Monday, 24 June 2013

sealed objects /// Joanna Southcott's BOX

Radiograph, by Mr. Harry Price, of Joanna's box before opening. 1, the horse pistol; 2, bone dice-box; 3, steel bead double-ended fob purse, containing coins; 4, puzzle, composed of wires and bone rings; 5, 5a, silver clasps of a book; 6, a medallion; 7, one of a pair of gold inlaid tortoiseshell earrings; 8, frame enclosing miniature; 9, seal in box; 10, lock of casket; 11, 11a, hinges of casket; 12, 12a, 12c, steel bands encircling casket. Note hand-made nails, countersunk, holding casket together.

notes and queries

In the early part of the present century this spot had an additional renown. Within a few doors of the old inn, Joanna Southcott, of whom we have spoken in our notice of St. John's Wood, (fn. 1) set up a meeting-house for her deluded followers. Her disciple, Mr. Carpenter, covered the walls with strange pictures representing, as he said, visions he had received; "thousands of delusionists," observes a writer in the Dispatch, "visited the chapel, and prayed that old Joanna might speedily be delivered of the expected Shiloh. But though a silver cradle was subscribed for and presented, Nature refused to work a miracle, and no Shiloh came. After a time, Joanna and her friend Carpenter quarrelled. The old woman retired with another disciple, Mr. Tozer, to Duke Street, Lambeth, and there built another chapel, leaving Carpenter in possession of the Newington house. What he preached there we know not; but in fulness of time Joanna died, and then numbers awoke to the delusion, and wondered how they could have believed in the divine mission of the ignorant, quarrelsome old woman."

the panacea society
Various spurious boxes have been opened by Joanna's enemies, but the Real Box remains in safekeeping, till the time comes for it to be opened.

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