My experience ghost hunting at Missoula’s Masonic Lodge was nothing short of incredible.

masonic temple room

Growing up, many kids are told spooky ghost stories to entertain or to pass the time. Despite being unsure if the story is true or not, we can’t help but be intrigued. Personally, I always found myself leaning in, listening so intently I could’ve heard a pin drop and asking the repetitive question of “what happened after that?”

I have always been fascinated by the idea of ghosts being real, and later in life I had my own experiences with them. For about a decade I have had no doubt that spirits, energy, ghosts (or whatever you call them) are real. Personally, seeing or interacting with the paranormal is unnerving…and sometimes scary. However, despite these feelings I can’t help but be curiously drawn to it.

That’s how I found myself in downtown Missoula.

In the Masonic Lodge.

Ghost hunting.  

Missoula’s Masonic Lodge was built in 1909, and much of it and its decor is in original historic condition. The building is used for multiple purposes: a meeting place for a group called the Freemasons, office space for people to rent, and a gathering place for events hosted by the Masons. There are four different floors; the third floor is the main floor for the Masons, a group created in 1867. Ben (my mom’s fiance) is a member of the Freemasons and has done quite a bit of renovations for them. Because of Ben’s involvement, the owner of the building allowed us to come in after hours and conduct a “paranormal investigation”. 

Our group consisted of five members: Ben, my mom Megen, my sister Eylissa, Eylissa’s partner Ty, and myself. We planned to head to the building around 9:30 pm, but befo”re that we were all busy preparing. We had charged and packed our equipment which consisted of a radiating electromagnetism meter (REM pod), an electromagnetic field meter (EMF), a voice box, cameras, “we”ll witchers, pendulums, and trigger objects:

  • A small cylinder with lights and a rod that sticks out from the top, the REM pod is a very popular tool for paranormal investigators; it basically works by producing an alarm sound anytime a mass of energy (including ourselves) is close to the rod. Its lights will illuminate different colors, depending on how close to the energy is.
  • The EMF reader looks like a thermometer and will trigger a light if there is a spike in the electromagnetic field; however users have to be skeptical when you get these spikes. Any electromagnetism (including that from powerlines, microwave, ovens, and light switches) will spike the EMF. 
  • The voice box works by using radio waves and allows spirits to manipulate those radio waves to produce words or sentences. This is another tool to be wary of, because sometimes it will pick up on commercial or radio stations here and there.
  • The voice box works by using radio waves and allows spirits to manipulate those radio waves to produce words or sentences. This is another tool to be wary of, because sometimes it will pick up on commercial or radio stations here and there.
  • We also brought cameras for the purpose of capturing what is commonly referred to as “spirit orbs” (small, slightly transparent spheres). You have likely taken a picture with orbs in it, whether you realize it or not.
  • Both pendulums and well witchers are communication tools, but they are gentler and more natural tools for attempting communication (as opposed to the electronic gadgets previously discussed). Well witchers are actually a tool that people use to find, you guessed it…wells. You hold the rods parallel to the ground, and if you pass over an underground well they will cross. Despite this traditional use, paranormal investigators also use them to communicate with spirits. Spirits can be asked to make the rods cross for an answer of “yes”, or to make the rods push apart for the answer of “no”.
  • Pendulums are the same concept; they are a stone at the end of a chain, and the user assigns “yes” and “no” directions. You can have them answer by swinging it clockwise/counter clockwise, or by swinging back and forth/side to side.
  • Trigger objects are extremely simple: they are basically anything that would be easy to move or that would evoke an emotional response from the spirits. For example, we brought marbles and a light rubber ball. Typically you want to put these on the edge of tables, counters, or stairs so that when it is moved slightly, it will be noticeable.

Once we got to the building, we decided to make the kitchen our home base and unpacked our stuff while making a large pot of coffee (which was, arguably, the most important item we had with us).

We unpacked and took an hour-long tour of the building, after which I had a killer headache. I took some Ibuprofen and it did little to help – but that wasn’t going to slow me down. Throughout the tour, it was interesting to see how every room had a different feeling (and I don’t mean decor) – I mean every room had a literal feeling.  Some rooms felt heavy, some caused a very quick and fleeting wave of nausea when I entered, and some felt light and comfortable. All of it was odd enough that I consistently turned to Eylissa and asked her how she felt to confirm I wasn’t crazy.

Luckily, I wasn’t the only one that shared these sentiments.  

Once we had settled, we decided to start in the Masonic temple room.  We had hope for this room, because it is historically where all ceremonies take place. The Masons hold a high respect for this room and for those who are in it. I placed the REM pod on the balcony overlooking the room, which was a perfect spot because it’s believed that the nature of many spirits is to hang back and watch the living from a distance or from a slightly hidden vantage point.

The balcony was a perfect spot for spirits to comfortably peer at us from afar.

After I returned from this task, I found that both my mom’s and sister’s cameras died after taking a single photo. Both cameras were fully charged before they took their first picture. Now this could have been chalked up to coincidence…but the fact that two different cameras did the same thing made us think otherwise.

As we were setting up trigger objects around the room, the REM pod went off… and we all froze. We looked up at the balcony in awe; it was amazing and unnerving at the same time.  The alarm stopped right before Ben came into the room, and as we were explaining what happened…the pod sounded and lit up again. This time the alarm went off for so long that my mom had to ask that the spirit step away from the alarm.

And just like that, it stopped.

We sat on the opposite side of the room from the balcony in the dark, vast room while starting to ask questions. The alarm was messed with quite a bit while my mom took the lead asking questions. In the midst of it all, I had a wave of sadness wash over me. I was confused, because it wasn’t just a slight melancholy; I was silently crying without reason and felt like sobbing loudly. It freaked me out more than the alarms going off. I don’t cry easily, and definitely not when I’m with four different people, dark or not.

I leveled my voice and requested my mom to ask if the spirit (or spirits) were sad. She hesitated, but followed through with asking the question. Immediately, and I mean the moment she got her last word out, there was an unexplainable BANG in response. We were all just quiet for a moment.

I had my answer.

We stayed for a little longer while I continued to feel chest-restricting sorrow. I had no plans of mentioning my feelings or the fact that it had me crying in the dark, because part of me thought it was just me. However, my sister shifted over to me in the dark and leaned her head on me. I thought nothing of it at first, but quickly realized she was crying.

My 23 year-old-sister was also crying without reason. Thank God.  

We wrapped up our questions and got ready to move on to a new room.  As we got our bearings together in the kitchen, Eylissa and I discussed our experiences. We both described the exact same thing and were equally relieved to know we weren’t going crazy- not alone at least. 

After we got all our bearings together, we set off to our next location: the men’s meeting room. We set up our equipment and parked ourselves at the meeting table. Not long after we initially entered the room, my headache took a turn for the worse and began throbbing. I don’t typically get bad headaches, so having a throbbing one was NOT fun. Luckily for me, however, we sat down pretty quickly and the meeting room was the warmest room aside from the boiler room (when I say warm, I mean the room was well on its way to becoming a sauna). We were all stripping off our layers of clothing when the REM pod went off. 

We stared as the pod continued to go off for about a minute without stopping. Even when the pod did finally stop it wasn’t until my mom asked for the energy to step away that it ceased.  We started to ask questions, but there was no answer.

No alarm.

No sounds.

It was silent.

Eventually, we broke out the voice box in hopes that would give us some action and some answers. It did give us some action but it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for. The moment we asked our first question with the box, it responded with “get out”. Not taking the hint, we decided to ask a different question…it didn’t answer. We tried a third time, and once again it said “get out”.

I was not opposed to listening, because the longer we sat there the more my head hurt. I felt heavy and was far from engaged in the whole thing, despite my obsession with the paranormal. Occasionally, the spirit switched up the responses, throwing a “leave” in here and there, along with an occasional bang.

I felt nauseous. I had no clue why we were still in that room; the spirit had made it very clear that we were not invited to the party. As we sat, I suddenly became freezing cold. I had put all my layers back on and was still shaking like a leaf. To make matters worse, I kept having to smooth out my hair because it felt like every now and then something would lightly touch the top of my head. Granted, it could’ve been my paranoia, or my mind playing tricks, but overall I wasn’t sure. I’m still not sure if it was energy touching me or not. Around the third time I went to smooth out my hair I looked toward my sister, only to find her staring at me. One look at her told me that she was NOT having fun. My immediate thought was “At least I’m not the only one”.

I asked quietly if she was okay – she just pursed her lips in a fine line and gave me an expression that told me she would rather be anywhere else but this room. Fortunately for us, we left pretty shortly after that. The moment we left the room my nausea eased, the headache remained, but at least I wasn’t looking around for possible places to empty my guts if need be. I was also feeling warmer which was great, because the shivering got old two minutes after it started. I was feeling a little better despite the headache, but I knew the moment Eylissa turned towards me that she was not sharing the same sentiment.

She pulled me aside while we all had a coffee break and told me how she felt in the room. She told me that it felt like being drugged, like moving through syrup and feeling like your entire body weighed double. That was interesting, because I felt a lot of the same, but chalked it up to my headache. Despite her “Debbie Downer” explanation, I saw three positives with the situation:

1. I now knew what roofies feel like…definitely helpful.

2. At least we weren’t going crazy alone.

3. We were finally out of that awful room.

While we were talking more about the night so far, Ty joined us. He explained a very similar experience and was relieved it wasn’t just in his head.  As we ended the conversation about how much we disliked the room, we started planning where to go next. Ty, on the other hand, decided he was tired and was just going to find a place to nap for a bit. As if he forgot the whole conversation we had 5 minutes ago, he decided it would be a good idea to sleep on the couch in the men’s lounge.

We ended up deciding to try the women’s lounge on the second floor. We all (excluding Ty) hopped into the sketchy looking elevator and made our way to our new location. Setting up fairly quickly and positioning ourselves on the old sofas and armchairs, we received very little activity. I personally felt like there was energy in the room, but thought that maybe it was a little more shy than our previous spirits.

Despite having virtually no activity, Ben spoke up and said he had just gotten a very distinctive whiff of something like a sweet cigar. He said it was very quick to fade, but distinctive nonetheless. After about ten minutes, my mom and Ben wanted to move on. However, I was unconvinced the room was dud; that being said, we decided to split up: my mom and Ben went to the basement while Eylissa and I stayed in the women’s lounge.

I broke out the well witchers, hoping that a more gentle attempt to communicate would work.

I was right.

Eylissa and I sat together on the couch, and I explained, out loud what I was holding and how the spirit could communicate by opening and crossing the rods. I started asking questions and immediately got answers. I asked about gender, about likes and dislikes, whether it was happy or not, and more. I had asked if she was the cause of what Ben smelt earlier and got a “yes”.

Then Eylissa asked if she liked Ben and holy cow…the rods FLEW to cross themselves.

Apparently, she really liked him.

The entire conversation was incredible. It’s extremely hard to explain, but when the rods moved in answer to a question, I could feel the energy through my hands. It was amazing. I asked Eylissa to try, and she was hesitant due to her hands being so shaky. I told her to just try, and handed the rods to her. She could not get the rods to stay straight. Giggling embarrassed, and said, “I’m sorry, I’m a little new at this so please be patient”.

After another failed attempt to hold them still and straight, she said, “Could you maybe help me get these strait”; just like that, the rods stopped swinging all over the place and went perfectly straight. We both stared in absolute awe. Whoever we were talking to was so flipping nice!

Eylissa was shocked by the whole thing. It was one thing to watch someone hold the rods, but it was another to hold them yourself. Eylissa asked a few more questions and then asked if she wanted us on our way. It answered “yes”, so we stood up and said our goodbyes and thank you. One of the coolest things about the entire experience was the fact that for the forty minutes we were in there, it was the only time throughout the whole night that my headache disappeared. I’d say it was a coincidence, but I truly believe otherwise.

After Eylissa and I fangirled over our new spirit friend in the hall, we tracked down my mom and Ben. We caught them at the tail end of their conversation with a spirit on the voice box. Once they wrapped up the conversation, they told us all about it. Apparently my sister and I were not the only ones to talk to a pretty cool spirit. My mom told us how she and Ben talked to a spirit about the building’s owner (asking if she knew him, which she did). They also asked if they liked the renovations being done, to which she responded “yes”.

We decided to start packing up, but not before one more quick session in the temple room. Eylissa sat in the head chair (which looked more like a throne than a chair) and I sat in the chair next to her.

Not our smartest decision of the night.

Ben took one look at Eylissa and said, “Oooh, you might tick someone off sitting there” – before Lisa could finish asking why, the sound system went nuts. The speakers made a shrill booming sound followed by static…and then silence.

Eylissa and I immediately found somewhere else to sit.

As if that moment couldn’t get any more insane, Ben filled us in on the fact that the sound system hasn’t been working for months.

My mom started apologizing and asking more questions. We got no responses and decided to wrap it up. At some point it just felt like we had overstayed our welcome. As we walked back from the kitchen, Ty was, very obviously, not happy. We asked what was wrong; apparently he had woken up with sleep paralysis. Considering Ty has never experienced sleep paralysis, he was shaken up.

As we finished packing, Ben’s phone (which was at 70% not even ten minutes earlier) died. It was very clear that between the speakers, Ty’s paralysis, and Ben’s phone it was time to leave.

We locked up and hopped in our cars around 4:30 am. Everyone was more than ready to get home and get into bed. Despite how amazing the whole experience was, it was still past 4 am and we were all dog tired.

After all was said and done, I can speak for everyone when I say that the entire thing was uncanny. Even now, months later, I still find myself thinking about it and longing to go back and do it again.