The Grandmaster’s grave dirt and the woman in black.

x You can go to any tourist site and see that it’s highly recommended to use caution when visiting this site. It is Baltimore after all and the crime rate is high.

I was visiting Westminster Hall and Burial Grounds, with a friend, for two reasons. To visit the grave of both Edgar Allen Poe and James McHenry.

Although a good number of US Historical figures are buried here at this historic church, McHenry was on my list for more than one reason. He was the first US secretary of war, a signer of the Constitution and more importantly, when conspiracy theorists start going on about the 13 Freemasons who signed the US Constitution, McHenry was one of them. I was interested in getting soil from his grave.

At the same time, like most fans of murder and mayhem, my intent was also to pay a visit to my favorite Bostonian’s grave-marker. Without a doubt, I was there to say hello to my favorite poet and writer of the dark and mysterious, and to leave my respects for someone who’s life of tragedy is as relatable today as it was when he walked above ground.

To my excitement I did find McHenry’s grave but during the search of the ground (and even better) I found the grave of James Calhoun Maryland’s 8th grandmaster. Calhoun was also the mayor when Baltimore went from being the town of, to the city of.

Both men were members of the lodge, and being men of high recognition their services were surely done in proper Masonic fashion. For me, that meant that plot of land not only held their bones, but also the memory of the ceremonial burial. I needed a scraping of the soil for any future ritual that might call for it. Unfortunately McHenry’s grave was covered by a large cement block. In order to get dirt directly above the body, I would’ve needed a better option. James Calhoun’s grave, as well, was not an easily accessible plot.

There I was bent on one knee in the cold moss-covered shadows of the mausoleum. I had just finished reading the grandmasters memorial stone. Knowing that it was highly likely that his burial ceremony was performed properly, and the soil beneath me would hold the properties of that ritual. I scrapped my fingernails through the moss that had grown on the steps of the grave, wondering if the grandmaster’s bones, six feet below, could hear my scratching.

Once I was comfortable knowing that I had enough soil trapped beneath my nails, I stood and looked around for my friend. She had started on tour with me but both of us had wandered different directions. My hands were dirty but I didn’t care. My intent was to sprinkle the soil into a jar waiting for me in the car. Fortunately I knew any spell work wouldn’t call for a large amount. My dirty fingers had enough for several spells, the rest I could wipe off with a ceremonial apron, also sitting in the car.

As I was looking around to find my friend, from across the rows of headstones another figure suddenly appeared. Out of the corner of my eye, dressed in what looked like a black dinner dress was a stunning middle aged brunette with a silver streak in her front bangs. At first it startled me since I hadn’t seen her walk into the well observable entrance to the cemetery.

She was walking toward Edgar’s grave. When she arrived she bowed her head. That’s when I noticed a small rose clasped in her hand. Her skin was pale but even from forty paces away I could see the red blush of lipstick she wore. It was as red as the rose she held in her hands. Her ruby lips and dark hair stood out with sharpening contrast, in comparison to her pale skin, which looked as white as the marble she was standing in front of.

I had already visited Edgar’s marker so I hadn’t thought to turn back toward the woman in black. The entire time she remained perfectly still. I could see by the rise and fall of her shoulders she was whispering something. Perhaps a prayer?

The daylight was passing and the shadows cast by the headstones were starting to stretch. The night was coming and having a fistful of grave dirt soiling my hands didn’t seem like a good idea.

I decided to try to sneak around the woman in black. It seemed as if she were in a contemplative moment, and I didn’t want to disrupt. Through the air I could here her whispering something. I heard a few lines of what she was reciting.

The light, the dew, the broadening view
were found the same as thy were before:
And it lost itself in beauties new,
breathing its fragrance more and more.”

I have a limited knowledge of the occult but I believe she was reciting a well recognized funeral rite. The Rose Still Grows Beyond The Wall.

I followed a path through neighboring headstones, that went around her but for some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Irregardless of her sleek and captivating look, there was something else unique about her, I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

Baltimore commuter traffic was starting to pick up. It was time to go and I didn’t want to disturb her. I wanted to find my friend and head back to the car to put my dirt in its glass container. The longer my skin was in contact with it the more of its energy I would absorb.

I turned my attention away from the woman in black and made my way toward the entrance of the cemetery, hoping my friend would see me. As I closed in on the front entrance I spotted my traveling partner and quickened my pace. The cemetery itself wasn’t very big so I could still see Poe’s memorial out of my peripheral Vision.

As I slowed my pace I started to tell my friend that I had the dirt. That’s when I turned back to take another look at the woman standing by Poe’s grave, but surprisingly in her place was a cloud of mist that quickly dispersed. She had disappeared. I was tempted to rub my eyes to make sure I wasn’t seeing things, but with the dirt all over my hands, it didn’t seem like a good idea.

Keeping the woman in black to myself, not wanting to sound like a lunatic, my friend and I made our way to the car. I quickly stashed the grave sludge in the waiting jar and wiped the remainder off with my ceremonial apron which I often used to diffuse any magical residue that might still be on a tool or item I’ve been working with. To insure that all manner of energy was gone, mystic or bacterial, I also used a disinfecting wipe.

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