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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. Read more…