No. 423
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
April 22, 2019

Being Initiated.

March 13, 2012
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I count six transportation options Brooklynites had in 1915, according to this rich and detailed postcard of Flatbush Avenue. There’s the elevated train, of course, as well as a streetcar, automobile, bicycle, horse and wagon, and of course, getting around on foot, as most of the crowd seems to be doing—when they’re not mugging for […]
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Ephemeral New York - 4/21/2019

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The Savoy bookstore in Westerly, R.I. was cram-packed with Borden case enthusiasts this evening as author Cara Robertson held forth …

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Lizzie Borden : Warps & Wefts - 3/26/2019
The Domshof town square still holds a spuckstein (“spit stone”) where passersby can revile Gesche Margarethe Gottfried, a serial poisoner beheaded in Bremen on this date in 1831. Ptooey! (cc) image by Jürgen Howaldt. Gottfried wielded the 19th century’s weapon of choice for subtle domestic homicide, arsenic, mixed into spreadable fat, a concoction known as […]
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ExecutedToday.com - 4/21/2019

Jeff and Joe Soapy Smith buries Joe Simmons The Illustrated Police News April 9, 1892 (Click image to enlarge) oe Simmons was a tall, slender gambler known to many as “Gambler Joe” Simmons, a member of the Soap Gang who managed Soapy Smith's Tivoli Club in Denver, 1890, and Soapy's Orleans Club in Creede, 1892. According to William Devere’s poem "Two Little Busted Shoes," Simmons
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 3/25/2019
Rosa Buckstahlen and Ida Bjornstad, servants in the Chicago mansion of Amos J. Snell, were awakened at 2:00 the morning of February 8, 1888, by the sound of a gunshot from the floor below. They heard someone shout “Get out! Get out of here!” followed by more gunshots, then silence. Thinking that all was well—or more likely, too frightened to do anything else—the girls went back to sleep.
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Murder by Gaslight - 4/20/2019
There are, unfortunately, no sponsors for this week's Link Dump.  The staff at Strange Company HQ is busy celebrating Spring Break. What the hell caused the Kentucky Meat Shower? Watch out for those Midnight Washer Women! In which Mr. Cambray asks to go to prison. That time Benjamin Franklin had a rendezvous at Notre Dame. Why you wouldn't necessarily want to see into the future.
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Strange Company - 4/19/2019
[Editor’s note: Guest writer, Peter Dickson, lives in West Sussex, England and has been working with microfilm copies of The Duncan Campbell Papers from the State Library of NSW, Sydney, Australia. The following are some of his analyses of what he has discovered from reading these papers. Dickson has contributed many transcriptions to the Jamaica Family […]
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Early American Crime - 2/7/2019
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