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Saturday, February 14, 2015


   I teach kids five days a week.  Wouldn't be interesting if I grabbed my classroom's globe, sliced it in half, and convinced my students that we live on the inside?  
  They're young and I could probably could do just that. 

    Dr. Cyrus Teed did it -teaching adults- 120 years ago.  He convinced hundreds of Chicagoans that we lived inside the earth, part of a new religion he invented, called Koreshanity. The "Koreshans" bought 300 acres south of Ft. Meyers to form a new utopia, an expanding city that would eventually have room for 10 million devotees.
    It didn't work out that way; the last Koreshan died 40 years ago.  Their "utopia" is now a state park.  
   Last week we toured the remains of their failed dreams.  Most of the their furnished buildings are still there, kept in great shape by park rangers and volunteers.
    This is my bicycle and the House of the Planetary Court. 
 Seven celibate women (there were seven known planets at the time) lived in the Court's seven bedrooms.  They governed the Koreshan Unity Society.


The Art Hall was used for concerts  and elaborate performances.  Below is a photo from one of them.

  Most of the devotees were well-educated, from middle and upper class backgrounds ( Isn't that Howard Stern in the back with the big hair?)
                  Koreshans made their own electricity

     I love stumbling upon these odd pieces of history.  I learned that Doc Teed, disappointed with practicing medicine and the horrors of the Civil War, turned to alchemy.  In 1869, while charging an experimental battery, he was nearly electrocuted.  He called this near-death experience "The Illumination" in which God revealed "the truth". The Big Guy told Cyrus that he was down with all things Christian he added that we were living in a shell, you could reincarnate through celibacy, and many other grand ideas including "You Cyrus, like Jesus, will be my new prophet".    
    This should be a lesson to all of us who like to fool around with large batteries.
     It took another 25 years to convince enough people to follow the inside of shell south to Florida, not unlike Brigham Young & company heading west. 
    Teed died in 1906 but his group hung in there for another fifty years.  In they end they cut a deal with the state, "We'll give you our property if you preserve it and let people know who we were".

   The Sunshine State has done just that. The many buildings are kept up and look like they did a century ago.   There are roomy campsites, hiking trails,  and canoes to rent on the Estero River.

     It's a beautiful place to visit. You too can be a Koreshan for a day, just two hours west of Miami.  


    This concludes my recollections of our recent trip North.  Now go make your true love a valentine.

If you're in Coconut Grove, consider leaving for awhile (we're heading for the Everglades). Why?
The Grove Art Festival has taken over our fair village. Many consider it a great time to depart. 
Ye gads, they've taken "Coconut Grove" out of the name.  I see it is now the "CGAF"  which sounds like a a boring corporate giant, which, in fact, it is.

Why does everything have to grow until we can't enjoy it anymore?
I know the answer and it fills the long groove in your wallet.
For the next three days local traffic will be horrible and the crowded art show?  Too big and commercial for many of us to enjoy. Tickets have been pumped up to $15 (there's a discount for Grove residents).   It was free for 48 years...but there's a wonderful, non-crowded, free art festival coming up.
Mark your calendar for Sunday, March 1.  
That's when the Grove has its one-day, non-commercial art festival, the Gifford Land Art Stroll
More on that next week.

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