Culver City-Foshay Lodge and York Rite Freemasonry!

Culver City-Foshay Lodge salutes it recent mark upon York Rite Freemasonry!

January is month of the year most traditionally set aside by lodges for the annual recurrence of the installation of their officers.  Culver City-Lodge installed its latest Master, Benjamin Villanueva, along with a glimmering corps of officers who will be serving the lodge for the whole of the year.  The same tradition is held by the York and Scottish systems of extended degree work.  This year, Culver City-Foshay Lodge is distinguished by leadership in the three bodies of the York Rite, serving the westside communities of Greater Los Angeles.  Leadership is under the auspices of three of our Past Masters:  Sam House; Michael Miller, and Adam Wolf.

Monday, January 8th:  Adam Wolf, was installed as Commander of Santa Monica Bay Commandery, No. 61, Knights Templar.  The photo will show several members of Culver City-Foshay Lodge serving with him for the year.  Adam served as Master of our lodge in 2015.

Monday, January 15th:  Sam House, was installed as High Priest of Santa Monica Bay Chapter, No. 97, Royal Arch Masons.  The photo will show several members of Culver City-Foshay Lodge serving with him for the year.  Sam served as Master of our lodge in 2016.

Thursday, January 18th:  Michael Miller, was installed as Illustrious Master of Alpha Council, No. 39, Cryptic Masons.  The photo will show several members of Culver City-Foshay Lodge serving with him for the year.  Michael served as Master of our lodge in 2017.


Although there are no presiding officers with roots in Culver City-Foshay Lodge to report this year, our lodge is very much involved with local Scottish Rite bodies as well.  The growth of our lodge as surely been felt by the craft in general, and appreciation for the lodges contribution to the larger Masonic world has been widely acknowledged.

Adopting a Successful Life Membership Plan

Adopting a Successful Life Membership Plan by Adam Wolf, Master

Brethren, I want to address briefly a topic that has become somewhat controversial within our Lodge and within the fraternity as a whole, Life Membership Plans.

As many of you know, especially those who attended this year’s Annual Communications, RESOLUTION NO. 15-03: MODIFIES THE PAYMENT STRUCTURE OF LIFE MEMBERSHIP PLANS. This resolution, which will be carried over to the following year, and which will most likely pass, will raise the rates on the current plans adopted in the 2010 Resolution §809.320.

Our Lodge is currently offering a flat rate Life Membership of a multiple of 20.83 the Lodges’ annual dues at the time the life membership is purchased. This is based on the first of the two plans offered in the 2010 resolution. The other plan in that resolution, is a tiered-based system based on a member’s age. This tiered system is as follows:

A sum of money equal to the Lodge’s annual dues at the time of purchase of the life membership is multiplied by the factor indicated opposite the member’s age in the following schedule:

Age 49 and under, 21 times annual dues;
50 to 54 inclusive, 19 times annual dues;
55 to 59 inclusive, 17 times annual dues;
60 to 64 inclusive, 14 times annual dues;
65 and over, 11 times annual dues.

Since Culver City / Foshay Lodge’s adoption of the current flat fee Life Membership Plan, there have been absolutely NO memberships purchased. Many of our members who have considered purchasing a life membership as a tribute to the Lodge are simply finding the flat rate system not making any sense to them. Why should a 65-year old member of the Lodge who might have been a member since his 20s pay the same rate as a newly-Raised 22-year old?

I urge you to consider Culver City-Foshay Lodge adopting the tiered system for life membership plans as soon as possible and get it into our Lodge by-laws. We have seen that the one-size-fits-all system simply does not fit anyone.

Adam Wolf, Master

Catching the Spirit

Catching the Spirit by Adam Wolf #ccmasons

As we approach Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, also known as All Saint’s Eve, I feel it is appropriate to devote this month’s article some interesting facts about Brother Harry Houdini. Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss; March 24, 1874 was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on July 17, 1923 in St. Cecile Lodge, No. 568, in New York City. He passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft on July 31, 1923, and was raised to the Degree of Master Mason on August 21, 1923. In 1924 he entered the Consistory, in the Scottish Rite.

Houdini’s Masonic activities included giving a benefit performance for the Valley of New York, which filled the 4,000 seat Scottish Rite Cathedral and raised thousands of dollars. In October 1926, just weeks prior to his death, he became a Shriner in Mecca Temple. His last rites, held November 4, 1926 at the Elks Clubhouse in New York, concluded with traditional Masonic Rites.

In the early part of the last century, 906 East 23rd Street was the site of the First Spiritualist Temple. The building still exists today, but is occupied by another church. In 1923 Mrs. Mary Fairfield McVicker was the Associate Pastor of First Spiritualist Temple and, at her seventy third birthday in front of two hundred of her friends, she made a rather strange pronouncement. She stated that she had seen herself passing out in a vision and requested that a photographer be present at her funeral. If a photograph were taken of her casket at five o’clock on the day of her funeral, she would be appear in the photograph, and this should be taken as evidence of her spirit returning. Two weeks before her passing, McVickers arranged for her funeral. She passed on March 23, 1923, and commercial photographer C.H. Monroe was engaged to photograph her spirit hovering over her coffin at exactly 5:00 PM. It appeared that three photo plates were made of her in her casket and one of the plates was ruined during developing. The pastor of the church Mary Vlasek, claimed that she had seen McVickers’ spirit hovering over the casket as the photos were being made. Several people, including C.H. Monroe who was puzzled by the “distinct impressions,” commented that they had seen McVickers’ spirit in the photos.

Harry Houdini, who had previous experience in spirit investigations, and who was also President of the Society of American Magicians, was asked by Mr. Albert Hetzel to investigate the photos. On April 11th, 1923, Houdini, along with a photographer Nathan B. Moss, visited the First Spiritualist Temple in an attempt to capture the image of McVickers’ spirit. Houdini produced a very detailed report of the investigation, showing that he made every effort to achieve objective accurate results. Houdini refused to use photographer Moss’ plates, but insisted upon buying new ones at a camera supply store that he stringently selected, even refusing a package due to the corners not being glued properly. Houdini followed Moss into the darkroom to watch him load the camera grip, which never left Houdini’s side as they drove to the Temple. Here is a portion of Houdini’s report.

“On arrival at the church we took ten exposures. The plate in which the light shows is the second one taken under the same exposure that Mr. Hetzel wanted, three minutes, F. 4.
The faces that Mr. Hetzel pointed out to me as being spirit faces floating around, I discovered were faces, either through accident or design, could positively be recognized and seen on the wall, but only at a distance away from the wall and at certain angles. In order to show the accuracy of this I requested Mr. Moss to hold a pencil on the wall, I walked back until I could see the faces, then I requested him to move the pencil until it was right under the chin of the face which can be plainly seen, and I posed with pencil and the photo is a three-minute exposure. Mr. Hetzel was positive that the faces were spirit faces before I had shown to everyone in the room that the peculiar formation allowed your mind to see faces, in fact he had one photo of his own and traced a number of spirit faces, so he said.

The pictures were taken as follows:
April 11, 1923, 1st negative 3:30 P.M., 2nd negative 3:58 P.M. (“spirit” negative). When we returned to the Chamber of Commerce Building, we entered the dark room and in my presence the plates were developed immediately, and on one we beheld a peculiar streak. Mr. Moss became very much excited. He had a print made from this plate which caused a great deal of talk, not one photographer could explain how this could be tricked. Mr. Moss offered $100 to anyone who could produce it under the same conditions, whereas no one could duplicate same. Were present: Mr. J. M. Hall, Mr. Albert H. Hetzel, Mr. Stanley Bruce, Reporter of the Examiner, Mr. Virgil Vlasek, Financial Secretary.
Let us remember that Harry Houdini was a brother of the craft and that his spirit is linked to us by an indissoluble chain. We’ll catch you at our next meeting, brethren!
Brother Ackereisen: Don’t forget to bring your camera!

Adam Wolf, Master