New Story: The Cosmic Church of Truth

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In that little blue house in North Riverside, the spirits spoke through Ethel Tunks and told her she and Harold should found The Cosmic Church of Truth. A headline told readers, “Take a tour of the city’s nether world from séances to a visit to a haunted house.” Half a century later, though the Tunkses are gone, The Cosmic Church of Truth continues in its fourth location.

From the JaxPsychoGeo Archives: Dine with the Man in Green

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He lived in the tiny “cottage” on top of the Florida Life Building of the “Laura Street Trio.” For 35 years, he operated Berney’s Restaurant where Bark Downtown is now. As reported in Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Time magazine, Bernard Berney wore all green from head to toe. So did his Boston Terrier Peggy. In the restaurant, the chairs, booths, floor tiles, columns, menus and the bar itself were green. People called him a leprechaun. But he wasn’t Irish. He was Russian. In the 1990s, 30 years after closing, the bar, tables, chairs, and mirror were covered in dust like Miss Havisham’s Wedding.

Friday Musicale: Riverside’s Music of the Spheres, Channeled through Jax

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The firebomb lobbed into the Friday Musicale burnt down the old building, but couldn’t end the music. 

Claudia L’Engle Adams, singer and pianist, founded the Ladies’ Friday Musicale in her downtown home in 1890 and died there on East Monroe Street five years later, 29 years old. Newspapers listed no cause.

Across the next century, vampires with violins melted clocks, sopranos commanded, with voice alone, the worldwide night, and frog heartbeats replicated the Music of the Spheres.

Looking Back at Last Year’s Hurricanes

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It’s been a year. As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas, and scientists prognosticate that Climate Change may bring about Category 6 hurricanes, I look back at the homage I wrote for those unsung heroes, the linemen, after Hurricane Irma.

Springfield Hospital: Part 3 of 3

Click below for the last story in the three-part series on Springfield Hospital. The story has never been fully told before now:

In this last installment, the newspaper-described “tall attractive blonde” speaks in court, an abortionist skips town, another abortionist dies in jail, police find a “little black book” with names of hundreds of possible patients throughout Florida and Georgia, and Dr. Weathers appeals to the Florida Supreme Court.

Springfield Hospital, Part Two

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The story of Springfield Hospital has never been fully told before now. Part Two brings the disreputable Dr. Alvah Weathers suffering dizzy spells in court, bones found buried on East 27th Street, the testimony of a so-called “comely blonde,” contraception information labeled obscenity, and Celia Settle finding her birth father, 70 years after Dr. Weathers faked her birth certificate. 

New Story: Springfield Hospital

Click below for the first story of a three-part series.

The story’s never been fully told before now. Two decades before Roe v. Wade, disreputable clinics like Springfield Hospital offered dangerous operations for women in desperate situations.

Weathers AP photo

Other women gave up their children, for which Dr. Alvah Weathers faked birth certificates. Seven decades later, men and women who consider themselves “Weathers babies” still try to find the true identity of their birth parents.

Where Once Stood a Village Called Dames Point

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“I’m really scared of it,” 77 year Mabel Emory said of the Dames Point Bridge. It was 1984. The Jacksonville Transportation Authority told her to get her house out of its way. Whether the old Spanish coquina well were still there, wherever the Timucuan artifacts went, where the old village of Dames Point disappeared, the bridge now rises, just down and across from Goat Island.

 On August 23 at 6:30 pm at the Jacksonville Historical Society, Tim Gilmore will launch, read from, and sign his newest book, Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida vs. Rollians Christopher.

You are invited: https://www.facebook.com/events/314940972382209/

Goat Island, Christopher’s Pier, Rattlesnake Hunting, a Man Shot in the Face, and Tim Gilmore’s Upcoming Book Launch at the Jacksonville Historical Society

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On August 23 at 6:30 pm at the Jacksonville Historical Society, Tim Gilmore will launch, read from, and sign his newest book, Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida vs. Rollians Christopher. (Your invitation is at the bottom of this post.)

Rollians Christopher, 1955, photograph unattributed, courtesy Florida Times-Union

Here’s an early version of a story that makes its way into the book, a story about Christopher’s Pier, the tavern that protruded from the fishing village over the river for decades, about a Yellow Fever quarantine hospital, about a fisherman whose legs were car tires, about shrimp boats and hunting rattlesnakes, about a man shot in the face.

Goat Island, 1955, prior to its development into Blount Island, photograph unattributed, courtesy Florida Times-Union

You are invited: https://www.facebook.com/events/314940972382209/

Goat Island, the Bartchletts, and Tim Gilmore’s New Book, Goat Island Hermit

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On August 23 at 6:30 pm at the Jacksonville Historical Society, Tim Gilmore will launch, read from, and sign his newest book, Goat Island Hermit: The State of Florida vs. Rollians Christopher.

Here’s an archived story about the Bartchletts, who lived on a different part of Goat Island. In it, you’ll find art made on sawfish bills and manatee ribs and a pretty girl milking a goat.

You are invited: https://www.facebook.com/events/314940972382209/