9House Of David
The House of David was an apocalyptic cult founded in Michigan in 1903. Benjamin Franklin Purnell, a self-proclaimed messenger of God, sought to reunite the 12 tribes of Israel in preparation for the Messiah’s return. Members donated their worldly goods to the cult and abstained from sex, meat, intoxicants, and cutting their hair. Their grooming advice derived from Leviticus 19:27 — “you shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edge of your beard.”
In 1914, Purnell started a baseball team as a recruiting tool and a way to kill time before the apocalypse. In a clean-cut era, the team became a sensation, with flowing beards and hair that reached their belts. Sold out stadiums came to see the House of David play “pepper” — a “trick” version of baseball. They tossed balls around their back, through their legs, and used sleight-of-hand to hide balls in their beards.