The Newtown Pentacle

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Archive for April 29th, 2010

Searching for Gilman

with 11 comments

- photo by Mitch Waxman

For several months I have been searching Calvary Cemetery in a non systematic manner for 2 particular locations. Thwarted time and again by false leads and incorrect addressing, both sites have remained elusive. One grave is the final resting place of Tess Gardella- the actress who portrayed Aunt Jemima- and the other is that of an enigma from the early 20th century whose name was Gilman.

from wikipedia

Aunt Jemima is a trademark for pancake flour, syrup, and other breakfast foods currently owned by the Quaker Oats Company. The trademark dates to 1893, although Aunt Jemima pancake mix debuted in 1889. The Quaker Oats Company first registered the Aunt Jemima trademark in April, 1937.

The name “Jemima” is biblical in origin. Jemima is the King James Version’s rendering of the feminine Hebrew name יְמִימָה (Yəmīmā), the first of Job’s daughters born to him at the end of his namesake book of the Bible.

The term “Aunt Jemima” is sometimes used colloquially as a female version of the derogatory label “Uncle Tom”. In this context, the slang term “Aunt Jemima” falls within the “Mammy archetype”, and refers to a friendly black woman who is perceived as obsequiously servile or acting in, or protective of, the interests of whites. The 1950s television show Beulah came under fire for depicting a “mammy”-like black maid and cook who was somewhat reminiscent of Aunt Jemima. Today, the terms “Beulah” and “Aunt Jemima” are regarded as more or less interchangeable as terms of disparagement in popular discourse.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Somewhere in the viridian depths of Calvary Cemetery lies an unremarked merchant from Massachusetts, who died in an accident along the delirious Newtown Creek in 1931. No obituary I can find discusses him, and Gilman slid unnoticed into the hallowed loam of Calvary’s charitable sections. His anonymity came to an end when, according to neighborhood sources and contemporary diarists, a relict 3 masted schooner arrived at the Penny Bridge docks and ordered an eccentric monument be erected on Gilman’s resting place. The captain of that black ship, a leathery bastard named Marsh, collected Gilman’s belongings and sailed via Newtown Creek to the East River, turning North toward Hell Gate- ultimately disappearing into the mists of Long Island Sound heading for New England.

from noaa.gov

Click here for : Hell Gate and Its Approaches

This nautical chart depicts Hell Gate, a narrow channel on the East River, at the confluence of the Harlem River, which connects Long Island Sound with New York Harbor. The chart shows Hell Gate in 1851, which is the year that the U.S. Army began blasting ledges and rocks within Hell Gate to ensure safe passage through the channel.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Rumors that this man was the same Gilman mentioned by members of the Boston Police Department in 1920, in connection with investigations into a string of sensational murders and for connections to a certain group of anarchists thought to be operating within the city. The Back Bay area of Boston, of course, is associated with the illustrious architect Arthur Delevan Gilman- but there doesn’t seem to be any involvement with Calvary’s mysterious Gilman other than a tangential coincidence of names.

from wikipedia

The Back Bay neighborhood was created when a parcel of land was created by filling the tidewater flats of the Charles River. This massive project was begun in 1857. The fill to reclaim the bay from the water was obtained from Needham, Massachusetts. The firm of Goss and Munson, railroad contractors, built 6 miles (9.7 km) of railroad from Needham, and their 35-car trains made 16 trips a day to the Back Bay. The filling of present-day Back Bay was completed by 1882; filling reached the existing mainland at Kenmore Square in 1890, and finished in the Fens in 1900. The project was the largest of a number of land reclamation projects, beginning in 1820, which, over the course of time, more than doubled the size of the original Boston peninsula. It is frequently observed that this would have been impossible under modern environmental laws.

Back Bay’s development was planned by architect Arthur Gilman with Gridley James Fox Bryant. Strict regulations produced a uniform and well-integrated architecture, consisting mostly of dignified three- and four-story residential (or once-residential) brownstones.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Both saint and sinner alike can be found in the emerald devastations of First Calvary- governors, mayors, and priests share in the loam with common laborer and notorious gangster. There are multitudes here, vast tomb legions awaiting only the advent of their messiah to rise and walk the earth. Gilman is amongst the many, lost in the crowd. I will find him, and the notable monument raised in his honor- it is just a matter of time.

from wikipedia

While the Christian doctrine of resurrection conforms to Jewish belief, there is, however, a minority point of view, held by certain Jewish mystics and others,[who?] which asserts that those Jewish beliefs are in contradiction with the resurrection as taught by Isaiah (Isaiah 8:16 and 26:19) and Daniel (12:1 and 13) in which the resurrection was understood as being a doctrine of physical ‘Rebirth’.

Jesus appears to have been in general agreement with the position held by the Pharisees, as illustrated by his response to a question regarding marriage at the resurrection (Matthew 22:23-32, Mark 12:18-27 and Luke 20:27-40).

Most Christian churches continue to uphold the belief that there will be a general resurrection of the dead at “the end of time”, as described Paul when he said, “…he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world…” (Acts 17:31 KJV) and “…there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15 KJV).

Many of the early Church Fathers cited the Old Testament examples listed in the Judaism section above as either foreshadowing Jesus’s resurrection, or foreshadowing or prophesying a future resurrection of all the dead.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Gilman, I have no first name or exact date of interment- which intensifies the difficulty in locating him- was supposedly a dealer in far eastern art. What his purpose was in coming to the Newtown Pentacle remains shadowed. Veiled references to the illegal importation of statuettes from the south Pacific, and distribution of these items to radical theosophists and heretic Masons in the Greenpoint and Maspeth neighborhoods can be gleaned from antiquarian sources but nothing definite enough for the consideration of the Lords and Ladies of Newtown has emerged. The statuettes it is said, are the product of the lost Saudeleur culture from Nan Madol found on fabled Pohnpei, and an item of particular interest to certain occultists.

from wikipedia

Nan Madol was the ceremonial and political seat of the Saudeleur dynasty, which united Pohnpei’s estimated 25,000 people. Set apart on the main island of Pohnpei, it was a scene of human activity as early as the first or second century AD. By the 8th or 9th century islet construction had started, but the distinctive megalithic architecture was probably not begun until perhaps the 12th or early 13th century.

Little can be verified about the megalithic construction. Pohnpeian tradition claims that the builders of the Lelu complex on Kosrae (likewise composed of huge stone buildings) migrated to Pohnpei, where they used their skills and experience to build the even more impressive Nan Madol complex. However, this is unlikely because radiocarbon dates have placed the construction of Nan Madol prior to that of Lelu. Like Lelu, one major purpose of constructing a separate city was to insulate the nobility from the common people.

A local story holds that when Nan Madol was being built a powerful magician living in the well inhabited region on the northwest of the island was solicited, and that his help was a major factor in completing the buildings. In particular, he was responsible for supplying the huge stone “logs” used in much of Nan Madol by “flying” them from their source to the construction site.

…Supposedly there was an escape tunnel beginning at the center of Nan Madol and boring down through the reef to exit into the ocean. Scuba divers continue to look for this “secret” route, but so far a complete tunnel has yet to be discovered.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Gilman is meant to have been killed in a curious accident on the Queens bank of Newtown Creek in Blissville, when a bail of paper fell from a second story warehouse window along the negligent shoreline of the Newtown Creek. Crushed, the peculiar condition of his body was remarked on by several hardened Detectives used to such sights. Speculations that he had been previously deformed by Polio or some other childhood disease were made, but before our era of “antigenic vaccination as public policy” was enacted, monstrous alterations of the human form by disease organisms were a common sight. Disfigurements caused by Smallpox and Leprosy or the ravages of Tertiary Syphilis are seldom observed by we happy few that enjoy the luxury of western modernity.

from wikipedia

Tertiary syphilis usually occurs 1–10 years after the initial infection, however in some cases it can take up to 50 years. This stage is characterized by the formation of gummas, which are soft, tumor-like balls of inflammation known as granulomas. The granulomas are chronic and represent an inability of the immune system to completely clear the organism. They may appear almost anywhere in the body including in the skeleton. The gummas produce a chronic inflammatory state in the body with mass effects upon the local anatomy. Other characteristics of untreated tertiary syphilis include neuropathic joint disease, which is a degeneration of joint surfaces resulting from loss of sensation and fine position sense (proprioception). The more severe manifestations include neurosyphilis and cardiovascular syphilis. In a study of untreated syphilis, 10% of patients developed cardiovascular syphilis, 16% had gumma formation and 7% had neurosyphilis.

Neurological complications at this stage can be diverse. In some patients manifestations include generalized paresis of the insane, which results in personality changes, changes in emotional affect, hyperactive reflexes and Argyll-Robertson pupil. This is a diagnostic sign in which the small and irregular pupils constrict in response to focusing the eyes, but not to light. Tabes dorsalis, also known as locomotor ataxia, a disorder of the spinal cord, often results in a characteristic shuffling gait.

- photo by Mitch Waxman

Somewhere, amongst those who eternal lie, is Gilman. The disturbing detail that troubled the Detectives who investigated the reports of his death, the one that made for saloon conversation and idle speculation by neighborhood wags, was the fact that this deceased dealer in illicit eastern art had six fingers on both hands and that these polydactyl appendages were webbed all the way to the nail beds. Not much could be said about Gilman’s face, for the rodent population of Newtown Creek had discovered him long before the Police did.

Additionally, his shorter than normal legs also bore long healed scars that suggested some intense surgical experience- participation in the Civil War was speculated on by area Police, when Gilman would have been a young man. Amongst his few possessions was a watercolor postcard of some southern Plantation labeled as “Carfax Plantation, James River, Virginia”, which was quite out of place in the pockets of a Massachusetts trader who died alone during the middle of the night along Newtown Creek. Further speculations held out the possibility that Gilman hailed from a degenerate or illegitimate offshoot of the famed Gilman family of Exeter, New Hampshire.

Where and who is he? Where is Gilman?

from wikipedia

Winthrop Sargent Gilman (1808-1884) was head of the banking house of Gilman, Son & Co. in New York City. He was born in Marietta, Ohio to merchant Benjamin Ives Gilman and Hannah (Robbins) Gilman. Benjamin Ives Gilman, born in 1766, was a native of Exeter, New Hampshire, where his ancestors were among the most prominent early settlers and where he graduated in the first class of the Phillips Exeter Academy.

In 1837 Winthrop Sargent Gilman let the abolitionist Elijah Parish Lovejoy hide his printing press in one of Gilman’s warehouses in Alton, Illinois. In the ensuing riot the angry mob burned Gilman’s warehouse to the ground and killed Lovejoy. Following the Alton riots, Gilman moved to New York City and entered the family banking business.

He was married to Abia Swift Lippincott Gilman, who in 1900 narrowly escaped burning to death from a gasoline torch in front of the Charles Scribner mansion at 12 East Thirty-eighth Street.

Winthrop Gilman had an abiding interest in science and built a private observatory at his home ‘Fern Lodge’ at the Palisades, New York, where he frequently observed meteors.

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