Actually, the Murdoch Mysteries** episode is titled Victor, Victorian (Season 3, Episode 3). A major plot point in this episode is Freemasonry. They got a couple of things correct–barely–about Freemasonry, but quite a lot wrong, and those wrong things really were essential to the episode’s mystery. It’s quite a fun episode, IMHO, but I got to wondering where the odd things, such as drinking wine from a skull as part of the initiation, came from.
So, any idea where they got these ideas from or were they just invented for the purpose of the episode’s plot?
You can see the episode here (paid membership) or here (long ad in Chinese for free viewing, no ads if you have membership).
I don’t have much of an answer for you, but I did want to thank you for the Murdoch Mysteries recommendation. Your first link didn’t seem to work, but I found it on Hulu and enjoyed the first episode with Nikola Tesla. Judging by the pilot episode and your descrIption of the Freemason episode, the formula seems to be a fun mix of a bit of history and a lot of fictionalization (I don’t think Nikola Tesla ever helped the Toronto Police solve a murder). I’ve been looking for a long-running series to have on while I hit the elliptical or do other stuff, at at 12 or 13 seasons it will keep me occupied for awhile.
I will say that the trope of ‘drinking wine from skulls’ and specifically the skulls of vanquished enemies has been a historic rumor applied to different cultures over the years. I was thinking it may have been a rumored practice of Yale’s Skull and Bones Society, but googling found nothing about that. I think I may be conflating it with the rumor that they possessed the stolen skull of Geronimo, but nothing about drinking wine out of it.
I got addicted to Murdoch Mysteries when my cable service in South Korea offered it.
The first link is to a Chinese video site; I don’t have any idea why it doesn’t work. It’s worked for me outside of China–of course it works inside of China when I have my VPN turned off.
Drat! The second link is to the Chinese site. I stupidly left out the link to the first one. Scroll down to Episode 3 if you have a membership. That’s on the show’s official site. Sorry about leaving out the link.
I have no answer to your question, besides this awesome comic, but I wanted to point out that Murdoch Mysteries is also available on Hulu.
It’s an interesting show - it veers between simplistic mysteries and PG content, to full on bonkers plots (secret Canadian dirigibles?) and some pretty deep social commentary (homosexuality and abortion in the late 19th/early 20th century).