PARADISE LOST..THE RISE AND FALL OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID. Part 1.

"PARADISE LOST"....Detroit Free Press 8/9/87. THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF DAVID. "It was Paradise on Earth~until allegations of sexual impropriety wound through the community like a serpent through grass..." And so it is written (and extremely well documented) that even back at the House of David starting in 1906 charges of immortality were being leveled by young colony women against Benjamin Purnell, beginning with young female member Helen Craft. And then in 1910 a "morals warrant" was issued for his arrest, but when the authorities went to serve him the members of the colony said that he had gone to Canada. In 1914 Moses Clark accused Benjamin of seducing his wife. That very same year Lena and a Augusta Fortney charged that Benjamin had debauched them as well. In 1919 Isabel Prichard filed suit against Benjamin claiming that he had raped her two daughters. Then in 1923 Ruth Bamford Reed and her sister Gladys charged Benjamin with rape and successfully sued for $200,000. At that time there were several other accusations on file, including the rumor that at least one young woman had been killed to hide the goings-on at the colony. Though numerous warrants were issued on a range of charges, Benjamin Purnell was never arrested (can you spell PAYOFF..?!!!). In 1922 Benjamin went into hiding, and it was thought and rumored that he was secretly hidden in many of the different House of David properties around the world. For nearly 4 years he was able to stay out of the site of these charges and the feds searching high and low for him. Finally in November 1926 Bessie Woodworth, a harem girl of Benjamin's, went to both the Berrien County Prosecuting Attorney as well as the Detroit Free Press to announce that he was actually hiding inside the secret rooms of the Diamond House Mansion. Federal agents and lawmen pushed their way into his mansion and found him laying sick in bed with tuberculosis and diabetes. They charged Benjamin Purnell with a mountain of accusations and the most publicized trial of the 20th century began. Lasting four months and consisting of over 15,000 pages of testimony (all of which I owned and read), including 13 key female witnesses that claimed that Benjamin Purnell had forced them to have sex with him as part of his "purification rite" known as "blood cleansing". The Detroit Free Press began to name these girls as the "Shiloh Girls", referring to the building where Benjamin allegedly had seduced them in the early times prior to the Diamond House. Finally after hundreds of witnesses and the most publicized trial in the history of the country, Judge Fead ruled that Benjamin and his wife Mary must stop teaching immortality in the House of David and that they must remove themselves from the colony within 30 days. But on December 16, 1927 Benjamin Purnell passed from this life. Headlines around the world stated "KING BEN IS DEAD", and that in his own way, he again beat all charges. Back at the House of David colony mass pandemonium broke out, as the over 1,000 followers of his teachings believed that he was leading them into Paradise on Earth, and he taught that they would never experience death, and yet now he's dead. Nothing in any teaching prepared them for this day, absolutely NOTHING. Ultimately almost all of the members stayed the course, and somehow they were able to deal with the sudden death of their Messiah. After having his body embalmed and placed into a hermetically sealed glass coffin, they carried him up into his private quarters on the second floor of his Diamond House Annex, where he remains to this day. For the next 70 years the House of David hired different morticians to come in routinely and check on Ben's body and treat him with a chemical to assure that he was not decaying. Eventually that process was taught to Willie Robertson, who remains at the colony, but is in very bad health and roughly 90 years old. I have not been informed in several years as to who now is the person watching over Benjamin's tomb. What I can tell you is that Benjamin simply looks like an old gray-haired long whiskered man who just laid down and went to sleep. I personally would not recommend anyone going out of their way to view his tomb, as sometimes our imaginations work in greater ways than the brutal realities of life... To be continued...