Famous Undead Freemasons - Dracula???

by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin Lahners

Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

Abraham Stoker was born near Dublin, Ireland on November 8, 1847. He graduated from Trinity College with honors in mathematics. In 1872, Stoker is best remembered for Dracula, The Undead. Published in 1897 to mixed reviews, it is now considered a classic of gothic literature. The title character, Count Dracula, endures to this day as one of the most sinister monsters of horror. Dracula is a centuries-old vampire and a Transylvanian nobleman. He inhabits a decaying castle in the Carpathian Mountains. 

The novel begins with Jonathan Harker, a young London solicitor (a lawyer) traveling to Transylvania to help a rich nobleman, Count Dracula, purchase an estate in England. Dracula is planning to immigrate to England, and wants Harker to help him with all the legal details. Harker is at first impressed by Dracula's suave politeness, but is soon creeped out by the Count's uncanny ability to communicate with wolves and by the lack of servants in the Count's huge castle. Soon after, Harker realizes that he's a prisoner.

One evening, he attempts to escape, only to be discovered and seduced/almost devoured by three brides of Dracula. Dracula rescues him at the last minute, and Harker realizes that Dracula is only keeping him alive to finish the real estate transaction. Harker decides to make a break for it and only barely escapes from the castle alive. He's not able to head straight back to England, though. He comes down with a severe case of brain fever because of the shock and spends many weeks recuperating in a convent in the countryside in Hungary.

Back in England, Harker's fiancée, Mina, is hanging out with her best friend Lucy in a seaside town. Mina's worried about Jonathan and wonders why she hasn't heard from him in so long, but Lucy can only think about her own suitors. She gets three marriage proposals in the same day by three friends: Dr. John Seward, a doctor who runs a mental hospital; Quincey Morris, an American; and Arthur Holmwood, the son of Lord Godalming. She accepts the proposal of Arthur Holmwood. Even though Quincey Morris and Dr. Seward are disappointed, they still stay friends with Holmwood.

Meanwhile, Dracula has arrived in England but hasn't shown himself yet. A patient in Dr. Seward's hospital, Renfield, continually captures and eats insects, spiders, and birds and says that the "Master" is coming soon. Lucy starts acting weird—she seems to be losing blood, but no one knows where the blood's going. Her fiancĂ©, Lord Arthur Holmwood, gets worried, and Dr. Seward sends for his friend and mentor, Van Helsing, to check her out.

Van Helsing realizes that there's a vampire involved. He's a scientist and doctor, but he's also well-versed in the occult, so he knows what to do to kill vampires. Even after giving her multiple blood transfusions, they're not able to save Lucy, and she dies. But Van Helsing knows she's not really dead. The four men break into her tomb and catch vampire Lucy coming back from a foray in the neighboring village. They stabbed her in the heart and cut off her head to ensure she’s really dead.

Mina finally hears from Jonathan and goes to Budapest to pick him up. They get married at the convent where he's been recovering from his illness and come back to England. Harker, Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, Morris, and Holmwood all swear to get rid of Dracula once and for all. Mina has to hide in Dr. Seward's office at the hospital while the men go vampire-hunting. Unfortunately, Renfield knows about Dracula and invites him into the building (vampires can't enter a building unless they've been invited), and he starts drinking Mina's blood. The men come back in time to find her being force-fed some of Dracula's blood.

Now they must kill Dracula quickly, or Mina will turn into a vampire as Lucy did. Dracula leads them on a spectacular chase back to Transylvania, where they finally catch up to him and kill him. Mina is saved. Quincey Morris gets stabbed and dies during the final confrontation.

Stoker was possibly a member of the
  Golden Dawn and the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and was rumored to have been initiated into a masonic lodge in Dublin. The Grand Lodge of Ireland has no record of his membership and the SRIA has no record of his membership either. However, Stoker was familiar with Freemasonry. Sir Henry Irving employed Stoker as his business manager. Irving was considered to be one of Britain’s greatest stage actors. He took over management of the Lyceum theatre in 1878, and under Irving’s management, it became famous worldwide for the quality of its theatrical productions. Stoker would claim that he based Dracula on Irving. Irving was the first stage actor in history to be knighted in 1895. Irving was initiated into Jerusalem Lodge No. 197 in 1877 in London. Stoker’s brother Sir William Thornley Stoker, 1st Baronet, was also a Freemason.

Dracula deals with several themes: Good Versus Evil or (Darkness Versus Light), The limits of scientific knowledge versus the supernatural, Salvation and Damnation, Masculinity and Femininity, and the consequences of Modernization.

Many have said that there are masonic themes in Dracula, however specific quotes are hard to find. In chapter 2 the Count says to Jonathan Harker, "Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own will!" In The Lair of the White Worm by Stoker, there is a more masonic phrase: "We two are, I take it, tiled. So that there come no wrong or harm to anyone else in the enlargement of the bounds of our confidence!"

Dracula has been portrayed by many actors, such as Bela Lugosi, Gary Oldman, Lon Chaney Jr, and Christopher Lee. Lon Chaney Jr has been listed as a Freemason on several Grand Lodge sites. Here is a brief biography of Bro. Chaney Jr.

Brother Lon Chaney Jr.

Lon real name was Creighton Tull Chaney (February 10, 1906 – July 12, 1973), known by his stage name Lon Chaney Jr., was an American actor known for playing Larry Talbot in the 1941 film The Wolf Man and its various crossovers, as well as portraying other monsters such as The Mummy, Frankenstein's Monster, and Count Alucard (son of Dracula) in numerous horror films produced by Universal Studios. He also portrayed Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men (1939). Originally referenced in films as Creighton Chaney, he was later credited as "Lon Chaney Jr." in 1935, and after 1941's Man-Made Monster, beginning as early as The Wolf Man later that same year, he was almost always billed under his more famous father's name as Lon Chaney. Chaney had English, French and Irish ancestry, and his career in movies and television spanned four decades, from 1931 to 1971.

Chaney was married twice and had two sons, Lon Ralph Chaney (born July 3, 1928) and Ronald Creighton Chaney (born March 18, 1930), both now deceased. He was survived by a grandson, Ron Chaney, who attended film conventions and discussed his grandfather's life and film career.

Chaney was well-liked by some co-workers – "sweet" is the adjective that most commonly emerges from those who acted with, and liked him – yet he was capable of intense dislikes. For instance, he and frequent co-star Evelyn Ankers did not get along at all despite their on-camera chemistry. He was also known to befriend younger actors and stand up for older ones who Chaney felt were belittled by the studios. One example was that of William Farnum, a major silent star who played a bit part in The Mummy's Curse. According to co-star Peter Coe, Chaney demanded that Farnum be given his own chair on the set and be treated with respect, or else he would walk off the picture.

Chaney had run-ins with actor Frank Reicher (whom he nearly strangled on camera in The Mummy's Ghost ) and director Robert Siodmak (over whose head Chaney broke a vase). Actor Robert Stack claimed in his 1980 autobiography that Chaney and drinking buddy Broderick Crawford were known as "the monsters" around the Universal Pictures lot because of their drunken behavior that frequently resulted in bloodshed.

Chaney died of heart failure at age 67 on July 12, 1973 in San Clemente, California. His body was donated for medical research. Chaney's corpse was dissected by medical students.

He was honored by appearing as the Wolf Man on one of a 1997 series of United States postage stamps depicting movie monsters. His grandson Ron Chaney Jr. frequently appears as a guest at horror movie conventions.

So there you have it. Dracula was based upon Sir Henry Irving and portrayed by Lon Chaney Jr. (Both Freemasons). Stoker might have been a Freemason, (I doubt this highly), and the novel does deal with some Masonic themes. Therefore, Dracula is obviously the most famous Undead “Freemason” on our membership rolls.


WB Darin A. Lahners is a Past Master of and Worshipful Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and of Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL), where he is also a Past Master. He’s a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Danville, a charter member of Illinois Royal Arch Chapter, Admiration Chapter No. 282 and is the current Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club No. 768 in Champaign – Urbana (IL). You can reach him by email at darin.lahners@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Bram Stoker (1847-1912) author of Dracula is said to have been a member of Buckingham and Chandos Lodge No. 1150, United Grand Lodge of England


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