"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Vancouver: Man Charged With Arson In Connection With Fires Set At Masonic Halls

The smoke from a burning Masonic hall casts a sickening pall
over the Vancouver skyline early Tuesday morning.
Photo from the LG Bridge by  Northvan_Dan on Twitter.

by Christopher Hodapp

The Global News website is reporting this afternoon that 42-year-old Benjamin Orion Carlson Kohlman has officially been charged with three offenses connected with a fire set at the Park Masonic Hall in northeastern Vancouver yesterday. He is charged with arson, assault of a peace officer, and failing to stop for a peace officer. The Park Masonic Hall was the last of three Masonic lodges that were deliberately set ablaze on Tuesday morning over a 45-minute period in the northern suburbs of Vancouver.

Further charges have not been yet been made concerning the first two blazes set at Lynn Valley and Lonsdale. In a statement, Vancouver Police said they expect to recommend further charges in those two prior cases. But based on clear video evidence of Kohlman at the scene of the third fire, police were able to quickly assign charges against him. He was arrested at about 10 a.m. a few miles away in the community of Burnaby after fighting an officer who had attempted to arrest him at the scene.

“The two arsons that occurred in North Vancouver yesterday are still under investigation,” says Constable Tania Visintin, VPD. “We anticipate recommending more charges to Crown counsel in the coming weeks related to the North Vancouver files.”

Kohlman remains in custody until his next court appearance.
Kohlman was recorded on video yesterday morning walking away from the Masonic hall as a fire began to burn in the background. He was seen carrying a jerry can used for transporting gasoline and walking toward his minivan. As two witnesses watched and recorded him, he was confronted by an off-duty police officer who attempted to arrest him. A fight ensued, he knocked the officer to the ground, and took off in his van. He was caught about 90 minutes later, based on the officer's description of Kohlman, his minivan, and license plate number.

Police still have not released any sort of information regarding Kohlman's motives. But reporter Lindsay William-Ross on the Vancouver Is Awesome website discovered and posted a Facebook boast from a 'Ben Kohlman' of Vancouver at 8:07 a.m. Tuesday, bragging that he had "just cleaned three Satanic club houses, and nobody could stop me." 

Provided this is authentically the suspect's Facebook account (always a question these days), his home page is loaded with conspiracy theories, mind control paranoia, and anti-Masonic sentiments.

"I'll bet the real Bible is hidden in the Vatican Library and the Bibles we see are corrupted," reads a post from early in the morning of March 30.

Kohlman also espouses anti-vaccination beliefs and theories.

"The radio said that they can vaccinate 33 000 per day. The 33 means it's a Freemason conspiracy. I bet those things are full of nano tech to spy on the whole world," reads a post from Jan. 8 of this year.

Several of his posts are about freemasonry. "2019 Documentary on Freemasonry has been scrubbed from the internet along with most of other truth videos," he shared in December 2020.

Also in December, he posted about distrusting the media: "We should just stop denying ourselves and admit that Satanic secret societies control the news and lie every day. I mean it's obvious throughout Hollywood and politics. The word government literally means mind controllers. If you would just stop lying to yourself to make yourself feel better that this isn't actually happening then maybe we could do something about it. It is literally your fault that your children will be enslaved by technology because of your denial. Soon all money will be controlled by embedded microchips and the ability to purchase will be controlled by the Mind controllers who gradually strip you of all rights including international travel and recreational activities after work. We are good for building infrastructure and maintenance to them, that is all. Shut the news off, take your head out and look around. This is not because the government, the Rothchilds, Rockefellers, royals, and the like care about our well being. I know this falls on deaf ears but I have to say it anyways just in case some have the ability to reason. (Facepalm) It's hopeless!"

No one has mentioned this out loud as far as I know, but the [alleged] arsonist struck first in the northwest part of Vancouver, then hit a second temple in the northwest, moved eastward for the third fire, and when he was finally found and arrested, he was driving in Burnaby, which happens to be the community in which the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon offices are located. That may or may not be coincidental. The story is still young at this point. 

(For the sake of transparency, I have been the 'Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon near Indiana' for many years.)

Not just Masonic lodges were the victims of these fires. In a Facebook post last night, brother Mike Bayrak gave a thumbnail list of the many Masonic-related appendant groups now currently made homeless by the attacks. 

(Photo: Nick Procaylo)

The Lynn Valley Hall (photo) was home to three different lodges. The Lonsdale hall hosted three lodges, plus the York Rite Chapter, Council and Commandery, a York Rite Sovereign College, and an Order of the Eastern Star chapter. They had businesses renting their ground floor that are also destroyed. Their 110-year-old building is a total loss and was demolished after the fire was put out. 

Mike couldn't readily quickly recall specifics of who all met at the Park Lodge Hall, but did say that the only Prince Hall Masonic lodge in British Columbia also called it their home. There are two other lodges and a Royal Arch chapter there.

Buildings can be replaced, but priceless history, records, and objects cannot. This year, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia & Yukon is currently celebrating its 150-year anniversary of its founding. This dreadful event casts a pall over that celebration now.

But more important to all of us is that Masons everywhere need to be vigilant when encountering rabid anti-Masons online, or in person. Certainly, 99.8% of conspiracists are cranks or at least harmless nutters who would never actually follow through on threats. But that .02% who truly believe we are a global crime syndicate that brainwashes and microchips the population as we prep for world takeover can turn into seriously dangerous people.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Three Vancouver Masonic Halls Torched By Arsonist

The second of three Vancouver Masonic halls that sustained major 
damage from arson fires on Tuesday. (Photo: Carol Reimer)

by Christopher Hodapp

(UPDATED March 31, 2021 at 8AM: This story was corrected to note that the second building was the Lonsdale Masonic temple, home of Duke of Connaught Lodge 64.)

 42-year-old Vancouver man is in police custody tonight suspected of arson after fires were set at three different suburban Masonic halls around the city. Police have released few details about the suspect or his motive, but did say he has a "history of interactions with the police and no history of arson." The targeted lodges were Lynn Valley Lodge 122, Lonsdale Masonic Temple, home of Duke of Connaught Lodge 64, and Park Masonic Hall, home of Heritage Lodge 23.

Thankfully, no one was injured in any of the three fires.

North Vancouver RCMP responded to the first fire at the Lynn Valley lodge just before 6:45 a.m. when a neighbor saw the flames. The 97-year-old temple suffered much smoke and water damage, but wasn't completely destroyed.

Lonsdale Masonic Temple before the fire

Firefighters responded to the fire at the Lonsdale Temple 
(Photo: (North Vancouver RCMP)

Less than 15 minutes later, a second fire was reported a few miles away at the 110-year-old Lonsdale Masonic Temple. By the time the flames were extinguished hours later, that historic Masonic hall and the businesses that rented its ground floor were a total loss.

Park Masonic Hall after the fire was extinguished.
(Photo: Christian Amundson/CBC News)

While firefighters were responding to the first two blazes, a third report came at about 7:25 that the Park Masonic Hall had also just been torched. A third set of firefighters was dispatched to try to contain that blaze, and compared to the first two, the Park temple was the least damaged. While firefighters quickly put out the fire, lodge members say the stench of gasoline is everywhere throughout the building. The arsonist spread fuel throughout the two floors and in the lodge room itself. 

The suspect who was arrested was spotted leaving the building carrying a "jerry can" by an off-duty police officer who confronted him. As he attempted to take the suspect into custody, the man fought back, knocked the officer down, and managed to get away in his minivan. A bystander spotted the initial flames and was recording just as the fire started. That recording caught the attempted arrest, struggle and escape on video.  Armed with his description, police spotted the suspect again and arrested him at about 10 a.m. That video can be seen on the Global News website HERE. 

So far, the most complete story is being syndicated from the CBC website HERE.

Canadian authorities cannot release the name of the suspect until he is formally charged with a crime. Meanwhile, Vancouver police have stationed officers at all Masonic halls in and around the city.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

'National Treasure' Movie and TV Series Both On Track

by Christopher Hodapp

For over a year now, Disney has been floating the story that they are really and truly finally at work on a sequel to the 2004 box office blockbuster, National Treasure. In fact, the first announcement came within days of reports that Sony Pictures is developing Dan Brown's Masonic-themed novel, The Lost Symbol, into a pilot film in hopes of it becoming an ongoing TV series. 

Yesterday, Disney confirmed that super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer is not only preparing a third National Treasure movie with the original cast that follows the intrepid Gates family, but also a completely different story line starring an all-new cast as a continuing TV series for the Disney+ streaming service.

More info has been released in a story on the comicbook.com website:

Disney+ has given a 10-episode series order to a National Treasure TV series that will be exclusive to the streamer. The series will act as a reimagining of the franchise with a twenty-year-old Latina character named Jess Morales at the center of the story. Jess and her friends will set off on an adventure to uncover her mysterious family history and recover lost treasure, following in the footsteps of Nic Cage's Benjamin Franklin Gates.

 Original National Treasure producer Jerry Bruckheimer is working on the new series, along with original writers Marianne and Cormac Wibberley. Mira Nair (Queen of Katwe) will be directing the new series.

This TV series will bring the National Treasure franchise to a new generation, but it isn't the only project in the works from the property. There is still a third National Treasure movie in the works. Writer Chris Bremner was brought on to pen the script early last year.
“We’re certainly working on one [National Treasure] for streaming and we’re working on one for the big screen," Bruckheimer explained to Collider during an interview in 2020. "Hopefully, they’ll both come together and we’ll bring you another National Treasure, but they’re both very active….The one for Disney+ is a much younger cast. It’s the same concept but a young cast. The one for theatrical would be the same cast.”

The Deadline website has a few more added details about the TV series:

The project, from the films’ producer Jerry Bruckheimer and original writers Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, is a reimagining of the National Treasure franchise. Written by the Wibberleys and to be directed by Mira Nair (Vanity Fair), the series explores the timely issues of identity, community, historical authorship and patriotism, told from the point of view of Jess Morales, a twenty-year-old DREAMer who, with her diverse group of friends, sets off on the adventure of a lifetime to uncover her mysterious family history and recover lost treasure.

Reimagining? Timely issues? Identity? DREAMer? This promises to be a barren source of amusement. This synopsis reads like it was created by an automated woke computer program specifically to appeal to the wokiary and strictly adhere to the dogma of wokishmentarianism. That's usually a pretty good indicator that we can look forward to being lectured to instead of entertained.

Call me crazy, but something tells me it just won't have the magical combination of elements that made the original film the surprise hit of 2004, and its 2007 sequel even more popular. Part of the success behind the two National Treasure movies was their apolitical treatment of American history and current politics. Both films presumed that audiences pretty uniformly admired the Founders, and shared at least a common enough knowledge of American history to enjoy the movies. Cage's character of Benjamin Franklin Gates was a man in love with, and obsessed by (and, incidentally, named after) the figures of the nation's past, and the movies deliberately steered clear of attempting to take political sides, fire off deliberately polarizing pot shots, or drag contemporary issues into what was simple swashbuckling, escapist entertainment. Sadly, this proposed story line has all the crowd-pleasing potential of the all-girl remake of Ghostbusters.

Anyhow, it goes on:

Jess Morales is taking the torch from Benjamin Gates, the National Treasure films’ protagonist played by Nicolas Cage.

The Wibberleys executive produce with Jerry Bruckheimer Television. ABC Signature is the studio.

Senior-level writers are expected to join the Wibberleys, whose TV credits include LA’s Finest. They have worked with Bruckheimer on several movies, including the first two National Treasure films and G-Force.

The development of the National Treasure series has been on parallel tracks with the long gestating trequel to Jon Turtletaub‘s movie franchise starring Cage, which brought in Chris Bremner as writer in January 2020.

At least the feature film sounds more like it's following in the footsteps of the two prior movies. But Bruckheimer and crew need to get in gear – it's been sixteen and a half years since Nic Cage found the Templar treasure hidden by the Founding Freemasons, and none of the actors, Bruckheimer or director Jon Turtletaub are getting any younger.

Meanwhile, as reported earlier this month, The Lost Symbol pilot has been snapped up by NBC's streaming service, Peacock. It will be the basis for a new, ongoing TV series called Langdon, about Brown's tweedy professor protagonist, Robert Langdon, fresh out of Harvard, and hunting historical, fine art clues and solving mysteries. 

In 2004, National Treasure cashed in on the Dan Brown mania swirling around his hotly anticipated Da Vinci Code sequel, and I've long suspected that the hugely popular Nic Cage movie hijacked some of Brown's story points. The release of The Lost Symbol ultimately didn't happen until 2009. It's sort of funny that these two streaming TV projects have once again managed to be in a race with each other all over again. We at least know that Masons are central to the Langdon story line. Apart from an oblique reference to Albert Pike in National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, only the first NT movie revolved around Masonic clues and story points. We'll have to wait and see if we make it into the threequel.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Grand Lodge of Tennessee Votes for PHA Recognition – Then There Were Six

by Christopher Hodapp


Late this afternoon, Facebook lit up with the news that the assembled members of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee have just voted to extend recognition to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Tennessee at their annual communication in Lebanon, Tennessee.

The MWPHGL of Tennessee already voted at their 2019 annual communication to seek joint recognition with the GL of Tennessee and to accept it should it be offered, with no further vote required. For the purposes of their constitutional requirements, the GL of Tennessee brought the Prince Hall GL's request to the floor two years ago and it had to lay over for a year (which they apparently do with all recognition requests). Because of the COVID shutdowns in 2020, they were unable to adopt final passage of the legislation until this week. 

Upon adoption of the resolution, MW L. Lamont Banks, Grand Master of the MWPHGL of Tennessee, issued an email to his members, saying, "I am happy to report that peace and harmony prevail in the Jurisdiction of Tennessee. We now have mutual recognition!"

With this announcement, the map shrinks to just six remaining states in which joint recognition has not yet been achieved: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Early information is that the two Tennessee grand lodges have adopted joint recognition of each other, but without visitation immediately. Before the high-decibel shouting of "What's the point of that?!" begins, it should be noted that recognition without visitation has been a common preliminary step taken in recent years in other states – it's not unusual. Initial baby steps have been pretty common in states like Texas, Alabama, Florida and elsewhere in the last decade. Essentially, the goal is a transition period during which members in both jurisdictions have time to get used to the idea of sharing Masonic territory in their state, while respecting each other's sovereignty over their own members and lodges.  The transition period is used to formalize visitation rules, examine each others' work, work out questions of honoring transfers or demits, and iron out other details between two grand lodges sharing the same jurisdiction. 

Something most U.S. Masons don't fully comprehend is that, technically, the mainstream GL and the PH GL in any given state both consider each other in the same way they consider a regular but 'foreign' jurisdiction. In the world of Masonic relations and jurisprudence, any visit between Masons in foreign jurisdictions is supposed to go through their respective Grand Secretaries and Grand Masters.

Impatient brethren should bear in mind how long it took just to get to this point in the first place, and simply be supportive and encouraging of their grand officers for the eventual lifting of restrictions. It will come.

Congratulations to brethren from both grand lodges for coming to this decision.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

NBC's Streamer Peacock Orders 'Dan Brown's Langdon' As Regular Series

by Christopher Hodapp

PeacockTV, NBC's new subscription streaming TV service, has announced that they have ordered the TV pilot based on Dan Brown's Masonic-themed thriller, The Lost Symbol, to be picked up as a continuing series, to be entitled Dan Brown's Langdon.

The pilot was initially planned to air on the NBC broadcast network, but now the series will be a flagship show for the Peacock pay streaming service.

The story line of the novel has been shifted to occur before The DaVinci Code and Angels & Demons. Ashley Zuckerman portrays symbologist Robert Langdon shortly after his graduation from Harvard (and much younger than Tom Hanks' version in three previous theatrical films of Brown's novels). Langdon must solve a twisted mystery to save his university mentor, Peter Solomon (played by comedian and actor, Eddie Izzard) and prevent a mysterious nemesis from unleashing terrible destruction on Washington, D.C.

Brown's hotly anticipated novel The Lost Symbol was released in 2009, and centered around many Masonic clues and landmarks in Washington, including the Scottish Rite SJ's House of the Temple headquarters. Masons everywhere enjoyed the novel and the public spotlight it brought to the fraternity, but were disappointed when Hollywood passed over it as a big-money picture to make Inferno instead.
Peacock issued the following press release on Friday:
Peacock has ordered the gripping drama thriller “Dan Brown’s Langdon” to series, based on the world-renowned author’s international bestselling novel “The Lost Symbol.”

“Dan Brown’s Langdon” is produced by CBS Studios, Imagine Television Studios and Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group.

Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie will serve as writers and executive producers for the series.

Dan Brown, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Samie Kim Falvey and Anna Culp also serve as executive producers.

The drama project was originally developed by NBC and was ordered to pilot last year by the network.

“The team was blown away by this pilot and its enormous potential to become a big, binge-worthy hit, and our new structure enables us to move it to Peacock and give it every opportunity to make that happen,” said Susan Rovner, Chairman, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “Our ability to pick up a great show is no longer limited by the confines of a network schedule, giving us the freedom to say ‘yes’ to shows we love and then find them the perfect home across our portfolio.”

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be working with Ron and Brian again on another Langdon project,” said Dan Brown. “We’ve all wanted to make ‘The Lost Symbol’ for some time now, and I’m grateful to CBS Studios, Imagine Television Studios, Universal Television and Peacock for joining forces to make this project a reality. Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie have written a phenomenally captivating script, and the casting and performances are pitch perfect.”

Based on Dan Brown’s international bestselling thriller “The Lost Symbol,” the series follows the early adventures of famed Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, who must solve a series of deadly puzzles to save his kidnapped mentor and thwart a chilling global conspiracy.

The cast includes Ashley Zukerman (“Succession”), Valorie Curry (“Blair Witch”), Sumalee Montano (“10 Cloverfield Lane”), Rick Gonzalez (“Arrow”), Eddie Izzard (“Ocean’s Thirteen”) and Beau Knapp (“Seven Seconds”).

The Langdon pilot was actually shot principally in Toronto, Canada last year, but production was halted for some time because of the COVID pandemic shutdowns. The U.S. Capitol rotunda was recreated on a soundstage there, and I'm told there was Masonic input on the project.

Still no announcement of an air date.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Facebook Links Restored

by Christopher Hodapp

Earlier this month, Facebook decided with its infinite, artificial sagacity to declare this blog site to be spam, for some undisclosed reason. How they arrived at such a conclusion is beyond my feeble human comprehension, but the tangible result was that they erased a full decade of my posts on Facebook and prevented any new ones that linked here.

I'd like to take the opportunity to publicly thank Brother Nicholas Harvey for interceding on my behalf with the mysterious and nameless oompa loompas toiling in the boiler room of Facebook's Ministry of Information cellars. Nick is currently Junior Warden of Jupiter Light Lodge 340 in Jupiter, Florida. He's also one of the principals behind Masonic Revival and their fine line of clothing and accessories. Somehow he managed to successfully influence a Facebook administrator or account executive to take a second look here and restore all the old story links.

See, because Masons *know people.*

Many thanks, Nick. I'm deeply indebted to you for this and owe you at least three groats.

Friday, March 05, 2021

New Book: Almanac of American Freemasonry 1730-1774

by Christopher Hodapp

A fascinating new book has just been released that will be an invaluable tool for historians researching the pre-Revolutionary War days of Freemasonry in America. The Almanac of American Freemasonry 1730-1744 ($24.99 Lulu Press) was co-written by Mark Tabbert (Director of Collections at the George Washington National Masonic Memorial) and the late John 'Bo' Cline (Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Alaska, and Past President of the Masonic Society). The Foreword was penned by Shawn E. Eyer, editor of the Philalethes magazine.

The Almanac contains the listings and activities of every known Masonic Lodge in North America between 1730 and 1774:
  • Part One — Chronology of Masonic Events (1730 — 1774) 
  • Part Two — Chronology of Lodges by Colony and Location 
  • Part Three — Lodges in North America by Chartering Source 
  • Part Four — Lodges in North America by Colony 
  • Appendices: 
    • 1. British Military and Colonial Militia Lodges in North America 
    • 2. Lodges in Canada 
    • 3. Caribbean Lodges 
    • 4. Biographies of American Provincial Grand Masters 
    • 5. Famous American Freemasons 
  • Bibliography 
  • Alphabetical Listing of Lodges (1730-1774)
According to Mark, proceeds of the book will pay for new editions and the publication of Volume 2, covering 1775-1799, which is already 50% completed.