My name is Langston Kamryn, and I'm a black man who loves conspiracy theories.
That's why I, along with the beautiful oppressor's that I heart radio and big money players, have a brand new podcast called My Mama Told Me where each week me and a special guest will explore all the twisted conspiracies that the white man is keeping secret.
So listen to my mama told me available on the radio app, Apple podcast or anywhere else, that podcast. It was an unimaginable crime, we couldn't believe something like that would happen here, three people dead, all from the same family. Nobody had a clue about who or why you got eight people.
And things like that don't happen anywhere.
This is the Pickton massacre. Listen to the pectin massacre on the I Heart radio app, on Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Welcome to stuff you missed in History Class, A production of I Heart Radio. Happy Friday, everybody, I'm Tracy B. Wilson, and I'm Holly Fry. This week on the show, we talked about John Cleve Sims, who had some kind of offbeat ideas about the structure of the world. And as I was researching this, I kept thinking if this guy were alive today, he would have a YouTube channel.
It would not be a good YouTube channel, but he would have a jillion very vehement followers.
Yes. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We did not get into the fact that, like, there there's still this sort of like hollow earth pseudo science conspiracy theory that has like some devoted followers the day. And, you know, based on all scientific understanding, that is not how it works. I want to say a thing, but it's really unkind. So I'm not going to say it.
I will also say that I refrained from bringing Starwars into the discussion. Oh, yeah.
For a reason that probably is silly and not at all what you would expect, which is when you got to the part in the outline, as I was reading it and we were talking about all of these Vergis where things transition, it made me think of Kigen talking about discovering a vergence in the force, which is not quite the same at all, but it sounded enough, the same that my brain couldn't stop doing it. I also like that he was like the king of confirmation bias everywhere.
Yeah, he absolutely was. And the like. There were multiple people who encountered him and were like this guy.
He has read so much and he knows so much.
And man, he manages to warp all of it to be about that about this whole hollow earth situation.
Yeah. No matter how disconnected it is from that, he was just so it's funny to me that that both he and Edmund Halley seemed really devoted to this idea in their own way. Right. But again, Haleys was based on math, wrong math, but like actual.
Yeah, less like I have a thought or like, yeah, I had a thought and then I did some research. And here's where I think that thought since. Yeah. The one thing that that like I said in the episode, like there's part of me is like, is he an epic flimflam man.
He unlike some other fakers, pseudo science people. I'm suddenly thinking about William Mumbler and his spirit.
Furneaux He really did seem to be earnest. Yeah. Yeah. Which buys him a lot of points. And I really enjoyed the idea that his family was very devoted to him and they supported him through all of this. Yeah, that made me think of another one we recorded recently that is not out as of when we were having this discussion about Cox's army, because there were people in Cox's family who were like, oh, he's crazy.
Yeah. And this was not the same. He seemed to get pretty fairly universal support from his his immediate family. Yeah. I mean, as far as we know, the the two he had two sons that took the time to, like, write all of this stuff down and continue to to promote it. Decades after his death, the son that published the three part thing in a in a newspaper, definitely like he reprinted a lot of a lot of newspaper articles that were really critical of his father.
But he didn't seem to be like and that's why my father was wrong. Like he really more seemed to be like this was what my father was up against. And his whole. Yeah, idea is one thing that we also didn't get into was that according I think it was in one of the son's accounts of his father's life, he and his wife were apparently very devoted to her. And she did either did not speak any English or did not speak much English.
When they first met, she was French and he learned French to be able to talk with her about her like they seem to have had a really loving and affectionate relationship.
So, yeah, he is he had such weird ideas, but at the same time, he seems to have been so completely dedicated to them in a way where, like, he was not making money off of it, like some of the other flimflam people, if he was really just a flimflam person. We've talked about some flimflam people. You've got either money or notoriety. And he only he really only got the second one.
He did not make any money off of this. Yeah. If he was in a big flim flam man, he was bad at that part. Yeah.
There is a charm about him, which is tricky, I feel like when when you look at somebody like this and thankfully, you know, the outcome is fairly benign, you do see how people can get fished in into pseudoscience stuff. Yeah. And I really want to believe it.
According to the son who had written that series of newspaper articles, he had so many adherents at Harvard that Harvard had to have these sort of like a.. Pseudoscience workshops. But I didn't put that into the to the episode because I could not find confirmation of that anywhere else besides like in this one son's writing. And I was like, you seem to be really dedicated to your dad. Yeah. Where were you the best, most reliable source on this?
My my Pollyanna overly positive way that I'm leaving this subject is to think like, may we all be so imaginative and have such devoted families.
That seems great.
This week we talked about canning something, as we mentioned, you and I have each been talking about doing for a long time.
Yeah, the the episode not doing any canning of my own. Right. No, me neither. You grew up in a canning household, right? Absolutely. Yes. And you mentioned your grandmother. Yeah. Putting putting her canning jars into things so that if they broke. Yeah. So you also canning in your upbringing. Yeah.
Yeah. She would make little like fabric sacks out of like leftover quilting material and stuff because she was always fretful that Akin would break in or out of a jar would break.
She usually did the Mason Jar method and my mom did some canning, although over the years I think as with many families that phased out, yeah, we we grew essentially all our own vegetables, like I if we ever bought a vegetable in a store or something specific was happening. And it was like when my parents bought their house before I was born, they specifically bought a house that would have enough room for them to have a garden. And and that garden, No.
One, the garden was possible because my brother and I were labor for it in in the summer. Right. Like my parents both did a huge amount of work. My dad was the person who was doing the plowing and the like, the staking out the lines and a lot of the planting. And my brother and I were helping with my mom was doing all of this like helping harvest and can and freeze and all that stuff. But my brother and I were doing a lot of picking things, a lot of snapping the beans and shelling the peas and stuff like that.
And then the whole summer, there was this ongoing process of canning things and freezing things. For the most part, like most of the stuff that we grew was either canned or frozen, except for things like potatoes and onions that were kept in the cool dark of our basement.
It was a lot for sure. Yeah, that's a lot of work to provide fruits and veggies for a family of four for a year.
Yeah. Is no small task. No. And so like I have vivid memories of we were doing this on a stovetop pressure canner and my mom's like clear admonition not to touch that as long as the little indicator that that showed that there was still pressure was still sticking up. Right. You tried to open when that was when that was sticking up like it might blow up in your face. And then I also remember her having this just almost visceral disagreement with her mother in law, my dad's mother also like they also had a whole lot of garden space.
And they also were like pretty much growing all of their own vegetables. And they had a difference of opinion about whether they needed to fully cook things before canning them, which was my mom's opinion, or whether it was OK to just blanch them, which was my grandmother's opinion.
But my mom was always like any time we got canned food for my grandmother, my mom would like boil it for extra time before serving it because she just did not trust that blanching was sufficient. And I don't know what the FDA's actual rule, because in the US, here in the US, like a lot of the standards that you read about how to handle things safely, like a lot of that comes from the USDA. So anyway, like this is one of those topics that.
Near, near and dear to my heart for my childhood, but also I did not have the fondest memories of parts of the canning process.
Yeah, yeah, it was mostly for me, seemed like it's super stressed, my mom out and she was kind of an anxiety monkey anyway. So I was always like, oh, canting is happening. I'm out. Like, I'll take my tiny child briefcase. They'll be like, I'll see you at 9:00 p.m. Like I'm going to some other place.
Yeah. Yeah. So I wasn't involved in much of that, thankfully, because she was always afraid everything would explode and my dad would be like, then why are you doing this? You don't have to you. And she would be insistent that somehow it was magical or created something we would not have otherwise.
My mother was a complicated woman, but I, I it's interesting because I am one of those people who definitely does not love canned food and I don't know how much of it is just tied up with that. I associate it with that. Although I do love a canned peach or a canned pear like there's no tomorrow.
Yeah, the home canned green beans specifically were like such a staple at our house that fresh green beans when green beans were actually in season and we had just picked them. I was like, this is gross. This is not how green beans are supposed to taste. And then I was well into adulthood by the time store bought canned green beans, tasted normal to me because like there was just a flavor difference.
Some of that also being how Southern people cook green beans. Right. That's another thing that's a factor in it. Right. Like different regional cooking styles, tree vegetables and fruits differently anyway. So for some, canning is a more perfect right option than others. That's a whole other layer of like whether people think they like canned foods or not. Yeah, yeah. This is also this episode is also a case where there could have been an episode that was just the effects of canning on the world.
Yeah. Because it's one of those things like it's uh I would I would say a lot of people in the world just take it for granted that you can open up a can that has tomatoes in it in any season of the year and having tomatoes anywhere in any season like that was not a thing before. Right. You could have tomatoes if they grew near you when they were in season. And that's it. We have been during this during this time of pandemic.
I, like our household, has really shifted our our food habits a lot. And now, like almost all of our produce is coming from our local farmers' market. Yeah. And that's like realizing just how short the strawberry season is in Massachusetts. Wow. Yeah. I did not realize that until this year of my life.
All of this canning talk has given me a flashback to a brief period of time where I was working in the summers during college for the Georgia Shakespeare Festival and I was working in the costuming department. And it was one of those cases where if you have ever been to the Georgia Shakespeare Festival, which is now defunct, the costuming, like they didn't have a regular facility for a long, long time. So the costume shop kind of had to find a place in town where we could set ourselves up every summer.
And one summer we were some member of the Shakespeare Festival support community, wrangled us the basement of a country club and old country club that was not in use to use.
And when we went in to set up, we discovered that the gross basement where we were was filled with exploded canned goods that had been left there probably in nineteen sixty eight when they shut their doors and had not been touched again.
The most hilarious was like. Some of the cans and these were tin cans were rusted and had not yet exploded, but like it, you knew everything was on a hair trigger. So like there were these giant gallon sized cans of whipped cream and some of them had gone and some of them had not. So you'd have to kind of like get a plastic bag and tackle it before it went off. And like, I hope it went off in the bag and didn't.
Those are wild times.
I haven't thought about it in years until all of this talk of exploding food. Yeah. This this reminds me of a time in the relatively recent past where we had some from a small brewery that was using a new canning line and like a new canning process. And then we stored that beer in our very hot Summerville, Massachusetts kitchen.
And it all exploded. Oh, it was very sad. That is very sad, enormously alarming if you are in the room with the beer cans started exploding anyway.
Now, everyone knows more about our personal experience with Canning and and kids.
Yeah. If you want to write to us about your own personal story of exploded canned goods, we're a history podcast that I heart, radio, dotcom, everybody. You know, whatever is going on in your life, I hope everybody has a safe and well as possible.
See you next week.
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