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Article # 82
Further information on the shooting incident

Author: R.Ratnaswami    Posted on: Sunday, March 14, 2004
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We were able to collect some further information about the ritual in the basement in which Bro.William James was shot dead by Bro.Albert Eid.


Southside Masonic Lodge (No,493) is a  regular lodge under the Grand Lodge of New York functioning in the Masonic building, in which the incident took place. Some of the members of that Lodge had formed a social club known as “Fellowcraft Club”. Bro. Ron Steiner, spokesman  of the Grand Lodge of New York has declared that Fellowcraft Clubs are not part of the Masonic Organizations.


That club has been organizing social events, in which ladies are also permitted to participate. Such clubs appear to be functioning in many regular lodges. Unfortunately,

some of those clubs appear to follow some initiation ritual for taking new members, which ritual  even though is imitative of Freemasonry provides for some dirty

horseplay like frightening the initiate with gun shots using dummy rounds, rattling with cans and employing mouse traps. It is needless  to say that such pranks are unmasonic and have to be condemned as unworthy of adoption in a gathering of freemasons, meeting even for any social event. Some of the News reports mention that besides cans, there were mouse traps, a nine feet tall guillotine and some planks.It is inconceivable as to how firearms,

 guillotine and mouse traps were ever permitted to be brought inside the Masonic temple complex and used in a gathering of Masons.


The incident was much publicized and there was even a T.V programme  by  Paula Zahn,on CNN (Cable News Network) in the evening of March 9, 2004 in which Prof.Steven C. Bullock, Professor of History and author of “Revolutionary Brotherhood” participated. That is an interesting book explaining the role of Freemasons in founding the American Democracy. Prof.Stevan had spoken about the history of Freemasonry in the TV programme.

Prof. Tony Fels, Head of the History Department of University of San Franscisco has pointed out that an unfortunate fatal incident happened in 1740 in the presence of Benjamin Franklin in which the shirt of an initiate accidentally caught fire resulting in his death. Benjamin Franklin was deeply affected by the incident that he retired from Freemasonry for some time, even though the incident did not occur during any rituals. Let us at this stage refer to Benjamin Franklin, a great writer, printer, scientist, freedom fighter statesman and a past Grand Master. Franklin became a Mason, joining St. John’s Lodge which met at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia in his 25 th year. By the next year, he had drafted the lodge’s bylaws and was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. He then served his first term as the Grand Master in 1734, the same year that he published Anderson’s The Constitution of the Free-Masons, the first Masonic book printed in America.

He was appointed Provincial Grand Master in 1749; then in organizational changes a year later, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master. He served on a committee to build the first Masonic building constructed in America, the “Free-Mason’s Lodge” in Philadelphia, and took a prominent part in its dedication in 1755. In 1760 he was made the Provincial Grand Master of Philadelphia. As he traveled frequently on diplomatic missions, Franklin visited lodges in England, Scotland and France. He became active with lodges in France: serving two years as Master of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters, as honorary Master of the Respectable Lodge de Saint Jean de Jerusalem, and as an honorary member of the Loges des Bon Amis of Rouen.

 We have all taken oath to protect the honour of other masons in their presence as well as their absence. Subjecting a brother to a humiliating experience of an initiation in Fellow Craft Clubs within the Masonic building itself is a serious violation of that oath.

Numerous brethren, who have reacted to the news of the unfortunate incident feel that it is time such dirty pranks and horse plays are prohibited within the Masonic building and severe action has to be taken by the Grand Lodge against the brethren, who indulge in such unmasonic activities  and save the fair name of Freemasonry.


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