Above: Brothers Initiatii Ramon (left) and Richard (right)
during a department birthday celebration held in Richard's
honor. This photo predates the founding of the Brotherhood as
can be told by Richard's non-regulation head wear. Brother
Ramon would later be appointed Maréchal des logis
(Sergeant-at Arms) of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the
Brotherhood of the Purple Fez. If nothing else members of the
Brotherhood love a long winded and grandiose title.

Photo c. 1998. The Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian
Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Naturally keeping our find a secret, we returned the following evening with the tools and equipment necessary to safely open what
appeared to be a passage way into the unknown. Prior to this we had confined our expeditions to the main - and until then - only
level of the basement but we were soon to take our first step into as Obi Wan said to Luke "
...a much wider universe."

Making short work of what turned out to be a very old false wall we were confronted by a passage way that lead down to depths
unfathomed. Unbeknownst to us at the time we would soon learn of the existence of at least 6 additional levels of tunnels and
chambers that lay beneath the Armory basement proper. These passageways radiated out in all directions for hundreds of yards and
possibly miles and it was within these deep, dark confines that the story of Clifford T. Bell and the Purple Fez would begin to unfold.
Above: Brothers Initiatii Dennis and Dick examining one
of the many ammunition and arms magazines that were
located on the first basement level of the Armory building.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble &
Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: Brothers Initiatii Dennis and Dick peering down into
the newly opened passage that lead to the lower and long
hidden passageways beneath the Armory building. This portal
into the unknown was located in the remotest southwest corner
of the Armory's first basement level.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble &
Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: Late Brother Initiatii Pedro investigates a chamber on
level 2 not far from where the first pages of Clifford's
so-called Fez Diary were found.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble &
Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: A remote tunnel of Level 5. It was on this level that signs
of human activity dropped off considerably. Clifford T. Bell
appears to have visited these lower levels out a innate sense of
curiosity but does not seem to have used these tunnels for any of
his later experiments. From Fez Diary entries he felt ill at ease
here even when the Purple Fez was with him to steady his nerves

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian
Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: The end of the road - Level 6. All of these tunnels were
at least partially flooded even in Clifford's day. By the time this
level was entered by members of the Brotherhood most
passageways were completely impassable and simply to
dangerous to enter for all but the most foolhardy. Due to the
flooding, few artifacts if any could have survived here long and
nothing was found during the Brotherhood's brief visit.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble &
Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Left: Emblematic of the mysteries encountered while the Brotherhood explored
the subterranean fastness, this locked door located on Level 2 was never entered
and kept whatever secrets it held claim to over the passing decades. It is also
symbolic of the idea that all mysteries can not and should not be answered. In
any event the door will keep its secrets for all eternity since the tunnel complex
has in large part been destroyed by recent subway and Metrolink construction.
Additionally the entry to the tunnel complex discovered in the basement of the
old Amory building was also lost when that venerable edifice was gutted and
turned into a school in 2005.

Photo c. 2004.
The Secret Archives of
The Noble & Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Much more will be told later about the genesis of the Brotherhood and the history of the
Exhibits Department that brought it into existence. But for now it is here that we will say
goodbye to the explorations of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the Brotherhood of the
Purple Fez and instead travel back in time over one hundred years to the moss-hung oaks of
St. Mary's Parish, Louisiana and seek out the man who caused all the commotion in the first
place - Clifford T. Bell. In many ways as enigmatic as the treasure he brought out of
the desert so long ago, he left as his legacy an incredible series of events that are still
shaping the lives of those of us fortunate or unfortunate enough to have been swept
up into them.
Above: The Four Musketeers: four of the
founding  members of the Noble & Antediluvian
Order of the Brotherhood of the Purple Fez.
From left: Brother Dick, Brother Pedro, Brother
Curtis and myself, the Sublime Grand Master in
a carefree moment at the California Science
Center c. 2002. Founding members of the
Brotherhood are now known as Brothers (or
Sisters as the case my be) Initiatii.

Photo: The Archives of The Noble &
Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the
Purple Fez
I would be tempted to say that it was myself - your most humble and Sublime
Grand Master - that made the discovery of the very existence of Clifford T. Bell,
but this would do an injustice to my former coworkers in the exhibits department
of the California Science Center since we were all aware of certain rumors that
had been floating around the museum in its various incarnations over the
decades. There was something quite odd about the museum and the old closely
associated National Guard Armory (which like the Science Center is located in
Los Angeles' Exposition Park)  that none of us could ever quite get a grip on.
There seemed to be a lurking presence in the old buildings - especially in the
lower levels and basements - that left those of us who took the time to explore
them feeling ill at ease. I would not venture to describe the location as being
haunted - though there has been rumors to such affect - but perhaps the
sensation was more akin to what one feels when the scene of some great and epic
event is visited. Something had happened there that left ripple in the very fabric
of existence.

We - my coworkers and myself - would during our off hour ramblings and
explorations every now and then come across some odd document or artifact that
always seem to point to a mysterious predecessor at the museum named Clifford
T. Bell. This was all happening in late 1999 and early 2000 and not even the "old
timers" at the museum could recall anyone named Clifford T. Bell. This question
was solved when a particularly old file box was found in the basement of the
Armory building that contained several letters addressed to our mystery man.
These were all dated in the mid 1930's and were of very mundane museum
business although we did glean the fact that Clifford T. Bell was a kindred spirit
of sorts, having been a member of the exhibit staff all those years ago.

Encouraged by this minor discovery we began to explore and search for anything
even remotely related to Clifford T. Bell in earnest. While some inconsequential
items did turn up in the Science Center itself we soon realized that the old
Armory held the most promise. We also quickly realized that all of the above
described ill-feeling and oddness was centered there, particularly in the lowest
and most remote parts of the basement. It was during one of these after hours
explorations that an accidental spilling of a bottle of water took our search to a
new level - literally.
Above: Most Sublime Grand Master Ed in flight helmet
standing left, High Sayer of Sooth and Brother Initiatii Dick
standing center, Brothers Initiatii Pedro and Ben kneeling left
and right respectively. We all pose in front of the Science
Center's venerable DC-3 after preparing it for transport to a
restoration facility. This photo was taken by Brother Ordinarii
Ken (Group Captain of Flight Operations) just yards from the
site of Clifford T. Bell's adventures.

Photo: c. 2003. The Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian
Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Perhaps this subject needs to addressed with a question to begin with: Just how and when does a secret society come into
existence? Why was the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the Brotherhood of the Purple Fez founded in the penultimate year of the
20th Century by certain daring members of the exhibits department of the California Science Center? Did it actually begin some
70 years earlier as the result of a chance discovery in the blistered wasteland known as the Sahara Desert by Clifford T. Bell? Do
we need to go back even further through the deeps of time to the lost kingdom of the high king, Narmur-Ra and the source of his
long forgotten power? The short answer is "yes" so let us begin in the very recent and seemingly quite unremarkable past...
unremarkable unless one considers just what grew out of it.
Above: Brother Ben looks for an entrance to one of the many
sealed alcoves in the eastern sector of Level 3. It was on this
level that Clifford appears to have conducted the final
experiment that ended in disaster.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble &
Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: The Main Room of Level 2 (as named by Clifford
hismself) which was the first main chamber accessed by members
of the Brotherhood after the discovery of the original access point
in the main basement level. It was here that most of the artifacts
relating to Clifford T. Bell were found. Based upon circumstantial
evidence it is believed that this is the location where Clifford
conducted the majority of his experiments while attempting to
unleash the long hidden powers of the Purple Fez.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian
Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: The infamous cigar photo. Brothers Initiatii back row
from left - Brother Anthony, Brother Dick (High Sayer of Sooth) ,
Brother Carl, Brother Dennis, Brother Curtis, Brother Ben. Front
row kneeling from left - late Brother Pedro and the Most Sublime
Grand Master of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the
Brotherhood of the Purple Fez, Ed. While all of those pictured
have moved on to new adventures and employments this photo
captures something of the camaraderie that brought to fruition
the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the Brotherhood of the Purple
Fez.

Photo c. 2005 The Secret Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian
Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Left: The earliest extant group photograph showing
future members of the still yet to be founded Noble
& Antediluvian Order of the Brotherhood of the
Purple Fez. Taken c.1998 members of the Exhibits
Department posed in the group's office/shop space
in the northeast side to the old Armory Building's
basement. It was in old Exhibit Department files
held in this office space that members first became
aware of the existence of Clifford T. Bell.

Future members Initiatti of the Brotherhood
pictured here include, seated left to right: future
Most Sublime Grand Master Ed and Brothers
Curtis, Ramon and Carl. Standing back row left to
right: Brothers Richard, Anthony and Johel. The
excised individuals were members of the department
who failed in the calling and never became
members of the Brotherhood or were cast out and
banished from the organization for life.  
Photo: The Secret Archives of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the
Brotherhood of the Purple Fez.
Above: The Exhibits Department Christmas Party c.2001. The exact
date of this photo is uncertain but the party took place in either 2000
or 2001 not long after the
Red Car Brewery opened in Torrance,
California. The party was held on the Brewery's patio.

Brothers Initiatti  pictured here include, seated on left from front to
back: Ben in jester hat (seated to Ben's left is his future wife Cheryl),
Ramon, Johel and Dennis. Seated right side front to back Most
Sublime Grand Master Ed and  Brothers Richard & Anthony and
Johel. Not seen in the photo but present at the party was the late
Brother Pedro. Department members and guests not otherwise
affiliated with the Brotherhood have been excised from the
photograph.

Brothers Ben, Dennis and Pedro were part of the "second wave" of
exhibit staff hired after the official opening of the California Science
Center and always showed an enthusiastic and unfailing devotion to
the Brotherhood.
Photo: The Secret Archives of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of
the Brotherhood of the Purple Fez.
Above: This c.2002 photo was taken in front of the Science Center's
main entrance on the opposite side of the building from the original
Rose Garden entrance.

Brothers Initiatti and Ordinarii in purple-shirted splendor pictured
here include, standing back row left to right: Brothers Anthony O,
Frank H., Curtis H. (here represented by his own action figure - see
red arrow) and the Most Sublime Grand Master Ed G. Front row
seated left to right: High Sayer of Sooth Dick B., Carl P., Pedro G.,
and Scott B.

Photo: The Secret Archives of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of
the Brotherhood of the Purple Fez.
We had been conducting regular explorations of the
basement corridors below the old Armory building usually
after hours and it was during one such foray that a certain
section of wall did not appear "quite right" with a certain
un-natural looking gap between it and the aged concrete
floor. Utilizing a handy bottle of drinking water we poured
it out along this gap and watched it disappear into it. The
water could actually be heard dripping down into an as yet
unseen void.
Above: Behind a riveted iron door of Level 2 this moldering army boot rested undisturbed since sometime around World
War One. It like so many other relics encountered by the Brotherhood during their expeditions, this forlorn relic bore silent
witness to long forgotten events. That it could have spoken, what tales could it have told?

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: Descent into the unknown. Sublime Grand Master Ed overseas a member of the Brotherhood (wearing a safety
helmet and protective coveralls) as he descends into the lower levels of the tunnel complex.

Photo c. 2003. The Secret Archives of The Noble & Antediluvian Order of The Brotherhood of the Purple Fez
Above: January 30, 2003. Brothers and Sisters Initiatii and Ordinarii in a group photo taken just prior to
Brother Carl P's retirement from the exhibits department.

From left: Brother Frank H., the Most Sublime Grand Master Ed G., Sister Daidra W. (still on double secret
probation), Brother Carl P., Most High Sayer of Sooth Dick B., Sister Kelly C., Brother Richard J., Brother
Johel M., Brother Anthony O., Brother Pedro G., Brother Ben W., and Brother Curtis H. Not present in the
photo were Brothers Dennis M. and Scott B.

Photo: The Secret Archives of the Noble & Antediluvian Order of the Brotherhood of the Purple Fez.