Danville W. Starrett, who is mentioned in the Minneapolis Tribune story below, was born in Maine on Oct. 20, 1859. He moved to California, married a woman named Mary F. Lyons and owned a company that manufactured pumps. He is listed as the patent holder on a compressed air pump and something called a “liquid-impelling apparatus." People have earned Wikipedia entries for far less.
At some point he turned his attention from manufacturing to the curative powers of the mind. He wrote several books on the topic, including “Mental Therapeutics, or How to Cure all Diseases With the Mind” (1908), “Discoveries Which Make Mental Therapeutics and the Transmission of Mental Communications an Exact Science” (1908) and “The Last Lap” (1915). He dedicated the first book to his mother, Cordelia, who was “a great root and herb doctor” in her day.
The essence of his pitch: You can harness the powers of your mind to cure any illness and live indefinitely. Did his methods work? Depends on how you define “indefinitely.” Starrett himself died in Alameda, Calif., in 1946 at the somewhat unimpressive age of 87.
Seventy Sign Pledge to
Attend Indefinite Life
Society Banquet in 2000
Oakland, Calif., Oct. 7. – (By Cosmopolitan News Service.) – Seventy residents of this city have signed a pledge that they will attend a banquet of the Indefinite Physical [Life] society at the Palace hotel, San Francisco, in the year 2000. A room has been reserved for that date.
D.W. Starrett, president of the organization, aged 62, has the appearance of a man 20 years younger. He declares that by using his system anyone can live indefinitely. Those signing the pledge have been practicing his methods of prolonging life for several months.
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The Minnesota State Fair has featured many unusual attractions in its 150-year history: death-defying aerial acts, colliding locomotives, freak shows, live animal births, the Minnesota Iceman and premature babies in incubators. Wait … what? The Minneapolis Morning Tribune was there:
This Minneapolis Tribune story is a mess. But the headline is sublime.
"We're more popular than Jesus now," John Lennon told an British journalist in 1966. A year later, the Monkees' Mike Nesmith, in the Twin Cities for a show at the St. Paul Auditorium, humbly explained his band's place in the cosmic pecking order.
Read it in the voice of Garrison Keillor for the full effect.
A musically inclined vagrant known as Banjo Ben walked the streets of Minneapolis in the city's early days. His weakness for alcohol and penchant for strong language landed him in court with some frequency. In February 1876, for example, he was sentenced to 20 days in jail for spewing obscenities at the St. Paul and Pacific depot. Later that year, he walked into the Tribune newsroom and issued an invitation to witness a spectacular feat at the new suspension bridge under construction nearby.
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