Word 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.
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 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