The Failed Joke of the Veiled Prophet: How a Fake Illinois Klansman Became the Grim Symbol of St. Louis's Happiest Civic Celebration

The Failed Joke of the Veiled Prophet: How a Fake Illinois Klansman Became the Grim Symbol of St. Louis's Happiest Civic Celebration

The Failed Joke of the Veiled Prophet: How a Fake Illinois Klansman Became the Grim Symbol of St. Louis's Happiest Civic Celebration

The Failed Joke of the Veiled Prophet: How a Fake Illinois Klansman Became the Grim Symbol of St. Louis's Happiest Civic Celebration

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Overview

A WHITE SHEETED THUG in a pointed hat, with pistol and shotguns at the ready. Was he a symbol of privilege and power?

Of class and racial control? If so, why was he surrounded by a bug, a lion, and a lady with a cup of hot chocolate?

The year was 1878. In St. Louis, Missouri, tens of thousands of spectators cheered the downtown arrival of a mysterious "Sublime Hime-uk-amuk of the Veiled Prophets." Decorated floats and cowled men with burning torches moved through the streets and stopped streetcars in their tracks. Some on the floats appeared to be guilty of affectionate embraces even as myriads gaped. Yet most of the "women" were upward-striving men in costume. So were the gods, goddesses, nymphs, and satyrs.

That first Veiled Prophet Parade was a grand success. As was the formal, jewel-encrusted dance afterward, which must have degenerated into a vigorous skipping match once the creaky old folks sat down and left the floor to the youngsters. Throngs were captivated for decades by this annual Parade and its resplendent dance featuring a teenage Queen of Love and Beauty - such as sitcom actress Ellie Kemper, who later apologized for having been one.

Yet in the background for the past score of years has brooded a mysterious, hooded man whose image is as sinister as a Confederate general on his metal horse.

He refuses to die. Who was he?

After 143 years, we now have the answer.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780999014226
Publisher: City Desk Publishing
Publication date: 02/01/2022
Pages: 134
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

George Garrigues has a bachelor of arts degree in government from University of California, Riverside, and a master of arts in journalism from UCLA.His academic teaching and administrative positions have been at the University of Southern California, Western Washington State College, University of the Pacific, Wayne State University, University of Bridgeport, and Lincoln University of Missouri.He has written or edited for the Los Angeles Times, The Record of Bergen County, Wave Publications of Los Angeles and other newspapers. He spent a sabbatical year volunteering for Global Information Network in New York City. He went bankrupt trying to run a weekly newspaper in Oregon.Garrigues has been a public information officer for the State of California, the County of Los Angeles, and the International Labor Office in Geneva, Switzerland.At the age of thirteen he tossed the San Francisco News onto customers' front steps west and south of Buena Vista Park and sold copies to arriving streetcar passengers on the southwest corner of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue.In high school he set type by hand in a composing stick.In the 1950s, he was a teenage copyboy on the San Francisco Examiner (which still had spittoons near the doorways and an old telegrapher getting race results via Morse code from the tracks). A college student in that decade, he got printer's ink on the cuffs of the white dress shirts he affected at the time.Some of it must have soaked into his blood.

Lisa Gale Garrigues is a writer, editor, and media maker.
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