by Midnight Freemason Contributor
WB Darin A. Lahners
Given today is Halloween, I thought I would rerun my article from earlier this year documenting the Paranormal Investigation that took place at my Mother Lodge St. Joseph #970 earlier this year.
I think that when dealing with all things paranormal, it's okay to have a healthy dose of skepticism. That doesn't mean that things you might be skeptical about don't exist. For example, we have seen in the past few years the Pentagon acknowledging that gun camera videos of UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, commonly known as Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs) are genuine. Unquestionably I believe that many of you reading this article will either believe or disbelieve what I'm about to tell you. Believe it or not. That's your decision.
It all started a few years ago when one of our Past Master Masters (I believe he was Master at the time of the incident) was alone in the lodge building in the area below the kitchen and heard footsteps above him. He knew he was the only one in the building at the time. Another Past Master has had experiences. Finally, it culminated with a few experiences I had this past year as the Worshipful Master. While helping Hayden Knott, the son of Midnight Freemason Senior Contributor Greg Knott, the TV in our lodge would mysteriously turn on by itself with his eagle project. Another time I had to run into the lodge room for something, and the TV would be on. I've also felt random cold spots in the lodge room, spots where it feels like the temperature has dropped even though it can't have done so because there are no fans or anything else that could have caused it. I've also been up in our lodge room with brethren and had the inner door close by itself. During this last incident, the brother I was with was my current Senior Warden and the incoming Master, Travis Cain.
Luckily for us, Travis is a member of a paranormal investigation group, Ghostnet Paranormal. I had discussed Travis having his team do an investigation of the lodge a few months ago when the TV was doing its turning on by itself thing. I think that having the inner door closing on its own might have accelerated this. In any case, it was decided that they would investigate the Lodge this past Saturday evening. Now I don't know about you, but Lodge Rooms and Lodge Buildings can be creepy when alone in them especially at night. I arrived at the lodge a bit early and found the altar light was on. Now, it's highly likely that we just forgot to turn it off. I checked with the brother who was Junior Deacon for our last meeting, and he could not remember if he had or not. That's most likely what happened. What happened next I cannot explain. I was clearing an area in our preparation room to act as the command center for Travis and his group. Normally the Group consists of Travis, Matt, Matt's wife Elena, and Jack. This evening, Elena was under the weather, but she was able to join remotely.
Travis showed up and not too much long after, so did the rest of his team. My friend, Lisa, joined me for the ghost hunting adventure. Travis and I went downstairs to the parking lot to welcome his team members. I met Jack and Matt and helped them carry equipment upstairs to the lodge. We rent out retail space on the first floor. The second floor is the lodge and the third floor is the kitchen area and attic. Upon coming up the stairs and entering our foyer, everyone was hit with the distinct smell of brewing coffee. Full disclosure, the people that we rent to run a coffee shop, so it's possible that's where the smell was coming from. I'd think that would be the case, but the coffee shop closed at 2pm that afternoon. It'd be highly irresponsible of them to leave a coffeepot on, but I would think that at 8pm that coffee would be burning and that is not what we smelt. I moved towards the stairs leading up to the kitchen area only to discover that the kitchen light was on. Now the building was constructed in 1914. The switch is an old push-button switch. However, the light was not on when Travis and I left the building and it was on when we returned. When I observed this, Matt quickly went upstairs. He scanned the area near the switch with a K-II meter which detects levels of Electro-Magnetic frequency. The area was much higher than the other areas in the lodge that he took sample readings of.
After doing this and asking for whatever turned the light on to turn it off, and not having any success, Matt and his team began to set up Infra-Red cameras. They set one up in the Foyer, one up in the Kitchen, and one in Lodge room. Initially, they had two cameras for the lodge room, but one of the cameras didn't want to work that evening. The camera feed was hooked to a monitor and also to a hard drive to record the activity. Elena watched the monitor through Matt's cell phone camera, so she was able to take notes and jot down times when anything was captured on the video feed. Once this was set up, they started with a Spirit Box. In preparation for the evening, Travis had gone on social media to see if anyone in the community had ever had any experiences in the lodge room. One woman told Travis that she has had experiences with what she believed was a female that smelled of lilac and claimed to have seen a male entity.
The evening's investigation began with the use of something called a spirit or ghost box. The spirit box is a radio with a frequency scan mode that some ghost hunters claim allows communication with Spirits. Amazingly as soon as the Ghost Box was turned on, we almost immediately heard a voice say "Hello". It sounded like a woman's voice. The ghost box was placed next to a tesla coil that would allow the spirits to draw energy from in order for them to manifest. There was some unintelligible garble that came through a bit later, but no other communication occurred. After this, a viewer of the investigation on Facebook Live who was a Mason wanted someone to knock 3 times on the inner door. Travis asked me to do so. So I knocked. I was not expecting any response but there were two distinct thumps that were heard by myself, Travis, Lisa, and Jack. At the same time, Elena was telling Matt that she had seen a "Shadowman" in the foyer on the IR cameras.
The investigation went upstairs to the kitchen where the steps have been heard. There the team placed the spirit box and an infra-red motion sensor. The motion sensor puts out an infrared beam that sounds an alarm whenever anything breaks that beam. The investigation there did not yield any results until we came back downstairs with the spirit box, leaving the detector upstairs. The investigation went back into the lodge room, where the team attempted to capture something called EVP's or Electronic Voice Phenomenon. They asked a bunch of questions to whatever might be in the room. The EVPs turned up an answer to only one of the questions. When asked about telling us its age, you could hear a "NO" on the recording.
While downstairs, the motion detector went off. Travis immediately asked for the motion detector to be set off three more times. I was watching the kitchen area on the monitor through the IR camera. There was nothing in the kitchen. In rapid succession, it was set off twice. Then, after a pause, it went off another time. We attempted to trigger the motion detector by jumping up and down to make sure that there wasn't any movement on the second floor where we were that could have set it off. We were unable to do so. After attempting without success to have the motion sensor triggered again, we took a break. I immediately sent a text to Greg Knott and told him that he should come up to experience this.
While the rest of the team was outside, Travis and I went upstairs to give the Grand hailing sign, Greg followed but did not participate. The thought I had was that if the spirit was a former mason, we would see if his obligation was binding enough to come to our aid. Travis and I gave the sign, and during which Greg experienced a cold shooting sensation that went down his back. That was all that happened. After that, Matt and Travis went into the lodge room, while Lisa and I stayed in the command center watching the IR cameras with Elena. Jack and Greg were in the lodge room. The cameras had been picking up a lot of dust orbs, but also there were a few orbs I saw that couldn't be explained away as dust. One of which came down from the ceiling in the foyer area (where the kitchen area is above), and then shot directly up and came through the floor into the kitchen. Now the possibility of that happening with the camera picking up dust. While Matt and Travis were in the lodge room, Matt began to experience pain in his lower intestine while standing in a spot east of the Altar in an area where I have experienced cold spots. Later Jack would complain of the same issue while in the same area. Coincidence? Maybe. Matt and Travis went back upstairs and while upstairs, a canister of comet, the cleaner, fell off a shelf.
It was approaching midnight, and Greg went home. The next thing that the team tried was something called the Estes method. The Estes method is a process by which one places a blindfold under one's eyes and wears isolation headphones plugged into a device that creates white noise (the aforementioned Spirit Box). Another person sits in front of the person that is sensory deprived and asks questions. The person that is sensory deprived then hopefully is able to better hear any audible voices that come through the headset. All of us took a turn attempting this. Travis was first, and while he was doing it and Matt was asking him questions, he made a movement like he was smelling something. Matt said he smelt coffee too. Once again, was it from downstairs? Or was it something associated with the spirit we were trying to communicate with? We'll never know. While doing the method, Matt asked if the spirit wanted to control Travis, and immediately Travis said "No". There was a response when Matt asked if they wanted to speak to him, but Travis couldn't make it out. The questioning continued, during which time Matt felt something touching his neck. When he asked if it was this spirit that he was talking to touching his neck, Travis said: "How?". Matt after this claimed he saw a ball of light next to Travis, however, it was not seen on the Facebook Live feed. Hopefully, it was caught on the recording through the security cameras. Travis claimed he felt a sensation of a presence being in front of him during his time doing the Estes method. It was then Matt's turn. He felt something touch him on his shoulder. Like static electricity. Other than that, he responded to a question about the Order of Eastern Star. He also claimed to feel really cold. It was then Lisa's turn, and Lisa had no success.
It was then my turn. Now I can only explain that when you are blindfolded and the headphones are on you, there is just white noise coming through the headphones. You can tell that someone is talking but you can't make out what they are saying. Travis explained it like Charlie Brown's parents. You could tell that Travis was speaking and when he was done, but I could not hear what he was saying. Every time he stopped speaking, there was a more focused burst of static as if something was trying to come through the headphones, but I was unable to make out any words. I felt extremely cold at one point, and at another, I felt like something touched my left hand. When Travis took the blindfold off me, I told him again that I felt cold and then asked if he had asked it to touch me, to which he replied that he had. Another interesting thing that happened was that the things that were on top of the tesla coil stopped spinning a few times and Travis had to push them to get them restarted. Matt explained and demonstrated that the only thing that could do that would be something touching the base of the coil or placing one's hand over the spinning things on the coil.
It was then Jack's turn. Travis started to question Jack and the coil stopped spinning again. Jack had some replies to Travis's questioning, but one of his answers did not make sense until later. Travis asked who sat in the chair directly behind him, which was the Senior Warden's station. Jack replied "Dale". The name rang a bell with me but I was unable to place it until I showed the team the pictures of the Past Masters that we had. There on the board was Charles W. Dale. It was our belief that the entity might be Dr. Henry Elmer Davis, who was instrumental in starting the lodge and died at a relatively young age. Davis was the second Worshipful Master and the first one that would have been over the lodge after it was built in 1914. The first Worshipful Master would have been the one who led the lodge while it was Under Dispensation. I do not know where they met while they were U.D. and the lodge was being built. I will have to research to see if Dale was in the West the year prior to being Worshipful Master, and if not, when he served as Senior Warden. After this, the investigation came to a close.
The story continued the next morning for me. Upon awaking, I noticed my left hand. There was a scratch or irritation exactly where I felt I was touched the night before. I immediately sent Travis a text. He said that he's had physical after-effects and that Matt and Elena had experienced this as well. Now is it possible I did this to myself while I was asleep? Sure. I once again found it extremely coincidental, however.
One thing is certain to me. Something occurred to all of us that evening. I don't know what it was, but I don't have an explanation for many of the things I witnessed. Do I think my lodge is haunted? I felt that it was a possibility before, and after Saturday, I feel that even more strongly. Maybe it's just confirmation bias. All I know is that a lodge is a sacred space. I feel that we perform a form of Magick or Alchemy there every time we make a new Mason. I feel that there is a lot of energy in that lodge room in particular because of that. I can only think of the hundreds of men that went through degrees there since 1914. Does what we do in that room leave something behind? I'd like to think that it does. So maybe what we tapped into that. Maybe the lodge is haunted. I don't know. I can only say that I had an amazing experience. I look forward to trying to work with their team again when they investigate a building that was a funeral home and then later it was an old-folks home here in St. Joseph, Illinois, or when they investigate Homer Lodge in Homer Illinois. I have been thinking of asking Travis if they need a new member. I'll even give up my internship with Greg Knott for it.
If you're interested in seeing the live videos from Saturday or hearing the EVP, go to Ghostnet Paranormals Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/GhostNETParanormal). They will hopefully be posting some other things caught on the cameras soon.
WB Darin A. Lahners is our Co-Managing Editor. He is a host and producer of the "Meet, Act and Part" podcast. He is currently serving the Grand Lodge of Illinois Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as the Area Education Officer for the Eastern Masonic Area. He is a Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No.970 in St. Joseph. He is also a plural member 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 a member of the Salt Fork Shrine Club under the Ansar Shrine. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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