The Ancient and Esoteric Order of the Jackalope

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Errata #4

so many mistakes

Welcome back to the podcast bunker, initiates! I’m your old friend #13, and here’s the Ancient and Esoteric Order of the Jackalope’s most recent collection of errata and addenda.

If you’re new here, every 25 episodes or so we put out an episode containing corrections and clarifications, maybe with the occasional listener correspondence thrown in for good measure. These corrections then get incorporated into our episodes… well, at least the website versions of those episodes.

First, listener Matt Manning asks if we have a Patreon. The answer is, no, we don’t. If you want to support the show, the best thing you can do is, well, smash that like and subscribe button. (God, I feel filthy just saying it.) Or leave a rating or review wherever you listen to the podcast. Or just recommend it to someone who’s not sick of you recommending podcasts yet. Your choice.

(Actually, I would really prefer you left a rating or review. It makes a huge difference, believe it or not. But the other stuff is nice too!)

Errata #3

Let’s get this out of the way first — in our previous errata episode, I said a YouTube commenter claimed that Simon Girty was not present at Gnadenhutten when Col. Crawford was tortured and killed. I got my villages mixed up. Col. Crawford was executed at Sandusky.

#18: The Hot House

Listener Ann Loomis wrote in to share the story of her grandmother, Nancy Groswith Basehore, who lived at 107 East Stratford Avenue in Lansdowne, PA… the other side of the radioactive duplex once owned by Dr. Dicran Kabakjian of “The Hot House.” Mrs. Basehore moved in while the Kabakjians were still actively refining radium in the basement, and lived there right up until the EPA condemned the duplex in the early 1980s.

I have fond memories of visiting her house as a child. After the EPA started putting little stickers on Gran’s furniture that said “HOT”, we made a game of seeing who could find seats farthest from the contaminated furniture.

That’s cute. Ann also apparently wrote a term paper on the house in college, without knowing that her professor was from Upper Darby, and she was pleasantly surprised when he loved it. Good on ya! If you still had a copy of that paper I’d read it out loud as a bonus episode. So write in if you’ve got it.

#28: Bound in Mystery and Shadow

As part of my research for next season I was reading Marion Gibson’s Witchcraft: A History in Thirteen Trials when I came across an interesting story about John Blymire, the York County Hex Murderer, from “Bound in Mystery and Shadow.” According to Gibson, after Blymire escaped from the Harrisburg state home for the insane he tried to murder his wife, was arrested, pled guilty to non-aggravated assault and battery, and spent a month in prison. Then after his release, he briefly changed his name to John Albright in an attempt to hide from the law.

Interesting if true, but I’m not sure I buy it. Partly this is a knee-jerk reaction to the fact that Gibson treats Rehmyer and Blymire as modern neopagans, which they most certainly were not. Partly it’s because she seems to get lots of little details wrong. And partly it’s because I’ve consulted many of the same sources she has, and most of them don’t mention this stuff at all.

Then again, who am I to judge? If you have sources that prove me wrong, feel free to write in.

#30: Exceeding Great

In “Exceeding Great,” our episode about the Christian Israelite movement in America, I reported that Benjamin Purnell’s daughter Hettie was killed in a February 1903 explosion at a fireworks factory in Fostoria, Ohio. I misspoke. Fostoria apparently had several spectacular factory explosions over the years, and oral histories of the town tend to confuse them. Hettie died during an explosion at a munitions factory. The fireworks factory explosion was a separate incident a few years later.

If that isn’t a ringing endorsement for OSHA, I don’t know what is.

The Spirit of Capitalism Made Flesh

Listener Alan Paller wrote in to praise “The Spirit of Capitalism Made Flesh,” our bonus episode about the infamous Beef Trust, a burlesque troupe of zaftig ladies. He also shared a photo, not of “Beef Trust” Billy Watson but of his hated rival, “Sliding” Billy Watson.

"Sliding" Billy Watson

Sliding Billy is often (incorrectly) credited with inventing the idea of slipping on a banana peel. If this photo is to be believed, he was also a hunk and a half. She he was also Alan’s great-grandfather, here’s hoping you got some of those genes, Alan.

#40: Suffer Little Children

On the YouTube version of “Suffer Little Children,” our episode on John Ballou Newbrough’s Oahspe movement, commenter @castrorobinson9253 sniped:

So what was the purpose of this video ? Are you saying Oahspe is garbage with out saying it is garbage?

Oh, good, you do get it! I was worried I was being a bit obtuse.

Well, sort of. One thing that has definitely surprised me over the years is how much empathy I have for religious fools and utopian dreamers. The original Faithists sincerely tried to make the world a better place and their failure is in many ways tragic. Then again, their holy book is gibberish written by a dentist randomly bashing at a typewriter.

Another YouTube commenter claimed that John Ballou Newbrough had been kicked out of the Freemasons, and that the Oashpe was his attempt to destroy the Masons and Spiritualists by secretly publicizing their rituals and making them look foolish. That’s a pretty wild theory and there doesn’t seem to be any reliable documentation to back it up. If you’ve got any leads let me know.

Commmenter @greensage395 exclaimed:

What ever happened to all the Children? It turns out they all went Mad, they all became Thieves, Liars, and Murderers!

There’s no proof of that. In fact, there’s very little information at all about what happened to the orphans of Shalam after they were re-homed. I can’t imagine they had easy lives, especially since most of them had been given terrible Faithist names like “Hagvralo” and “Fiatisi” and “Whaga.” (You know things are bad when the most normal name in the whole bunch is “Pathodices.”)

Commenter @UltraInstinct-yn1ft writes:

Dude waz super raysis. Y am i not surpryzed?

Well, yes and no. There’s no denying that Newbrough was racist by modern standards; virtually everyone who lived in the Nineteenth Century would fail that test. But personally he was remarkably prejudice-free. The children of Shalam were a representative sample of all races, and he seemed to love them all equally.

Once Newbrough was dead, though, he couldn’t speak for himself and his writings had to speak for him. Unfortunately the Oahspe does have a lot of bits where all the bad people are various shades of off-white and brown. So… yeah. a bit of a mixed bag.

#43: Scarlet Billows

Kathy Miller of the World Animal Foundation writes to let us know that the odds of being attacked by a shark, which we cited in the episode “Scarlet Billows,” have been decreased from 1:3,7000,000 to 1:4,332,817. I’ll post the correction, but it doesn’t change the basic point that you are far less likely to be attacked by a shark than you are to, say, be picked up by a tornado (1:12,000).

#66: A Warning to Future Man

Over on the YouTube version of “A Warning to Future Man”, our episode about the Shaver Mystery, YouTube @harrisonschwarts565 writes:

I mean it is definitely fantasy made by a crazy dude but that doesn’t mean you need to do a character assassination on him… Clearly the Dero have got to you.

I don’t think it’s “character assassination” to report on things that someone actually said and did.

To some extent the central question of the Shaver Mystery is what Richard Sharpe Shaver’s role in it was. There’s no doubt he was being exploited by Palmer, but to what degree was he complicit in that exploitation? Was he genuinely writing down the things he believed, or exaggerating those things to advance his literary career? There’s only one person who can answer those questions, and that was Shaver. He never gave a straight answer while he was alive, and he’s been dead for fifty years now.

#73: 520%

In our episode on William F. Miller and the Franklin Syndicate I stated that after Miller vanished, his marks consoled themselves by saying he’d left town to get a jump on his weekend trading, and then mocked them because the stock exchanges were closed on the weekend. Imagine my embarassment when I read American Rascal, Greg Steinman’s biography of robber baron Jay Gould, and discovered that back in the day stock exchanges used to be open on the weekends. Whoops.

#97: Fuller Houses

While we’re on the subject of finances, in “Fuller Houses,” our episode on R. Buckminster Fuller, I said that one reason Fuller Houses collapsed was that he held special Class A shares that gave him extra voting rights so no one could overrule him when he had a bad idea. Class B shares are the ones with extra voting rights. What can I say, I’m clearly not a finance guy.

Meanwhile, Initiate #23 (that’s my Dad) asks why the Zeiss engineers who actually came up with the the geodesic dome never came forward to set the record straight about their real inventors.

By the time Fuller started experimenting with geodesic domes the many of those engineers were dead, since the allies bombed the ever-living-soap out of their factories during WWII. Their patents had long since expired by then, anyway. It’s also possible they weren’t aware of Fuller’s work until it was too late, on account of Fuller working primarily in English-speaking countries.

In any case Fuller had an army of wide-eyed hippies spreading his propaganda, and while he rarely claimed that he was the creator of the geodesic dome he also didn’t correct anyone who said he was.

#75: Unto Us a Child Is Born

Initiate #23 also had a good question about William W. Davies from “Unto Us A Child Is Born.” He wanted to know how, if Davisites were so poor that their commune had to be sold at a sheriff’s auction to satisfy the judgments against them, Davies was able to retire in 1889 and spend the next fifteen years living off of “pensions and annuities.”

The likely explanation is that Davies was not impoverished, but illiquid — his wealth was tied up in real estate and goods that could not be quickly converted to cash. Not all of the properties Davies owned were sold at auction, which we know because the Davisites continued to live together on one of them. Davies sold these properties after the cult dissolved in 1882, and it seems likely he used the proceeds from that sale to purchase annuities. As for the pensions, it seems possible that he paid into one while holding down a regular job in Walla Walla or San Francisco — he was a trained mason, after all.

Alternatively, Davies might have owned the annuities all along, and somehow concealed them from Walla Walla County authorities while they were attempting to satisfy the judgment. That doesn’t seem like his style, though.

#95: The First Battle of the American Revolution

And, while we’re answering my Dad’s questions, in response to “The First Battle of the American Revolution” he asked if Lord Dunmore was a good or bad guy as far as Pennsylvanians were concerned, and why was he successful in capturing Fort Pitt when Braddock was not?

The first part is a tough question. Many residents of Pittsburgh felt that Virginia was overreaching, but many more were happy that someone was finally doing something about “the Indian problem.” That was something the Quakers who controlled the Pennsylvania legislature would never do.

As to how he was able to capture Fort Pitt so easily, it’s because there wasn’t a fight. He took over the area politically first so that by the time he rode in it was a fait accompli.

In any case, the fort saw very little action during its lifetime. General Braddock’s forces never made it close to Fort Duquesne, and the French set fire to it rather than surrender it to General Forbes a few years later. The rebuilt Fort Pitt was briefly besieged by Native Americans during Pontiac’s War in 1763, but there was no real battle. When Lord Dunmore rode into town, Fort Pitt wasn’t really even a fort. It had been sold by the British to two colonists, William Thompson and Alexander Ross, and was more a trading post than a military installation.

#90: Fruitcake Subculture Conspiracy Revisited

In the episode “Fruitcake Subculture Conspiracy Revisited” #7 recited a cute little limerick about an unusual fruitcake, which led several initiates to ask us what SPQR means. It is an abbreviation for Senatus Populusque Romanus — that’s Latin and roughly means “the Senate and People of Rome.” Historically it was used as sort of a monogram for the Roman state, and you see it stamped on a lot of ancient buildings and coins etc. etc.

Basically what we’re saying is that fruitcake was really really old.

#91: The Realest Housewife of Beverly Hills

Writer Jan Tuckwood liked our episode about the Countess Dorothy di Frasso, “The Realest Housewife of Beverly Hills”, and wrote in to share a story about the Countess’s niece and heir, Mary Taylor.

Mary Taylor, aka “Mimsie,” became a model for Chez Ninon, for Vogue (Cecil Beaton’s fave) and an actress. She ran off with the married Ben Hecht when she was just 20 and he was 40, and Mary later married the producer of Ben Hur, Sam Zimbalist.

Mary Taylor Zimbalist was a fervent supporter (spiritually and financially) of a teacher named Krishnamurti, who wanted to be buried in a linen cloth when he died. Mary had just one piece of linen sheeting when the time came – a top sheet from the Countess with the Di Frasso crest engraved, as big as a Frisbee, on top. So, in a small and strange way, the Countess went with Krishnamurti to the crematory.

Thanks, Jan. I love that story, because it’s just one of those weird little connections that draws the world together. If you remember, Krishnamurti also made a brief appearance in the podcast, in “Steampunk Google and the World City.”

(Jan is writing a book about Chez Ninon — so keep an eye out for that!)

Meanwhile, #42 Alex Baumans writes in to remind us that Raven Erich Freiherr von Barnekow was not a Nazi. As a German aristocrat he was primarily an anti-communist, and sided with the fascists because he thought they were the best hedge against the terrible forces of parliamentary democracy. That seems to jibe with Freiherr von Barnekow’s history. Early in World War II he was happy to work with his friends and fellows from the Great War, but as those friends were purged he was less than enthusiastic about working with the Nazis who replaced them, until he too was “accidentally shot during a hunting trip” in 1941.

#96: Steampunk Google and the World City

And speaking of Alex, he also writes in to share this photo of the Palais Mondial

the Palais Mondial

That’s an awful lot of airplanes crammed in there. You can see why every museum and arts foundation in Belgium was willing to fight Otlet for that exhibition space.

That’s it for this episode. As I said before, I’m gonna take few months off and I’ll be back in mid-August for Series 14. Y’all have a great summer, and remember: that which is least known is best to know. Later.

Photo of #13 (David White)

Presented by #13 (David White)

Artist. Lover. Social Media Unfluencer. Acknowledged authority on lucrative bogs. Dave "The Knave" White is all this and more. But most days he's a web developer, graphic designer, and cartoonist. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, his two cats, and his crippling obsession with strange trivia.

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