Naked In the Woods and Gary Coleman Goes to Bat


Look for a ridge to build in for the next couple of days. I suspect that we will be fine in the morning but by late in the day humidity levels will increase rapidly and it will be pretty uncomfortable by day’s end. We probably won’t reach the upper 90s on Monday but look for upper 90’s on Tuesday with the heat index in the 105 range. At 6 pm on Sunday the heat index was 112 in Memphis. A front comes down to bring rain and relief on Wednesday. It will be close enough to our south on Thursday to warrant a chance for rain and then cooler and drier conditions, pretty uncommon in mid August during these trying times of global warming, will set up for the latter part of the week into next weekend.

Going Green?

On This Date in 1913, Joseph Knowles went green before going green was cool. In the midst of urbanization in the early 20th century, there was quite the “back to nature” movement going on in the nation and Joseph Knowles in Maine decided to show that it was possible for man to get back to his roots. So, on Aug. 4, 1913 he dropped his drawers and headed into the wilderness. The newspapers followed his two month odyssey and trumpeted poetic prose such as “NAKED HE PLUNGES INTO MAINE WOODS TO LIVE ALONE TWO MONTHS”

So, if he’s alone in the woods, how do the newspapers follow him? He sends them messages written with the burned end of a stick on birch bark. The Boston Post reported the messages as soon as they got them and sales skyrocketed. Rumors started that the loin cloth that he wore was really a bear skin he purchased for $12! The scandal! Well, upon his return, he set the record straight…as in straight to the bank. He published a book about his adventures and it became an immediate and long lasting best seller. Maybe it was a reality tv before there was even tv! See, there is a modern day author who claims it was all a hoax! Jim Motavalli (available on Amazon)says that it was all a part of “nature fakery” that was common in early 20th century and his foray into the wilderness was but a stunt to increase readership in the Boston Post. I wondered how the newspapermen were able to find all of those bits of treebark with messages on them. Well, anyway, if it was a hoax..it worked.

William Randolph Hearst gave Knowles a chance to redeem himself in California with observers to make sure it was all on the up and up. Hearst must have paid a lot of money. I mean, who wants to watch some guy wandering around naked in the woods for two months. A third expedition was more interesting. This time, he was supposed to cavort around with a naked woman! Now for that one, I bet whomever was sponsoring the event to get people to pay to watch. But, alas, it didn’t come to pass. The partner who called herself “Dawn Woman” backed out of the deal. Oh, it wasn’t running around naked with a slightly overweight middle aged man she objected to…no…she recanted when she found out she had to run around in the cold and kill wild animals. I guess going all the way back to nature has its limitations.

Hoaxes are not limited to early 20th century America. What could be more exciting than a naked guy running around in the woods? How about Gary Coleman getting ejected from a baseball game. The minor league Madison Mallards signed the Different Strokes star to a contract to “play baseball”. He recently came to bat and was immediately ejected for having too much pine tar on a super-ball filled bat. Coleman even bumped the umpire. Gary though conveniently could be found during the game in the stands signing autographs for $20 a pop. America remains gullible nearly 100 years after Joe Knowles went naked into the wilderness. If you want to see the Gary Coleman at the Bat, click below.

Video: Gary Coleman Gets Ejected

One Response

  1. Oh, Thanks! Really interesting. Big ups!

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