No. 542
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
January 28, 2022

Being Initiated.

March 13, 2012
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Via Newspapers.comThe following little meteorological oddity was reported in the “Ogden Standard,” January 7, 1909:Santa Cruz, Cal. Jan 6.--A remarkable phenomenon that has caused wonder and consternation in the neighborhood of the Santa Cruz Beach was reported by Mrs. W.H. Burns of 240 Riverside avenue this city this morning and when investigated was fully corroborated by residents of the
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Strange Company - 1/26/2022
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Youth With Executioner by Nuremberg native Albrecht Dürer … although it’s dated to 1493, which was during a period of several years when Dürer worked abroad. November 13 [1617]. Burnt alive here a miller of Manberna, who however was lately engaged as a carrier of wine, because he and his brother, with the help of […]
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Executed Today - 11/13/2020
Soapy Smith leading the packArtifact #96-Front Page, Part 1National PopulistMarch 24, 1894Jeff Smith collection(Click image to enlarge)  amblers, Thugs, Murders and Rogues."The alliance of the gamblers and bunco men with the old Fire and Police Board is not a pleasant thing to contemplate. It has come to a pretty pass if the interests of the city and the lives and property of citizens can't
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 1/21/2022
Artist's rendition of the Pearl Bryan murder from The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan, Or, The Headless Horror. Cincinnati: Barclay & Co., 1896. Read Pearl Bryan's story in the new book,So Far from Home: The Pearl Bryan Murder.Now available at Amazon.
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Murder By Gaslight - 1/27/2022
An article I recently wrote for the British online magazine, New Politic, is now available online. The article, “The Criminal Origins of the United States of America,” is about British convict transportation to America, which took place between the years 1718 and 1775, and is the subject of my book, Bound with an Iron Chain: […]
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Early American Crime - 12/17/2021
Hospital Horrors. | Inspector Thomas F. Byrnes.

Being Initiated.

Freemason girls

New York, NY, Oct 1880 - A couple of inquisitive damsels, anxious to learn the secrets of free masonry are given a dose of an initiation which cools their curiosity. [more]

A Ceremony Which Proved Disastrous to Bustles

A couple of very inquisitive young ladies were secretly initiated (in a horn) into the mysteries of free masonry in this city. Their beaux were both members of  a lodge, and were tormented on every occasion to tell their sweethearts the secrets of the order. At last the young men resolved to play a practical joke to cure the girls of their curiosity. So on a certain evening they took the pair to the lodge-room, hired a small boy in the neighborhood to bring in a fractious billy goat and started the initiatory services. One of the girls was made to climb one of the supporting beams, while the other was told to ride the goat. Billy was not in the bargain and dodged away, and left his would-be rider sprawling, whereupon he open up an attack. He prosecuted it so vigorously that interference became necessary. Meanwhile, both of the girls had lost their curiosity.


Reprinted from The National Police Gazette, October 23, 1880