The Masons and Odd Fellows ceremonial practices were similar in that human remains were used as part of initiation rituals in the past. “They used skeletons to remind prospective Odd Fellows of their mortality,” said Steve Parisi, director of Warrensburgh Museum of Local History.
Why do Odd Fellows have skeletons?
To members of the age-old fraternal order, the skeleton is a symbol of mortality, a treasured relic used in one of their most solemn and secret rituals: initiation. As with many fraternal orders that compete with todays fast-paced lifestyles, interest in the Odd Fellows has waned, and many lodges have closed.
What is an Odd Fellows skeleton?
Initiation into the Odd Fellows, the “poor mans Masonry,” involved a ceremony in which the pledge would come face-to-face with a skeleton in a candle-lit room to contemplate their mortality. Modern ceremonies use paper mache skeletons, but in the early days they used real human remains.
Are there still Odd Fellows?
Current status. The IOOF continues in the 21st century with lodges around the world, and is claimed to be the largest united international fraternal order in the world under one head, with every lodge working with the Sovereign Grand Lodge located in the United States.