The beginnings of our Order can be traced back to an ancient people called Wugga. According to The Book of Rocks:
And thus did the Glorp gather his peoples, those they called Loonees, and set them upon an island in the ocean. And there, the people did call themselves Wuggans for the the name "Wugga" meant "he of the Bent Thought." (Rocks III.5)The island of Wugga is thought to have been located somewhere off the eastern tip of present-day Guam. For over five thousand years, the Wuggans lived and prospered on the island. Since they lived in close proximity to the Ancient Land Bridge which connected all the continents of the world, the Wuggans were able to travel widely and spread the wisdom of Koepher (or Gopher).
Around 4,000 B.C.E., a plague caused by dust motes carrying a virulent strain of cooties wiped out the Wuggans. Thereafter, the seas rose, covering the Land Bridge and sinking the island1.
But a Wuggan, whose name meant "obscure reference," had left the island just as the plague began. He was unaffected due to a good dose of cootie protection--a talisman (the solidified body of a peculiar-looking beetle) which he wore around his neck. His journey took him eastward where he eventually ended up in ancient Sumeria. He then sought refuge in a cave and came to be known as Phil.
It is not known what became of Phil. Many Gopher scholars hold that he did marry and sire twelve children, but the latter events of his life are shrouded in mystery and idle speculation. One legend holds that he died after stepping into the path of diseased lemmings and was shoved off a cliff.
In 2,749 B.C.E., Phil's descendant, Reehk of Uruk, was visited by the Glorp and told to heed their call of prophetic activites under penalty of having his innards wrapped around a yak. Reehk then adopted the name "Bendo," was miraculously given a large IQ and a voluminous vocabulary, and instructed to go and spread the teachings of Koepher. He then wandered the land for many years and taught to many who were interested in his words. But his activites seem to come to an end around 2,600 B.C.E. as none of the ancient records mention him after that date.
Nothing is heard of Bendo or of Gopher until 1,825 B.C.E. One evening, young Refugito, son of a farmer, was lying facedown in the dirt after a rather swell party when he was visited by Bendo and the Glorp. Following this, Refugito achieved enlightenment (wombat) and went to a nearby cave to pen the two sacred books of Gopher--The Six Scrolls and The Book of Rocks. Shortly after writing the two works of Koepher, Refugito was mauled by a pack of rabid trees. Just before he died, he muttered "Yarblek" and was immediately one with the Rh'lph.
Gopher once again vanishes until 513 B.C.E. when a young Greek shepherd named Hiram the Younger discovered The Six Scrolls and The Book of Rocks inside a clay pot. With the help of his fellow shepherd and sometime cliff face, Cyrus the Middle Child, they translated the two works into Greek.
Cyrus was later killed when an Athenian Galley fell on him. Thereafter, Hiram received a visitation from Bendo and the Glorp. Hiram then changed his name to Ri'handu, got really drunk, and wandered the countryside for 42 years, proclaiming the truths of Gopher. Many rebuked him, cast stones at him, and told him he smelled like fetid dingo's kidneys.
But there were some who hearkened to his words and followed him for they saw the light of truth in what he spoke of. These followers learned more of Koepher and a number of them set down their observations and meditations on what they had learned. After his pilgrimage, Ri'handu went to live in a hole in the ground for the remainder of his life.
This time around, Gopher does not vanish but is kept alive through written records set down by Ri'handu's students like Lhoid Wehb'Ur, Mahrv'N Hamlish, Rahjersan Hammerstyne, Lehrnur-Ann Lohw, and Sonn D'hime. This marks the first time that the two works were set down in writing and handed down from generations to generation. Another work, The Book of Moronics, a collection of Gopher wisdom and sayings, was added around 26 C.E. Together, the three were collected under the title: The Book of Koepher.
For the most part, Gopher was an underground movement that surged and ebbed as the years went by. Then in 1564, Wallace William Smyth, a wayward poet and part-time wheelbarrow, stumbled on the Latin translation of a curious work called The Book of Koepher. Out of curiousity, he translated it to the vernacular and had a visitation from Bendo and the Glorp.
Smyth spoke of his unearthly experience to some friends. They agreed it was indeed a momentous occassion. They then formed a small gentlemen's club, calling themselves Spamists (after the sound a piece of cod makes when strange things are done to it). They met regularly in the back room of the Red Dog pub in central London and subtly debated the hows and whys of this new and intriguing subject whilst singing bawdy tavern songs, mostly about men, women, and sometimes, sheep.
But after a year of debating, Smyth's friends grew tired of the matter and began to pursue other, more interesting topics. Namely women. Also, sheep.
Smyth agreed to forgo the discussion of Koepher and its doings but secretly practiced the Way it spoke of. A few Spamists also wanted to continue practicing Koepher. These neo-Spamists continued to practice for the next three years. Unfortunately, all the Spamists (including the neo-Spamists) met an untimely demise when, while collectivley drunk and singing the one about Julia, the goat, and four dead fish, they all fell in the Thames and drowned2. Luckily, Smyth's translation of The Book of Koepher survived the deadly assault and ended up in the collection of a wealthy English family.
In 1869, an American philosopher by the name of John Alexander Sargent came to England on holiday and went to visit friends in Yorkshire. It was on that fateful November afternoon, two hours before tea, that Sargent happened upon The Book of Koepher in the library while looking for a spot of brandy. He then received a visitation from Bendo and the Glorp, achieved enlightenment and soon began to draw others who had seen flashes of Koepher insight and truth.
Sargent stayed in England and began to work on tracking down as much of the Koepherite writings as he could. With the help of friends who were students of the occult arts, Sargent labored some 40 years on the project.
Finally, in 1911, the Arcanis Arcanum was published. One year later, Sargent found The Society Of The Inner Circle, a collective of men and women who wished to learn the wisdom of what he came to refer to as Gopher (from the original "Koepher"). The Society (known thereafter as TSOTIC) elected Sargent the First High Overlord of the Order. Sargent then changed his name to Milo Mysterium, and thus was the Order born.
BRUCE THE FROOFLE
Innocuous General of the Obscure Rocks, 3º
1Gopher scholars agree that this rise in ocean levels corresponds to the Great Flood of the Genesis story; also the Deluge of Babylonian myth as described in the Gilgamesh story.
2Some say that they were tripped by a band of angry Freemasons but that is only hearsay. Nothing of the sort. In fact, forget that we ever mention the Illuminati. What?
3There is no "3". You must be going mad.
4There is no "4", either. You need help. Lie down before you hurt yourself. Go on.
Come back next week for another entry of The Jericho Files!
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.
Read previous Jericho Files entries here.