Can you keep a secret?

7th April 2016

shhhroom
Latitude Society Photo: Lydia Laurenson

I’ve been reading up on secret societies and came across the Latitude Society, a San Francisco group that apparently became defunct in 2015. Inductees were given an invitation by a friend or acquaintance, with an envelope request for “absolute discretion.”

The card had a code you could use to schedule an appointment online. Then you showed up at the appointed address, and entered a small room with a slide inside the fireplace.

fireplaceslide
Photo: Lydia Laurenson

The slide led to a library too small to stand, where inductees first heard this fable, which was reiterated a ritualistic start to group meetings:

Afterward, new members were sent on a sort of scavenger hunt through the city, and given access to invitations, and to online forums where they could arrange to meet with other members.

Magic. Jeff Hull, the society’s creator, is an artist living in Oakland. Costs eventually outstripped revenue and made the project unsustainable, but what a lovely thing while it lasted.

A few articles if you want to know more. Did any of you get to do this?
My Year in San Francisco’s $2 Million Secret Society Startup
I joined a secret society and loved it, but now it’s just another failed startup
Can a Secret Society Become a Business?

2 thoughts on “Can you keep a secret?

  1. Nora

    No, but when I read about it after the fact, I felt such and acute sense of loss. New life-list item: start/join/discover secret club.

  2. Leah

    This was fascinating. Thank you for posting. It brings up deep issues of our need for wonder and belonging as well as balancing that with the reality of the money it takes to keep the lights on anywhere. And the idea of the constant tension between art and profit and how we are always interacting with that tension.
    A great idea to read about and ponder.

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