Living Next to a Cult

Superficially, my neighborhood is nice enough; a sort of gentrifying area on the banks of the Ohio River lined with parks and industry and pedophiles. It’s scenic, with rust-belt rough edges and bikers all over. There were some shootings,  including a shooting on Christmas Eve— the local news has twice reported me as “a young man on the scene,” and there is some flooding. All that was expected enough….. but I didn’t expect to live next to a cult.

Really. A cult. I was totally unprepared.

William Branham preaching by a creek.

William Branham preaching by a creek.

William Branham was born in a log cabin in 1909 in rural Kentucky and raised around Jeffersonville, Indiana. He had a vision of men falling off the Municipal Bridge, but that never happened. Nobody really knows how big his following is, or exactly what they believe. Some of his sermons are a bit, shall we say, offbeat:

Flying Saucers (UFO’s) Are Really Angels
See, the world don’t know what that is [flying saucers]. You know… You know, it’s all in… We know what it is. See? We know it’s investigating judgment Angels (You see?), and they… How that the Pentagon, all about how it comes right down to the intelligence; how they go like a flash and be gone; pull away from anything they got. See, and they don’t realize what it is. See? Let them think whatever they want to. They call them flying saucers or whatever; they don’t know. See?
And Knoweth it Not, August 15, 1965 (tape #65-0815)

People in Heaven Are Still Here, Just Moving Faster
You’re going to find out one of these days that when you go to heaven, you don’t fly off somewhere else; you’re still right here too, just in another dimension faster then this. Right through this room’s coming color. Every color shirt, dress, whatever you got on is eternal, laying right on records, going around and around the world. Every time you bat your eyes, it’s right on record. Watch, television will prove that.
Christ is Revealed in His Own Word, August 22, 1965 (tape #65-0822M)

The World is Really Square
Now, you know, sometime ago they told us that the–that when the Bible said that he saw four Angels standing on the four corners of the earth, that that couldn’t be; the earth was round. But the Bible said “four corners.” Well now, you seen two weeks ago (Three weeks ago it’s been now.), the papers packing this article; they found out that the world is square. How many’s seen that? Sure. See? I got it all copied off and just waiting for somebody to say something.
Christ is Revealed in His Own Word, August 22, 1965 (tape #65-0822M) accessed Oct 22, 2012 on a now-deleted message board thread

Weird stuff, but they seem nice enough, the culty types. The men are nondescript, but the women don’t cut their hair or wear pants and are all enviably thin and surprisingly on-trend. Anyway, he died on Christmas Eve in a firey car wreck with his family in tow.

Life is so not fair.

I know, sad. He was creepy and possibly a racist and all, but that was a long time ago and I’d like to think times have changed since then and maybe he was acting out of cultural pressure or something. Or he was a racist shit, it really doesn’t matter to me. The really spectacular part of the story is that his followers not only believe in him, but expect him to resurrect at some point and gather at his resting place on Easter.

There are better pictures of his grave, but this one has sentimental value to me.

But yeah, last Halloween my better half and I visited the grave and shambled over to nearby and tragically closed Industrial Nightmare afterward. Branham doesn’t seem to mind our good time. I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have a parking spot reserved for him outside the church. That might have been too much.

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