Sunday, June 21, 2009

Shibboleth Hall

Way back in the day, this building at 917 Baxter Avenue in the Highlands of Louisville was a Masonic lodge called Shibboleth Hall, which is a name I find fascinating.

A Shibboleth is an ancient term from Biblical times, and it refers to any subtle hints that one is a member of any particular group. Many Shibboleths are built around highly specific pronunciations of common words or super-subtle vocal inflections, but Shibboleths can also be any sneaky placement of coded terms, secret jargon, or what my old friend Kerry Wendell Thornley had called "Cant Language" - catchphrases which would go over the head of most people but would instantly send up a red flag for anyone who knew what to listen for.

In-the-know conspiracy theorists routinely pore over speeches by politicians and world leaders, searching for keywords and phrases that have special meaning to secret societies, yet sound innocuous enough to go unnoticed by the average citizen.

In the years since Shibboleth Hall closed, the building has housed many restaurants and night clubs. Check out our Whitewashed Windows and Vacant Stores blog for more details.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Are there hints in the record about which Society named this building such?

Very interesting--and right 'under my nose' for years!