A while back, while at the Halloween Club Spookshow event in La Mirada, I had a weird thing happen. Not at the event so much as, when I got back to the car, there was a flier tucked under my wiper blade on my windshield. I hate it when people touch my car.
The flier was for something about sharing Bileth’s “vision.” Yes. Of course it was. It smacked of those immersive experiences that raise the tension by luring the curious into solving puzzles and diving headlong into a world of intrigue. As we reported before, going to the website only led to more questions. Over the following couple of days, @OrderOfBileth on twitter and Instagram followed all of the usual suspects and it seemed like that was that.
Then I got an email.
My dear, sweet Norman,
We appreciated your article about our outreach at Spookshow and are delighted with your interest in us. I would be honored if you would grant me a few minutes of your time, and allow me to explain what we in the Order of Bileth stand for. Would you be available to meet for some light refreshments and a brief discussion on Bileth’s love, and what it could do for you? Perhaps later this evening?
1st Leading Knight
Through subsequent emails, he asked me to meet him at a coffee shop that I frequent…a LOT. It was a little creepy that they knew my personal favorite place, Kean Coffee in Tustin, and had my coffee ordered for me ahead of time. Large coffee, with half and half and one packet of Splenda. Nice touch actually, but then I started to look at the seams. Who were they? Who is putting on the show?
As I sipped my coffee, a guy dressed in all black approached me. “Norman!” he welcomed me with a southern, dandy accent. This was Steven Lundy. He invited me to sit down as he explained what the Order was and what it was all about.
Unfortunately, he asked that I not record our conversation but that I could relay his thoughts. “Bileth will bring about a new era of prosperity for the world,” he declared with a sweeping gesture, “once we bring her back from the realm she was banished to.” I asked him what happened to her.
“Why, she was banished by those who didn’t understand her power, centuries ago, and they have been trying to keep her there ever since,” Lundy explained. “The Order of Bileth has existed for just as long, but didn’t decide to ‘go public’ (he actually made quotations with his fingers here) until recently, as we are closer than ever to our goal.”
I sat, sipped my coffee, and listened to this character go on some more about Bileth. It was almost as if he were stalling for some reason. I was right. In the middle of our conversation, Lundy’s phone rang and whatever he heard pleased him. He ended his conversation and slipped his cell phone into his slacks in the most gentile way. Then he asked if I would like to go for a quick ride. Here we go…
Being no stranger to immersive theatre and experiences, I was fine when a black sedan pulled up on cue, in front of my coffee hangout, and both Lundy and I hopped into the back seat. As we left the parking lot, Lundy handed me an black satin eye cover and asked me to put it on. Reluctantly, I put it on and we made polite small talk that distracted me from keeping track of where we actually were going.
We drove for a good while until Lundy informed me that I could remove my eye covering. We were pulling into the bottom of a mid-sized parking structure and I was still trying to orient myself. Abruptly, Lundy invited me to pull my phone out and informed me I could begin recording video. So, well, I did.
At that point, Lundy told me to quit recording, and we hopped back into the car. The driver pulls around and begins making his way back down through the structure. “No harm will come to him, I assure you,” Lundy said, recollecting himself and putting the saccharine sweet southern charm back on like a worn jacket. “Would you mind terribly putting your eye cover back on? We will take you back to your car now,” Lundy said.
As we drove back to the coffee shop, Lundy apologized for losing his temper. He said that Roy, the man in the binds, was a former associate who stole from them, and all Steven wanted was to get their things back.
What the hell was this all about? I had no damned clue. None whatsoever. I was treated to a coffee (which was nice), but nothing was explained to me. I was driven to a secret place (a parking structure somewhere), I saw my host rough a guy up and yell at him about Bileth or something, then boom, I was back at my car with far more questions than answers.
Immersive storytelling is interesting to say the least. We will keep you posted on further developments.
For more information on them, visit them online at www.OrderofBileth.com