Recently I watched a new episode of Psych, a comedy-drama on the USA Network. The show is about a young man who pretends to be a psychic investigator. He works for the police as well as on private cases.
This episode, called "Dis-Lodged," focused on a fictional "Monarch" Lodge that had many similarities, and a few humorous differences, to Masonic lodges.
A "tyler" stationed outside the building was a uniformed security guard, who exchanged a complicated and rather silly set of hand gestures with each member as they entered. Inside, in the anteroom, were portraits of famous Monarchs. The first one shown, but not identified, was W. Bro. and U.S. President Harry Truman. Other photographs of famous (in the fictional universe) brothers included many captains of industry and politics.
In the lodgeroom itself, the brothers were milling around, all in purple, hooded robes with grand-lodge-like sashes around their necks which had all sorts of mystical (but not Masonic) symbols on them.
Our hero mimics the elaborate hand gestures he saw someone else give at the door, fakes his way in, and finds on the lodgeroom floor, with disinterested, hooded brothers standing around, the body of a brother lying dead in the floor.
A few days later, the psychic is made a full member. Maybe they had a one-day class.
The Most High Patriarch of the lodge is played by Philip Baker Hall, who also starred as gameshow host and Freemason Jimmy Gator in 1999's epic movie Magnolia. In that movie, we hear him being told, "We met upon the level, and we part upon the square," by a brother just as he is taking the stage.
Spoiler alert: The murderer is revealed at the end of Psych to be a lodge member, a medical doctor who had been skimming funds from the lodge's large donations to various children's charities. The murdered brother had discovered the embezzlement and had been killed by the doctor.
Nothing like television to make "secret society" fraternities look bad.
Meanwhile, in real life, investigative reported Sandy Frost has posted "Two Years On," which is part 22 of her continuing investigation into alleged financial improprieties of the Shrine. "Two Years On" is a summary of all that's gone before.
Image: Maggie Lawson, who plays police officer Juliet O'Hara on the series "Psych."
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