“This is one of my first meetings here, among Brothers. I want to make sure I don’t do anything wrong, especially with our rituals—they are long-established, and I’d hate to get those rituals wrong. It’s been a half hour now and I’m doing fine, thank goodness. ….What’s this? I’m seeing an image. A Brother Mason. He’s entered our large meeting room and he’s walking the room’s length to the lead officer. I’m the only one that can see him. All these guys in the room here can’t. None of them know I’m a psychic medium, none know of my abilities. This secret I keep from them, for fear of being branded as a kook. He’s an older man, grayish hair, dressed in a basic dark suit. He stops at the bottom of the steps leading to the Lodge’s Master. Stares up at the Master and gives the Masonic greeting salute. He looks puzzled, confused. He asks, ’Why don’t you return my salute?’ He hesitates. After a few seconds, the man turns right and walks across the room back out the door through which he came in. I’m terrified, what the heck was that all about?!”—Karl Petry
The Masonic Lodge on Second Avenue has stood proudly for over sixty years in Lyndhurst, NJ. You can
easily mistake it for a church with its white color and lit stained glass window facing the street. The Freemasons call the building by its official name, “Adoniram Lodge”.
Many Masons have come and gone through the lodge’s doors and walked its halls. Over the years members grow absent, through sickness, moving away, or those random surprises life throws in all our paths. In the case of Adoniram Lodge, one man continues to be a constant presence…and his membership continues after death.
After Brother Karl Petry’s first encounter with this specter, the scene happened again at the very next meeting. The same routine played out. Karl was shaken now. He felt he had no choice but to approach the Master of the lodge and tell him what he had—now twice—witnessed. “Based upon many past experiences with these situations, I was unsure how he would react to my narrative–typically, this is a moment I always dread: people grow suspicious, wary, even distrustful toward me, and I certainly didn’t want that to be the case in this situation,” Karl related to me.
Karl approached the Master—L. Mark Tirgrath—over the phone the next day. Karl explained the experiences. Mark sounded intrigued yet cautious, which wasn’t surprising. After some silent thoughtful moments Mark requested Karl meet him at the lodge, he said he wanted to show Karl something.
Karl met Mark there. They went into a cabinet of archival material, and Mark pulled out a photograph showing many Masons posing. It was an officers’ photo of several years prior. Mark asked Karl if the specter looked like anyone in the photograph. “They were all persons I never saw before, except for one. I pointed to an older man in the second row from the bottom, on the right. I told Mark, ‘Him’.”
Mark looked surprised. He looked down at the picture and up at Karl, replying, “That’s Ed Reynolds.” Karl asked, “Who’s Ed Reynolds?”
“He was secretary of our lodge for many years, and he was my secretary in my previous term. Ed died in his driveway three years ago. It was snowing outside, and he was taking shopping bags from his car to the house. He slipped in the driveway, hitting his head on the ice and knocking him out.” Choking up Mark finished, “He froze to death….he was found the next morning frozen to death.”
Mark and Ed had developed a very strong bond when Master and secretary, respectively. A lodge’s secretary is literally the Master’s right-hand man. The secretary gets paperwork out to the members, maintains the lodge’s activity records, and communicates with other lodges on the Master’s behalf. Mark and Ed’s friendship ran deep, and Mark’s sadness was still heavy while recounting Ed’s death to Karl several years later.
Ed’s spirit first made himself known to his lodge brothers when there was a great deal of negative tension among the membership back in 2008. You see, Ed cared a great deal about his lodge. He spent many years overseeing its operations, and put much time and energy into seeing it succeed. The dissension within the ranks would bring the lodge into disarray and, possibly, its ultimate demise. Ed didn’t want to see such a turn of events occur. …And he made his feelings known, emphatically!
During meetings, Ed would stomp up and down the hallway stairs. He would stamp about in the attic, directly over the meeting room. He would move objects—as small as glass cups and bottles, and as large as chairs—during meetings. He would play with the electric, dimming or turning lights on and off. After closing the building for the night, lights would be turned back on. Ed made enough commotion to disturb meeting protocols, cause members to make random visits to the building throughout the day to make sure all was in order, and create general nervousness.
As things eventually calmed down and problems were solved among the men, Ed calmed down. To this day, Ed reminds us that he’s still around. He hides belongings or switches objects. Karl adds, “I know he’s still there, I feel him every now and then…he just wants the other guys to know too.” As a senior officer in Adoniram Lodge, I—the author—have heard the loud steps and seen the strange antics. Mark, myself, and the rest of us, now know who and why these events have occurred in our lodge, thanks to Karl.
Jason A. Vigorito divides his time between Punxsutawney, PA, and northern NJ. He is Senior Warden of Adoniram Lodge.