Inside Tulane's Juggling Club, a baffling 'secret society' where just one member juggles

Lydia MattsonA single juggler spotted perfecting his craft.

Universities and colleges around the country are known for housing elite, spooky, Illuminati-like secret societies that meet under the cover of darkness. Yale has Skull and Bones. Cornell has Quill and Dagger. Alabama has The Machine.

Head a bit further down south to Tulane University in Louisiana and students may stumble across another sort of secretive society. The group grows crops, self governs, and hosts raucous parties. The organisation is officially called “The Benevolent Society for the Propagation of Assorted Tomfoolery and Other Sorts of Peculiar and Otherwise Absurd and Baffling Nonsense,” but most Tulane students know it by its other name: The Juggling Club.

The club has its own Ministers of Agriculture,Minstrelsy,Science,Siege Warfare, and Transportation, each with is own lyrical, and often dramatic stories. It maintains its own garden, hosts philosophy conventions, collects insects, and hosts “alley cat bicycle races.” Sometimes, they even juggle.

To find out what really goes on in this club, Insider enlisted the help of one of its members, Tulane sophomore Lydia Mattson. Mattson says she first heard about the club several years ago but was initially told it was nothing more than a gathering of stoners on a rooftop. After attending the club’s bi-weekly meetings, though, Mattson discovered something much different.

Continue scrolling below to follow Mattson on her brief journey through Tulane’s Juggling Club.


“When I first heard of the Juggling Club, I was warned by a hushed whisper that all they do is smoke weed on the top of the parking garage. Never would I have expected there to be so much hula hooping and so little weed.”

Lydia MattsonJuggling club members whip out their hula hoops.

“Michael, one of my suitemates, is more of a part-time Juggler. As a nocturnal creature, he only comes out at night and hula hoops beneath a full moon. Thankfully, weekly club meetings are at 9 pm.”

Lydia MattsonMattson’s friend Michael tries out the hula hoop.

“With the soothing music of The Last Shadow Puppets as background noise, Jugglers huddle within their hoop and giggle over discussion of Juggling matters, including the monthly Rumpus and the last time the cops kicked us off the parking garage.”

Lydia MattsonJuggling Club members discuss their past adventures.

“A Juggling meeting isn’t complete without this bag of tricks. There’s no telling what you might find within, especially under the cover of nightfall (although it’s usually just juggling balls and other knickknacks).”

Lydia MattsonA peek into the Juggling Club’s ‘bag of tricks.’

“Your token Juggler. There can only be one person that actually knows how to juggle at any given meeting — or two at the absolute most. Any more would break the simulation.”

Lydia MattsonA single juggler spotted perfecting his craft.

“If you can’t juggle, you usually just throw random objects around and pretend you know how, instead.”

Lydia MattsonAnother student trying, and failing, to juggle.

“The Juggling Club is the only place on Tulane’s campus where it is acceptable to get gross. But it’s not only a club for throwing objects. As suggested in the club manifesto, the Juggling Club ‘has its fingers in many pies,’ including gardening.”

Lydia MattsonMembers of the Juggling Club get their hands dirty in the club’s garden.

The club is big into gardening and has two plots on campus. “Notice the enormous plantain tree, compost piles, and the elusive Juggling Shed,” Mattson. “Only the club’s minister of agriculture actually knows its contents.”

Lydia MattsonThe juggling shed in the garden.

“These limes are under strict 24-hour surveillance by Jugglers. We recently experienced a plunder of our persimmons by a nasty thief, so we’re on high alert.”

Lydia MattsonA lime tree under 24 hour surveillance by Juggling Club members.

“Sometimes I feel as though the more I find out about the Juggling Club, the less I actually know. Its secrets are only illuminated under the cover of night, existing within silhouettes. I find comfort in that.”

Lydia MattsonJuggling club members leave for the night.

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