a little red book

Richard Carlile (1790 – 1843) was an agitator for freedom of the press in the United Kingdom.

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In 1817 he was imprisoned for blasphemy and sedition for publishing an article about political enslavement of the poor. In 1818 he published Thomas Paine’s short Essay on the Origins of Freemasonry. Paine maintained that “Free Masons carefully conceal the secret of their origins, which they envelop in such mystery that few of them understand it. Masonry is derived from the ancient Druids, priests who worshipped the Sun.”

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Having printed the Essay on Freemasonry, Carlile’s next step was to publish a cheap edition of Paine’s infamous Age of Reason. He was promptly prosecuted by the Society for the Suppression of Vice and imprisoned again in 1819. He immediately turned his gaol cell into a Repository of Reason. 

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He had a light, airy room containing a sink, bed and desk and a set of weights for training. These were donated by supporters who also sent him razors, hosiery, nightcaps and other gifts. He hired two servants, one to run errands and the other to do laundry. His wife Jane took over the publishing house and was duly sent to join her husband in prison for two years. His sister Mary-Anne then took over and was also eventually dispatched to the gaol. 

hosiery found here

By this time his cell was getting rather crowded and he found it difficult to accomplish the necessary reading and writing. He demanded that Jane and Mary-Anne should be completely silent but they refused and the strain of communal living led to the subsequent breakdown of his marriage. 

Mary Ann found here

He wrote breathlessly to one of his supporters saying that he was “full of Masonry” and asked for twelve best steel pens to furnish him for battle. Carlile decided that Masons had forgotten the true significance of their craft and that he would have to be the one to teach it to them

steel pens found here

Carlile’s Manual, a little red book which first appeared in 1825, caused a lot of controversy. Although published by a non-Mason, it proved to be one of the most successful books dealing with Freemasonry, possibly because it has been used by Masons themselves in learning ritual

masonic ritual found here

Although Carlile’s Manual was bought by many masons, its impact on freemasonry was limited. A secretary of a London Lodge told him that all the signs and passwords were changed because of his exposure but there is no evidence that this actually happened. 

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During his life Carlile espoused a wide range of causes that seemed outlandish at the time such as vegetarianism, phrenology, birth control, divorce and equality for women.  

In 1843, The Times reported the death of the eccentric Richard Carlile and described how he had left his body to be dissected. Richard Grainger, a surgeon, agreed to lecture on the body. A crowd gathered at St Thomas’ to view the proceedings, but the governors, hearing whose body was to be the subject of the lecture, refused to allow it, fearing it suggested the hospital supported the views of the dead man

image found here

Published in: on February 29, 2012 at 7:57 am  Comments (46)  
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the pursuit of fish and fetish

Mary Kingsley (1862 – 1900) was an English writer and explorer. She was the daughter  of doctor, traveller and writer George Kingsley and the niece of novelists Charles Kingsley and Henry Kingsley.

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Dr. Kingsley died in February 1892 and Mrs. Kingsley followed a few months later. Freed from family responsibilities and with a small inheritance, Mary was able to travel as she had always dreamed, her reason for going being “the pursuit of fish and fetish“. 

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As Kingsley set off on her first trip to Africa she was referred to a new “French book of phrases in common use in Dahomey.” The opening sentence of the book was “Help, I am drowning.”, followed by “Get up, you lazy scamps!” This was shortly followed by the question “Why has not this man been buried?” and its expected answer “It is fetish that has killed him, and he must lie here exposed with nothing on him until only the bones remain.”

image found here

Mary landed in Sierra Leone on 17 August 1893 and pressed on into Angola . She lived with local people who taught her necessary skills for surviving in the African jungles, and often went into dangerous areas alone. She longed to study ‘cannibal’ peoples and their traditional religious practices, commonly referred to as fetishes during the Victorian Era. 

While in Gabon, Mary Kingsley travelled by canoe up the Ogooué River where she collected specimens of previously unknown fish, three of which were later named after her. After meeting the Fang people and travelling through uncharted Fang territory, she climbed 13,760 ft Mount Cameroon by a route not previously attempted by any other European. Her adventures also included a crocodile attacking her canoe and being caught in a tornado.

more tornado images here

Once when staying in a Fang hut, a violent smell alerted her to a bag suspended from the roof. Emptying the contents into her hat, she found a human hand, three big toes, four eyes, two ears and other portions of the human frame. She showed no squeamishness, saying “I learnt that the Fang will eat their fellow friendly tribesfolk, yet they like to keep a little something belonging to them as a memento.”

you can purchase this cannibal hat here

She travelled in West Africa wearing the same clothes that she habitually wore in England: long, black, trailing skirts, tight waists, high collars, and a small fur cap. These same clothes saved her life when she fell into a game pit, the many petticoats protecting her from being impaled on the stakes below. Later that same day, returning to her moored canoe, she found a hippopotamus standing over it and “scratched him behind the ear with my umbrella until we parted on good terms.”

mouth of a hippo found here

When she returned home in November 1895 Kingsley was greeted by journalists who were eager to interview her. Reports in the papers portrayed her as a “New Woman”, an image which she did not embrace. She distanced herself from any feminist movement claims, arguing that she had never worn trousers during her expedition.

Women in trousers found here

Mary Kingsley upset the Church of England when she criticised missionaries for attempting to change the people of Africa. She defended aspects of African life that had shocked many English people, including polygamy. For example explaining the “seething mass of infamy, degradation and destruction going on among the Coast native… as the natural consequence of the breaking down of an ordered polygamy into a disordered monogamy“.

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Here she describes the process of bartering with natives with a certain sense of humour. “All my trader stuff was by now exhausted, and I had to start selling my own belongings, and for the first time in my life I felt the want of a big outfit. My own clothes I certainly did insist on having more for, pointing out that they were rare and curious. A dozen white ladies’ blouses sold well. I cannot say they looked well when worn by a brawny warrior in conjunction with nothing else but red paint and a bunch of leopard tails, particularly when the warrior failed to tie the strings at the back. But I did not hint at this, and I quite realize that a pair of stockings can be made to go further than we make them by using one at a time and putting the top part over the head and letting the rest of the garment float on the breeze.”

image found here

Published in: on February 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm  Comments (56)  
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a roaring pursecutter

Mary Frith or Moll Cutpurse (1584 – 1659) was a notorious pickpocket and fence of the English underworld.

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The other name by which she was known, “The Roaring Girl” is taken from roaring boys. The roaring boys were young men who caroused in taverns, and then picked brawls on the street for entertainment. Born in the mid-1580s, Mary presented herself in public in a doublet and baggy breeches, smoking a pipe and swearing if she felt like it.

Roaring Boys found here

She bred mastiffs and pampered her dogs like children. Each of them slept in their own bed, complete with sheets and blankets and were fed on special food she boiled up herself. Mary had grander ambitions than just a life of petty crime. In 1611 she performed (in men’s clothing, as always) at the Fortune Theatre. On stage she bantered with the audience and sang songs while playing the lute. It can be assumed that the banter and song were somewhat obscene, but by merely performing in public she was defying convention.

Mastiff found here

Mary was arrested for being dressed indecently on 25 December 1611 and accused of being involved in prostitution. She was required to do penance for her “evil living” at St. Paul’s Cross. She put on quite a performance  “weeping bitterly and seeming very pentinent, but it was since  thought she was maudlin drunk, being discovered to have tippled of three-quarters of sack”.

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In 1614 she married Lewknor Markham, the son of playwright Gervase Markham. It has been alleged that the marriage was little more than a clever charade. Evidence shows that the whole thing was contracted to give Mary a counter when suits against her referred to her as a “spinster”. Lewknor probably took a cut of Mary’s earnings in return for her using his name. 

By the 1620s she was working as a fence and a pimp. She not only procured young women for men, but also respectable male lovers for middle-class wives. In one case where a wife confessed on her deathbed infidelity with lovers that Mary provided, Mary supposedly convinced the woman’s lovers to send money for the maintenance of the children that were probably theirs. It is important to note that, at the time, women who dressed in men’s attire on a regular basis were generally considered to be “sexually riotous and uncontrolled“, but Mary herself claimed to be uninterested in sex.

Drag King found here

Showman William Banks bet her £20 that she wouldn’t ride from Charing Cross to Shoreditch dressed as a man. But she did so in style, flaunting a banner, blowing a trumpet and causing a riot in the process. Part of the excitement was due to the fact that the horse she was riding was Morocco, the most famous performing animal in London. Shod in silver, it could dance, play dice and count money. Its most famous trick was climbing the hundreds of narrow steps to the top of old St Paul’s and dancing on the roof.

diving horse found here

However scary Moll Cutpurse may have been in public, the private Mary Frith was rather nice. Her house in Fleet Street, full of dogs and parrots, was always immaculate and surprisingly feminine, thanks to three full time maids. 

image found here

Published in: on February 24, 2012 at 8:26 am  Comments (49)  
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gravy first, then meat

In 1998, The Independent published this interview with Daisy de Cabrol, Madame La Baronne

Daisy, the Windsors and Fred found here

At 83, Madame La Baronne remains sprightly. She talks at a hundred miles an hour with an almost preposterously posh accent and uses charmingly old-fashioned words such as “automobile”. Lunch is like taking a trip back in time. It is also proof that Madame La Baronne still knows how to entertain in style. She has hired a lady from the village to cook up a three-course feast and the wine is served from grand crystal decanters. She rings a little bell at the end of every course to summon her manservant, then scolds him in English for the heinous crime of bringing the meat in before the gravy.

antique crystal dog decanter found here

Her husband, Fred de Cabrol, who died in July 1997, was also from a wealthy aristocratic family. The couple bought their house in Grosrouvre in 1950. In the bathroom, the toilet is strangely but skilfully hidden under a table which is attached to the wall at one corner and swivels out of the way when nature calls. The piece de resistance, however, is the barn, which has been transformed into a grand sitting-room. A sculpture of a deer sits atop the huge fireplace. On a beautiful cabinet sits a glass case filled with multi-coloured stuffed birds. On the walls there are numerous deer heads.

Budapest Hall of Hunting found here

The Cabrols were friends of  the Windsors whom they met at a dinner party in Paris. In 1947, they received an invitation to stay at their house on the Cote d’Azur. “We were astonished to find such luxury after the deprivation of the war,” she recalls. “Even at that time, two years after the war, people didn’t eat much, but they had so much food and there were fresh sheets every day.” The Cabrols would often go to the Windsors’ renovated windmill at Gif-sur-Yvette to the south of Paris for Sunday lunch. She also recalls singing “Clair de Lune” with the Duke, sword dancing after dinner and the Cabrol children entertaining the Windsors by playing the guitar.

image found here when I googled Gif-Sur-Yvette

In her scrapbook is the cover of a French magazine with a photo of the Windsors arriving at one of her balls. It was held at Paris’s Palais des Glaces and took three months to prepare. Charlie Chaplin was one of the guests. The Begum Aga Khan turned up in a flouncy feathered number and a young Madame Mitterand was on the organising committee. The composer Henri Sauguet wrote some music especially for the evening, Nancy Mitford composed sketches and everybody skated on the ice.

Begum Aga Khan found here

There are also invitations for receptions given by the Queen, to the wedding of Princess Grace of Monaco, Maria Callas’s autograph and a poem by the French society hostess Ghislaine de Polignac, entitled “Advice to a foreigner on how to succeed in Paris”. It ends with the line “C’est chez Pam qu’on va B—–R” which translates as “For a F–K, you go to Pam’s”. The Pam in question is the late American ambassador to France, Pamela Harriman.

Pamela Harriman found here

“There were three or four balls a year, mainly in the spring,” Madame recalls. “Nobody would ever dream of socialising in Paris after the Grand Prix horserace at the end of June. People who stayed in the city after that would close their shutters to pretend they had gone away.” Many of the balls were costume affairs. To one, she went disguised as a tree. To another, as the wife of Louis XIV, and once her husband dressed up as French ceramicist Bernard de Palissy and she as one of his plates.

Palissy plate found here

The dreaded Elsa Maxwell, who had a vitriolic gossip column in America and served as the Windsors’ social secretary, was also fond of the Cabrols, as was Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. They once went on holiday with him and the actor Douglas Fairbanks on his yacht. “We travelled from the Riviera to Greece, but Niarchos refused to stop the boat for us to bathe. Every day, there was a huge tin of caviar, but after eight days, it became a bit of a nightmare. Nobody can eat caviar for eight days in a row!”

Icon Caviar found here

Published in: on February 22, 2012 at 9:16 am  Comments (43)  
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death car cutie

A google search for “death car” brings up some strange stories. China made headlines in 2006 with this:

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Zhang Shiqiang, known as the Nine-Fingered Devil, first tasted justice at 13. His father caught him stealing and cut off one of Zhang’s fingers. Twenty-five years later, Zhang met retribution once more, after his conviction for double murder. He was put to death in China’s new fleet of mobile execution chambers that dispense capital punishment from specially equipped “death vans” that shuttle from town to town.

Makers of the vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China “promotes human rights,” says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Automobile death van in which “Devil” Zhang took his final ride.

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Along with the death vans, the company also makes bulletproof limousines for the country’s rich and armored trucks for banks.  “I’m most proud of the bed. It’s very humane, like an ambulance,” Kang says. He points to the power-driven metal stretcher that glides out at an incline. “It’s too brutal to haul a person aboard,” he says. “This makes it convenient for the criminal and the guards.”

The next result from Google took me here:

When Mrs. Ruth Warren arrived to claim her stolen car (after Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed in it), Sheriff Henderson Jordan refused to release it claiming that she would have to pay $15,000 to get it back. She had to hire an attorney to represent her before a Federal Judge who threatened to send the sheriff to jail, if he did not return the car to Mrs. Warren.

Bonnie and Clyde found here

The Death Car, recently displayed at “Terrible’s Casino” in Osceola, Iowa in August of 2007 is currently being displayed at Terrible’s St. Jo Frontier Casino in Saint Joseph Missouri. At the time of his death, Clyde Barrow was wearing a light blue western style shirt. It sold at auction for $85,000. A one inch swatch of the dark blue trousers he was wearing, can be purchased by you, and you need not mortgage your home to own this tangible piece of clothing.

 

image found here (click to enlarge)

And then there’s this article about Buckminster Fuller’s “charming death car”

Obsessed with sustainability, beloved futurist (and architect, designer, inventor, and all-around visionary) Buckminster Fuller spent his career dreaming of a Utopian future. He drafted plans and built prototypes of devices  that would fulfill his dreams, and two of them are on view at an installation going up in the Miami Design District’s pedestrian plaza.

Putting today’s Prius to shame, will be the Dymaxion 4 car, lovingly reconstructed by Norman Foster for a double dose of starchitectural magic. Fuller’s three-wheeler vehicle, which he intended to eventually give flight with jet engines, had a fuel efficiency far ahead of its time at 30 miles per gallon, while its aerodynamically efficient teardrop shape and rear-mounted Ford V-8 engine brought it to 120 miles per hour. With seating for 11, it would have been perfect for family road trips (had the safety precautions been more finely tuned — it unfortunately turned over and killed its driver at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair).

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Bucholz and the detectives

Another true adventure from the pen of Allan Pinkerton

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(Reading between the lines, I think there may have been some shenanigans in the jail cell. See if you agree…..)

One sunny day in August 1878, there descended from the train at South Norwalk, an old German man, accompanied by a much younger one of the same nationality. The old gentleman was not prepossessing in appearance. He wore a wretched-looking coat, and upon his head a dingy, faded hat of foreign manufacture. His shoes showed frequent patches, and looked very much as though their owner had performed the duties of an amateur cobbler.

not this old man (found here)

The real estate agent shrugged his shoulders as the newcomer entered his office, the old man looked like a beggar. But instead of asking for charity, the visitor desired to make a purchase of land. The young man who accompanied him was discovered to be his servant, and the old gentlemen, in a few words, completed a bargain in which thousands of dollars were involved.

Roton postcard found here

The land in question was a farm of nearly thirty acres, situated upon Roton Hill. A few days after this, the old gentleman, whose name was John Henry Schulte, formally entered and took up his new abode. It was occupied at this time by the Waring family who had been tenants under the previous owner, and arrangements were made to continue their residence in the farm house.

The servant to the old gentleman was a fine looking fellow, with clean cut features and prominent cheek-bones. His blue eyes were large, his complexion clear and bright, but his mouth was stern and his teeth were somewhat decayed. It was a matter of surprise that a young man of his appearance should occupy so subservient a position under such a singular master. Such was William Bucholz, the servant of Henry Schulte.

image found here

The disposition and habits of the master were regarded as eccentric and were subject for comment and speculation among the gossips. Miserly and penurious, the supplies for his table were provided by himself and prepared by Mrs. Waring. In this regard the utmost parsimony was shown, consisting of the cheapest items he could find. All food was carefully locked up in his room, and doled out to the servant for cooking with a stinting exactness painfully amusing to witness.

small food found here

Schulte was in the habit of making solo journeys to New York; William would meet him upon his return and the two would then walk home. One day, after a visit to the metropolis, he brought with him a large iron box which he consigned to the safe keeping of the town bank, promoting more gossip.

still from the 1927 film Metropolis found here

William Bucholz did not possess the morose disposition of his master and he made acquaintances in the village. In response to questioning, he would relate wonderful stories about his master, of large sums of money which he daily carried about his person, and of  wealth still in Germany.

On the second day after Christmas, Henry Schulte told William he was going to spend the day in New York on business. That evening William met his master off the train and the two men proceeded upon their journey home.

image by Caspar David Friedrich found here

Sometime later the Warings heard a startled cry; the voice of a man in distress. Their door was thrown open and Bucholz  fell fainting upon the floor. Upon examination it was discovered his face was bleeding, and the flesh appeared lacerated as though by a sharp instrument. 

“What’s happened William?” cried Samuel Waring. “Oh, Mr. Schulte has been killed! We were walking through the woods, and just as I was about to climb over the stone wall, I heard him call out, ‘Bucholz!’ ‘Bucholz!’ It was dark, I could not see well, and as I turned around a man sprang out and hit me in the face. I jumped away and then I saw another one on the other side of me and ran for help. Mr. Schulte is lying dead out there in the woods. We must go find him!” 

Bucholz and Waring roused the neighbors and went in search of  Schulte. Their flickering lanterns fell upon the prostrate form of a man who was clearly dead. Those glassy eyes, with their look of horror; that pallid, rigid face, with blood drops upon the sunken cheeks, told them too plainly that the life of the old man had departed.

image found here

They at once went to the village and after informing the office of the coroner of the sad affair, they proceeded to the drugstore to have the wounds on Bucholz’s face dressed. These were found to be of a very slight character, and a few pieces of court-plaster dexterously applied were all that was required.

Victorian court plaster found here

The coroner took charge of the body, and the physician who accompanied him made an examination into the cause of  death. Upon turning the body over, two ugly gashes were found in the back of his head, one of them cutting completely through the hat which covered it and cutting off a piece of the skull, and the other penetrating several inches into the brain, forcing the fractured bones of the skull inward.

From the nature of the wounds the physician declared that they were produced by an axe. In the inner pocket of Schulte’s coat, evidently overlooked by the murderers, was a yellow envelope containing twenty thousand dollars in German mark bills, and about nine hundred and forty dollars in U.S. government notes. His watch had been wrenched from around his neck and carried off, while by his side lay an empty purse and some old letters.

German money found here

Meanwhile, Bucholz, returning home with his friend, had thrown himself upon the bed with Sammy Waring, and during his broken slumbers frequently uttered moaning exclamations of  fear. In the morning he arose feverish and unrefreshed. 

A rumor passed through the village, and was eagerly accepted as the solution of the seeming mystery. It appeared that several people on the night previous had observed two foreigners, who had reached the train depot at about ten o’clock. They seemed to be out of breath, as though they had been running a long distance, and in broken English, had inquired when the next train was to leave for New York. They were told there were no more trains running to New York that night. This information seemed to occasion them considerable annoyance; they walked up and down the platform, gesticulating excitedly.

suspicious types found here

Soon after this an eastern-bound train reached the depot, and these same individuals, instead of going to New York, climbed on board. They took seats quite apart from each other. The conductor recollected that they did not present tickets, but paid their fares in cash. He also remembered that they were odd and acted awkwardly. They both left the train at New Haven, and from thence all trace of them was lost.

Meanwhile the coroner made arrangements for an inquest. William Bucholz described meeting Mr. Schulte at the depot and their journey home. “I had not walked very far when I heard him call from behind me. Turning around I saw a man on my right about six paces away; at the same time I heard a noise on my left, and received a blow upon my face. I was frightened so I ran for help.”

image found here

The State’s Attorney took over, and his questioning of  various witnesses soon showed he had formed a theory, and the assumption of Bucholz’s guilty participation in the murder of his master was unfolded. 

Bucholz was returned to the Waring house upon the conclusion of the testimony for the day, in the charge of two officers of the law, who were instructed never to allow him out of their sight.

cartoon found here (click to enlarge)

Meantime action was required in regard to the effects of which Henry Schulte was possessed at the time of his death. It was discovered that his only living relatives consisted of a brother and nephew, who resided in Prussia; they too were apparently wealthy and extensive landowners.

Shortly after this the German Consul arrived to take charge of the remains, and to make arrangements towards having them sent to Europe. The iron box which had proved such an object of interest was opened at the bank, and was found to contain valuable securities and investments which represented nearly a quarter of a million of dollars.

image found here

It was at first supposed that the murderers had failed in their attempt to rob as well as to murder, or had been frightened off before they had accomplished their purpose. The finding of twenty thousand dollars upon his person seemed to be proof that no robbery had been committed, and friends of Bucholz pointed to this as proving his innocence. An examination of the accounts of the murdered man, however, disclosed that a sum of over fifty thousand dollars had disappeared, and must have been taken from him on the night of the murder.

Remember this; Bucholz, physically worn out, had retired with Sammy Waring that night and had not left the house at all. If he had committed this deed he would still have the money, but the house was thoroughly searched, and no trace of it was discovered. 

image found here

The evidence was considered by the jury who returned the following verdict: “That John Henry Schulte died from wounds inflicted with some unknown instrument, in the hands of some person or persons known to William Bucholz, and that said William Bucholz has a guilty knowledge of said crime.” Before nightfall the iron doors of the jail closed upon him, and he found himself a prisoner to be placed on trial for his life.

Leaving the young man in this distressing position, let us retrace our steps, and gather up some links in the chain of  testimony against him.

19th century surveyor’s chain found here

It will be remembered that he had been placed in the charge of two officers of the law who accompanied him wherever he went, watching his every move. Bucholz developed a talent for spending money which had never been noticed in him before. He became exceedingly extravagant, purchased clothing for which he had apparently no use, and seemed to have an abundance of funds with which to gratify his tastes. He displayed a disposition for dissipation, smoking inordinately, and indulging in carriage-rides, always in company with the officers, whose watchful eyes never left him and whose vigilance was unrelaxed.

 Meanwhile, the German Consul-General was an interested party in the recovery of the money which had disappeared. Also it was at this time that the services of my agency were called into requisition, and the process of the detection of the real criminal was begun.  

image found here

That this eccentric man should have moved to a land of strangers and lived the secluded life he did was a mystery which I resolved to become acquainted with. I considered this necessary to guide me in my dealings with any suspects who might be found.

To the inhabitants of his previous home in Hagen, the story of his past was well known. Many of the old men could remember when he was as gay a lad as any in the village, and had joined in their sports with an unrestrained disposition.

image found here

It was at one of the May Day festivals that Henry had met the beautiful Emerence, daughter of the local brewer, and the course of their true love for a time flowed smoothly.

But in the village there lived a wild, reckless young man by the name of Nat Toner, who spent his time drinking at the tavern with other idle fellows who hailed with delight his stories of adventure.

image found here

Nat was a bold, handsome fellow, whose flashing black eyes and careless manner played havoc with the hearts of the young girls of Hagen, and many a comely maiden would have been made happy by a careless nod of greeting from this reckless vagabond.

Not so with Emerence Bauer. She shrank from the uncouth manners of handsome Nat; stories of his extravagances filled her with loathing. To Nat Toner the aversion manifested by Emerence only served to create in him an uncontrollable longing to possess her for his own.

One evening as Henry was passing the tavern, he found Nat and his companions in the midst of a wild and noisy revel. Henry would have rode on, but Nat, spying his rival, insisted upon his stopping and drinking some wine, which invitation Henry reluctantly accepted.

Nat filled his glass, and rising to his feet said: “Here’s health to pretty Emerence, and here’s to her loutish lover.” Saying which he threw the contents of his glass in the face of the astonished Henry who sprang to his feet and with one blow planted firmly in the face of his insulter, laid him prostrate upon the floor. 

more unusual glasses here

Nat struggled to his feet, and drawing a murderous-looking knife from his bosom, plunged at his assailant. Quick as a flash, the iron grip of Henry Schulte was upon his wrist, and with a wrench of his left hand the knife was wrested from him and thrown out of the window. 

A few days later, Emerence was walking towards a stream where she was to meet Henry. Turning her head, she saw a shadow so distinctly traced that she had no difficulty in recognizing it, the newcomer was none other than his enemy and hers, Nat Toner.

image found here

Emerence turned to flee from the fiend before her. But, alas, too late! A murderous weapon came down with a heavy crushing sound upon that fair, girlish head, and she fell lifeless at the feet of the madman who had slain her. He lifted up the body of the unfortunate girl and threw it from the bridge into the rippling water beneath. When Henry Schulte came walking along the bridge that led to Emerence, he saw in the bright reflection of the moon, the figure of his murdered love lying in shallow water.

image found here

No words were needed to tell Henry of the author of this crime. He knew the murderer, and resolved upon the course to be pursued. Immediately after the funeral rites had been performed, and the body of  fair Emerence  placed in the ground, Henry disappeared. 

Some weeks later a party of hunters discovered the lifeless body of Nat Toner, with his pistol by his side and a bullet hole through his head. No one knew whether, suffering the pangs of remorse, the miserable man had put an end to his own life, or whether the wound was planted there by the man whom he had so dreadfully wronged.

image found here

After this Henry’s character changed. He became suspicious of all, imagining his life was in danger, and there was a conspiracy to murder him for his money. Nothing occurred to justify these thoughts until the morning he was awakened  by a party of gunners passing his home. One of them (a nephew of Henry’s, the son of his elder brother), knowing his weakness in regard to being assassinated, and from a spirit of mischief, took aim and fired through the window of his uncle’s bedroom, then laughingly passed on.

The terrified old man was convinced his nephew had tried to take his life and immediately booked passage to America. Henry Schulte arrived in New York and together with one servant made his way to the Crescent Hotel. This servant, Frank Bruner, went to the bar and joined a group sitting around the table. His job was distasteful to him, and he was anxious to make inquiries in regard to a change of position from the locals drinking at the bar.

New York bar found here

While they were talking, a young man entered and joined in. William Bucholz was an inmate of the hotel, having arrived from Germany in July. Here he distinguished himself principally by leading a life of dissipation and extravagance. Now, having spent all his money,William was compelled to seek work. On meeting Frank Bruner, the servant of Henry Schulte, and learning of the old man’s eccentricities and wealth, he encouraged Frank to leave this distasteful employment, and offered himself instead as an applicant for the vacant position. 

So now I was in possession of the facts in the history and murder of Henry Schulte. Meanwhile back at Bridgeport things were happening…..

In the jail there was one person who held himself aloof from the rest, declining to make acquaintances or friendships, and this was a quiet man named Edward Sommers. He avoided his fellow prisoners, maintaining a reserve which induced respect.

NOT this Edward (Elgar found here)

But there appeared to be some almost unaccountable feeling of personal attraction between Bucholz and this newcomer, for they soon quietly, almost imperceptibly, drifted into a friendship for each other seemingly as profound as it was demonstrative. 

One day, as they were sitting together, Bucholz opened a German newspaper, glanced at its contents, then threw it on the floor, burying his face in his hands.

image found here

Sommers picked up the discarded paper and read the article Bucholz pointed out. It was in regard to a statement he made at the time of his arrest. In explaining the large a sum of money in his possession, he had declared his sister had sent it to him from Germany. This statement was discovered to be untrue, and was the basis of the article in question.

“This looks rather bad for you, William,” said Sommers, sorrowfully.

“It does look bad,” he replied, “but I didn’t say that I received any money from my sister. I never said anything of the kind.”

They ate their breakfast in silence. At visiting time, Samuel Waring was announced as desiring to see the prisoner, and together they went into his cell. He reported that a man working in the fields adjoining Schulte’s farm had discovered a watch lying upon the ground, which had previously been hidden by snow. This watch was identified as the murdered man’s.

antique watch keys found here

The watch was found not far from the road along which Bucholz  had traveled on his way to give the alarm. Another link had been forged in the chain of evidence that was being drawn around him. 

While these events were transpiring, I was following up the two suspicious individuals who had made their mysterious appearance on the night of the murder. It will be remembered that their actions attracted attention, and that, after inquiring for a train to New York, they had taken one going in the opposite direction.

more unusual train stations here

I ascertained that they were two respectable Germans who had come to Stamford to attend a frolic at the house of another friend who lived nearby. They had left the house under the impression that by hastening their steps they would be in time to catch the train home. They had consequently run to the station which accounted for their breathless condition. They had then inquired for a train from New York, and not to that city, and upon being informed that no further trains from that direction would come that night, they had indulged in an extended altercation. When the train did arrive, contrary to their expectations, their ill feelings had not subsided, and they sat sullen and apart on their journey home.

This destroyed the theory that foreign emissaries had been employed by the relatives of the deceased in order to secure his wealth; and so that glittering edifice of speculation fell to the ground. A visit was also paid to the hotel where Bucholz had first met Mr. Schulte. The barkeeper was talkative, and said when Bucholz entered the employ of Mr. Schulte he had left unpaid a bill for board and that his trunk had been detained in consequence. After the murder he had visited the hotel in company with the officers who had him in their charge, paid his bill and taken his trunk away. 

From this person it was also discovered that a mail package, evidently containing some money, had been received at the hotel, addressed to William Bucholz. It purported to come from Germany, but an examination of the seals disclosed that the package had been manufactured in the city, and had been designed to give credence to the story of Bucholz having received money from relatives in Germany. There were too many suspicious circumstances surrounding the package to successfully deceive anyone. This package was the subject of discussion in the German paper, whose comments had produced such a marked effect upon the prisoner when he read it.

image of returned post (1938) found here

Meanwhile Edward Sommers succeeded in having his bail reduced and was released from jail. He was then able to work more successfully in the interests of his new best friend when freed from the restraint of  prison. 

The following week he returned to the jail and was warmly welcomed by his incarcerated friend. Sommers had called upon the Warings who still resided at the Schulte farmhouse but told him of their intention to move.

Bucholz started suddenly, as though the information conveyed an unpleasant surprise.

“You must not let them move, Edward,” he exclaimed with fear in his voice. “That will never do.”

“I cannot prevent it,” replied Sommers. “They will do as they please. Besides, what has their moving got to do with us?”

“Everything, everything,” exclaimed Bucholz. “The money must be got. Oh, Edward, do not betray me, but one of the pocket-books is in the barn.”

Bucholz then drew a sketch, showing the hiding place of the money under the flooring of the first stall.

renovated barn found here

The reader is no doubt by this time fully aware of the character of Edward Sommers. He was a detective, and in my employ. After obtaining the information as to where William had secreted the money, Sommers and a trusted operative went to the barn and found at once the place where the pocketbook was hidden.

The German Consul was notified and given the package to open. It contained four thousand seven hundred and thirty-seven dollars in U. S. money. This was but a small portion of the stolen money, and Edward Sommers was directed to return to Bridgeport to cajole Bucholz for more information.

On his next visit Sommers related to his friend: “I heard that the Schulte estate has been sold, and that the new owner will tear it down. He bought it on speculation and expects to find Schulte’s money.”

“My dear Edward, you must get the rest of money—it is in the barn also. In one corner there is a bench, and under this bench there is a large stone. Dig beneath and there you will find it.”

Texas Prison Rodeo found here

Sommers did so and immediately located the missing wallet. The contents were again counted in the presence of the German Consul. Gold pieces were found to amount to one hundred marks. There was also a pocket-book enclosed in a wrapper and fastened with sealing-wax. It contained two hundred and four thousand marks, in one-thousand-mark bills—or nearly fifty thousand dollars. 

image found here

All this occurred in May, but the trial would not take place until September. It was necessary that the utmost secrecy should be maintained,  especially so far as William Bucholz was concerned.

The visits of Edward Sommers to the jail must be continued.  To Sommers this experience was a trying one. Bucholz was extravagant in his demands, and required the choicest delicacies that could be procured. In fact, he became so importunate and so ridiculous in his fancied wants, that Sommers was compelled to emphatically refuse to gratify his wishes.

image found here

The trial of William Bucholz for the murder of Henry Schulte began in September, and a ripple of excitement pervaded the city. Frank Bruner identified the watch as belonging to Henry Schulte. He testified to the conversations which took place between himself and Bucholz before he had left the service of Mr. Schulte, and also that the old gentleman had called upon him on the morning of that fatal day, telling him of his intention to dismiss Bucholz and requesting Frank to come back to him instead.

On the third day, after the examination of two unimportant witnesses, Mr. Olmstead arose and said: Call Ernest Stark.”

Remember Koo Stark? She’s not related to Ernest

The prisoner and his attorneys had never heard the name before, and no uneasiness was manifested upon their faces, but when Edward Sommers stepped on the witness stand, a change came over them, wonderful to behold.

Under examination, Ernest/Edward told his story. He detailed the various experiences of his prison life and of his intercourse with the prisoner. He related the admissions which Bucholz had made to him, and testified to the influence which he had gradually acquired over the mind of the accused man.

He graphically described their intimate conversations, and detailed at length the finding of the victim’s money, hidden in the places to which Bucholz had directed him. 

“Gentlemen of the jury, how say you? Is the prisoner at the bar guilty or not guilty?”

Without hesitation the foreman replied: “Guilty of murder in the first degree.”

William Bucholz fell back in his seat, and bowing his head upon the railing, sobbed wildly.

The trial was over. Justice had triumphed, and the murderer would pay for his crime.

The mystery of the murder of Henry Schulte had been judiciously solved and once again Pinkerton’s Detective Agency had triumphed over an assassin.

image found here

Published in: on February 16, 2012 at 8:51 pm  Comments (49)  
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pretty boys and party animals

Allan Carr made his reputation producing and promoting such major movie hits as Grease, Tommy and the Broadway smash La Cage aux Folles.

Allan Carr (left) found here

Carr also anointed himself Hollywood’s social patriarch, hosting extravagant parties with guest lists that included legends as well as rising stars. Invitations to his opulent home with its bars, disco, and private rooms where guests could indulge their cocaine habits or sexual exploits were highly coveted.

Allan Carr and Joe Namath found here

In Party Animals (Da Capo Press), author Robert Hofler examines the glittery life and drug-riddled excesses of the overtly gay Carr in delightfully delicious detail. Grease may have been the word, but nothing lubed Carr’s wheels better than pretty times, pretty caftans, pretty drugs and pretty boys.

image found here

Throughout the 1970s he threw bigger and better parties than anyone else in Hollywood. Even though he was morbidly obese and openly gay (and Hollywood was very homophobic then) his invitations were like gold among the town’s celebrities and powerbrokers. He titled his parties like movies: the Roman Polanski Rolodex Party, the Mick Jagger Cycle Sluts Party and the Truman Capote Jailhouse Party where upon arrival, each guest was frisked and fingerprinted. At the Rudolph Nureyev Mattress Party, Carr laid out hustlers in every room, like canapés, for his guests’ entertainment. Young, hairless men  staged priapic wrestling matches. And people queued up to ride sexually voracious stars as if they were Disneyland attractions.

Nureyev found here

There was a lot of cocaine and many gorgeous and willing young men and women. Other people had A-list parties, but they didn’t invite the hot pool boy from next door. Allan Carr did. He also invited a lot of rock stars like Elton John, Rod Stewart and Alice Cooper, who were very new to the Hollywood scene. Carr had great respect for old Hollywood, so you’d find Mae West and Groucho Marx there too. He always made sure that there was something for every sexual orientation at his parties.

image found here

He had hidden cameras in the discotheque in his basement and used to entertain himself by watching what the celebs did down there from his TV in the master bedroom. But this voyeurism was for his personal entertainment only, he would never have used it to embarrass anyone. Creating the neologism “glitterfunk” to describe himself, he sashayed forth in a wardrobe of flowing caftans and kimonos, ankle length mink coats and vixenish diamond jewellery, his small round head ringed with curls permed by Vidal Sassoon.

Vidal and Mia found here

He released a cannibalism exploitation movie called Survive! right before United Artists was going to make a similar film called Alive! Time Magazine called it “the nastiest ninety minutes ever to appear on screen”. Carr also said, “I’m making a movie version of Grease. Maybe UA can beat me to it and release a film called Vaseline.”

The entire making of Can’t Stop the Music was a comedy of errors. He cast it with a lot of ex-boyfriends, but on the set they got out of hand and Allan had to issue an edict: Anyone caught having sex on the set would be fired! One night he went to see Maxwell Caulfied in Entertaining Mr. Sloane off-Broadway. He wanted to cast Caulfield in Grease 2. Carr’s date was Valerie Perrine, and on the way to the actor’s dressing room he said to Perrine, “Who’s going to get lucky tonight, me or you?”

image found here

He turned his homosexuality into a calling card. He was the Auntie Mame gay court jester, if you will. In 1989, Allan Carr produced what has come to be called the worst Oscars ever. It’s the one where a tone-deaf Rob Lowe serenaded a squeaky-voiced Snow White in the opening number. Even before the big night, some Hollywood oldtimers were outraged that this “flamboyant” man was in charge of the sacrosanct Oscars. Flamboyant was code for gay.

image found here

There were a lot of innovations at that 1989 Oscars, ones that still carry on today. “And the Oscar goes to…” was Carr’s idea. Before him, they used to say “And the winner is…” on every awards program. But the biggest innovation of all was the extended coverage of the red carpet. Again, Carr was a real showman, and he believed that the fashion should be emphasized. All this red carpet hoopla that we have today started with Carr.

worst oscar dress of all time? see more here

Published in: on February 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm  Comments (49)  
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the daring acts of a smiling bandit

Roy G. Gardner (1884 – 1940) was once America’s most infamous prison escapee.

image found here

He was the most dangerous inmate in the history of Atlanta Prison and was dubbed by newsmen the “Smiling Bandit”, the “Mail Train Bandit”, and the “King of the Escape Artists”. He was said to be attractive and charming, standing just under six feet tall, with short, curly auburn hair and blue eyes.

red haired David Wenham found here

Gardner began his criminal profession as a gunrunner around the time of the Mexican Revolution. He smuggled and traded arms to the Venustiano Carranza forces until he was captured by soldiers from Huerta’s army and was sentenced to death by firing squad, but, on March 29, 1909, he broke out of the Mexico City jail along with three other American prisoners after attacking the guards.

Mexican revolutionaries found here

Eventually, Gardner ended up in San Francisco, where he robbed a jewelry store. He was arrested, and spent some time in San Quentin, but was paroled after saving a prison guard’s life during a violent riot. Gardner landed a job as an acetylene welder at the Mare Island Navy Yard, married, fathered a daughter, and began his own welding company. 

San Quentin prisoners found here

Gardner then gambled all of his money away on a business trip in Tijuana at the racetracks. On the night of April 16, 1920, Gardner robbed a U. S. Mail truck of about $80,000 in cash and securities. The job went smoothly, but the outlaw was arrested three days later burying his loot.  He was sentenced to 25 years at McNeil Island Federal Penitentiary but vowed he would never serve the sentence. As he was transported on a train with Deputy U. S. Marshals Cavanaugh and Haig, Gardner peered out of the window and yelled, “Look at that deer!”. The lawmen looked, and Gardner grabbed Marshal Haig’s gun from his holster. He then disarmed Marshal Cavanaugh at gunpoint. The outlaw handcuffed the two humiliated lawmen together and stole $200. He jumped off the train, and made his way to Canada.

Muntjac deer found here

He slipped back into the United States the next year, and started robbing banks and mail trains across the country. Gardner tied up the mail clerk to Train No. 10 eastbound from Sacramento and robbed the express car of $187,000 on May 19, 1921. The next morning, Gardner told the mail clerk of Train No. 20 to throw up his hands or he would blow his head off. When the train reached the Overland Limited, the elusive bandit darted down the tracks with an armful of mail. 

image found here

Gardner was recognized at the Porter House Hotel and a convoy of police arrived in Roseville . Three federal agents captured him while he was playing a game of cards in a pool hall and he was sentenced to another 25 years at McNeil Island for armed robbery.

Trying to reduce his sentence he told Southern Pacific Railroad detectives that he would lead them to the spot where he buried his loot. The officers found nothing, and Gardner announced, “I guess I have forgotten where I buried it”. He was heavily shackled, with the addition of an “Oregon Boot”, and was once again transported on a train to McNeil Island, this time by U. S. Marshals Mulhall and Rinkell, both fast shooting veterans. During the journey, Gardner asked to use the bathroom, in which an associate had earlier hidden a .32 caliber pistol. Gardner came out of the bathroom, pointed the gun at Mulhall’s protruding pouch, and ordered another prisoner to handcuff the two humiliated lawmen to the seat. He relieved the officers of their weapons and cash before hopping onto another moving train.

Oregon boot found here

He arrived in Centralia, Washington, where he plastered his face with bandages to hide his identity, leaving one eye slit. Gardner told the Oxford Hotel staff that he had been severely burned in an industrial accident near Tacoma. Officer Louis Sonney became suspicious of the bandaged man, and when he saw a firearm in Gardner’s hotel room, he accused him of being the “Smiling Bandit”. Gardner fought back, but was arrested and a doctor removed the bandages to show that he was indeed the notorious train robber. This time Gardner, who was sentenced to another 25 years, was heavily ironed, and finally brought to McNeil Island.

Bandaged Berlusconi found here

After six weeks at the penitentiary, Gardner had convinced two other prisoners, Lawardus Bogart and Everett Impyn, that he had “paid off” the guards in the towers. On Labor Day, 1921, at a prison baseball game, they ran 300 yards to the high barbed wire fence where Gardner cut a hole, and the three men made it to the pasture as bullets whirled about their heads. Gardner was wounded in his left leg, but hid behind a herd of cattle. About the same time, he saw Bogart fall, badly wounded. Impyn was shot dead; his dying words were, “Gardner told us those fellows in the towers couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn“.

image found here

Guards scoured the beaches and confiscated every boat on the shoreline, but no trace of the dangerous outlaw could be found. Gardner lived in the prison barn, getting nutrition from cow’s milk, and then swam the choppy waters to Fox Island where he lived off fruit in the orchards. Roy Gardner was now the “Most Wanted” criminal, and committed several crimes in Arizona before he was captured by a mail clerk during a train robbery in Phoenix in 1921. He was sentenced to an additional 25 years, this time at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary. Headlines screamed, “Gangster Gardner brags, ‘Leavenworth will never hold me'”.

image found here

In 1926, he tried to tunnel under the wall and saw through the bars in the shoe shop. The following year, he led a prison break and attempted an armed escape with two revolvers holding the Captain and two guards hostage, but the escape failed. In 1934 he was transferred to Alcatraz. While at Alcatraz, his wife divorced him. Gardner was paroled and released in 1938 after his appeal for clemency was approved.

On the evening of January 10, 1940, Garder wrote four notes at his hotel room in San Francisco, one of which was attached to the door warning: “Do not open door. Poison gas. Call police.” He sealed the door from the inside, then killed himself by dropping cyanide gas into a glass of acid and inhaling the poison fumes. 

“Please let me down as light as possible, boys,” Gardner wrote in a letter to newsmen. “I have played ball with you all the way, and now you should pitch me a slow one and let me hit it.”

Published in: on February 11, 2012 at 8:48 am  Comments (49)  
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marrying well – mazarinette style

Hortense Mancini, duchesse Mazarin (1646 – 1699), was the favourite niece of Cardinal Mazarin, chief minister of France, and a mistress of Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland. She was the fourth of the five famously beautiful Mancini sisters, who along with two of their female Martinozzi cousins, were known at the court of King Louis XIV of France as the Mazarinettes.

Hortense found here

In 1661, fifteen-year-old Hortense was married to one of the richest men in Europe, Armand-Charles de la Porte, duc de La Meilleraye. Upon marriage to Hortense, he was granted the title of duc Mazarin. On the death of Cardinal Mazarin soon after, he gained access to his wife’s huge inheritance, which included the Palais Mazarin in Paris, home to many pieces of fine art.

floral replica of the Palais Mazarin found here

The marriage was not a success. Hortense was young, bright, and popular; Armand-Charles was miserly and extremely jealous, not to mention mentally unstable. His strange behaviour included preventing milkmaids from going about their job (to his mind, the cows’ udders had strong sexual connotations), having all of his female servants’ front teeth knocked out to prevent them from attracting male attention, and chipping off and painting over all the “dirty bits” in his fantastic art collection. He forbade his wife to keep company with other men, made midnight searches for hidden lovers, insisted she spend a quarter of her day at prayer, and forced her to leave Paris and move with him to the country.

“Milkmaid” by Ava Seymour found here

It was at this point that Hortense began a lesbian love affair with the sixteen-year-old Sidonie de Courcelles. In an attempt to remedy his wife’s ‘immorality’, her husband sent both girls to a convent. This tactic failed, as the two plagued the nuns with pranks: they added ink to the holy water, flooded the nuns’ beds, and headed for freedom up the chimney.

image found here

Despite their differences, Hortense and her husband had four children though she had to leave them behind when she escaped from her hellish marriage in 1668. The French King Louis XIV declared himself her protector and granted an annual pension of 24 thousand livres. A former suitor, the Duke of Savoy, also declared himself her protector.

King Louis XIV as a child found here

The English ambassador to France, Ralph Montagu, enlisted her help in increasing his own standing with Charles II by replacing the king’s current mistress, Louise de Kerouaille. Hortense was willing to try. In 1675, she travelled to London dressed as a man; her penchant for cross-dressing is thought to be an outward expression of her bisexuality.

Louise found here

By mid-1676, Hortense had fulfilled her ambition; she had taken the place of Louise de Kerouaille in Charles’s affections. This might have continued had it not been for Hortense’s promiscuity.

Firstly, there was her lesbian relationship with Anne, Countess of Sussex, the king’s illegitimate daughter. This culminated in a very public, friendly fencing match in St. James’s Park, with the women clad in nightgowns, after which Anne’s husband ordered his wife to the country. There she refused to do anything but lie in bed, repeatedly kissing a miniature of Hortense.

image found here

Secondly, she began an affair with Louis I de Grimaldi, Prince de Monaco. Charles remonstrated with her and cut off her pension, although within a couple of days he repented and restarted the payments. However, this signified the end of Hortense’s position as the king’s favourite.

Hortense’s death was recorded in 1699: “She was born in Rome, educated in France, and was an extraordinary beauty and wit, but dissolute, and impatient of matrimonial restraint; when she came to England for shelter, lived on a pension given her here, and is reported to have hastened her death by intemperate drinking strong spirits.”

Hortense may have committed suicide, keeping her life dramatic until the very end. When she died, her creditors seized her corpse and forced her husband to ransom it before they would send it to France. Once her husband had Hortense back under his control, so to speak, he refused to bury her for almost a year, carrying her coffin with him from place to place before finally allowing it to be interred by the tomb of her uncle, Cardinal Mazarin.

tomb of Cardinal Mazarin found here

Her sister, Olympia, Countess of Soissons, was also famous for her infidelities. Fascinated by astrology, she was implicated in the Affair of the Poisons and fled from France. Her son Eugene was a transvestite, and there were rumors that Louis XIV was his real father. Other notable relatives of Hortense included four great granddaughters (all sisters from the same family); each in turn became a mistress of Louis XV.

Madame de Pompadour doll found here

thirteen men of the requisite nerve

The number thirteen fills some people with superstitious fear while others believe it is lucky. And then there are those who are determined to overlook other dates that crop up in their lives and concentrate on just this one

image found here

“Captain William Fowler died yesterday of apoplexy. He had apparently been in splendid health when he retired on Monday evening but when called in the morning he was found to be unconscious and died shortly thereafter.

image found here

His death recalls the old Thirteen Club and its strange rites and ceremonies. The number thirteen was interwoven with Captain Fowler’s life and his good fortune made him regard it as a mascot rather than as a numeral of ill omen.

He graduated from Public School No. 13 when he was thirteen years old and became a printer’s apprentice but soon left that employment to become a builder in partnership with architect John Trimble. The firm erected thirteen buildings including several theatres and Barnum’s Museum.

Barnum’s Museum found here

When Captain Fowler was twice thirteen years of age he was chosen to command the Twelfth Regiment of the NYSM and was at the head of this company until 13 April 1861. During his time as a soldier he was in thirteen battles. He resigned his commission on 13 August 1863 and on the thirteenth of the following month he took possession of a house he christened Knickerbocker Cottage. For nearly 20 years he kept the cottage and then on 13 April 1883 it was sold.

image found here

Captain Fowler belonged to thirteen secret and social organisations and was a thirty second degree Mason. He was also thirteenth on the membership roll of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. In 1880, Captain Fowler threw down the gauntlet to fate and set about organising the Thirteen Club.

Shriners found here

Thirteen men of the requisite nerve agreed to meet on 13 September 1881  for the first banquet of the club. It was held at Mills Hotel No. 1 because there were thirteen letters in the name. Twelve of the men arrived early. The hall was arranged to defy superstition with items on the table in a series of thirteen. Spilled salt was everywhere and to enter they had to pass under crossed ladders.

image found here

Long the twelve waited for the missing member. When the hour grew late and it seemed the banquet would be a failure, a happy idea struck the captain. One of the coloured waiters, the whites of whose eyes were already showing, was drafted. Trembling like a leaf, he was dragged to the table and told he should become a member. Despite his howls he was put through the first rites of initiation and was just being shoved through the ladders when the missing guest arrived. 

image found here

The meal cost thirteen cents and consisted of thirteen courses, the final of which was stewed prunes. 

image found here

Published in: on February 6, 2012 at 7:12 am  Comments (49)  
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