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The Order, also known as the Organization and simply "the cult", is the primary antagonistic organization of the Silent Hill series. They are a religious armegeddon cult and secret society residing within the town of Silent Hill, Maine and have expanded into other towns across the region, such as Shepherd's Glen. It is also possible some of their members exist scattered throughout America, as well as the rest of the world; Toby Archbolt, for example, once went to Mexico. They are very mysterious and there is limited information on them throughout the series.
At the end of Silent Hill: Homecoming, the Order was presumably destroyed. However, this isn't confirmed and it is possible there are still 21st century Order adherents.
The Order believes they are the "one true faith" and "one true religion", and all other religions on planet Earth are deceptions and false lies. It is ambiguous if this is true, or if it is make-believe fantasy manifested by the ancient power of Silent Hill. It is also unknown how much of the Order's mythology and beliefs are actually rooted in truth, or merely man-made fabricated fantasies and fables used to brainwash its followers.
The Order has their own set of holy books and scriptures which they claim is the word of God, a sun deity often depicted as female. The Order believes these writings are "truth" and were "divinely inspired", using phrases such as "And God said...". Who wrote these scriptures and for what purpose it is currently unknown. They also have their own set of prayers.
The Sect of Valtiel, one of branches in the Order, has forced children into reading these scriptures worshiping their sun God every Sunday. The continual indoctrination of children, who lack critical thinking skills and are unable to question and challenge the adults, is primarily how the Order continues to survive and operate over centuries like an unending cycle. They also use their extensive influence, propaganda, manipulation, fear mongering and divine claims to entice members to join the Order.
The cult's 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 involves esoteric occultism, black magic, dark art, arcane rituals, and blood sacrifices, among other things in its beliefs.
Role in the Silent Hill series
|“|| Silent Hill is what I mean. The place has bad history. Always has... But I heard rumors about the people who live there. Let's just say, they're not too friendly to people who don't share their beliefs.
The Order is a primary source of struggle for most of the games, and are responsible for the many dilemmas that the protagonists of the series face, and much pain and suffering.
The Order is prevalent in many of the games, and are deeply rooted in Silent Hill's history and culture. They are responsible for:
- The deaths of several people who developed the town, the anti-drug mayor and his private investigator.
- Protecting drug dealers in the town that sold the 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 eventually murdered afterwards.
- Alessa Gillespie's immolation and rise to power, as well as the subsequent attempts to contain it.
- They ran the Wish House Orphanage, and were responsible for Walter Sullivan's descent into madness. His murdering of almost 21 people became known worldwide as "the Walter Sullivan case".
- The damnation of Shepherd's Glen (drowning/suffocating/dismembering/burying babies and children alive)
- Creating 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 god still sleeping in her womb.
When people refuse to convert to the Order, the cult often resorts to brainwashing, kidnapping, drug trafficking (like PTV), child abuse, acts of violence, torture, and even murder. The Order uses each method to achieve different objectives. Loyalty, discipline, and the rebuilding of their flock and faith requires many approaches to ensure that no one attempts to leave the cult. 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 be unable to achieve its true goals.
Some Order members threaten eternal damnation and use violence towards non-believers who question their religion, especially those whom they consider as pagans, heretics, sinners, blasphemers, and mockers. This extends to child abuse, such as the priests of Wish House who would beat children for questioning, among other certain parental figures.
However, not all of their members are necessarily antagonistic. Many of them are brainwashed, making them mentally and spiritually sick while occasionally also being twisted and depraved. Michael Kaufmann is an Order member, but he chooses not to be involved with the religious side of it. Some members, such as the 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 can be considered 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 corrupted 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 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 magic, along with a classic superstition of building on top of a Native American burial ground as explained in Book: "Lost Memories" 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.
Background and history
It is important to note that the cult is not the same as the native religion before the settlers arrived and drove the Native Americans off of their land, the "Place of the Silenced Spirits", later renamed "Silent Hill". However, despite this, a book entitled Silent Hill's Ancient Gods: A Study of Their Etymology and Evolution, claims "When this religion fell into the hands of immigrants, it was deeply influenced by their own original Christian beliefs", suggesting that the origins and roots of the Order were inspired from the natal religion of the Native Americans.
It is also speculated that the Order's god is the same as the "Raven", a deity the natives which once occupied the "Nest of the Raven" worshiped by performing the holiest of ceremonies, including human sacrifices.
The cult's roots date back as far as the Salem witch trials in the 17th century, with the burning of one of their founding members, Jennifer Carroll, by puritanical Christians in 1692. She was later declared a saint by the Order, although they were not formerly known by that title.
In 1853, Shepherd's Glen is founded by Isaac Shepherd, Edith Holloway, Cornelius Fitch and Mason Bartlett. They fled from their brethren and entered into a contract.
|“|| Be it resolved, by the will of the undersigned, a new day of our faith has risen. No longer content with the view of Paradise held so dearly by those of our faith who came before us, nor those still in worship today, we leave our blessed community of Silent Hill and come to this land as pilgrims, sworn to begin our faith anew. Therefore, with the power and blessing of our mighty God, from whom all life and prosperity wells, we do establish this land and consecrate it Shepherd's Glen. May our four families flourish and persevere, through all manner of hardships, with all sacrifice required, under God's consent and protection, for all time.
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 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 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 Natives.
After Dahlia's death in the events of the first game, the cult was left in shambles and went through a period of inactivity. After around 10 years passed, Vincent Smith invested in the cult and revived it, along with the new high priestess, Claudia Wolf. The structure of the organization was adjusted and the number of adherents rapidly increased. Due to the timeline, this means that Claudia's and Vincent's revival of the Order only last for roughly seven years and ended in the events of Silent Hill 3.
After Vincent's and Claudia's deaths in the events of the third game, it can be speculated that all but one sect were destroyed. 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 two year stay in Silent Hill, many of them proclaiming the Order is the "great evil".
Journalist Joseph Schreiber believed in his diary that while the cult itself was gone, the spirit of it was still alive in Silent Hill because there were too many strange things happening in the town. It is unknown if this diary entry was written before or after Silent Hill 3, however.
In 2003, the Order was revived once more by Margaret Holloway in response to "God's wrath" and the dooming of Shepherd's Glen because one of the Shepherd boys who was chosen to be sacrificed wasn't. To give her people "life through rebirth", she kidnapped most of the citizens of Shepherd's Glen and brought them to Silent Hill to become members of the cult. Those that refused to join were tortured and killed, and it is implied that the Order collected their blood since blood tanks can be found in the final area of Silent Hill: Homecoming.
After Margaret's death in the events of Homecoming in 2007, the presumed final sect in Shepherd's Glen was destroyed, leading to the supposed demise of the cult, but this isn't certain.
|“|| Our only hope was to revive the Order which our founders abandoned... the true faith.
While the Order is technically a fictional cult, Silent Hill is intended to be set in the real world. As such, the Order takes inspiration and draws elements from other real-life religions, such as the origins of Christianity, Japanese folklore, Aztec rituals, and Native American beliefs.
The faith also bears a striking resemblance to occultism, demonic and satanic worships. For example, the Incubus strongly resembles Baphomet, widely recognized as an image of Satan. One part of Silent Hill 3 is an exchange of dialog between Vincent and Heather in which he admits "God" could be perceived as the "Devil":
- Vincent: "It's not uncommon for people to worship the same god and still disagree."
- Heather: "'God'? Are you sure you don't mean 'Devil'?"
- Vincent: "Whichever you like."
The Order seems to follow a philosophy of moral nihilism and moral relativism; they do not believe in the concepts of "good" and "evil", only chaos and order, and feel this justifies their ways. They believe in God, Paradise, sins, souls, Purgatory, and Hell. They also perform and believe in gyromancy.
The Order believes that humanity and society is corrupt, full of suffering and a lost cause, and that they are among the elite "chosen people" to bring about a new world unstained by evil. Claudia believes that happy people are most often the cruelest and humanity has been contaminated by greedy and earthly material and base desires.
A memo in Silent Hill 4 implies that the Order refuses to use the term "America" or "United States of America", and instead, simply and derogatorily call it the "Nation of Sin". This may imply they do not believe in the concepts of states and governments and embrace anarchism. By extension, this gives the possibility that they do not pledge allegiance to flags, or refuse to believe in the concepts and notions of militia, countries, nations, states or presidents and the like.
Another memo implies they believe humans are born in sin and "filth", and only by following their faith and "cleansing the flesh from their bodies" can they hope to become pure.
Myths of the Order
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 by believers as a Caucasian orange-haired woman with red robes (or a male demon by opponents); it has been stated that this belief is the foundation for the whole cult. Their mythos has a wide variety of angels and gods (polytheism), as well as saints, including:
- God or Samael: the Holy Mother, Creator of Paradise, Lord of Serpents and Reeds
- Valtiel: angel
- Metatron: angel
- Lobsel Vith: Yellow God
- Xuchilbara: Red God
- 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
According to the Order's beliefs (see Myths (memos) and Sun), humanity existed before God. Here, people knew only pain, war, despair, and hatred, and they were immortal. Seeking salvation from the world around him, a man offered a prayer and a serpent to the sun. A woman, offering prayer and a reed to the sun, asked for joy. Taking pity on a world consumed by sadness, the pleas of these two people breathed life into God, and from them, She was born.
The world, as it was then, had no understanding of linear time so the first thing God did was establish a linear, measurable time, separating it into night and day. After this, She outlined to humanity the road to salvation and gave the world joy. Since people weren't able to die, God took away their immortality. The reason for this was so people could know the freedom and release that comes from death.
Her next act was the creation of other deities and angels, those most notable among them being Lobsel Vith, the Yellow God, and Xuchilbara, the Red God. This was done so She would have help in leading humanity to follow Her in obedience. Her final gift to the world would be Paradise after Judgment Day.
With Her creation of the world completed, God set about creating a peaceful utopian place where people would be eternally happy with no pain, hunger, sickness, old age, greed, or war. With its creation, though, God's strength was used up and She collapsed. All the world's people grieved this unfortunate event, but with Her last breath, She promised She would come again. She is then said to have "returned to the dust". Since God was not lost, the world's people offered their prayers and did not forget their faith, waiting for the rebirth of God so that the golden gates of Paradise will open.
The Order's main goal, as many of its members state, is to usher in the apocalypse and deliver the faithful to Paradise. This Paradise means many different things to different members, believing that God will open Paradise to all walks of life, or to those who have maintained faith, but the goals remain the same; 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. The prevalent belief of the Order is that a true god can only know salvation and offer utopia via being born and exposed to an aura of madness and agony, hence their belief that the Otherworld is a just existence and the work of God.
The Order believes they will witness the second coming of God, who will cause the apocalypse by cleansing the entire world with pure fire, bringing mankind to extinction. Then after the judgment and atonement in Purgatory, God will make the final decision to send human souls to eternal damnation or to an eternity of bliss. Many of their beliefs are seen in the Prayer to God memo.
Vincent claims Claudia's desire for God is a product of her abusive dysfunctional childhood. The memories of her father's abusiveness and cruelty towards her is forever burned into Vincent's mind. Vincent claims that what Claudia, and possibly the Order, calls "faith", is nothing more but a child crying out for love, which is why some members like Claudia are lonesome.
As stated on several occasions, the Order does not believe in terms of "good" or "evil", only "chaos" and "order". 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, despite that murder is one of the greatest sins in the Order's faith.
Alessa Gillespie, Claudia Wolf, and Alex Shepherd were physically abused and punished by their parents, who are members of the Order, and they never loved their parents. It's possible they were punished because one of the sins in the Order's beliefs may be to "honor thy father and mother", which does not say anything about loving their parents. Because they believe in sins, the Order may believe in fighting not the sinner itself, but rather, the sin.
System of beliefs
This is a set of bylaws for how to live by the Order's 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. The name of the founding group is The Mother.
- 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 is 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 one's case before the Council implies one's 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 accusations of inappropriate acts, heresy, abuse of power by leaders, or 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, they are required to bring their request to the High Council.
The Order is divided into several sects.
Sect of the Holy Woman
This sect is centered around a high priestess named Dahlia Gillespie.
They believed in the resurrection of the god by impregnating a woman, who has concealed special powers, with the child god within her womb. However, Dahlia had attempted to hasten God's rebirth by using an immolation ritual which involved using her daughter Alessa as a sacrifice.
Later, it seems their belief system changed from "God will be resurrected via a womb" to "God will return to Earth one day and we must await Her coming faithfully", as evidenced in paintings in Silent Hill 3. They believe that once God has come, She will cause the apocalypse and usher the faithful to Paradise. Not all of 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.
Notable members of this sect include Dahlia Gillespie, Claudia Wolf, Vincent Smith, and Leonard Wolf.
Sect of the Holy Mother
Members of the sect of the Holy Mother (not to be confused with Alessa Gillespie, known as the Holy Mother of God) used their self-run Wish House to raise a conjurer. They respected a giant stone called the Mother Stone (which the natives called Nakheehona), located in the Silent Hill Woods, as something sacred and as a holy entity. The natives used Nakheehona in their ceremonies for talking to dead ancestors (whether or not this actually worked is unknown). The name "Mother Stone" was given by the Order members and they used stones for their rituals.
They called the god "Holy Mother". This sect believed that the Holy Mother would be brought by a conjurer performing a ritual, possibly to descend the god into a sacred object (possibly Nakheehona).
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 young Walter Sullivan. They also held a ritual for the resurrection of the dead, which James Sunderland may find in Silent Hill 2.
Members of this sect include Toby Archbolt and Walter Sullivan.
Sect of Valtiel
This sect is centered around the priest Jimmy Stone, a priest with the alias "Red Devil". This sect would don red pointed hoods and act as executioners in honor of Valtiel, since they worshipped Valtiel as the one close to god and also an executioner.
The Sect of Valtiel was also responsible for the intermediation of the Sect of the Holy Woman and the Sect of the Holy Mother, which were in opposition to each other.
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 its 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.
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.
Members of the Order include priests (fathers), high priestesses (sisters), Order Soldiers and deceased saints.
- See Members of the Order category.
These locations are known to be part of the Order or used for the Order's purposes.
- Alchemilla Hospital (Silent Hill)
- Gillespie House (Silent Hill) - Burned down during Silent Hill: Origins
- Green Lion Antiques (Silent Hill and Silent Hill: Origins)
- Church of the Rebirth (unknown, but possible) (Silent Hill 2)
- Chapel (Silent Hill 3)
- Wish House Orphanage (Silent Hill 4: The Room) - Burned down during Silent Hill 4: The Room
- Water Prison (Silent Hill 4: The Room)
- Church of the Holy Way (Silent Hill: Homecoming)
- Lair (Silent Hill: Homecoming)
- Shepherd's Glen and its town hall (Silent Hill: Homecoming)
- Sanctuary (Silent Hill: Revelation)
It is also possible Midwich Elementary School has some teachers or staff who are part of the Order, and may have brainwashed and indoctrinated children into their religion.
The Order's churches are decorated with stained glass windows, paintings, crosses, altars, bibles, baptismal fonts with holy water, confessional booths, and sirens that were used to alarm Order members of the Otherworld and to seek shelter in their churches.
However, underneath their churches and orphanages, there tend to be dark lairs where they torture, threaten, brainwash and kill both adults and children who will not conform with their views.
The Silent Hill film features The Brethren as a fanatical religious cult as well. Like the Order, The Brethren seems to worship a female god, and they believe in Heaven, sins, souls, Purgatory, and Hell with many Catholic leanings as well as abusing children. The Brethren's faith is also based on other religions.
However, director Christophe Gans has stated they are two separate cults and that the Order is not the cult in the film. 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 Brethren are witch hunters who kill convicted witches to prevent the apocalypse.
The sequel to the first film, Silent Hill: Revelation, contradicts Gans's statements by saying the Order and the first film's cult are actually one and the same. In the movie, they are renamed the Order of Valtiel. Revelation writer/director Michael J. Bassett stated before the film's release that they were two separate cults. Like the games, the Order's members are seen in the sequel as cloaked figures dressed in dark belted clothing. In the finale, the Brethren/the Order flee their sanctuary during the fight between Red Pyramid and the Missionary, thus it is presumed these members still survive.
In contrast to the Order's presentation in the game series, the Order of the comics universe is not a central element to the plot.
Presented as a clandestine group of 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.
Silent Hill: Origins
Silent Hill: Homecoming
Silent Hill: Revelation
|Heather Mason - Christopher Da Silva - Vincent Cooper - Claudia Wolf - Leonard Wolf - Dark Alessa - Douglas Cartland - Alessa Gillespie|
|Rose Da Silva - Dahlia Gillespie - Suki - Travis Grady - Order Soldier - Detective Santini - Mannequin Girl|
|Armless Man - Delusion - Leonard Wolf - Lobotomy - Mannequin Monster - Memory of Alessa - Missionary - Nurse - Pyramid Head - Valtiel|
|All Hallows High School - Brookhaven Asylum - Central Square Shopping Center - Jacks Inn - Sanctuary - Silent Hill, West Virginia - Lakeside Amusement Park|
|The Brethren - Halo of the Sun - Monster - Manifestation - Otherworld - Fog World - Real World - Robbie the Rabbit - Seal of Metatron - Siren - The Order - Great Knife - Welcome Sign|