No. 482
Crime, Eccentricity, and the Sporting Life in 19th Century America.
August 03, 2020

Being Initiated.

March 13, 2012
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This 2004 episode from Manx Radio gives us the story of John Kewish, hanged on this date in 1872 for killing his father with a pitchfork. Kewish is the last person ever executed on the Isle of Man — indeed even at his own time such a punishment was so passe that the local gallows-makers […]
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Executed Today - 8/1/2020

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You have to admire the energy and endurance of those Victorian ladies.  Even in the sweltering heat of a July …

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Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts - 7/24/2020

"The Witches' Cove," Follower of Jan Mandijn It's time for the Link Dump! And tea is served! Do you want to buy an Irish mansion inhabited by the Devil?  Of course you do.If you want to lose what little faith in humanity you have left, contemplate the fact that somebody out there would spend $12,000 for a pizza that looks like something I wouldn't eat for free.Maurice the Rooster and "
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Strange Company - 7/31/2020
Soapy Smith in July 4th paradeSkagway, Alaska 1898Broadway and Fourth Ave.Note Soapy is on the left of center, behind Joe Brooks.Behind him is Brooks' Pack TrainWhere is the Skaguay Military Company?Where is the Fitzhugh Lee wagon?Courtesy ofKlondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Click image to enlarge) ow Soapy Smith conned his way to be Grand Marshal of the 4th of July With
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Soapy Smith's Soap Box - 7/10/2020
On January 6, 1873, Edward Stokes was sentenced to hang for the murder of financier and railroad magnate James Fisk. Stokes was well-connected politically and he awaited his appeal in a comfortably furnished cell in the Tombs with meals catered by Delmonicos. Stokes was granted a new trial, was convicted of manslaughter and senteneced to six years in Sing Sing prison. Read the full story here
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Murder By Gaslight - 8/1/2020

This is Broadway approaching Times Square in 1913. It’s hard to make out some of the store and theater signs in this postcard, but you can see the ad for the Hotel Normandie (once located on 38th Street) advertising itself as “absolutely fireproof”—a definite selling point at the time. What strikes me most in this […]
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Ephemeral New York - 7/27/2020
[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