Currently, there are five planets in Capricorn right now. – whose ruling planet is Saturn. Saturn is known as the taskmaster. He is associated with limitations, restrictions, responsibility, boundaries, and discipline, as well as time, age, older people, patriarchy, and fathers.
When Saturn is present he often invokes a lot of FEAR. It is our nature to want to expand, but Saturn contracts (which is often what makes him so scary!). Yet once you learn the lessons of Saturn, despite how challenging they are, he ultimately brings FREEDOM and STRENGTH.
Saturn is changing signs on March 21
For the first time in three decades, Saturn will be tempered. He will be in the visionary, innovative, and humanitarian house of Aquarius which will soften his lessons for us. He will be in this future-oriented sign for three months (and return there in December for another two years), giving us a taste of this revolutionary energy. Aquarius, an air sign, will bring new ways we can communicate, technology that will move us forward and advance the planet, and a humanitarian spirit, which we desperately need right now. The stern fatherly guidance as of late will give way to the soft loving hand and embrace of true love and guidance.
This year March is also a 7 Universal Month which often brings shock and revelations that force you to slow down, go within, take time alone and soul search.
This seems apt with the SARS 2 shutdown forcing us to stop traveling and shutting us up in our own houses away from each other. In these times we might wonder who do we seek out and who do we miss. Do we seek out the people at the water cooler at work or that friend we have known since grammar school we have not seen more than once this year? In this forced stillness, hopefully we get reconnected with those we love again as we move forward.
He was an Italian Renaissance humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer; he epitomized the Renaissance Man. Although he is often characterized exclusively as an architect, as James Beck has observed, “to single out one of Leon Battista’s ‘fields’ over others as somehow functionally independent and self-sufficient is of no help at all to any effort to characterize Alberti’s extensive explorations in the fine arts.” Although Alberti is known mostly for being an artist, he was also a mathematician of many sorts and made great advances to this field during the 15th century.
His accomplishments included:
Alberti was the creator of a theory called “historia”. In his treatise De pictura (1435) he explains the theory of the accumulation of people, animals, and buildings, which create harmony amongst each other, and “hold the eye of the learned and unlearned spectator for a long while with a certain sense of pleasure and emotion”. De pictura (“On Painting”) contained the first scientific study of perspective. An Italian translation of De pictura (Della pittura) was published in 1436, one year after the original Latin version and addressed Filippo Brunelleschi in the preface. The Latin version had been dedicated to Alberti’s humanist patron, Gianfrancesco Gonzaga of Mantua. He also wrote works on [sculpture], De Statua.
Alberti used his artistic treatises to propound a new humanistic theory of art. He drew on his contacts with early Quattrocento artists such as Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Ghiberti to provide a practical handbook for the renaissance artist.
Alberti wrote an influential work on architecture, De Re Aedificatoria, which by the 16th century had been translated into Italian (by Cosimo Bartoli), French, Spanish, and English. An English translation was by Giacomo Leoni in the early 18th century. Newer translations are now available.
Whilst Alberti’s treatises on painting and architecture have been hailed as the founding texts of a new form of art, breaking from the Gothic past, it is impossible to know the extent of their practical impact within his lifetime. His praise of the Calumny of Apelles led to several attempts to emulate it, including paintings by Botticelli and Signorelli. His stylistic ideals have been put into practice in the works of Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, and Fra Angelico. But how far Alberti was responsible for these innovations and how far he was simply articulating the trends of the artistic movement, with which his practical experience had made him familiar, is impossible to ascertain.
He was so skilled in Latin verse that a comedy he wrote in his twentieth year, entitled Philodoxius, would later deceive the younger Aldus Manutius, who edited and published it as the genuine work of ‘Lepidus Comicus’.
Apart from his treatises on the arts, Alberti also wrote: Philodoxus (“Lover of Glory”, 1424), De commodis litterarum atque incommodis (“On the Advantages and Disadvantages of Literary Studies”, 1429), Intercoenales (“Table Talk”, c. 1429), Della famiglia (“On the Family”, begun 1432) Vita S. Potiti (“Life of St. Potitus”, 1433), De iure (On Law, 1437), Theogenius (“The Origin of the Gods”, c. 1440), Profugorium ab aerumna (“Refuge from Mental Anguish”,), Momus (1450) and De Iciarchia (“On the Prince”, 1468). These and other works were translated and printed in Venice by the humanist Cosimo Bartoli in 1586.
Alberti was an accomplished cryptographer by the standard of his day, and invented the first polyalphabetic cipher, which is now known as the Alberti cipher, and machine-assisted encryption using his Cipher Disk. The polyalphabetic cipher was, at least in principle, for it was not properly used for several hundred years, the most significant advance in cryptography since before Julius Caesar’s time. Cryptography historian David Kahn titles him the “Father of Western Cryptography”, pointing to three significant advances in the field which can be attributed to Alberti: “the earliest Western exposition of cryptanalysis, the invention of polyalphabetic substitution, and the invention of enciphered code.”David Kahn (1967). The codebreakers: the story of secret writing. New York: MacMillan.
According to Alberti himself, in a short autobiography written c. 1438 in Latin and in the third person, (many but not all scholars consider this work to be an autobiography) he was capable of “standing with his feet together, and springing over a man’s head.” The autobiography survives thanks to an 18th-century transcription by Antonio Muratori. Alberti also claimed that he “excelled in all bodily exercises; could, with feet tied, leap over a standing man; could in the great cathedral, throw a coin far up to ring against the vault; amused himself by taming wild horses and climbing mountains.” Needless to say, many in the Renaissance promoted themselves in various ways and Alberti’s eagerness to promote his skills should be understood, to some extent, within that framework. (This advice should be followed in reading the above information, some of which originates in this so-called autobiography.)
Alberti claimed in his “autobiography” to be an accomplished musician and organist, but there is no hard evidence to support this claim. In fact, musical posers were not uncommon in his day (see the lyrics to the song Musica Son, by Francesco Landini, for complaints to this effect.) He held the appointment of canon in the metropolitan church of Florence, and thus – perhaps – had the leisure to devote himself to this art, but this is only speculation. Vasari also agreed with this.
In terms of Aesthetics Alberti is one of the first defining the work of art as imitation of nature, exactly as a selection of its most beautiful parts: “So let’s take from nature what we are going to paint, and from nature, we choose the most beautiful and worthy things”
This is one of many of Leonardo da’ Vinci’s contemporaries discussed within the pages of Universal Man: Da’ Vinci’ Soul reborn written by a descendant of Leon Battista Alberti, Richard Aliberti a modern sculptor prominent in the North End of Boston.
In our world where there are reports that 70% of the nation report they are lonely, I have left the Witch City to find people who still value each other’s time. I had been living in Salem for almost 30 years and made over 5,000 friends and had some great times with all of them. It used to be a great walking city where a 10-minute walk would take an hour due to all of the conversations you had on the way. Within the last ten years, that has all changed. Now, four days out of the week my only conversation is while one of the great staff at Jolie Tea Co. pours me my Lapsang Souchong. So I am on the hunt for a town where Barney and Fred still see each other daily, even if they get on each other nerves…
So what happened? Is it the 5am alarm, the hour each way commute, the 6 day work week, or the ease of social contact through social media? What drove us apart and what has taken its place. Is it Netflix binging or video games. Or are people just working, sleeping, and running errands on the one day off they get. Is it the belief we have to spend money to socialize…
So I’m on the hunt. On my latest journey through the south, I stopped off at Frederick MD. Frederick was the home of Francis Scott Key. The ninth president of the United States, John Hanson, lived here. If you will remember there were 14 presidents prior to the forming of the Constitution. John Hancock was the 4th president when he signed the Declaration of Independence. Yes George Washington was not the first, but he did travel through this town during the French and Indian War. During the Revolutionary War, Hessians were garrisoned here to block the crossroads from the Patriots’ usage. Roger B. Taney was also found here, he was the 5th Superior Court Justice that became infamous for his Dread Scott decision. Also, It was a crossroads during the Civil War with one day having Union troops marching through with the next Confederates. To prevent Confederate sympathies, President Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and arrested local politicians. Also, they had a Civil War hospital museum where they treated troops from both sides of the Civil War. Plus, it had many shops on two long streets, Patrick and Market, filled with good people and even greater items for sale. The first I entered was The Spice & Tea Exchange where Keith made me a very nice Lapsang Souchong blended tea to start off my journey after he gave me a little history of the town and told me about the big social events they hold down on the river filled with music and people.
Now there were many similarities between Salem MA and Frederick MD; except one has the ocean while the other has the Appalachians. Both had a majority of architecture from the 19th century, but I must say Frederick’s shopping community was larger and much more varied. I believe Frederick did have a psychic, but the most magical place was Smoke Signals. A slight throwback to an old headshop from the 70s. There I met Niko, a fellow Thelemite. We had a good conversation on history, Masons, and magic. 93 and 42 to you Niko! They also had their own Record Exchange. Sam who owned the one in Frederick was probably the friendliest and happiest soul I met in town. He had an eclectic and rare selection of some fine punk and obscure Soul and R&B. Many rare vinyl prints I had seen on his shelf. Now Salem has their own Record Exchange as well with Barrence Whitfield and his large soul and his encyclopedic knowledge of music. Maybe Sam while visiting his son in Boston might just one day step in and meet Barrence when the worlds collide…
Another strange coincidence was, tunnels. Now nobody I talked to knew if there were any in town or not, but I had seen many signs. There were many service entrances in the sidewalk. Within Salem, these would be locations where they took the roof off the tunnel and opened up a small section in front of the tunnel entrance to the basement. Why make a second hole in your foundation and why waste a great resource. Very similar to them are basement addresses accessible from the sidewalk. They take the roof off the tunnel once more and utilize a staircase to block the tunnel from going the other direction and use the preexisting door from the tunnel into the basement. Plus they had scores of buildings with exterior chimneys. Exterior chimneys were utilized when central chimneys were more economical because it proved a better way to connect a home to a tunnel. The tunnel would enter through the fireplace arch in the basement allowing the tunnel to exit 3 feet to 6 feet within the basement. This alleviated flashing problems and created a draw system up through the flu to provide fresh air for the tunnel system. Frederick was on a river and was a hub on the railroad. Monocacy River runs into the Potomac and leads to the sea. Within Salem, they were used for smuggling to avoid paying duties, the Underground Railroad, and transportation during inclement weather. A quick search shows no history of smuggling in Frederick, but most smuggling activities do not show up within public records… Some finds I did come across were that Confederate sympathizers would smuggle goods like quinine and clothing to help out the South. Also, it would be useful for these sympathizers to meet in private once Lincoln started arresting them.
Very much like Salem, walking through Frederick was like walking back in time. A rough estimate I would say there were about 20 square blocks of 19th-century brick homes. A majority of them were attached row houses. Outside of old town was modern communities and the usual cluster of strip malls with major outlets with a very extensive series of bus routes to get back and forth. Their transit center had links to Amtrak and Greyhound.
Good tip. While traveling I have found a black membership at Gold’s Gym for $29.99 a month will get you a locker to store a duffel bag, a shower, and a massage bed to take a nap on.
While I was waiting for that bus to get me to Planet Fitness to drop off my duffel, I stopped in at the Curious Iguana where Elna sold me a book to read while I waited for the bus. The Curious Iguana owners are also the owners of the Dancing Bear where I met Kevin who I kept bumping into as I traveled through town. Now the owners Marlene and Tom England give a portion of the store’s sales each year to international non-profits (more than $51,850 as of December 2018), which is quite impressive! So support them so they can support many others. I also found an old The Darkness comic at Brainstorm Comics and Gaming which Brendan sold me. It was an issue my friend Matt Maguire worked on. Matt’s story also appears in our Winter issue of Arkham: Tales from the Flipside. Hopefully Brendan will be able to buy that house!
Later that night I walked up Market Street and found many street performers. The first I played some flute with was Arthur Harrison from The Cassettes on Theremin, Brady Danger on guitar (Instagram @bradydangermusic), and @eltheviolinist on Instagram. Later I played a little with Myle Voorhees on banjo. We might even get him to write a story for Arkham; Tales from the Flipside…
Then I got to hear Alyssa Hard at Cafe-Nola. She originally sat and listened to me play my flute on the steps of an old bank that closed years ago. I owe her a better performance since my amp was dying…but her performance was top notch. I hope she enjoyed some Robin Ella & the CC String Band, I think it would be up her alley along with the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I sort of like this; I got to listen and play music on the street. I’m used to walking into a bar for 30 years to hear music, but here it was outside. I got into some great conversations with Myle about banjo, community, and friends. I got to talk to a lovely songstress and had Arthur teach me a thing or two. Arthur was kind enough also to give me a ride back to Planet Fitness to get my duffel. We talked about history, electronics, music, and the CIA. He probably gave me the best conversation on my journey.
From my questions, it does seem there is a community in Frederick. Keith informed me about the community that comes out for town events down at the river, Sam says he still is able to see his friends weekly, Myle gets to work and play with his, and Arthur just seems to take out his Theremin out and people just gather to say hello. This might just be a town I might have to return to and find a Couchsurfing host to check it out further. They might of found a way to combat the 70% within a metropolitan area. The houses are said to be in the $350,000 range, with a seedy side coming back into vogue with homes around $150,000.On the other hand, those walking through the bar scenes, did seem younger. It would have been a good indicator if a mix aged population walked by to see if people deep in their careers still have time for each other. So who knows, but it is worth a second look.
Maybe Barney and Fred were just around the corner…
Baltimore was a popular travel location while I was a kid. My family stayed in the Inner Harbor several times throughout the years. We would go to the malls and get to our favorite Jelly Beans (root beer, green apple, and cinnamon) from the wall dispensers before Jelly Belly took over the market, fresh roasted cashews, and fudge. There were great shows at the Maryland Science Center to see and I got to see my first person standing on the soapbox claiming the world was going to end in front of the World Trade Center. We even got to stay in the same hotel as the band Krokus…
So I went back. Instead of staying in the Inner Harbor area I got a room in the Cloudbunk hostel in the Charles Neighborhood for a mere $24 a night. The room I shared with 5 others. One of which just showed up once a day just to step in the room and step back out. One was traveling, one was looking for an apartment, and one was here for work. The last just woke us all up in the middle of the night confused about the process. It was in a row house with three floors with their own bathrooms. On the main floor was a large TV and couch, a communal table, and an eat-in kitchen in which we shared foods donated by local companies. The front door locked after 8pm, but there was a back door with a code open 24hrs. Most of the people who gather in these hostels are out looking to meet new people and experiences. Few of us traveled to one of the many art museums in the city together.
The thing I found interesting was behind the building was an alley that ran parallel to the street. It was the service corridor where the garbage was put out and the garages were kept for each building. I grew up with a similar alley in behind my house, but it was cut out in the 20s and left to become overgrown by the time they started building houses in the neighborhood in the 70s with only deer traveling through it. Joseph Parisi, a mobster who controlled the garbage for NYC, had plans to develop a new city within the NJ Pines at the intersection of three railroad lines. Similar to Baltimore, but he only sold a few houses after cutting out all of the roads. One was to a nudist colony.
So when you return to a strange town, you search out the familiar. So I started out with in the Inner Harbor. Across the harbor, I had seen the old Federal Hill fort that reminded me of Fort Pickering in Salem MA. A fort built on Smith Hill during the Civil War. From where I was standing looking at the fort was the USS Constellation. She was commissioned during the war to help the British attack slave ships leaving Africa to the Confederate states. Up to the point that Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation the British were hemming and hawing which side to support. Prior Laird’s shipyard was producing screw-sloops for the South, one of which, the CSS Alabama, escaped before George Peabody bribed the English Prime Minister to stop the delivery of the other two to the South. Which is strange since he was profiting from the sales of southern cotton from Baltimore to acquire armaments for the South. The Constellation and Alabama both sailed the waters around Africa.
Then believe it or not, behind me was this sea monster. Next to it was Bubba Shrimp which pumped out out brine and the smell of fresh fish at all hours of the night. I was looking for Forrest to run by…In the same building up to three years ago was the Fudgery. As a kid I got to see it’s opening year watching these singing and dancing fudge chefs bring joy to large crowds singing ‘time to make the fudge’ and handing out free samples all day. The dancing security guard Terry told me of their demise over a dropped bologna sandwich. I got to meet him and his friend, Manuel, after I got done playing some flute in front of the Constellation. The band Dru Hill started at the Fudgery and I missed out hearing them and all the other staff at the Fudgery.
Then I walked to my right a little toward the Maryland Science Center. A top-notch science museum where I saw a movie prop show years ago with an animated full-size King Kong head and a Ripley model in a cargo lifting exoskeleton fighting the Alien. That night it was closed so I only got to see this monster in the window. So I ventured on and seen the coolest Barnes and Noble, the World Trade Center (without the doomsday preacher), the Domino Sugar plant lit up, and a beached lighthouse. Probably the coolest thing I found was my own dragon ship fleet. What good is a Viking without his own dragon ship fleet?
The next day I walked around Fellspoint historic district with its railroad tracks and sets. Cobblestones are round and sets are square… In this neighborhood, I had seen many signs of possible smuggling tunnels. Many service entrances and basement dwellings could of been converted sections of the tunnels in the city. George Peabody from Salem frequented this area and he utilized the tunnels in every city in which he lived in. He was a friend of Alexander Bown of Brown’s Wharf in which I passed. The Horse You Rode In On, the oldest tavern in the country seemed to have signs of tunnels out front. Its location has been a tavern since 1775 and was the last bar Edgar Allan Poe drank in on the night he died. For something a little more spicy, but safer I headed to the Saffron Grill for a mix of Yemeni and Pakistani food. They had the best lamb shawarma Sandwich with a nan wrap which was head and shoulders above any other traditional wrap I ever had. Plus I found Sound Garden celebrating 25 years filled with some really cool choices of music with new and used vinyl. Many musicians played here including Motorhead!
Then as I walked further along the waterfront I found a statue of Frederick Douglass and realized I had walked through his old neighborhood. Douglass left Baltimore for Lynn MA where he ventured to Salem from and met the Remonds who taught him how to speak on the abolitionist circuit. Sarah, the sister, probably gave him his signature haircut. The brother Charles, she coifed his style as well. I also found some homes with exterior chimneys. Exterior chimneys allow easier access for tunnels to enter the basements without any flashing problems and creates a draw system to bring fresh air into the tunnels. Plus I found some very nice views.
As I headed back to the Inner Harbor I passed the National Aquarium and its dolphins. Continuing on I had seen the harbor’s several attempts to create mini wetlands and other ways to clean the water. One was this snail that picked out the garbage of the river as the tide went out.
Then I headed back to the Cloudbunks for a good night’s sleep and took a picture of the garage behind the shelter. Then I left that morning for Frederick, MD, but I need to come back and enjoy the live music scene, the art museums, Poe’s House, and much more. So I might just be continuing my tradition of visiting this city for years to come.
Now here is the video of me playing the flute in front of the USS Constellation:
George Peabody, Alexander Brown, and Charles Bulfinch
So on my travels looking for community in America, I stumbled on some possible tunnels; well I knew they had to be there, but I still had to find them. Well, at least I found the tell-tale signs; everywhere but Washington D.C. There I walked into a new one.
It all starts in 1795 when Harrison Gray Otis gives architect Charles Bulfinch the contract to build a new statehouse in Boston in the pasture of John Hancock’s house. This was most likely in the area that the tunnels extended from Hancock’s wine cellar. They just had to tap into an old tunnel system and stretch it through the Beacon Hill neighborhood they just purchased from the painter John Singleton Copley who was living in England at the time. The governor and Bulfinch saw the lack of proximity to their advantage and refused to pay the painter for years. To prepare the ground for the new State House Bulfinch erected a funicular railroad to take down the Tremont Hill and dump the dirt within Mill Pond and the mudflats of the Charles River. While he was doing this, he was digging new tunnels and connecting them to the new manors he was building also. All he had to do was sneak the tunnel dirt into the dirt coming down from the hill.
Did you know Hancock was our 4th and 13th president? Both terms he served before Washington…He was president when he signed the Declaration.
He copied this plan in Salem MA, Newburyport MA, and Washington D.C. The difference in Washington was that there was no water to hide the dirt in front of the Capitol he was hired by President Monroe to rebuild after the War of 1812. So they dug a canal leading to the Capitol so he could hide the dirt in the piles being carted away, then filled in the ditch with water. The canal has since been removed. Maybe while they were creating new tunnels.
Now did you know, that between the Jefferson and Adams wings of the Library of Congress there are 4 layers of tunnels the public is welcome to walk through? Also, you can leave the Library of Congress and head to the Capitol. Once in the Capitol, you can continue to the Hart Senate Office Building. Here are some pictures.
Now besides Bulfinch who resided in Salem for a period, there was George Peabody. He and his brother utilized tunnels in Newburyport, MA that Bulfinch built for their dry good store. Then George followed an uncle to the Georgetown section of Washington. Another location rumored to have tunnels. Then Peabody followed a friend he served with during the War of 1812 to Baltimore in 1816 moving their company Riggs& Peabody they formed a year prior in Georgetown. They moved to Baltimore because it was closer to the slave and cotton markets they were participating in. In 1829 Riggs retired to NYC and in time his home was incorporated into the US Customs House. The Customs House in Salem Ma was connected to the tunnels, and I will assume the one in NYC was too.
Before moving to New York, Elisha funded the bank of Corcoran & Riggs in Washington, DC, which was organized by his son George Washington Riggs. When the United States sought a loan to finance the Mexican–American War, the Riggs bank was the only institution to bid for the full amount and lent the government $34 million in 1847 and 1848. After the retirement of William Corcoran, Elisha’s son George Washington Riggs and his grandson Elisha Francis Riggs took over the business as Riggs & Co. in Washington. It was successfully run as such until July 1896 when it assumed its present name as the Riggs National Bank. The bank still stands at its original location as PNC Bank. Riggs Bank was the bank of choice for the CIA and the dictators they supported. Corcoran & Riggs had many US politicians and presidents under their influence through their time in operation. Peabody kept close ties to his business partner’s son’s bank.
Peabody also was close to Alexander Brown who founded the B&O railroad in Baltimore. Peabody secured loans from Joshua Bates of Baring Brothers Bank for the railroad. Bates was from Salem as well and his uncle was Thomas Perkins who started the opium empire that grew the Forbes fortune. Baring Brother’s was one of the English banks that profited from loans it secured for the First and Second National Bank after the Revolutionary War and The War of 1812. After both wars with the English, we sold 70% of the debt we incurred to the enemy.
Alexander and Henry Baring married the daughters of William Bingham. William Bingham married Thomas Willing’s daughter. Willing was president of The First National Bank. Bingham was the man who Alexander Hamilton sought advice from to make the First National Bank. The First National Bank lost its charter in 1811 for selling the majority of the loans that congress needed to the British who we defeated in a war. Samuel Ward was Baring’s agent who secured several bribes to many of Salem’s wealthy and politicians so that at the close of The War of 1812 they would ensure a Second National Bank. In which they did and they all became directors of the new bank. So in 1836 Jackson closes the bank for selling 70% of Congress’ debt to England once more after a war with them. So when Peabody secured the loan for B&O, two of Thomas Perkins’ nephews were controlling partners in Baring Brothers Bank.
Also in response to Jackson’s Bank Wars Peabody engineered the 1837 Panic with Lionel Rothschild and created the first bank bailout when he bailed out the Brown Brothers Bank in Liverpool, Alexander’s son’s bank. This was the first of a series of panics, depressions, and great recessions that happen on a 20-year timetable. Peabody & Co. Bank is now known as JP Morgan Bank. JP Morgan and Morgan Stanely were fined for creating the 2008 Finacial Collapse.
Now when I walked around Brown’s Wharf in Baltimore I had seen plenty of tell-tale signs of tunnel activity. First, there were delivery entrances in the sidewalk everywhere in the area. These are created when you remove the roof of a section of a tunnel to give access through the foundation to the basement. Then you block off the tunnel from going any further. Tunnels usually run in front of a store under the sidewalks. Also in the Hats in the Belfry shop, they had a trapdoor. Many times that was an access point to get into those smuggling tunnels. Also, there were locations where they had steps leading to doors under the sidewalk. In some places, these are points in which the tunnel ran into the building that was later converted to a basement entrance by removing the top of the tunnel and blocking it by a staircase and utilizing the tunnel entrance to the basement. Why put a second hole in your foundation if you do not need to?
Peabody and Baltimore are also connected by the library he built which is now part of John Hopkins Univesity. There are many stories of tunnels under the university. Also, there is Hutzler’s department store shoppers’ tunnel under Saratoga Street. It linked the main store with another set of buildings that housed the toy department, garage, and a soda fountain. It is similar to Daniel Low in Salem that has a tunnel that led to its warehouse. Another passage under Calvert Street at Lexington connected the old Federal Reserve Bank with the old Post Office. Through Peabody’s bank, JP Morgan was able to create the Federal Reserve, The Third National Bank. Then there was the tunnel under Federal Hill. Rumors of tunnels exist under Salem’s Colonial hill fort as well. Plus many of the B&O trains had tunnels to run through hiding them from those walking through the city. Then a quick search found tunnels under Lexington Market, The Washington Monument, Westminister Hall, and the Baltimore Basilica. Here are a few pictures I had found online.
So there are a few connections between Salem and Baltimore that run deep below the surface. Some of them appear even in the game Monopoly that was developed in Salem. Because of George Peabody, Rich Uncle Pennybags is modeled after JP Morgan and the game reflects Peabody’s investment in the B&O Railroad and the Boston and Maine which bought his Eastern Railroad. Also, Peabody dug the first train tunnel in the nation that was attached to an underground train station used by the smugglers in Salem. Alexander Brown seemed to be a good student of his.
So when I was little we would travel back to my mother’s home town of Norseville, NJ and visit my Aunt Donna and Uncle Bob. My mother was raised with Donna since the crib. Their parents were good friends, almost like sisters. So when they had kids they raised us together since the crib, well at least till we all reached our teens.
Whenever we visited them it was like an open house with friends and family walking in at all ours up to the wee hours of the morning. There was always a game of Yahtzee or Scrabble to be had. This was the same neighborhood where they would leave a pot of coffee on the stove and the kitchen door open for visitors while they were out and the local church always had a skating night, bowling night, dance, or fair to get people together. At this time having a family and working was nothing that could stop people from spending time with one and another.
So this March was Bob’s and Donna’s 50h anniversary so we traveled to Moneta, VA to see them. Their kids and spouses put together a surprise party for them which left these two speechless. Good people, good food, and music were had and created some great memories these two would cherish for the rest of their lives. People from all over the east coast ventured to this affair. Then after it all, we got to sit with them for a more intimate gathering. Much like the old days. Stories were passed along, including some embarrassing toddler stories they shared about me.
Then they welcomed our other old friends from my old neighborhood that were living nearby in Lynchburg, VA. Lynn and Don Wirth were Cub Scout leaders for our neighborhood. Their two sons Shaun and Robin along with myself learned a lot from these two great people. Meeting them at Bob’s and Donna’s was the first time I and my parents have seen them in almost 30 years. Don was always the same gentlemen who always reminded you about something extraordinary that you did before he was going to say hi. I found out he shared my expertise and spirit as a goalie with his students in the classes he taught within various war colleges. Col. Don Wirth was Delta Force and the logistics expert for General Norman Schwartzkopf Jr. for the Gulf War. I also found out that he was the president of the martial art style I was trained in. My Sensei Comparato was the Grandmaster and Don was right below him in Kosho Shorei Ryu Kenpo Jiu-Jitsu. Go figure…
Then we went to Charlottesville, VA and I visited some wonderful stores. Locals call it C’ville. The town had a great pedestrian shopping area with a central lane and several side streets extending from it. This central lane was part of Three Notch’d Road which was named by the three notches in the tree used to mark it. A young Virginian named Jack Jouett was woken by a passing British cavalry sent to capture the Virginian legislature including Gov. Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Nelson, Jr., and Benjamin Harrison V. Jouett rode on the Three Notch’d Road to bring warning to Jefferson at Monticello prompting them all to flee to Charlottesville to hide in Jouett’s father’s Swan tavern before escaping again on Three Notch’d Road over the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Originally Charlottesville was a Monacan village called Monasukapanough. Colonialists later name Charlottesville for Charlotte Sophia, consort of King George III of England. It grew as a tobacco-trading point and later became famous as the home of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe and explorers Meriwether Lewis and George Rogers Clark. Orange, located 26 miles (42 km) northeast of the city, was the hometown of President James Madison. The University of Virginia, founded by Jefferson and one of the original Public Ivies, straddles the city’s southwestern border. Today it is the home of the Virginia Festival of the Book. Which unfortunately got canceled because of covid 19 scare. Please help them out if you can to cover cancellation costs and still visit the various bookstores in Charlottesville that depend on sales from the festival to continue each year in business.
The many shops I visited were 2nd Act Books owned by the gracious Daphne, Rock Paper Scissors where Mara was a great help providing me with some great stationery, Anna was great (who was a Conan fan) at Telegraph Art & Comics where they had some great illustrated books about The Dark Crystal, Then New Dominion Bookshop just had a wonderful looking store, then the woman at the Blue Whale Books was wonderful and I wish her arm much healing, then Maggie was just full of whimsy at Alakazam Toys, and great old-world hospitality and food was to be had at Blue Ridge Country Store. At the end of the lane in between all of these shops was a low long wall which invited people to put a little art on it. Many chalk drawings were added to it by a bunch of little scampers. Also make sure you visit Ike’s Underground, for he is truly the most interesting and helpful character out of the whole bunch I had met.
Afterward we went to Little Lake VA to visit our cousins Elmarry and Charles. We had a great meal at a local Italian restaurant and headed back to their place to catch up. Charles introduced me to a Photoshop alternative for the iPad called Affinity, and Elmarry introduced us to the BBC comedy Mrs. Brown’s Boys. Now Elmarry’s mother Eleanor was my Grandmother’s sister who used to check out our muscles as we were growing up to see if we had a grape or grapefruit… Eleanor was the shortest of the sisters who would go galavanting at the nightclubs dancing up a storm in the roaring 20s. They had fast cars and would spend many afternoons on the polo field. Plus I believe they were all over 6ft.
Their father might have been the son of Edward H. Hulton Sr. who created the 2nd largest newspaper chain in England. Their father might of told his father to go to places and moved to America where he ran the print shop for JH Tooker Print Co. printing Broadway, silent, and talkie posters including Gone with the Wind. There was a Horror movie poster show presented by Kirk Hammet of Metallica at the PEM in Salem MA. The first poster in the show I had seen could of been printed by my great grandfather. It was a poster for the lost Lon Chaney film London After Midnight.
Edward Hulton the Younger (who my great grandfather started out to be) supposedly stayed in England and became a Baronette, but he really was a Mr. Lytham that Edward Hulton the Elder met at the track. A year after my great grandfather left for America there was someone running the papers in his name and his father had died. At one time Mr. Lytham offered my great grandfather the family fortune, but he refused it saying he was the Hulton’s here and they were the Hulton’s there. Lytham died within the month after his return to England. This was after he sold the papers from under the England Hulton’s to a Lord Beaverbrook who was a Nazi sympathizer. Edward Hulton III in England became famous for The Picture Post magazine and as a character in All Creatures Great and Small as Lord Hulton.
Why did I sidetrack into family history? History is important. It tells us where we came from. It gives us a map of events and people that should not be forgotten. It leads us sometimes back on track. Like the road of Three Notch’d Road it preserves us. It links us to a series of logic. For example, how can you understand the modern car fully if you don’t understand the horse carriage it was based on? Sometimes important stuff gets forgotten that we should find again. I use an old bronze razor that sets up my beard nicely because it holds the heat from the faucet; why are we using plastic razors now that don’t? Family history preserves us. Ideas like a community that gathered around a church that went beyond religion, leaving a pot of coffee behind for friends, inviting your close friends into your home as aunts and uncles of your children, taking hikes, meeting at social clubs, dancing, and smiling are all things I learned from my family that made a recipe for the communities they lived in. So I don’t think it was a bad sidetrack at all.
Then again as I travel around the country looking for community, I will bet you a turnip or two that I will find many sidetracks. Sidetracks can be profound. My Uncle Al made a sidetrack that helped bring about Yogi Bear! My great Grandfather brought us movie posters for Gone with the Wind, Cabin in the Sky, and touched a mystery about a lost movie, after he brought the daily news to England through his Daily Dispatch. His father had a sidetrack from being a compositor at the Manchester Guardian printing his own newspaper about the horses at the track till he got fired and met a sheep dealer who set him up with his own newspaper. The sidetrack brings you into strange connections. My grandfather Captain Ralph Dowgin (NJ State Trooper) worked for Norman Scwharzkopz Sr. after a trooper suggested that he sidetrack from the practical jokes that were going to end him in jail and my den leader Mr. Wirth ( Presidential appointed Col. Army) was sidetracked into a dark warehouse that in time led him to work for Norman Schwarzkopz Jr. Who knows where a sidetrack will bring you and what impacts they might have. My grandfather led to Christine Whitman’s political career and Mr. Wirth planned the victory in the Gulf War. But, the biggest sidetrack and connections I wish upon my journeys is, to connect us to one another again. Wishing we all can see each other as much as Fred and Barney did, which my Uncle Al helped bring about.
So will Joseph Knapp Jr. Hang as the New Year Tolls?
This is the exciting climax of Murder on the Common. History books say he did, but what really happened? How did this infamous 19th-century murder that kept the country riveted at the time really end? Did he die? For that matter our star, Henry Sinclair, nobody is sure of when his death happened as well…
If you didn’t get to read this exciting free serial of Murder on the Common, it will be in print on April 7th for the 290th anniversary of the Captain Joseph White murder which inspired Edgar Allan Poe to write the Tell-Tale Heart and the Parker Brothers to alter the game Cluedo. Did you know a relation of the Parker Brothers was the judge in the real case who died on the night of the first trial and the lead pipe in Clue was mentioned as the murder weapon in two blackmail letters written to the man who got away with murder? Buy your copy of Murder on the Common on April 7th, 2020.
Next week we will bring you a sample of the next tale from The Sinclair Narratives called Summer Cottage from Hell presented in the Winter edition of Arkham: Tales from the Flipside. A tale about the mysterious death of the man who rented President Taft a home in Beverly MA that became the summer White House for two years. A tale featuring Henry alongside Teddy Roosevelt, Nikola Tesla, Rough Rider Frank “Keno” Crowninshield, and Mark Twain going up against Lovecraftian monsters, Bohemian Grove, and the Illuminati.
Well, we all know where the Salem Witch Hysteria had led, but what about before and after that year? There are tales of the Second Coming of Christ, Spiritualist who wanted to give a robot a soul, seances, religions, and more.
First Salem was founded by Puritans… let us move on past them.
Son of Governor John Winthrop, John Winthrop was a follower of John Dee and had brought and shared his library of works throughout Salem and then Connecticut where he became governor. Many say he was an alchemist like John Dee. John Dee was a court astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. For a time he traveled outside of England with Edward Kelly promising kings and emperors that they could turn lead into gold. Something that got Edward Kelly killed by one of those emperors when he failed. In time Dee returned to England and received a pension from the Queen. Winthrop had many friends in power who followed his lead talking to angels and demons. These are the men who pointed at the poor and the unprotected rich widow and blamed them for doing magic.
Then in 1641, Edward Dimond was born in Marblehead. He grew up to become the Wizard of Marblehead. Vessels sailing through Salem harbor during a storm could hear his voice calling them by name and vessel from on top of Burial Hill safely back to port. He could also detect thieves and his powerful built forced them to return what they stole.
Dimond’s granddaughter Moll Pitcher was born in 1736, 4 years after Dimond’s death. Was it the wizard reincarnated? She became a powerful psychic that during the war gave a personal reading to George Washington and then the next day to an English general. Many sailors would not sign on to a ship before Pitcher would declare if it was to be profitable and would return safely. Ship captains feared her predictions, one could assume she had played this to her advantage more than once. She made her home below High Rock in Lynn. Her strangest client was “Lord” Timothy Dexter who built a fine mansion in Newburyport. Maybe from following her advice, he was able to sell copper bedwarmers and gloves in the Caribean which was used to boil molasses and gloves that Asians bought to sell in Siberia. Another time he followed a jest to sell coal to a rich coal region in Newcastle in England, it arrived during a shortage and sold for a premium. Did Pitcher advise him in these miraculous sales? For others when asked where the treasure was to be found she would say, “Fools, if I knew where money was buried, do you think I would part with the secret?”
In 1794 William Hill brought the New Church to Salem. The church was founded by followers of Emanuel Swedenborg a 17th-century Christian scholar who talked to angels. Swedenborg created many popular beliefs such as when we die we become angels and that we continued to grow and progress in Heaven. From 4 parishioners they spread out in time to a good congregation. Rev. O.P. Hiller had given a lecture at the Salem Lyceum that had hundreds attend in 1841. Henry Kemble Oliver offered his schoolhouse for them to meet in. Their church in time was built in 1872 on the lot the Salem Atheneum resides on now.
An employee of Oliver was Jones Very. Jones Very was a poet who graduated from Harvard who was highly respected by Ralph Waldo Emmerson. Very was a mystic who thought he was the Second Coming of Christ who was influential in the group in Salem and Concord. Very worked his way quite fine into the growing Transcendentalist Movement as their mystic. Nathaniel Hawthorne was the Secretary of the Lyceum who booked many of his fellow members of the movement to give lectures in the hall including a Miss Ida A. Fay who gave a lecture on Mediumship at the Lyceum in 1843. Hawthorne’s sister-in-law Elizabeth Peabody introduced Very to the Concord group to give a lecture in 1883.
Now step back to around the time of the Civil War, there were the Hutchinson Family Singers. They were singing abolitionists, who were also spiritualist. They were hired to talk to a dead pirate to find a treasure in Lynn Woods. Could that treasure be the one someone asked Moll Pitcher to find? In fact, the Hutchinson’s lived above Moll Pitcher’s old homesite on High Rock. The strangest story tied to them was when a woman was prayed to in front of an early robot that was placed next to her while she was giving birth, they were hoping the soul would go in the robot and not the baby.
In 1894 the First Spiritualist Church opened up on Warren Street in Salem. By this time there were 18 professionals who listed in Salem papers offering magnetic healing, clairvoyance, mediumship, and mesmerizing. A follower of the Spiritualist Church was the wife of John Hamond Jr. of Hammond Castle in Magnolia. Hammond at one time almost incorporated with Nikola Tesla. While visiting Hammond, tesla took part in an experiment where they placed a psychic in a double Faraday Cage, which prevented electromagnetic currents from leaving or exiting the cage. Tesla went with a psychic a mile away and the woman communicated with the psychic in the cage and proved that psychic ability is not an electromagnetic current. Tesla started visiting the Hammond’s around 1909 with Mark Twain who had saved Hammond’s father’s life in South Africa. Many think John Hammond Jr. has come back to live in his castle as a black cat on several occasions after his death. Many houses in Salem are also haunted by various souls from the last 300 or so years.
In 1906 Harry Houdini broke out from the Salem Police Department jail on Charter Street and released everyone else from their cels who walked past the audience. On Halloween 1990 they held a seance to see if he wanted to talk to his family, he didn’t.
Then in the 70’s there were a series of women who attended Salem State College. They were embracing feminine pursuits and looking into spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, and comparative religions. They created an embracing community. Then an exotic dancer came back from working in the Latin Quarter nightclub owned by Barbara Walters’ father and those women soon all moved to Cape Ann. Just like the Puritans aggravated the town father Roger Conant to move north, Laurie Cabot did the same to the original witches of Salem…
Now, since 1990, Angelic of the Angels follows these roots extending from the New Church and the Spiritualists to offer you a way to find your bliss through the help of your angels, your family.
Visit us on your next voyage to this truly magical city!