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Home Archives Bide One’s Time: The Mark of Cain

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Lee Prosser - Bide One's Time is Lee's bi-weekly column on the supernatural. I always thought it was an old urban legend of sorts, or a cultural debris fluke, or a hurtful joke in bad taste, or whatever name one cares to identify it with. But I found out differently about the Mark of Cain.

As most of you readers know, I enjoy going to garage and estate sales, and discovering this and that and some of those, and whatever catches my attention. Last weekend, I went to a garage sale and came across some very old religious tracks. These tracks, or pamphlets, were generally a folded page, containing writing on each side.

One in particular was titled, “God’s Punishment Was the Mark of Cain.” I read it and was astonished to find such material really did exist from a long time ago. My guess is this printed item was published at the turn of the last century, possibly around World War One, but no later than the start of the 1920s.

“God’s Punishment Was the Mark of Cain” gave all types of related examples, connections, excuses, biblical intonations, biblical slants, and historical data. But the bottom line was still the same. “God’s Punishment Was the Mark of Cain” was reserved for the “Negro Race” and “When Cain sinned and murdered his white brother, his eternal curse and punishment was to be an outcast and a black man and thus, this is how… God turned Cain’s skin black to punish him for his sin of murdering his brother Abel who was, the second son of Adam and Eve, and for evermore would be known as the Negro and set apart from all other races…”

Well, now I know where that came from. This stuff has been out there for a long, long time. I put the reading back down on top of the stack of books, along with its companion pieces dealing with a woman’s role in marriage, the act of circumcision, the cause of poverty, the wedding night, and other equally outrageous texts!

I went on my way to other garage sales. I was content to find a book on surrealism art at my third garage sale stop and purchased it. It contained whimsical, haunting artwork which was far, far removed from what I had come across earlier in the morning! And being a surrealist artist, it was a relief to find something of enjoyment after what I had come across earlier! I also found a biography of Sri Ramakrishna at the same stop.

Yet, the question comes to mind that since this type of religious writing was being done in the past, what is being written now? I recently read a comment that a conservative had stated that no television program or movie could succeed unless it was politically correct by having a black person for every three persons present. I do not see that this is any different from that old religious track I ran across at the garage sale. I wonder what people of this type envision in the afterlife… are there black ghosts, yellow ghosts, red ghosts, white ghosts, polka-dotted ghosts, purple ghosts, orange ghosts, pink ghosts, green ghosts, or is there just a ghost for all seasons which has no color bias about its form!? One wonders, one questions!

Do things really change, or do biased thoughts simply take on a different more subtle approach with the passage of time. Are humans going to repeat their historical mistakes again and again? Is it the same old tune but given a different style of dress?

What do you think? One wonders, one questions.

First of all, one endures, then anything after that becomes secondary. So it seems to me.

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