Saturday Scenes

Wed 13 October 2010

Aimee Semple McPherson

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 18:25

[Hi! I’m back from my writing workshop and ready to regale you with new stories! Did you miss me?]

On the 9th of October 1890, Aimee Semple McPherson was born in Ontario. She was the first famous Pentecostal evangelist, using automobiles and radio to spread the word of the Foursquare Gospel Church. She travelled around the US holding tent revivals, speaking in tongues and faith healing as a part of her sermons. She stated that Baltimore required a revival as she had seen “women were sitting in the dining room smoking with the men” and held a three week revival at the Lyric Opera House. She built a megachurch in Los Angeles which held 5,300 people and performed services three times a day to a full house.

In 1926, Aimee went for a swim and didn’t come back. She was last seen in Venice Beach with her secretary who stayed on the shore. The secretary said that Aimee went swimming in the Pacific Ocean and so she was believed to be drowned. One parishioner drowned in the ensuing search and a diver died from exposure. The beach was filled with mourners.

A month later, her mother received a ransom note requesting half a million dollars to return McPherson. Her mother threw the ransom note away, believing her daughter to be dead.

Shortly thereafter, on June 23, McPherson stumbled out of the desert in Agua Prieta, Sonora, a Mexican town across the border from Douglas, Arizona. She claimed she had been kidnapped, drugged, tortured and held for ransom in a shack by two people, Steve and Mexicali Rose. Her story also alleged that she had escaped from her captors and walked through the desert for about 13 hours to freedom.

However, her shoes showed no hint of a 13-hour walk in the desert but rather, carried grass stains. The shack was not found. McPherson had vanished wearing a bathing suit. She returned fully dressed, wearing a wristwatch (a gift from her mother) which she had not taken on the swimming trip. A grand jury convened on July 8, 1926, but adjourned 12 days later citing lack of evidence to proceed.

In 1964, Pete Seeger had a hit with a folksong which related the common view of her disappearance:

The Ballad of Aimee McPherson

Well, the Grand Jury started an investigation,
Uncovered a lot of spicy information.
Found out about a love nest down at Carmel-by-the-Sea,
Where the liquor was expensive and the loving was free.

They found a cottage with a breakfast nook,
A folding bed with a worn-out look.
The slats were busted and the springs were loose,
And the dents in the mattress fitted Aimee’s caboose.

[Insert interesting transition here] [They taught me to do that at the workshop.]

On the 9th of October 2010, these spicy photographs were taken from exciting locations all over the world:

And these are the fine upstanding photographers who have never, to my knowledge, faked their own kidnapping:

Would you like to see your photograph featured alongside these great shots?

Simply take a photo on a Saturday and tweet it to @SatScenes! Every week I retweet the Saturday Scenes and then collect them all for a special post here. We’d love to see yours.

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