Downing Block Tunnel added to Peabody Essex Museum

One of the Country’ Oldest Museums and it Smuggling Tunnels

Here are some of the pictures of the tunnels being connected to the Peabody Essex Museum during their 20016- extension project.

Chris Dowgin sneaking into tunnel leaving Downing Block Tunnel
Back of Downing Block Tunnel facing Charter Street
A tunnel leaving the Downing Block to Essex Street
Yet another tunnel leaving the Downing Block
Heat from the tunnel entrances like this one in front of the old Bernard’s Jewelry Store melt the snow on the sidewalk from the heaters in the basement

For more information on the tunnels read Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and other great booksellers like Wicked Good Books, Jolie Tea, The Witch House, and Remember Salem in town. Support local businesses!!!

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STRANGE CONNECTIONS: JAMES TAYLOR, THE GAME CLUE, OPIUM, AND PRESIDENTIAL ASSASSINATION?

IT ALL STARTS WITH SALMONELLA AND A GOOD GAME OF CLUE

Around August 12th, 1849 in Meadville, Pennsylvania on a northern tour of the country President Zachary Taylor would suffer from typhoid for 3 days and recover. In April 1850 he would dine with William H. Prescott who he tried to convince to write a history of the Mexican-War. Out of spite, Prescott would write the Conquest of Mexico…about Cortez and his friends instead.

I wonder about Prescott. He had dined with Polk before he died. Polk had been sick afterward but survived. Prescott would be a great spy. He had access to John Quincy Adams, James Polk, Arthur Wellington, Prince Albert, and Zachary Taylor. Prince Albert would die of typhoid as well. Two years after Prescott’s death though. Taylor would become sick 3 months after meeting Prescott, I believe typhoid incubates for a week or two? Can it lay dormant longer? Zachary Taylor would be the second of the only two Whig candidates who were elected president, and the second to die early in their term of Typhoid. The first was William Harrison who died within a month of his inauguration and under 2 months of his son’s death.

Daniel Webster a character in Sub Rosa.

Daniel Webster. His son marries Stephen White’s daughter and his brother-in-law marries the other daughter. Webster prosecuted innocent men for Stephen White to get away with murdering his uncle. The two would go on to assassinate President Harrison.

Now Stephen White was the power behind Daniel Webster who was 1 of 3 of the most powerful senators in the country. Webster was the prosecutor in the Joseph White murder, the uncle of Stephen. Stephen got away with the murder and then engineered the assassination of William Harrison with Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. The Joseph White murder is the basis of the Parker Brother’s choice to purchase the American rights to the English game Cluedo and rename it Clue. What spur this? A grand uncle of the Parker Brothers was the judge in the murder case who dies the night before the trial started.

Now as Prescott was leaving Boston for Washington to dine with Taylor the famous Webster-Parkman trial was happening. Lemuel Shaw was the State Superior Court Justice on the case. He was the man Webster appointed to the position of Chief Justice after he possibly murdered Chief Justice Parker.  Parker previously presided over a hung jury libel case Webster brought against someone who claimed he was a traitor during the Hartford Convention. Since Shaw heard the case for Selman and Chase who were acquitted in the White murder previously he could not hear the murder case against the  Knapps. He was also married to a Knapp. So it proved a horrible choice for Webster to make. Also, the Knapp’s attorney was the same defense attorney from the libel case.

Parkman Webster Murder illustration

Now the suspect in the John Parkman murder was John White Webster. Daniel Webster was asked to prosecute the case. Did Daniel Webster refuse the case because of too many memories of the Captain Joseph White murder case in Salem? The suspect had White and Webster in his name. The judge, Lemuel Shaw, was his first choice for the White murder, after the Parker murder that was.

Parker. Parkman? It does sound eerily familiar. Was Webster hearing the tell-tale heart? Especially if he was sending his youthful friend to poison a president. Prescott’s father was another traitor during the Hartford Convention with Daniel Webster. This would be the first assassination after the mysterious death of Stephen White after an accidental poisoning,  second if you include Polk who had left office already. Stephen White was behind the assassination of Harrison with Webster and Clay.

Now Prescott had just spent time with Parkman’s son at the time of the murder. Also, Prescott’s aunt was married to John White Webster. Parkman and John White Webster were teachers at Harvard.

Parkman helped create the McLean Asylum which is now in Belmont, MA. He would also testify at the Abraham Prescott murder which tried using sleepwalker as a defense in the murder. He was testifying that insanity can be genetically passed along since Abraham Prescott close family were all nuts. It was Daniel Webster’s friend Rufus Choate who first successfully used sleepwalking as a defense in American history in 1846. Choate convinced a jury that the accused, Albert Tirrell, did not cut the throat of his lover, or, if he did so, he did it while sleepwalking, under the ‘ insanity of sleep’.

John White Webster had murdered Parkman and dismantled his corpse and tried burning him in Harvard’s incinerator.

Trivia. Lemuel Shaw’s daughter Elizabeth marries Herman Melville. He presided over Cobb Vs Cobb in which Brigham Young was having affair with Augusta Adams and Henry Adams wins a divorce. Brigham Young will be at Nathaniel Felt’s house in Salem when he hears news of Joseph Smith’s death. Felt was married to John Quincy Adam’s cousin. Shaw was married to Elizabeth Knapp who was the daughter of Josiah Knapp. George Parkman’s sister married Robert Gould Shaw, grandfather of 54th regiment Robert Gould Shaw (the general Matthew Broderick played in Glory). Also, Nathaniel Russell Sturgis was married to Susannah Parkman. Maybe they all bought to much opium from Sturgis.

Sturgis was in the employment of Thomas Perkins’ opium empire which made his Forbes nephews a fortune and the drug empire was later sold to the Russells, the family who founded the Skull & Bones.

McLean Asylum later would house Ray Charles, James Taylor, and John Nash. Ray Charles and James Taylor would be addicts of a form of opium…

I bet you had no clue…

For more information on tunnels in Salem and how the city shaped American history read Sub Rosa and Salem Secret Underground: The HIstory of the Tunnels in the City. Available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and anywhere books are sold! Also eBooks available atwww.salemhousepress.com. Also, take the Salem Smugglers’ Tour when in Salem MA to learn this all first hand from the author.
Sub Rosa Book CoverSSU2

Cool Places in America~ Mutter Museum Philadelphia

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Yuck. That is all I can say. Then again I always though that yuck was pretty cool! My parents were in Philly installing a new interactive display at the Franklin Institute in when I strolled down the street and found this other museum.

The Mütter Museum in Philadelphia is bizarre. The museum is housed in a two-tiered gallery, encased in the dark hardwood cabinets and wavy glass panes. It is the public display area of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, a school founded in 1787 to promote such noble goals as bioethics, the relevance of medical history to public policy, and the recognition that medicine is both an art and a science. The Mütter Museum is also a medical freak show of deformed bones, diseased organ specimens, instructional wax models of various pathologies, and things in jars that still give me the creeps.

Before I go on to talk about the truly disturbed things in this museum, let me take some time to mention the beautiful. The Benjamin Rush garden was wonderful. Benjamin rush was one of the many signers of the Declaration of Independence. It was filled with many herbs and medicinal plants. I got to sit here for a long time while I was trying to recoup from my strange visit in the museum.

Giant colons, Siamese twins, a horn growing out of a ladies head, the Soap Lady, giant feet, and a piece of tissue from the dead body of  John Wilkes Booth. I do not know about the tissue, my parents moved me to a town which said Booth survived and became one of the town’s favorite bartenders… The rest of it scared and disgusted the hell out of me. It was so cool! Thomas Dent Mutter was a real cool sick puppy.

 

Yuck, but Way Cool!

~Tyler

 

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!

Cool Places in America~Staten Island Stonehenge

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Yep, I lived here too. My parents got a contract working for F.A.O Schwarz making an interactive website for them for Christmas. We lived out on the shore. While taking a long hike I found this place. Staten Island Stonehenge is to be found just south of the Lemon Creek Pier in Mount Loretto State Park on Staten Island. The GPS location is 40.506552,-74.213588. The sculptures were built near the ruins of the old Raritan Bay clamming industry. I was amazed by them. They are best to be seen from a distance so you can appreciate it as a whole. Then again what was even cooler than the sculptures was meeting Doug, the guy who built it.

 

There, a lifelong Staten Islander, Doug Schwartz, has been creating rock sculptures on the beaches of Mount Loretto State Park for over a decade. Doug is the zookeeper at the Staten Island Zoo responsible forStaten Island Chuck, the famous groundhog. I met Chuck too..  I got to ride the bus to the zoo with both of them. It reminded me of my friends in Gibsonton FLA. In Gibsonton I got to walk down the street with a guru and rhino, but I never took a bus before with a groundhog. Me and chuck would read from various cool books from Salem House Press on the way to the zoo. I had spent a lot of time with Doug and Chuck on the beach and the zoo.

“It’s something inherently inside that you respond to that people long ago did, whether it’s the beauty of nature, wonderment of being alive.” – Doug Schwartz

Doug was a bit of a jester and a bit of a wizard with a sly wink. He showed me these rocks that were a million years old in which the local Indians used to paint themselves with. I used to go down there and paint my face red all the time running with a stick in my hand which I pretended was a tomahawk. Once, while I helped him build a new sculpture there was this guy playing the bagpipes in the distance which caused some teenagers to stop playing their guitars and listen. A little kid near by was making his own sculpture too. Doug loved it.

I asked him if he was related to the company my parents were working for and he only answered, “May the Schwartz be with you!”

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!

Cool Places in America: Grotto of Redemption, West Bend Iowa

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler, once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

I guess Iowa has more than corn to it? My parents dragged me here when they got this contract working for a large combine manufacturer. We went out for a hike and I got lost in a maze of maize; at any moment I thought the children of the corn were going to pop out and get me. Or even worse those strange kids from that Star Trek episode.  I was so scared that when I did find my way out I scared the bejeebers out of this couple as I ran out hitting my head with ears yelling “Corn, Corn, Corn!”.

Well I was so thankful I made it out alive I went to the Grotto of Redemption. Built by pastor Father Paul Dobberstein after his fight with pneumonia was the beginning of the grotto movement in the country! The grotto was built as a shrine to the Virgin Mary to thank her for healing him. The whole thing is built from agates, geodes and semiprecious stones, and it makes up the world’s largest collection of minerals and petrified material, with a geological value of $4 million. It’s a football field in length.The pastor took 50 years to build it. The grotto is thought as the largest in the world! I was so happy I made it out of the corn field alive, I had to come here. I just hanged with Jesus at different points during his life. I shared a chocolate milk with him in several places. We just hanged. It was cool.

So if you can get through Iowa without getting lost in the corn, you should come hang with the bearded guy and check out all of the cool stones here at the Grotto of the Redemption!

~Tyler

To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!

New Illustrations for Speak Softly and Carry a Sticky Wicket!

OOH! AH!

This is the second illustration for the latest in the Mr. Pelinger’s House series. Mr. Pelinger invites the Foster siblings to be contestants in a gameshow where the celebrity guests are Teddy Roosevelt and Queen Victoria battling over the supremacy of art, music, culture, natural wonders, vehicles, and just about everything between America and England. Only problem is that the two didn’t fare well through Pelinger’s Wormhole attached to his house through time; they came back a little short and distorted like their political cartoons.

So sit back and enjoy over the next few weeks as we show you the latest illustrations from the book and the process of how they are made. This week the two heads of state fight like Trump an Biden behind the White House. Which country has the best natural wonders? Let us know below.

Natural Wonders!

Parts

Finished American Piece:

 

England Natural Wonders

Parts

 

Finished English Piece:

So which one do you think? What country has the most amazing outdoor wonders? Tell us below.

Cheers,
Chris

For now you can buy the first book in the series Mr Pelinger’s House & Intergalactic Roadshow where Sitting Bull and General Custer battle it out in a three ring circus over the Foster Siblings souls inside the house that is bigger in the the inside than the outside. Available in eBook and in print at our website at www.salemhousepress.com. Support local authors and illustrators! When you buy directly from us we can pass the savings on that the distributor would of taken out of our authors and artists mouths and we can pay them much quicker than the 90 day trade terms. Thank you for your support!

 

Cool Places in America: Mystery Spot; Santa Cruz, California

It’s your favorite child travel adviser, Tyler,  once again bringing you the best in last minute vacations. Your road trip planner for the weekend getaway to the coolest and strangest places in America. How do I know about them all? My parents are contract workers in the software industry and keep moving the family every 6 months….

Remember when Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny would walk off a cliff and not fall…until. Until Bugs Bunny loaned Elmer his book on the laws of gravity. After a short read Elmer takes a long fall. Well I read the same book, but I forgot it all when I went to the shed at Mystery Spot. It reminded me of that hallway in Willie Wonka where he walked to the back of the hall and the room shrunk. In this place you do not shrink, but lean.

During a drive through the redwood forests of Santa Cruz, California, can stop to witness firsthand the effects of Bugs Bunny gravity. The Mystery Spot is 150 ft. in diameter and features a slanted shed that visitors walk through and witness strange variations of gravity, like an object rolling up a plank rather than down it.  When you walk in the house you fall sideways! The Spot’s web site speculates that aliens planted metal cones in the ground, scrambling the area’s terrestrial physics. After taking a guided tour, visitors can puzzle over whether this is truly paranormal or an optical illusion, and then trek on through the Redwoods.

Here is the spoiler:
http://www.sandlotscience.com/MysterySpots/Mystery_Spots_1.htm

Now I always thought my parents jobs were always a little slanted which explained why we kept falling out of one town into the next….

~Tyler
To find out more about Tyler visit Salem House Press and buy Tyler’s latest book “Tyler Moves to Gibsonton Florida” on Amazon.com.Keep checking back often for great cheap vacation ideas that might surprise you and become the best vacation you ever had.

Come back Every Thursday at 3pm for another post from Tyler the Boy Who is Always on the Move!