Category Archives: The House of the Temple

The Story Begins

House of the Temple
8:33 P.M.

The secret is how to die.

Since the beginning of time, the secret had always been how to die.

The thirty-four-year-old initiate gazed down at the human skull cradled in his palms. The skull was hollow, like a bowl, filled with bloodred wine.

Drink it, he told himself. You have nothing to fear.

And so begins The Lost Symbol, opening with a masonic ceremony in the House of the Temple, in Washington D.C.

The fact-packed prologue and first chapter of Dan Brown’s latest story can be found in the UK’s Mail on Sunday (print only) and Parade magazine.

The excerpts give nothing away that we did not know already. Freemasonry, DC and the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry were always going to play a central role.

But Brown’s allusion, in Chapter 1, to the furore the Da Vince Code caused did bring a smile to our face.

“My book group read your book about the sacred feminine and the church! What a delicious scandal that one caused! You do enjoy putting the fox in the henhouse!”

Langdon smiled. “Scandal wasn’t really my intention.”

‘The Lost Symbol’: Prologue and Chapter 1 (Parade)

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

Secrets of the Lost Symbol Continues its 100% Record vs. Matt Lauer

house_of_the_templeSo, we were right again, predicting the answer to the Today show clue–The House of the Temple–a full 12 hours before it aired!

If you want to see how we did it, read on here.

And if you want to know more about the House of the Temple, stay tuned for future posts about the building, its history, and the man whose remains are stored there: Albert Pike.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

Tomorrow’s “Search for the The Lost Symbol” Answer Today – Part II

Will we see Matt Lauer at The House of the Temple tomorrow?

Will we see Matt Lauer at The House of the Temple tomorrow?

This is where we believe you will see Matt Lauer tomorrow morning for the third installment of the Today show’s “Search for the Lost Symbol” competition.

Each day, Lauer is reporting from a different “secret” location, in Washington D.C., that figures in the plot of Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.

These locations are supposed to be revealed in a carefully controlled manner. But, as we said yesterday, someone appears to be posting the clues that go along with the video reports one day early in an innocuous pdf document on The Lost Symbol Amazon’s page.

According to that document, tomorrow morning’s clue will be:

Houses the remains of this CONFEDERATE: CHOEPSLTGE

Our first instinct was that the answer is: ALBERT PIKE. After all, we are convinced he will play a key role in The Lost Symbol and he is the only Confederate general to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington. But we could not figure out how to get the answer we wanted.

The solution came with the help of @bgates87, who, as we said yesterday, has been one of the leading Twitterers chasing down these riddles. William confirmed our hunch and supplied the evidence to prove it:

The clue is encrypted with what’s called a Keyword Cipher. It’s a substitution cipher that uses an altered alphabet to encrypt the plaintext. With a Keyword Cipher you use a keyword to rearrange the alphabet, moving all of the letters in the keyword to the front and omitting repeated letters. In this case, the keyword is CONFEDERATE, hinted at by the fact that it’s written in capital letters. So, the rearranged alphabet is:

C O N F E D R A T B G H I J K L M P Q S U V W X Y Z

You use this alphabet to encrypt the plaintext or decrypt the ciphertext. For decryption, it’s easiest to set it up like this:

C O N F E D R A T B G H I J K L M P Q S U V W X Y Z
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Now, to decrypt the message “CHOEPSLTGE,” you simply substitute each letter in the ciphertext with the letter it corresponds to in the plain alphabet. So, substitute the ciphertext letters for their plaintext counterparts…

So, Albert Pike it is! And why the House of the Temple? Well, Pike was one of the leading Masons of the 19th century. After his death, in 1891, he was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. But shortly before the end of the Second World War his remains were moved the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Southern Jurisdiction—aka the House of the Temple.

We’ll be writing about both Albert Pike and the House of the Temple a lot more in the coming weeks.

Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol.

Dan Brown’s Open Secret, The House of the Temple’s Role in The Lost Symbol

Matt Lauer-6Word in Washington has it that Matt Lauer’s NBC team was spotted filming in The House of the Temple the other day. Lauer has spent the past few weeks dashing around Washington (and perhaps other locations) filming a Secrets of the Lost Symbol treasure hunt which will air on the Today show from Tuesday, September 8, right until the book’s release on September 15.

The Today show announced recently that Lauer will visit “top-secret locations that play key roles in The Lost Symbol.” Well, it seems that The House of the Temple is not so secret anymore. In fact, it never really was a secret at all.

Our expert David Shugarts guessed long ago (five years ago, to be precise) that The House of the Temple would play a starring role in Dan Brown’s next novel.

The House of the Temple is the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, and it’s perfect Dan Brown material.

The House of the Temple, in Washington, is the perfect location for Dan Brown novel

The House of the Temple, in Washington, is the perfect location for Dan Brown novel

Dave, who has been given a tour, tells us that cinematically it is stunning. Two sphinxes guard the wide steps leading up to an enormous doorway. Inside, is a cavernous temple atrium decorated in black marble and other precious materials.

The Temple is also literally filled with treasure. There’s a library full of rare books. And a lower floor packed with artifacts collected by Masons throughout the centuries.

Most intriguing for us though, the Temple is also the resting place of Albert Pike, a lawyer and Confederate general who is hardly known today, but who was immensely influential in his day, particularly in Freemasonry. Pike is the only Confederate general to have a statue in his honor in Washington. He also just happens to have written Morals and Dogma, the definitive tome of the Rite’s philosophical underpinnings. A mysterious, Merlin-like figure, he also is famous for a long platonic relationship with a flashy young artist named Vinnie Ream, and for rumored connections to the Knights of the Golden Circle. Albert Pike’s remains occupy a favored niche in the Temple.

But you don’t have to take our word for it that the Temple is a significant part of the plot. Random House handed out an enormous clue that The House of the Temple would play a starring role when it released the cover for the US edition of The Lost Symbol.

The US Cover to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

The US Cover to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

The wax seal with the triangle and “33,” along with the double-headed eagle and the legend “Ordo Ab Chao” (Order Out of Chaos) form the essential symbol of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Says Dave, “In the context of Washington, DC, this points a big red arrow toward the House of the Temple, the home of the Scottish Rite.”

So, where else can we expect to see Lauer next week? Dave reckons the Smithsonian Institution, the Capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial are all safe bets. But when we asked him about Mount Vernon, the telephone went very quiet.

Is there something Dave isn’t telling us?

– Paul Berger, Contributing Editor, Secrets of the Lost Symbol