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Catch Questions

Questions not included in the Catechism, but adopted from an early period to try the pretensions of a stranger, such as this used by American Freemasons: "Where does the Master hang his hat?" and by the French, "Comment tes vous entr dans le Temple de Salomon (how are -you admitted into the Temple of Solomon)?"

Such as these are of course unsanctioned by authority.

But Doctor Oliver, in an essay on this subject preliminary to the fourth volume of his Golden Remains, gives a long list of these "additional tests," which had been reduced to a kind of system, and were practiced by the English Freemasons of the eighteenth century. Among them were such as these : "What is the punishment of a cowan?" "What does this stone smell of?" "If a brother were lost, where would you look for him?" "How blows a Mason's wind?" and many others of the same kind.

Of these tests or catch questions, Doctor Oliver says "that they were something like the conundrums of the present day-difficult of comprehension; admitting only of one answer, which appeared to have no direct correspondence with the question, and applicable only in consonance with the mysterious terms and symbols of the Institution."

Catch questions in the United States, at least, seem to be getting out of use, and some of the most learned Freemasons at the present day would find it difficult to answer them.

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