Ever since the Freemasons came into existence, their practices have been shrouded in secrecy. That’s created certain rumors about what members really do behind closed doors – and not all of this gossip is positive. So, what’s the truth? Well, luckily for you, dear reader, we have the answers. These are 40 of the most alarming, intriguing and downright bizarre rules that Freemasons have to follow. And some of them may well blow your mind.
40. Don’t sit in the east unless you’ve been asked to do so
Remember how certain cliques at high school would always claim the same seats in the cafeteria? Well, something similar happens in Freemason lodges. The person who acts as “Worshipful Master” sits in the eastern section of the room, and no other member is allowed in that area unless they’ve been asked to be there. Former Worshipful Masters can seat themselves there, too. Basically, it’s like being asked to join the cool kids’ table.
39. You must believe in God
If you’re an out-and-proud atheist, you probably won’t earn a spot in your local lodge – if you admit to it, anyway. Why? To become a Freemason, you must have faith in a “Supreme Being.” That’s God, basically. And even if you aren’t overly religious, you need to at least pay lip service in order to be put forward for membership.
38. Don’t speak without permission
Would your nearest and dearest describe you as a bit of a blabbermouth? Well, you better practice holding your tongue. You see, Freemasons must stay quiet when “degrees” are discussed. Only the Worshipful Master can grant you permission to talk in those instances. Oh, and whispering is off the table, too.
37. There are specific greeting rituals
While most of the Freemasons’ rules and rituals are shrouded in mystery, one particular quirk has been spoken about – and often mocked – for years. Yes, we’re referring to the secret handshake. But there’s not just one! It’s all to do with your position in the organization, as the greeting you should use changes as you climb up the ranks.
36. Don’t turn your back on the Worshipful Master
As you can probably guess from the title, the Worshipful Master is the de facto leader in a Freemason lodge. That means he needs to be shown the respect he deserves. So, members must face the Worshipful Master before speaking to the room. Don’t be turned away from him, as this is a big no-no.
35. Don’t talk politics
If you’re into conspiracy theories, you’ve probably heard the ones about Freemasons cooking up schemes to run the world. Is it true? Well, no. While members are allowed to discuss politics in their day-to-day lives – especially, if you know, they’re the president or a member of Congress – such matters are completely verboten inside the lodges themselves. Sorry to shatter the illusion!
34. Leave outside quarrels behind
We don’t always get along with everyone that we meet, but there’s no room for bad blood in the Freemasons. Yep, if two members happen to fall out, they can’t carry the conflict over to the lodge. Any ill-feeling must be left at the door, as it could potentially cause disruption.
33. You must vote when necessary
Voting is an essential part of being a Freemason, as it helps to keep the lodges ticking over. But what happens if you don’t? Well, as per the Masonic Lodge of Education, “A brother who does not vote is discourteous because he skews the ballot. He becomes the weak link in a strong chain.” Harsh words indeed.
32. Any kind of excess is off the table
Certain aspects of your life may need to change once you become a Freemason. So, if you enjoy drinking a few beers during your spare time, that’s okay – but any more than a few runs the risk of breaking the Freemasons’ cardinal virtue of temperance. Abusing illegal drugs will naturally be frowned upon as well.
31. Don’t take advantage of the group
When talking to the BBC in 2018, a Freemason named Michael emphasized that the organization isn’t intended to give you undue influence. He said, “We come from all walks of life and professions, but it becomes a network. [However], the network is not to be used for your own personal benefit. That is something they stress.”
30. You shouldn’t turn down requests
You know that a little politeness goes a long way, right? And that’s equally as true in the Freemasons. If a member is asked to do something, then, it’d be in their best interests to comply. According to the Masonic Lodge of Education, such demands are a sign of “trust,” so don’t turn them down.
29. Always salute the Worshipful Master
Salutes aren’t just for the military, as the Freemasons have their own similar greetings. Upon entering their lodges, members are expected to acknowledge the Worshipful Master with a salute, doing the same again once they depart. Not all lodges require this formality, mind you.
28. Slander will get you in trouble
Slanderous comments can get you into real hot water – as anyone who’s been sued for them will know. And this extends to the Freemasons, too, as members can be pulled up and punished for any kind of defamatory statements. It’s best, then, to carefully watch what you say.
27. Obey the gavel
We all know the power of the gavel, right? That simple tool has helped to pass important rulings throughout the centuries. And it’s much the same in Freemason lodges. The Worshipful Master wields their own hammer when presiding over meetings, and once they bang it down, members must bring their talking points to a close.
26. Leave superstitions at the door
Would you consider yourself to be a superstitious person? If so, the Freemasons may not be the organization for you. They apparently denounce that kind of thinking at the lodges. And it’s not just us saying this, either. The one and only Theodore Roosevelt – who was himself a Mason – has confirmed this stance in the past.
25. Don’t leave during a ballot
Freemason lodges host their fair share of ballots, but members must abide by the same set of rules for each of them. When a ballot starts, for instance, you can’t just get up and walk away. People outside aren’t allowed into the room once the process begins, either. So, be mindful of this when setting your daily schedule, as picking up the kids from soccer practice isn’t a valid excuse to scram.
24. Don’t break the rules outside a lodge
Once your day at work or school comes to an end, you can kick back and relax in the knowledge that you no longer have to follow so many rules. It’s a bit different with the Freemasons, though. When members leave their lodges, they should continue to live by Masonic Law. If they don’t, civilians outside the organization could report them to their superiors.
23. Smoking in lodges is forbidden
If you’ve just become a Freemason and enjoy the odd cigarette, you should definitely take this point on board. As per the Masonic Lodge of Education, “In most lodge rooms, it is considered very disrespectful to smoke while the ceremonies are taking place.” Better light up outside, then, even if the rules in your town allow you to puff away indoors.
22. Don’t play practical jokes
Freemasons may not be plotting how to take over the world, but their lodges are still very serious places. That means practical jokes are off the table during Masonic meetings. And we can only imagine how the Worshipful Master would react to sitting on a whoopee cushion when starting important lodge business.
21. Trials can take place
Yes, trials occur in the lodges when people face charges of violating Masonic Law. And in those cases, everyone in the building is required to form a makeshift jury. Lawyers aren’t involved, though. Instead, the man on trial and his accuser play the roles of defendant and prosecutor, respectively. Interesting process, right?
20. Turn off your phone
It’s not wise to keep your cell phone on all the time. Moviegoers probably seethe at the mere thought of it! And it’s the same in Freemason lodges as well. According to the Masonic Lodge of Education, members need to switch their cells off upon arrival to swerve any dirty looks.
19. Curiosity isn’t enough to join
The criteria for becoming a Freemason is pretty simple to understand. But there are some other things to consider. For a start, you need to display a “favorable opinion” towards the organization when applying. Basically, no haters allowed. And on top of that, you can’t just be “curious” about what members do behind closed doors. That by itself is not enough to earn a spot in a lodge.
18. Stand up when you talk
Remember when your school teachers made you stand up in front of the class to read something? It was horrible, right? Well, Freemasons have to experience that all over again if they want to talk in the lodge. Members can’t just stay in their seats, as in doing so they’d be seen as disrespecting the Worshipful Master.
17. Don’t share secrets
The Freemasons are a famously secret society – and they want to keep it that way. So, what happens if members share tidbits about lodge proceedings? Sometimes, pretty severe punishments. And if you don’t want to run the risk of being cast out of the lodge – or worse – you should basically keep schtum.
16. Don’t walk between the Worshipful Master and the altar
It’s always good to be mindful of your surroundings. That way, you can avoid embarrassing faux pas. And that goes for Masons, too. For one, it’s a big no-no to cross the gap separating the altar and the Worshipful Master. The Mason Lodge of Education notes, “[Members] should never be in shadow during the processes of an initiation or degree work.”
15. You must have sponsors to join
We know what you’re thinking: shouldn’t an application form be enough to become a Freemason? Well, we can tell you straight up that it isn’t. You need to gain the support of two members in the lodge if you want to stand a chance. Their sponsorship can be the difference between gaining entry and being cast out into the cold.
14. You can’t discuss religion
Curiously, while Freemasons must believe in God to earn their place in the group, religious conversations are actually banned inside the lodges. Apparently, the higher-ups refuse to claim that different monotheistic belief systems are superior or inferior to one another, and so debating this matter is against the rules.
13. Avoid ‘off-color’ stories
Sometimes a good anecdote can help loosen the mood of a particularly stuffy room. But don’t try it in a Freemasons meeting, the Masonic Lodge of Education says. And this is especially the case if the story is “off-color.” Trust us: it won’t be appreciated.
12. Outside status doesn’t matter
For some people, status is everything. But in the Freemasons, social standing doesn’t matter. If you’re a blue-collar worker on minimum wage, you’ll be held in the same esteem as a chief executive – provided your rank in the lodge is identical. Boasting about your wealth won’t change that, either.
11. Always use Masonic names
Remembering a person’s name isn’t that difficult, right? How about their job title? That one’s a little tougher. It’s probably all water off a duck’s back for Freemasons, though, who need to stay sharp. According to the Masonic Lodge of Education, you’re expected to use people’s correct Masonic titles during conversations, so keeping these all in your head is key.
10. Always wear your apron
Like other members-only clubs, Freemason lodges have their own dress codes. This includes aprons, which are one of the most recognizable aspects of the organization. But Masons need to be cautious, as they can’t walk into the room while they’re adjusting their outfits. That’s apparently seen as discourteous.
9. Be open to charity
When reading about the Freemasons, you may see something about their philanthropic work. And, yes, members do plenty for good causes. In 2019 Provincial Grand Master Gareth Jones told WalesOnline, “[The Freemasons] is an organization that gives a lot of help and support to charity.” Perhaps they’re not so sinister after all!
8. Never argue in the lodge
If you’re stuck with a large group of people for a while, there’s a good chance an argument will break out. It happens, right? But verbal sparring is strictly forbidden inside Freemason lodges. After all, namecalling and slanging matches are likely to raise the ire of the other members who just want to get on with business.
7. Maintain good posture
Ever been told off by your mom for slouching? Maybe you’ll be a good Mason! You see, members are expected to sit up straight inside the lodges. Bad posture is apparently looked upon as a sign of disrespect, and if it’s noticed, it could lead to a stern talking to.
6. Be prepared to face punishment
When you become a Freemason, you need to be prepared to face punishments for any wrongdoing. Sounds reasonable enough, wouldn’t you say? But rumors have persisted as to the severity of that discipline. It’s said, for instance, that those who gave up secrets in the past risked losing either their tongues or their hearts. There’s no evidence that this actually happened, though. Phew.
5. Never use Masonic titles when sending mail
Did you know that Freemason lodges have their own secretaries? And these valuable members have their own set of rules to abide by. According to the Masonic Province of East Lancashire Lodge Secretary’s Handbook, “On no account should a Masonic rank be included with the name and address on an envelope being sent through the [mail].”
4. Don’t wear Masonic jewelry in public
Alongside those aprons, Freemasons can wear special pieces of jewelry in lodges, too. Mind you, these eye-catching rings and pins can’t be used for other events outside. That’s a massive no-no – perhaps because these items mark you out as a Mason to those in the know.
3. You should roll up your pant leg during initiation
When speaking to WalesOnline, Provincial Grand Master Gareth Jones spilled the beans about one particularly bizarre Freemason tradition. He said, “Why do we roll up our [pant] leg when we are getting initiated? There’s a good reason. It is meant to demonstrate that you’re a free man, that you’re not wearing a shackle.”
2. Don’t correct mistakes
We all make mistakes from time to time. And as Freemasons are only human, they’re prone to erring, too. But don’t be tempted to correct anyone inside the lodge, as the Masonic Lodge of Education reports that only the Worshipful Master or his nominated substitute can step in if an individual makes a verbal error.
1. Be prepared for a symbolic ‘death’
Apparently, you need to take part in a rather chilling tradition before becoming a Freemason. In short, all prospective members have to “die.” Don’t worry, though, as it isn’t literal! During the initiation ceremony, a noose is dropped over your throat after your eyes have been covered. Then a blade is drawn to your chest. From there, you’re essentially reborn into the group. It’s not as scary as it sounds.
But Freemasons aren’t the only folks to be publicly maligned. Hells Angels also have a reputation – and for all the wrong reasons. The cops say they engage in illegal activity, while the public see them as outlaws who rule the road. So, what’s the truth about the world-famous motorcycle club and all of its intimidating members? Well, while the guys themselves generally stay quiet, we do know a few secrets, including these 30 surprising rules that everyone has to obey – or else.
30. Don’t ask to join
Fancy becoming a Hells Angel? Well, don’t expect them to tell you how to become a member. In fact, if you look on the FAQ section of the club’s website, it says in no uncertain terms, “If you have to ask, you probably will not understand the answer.” But we won’t leave you completely in the dark about what’s involved.
It all starts with what the Hells Angels call a hang around. And that’s just as it sounds. Basically, you’re given an invite to hang out with inducted members. That way, the others can see how prospective newbies will fit in with the crowd – or not.
29. Showing up for events is vital to your membership bid
But you can’t just accept an invite to hang around and then change your mind about attending. You see, charter members take the club very seriously indeed. And that means you’d better show up when you say you’ll be there. If you’re flaky, you probably won’t make it into the fold.
Members who skip events aren’t cut slack, either. The whole point of the Hells Angels is that it’s a brotherhood, and skipping out on the motorcycle family’s gatherings is a huge sign of disrespect. So, whether you’re a new or old member of the club, you go to the meetings – come hell or high water.
28. Only wear official Hells Angels merchandise
Perhaps you’ve seen Hells Angels vests or T-shirts emblazoned with the club logo. But you shouldn’t wear this gear – especially in an attempt to secure your membership. The gang has a strict no-impersonation policy, and they wouldn’t take kindly to something like that. They’d probably have no issue with dishing out the reprisals, either.
As you may already have guessed, members are the only ones who can wear official Hells Angels gear. So, until you get into the charter, don’t try slipping on someone else’s vest or sewing a patch on too quickly. Just support the club in ways that won’t offend the folks you’re trying to impress instead.
27. You can’t discuss missing Angels with anyone
We can see the strength of the Hells Angels brotherhood from the outside, but it’s hard to sum up just how seriously they take their bond with one another. This rule of the motorcycle club gives a hint, though: they cannot talk about absent members.
It makes sense that Hells Angels wouldn’t discuss members with outsiders, but they also extend this silence to those who have disappeared. This measure is yet another protection in place to maintain their privacy and keep one another away from the clutches of the law. So, if you have loose lips, you probably won’t be inducted. You’re not even supposed to talk about your brothers with anyone outside of the club.
26. Every Hells Angels charter marks its territory – and the others have to respect it
You’ve probably picked up by now that respect is of the utmost importance to Hells Angels. And this applies both inside and outside a particular charter. Simply put, you should hold your fellow motorcyclists in high regard. If one charter claims a specific area as their territory, then, others nearby should obey these boundaries.
In this way, it’s decided which Hells Angels charter can hang out where. There is some leeway, as club members can actually ride through one another’s territories. What they can’t do, however, is stop, hang out and make themselves comfortable. Only the folks from the charter that has staked its claim can do that.
25. Hells Angels will fight other gangs for territory
While Hells Angels have plenty of respect for one another, they’re not the only motorcycle gang on Earth. And, sometimes, that means they have to fight for control over the territory they want. Gang members apparently tend to take the view that they shouldn’t have to share with riders of differing affiliations.
You see, there’s an unwritten rule between motorcycle clubs – including the Outlaws, the Hells Angels and the Bandidos – that only one of them can control a single area. And that’s how conflict between these groups can start. Something as simple as a rival biker showing up in your area with “your” location emblazoned on their vest can start a fight for dominance.
24. You have to be willing to give back
Hells Angels may have tough reputations, but they’re not solely about cruising and controlling their turf. Part of the gig also requires you to be a good person – and not just to your brothers. Yes, in many charters, charity work is apparently a requirement for membership.
This means that Hells Angels often give back to the communities in which they live and ride. If your neighborhood has a motorcycle contingent, then, you may see the leather-donning members frequenting local bars and restaurants. Some will even run their own charities or spend time working with adults or children in need.
23. Hells Angels follow the Golden Rule
You remember the Golden Rule from your school days, right? It’s simple: treat others how you want to be treated. And if you could follow that guideline as a child, then you’ll have no problem being a Hells Angel as a grown-up. Members stick to the same principle when it comes to people both inside and outside of their charter.
The Hells Angels code says that they will treat others with respect so long as they receive it in return. Journalists who have interviewed gang members have apparently found them welcoming and warm. Neighbors of the motorcyclists have reported the same, too. If you show contempt to a member, on the other hand, you should expect a completely different result…
22. Protect the Hells Angels brand by any means necessary
You know by now that wearing the Hells Angels logo is an honor bestowed upon bona fide members only. Clearly, then, the motorcycle gang takes its branding seriously. But this approach doesn’t just apply to folks who want to get in or appear as though they have. It also informs how members react to the way they’re portrayed in the media.
So, the Hells Angels will do anything to defend their public image. They’ve even gone so far as to slap down big companies that have presented a skewed view of who they are. The motorcycle club launched legal proceedings against Disney, for instance, after it released the bike-centric flick Wild Hogs. Pretty serious, right?
21. You’ll have to be ready to ride – a lot
Membership in the Hells Angels clearly comes with a lot of responsibilities. But if you join a motorcycle gang, you won’t probably have any problem with this rule: you have to be prepared to ride with your brothers. And if you’re a little on the lazy side, beware. That doesn’t mean only short, quick jaunts down the road.
The Hells Angels website claims that charters ride more than 12,000 miles together every single year. Do the math, and you’ll find that’s roughly 33 miles each day. Of course, the gang doesn’t hit the road every Monday through Sunday, but you do have to be prepared to drop everything for a long cruise. And if you like riding, it won’t be a huge burden to be on your bike for hours at a time, will it?
20. You can only ride a Harley
If you want to join the Hells Angels, you should start by investing in the right motorcycle. But you don’t just need to own a bike – yep, it’s on you to supply your own ride – as it also should come from one manufacturer in particular. You see, it’s custom for members to only ride Harley-Davidson models.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, though, depending on the Hells Angels charter you join. Some will let a non-Harley bike slide so long as you choose another American-made brand. Among the acceptable choices is Buell – which, funnily enough, is a subsidiary of Harley-Davidson.
19. It’s tough to start your own Hells Angels charter, but it’s possible
It takes time to set up a Hells Angels charter – and the club’s website is careful to point out this fact. The site says in no uncertain terms, “Motorcycle clubs consist of people who have ridden together for years, live in the same area, are known by the community, have runs and parties and are a brotherhood.” And you just can’t create that kind of closeness overnight.
So, a motorcycle community would generally only consider becoming an official arm of the Hells Angels after years of riding together by choice. Perhaps that’s why the club website doesn’t include instructions on how to join up. Once you’re established enough, you don’t have to ask how or follow any steps; you’re just in.
18. Don’t question their grammar
Any grammar guru will tell you that “Hells Angels” should really have an apostrophe before the first “s.” The club’s name implies that the motorcyclists belong to hell, after all, and so an apostrophe would make that connection clear by creating a possessive. But the organization acknowledges only one proper spelling of its name, and there’s nary a punctuation mark in sight.
The Hells Angels adhere to their own rules – and that appears to include grammatical ones, too. The official website even makes a point to shut down those who question this choice by remarking, “Yes, we know there is an apostrophe missing, but it is you who miss it. We don’t.” And if you want to keep on a member’s good side, we wouldn’t recommend you disagree.
17. There’s a dress code
Initiation and membership into the Hells Angels arms you with a coveted accessory: a vest emblazoned with the organization’s name and insignia on its back. That way, when you’re on the road, everyone knows with whom you’re riding. But that’s not the only must-wear item for the motorcycle gang’s inductees.
You see, Hells Angels charters each have their own dress codes. Some don’t allow riders to wear shorts, while others bar their members from sporting anything but the color black. In other places, however, motorcyclists may be permitted to don denim and camouflage prints. And, handily, these rules help neighboring charters recognize one another on the road.
16. Hells Angels ride in a specific order
If you’ve ever seen a Hells Angels charter cruising down the highway, you’ll know that a lot ride together. The members can often take over the whole road, in fact. And yet, even with so many bikes hurtling along, there’s order to the chaos you’re witnessing from the outside.
At the front of the pack, you’ll see the captain riding along with the president of the Hells Angels charter. They lead the way, while the rest of the crew falls in line based on their personal rankings and seniority levels. New members hang near the back, and prospective signees bring up the rear.
15. You can’t join another biker club
In reading this list, you’re probably getting the feeling that joining the Hells Angels isn’t a decision to take lightly. And you’d be right. The organization prides itself on the connections made between members and the strong brotherhood that results. As such, there’s no need to join any other bike-related organization.
Apparently, Hells Angels should even steer clear of any other social clubs or membership-only groups. The organization’s website explains, “Never combine your support to Hells Angels with other clubs, street gangs or others if you are unaware of the relationship between those others and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.” It’s best, then, to stick to who you know.
14. Angels don’t speak to the media
There’s a reason why the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is such a mysterious organization: its members make a point of keeping it that way. For starters, they don’t share their plans or scheduled activities with anyone. And if you somehow happen to catch Hells Angels riding, then you’ve found out along with the rest of the world that they had a cruise on the books.
The Hells Angels’ secrecy stems from a simple internal policy: don’t talk to the press. Riders use their silence as a way to protect their image and safeguard themselves and others. And as only those inside the organization need to know what charters are up to and when they’re gathering, it’s a bad idea to spill the beans.
13. The vests are considered sacred
The vest that a Hells Angels member receives once they’re officially inducted into the group is more than just an accessory. That piece of clothing is revereed among the motorcyclists who make it into the exclusive club, and all of them treat the garment with great care.
So, while you may have a similar outfit that you hold dear, that devotion probably pales in comparison. Allegedly, some Hells Angels members will even refuse to let medics cut them out of their vests in life-and-death situations. That’s how much of an honor it is to don the famous embroidered gear.
12. Membership hinges on a vote
If you think you want to join the Hells Angels, then you should make absolutely sure before you start the process. A new prospect’s journey from enlistee to full-fledged member can take years, you see, and there are several hoops through which you have to jump before you officially make it into a charter.
And the culmination of all of those pre-membership rituals ends with a democratic vote among everyone in the charter. This step certainly speaks to the brotherhood mentality that the Hells Angels have; basically, if the group likes you, then you’re in. If the majority of the guys don’t want you to join, though, then you’re probably out without question.
11. Before you’re in, you’re a prospect – and subject to hazing
You’ve heard of fraternities hazing those seeking to join, and the Hells Angels are no different. For one, prospective initiates can get stuck with the chores that fully fledged members would rather avoid. This means, for instance, that the new guys may arrive early to a charter meeting, putting everything together before anyone else gets there.
That’s a pretty benign example of what Hells Angels hazing can be, though. Some say that the process can get violent, although this in turn triggers another rule. Apparently, prospects can’t lash out or fight back against the senior members who haze them. If they do, then their journey to membership ends then and there.
10. You can’t even link to the website without permission
Knowing what you do now, you probably don’t want to mess with the Hells Angels. But even if you’d never purposely rile a member, you may just do so inadvertedly. That’s because outsiders can’t link to the motorcycle club’s website except in a very specific scenario.
The Hells Angels’ site explains, “You may not establish and/or operate links to this website without the prior written consent of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.” And even if you have permission, it may not last forever, as members reserve the right to withdraw from the deal.
9. Say goodbye to any other hobbies
Once you join a Hells Angels charter, your brothers will expect you to put the organization first. And as membership comes with a slew of perks – you can vote at meetings, for example – you should take this honor seriously by making the club your first priority.
Needless to say, then, being part of the Hells Angels will become most members’ only hobby. Yep, they won’t have time to sign up for bowling leagues or take cooking classes. Even their wives and partners have to accept that the club comes before everything else.
8. No one in law enforcement can join
You may think that a cop would fit in well with the Hells Angels – especially one who patrols on a motorcycle. That’s not the case, though, as the group actually has a strict no-police rule when it comes to hopeful new members. And the same goes for prison guards. In fact, any ties to law enforcement will prevent you from enlisting in the club.
Mind you, the Hells Angels don’t exactly have the best relationship with police, as some charters allegedly engage in illegal activities. And even if they’re not breaking the law, club members go by their own rules and value their freedom to do so. Having a cop among their ranks would certainly put a dampener on that.
7. Interrupting a meeting could cost you
Picture a Hells Angels’ meeting, and you may imagine it to be as raucous as the riders’ engine-revving antics on the road. In actual fact, though, there are very specific guidelines dictating how members should behave at their regular gatherings. The organization follows Robert’s Rules of Order, which was originally written in 1876 to help businesses keep any assemblies civilized.
Robert’s Rules of Order outline the ways in which a firm – or in this case, the Hells Angels – can hold a democratic meeting. The group has to respect the written agenda, while members can only interrupt when it’s really needed. Anyone with a question has to raise it before proceedings begin, too. And, apparently, breaking a rule will put you $100 out of pocket.
6. Never rat out a fellow Angel
Supposedly, not all Hells Angels members lead lives on the straight and narrow. Yes, some allegedly partake in illegal dealings, which naturally puts them on the radar of the local authorities. But others in the charter know what to do if the police start poking around: basically, keep quiet.
Even if a member is involved in a crime, the group has a strict policy to stay mum. Talking to the cops or any other type of investigator could after all incriminate a brother – or, worse yet, the entire charter. So, on the whole, it’s best to ensure that your mouth stays shut.
5. Substance abuse is strictly prohibited
If you assume that Hells Angels’ criminal activity extends to drugs, though, guess again, as the organization has a no-tolerance policy for contact or engagement with illegal substances. The Toronto-based charter, for example, makes a particular point to prohibit needle use.
In the end, substance abuse would negatively affect the reputations of Hells Angels members, so they steer clear of it. And the organization also have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault. If a rider commits such an act or uses drugs, then, they’re out of the charter for good.
4. When the cops pull one member over, they all pull over
Of course, Hells Angels members are bound by the laws of the land – whether they like it or not. And when cops catch a motorcyclist riding or behaving illegally, they naturally won’t hesitate to pull them over. When that happens, though, the rest of the charter will act according to club rules.
In essence, after one member pulls over, their brothers will do the same and sit on the side of the road in solidarity. They do this as a supportive symbol, for sure, but the practice may also serve to scare the cop who has forced the bike to the shoulder.
3. You can’t retire
It takes a lot to become a full-fledged member of the Hells Angels, but the length of membership warrants such an intensive interview process. You see, once you’re in, you’re in for life, as there’s no such thing as retirement from the motorcycle club. You can, of course, lose your place for going against the rules, but that’s basically it.
But a lifetime membership does have its benefits, as Hells Angels enlistees become more like family than members of a motorcycle gang. And they generally take that connection very seriously, being brothers to the very end – at which point they give any fallen biker a proper send-off.
2. Rule-breaking comes with serious consequences
By now, you’ve learned one thing: the Hells Angels don’t just make rules for the sake of it. And it should be pretty clear that members take the organization and its reputation very seriously. If someone gets into the group but fails to meet its standards, then, or decides to flaunt the guidelines, they’ll be in serious trouble.
Those who have investigated the Hells Angels have heard horror stories of how remaining members will burn off the tattoos of those who haven’t obeyed the motorcyclists’ code. But the worst consequence of all for any rider would be removal from the club – a major dishonor, especially as membership is otherwise a lifelong commitment.
1. Strictly no women allowed
Hearing the name “Hells Angels” may encourage you to make a mental leap to the TV show Charlie’s Angels and lead you to assume that women are allowed to ride alongside the men. But the group doesn’t actually permit women to join, and so you won’t ever see them riding when a charter goes for a spin.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t women close to the Hells Angels organization, though. Many of its male members naturally have wives and girlfriends in their lives – and they’re expected to play along, too. Yes, a dutiful Hells Angels partner will probably learn the ropes and try their best to avoid breaking any of the rules as well.