Tearing the Veil of Secrecy from the Wicked House of David.....Part 1.

"TEARING THE VEIL OF SECRECY FROM THE WICKED HOUSE OF DAVID"....Part 1....this is the name given to the four part series about the sensationalized stories that appeared for 4 weeks straight back in 1923 in the famous Great Britain newspaper called the "American Weekly". Much of what was written back during these feature stories in 1923 had to do with the trials of Benjamin Purnell and the House of David versus Esther Hansel and her daughters, who had joined the colony very early on. Her and her family had supposedly been not only tricked into believing that Benjamin was who he claimed to be, but also the two daughters were part of Ben's harem of girls that were convinced by him that the only way that the female could live forever was if he planted the eternal seed of life in them. They claimed that these mischievous deeds by Benjamin upon dozens and dozens of the young females at the colony took place from roughly 1908 until the trial began in 1922. By this time Benjamin had the colony members build his elaborate Diamond House mansion which had eight bedrooms around the outside perimeter of his own private bedroom (I've seen this with my own eyes). The accusations of this heavily publicized court trial stated through several witness's testimony that nearly every evening in the middle of the night Benjamin would send for his trusted female managers of the colony, and ask them to bring certain young females thru the tunnel that led from the Shiloh Mansion (where many of them lived 4 to a room). They testified that these girls were awakened in the middle of the night, wrapped in robes, and brought through the dark tunnels. Supposedly the older females that were guiding them through the darkness would give them wine to drink and would tell them that they were about to meet their Messiah and would be told the greatest secret of their lives, and that they should obey him at all costs. The testimony went on to say that these young girls were brought into the Diamond House mansion through the end of the tunnel which terminated in the basement (we also witnessed this very spot while doing restoration work there back in 2004). The girls were brought up into the third floor of the mansion which was a giant ballroom that Benjamin used to dance and entertain them in (again...I've seen this room). They spoke of beautiful music and lots of wine, and eventually the seventh messenger sitting on the edge of the bed with them, explaining that he had to "purify their blood and plant the eternal seed of life in them". The testimony went on to say that because these young girls believed so strongly that Benjamin was their Messiah and the son of God, that there was nothing they could do but to give in at this point. Court documents show that dozens of interviews were made with House Of David members, one of which was the father of the art department director Frank Rosetta. His father's name was Emil Rosetta, and he testified that he, in fact, was one of the men who helped build the tunnels. He told during his court testimony that the tunnel system of the colony was very elaborate, with many entrances and exits in places that you would never imagine. Ultimately at the end of a very lengthy court trial, and facing strong possibilities of being prosecuted, Benjamin Purnell offered Mrs. Hansel and her daughters a very hefty sum to settle the case, which they did accept ($70,000 back in 1923....hmmm??!!). Immediately after the trial Mrs. Hansel wrote a very fascinating book calling it "Virgin's Vendetta", with copies of the prosecuting attorney's opinion of Benjamin Purnell on the inside cover. I searched for 20 years for that very book and finally found a nice copy of it stuck in a hidden closet inside the Diamond House mansion while we were restoring it. That very room happened to be Etidorpha Moore's private room, who was supposedly a long-time lover of Ben's and had his child out of wedlock (they called her the "Sunshine Girl" at the colony, but she died at a young age). What I read in that small, fascinating book, I will not put in print....!! The opinions of the media, and many folks that have pointed fingers at Benjamin Purnell for the past century are not necessarily opinions that I agree with. But because I look at this story from a fascinating historical perspective, I am giving you the historical information that is available for anyone to read if they dig as deep as I have. To be continued....


The Tunnels....Oh the Tunnels..!!

I found it quite fascinating that as I began to dig deep into the House of David story so much of the mystery that draws you in has to do with the unknown! And in such a secretive, private, and almost extinct society, how was a guy like myself to ever get to the REAL truth behind all of the layers of secrecy that had been in place for nearly a century? The more I was able to search out and find as far as written documents, the more I began to believe that the rumors of tunnels were probably a whole lot more than rumors. During this time period of my super intensive research project, I decided to have my television turned off and disconnected for an entire 14 year period. This allowed me total clarity of my time to focus on the massive amount of reading, research, and digging for the truth. During this time-frame I was able to read through volumes and volumes and volumes of books. I was able to locate over 300 full newspaper accounts of the story. And I located a massive amount of documented private interviews, thousands of pages of court testimony, and a pile of private diaries that unfolded the hidden secrets of this fabulous story! The more I uncovered, the more I desired to learn a greater number of answers. It was during this 14 year period that I was able to become great friends with not only Donnie Robertson of the House of David, but also Lloyd Dalager, Charles Antonopolus, Paul Johnson and several others that had lived right there on the colony grounds for all of their lives. It was at the point of getting to know all of these men for a number of years, that I was given some very detailed information regarding one of the most fascinating aspects of the story. They taught me that because of the fact that Benjamin Purnell had in his teachings that the colony members would live into paradise, he had his House of David craftsmen bulid giant vaults in the underground tunnels between the Shiloh mansion and the Diamond House mansions. They took me to several different spots on the colony grounds and showed me specifically the locations of different entrances and exits to various parts of the tunnel system. They shared with me that during the 1912 through 1925 era it was standard protocol that as the money of the colony came into headquarters, it was counted by the ladies who worked in the office, some of it was taken to Farmers & Merchants Bank in BH for the purpose of writing checks, but the majority of it was placed in their own "Cash Office" which was a colony only bank right there in Shiloh. They explained that because of the massive amount of money that came in on a daily basis (Not only from the amusement park income, but also from the cruise ships, thousands of acres of farmland, foundries, factories, baseball teams, traveling bands, their coal mine, lumber business, furniture factory, the diamond mine income, etc.) that the amount of money on a daily basis was absolutely overwhelming. Lloyd shared with me that when he was in his teens he would stand with his father Hans, and his uncle Chris Dalager as the ladies in the Shiloh "Cash Office" would separate into huge piles the $1 bills, $5 bills, $10 and $20 bills and the Dalager's job was to safely transport these wooden boxes of cash to the F & M Bank in BH and have it converted into $100 $500 and $1000 bills, and sometimes bars of gold. He said they would bring a new box of the larger bills back to the colony, at which time they were tightly bundled and placed down inside the vaults in the tunnels. He said that they were taught to believe that they could never ever touch those vaults, because the fact that the money they were putting in them was the money that the colony would someday have to use to assure that the "Ingathering" of 144,000 people would be able to happen. His true feelings as I spoke to him were that the money should have never been put in those vaults, and he had terrible feelings that over the last three quarters of a century the vaults may have become ruined from moisture and that the contents could possibly be ruined. We often spoke at length with several of the other members of the colony as to what to do about these underground vaults and that the money now buried in the ground could easily rebuild and restore every piece of the House of David, rather than let it all fall down around us. We even went so far as to contact the company that owns the special equipment in the City of Chicago, that they use to go down underneath the streets and search thru water and sewer lines with an eye on the end if a gigantic computerized cable. The man that we spoke to was extremely excited about the fact that he had no doubt of the possibilities of locating exactly where these faults were situated. Prior to speaking to that gentleman we also spoke with several veterans of war that had been called "tunnel rats" and were not afraid to go deep into the ground through these dark tunnels to try to help us locate these vaults. The use of a human to do this search was later ruled out because of our fear that Benjamin probably surely had his men booby-trap the tunnels to fend off any possible intrusion into his private underground stash. We also feared that there would be a strong possibility of some type of deadly gas that would be released upon entering a certain portion of the tunnels. We now began to focus simply on the gentleman with the computerized system out of Chicago, simply because of the fact that he could stand on the top of the ground, and know every square inch of what was inside those tunnels without actually sending anybody down. But ultimately he demanded one third of anything that was found beneath the earth, and all of the guys felt this could amount to him making millions. They determined that one bar of gold alone would be worth a massive amount of money, not to mention the huge amount of large cash bills, if they were still able to be used. In the end, the House of David members have to have 100% agreement and all decisions, and although all of these men were in full agreement, we could not get Willie or Wilma to go along with our ideas. They simply refused and said "Tunnels don't exist, so stop talking about them, End of story". To sit back and watch the next 10 years of destruction of so many of the beautiful and important buildings that could have been saved, and to give private tours of the Shiloh mansion myself to literally thousands of fascinated people, and on a rainy day experience the massive destruction going on just made me sick. Even in poor old Lloyd's room where we had a 5 gallon bucket catching the rain water near the head of his bed on a heavy rain (Keep in mind he was on the first floor of a four-story home), it still just makes me absolutely sick to my stomach watching what has been done over the last three years at the Shiloh mansion and knowing that Lloyd could have experienced all of this beauty during his lifetime, rather than happening after his death. Now the both Shiloh and Diamond House have become completely private, gated off and fenced with 20 foot tall iron fencing all the way around the property. To say that "buried treasures" will remain forever on those grounds is a major understatement. There's a whole lot more to the story than this, but I'm running out of energy, so until next time!