The Inside In World Of Cyrus Teed
Cyrus Teed began life on October 18th, 1839. From there, things get kind of weird. By age eleven, he had dropped out of school to work on the tow path for the Erie Canal. Although his family wanted him to become a Baptist minister, Cyrus chose to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and study medicine, or at least what passed for medicine in those days. He became what was known as an eclectic physician, or what would today be called an herbalist. Dr. Teed, as he was now known, also had a predilection for experiments involving dangerously high levels of electricity.
During one such “experiment”, Dr. Teed managed to almost electrocute himself and went unconscious. During his stupidity induced “nap time”, Dr. Teed had a vision of a woman who claimed to be the messiah. After awakening, Dr. Teed vowed to turn his scientific prowess to concentrate on all matters that would “redeem humanity.” So, he started a cult.
There are some who say that Dr. Teed’s self-induced electro-shock therapy may have caused a teensy-weensy bit of brain damage in the poor doctor as his methods, his ideas became unsound. His most interesting theory (ignoring of course his claim to have turned lead into gold through alchemy) was that the world was, in fact, hollow.
Dr. Teed, who by now had changed his name (quite eerily) to Koresh, which was Hebrew for Cyrus, theorized that the “earth” was actually inside out and that everyone was held down to the ground not by gravity, but by centrifugal force. The sun was not a star at all, but a battery operated device and the stars were mere reflections on the outside (inside?) of the planet. Dr. Teed dubbed his grand speculation Cellular Cosmogony or Koreshan Unity.
Dr. Teed began preaching the virtues of Koreshanity in 1877 and managed to find hundreds of people that wanted to believe, moving over two-hundred and fifty of them to the swamplands of Estero, FL to found his New Jerusalem. No one can say that the Koreshans were in any way lethargic. In between taking measurement on the beach to prove that the Earth (the one we’re on, not the one we’re in) was concave, they had a utilities and electrical works, a sculpture and concrete works, a tin works, a mattress making shop, a hat and basket weaving shop, a shoe shop, a blacksmith , a print shop, a laundry, a dining hall, a saw mill and a boat works
While awaiting the arrival of the Atlantic Coast Line train out of Baltimore On October 13, 1906, a group of Koreshan’s managed to get into a fight. Dr. Teed tried to break it up, but was bludgeoned about the head by the local Marshal, S. W. Sanchez, for his troubles. After posting ten dollars for the bail of each, the Koreshan’s went on about their business. Two years later, Dr. Teed died on December 22nd, 1908 from complications of those very same head wounds.
Dr. Teed had prophesied that he would be resurrected after his death, so his followers kept him propped up in a bathtub for days until health officials finally forced them to bury their mouldering messiah. He was interred in a zinc box within a concrete tomb that he had ordered constructed prior to his death. Then the waiting began. His follower’s faith began to wane as the years passed without Dr. Teed materializing as promised. On two separate occasions, a follower had tried to hurry up the process by opening up Dr. Teed’s tomb. Both went immediately insane upon laying hands on the tomb and both were institutionalized for the rest of their lives.