The Ancient and Esoteric Order of the Jackalope

Road Trip 2022

In June #1, #7 and #13 piled into a car and drove halfway across America. It was ostensibly a business trip… but we couldn’t resist seeing some podcast-related sights along the way.

Unfortunately, several of the places we tried to visit were utter busts. Turns out there’s nothing left of Prince Mike’s “God House” in Detroit, and the few remnants of King Ben’s House of David scattered around Benton Harbor weren’t all that plentiful or photogenic. (In fact, there was far more cult-related stuff at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, thanks to the House of David’s long-time association with the Kansas City Monarchs.) Our stay in Chicago was likewise fruitless, and our tight schedule prevented us from visiting any of the sites associated with the 1893 World’s Fair.

Statue of ISIS
Statue of Isis, West Branch, IA

So, let’s get started with this photo of the statue of Isis that’s staring at Herbert Hoover’s birthplace in West Branch, Iowa. This was a gift to Hoover from the grateful people of Belgium, and the symbolism is a bit obscure. Well, okay, not that obscure — Isis is the goddess of life, and Hoover famously kept Belgium fed during World War I — but surely the Belgians could have found some way to express their gratitude that didn’t feel like some sinister secret society symbolism. (Needless to say, we loved it.)

rai stone
rai stone, Money Museum, Colorado Springs, CO

We also saw this genuine Yap rai stone in the collection of the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs. This is a relatively small specimen, about two or three feet across. Unfortunately, the docents couldn’t tell us much about its provenance, but the small size and lack of weathering seems to suggest it’s one of the later, less valuable stones produced in bulk by David Dean O’Keefe.

The Big Stump from the Florissent Fossil Beds
The Big Stump, Florissant Fossil Beds National Memorial, Teller County, CO

Even though we didn’t see anything World’s Fair-related in Chicago, we still couldn’t escape the Fair. Here’s “The Big Stump” from the Florissant Fossil Beds National Memorial. This petrified sequoia is one of the largest fossilized trees in the world. If you look at the top center of the stump you’ll see both cuts and broken saw blades, remnants from an abortive attempt to cut it up and transport it to the Columbian Exposition.

New Harmony historical marker
historical marker, New Harmony, IN

We had high hopes for the town of New Harmony, Indiana since it would allow us to check the final square off our Harmony Society BINGO card. (At least until we succumb to madness and follow Bernhard Müller and the New Philadelphians to the fever-ridden swamps of Louisiana.)

Alas, there are only a few historic buildings left in New Harmony, and they’re closed to the general public unless you’re on the daily tour. Which we’d just missed. Probably for the best, anyway, since it sounds like the tour is very Owen-centric. But you can walk around them and take photos. So have snapshot of the historic Rapp-Owen granary, and the town’s ultra-modern visitor center.

Rapp-Owen Granary
Rapp-Owen Granary, New Harmony, IN
The Athenaeum
The Athenaeum Visitor Center, New Harmony, IN

Lest we give the impression that our entire trip was disappointing, far from it! We saw a lot of neat things. Unfortunately, they were either not podcast-related, so there’s no reason to share them, or sharing them would spoil upcoming episodes. At least #7 managed to add to her collection of pressed pennies

#7's new pressed pennies

And finally, just to prove that even the most stern and unyielding of us can still have fun, here’s a shot of the Grand Jackalope clowning around with her good friend, the Jiffy Corn Muffin Man. They haven’t seen each other since college!

The Jiffy Corn Muffin Man

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