Reading List for December 29, 2017

Sex, Satanism and the 19th Century ‘War of the Magicians’ On History Answers, James Hoare writes about the intense rivalry among the occultists who claimed to be prophets and magicians in mid-19th century France, who gave rise to the satanic churches.


US Prisoner Gouged Out Eyes After Jail Denied Mental Health Care, Lawsuit Says In The Guardian, Sam Levin writes about Ryan Partridge, a Colorado man who, during an acute bout of schizophrenia, attempted suicide twice and plucked out his eyes and was beaten and tased  by guards in response.

The Cutthroat World of Victorian Orchid Hunters On Modern Farmer, Andrew Amelinckx writes about the men whose incursions into the tropics in the 19th century fueled the orchid craze back in Victorian England.

Bussed Out In The Guardian, the paper’s Outside In America team writes about the policy among some major cities to offer free bus tickets to homeless people who are willing to leave town in order to get their homeless population numbers and costs down.

Watching A Fall In Boulevard, Christine Spillson writes about the last public execution in the United States, which had the unlikely effect of removing the power of the state’s monopoly on violence and placing it into a chaotic mob that had assembled to watch.

The Man Whose Hobby Was Being a Hangman On Mysterious Heartland, Bruce Cline writes about George Phillip Hanna, the “Humane Hangman”, who developed a career as an itinerant volunteer hangman.

The Hunt For the Death Valley Germans On On the Other Hand, Tom Mahood writes about the 1996 disappearance of four German tourists who became stranded in Death Valley.  Thanks to Austin Bailey for suggesting.

Coates and West In Jackson In the Boston Review, Robin D.G. Kelley takes the occasion of a public dispute between Cornell West and Ta-Nehisi Coates to sum up the current state of black intellectualism and how it relates to the local movement underway to make Jackson, Mississippi the most radically fair place to live in America.

The Blueprint For the Most Radical City On the Planet On Common Dreams, Bill Quigley writes about the collection of essays that has formed the plan to make Jackson, Mississippi the aforementioned radically fair place to live.

Everybody Lies: FBI Edition On Popehat, Ken White provides some pretty compelling reasons for anybody to talk to an attorney before speaking to the FBI.

White Christianity Is In Big Trouble. And It’s Its Own Biggest Threat In the Washington Post, Charles Matthews writes about what appears to be a self-fulfilling prophecy of persecution among white evangelicals in America.


I’m always looking for things to read. If you know an interesting article, send it to me at

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