Benton Harbor’s Bearded Cultists Were Old Baseball’s Answer to the Harlem Globetrotters

From Mashable:

In 1903, Benjamin and Mary Purnell founded the Israelite House of David, a religious society in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

The House of David had many of the characteristics of a typical cult: a charismatic leader, apocalyptic beliefs, communal living, and strict prohibitions on sex, alcohol, and cutting one’s hair.

But they also allowed women members to vote and hold office, ran an amusement park, sent traveling bands on the vaudeville circuit — and formed a sensational baseball team.

With their long hair and beards, the House of David players drew massive crowds as they barnstormed around the country.

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