Bad Mags 2: The Strangest, Sleaziest, and Most Unusual Periodicals Ever Published by Tom Brinkmann
It's A Man's World: Men's Adventure Magazines, The Postwar Pulps Edited by Adam Parfrey
The Sparrow and the Hall by Donald Mace Williams
Zorro Rides Again (1937)
Gone With the Wind (1939)
Crime in Late 19th Century America
Mara Leveritt's Great White Whale
Due to inquiries asking what sort of stuff is published here, we have added a few pieces previously written/published by the Editor at the fanzine Fornax.
From Issue #16:
The Killer and the Doctor
In May 1887, Patrick Runde was feeling pretty full of himself. He had killed his father without anyone in law enforcement suspecting him. Now he was going to inherit the ranch that his father had built up and with it the wealth and social standing that came with it. His friend, the local political power boss, had always said that he'd make a great state senator since he'd always vote the party line. Now that his father, who abhorred politics and politicians, was out of the way, there was nothing or nobody standing in the way of his ambitions.
Runde sat contentedly at the table eating the porterhouse steak that the family cook had prepared for him. By the plate was the bottle of whiskey that he had selected for this private celebration. Life was good.
Just then Doctor Paul Walther stepped into the dining room. "I hope I'm not bothering you," the doctor said with his hat in hand along with his bag.
"Not at all," said Runde, "kind of surprised you're here though. I thought you had left for Phoenix."
"I was on my way, but I turned back. Got a lot of things on my mind that I want to talk to you about," said the doctor.
Runde replied, "Why don't you sit down and make yourself comfortable. I'll get the help to get you something to eat and drink."
After a servant came with a bottle of whiskey, Doctor Walther took a swig of it and remarked, "That was just what the proverbial doctor ordered. All that time in the hot desert."
Runde laughed, looked at the doctor and asked, "What's on your mind, Paul?"
"I've gotten to thinking about your father and how he met his untimely death. There are some things that point to you as a killer," the doctor said gravely.
Pat exclaimed, "Me a killer? You're crazy!"
The doctor replied, "Don't deny it. Given our past relationship, I really did not want to believe it. However, as I was riding to Tucson, I got to thinking about the strange fact that your father died so soon after your mother. While it's clear to me that your mother died of natural causes, I just cannot get over the fact that your father died so soon after her and so oddly."
"So are you accusing me or something?"
Doc Walther leaned forward in his chair and said, "We need to talk about this, now if you don't mind."
"All right" said Runde, "Let's talk about your suspicions."
Doc Walther placed his black bag in his lap and started talking, "Did you know that I have been a doctor right here in the Arizona Territory for 21 years? And before that, I served in the medical service in the U.S. Army for 20 years?"
Pat Runde responded, "Of course doc, it’s all you ever talk about it seems like."
The doctor narrowed his gaze at the new ranch owner and said, "You always were an insolent brat. Your parents sure spoiled you rotten and ruined you."
"Gee doc, you sure know how to praise a guy," Runde said sarcastically.
"You know, in all my years as what the injuns call a medicine man," the doctor went on, "I've handled all the problems that a frontier doctor can expect to handle as well as some completely unexpected situations."
"Are you trying to audition as a filibustering U.S. senator on my time?" Pat Runde was getting exasperated. "Please doc get on with your suspicions before I die of old age," the heir to the Runde ranch said.
"Your father died just a few days later in a strange way," Doc Walther said.
"You said his heart gave out."
"That seemed to make sense at first. You had said that he had been suffering chest pains. However, when I examined him, I found something in his throat that should not have been there. I got it out, but did not say anything about it because I wanted to believe you," the doctor said.
Runde started to feel agitated, "What did you find in his throat?"
"A feather, you know the kind you find in a pillow. A feather that had no reason to be in your father's throat," replied the doctor
"That's weird," replied Runde, "perhaps he got it in his throat while he was having convulsions in the bed."
"That's odd," replied Doctor Paul Walther, "you said that he died as peaceful as a lamb. That's your exact words."
"I might have been mistaken," Runde replied. "You are insulting my very honor insinuating that I could kill my beloved father like that."
"And there's something else. There's been talk that your father had been messing around with the widow Faherty. She's got kids and if your father married her, you could lose your entire inheritance. You obviously have a motive for murder." Doc Walther just sat there for a bit contemplating the scene. Finally, he said, "I'm going to bring this to the attention of Sheriff Mark Edgette and see what he intends to do about it."
Upon hearing this, Patrick Runde decided that he had to eliminate this threat to him and his ill gotten wealth. He stood up and tried to pull out his gun to shoot the doctor. However, the doctor pulled his gun out of his leather bag and shot Runde first.
"Doc . . . you shot me," Runde said with his last gasp.
Doctor Paul Walther got up and looked down upon Patrick Runde in a disapproving way and said, "I suppose I'm wasting my time telling you this, but I'm not really who you thought I was. You thought that since I was a man of medicine, I was a man of peace and as such an easy make. Actually, before I became a doctor, I was in the U.S. Army for twenty years and that's where I got my medical training. All that time on the frontier fighting the injuns helped me learn the fine art of the quick draw in close combat. The simple fact is that you never had a chance against me. "
From Issue #23:
The Knights Hospitallers
The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. Try that one on for size. The Military Orders of Medieval Europe have long fascinated people. Brother Knights and Brother Sergeants charging into battle fighting for the One True Religion against the Infidels whether it be the Muslims of the Middle East or the pagans of Northeastern Europe.
While the Knights Templars have received much attention from authors and scholars, they have never seemed especially interesting, at least to this writer. On the other hand, the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem aka the Knights Hospitallers seem a much more interesting group. While the Knights Templars were mainly about grabbing as much loot as they could get, the Knights Hospitallers were always a much more charitable organization. If I were a historical novelist, I would make them the subject of at least some of my works.
The Knights Hospitallers began as an Order that was primarily devoted to both charity and healing during the second half of the Eleventh Century. Originally, the Knights provided a hospice, not a true hospital. Back in those days, medical procedures were primitive. In the case of deadly disease they could do no more than ease the suffering of the dying. It was during this time that the hospice that became the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem
The origins of the Knights Hospitallers are vague as is often the case with institutions that began during the Middle Ages, but it appears that the original hospice was begun by pilgrims from the Italian city of Amalfi.
The first known governor of the hospice was Gerard who was in charge during the First Crusade (1097-1099). What we know of Gerard is mainly from the chronicle of William of Tyre. It was due to the work of Gerard that the Papal Bull of Pope Paschal II in 1113 formally recognized the Hospital as an autonomous religious institution. Interestingly enough, the pope also recognized the Hospital as consisting of not only the original institution in Jerusalem, but also controlling hospices in the Italian cities Asti, Bari, Messina, Pisa, Taranto, as well as in the French town of St. Gilles. Additionally, under the pope's terms, the Hospital was allowed to keep the tithes that it earned from its lands. Under the Papal Bull of Pope Anastasius IV, and it was exempt from the authority of the Patriarch of Jerusalem as well as from the authority of the various and sundry bishops and archbishops throughout Christendom.
As the Eleventh Century wore on, the Seljuk Turks expanded Islamic rule westward, taking territories that had been held by Christianity for centuries. This development strengthened the need for the protection of pilgrims traveling to visit the Holy Land. After the Crusaders captured the Holy Land, the area that we now call the state of Israel became known as the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Eventually, the Order gained military type missions such as protecting pilgrims on the roads in the Crusader States as well as defending those states against Islamic aggression.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Knights Hospitallers is both the extent and quality of the care given to patients in their hospital. The Hospitallers gave quality health care to everyone regardless of religion. This even extended to wounded soldiers of Islam. Their hospital's kitchen was famous for the quality of its food. This kitchen prepared special food for patients with digestive disorders and on top of that, it also cooked food in accordance to the dietary needs of all its patients regardless if they were Christian, Jewish or Islamic. Fresh fruit, meat and vegetables were regularly provided to the patients. On top of that, all of the patients had individual feather beds that were regularly changed with fresh linen. If patients needed assistance to go to the bathroom, there were always attendants there to help. The patients were regulaly bathed. Surprisingly, the hospital even had a maternity ward where wooden cribs were placed right next to the mother's bed. Based on tthe available sources, it appears that the Order's hospital was the single most advanced institution of its kind in the world.
The Knights Hospitallers were not limited to just the Holy Land. They set up orders all over Europe that were called "cammanderies." They were especially active on the Iberian Peninsula were they were at the forefront of the Christian resistance to the Islamic onslaught. When the tide turned against the Mohammedans, The Knights Hospitallers were there right in the thick of things. The hospitals that they established there were of excellent quality although its doubtful if any of their hospitals outside of the Holy Land ever rose to at least equal, if not exceed, their hospital in Jerusalem. Even during their times of warfare, most of the funds raised by their European commanderies were sent to their hospitals in Acre and Jerusalem. The Knights were so committed to healing, that they gave up their beds if that was required to care for the sick. Knights physicians set up specialized tents as an early form of field hospital. Once treated, the wounded were taken to the hospital by an early form of ambulance. The Knights were expected to give up their horses if they were needed for ambulance service. In many ways the Knights were a forerunner to the Red Cross of today.
After the Christian defeat in the Holy Land, the Knights moved first to Cyprus where they planned on being in the vanguard of a new Crusade to redeem the Holy Land from Islamic rule. However, when it became clear that the crusading spirit had pretty much died out in Europe, the Knights Hospitallers moved to Rhodes where they held out against the Turkish advance in the Aegean Sea until 1523. They then moved on to Malta where served as a bulwark of Christendom until the perfidy of Napoleon Bonaparte lead to their downfall in 1798. After the loss of Malta, the Knights eventually moved to Rome where they remain to the present day.
While at Malta, they became known as the Knights of Malta. They also changed their official name to the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta. They proved to be so effective at fighting the forces of Islam that in 1565, the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent send a 40,000 man force to capture Malta and this time put an end to the Knights for once and for all.
At Cyprus, the Iberian Peninsula, Malta and Rhodes they kept on providing medical care for the poor. They also built commercial ships and fought the Ottoman Turks. The Knights Hospitallers are also the only military Order from the Crusades to survive in some form to the present day. The modern day St John Ambulance is a descendant of the original Knights.