Netflix’s ‘Archive 81’ throws viewers down a rabbit hole of bewildering dark magic and ancient entities. When archivist Dan Turner begins restoring a collection of tapes salvaged from the destroyed Visser building, he becomes involved in a struggle between two ancient groups. Both him and Melody Pendras, the grad student who shoots the videos in question, are essentially pawns in a much larger scheme.
Much before the protagonists came into the picture existed the mysterious Vos Society, which stays at the periphery of the narrative but gives us a glimpse of the sinister powers at play. Want to know more about the Vos Society from ‘Archive 81’? We’ve got your back! SPOILERS AHEAD.
What is the Vos Society? Is it Real?
The first reference to the Vos Society comes quite early in the series when Dan watches a rare vintage horror film from 1958 called ‘The Circle,’ which depicts an ancient cult performing blood magic. We later find out that its director, William Crest, was inspired by a video of an actual ritual in which a person is sacrificed to a mysterious god.
As it turns out, the original video that inspired the director is a recording of the Vos Society performing their own ritual. As the series progresses, we get to know more about the secret group and its members. Episode 7, in particular, delves into the details of how they carried out the rituals.
The Vos family lived in the mansion that occupied the land on which the Visser building was later constructed. Much like the multi-story building, the Vos mansion is also destroyed in a mysterious fire as a result of the ceremony carried out in the basement by the Vos Society. Through the ceremony, the society attempts to merge the world with their god Kaelego’s “other world.”
In case you were wondering, the secret society in question is not real. Of course, there are countless secret societies and cults that actually exist, a few of which the fictional Vos Society undoubtedly draws from. However, the Vos Society, as depicted in ‘Archive 81,’ doesn’t exist, and perhaps that’s a good thing.
Who is Iris Vos?
We are introduced to the Vos Society circa 1924, when Iris Vos seems to be its leader. She is the heiress of the Vos fortune, and the secret society under her consists of mainly wealthy patrons. Along with her two brothers, Iris plans to use dark magic to welcome Kaelego into the world and also bless herself with a child. She employs a young maid, Rose, who is eventually sacrificed in the ceremony.
The blood magic ceremony carried out by the Vos Society under Iris Vos opens up a doorway to another dimension, trapping the leader in the “other world” while the Vos mansion is swallowed up by flames. Thus, with Iris Vos gone and all its members dead, the Vos Society seemingly ends.
However, the season 1 finale gives us a glimpse of Iris Vos in the “other world,” telling us that she is still alive. Though not elaborated on, it seems like the wealthy brothers Virgil and Samuel are also attempting to recreate a version of the Vos Society and could join forces (if they haven’t already) with Iris Vos. There is also a significant possibility that Virgil and Samuel are actually related to the Vos family, which would further explain their interest in Kaelego and the tapes.