Did the Watchtower Society Construction Crews in Brooklyn Bury Some Bodies?

by Gamaliel 19 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • Gamaliel

    Well this isn't exactly what you might think, but I have the following information based on what I consider good authority. Still, it's without a shred of hard evidence. I am bringing it up now before the Watchtower Society tries to sell off the particular building in question.

    Here's the story I heard: During the 1980's, one of the construction crews directed by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society was digging in the foundation area around the initial site of one of the buldings they currently own in Brooklyn Heights, New York. (Construction is now complete on the building in question.) The same crew came upon some human remains (bones) along with some artifacts which made them initially suspect they had chanced upon an Native American burial site. Others thought that it was much more likely the bones were from a 17th or 18th century "African-American" slave burial site. The few workers who were aware were asked, I'm told, for their complete silence about this discovery because of the delays that the City of New York would undoubtedly enforce upon the building project. It was suggested that this discovery might even put a complete stop to the building project. Although these are not quotes, the cooperation of the construction crew, I'm told, was clearly spoken of in terms similar to the following: "Let's make sure we don't say anything that might stand in the way of the work Jehovah wants us to accomplish. We all know how important this work is in our day."

    I'm not trying to break a story here. I'm looking for another person or persons who can corroborate the story I have heard. I am especially looking for eye-witnesses. I'll treat it completely anonymously if you have only heard about the story. If you are an eyewitness, I will treat the story as you wish, but with the request that we can at least discuss (with an attorney present, if you will allow) a way of publicizing the story to any legal extent possible under the protections offered to journalists. I am not a journalist, but will be happy to recommend one. Also, I will pay all legal fees and transportation fees for all consultations prior to release of the story (or permission to release the story). If you are serious, PM me and I'll provide initial contact information.


  • Gamaliel


  • Satanus

    Yes, i heard this story many yrs ago. Bttt for you.


  • ozziepost

    I incline to the view that this is just "a story", an urban myth.

    I note that it's not referred to in Ray Franz's books.

    Cheers, Ozzie

  • Joker10

    I don't believe it.

  • cruzanheart

    Interesting, though. I can see where it would be possible, since the area has such a lot of history behind it. Keep us posted!

    Nina (of the I-Love-A-Conspiracy class!)

  • Gamaliel

    I incline to the view that this is just "a story", an urban myth.

    I note that it's not referred to in Ray Franz's books


    Good points. I should add that the "good authority" is someone who told me the story nearly 10 years ago, who is honest, and who believes the story. I believe only that he is telling me the story exactly as he heard it. The problem is that he is not a "good authority" on whether it really happened.

    It fits the simple profile of urban myths in that it uses ideas based on known facts and then builds something sensational on them -- things that a certain audience would very much want to believe or at least repeat. But those additional facts, just like in any urban myth, usually hinge on some suspicious ideas. The assumption, for example, that anyone on a Bethel construction crew might have correctly identified artifacts in the way a historian might. The possibilities proposed would more likely have ranged everywhere from "Piltdown Man" to "Jimmy Hoffa." I remember only one person in Bethel who might have been able to correclty identify a burial site from artifacts. Bill Gehring was a New York City history buff, and knew all the revolutionary war history and many of the obscure historical sites, and went on many historical tours of the city. (He wasn't in construction, however.)

    Still, the person I know heard it first while in Bethel circles, not in exJW circles, so I'm trying to find out anything else I can about the story. It's of interest to me even if it's not true. My loyal JW parents did not doubt it when I told them (5 years ago) but were quite ready to defend the Society on the decision that was supposedly made.


  • logansrun

    Ozzie said,

    I note that it's not referred to in Ray Franz's books.

    But, if it happened in the 1980's it would make sense that Ray wouldn't write about it since he would have had no first-hand knowledge of the incident since he was DF'd in the first year of that decade. If he personally had no "hard evidence" he probably would not have put it in his book since he's very punctillious about things like that. Note that no mention is made of the Greenlees and Chitty incidents in any of his works, yet we all know that something unsavory happened with them.

    I don't think the story is that implausible, although we probably will never really know for sure.


  • mizpah

    I wonder if this story has been twisted and confused in the telling? I do recall an article some years ago about the discovery of a cemetery during an excavation for a sky scraper in NYC. The archeologists determine it was the burial site of black slaves of that early period. It halted construction for awhile. The remains were removed and reburied as I recall. But it was not in Brooklyn and did not involve Watchtower property.

    A more interesting question is where was Rutherford buried? When he died, JWs requested to have his remains buried on the Beth Sarim property in San Diego. There was even a burial vault built there for this purpose as I understand it. The city officials denied the request. And according to official Watchtower history he was buried in NY on the site of the old radio station, WBBR. However, persistent rumors through the years have said that his remains were actually buried on the San Diego property. Does anyone have additional information on this?

  • Room 215
    Room 215

    While it lacks confirmation, the story strikes me as plausible, at least. It's not generally known that in the early 18th century, fully one-fifth of New York City's population was African slaves, and NYC had more slaves than any urban area except for Charleston, South Carolina. Burial grounds in Brooklyn, not that far from Bethel, have been found.

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