Quick, think of a cult leader named Koresh. I’ll bet you thought of David Koresh, the self-proclaimed prophet whose compound in Waco, Texas was famously raided during the Clinton administration. But this article is about an earlier cult leader named Koresh (his real name was Cyrus Teed) who lead a colony in Estero, Florida.
Koresh believed among other things that the Earth was hollow, and that we live inside of it, being held to the ground by centrifugal force. He said he held the secrets to alchemy. He claimed to be the messiah (David Koresh more humbly claimed only to be a prophet), and said he would rise from the dead to rule heaven on Earth. The article is about what happened when he died and stayed dead.
As described by Henry D. Silverfriend, Vice President of Koreshan University, Koresh’s followers watched his body for a few days before they finally decided to bury it:
“Three factions were formed. One that Dr. Teed was dead and would never rise again. Another took the view that Teed had failed in his estimate of himself as the Messiah. The third faction believed he would fulfill all he said and rise glorified. They believed the tomb was like his alchemic laboratory and that he was transforming his mortality into immortality. When his corruptible body had become incorruptible they held that he would come forth and establish his kingdom of heaven on earth.
“The strain of waiting was very great and many of our faith became utterly hopeless. At length Emil Fisher, a German member of the Unity, believed that since two years had elapsed since the death of Teed and nothing had come as a revelation from him, it would be right to look into the tomb. He felt that we had been too long hoping against hope that Dr. Teed would break through the concrete tomb and show himself in the splendor of a Christ resurrected.
“Fisher went to the island and approached the tomb. He had no sooner laid hands on it than he swooned and fell. Several persons had accompanied him at a distance. When they hastened toward him he rose and came at them, a raving maniac. It was necessary to bind him.”
Another person tried to open the tomb and was also stricken mad. Naturally, Koresh’s followers assumed this meant the body was being protected by evil spirits. “Koreshans hold that the evil spirits will consume any who may venture to disturb the tomb. And nearly every one believes that in due time the tomb will open of itself and that Dr. Teed will come forth and do what he taught he would.”
I assume they’re still waiting.
MADNESS AND DEATH ADD TO THE MYSTERY OF KORESH’S TOMB: Men Meet Strange Fate Trying to Ascertain If This Alleged Messiah Has Risen From the Dead as He Promised. (PDF)
From November 6, 1910