic Chain.” “Arise, Mysterious Sir Knight.” Commander gives three taps, likewise Past Commander, Vice-Commander and Chaplain, to call up the Lodge. Marshal, you will face Mysterious Sir Knight to the Lodge. We will now take a recess to welcome and congratulate the obligated Mysterious Sir Knight, who has successfully passed through the Degree of Mystery.
MEMBERS (in chorus): Welcome, Mysterious Sir Knight.
COMMANDER (one rap): Sir Knights of the Degree of Mystery, having concluded our deliberations, we will retire from our Degree Lodge, resolved to be benefited by the lessons learned. Let each and every one of us show by our conduct that we are true and upright, Mysterious Knights. Marshal, you will take up the Rituals and deliver them at this station. Sir Knights of Mystery, advance the sign of this degree. Commander will answer by the same sign. Now, by authority vested in me, I do declare this Degree Lodge closed until we shall meet again, and I bid you all an affectionate good-night.