In what can only be called a moment of synchronicity, just as I hitting SAVE on the previous story about Masonic funerals and death, Bro. Jeff Peace was clicking SEND to email me this Masonic ghost story.
The Ghosts of Halcyon Lodge No. 498 by Bro. Jeff Peace
I’ve been thinking about what happened to me for some time now and only recently did I summon up the courage to ask some questions of the other members of the lodge. Anyone who knows me will tell you I tend to be a scientific material reductionist and put little stock in wild and mysterious tales. A ghost story is just that — a story. Tales of ghosts and phantasms are the stuff of childhood imagination and not the product of reason or science. Right?
Bro. Brian and I arrived at Halcyon Lodge around 11:30 PM on a Friday night after driving all day from Atlanta. Several brothers were still hanging around the lodge and they wanted to give us a tour. We all stood outside the building and chatted for awhile. It was a warm spring evening in Cleveland and the weather was perfect. Eventually we made our way into the building and the first thing I noticed was a sudden drop in temperature. I’m not talking about a few degrees but maybe twenty or so. The temperature outside was around seventy but the temperature inside couldn’t have been more than fifty degrees. Even with my leather motorcycle jacket on it was too cold to be comfortable.
Halcyon is an imposing building that resembles a Greek temple. It has high ceilings and the passages from one area to the next are tiled and the echo of footsteps are everywhere at once. We walked around inside the building for about an hour and were duly impressed by the grandeur of the building. Then we headed off to the hotel to get some sleep.
The next morning we met everyone for breakfast at a local restaurant, and then headed back to the lodge to prepare for the talk I would be giving a few hours later. Once we got everything setup it was still early and I had about an hour to wander around before people would start arriving for the lecture.
I walked down one of the corridors that ended with two doors and opened one of them. It led into a room filled with storage lockers. Across the tops of the lockers were Knight Templar hats in a perfect line, as if waiting for their long lost owners to return. I popped open one of the lockers and there inside was a uniform, covered with dust, and next to it a sword. I was beginning to see that Halcyon was like a time capsule, where time stood still. Looking across the room I saw a copy of the Ark of the Covenant and went over to inspect it more closely. It was then that I heard a loud bang just above my head. I looked up and there on the shelves was a wooden box with a door that opened towards the front of the shelves. The door had apparently fallen open due to my movement in the room. I peered inside the box and saw a smaller box inside of it. I reached out and picked up the box. It was very ornate with beautiful carvings and inlaid mother of pearl. I opened the box and inside was a set of the most elegant working tools I had ever seen.
I reached around and opened one of the lockers and pulled out an old shirt and began cleaning the dust from the box and tools. It was then that I heard someone say “brother.” I yelled back, “I’m in the locker room” but no one replied. I sat the tool box down and walked out in the hallway but there was no one there. So I headed down to the TV room and saw everyone engrossed in a game on TV. I asked if they were looking for me and everyone just shook their heads and kept watching the game.
I then went back upstairs to retrieve the working tools but they were gone. I looked up on the shelf and the big box was closed. I reached up and opened it and there was the box of working tools!
I didn’t mention my experience to anyone because I thought there must be a logical explanation for what had happened. Then about a month ago I was talking on the phone with Bro. Tom and I asked him if anything weird ever happened around the lodge. He laughed and said “you mean creepy?” He then begin to tell me about how almost everyone had experienced strange things while in the building: voices, footsteps, things moving from one place to another, etc.
I had begun doing some research on the building and the lodge for a presentation I am giving later this year on the history of Halcyon. This lodge has a truly fascinating history and the present building was not the original building used by the lodge. The original building had stood a few blocks away and had been destroyed by a tornado in the 1920’s. Oddly enough the new building wasn’t completed until 1931, yet it was apparent that money had never been an issue for this lodge. The present building is palatial.
I discovered that the present building sat on real estate that had been owned by the Masons since the founding of Cleveland. Up until the time Halcyon built its new building, an apartment building had stood on the site. I pulled up a map of Cleveland to look at the streets and here is what I saw:
Image: Halcyon Lodge No. 498, Ohio City (Cleveland), Ohio
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