Michael Straight

Michael Straight


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Michael Whitney Straight, the youngest child of Willard Straight, an investment banker, and Dorothy Payne Whitney Straight, an heiress, was born in New York City on 1st September, 1916. His father died of septic pneumonia in 1919. Later his mother married Leonard Knight Elmhirst, a British educationist who founded Dartington Hall school in Devon.

Straight was educated at the London School of Economics and Trinity College. While at Cambridge University he became friends with John Cornford, Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt. Straight joined the British Communist Party after the death of Cornford in the Spanish Civil War.

Theodore Maly became a NKVD officer and joined other "illegals" such as Richard Sorge, Walter Krivitsky, Leopard Trepper and Arnold Deutsch working in Europe. Adopting the name Paul Hardt, he was sent to London to build a spy network. Senior MI5 agent, Peter Wright, pointed out: "They were often not Russians at all, although they held Russian citizenship. They were Trotskyist Communists who believed in international Communism and the Comintern. They worked undercover, often at great personal risk, and traveled throughout the world in search of potential recruits. They were the best recruiters and controllers the Russian Intelligence Service ever had. They all knew each other, and between them they recruited and built high-grade spy rings."

Maly recruited Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross and Anthony Blunt as spies. They were instructed to join right-wing political organizations such Anglo-German Fellowship as Maly knew this is where British intelligence recruited agents. Maly also used his agents to check out other potential spies. For example, Burgess was asked to provide a report on Straight. "Michael Straight, whom I have known for several years... is one of the leaders of the party at Cambridge. He is the party's spokesman and also a first-class economist. He is an extremely devoted member of the party... Taking into account his family connections, future fortune and capabilities, one must suppose he had a great future, not in the field of politics but in the industrial and trading world.... One may reckon he could work on secret work. He is sufficiently devoted for it, though it will be extremely difficult for him to part with his friends and his current activities."

In June 1937 Anthony Blunt introduced Arnold Deutsch to Michael Straight. Deutsch reported: "Straight differs very much from people we have dealt with before. He is a typical American, a man of wide-ranging enterprise, who thinks he can do everything for himself.... He is full of enthusiasm, well-read, very intelligent, and a perfect student. He wants to do much for us, and, of course has all possibilities for this.... But he also gives the impression of being a dilettante, a young guy who has everything he wants, more money than he can spend, and therefore in part who has a restless conscience.... I think, under experienced guidance, he could achieve a lot. However, he needs to be educated and to have control over his personal life. It is precisely contact with people in his future profession which may turn out dangerous for him. So far, he has been an active member of the party and constantly surrounded by his friends."

Maly was concerned with Straight's links with the Communist Party of Great Britain. For example, he had been giving the party newspaper, The Daily Worker £1,500 a year? Maly approached Harry Pollitt and asked him for approval of the move from open to covert communist work. Pollitt agreed but refused permission for Straight to stop giving money to the newspaper. In fact, the following year it was increased to £2,000. Anthony Blunt introduced Straight to spy chief, James Klugmann, who ordered him to return to America, although he was in line to become president of the Cambridge Union.

Roland Perry, the author of The Last of the Cold War Spies: The Life of Michael Straight (2005), has argued that Joseph Stalin wanted Straight to be groomed as a future President of the United States: "According to Yuri Modin, the most successful KGB control for the Cambridge ring, Straight was viewed as a potential top politico - a long-term 'sleeper' candidate. Stalin and the KGB would always be prepared to support and guide someone for however long it took to get an agent into high office, even the White House. In many ways, Straight was the near-perfect candidate. He was a dedicated communist, now moving into KGB agency, with all the right credentials for high office. Straight had the family background in Washington politics, not to mention Wall Street. He had independent wealth, a near-essential prerequisite, and his skills were outstanding. His height - 6'3" - and good looks would win votes too, especially in the United States where Hollywood images were beginning to impinge on the political arena. The politics he espoused would have to be packaged to make them digestible to a majority vote. Yet he could always slip in under the guise of a liberal democrat, who had matured away from his wayward youth in faraway Cambridge, England."

After returning to the United States in 1937, Straight worked as a speechwriter for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was on the payroll of the Department of the Interior. Klugmann put him in touch with KGB agent, Iskhak Akhmerov, who introduced himself as Michael Green. He provided material to Akhmerov but this was of little use to the Soviet Union. Akhmerov reported that Straight “does not yet provide authentic materials, but only his notes,” which are out-of-date. In 1940, Straight went to work in the Eastern Division of the U.S. State Department.

After the United States entered the Second World War Straight joined the United States Army Air Forces as a B-17 Flying Fortress pilot. In 1946 Straight took over as publisher of his family-owned The New Republic magazine (his parents had established the magazine with Walter Lippmann and Herbert Croly in 1914). Straight appointed the leading left-wing politician, Henry A. Wallace as editor of the magazine on a salary of $15,000 a year. Wallace wrote that: "As editor of The New Republic I shall do everything I can to rouse the American people, the British people, the French people, the Russian people and in fact the liberally-minded people of the whole world, to the need of stopping this dangerous armament race."

Wallace formed the Progressive Citizens of America (PCA). A group of conservatives, including Henry Luce, Clare Booth Luce, Adolf Berle, Lawrence Spivak and Hans von Kaltenborn, sent a cable to Ernest Bevin, the British foreign secretary, that the PCA were only "a small minority of Communists, fellow-travelers and what we call here totalitarian liberals." Winston Churchill agreed and described Wallace and his followers as "crypto-Communists".

In January 1948, The New Republic reached a circulation of a record 100,000. Michael Straight was unhappy with Wallace's involvement of the Progressive Citizens of America and his collaboration with the American Communist Party. Straight was a supporter of the Marshall Plan and the anti-communism policies of President Harry S. Truman and therefore decided to sack Wallace as editor. Straight became editor until resigning in 1956. He was replaced by Gilbert A. Harrison.

Straight now concentrated on a literary career. His first book, Trial By Television, was an attack on McCarthyism. He also wrote several historical novels about the American West. This included A Very Small Remnant, about the Sand Creek massacre of 1864, and Carrington, about the Fetterman Massacre, where Captain William J. Fetterman and an army column of 80 men were killed by a group of Sioux warriors in December 1866.

In 1963 Straight was offered the post of the chairmanship of the Advisory Council on the Arts by President John F. Kennedy. Aware that he would be vetted - and his background investigated - he approached Arthur Schlesinger, one of Kennedy's advisers, and told him that Anthony Blunt had recruited him as a spy while an undergraduate at Trinity College. Schlesinger suggested that he told his story to the FBI.

Straight's information was passed on to MI5 and Arthur Martin, the intelligence agency's principal molehunter, went to America to interview him. Straight confirmed the story, and agreed to testify in a British court if necessary. Christopher Andrew, the author of The Defence of the Realm: The Authorized History of MI5 (2009) has argued that Straight's information was "the decisive breakthrough in MI5's investigation of Anthony Blunt".

Peter Wright, who took part in the meetings about Anthony Blunt case, argues in his book, Spycatcher (1987) that Roger Hollis, the Director General of MI5, decided to give Blunt immunity from prosecution because of his hostility towards the Labour Party and the damage it would do to the Conservative Party: "Hollis and many of his senior staff were acutely aware of the damage any public revelation of Blunt's activities might do themselves, to MI5, and to the incumbent Conservative Government. Harold Macmillan had finally resigned after a succession of security scandals, culminating in the Profumo affair. Hollis made little secret of his hostility to the Labour Party, then riding high in public opinion, and realized only too well that a scandal on the scale that would be provoked by Blunt's prosecution would surely bring the tottering Government down."

Blunt was interviewed by Arthur Martin at the Courtauld Institute on 23rd April 1964. Martin later wrote that when he mentioned Straight's name he "noticed that by this time Blunt's right cheek was twitching a good deal". Martin offered Blunt "an absolute assurance that no action would be taken against him if he now told the truth". Martin recalled: "He went out of the room, got himself a drink, came back and stood at the tall window looking out on Portman Square. I gave him several minutes of silence and then appealed to him to get it off his chest. He came back to his chair and confessed." He admitted being a Soviet agent and named twelve other associates as spies including Straight, John Cairncross, Leo Long, Peter Ashby and Brian Symon.

Straight later served as the deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 1969 to 1977. In 1983, Michael Straight detailed his communist activities in a memoir entitled After Long Silence. He admitted that while working for the Department of the Interior he passed on reports to a Soviet handler he called "Michael Green". He later insisted he had not provided anything that "contained any restricted material". However, according to TD: "But six years later the KGB released his file which showed that, using the codename 'Nigel', he had sent telegrams, ambassadors' reports and political position papers from the State Department."

According to Richard Norton-Taylor: "Straight's marriages to Belinda Crompton and Nina Auchincloss Steers, a writer and stepsister of Aristotle Onassis, ended in divorce. His third wife, Katharine Gould, a child psychiatrist, survives him, as do five children from his first marriage."

Michael Whitney Straight died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Chicago, Illinois, on 4th January 2004.

Hollis and many of his senior staff were acutely aware of the damage any public revelation of Blunt's activities might do themselves, to MI5, and to the incumbent Conservative Government. Hollis made little secret of his hostility to the Labour Party, then riding high in public opinion, and realized only too well that a scandal on the scale that would be provoked by Blunt's prosecution would surely bring the tottering Government down.

The KGB opened a file on Straight in January 1937 with a memorandum from Maly recommending his recruitment. It proposed that he be used either in England or the United States. Maly wanted more time to make up his mind on the important question of the location for work Straight would carry out...

Straight had been so open in his support for communism in England - at the university and with the British party-making a clean break was perceived as difficult. Should, for instance, he be advised to stop giving the Daily Worker £1500 a year? Maly approached the party's leader, Harry Pollitt, for approval of the move from open to covert communist work. Pollitt agreed but didn't see why Straight couldn't continue to subsidize the newspaper. (He did continue the subsidy, increasing it to £2000 a year in quarterly installments of £500 clandestinely through KGB agents. His support for conspicuous communism, instead of being "open," would now be secret.)

Burgess's note for Maly added that Straight's "status in the party and his social connections are very significant. The question was whether to begin to act, when and how."

Burgess assigned Straight the code name "Nigel" (later he was called "Nomad"). Maly instructed Burgess to act. He in turn asked Blunt to lure Straight into the espionage net.

Michael Straight, whom I have known for several years... He is sufficiently devoted for it, though it will be extremely difficult for him to part with his friends and his current activities.

Blunt wondered if the United Kingdom was the best place for him. He painted a bleak picture of England as a declining - nation, which had been a refrain of his and of Burgess's ever since they had first discussed international politics. Blunt suggested Straight's talent for politics, oratory, and public speaking as well as his economic training would be better put to use for the cause in the United States, which was ; destined to play a far larger role in world affairs.

At 20, Straight was too young for politics. However, Blunt was aware : that the Moscow Center, and Stalin, considered Straight a possible long - rerm prospect as a politician in the United States. According to Yuri Modin, the most successful KGB control for the Cambridge ring, Straight was viewed as a potential top politico - a long-term "sleeper" candidate. Yet he could always slip in under the guise of a liberal democrat, who had matured away from his wayward youth in faraway Cambridge, England.

Maly, the Comintern, and the Moscow planners were shrewd. Before Straight could even contemplate a political career, they had decided he should use his economics and family connections to establish something substantial while he was still too young for the hurly-burly of Washington and backroom wheeling and dealing. Why not in his father's old Wall Street firm, J. P. Morgan? Why not, Blunt suggested, become a banker?

This was not what Straight had expected. Blunt was urging him, or directing him, to go into international banking like Willard Straight. But the young Straight had no interest at all in such a profession. When he expressed this, Blunt became adamant. The mutual connections, which Straight was led to believe was the Comintern, and above it, Stalin himself, were giving him an order.

Michael Straight, who has died aged 87, was the scion of a patrician American family, a former editor of the New Republic magazine and perhaps the most reluctant member of the Cambridge spy ring, centred around the secretive circle known as the Apostles, which included Kim Philby, Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean and Anthony Blunt.

As a student in the mid-1930s, Straight was enlisted by Blunt, who later became surveyor of the Queen's pictures, to work for the communists, and therefore for the Soviet Union. His university friends included Tess Mayor, who later married Lord Rothschild - who was also to be accused of being a member of the notorious spy ring - and who helped to expose Philby, Burgess and the prominent communist James Klugmann.

Blunt had approached Straight at a time when the American was emotionally vulnerable, as well as politically impressionable, after his close friend, the poet John Cornford, had been killed in the Spanish civil war. Many years later, Straight's own admissions led to the unmasking of Blunt.

In 1963, Straight was offered a post as adviser on arts endowment with the Kennedy administration in Washington. Aware that he would be vetted - and his background investigated - he approached Arthur Schlesinger, one of Kennedy's advisers, who suggested he reveal all to the FBI. He was subsequently interviewed by MI5.

After being given immunity from prosecution, Blunt confessed everything. He was finally named in public - and stripped of his knighthood - in 1979 by Margaret Thatcher, who told the Commons that the information that had led to his confession was not "usable as evidence on which to base a prosecution".

This was challenged by the former MI5 officer Peter Wright, who said that Straight had stated that Blunt had recruited him as a spy for Russia, not simply as a member of the Communist party. However, Straight is likely to have insisted that he must, on no account, be named as a witness in any trial of Blunt. That would certainly have suited the British establishment, which was determined to try and keep Blunt's treachery under wraps.

Michael Straight, who has died aged 87, was the former Soviet spy responsible for telling MI5 that Anthony Blunt - whose lover he had briefly been at Cambridge in the 1930s - was a mole.

When this was publicly revealed soon after the unmasking of Blunt in 1979, Straight, a member of America's super-rich establishment, seemed both flattered and embarrassed by the publicity. In his autobiography, After Long Silence (1993), he claimed to have leaked no official information except for a paper he had written himself.

But six years later the KGB released his file which showed that, using the codename 'Nigel', he had sent telegrams, ambassadors' reports and political position papers from the State Department...

When Straight attended a meeting of the Cambridge Apostles at the RAC Club in London after the war, he became embroiled in a row over Czechoslovakia with the historian Eric Hobsbawn, which prompted Burgess to ask if he was now "unfriendly". "If I were, why should I be here?" Straight replied evasively.

By then he had taken over the running of the influential Left-wing journal New Republic, which was subsidised by his mother, and appointed Henry Wallace as editor. Wallace doubled the circulation, then resigned to run for the presidency, declaring that the Marshall Plan would lead to a third world war; but his star faded and, after Straight took over the editorship himself, the magazine endorsed Harry Truman in the 1948 election.

While the United States became increasingly frenzied in its search for Reds under American beds, Straight considered exposing his former associates. According to Straight, he made three attempts to confess, even walking into the British embassy in Washington before his nerve failed; his wife leaked the names of Blunt and Burgess to her psychoanalyst, who felt prevented by a code of conduct from passing them on to the intelligence service. The most convincing of his excuses was that he was afraid of the effect on his young family.


Who was Michael, and why should he row his boat ashore?

Dear Straight Dope:

My hippie-type classmates during college in the 60s used to sing "Kumbaya," apparently in solidarity with the civil rights movement. They also used to sing "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore." Who was Michael, and why was rowing the boat ashore such a great achievement?

henrich

It’s not Michael rowed the boat ashore, it’s row the boat. As mangled lyrics go, this isn’t up there with "excuse me while I kiss this guy," but we pride ourselves on precision around here.

"Michael Row the Boat Ashore" predates the Civil War. The history and origins of old Negro spirituals are generally obscure–the slaves didn’t usually write things down, and their masters rarely thought slave songs were worth investigating. "Michael" is an exception, since we do have enough references to pinpoint the general origin of the song, if not its precise meaning.

"Michael Row the Boat Ashore" is a rowing song. That’s not as obvious as it sounds. "Michael" is the only rowing song we know about that’s actually about boats. It was first mentioned in 1863 as a song sung by black slaves in the Georgia Sea Islands. Pete Seeger, in The Incompleat Folksinger, mentions that slaves brought from Africa spent their lives on these small islands, out of touch with mainland life. “The only transportation was small boats and strong arms to row them," he writes. The boat crews from different plantations would have their own rowing songs, each song exclusive to the plantation. “Michael” is mentioned in the letters of some teachers who went to the islands in 1862-63.

Like many spirituals, “Michael Row the Boat Ashore" combines religious expression ("hallelujah") with quotidian detail ("row the boat ashore"). The boat is a musical boat — the slaves often expressed themselves creatively by starting with their musical instrument (“Little David play on your harp”) and the boat was the “instrument” of the rowers. Note other religious images (Jordan River, chills the body but not the soul, milk and honey). Historians of spirituals classify the song as both a spiritual and a work song, and some argue that it is more properly a sea chanty.

Who is Michael and why is he rowing? We’ve covered the rowing part–to get to the mainland. There are two main theories on who Michael is. The least likely (in my amateur opinion) is that Michael was the name of the oarsman from a particular plantation. The more popular theory is that Michael is the archangel Michael, who is being called on to help when the rowing was tough. Regardless of the origins of the song, I suspect the latter interpretation is why the song became widespread.

The song’s popularity soared in the late 50s and early 60s, due partly to its having been sung by Harry Belafonte, and partly to being so easily singable in large groups.

Black Song: The Forge and Flame, by John Lovell Jr., 1972

Sinful Tunes and Spirituals, by Dena J. Epstein, 1977

Send questions to Cecil via [email protected]

STAFF REPORTS ARE WRITTEN BY THE STRAIGHT DOPE SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD, CECIL'S ONLINE AUXILIARY. THOUGH THE SDSAB DOES ITS BEST, THESE COLUMNS ARE EDITED BY ED ZOTTI, NOT CECIL, SO ACCURACYWISE YOU'D BETTER KEEP YOUR FINGERS CROSSED.


Michael Straight - History

Green Spring House, c. 1885,
Courtesy Fairfax County Park Authority

As the result of the court case, the land was sold to Fountain Beattie, a former Civil War lieutenant who rode as a guerilla-style raider with his friend, Captain John Singleton Mosby. [34]

Fountain Beattie’s son, John Mosby Beattie, recalled later in life that his father operated a combined dairy and apple orchard business utilizing day workers both on the farm and in the house. The farm products, including milk and butter, were delivered by wagon to the markets in Washington . The butter was churned in the spring house. Fruit from a few pear and cherry trees was consumed on the home farm. Fountain Beattie also operated a government licensed still, producing apple jack and apple brandy. He used a large concrete tank for the apple cider, jack, and brandy. [35]

Portion of Falls Church District No. 4 Map from G. M. Hopkins 1879 Atlas of Fifteen Miles Around Washington

After a fire about 1890 destroyed the stock barn and its contents (stock, hay, and feed), the financial strain resulted in the demise of the dairy business. Afterward, Beattie purchased only sufficient horses, mules, and cows for the farm and family needs. [36]

Fountain Beattie and his wife, Anne, lived in the house with their twelve children, six boys and six girls. To provide heat, there was a coal stove set in the living room fireplace. A pot-bellied stove provided the heat in the dining room. There was no heat upstairs except what rose from the lower floors or was supplied by fireplaces. [37] In order to accommodate their large family, Beattie converted the attic level to living space by finishing off the space for bedchambers. Dormer windows were installed that provided additional light and air sometime after 1878. [38] Perhaps it was at this time that a porch, seen in a c. 1885 photo, was added to extend along the southern façade of the house. The windows of the porch and the dormer windows are of a similar style.

From 1875-1914, Beattie worked for the Bureau of Internal Revenue as a Deputy Collector for the Sixth District of Virginia. [39] In 1899, Capt. Fountain Beattie, of the revenue office, discovered magnetic iron ore and copper while raiding moonshiners in the Blue Ridge Mountains . [40] Following the loss of this political position, he became a realtor. [41]

Field Captain F. Beattie, whose early activities helped to make John Mosby famous, said to have retired, has opened an office in Alexandria, and may be seen most any fine day with a load of real estate on his shoulders, hustling around town like a youngster. [42]

Towards the end of his ownership of Green Spring, Fountain Beattie lived in Annandale and leased the farm to others. A 1908 article in the Fairfax Herald stated that the Fountain Beattie residence in Annandale was nearing completion and was quite an improvement to the neighborhood. [43]Beattie may have been living on the site of the new house in an older house as early as 1900. [44]

From 1911 to 1913, Beattie leased Green Spring to George Daniel and Joesphina (Josie) McClanahan and their six children. Mrs. McClanahan used the enclosed porch, which she called a sunroom, as a sewing room. One of the children died in infancy and was reportedly buried in a rose garden at Green Spring. [45]

In 1917, George Sims and his wife Marjorie B. Sims purchased the farm from Fountain Beattie, a widower at the time. The Sims’ were living in Pasco County , Florida , when they purchased the farm, and five years later at the time of the sale to James M. Duncan. Walter Jahn and his wife Elsa, of Chicago , were co-owners of Green Spring Farm with the Sims’ in 1922 when the farm was sold.

James Duncan and his wife Mary owned the farm for 2 years before they entered into a trust agreement with Carroll Pierce to subdivide the property and sell small tracts. The land was advertised to be auctioned off on June 23, 1924, and was identified as THE OLD CAPTAIN BEATTIE FARM ON the FAIRFAX - ALEXANDRIA CONCRETE HIGHWAY . The advertisement provided a description of the farm.

The Beattie residence has 10 rooms. There is one 250 ton Silo, Large Barn, Chicken House, Spring House and a young orchard of 10 acres on the property. Also spring house with very large spring of excellent water… Alexandria and Washington suburbs are spreading rapidly toward the Beattie Farm [46]

Owner of Former Beattie Home Will Prevent Vandalism

The old brick dwelling, on the north side of the Little River pike, about a half mile this side of Annandale, for many years the home of the late Capt. Fountain Beattie, is one of the oldest homes in Fairfax county, but since it has been without occupants, it is stated, it has been visited by vandals and the interior much damaged. Hand carved mantels were taken, but M. Segessenman of Burke, who is now the owner of the old structure, recovered them and has them in safe storage. Precautions have been taken to prevent further depredations and the old building is to be preserved, until some one comes along who wishes to purchase it for a home… [48]

Minnie Whitesell purchased Green Spring in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression, which had begun 2 years prior. Photographs taken near the time of her purchase of the property show the house in a dilapidated condition. By 1932 Ms. Whitesell was renovating the house, as noted in a 1932 article in the American Motorist magazine.

Old Moss house… now being prepared for occupancy after being in ruins for many years…It has three stories with dormer windows, and the many coats of whitewash on the front testify to where a columned porch once stood. For half a century it has been known as the Beattie farm, as about fifty years ago Captain Fontaine Beattie bought this old home with more than 300 fertile acres. For years those who traveled the Little River turnpike missed seeing this old home as it was hidden by an osage orange hedge, extending a quarter of a mile along the pike. Now that the present owner is pruning the old hedge, visitors have the privilege of peering at the landmark, which is being renovated for occupancy after being in ruins for many years. Yes, it is desolate when its windows were out and its porch had rotted and collapsed, but even then its center hall had a kind of hospitality. The many open fireplaces, and windows reaching to the floor…Green Spring farm became a mecca during the drought of 1930, when neighbors for miles around wore beaten paths to the old spring behind the homestead…As they carried barrels of water they were still impressed with the beautiful setting of willow trees around the spot… [49]

After architect Mr. Wiley told Mrs. Whitesell that the house could be salvaged a carpenter was hired. John Pence, who worked as Mrs. Whitesell’s handyman, traveled to Haymarket with a crew to tear down a house. Some of the 12” boards from this house were used in the Green Spring dwelling.

In addition to repairs, Mrs. Whitesell installed a bathroom on the second floor, relocated a log house to the property, and built a garage close to the house. The privy was located near the northwest corner of the house.

Mrs. Whitesell was a widow who lived at Green Spring Farm with her two children, Russell and Deana. The children lived with their mother during her ownership of Green Spring, since neither child married. Minnie Whitesell was discovered dead in an upstairs area of the house by her children, who subsequently sold Green Spring to Michael and Belinda Straight. [50]

Survey of Whitesell Property by Joseph Berry, 1941

Soon after the Straights acquired the property, they hired historical architect Walter Macomber to rehabilitate the brick dwelling. While construction was ongoing at the brick dwelling, the Straights lived in the springhouse cottage. They moved into the brick dwelling in late 1942, but only for a couple of months before Michael Straight was called up for Air Force duty in January 1943.

During World War II, from 1943 – 1948, the Straights rented out Green Spring until they returned in 1948. Later, the house was rented to Leonard Garment, President Nixon’s counsel, when the property was donated to the Fairfax County Park Authority in October 1970. Garment had been renting the house for about 5 years. [51]

Oral interviews with Macomber, the Straights, and Mrs. Quast, the caretaker’s wife, provide an understanding of some of the changes made to the structures. [52] The Straights lived at the springhouse cottage while construction was underway on the brick dwelling in 1942. The cottage was enlarged in 1960. The Straights converted the ice pond used by the Beattie’s into one of their two ornamental ponds. Michael Straight commented about the fermentation tank in his interview that when we got there the whole slope behind the house was dotted with very old and unproductive apple trees. And when we went down to the house by the river - which was not a house but just walls - we found within these walls we found very heavy and beautifully painted beams. It turned out to be a brandy press.

In an oral interview, John Mosby Beattie recollected a large concrete tank for apple cider, jack and brandy.

Brick Dwelling Construction

The original portion of the brick dwelling that stands today was likely built during the period of 1784-86 as a center-passage double-pile house that is, the center hall was flanked by two rooms on each side. The wood framing members are pit sawn and connected with mortise and tenon joinery, while the collar ties are notched into the rafters with a lap joint and secured to the rafters with rosehead, chisel-point nails. The irregular sizes and texture of the brick used at Green Spring resulted in irregular mortar joints and a less than perfect alignment of the Flemish bond pattern.

Springhouse and Brick Kitchen Construction

The 1831 sale advertisement contains the earliest known references to a springhouse and kitchen. The springhouse is described as a good stone springhouse and the kitchen as constructed of brick. The date of construction of these structures is unknown. Perhaps the brick kitchen was added to the dwelling in 1827 when the value of Thomas Moss’s buildings, as recorded in the land tax records, increased from $2,000 to $2,160. [53]

The fermentation tank is shown in c. 1900 photos. Further investigation of tax records and liquor licenses from this time period may yield a construction date.

[1] Northern Neck grant to John Summers for 201 acres, Book D, p. 37, Library of Virginia website http://ajax.lva.lib.va.us, September 4, 1731 .

[3] Northern Neck grant to George Harrison and John Summers for 843 acres, Book E, p. 217, Library of Virginia website http://ajax.lva.lib.va.us, December 6, 1740 .

[4] Fairfax County Deed Book (FX DB) D:829, John Summers to Daniel Summers, February 19, 1761

[5] FX DB B:372, Division between Harrison and Summers, surveyed August 16, 1748 .

[6] Beth Mitchell, Fairfax County Road Orders 1749-1800, Virginia Transportation Research Council, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2003, p. 222 Fairfax County R oad Order Book, June 19, 1753, page 403

[7] FX DB D:829, John Summers to Daniel Summers, February 19, 1761 .

[8] Beth Mitchell, “ Fairfax County R oad Orders 1749-1800, For the Fairfax County History Commission in Cooperation with the Virginia Transportation Research Council, Charlottesville, Virginia, June 2003. (John Moss is appointed road surveyor, July 18, 1753, p. 430)

[9] Dr. Edward R. Cook, William J. Callahan, Jr., and Dr. Camille Wells, Dendrochronological Analysis of Green Spring House, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Virginia, January 2008, p. 3.

[10] FX DB R:256, Baldwin and Catherine Dade to John Moss, October 20, 1788 .

[11] FX DB D2:272, Robert Moss gift from John Moss, about 1802 and FX DB J2:272, William Moss gift from John Moss, April 14, 1809 .

[12] Fairfax County S up er ior Court will book No 1, pp. 1-4.

[13] FX DB X2:309, William Moss to Thomas Moss, February 19, 1828 .

[14] FX Land Tax, 1811 A survey of this tract is recorded in FX DB F3:3.

[15] Ross and Nan Netherton, Green Spring Farm, Fairfax County O ffice of Comprehensive Pl anning, Fairfax , Virginia , Third Printing, August 1986, p. 13.

[16] Green Spring National Register of Historic Places Registration Form , US Department of the Interior National Park Service.

[17] Thomas Moss, “Land for Sale ,” Phenix Alexandria Gazette, July 6, 1831 , p. 3.

[18] Patricia Hickin, Fairfax County , Virginia A History, 250 th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, Fairfax County B o ard of Supervisors, Fairfax , Virginia , 1992, pp. 251-260.

[19] T.R. Love, Alfred Moss, Com’s, “COMMISSIONER’S SALE OF LAND,” Alexandria Gazette, November 6, 1839 , p.3.

[20] USDA, “ Economic Cycles,” A History of America n Agriculture 1776-1990, http://www.usda.gov/history2/text1.htm (5/27/2004).

[22] Fairfax County Will Book (FX WB) X1:72,77.

[23] FX DB S3:106, October 18, 1852 .

[25] FX DB T3:34,35, August 26, 1853 .

[26] Lloyd & Co., Alexandria Gazette, November 10, 1853 .

[27] FX DB T3:291, November 23, 1853 .

[28] William Sheriff, Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser, July 12, 1855 , p.3.

[29] FX DB W3:424, September 10, 1855 .

[30] Fairfax News, Alexandria Gazette, February 26, 1855 , p.3.

[31] John H. Monroe, “Valuable Farm for Sale ,” Alexandria Gazette, September 14, 1859 , p.3.

[32] FX DB C8:446, January 23, 1917 .

[33] Receipt payable to the Virginia Sentenal for accompanying ad, dated October 31, 1874, photocopy likely from original in chancery file, Fairfax County Circuit Court, Fairfax, Virginia.

[35] John Mosby Beattie Interview with Ross and/or Nan Netherton, April 17, 1969 , notes in Green Spring Farm manuscript collection, Fairfax County Public Library, Virginia Room.

[38] Nan Netherton, “Green Spring Farm,” Historical American Buildings Survey, 1968.

[39] Unknown author, “A Brief History of the Life of Fountain Beattie,” undated, FCPA Green Spring Ga rden s Pa rk Col lection.

[40] “ Alexandria News in Brief,” The Wash ington Post (1877-1954),October 26, 1899, ProQuest Historical Newspapers The Wash ington Post (1877-1990), p. 8.

[42] Fairfax Herald, February 15, 1915 , p.2.

[43] Fairfax Herald, November 6, 1908 , p.3.

[44] Unknown author, “A Pictorial History of the Beattie Family,” undated, FCPA Green Spring Ga rden s Pa rk Col lection.

[45] Unknown author, “Notes from Meeting with Mr. and Mrs. John Pence,” undated, FCPA Green Spring Ga rden s Pa rk Col lection. [Mr. Pence worked for a short time for Minn ie Whitesall and Mrs. Pence was related to the McClanahans who leased Green Spring.]

[46] John C. Wagner, “I will sell At Absolute Auction,” Fairfax Herald, June 20, 1924 , p. 4.

[48] “Preserving Old Home,” Fairfax Herald, April 19, 1929 , p. 2.

[49] Katherine Malone Willis, “Old Fairfax Homes Give Up a Secret,” American Motorist, May 1932, p.16.

[50] Unknown author, “Notes from Meeting with Mr. and Mrs. John Pence,” undated, FCPA Green Spring Gardens Park Collection.

[51] Ed Peskowitz, “ Low-Rent Park and School Homes Contrast With Area’s High Prices,” The Globe, date and page unknown, copy in files of Fairfax County Department of Planning and Zoning, Fairfax , Virginia .

[52] Nan Netherton, “Interview on Tuesday, July 16, 1968 , with Walter Macomber, Architect at Green Spring Farm, The Moss-Straight House, In Annandale, Virginia,” and “Notes on Converstaoin with Mr. and Mrs. Michael Straight, December 8, 1968 ,” unpublished transcripts in Fairfax County Public Library Manuscript Collection: Green Spring.

[53] Fairfax County Land Tax book, 1827, Fairfax County Circuit Court Archives, Fairfax , Virginia .


His Past Affairs

Looking at his dating history, we can say that Michael is very active in his dating life. He has dated a couple of well-known beautiful ladies so far. Back in October 2014, he dated a style blogger, Marianna Hewitt, for a couple of months.

Similarly, the footballer was in a relationship with a fashion model Nicole Mitchell Murphy, who is also the ex-wife of Eddie Murphy. The two started dating in October 2007 and later engaged on 22 May 2009. The pair, however, parted their ways after five years of their engagement in July 2014.

Image: Michael and his then-fiance, Nicole
Source: Daily Mail

According to TMZ, Michael got involved in extra-marital affairs. He remained unfaithful with her and dated another woman in early July. After knowing this, she announced their break up just before he entered the NFL Hall Of Fame.

Picture: Michael and Stephanie attending red carpet together
Source: Walmart

Before Nicole, Strahan was in a romantic affair with a girl named Stefani Vara from 2006 to 2007.


Who is St. Michael the Archangel?

St. Michael the Archangel, whose name means, “one who is like God,” led the army of angels who cast Satan and the rebellious angels into Hell at the end of time, he will wield the sword of justice to separate the righteous from the evil (cf. Revelation 12:7ff).

The early Church Fathers recognized the importance of the angels and archangels, particularly St. Michael. Theodoret of Cyr (393-466) in his Interpretation of Daniel wrote, “We are taught that each one of us is entrusted to the care of an individual angel to guard and protect us, and to deliver us from the snares of evil demons. Archangels are entrusted with the tasks of guarding nations, as the Blessed Moses taught, and with those remarks the Blessed Daniel is in accord for he himself speaks of ‘the chief of the Kingdom of the Persians,’ and a little later of ‘the chief of the Greeks,’ while he calls Michael the chief of Israel.'” The Church Fathers would also posit that St. Michael stood guard at the gate of paradise after Adam and Eve had been banished, and he was the angel through whom God published the Ten Commandments, who blocked the passage of Balaam (Number 22:20ff), and who destroyed the army of Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32:21).

St. Basil and other Greek Fathers ranked St. Michael as the Prince of all the Angels. With the rise of scholasticism and the exposition of the “nine choirs of angels,” some said St. Michael was the prince of the Seraphim, the first of the choirs. (However, St. Thomas Aquinas assigned St. Michael as the prince of the last choir, the angels.)

St. Michael the Archangel has been invoked for protection on various occasions. In 590, a great plague struck Rome. Pope St. Gregory the Great led a procession through the streets as an act of penance, seeking the forgiveness of and atoning for sin. At the tomb of Hadrian (now Castle Sant’ Angelo near St. Peter’s Basilica), St. Michael appeared and sheathed his sword, indicating the end of the plague. The Holy Father later built a chapel at the top of the tomb and to this day a large statue of St. Michael rests there.

Therefore, in our Catholic tradition, St. Michael has four duties: (1) To continue to wage battle against Satan and the other fallen angels (2) to save the souls of the faithful from the power of Satan especially at the hour of death (3) to protect the People of God, both the Jews of the Old Covenant and the Christians of the New Covenant and (4) finally to lead the souls of the departed from this life and present them to our Lord for the particular judgment, and at the end of time, for the final judgment. For these reasons, Christian iconography depicts St. Michael as a knight-warrior, wearing battle armor, and wielding a sword or spear, while standing triumphantly on a serpent or other representation of Satan. Sometimes he is depicted holding the scales of justice or the Book of Life, both symbols of the last judgment.

As Catholics, we have remembered through our liturgical rites the important role of St. Michael in defending us against Satan and the powers of evil. An ancient offertory chant in the Mass for the Dead attested to these duties: “Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of Hell and from the deep pit deliver them from the mouth of the lion that Hell may not swallow them up and that they may not fall into darkness, but may the standard-bearer Michael conduct them into the holy light, which thou didst promise of old to Abraham and his seed. We offer to thee, Lord, sacrifices and prayers do thou receive them in behalf of those souls whom we commemorate this day. Grant them, Lord, to pass from death to that life which thou didst promise of old to Abraham and to his seed.”

In the Tridentine Mass since the 1200s, St. Michael was invoked in the Confiteor, along with the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptizer, and Saints Peter and Paul the invocation of these saints inspired the faithful to remember the call to holiness and the sinlessness of the Church Triumphant in Heaven.

For the greater part of the twentieth century, the faithful recited the prayer to St. Michael at the end of the Mass. Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903) had a prophetic vision of the coming century of sorrow and war. After celebrating Mass, the Holy Father was conferring with his cardinals. Suddenly, he fell to the floor. The cardinals immediately called for a doctor. No pulse was detected, and the Holy Father was feared dead. Just as suddenly, Pope Leo awoke and said, “What a horrible picture I was permitted to see!” In this vision, God gave Satan the choice of one century in which to do his worst work against the Church. The devil chose the twentieth century. So moved was the Holy Father from this vision that he composed the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who roam about the world seeking the ruin of souls.” Pope Leo ordered this prayer said at the conclusion of Mass in 1886. (When Pope Paul VI issued the Novus Ordo of the Mass in 1968, the prayer to St. Michael and the reading of the “last gospel” at the end of the Mass were suppressed.)

Finally, St. Michael figures prominently in the Rite of Exorcism, particularly in the case of diabolical infestation of places. Here the priest prays: “Most glorious Prince of the heavenly Army, Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle against the princes and powers and rulers of darkness in this world, against the spiritual iniquities of those former angels. Come to the help of man whom God made in his own image and whom he bought from the tyranny of Satan at a great price. The Church venerates you as her custodian and patron. The Lord confided to your care all the souls of those redeemed, so that you would lead them to happiness in Heaven. Pray to the God of peace that he crush Satan under our feet so that Satan no longer be able to hold men captive and thus injure the Church. Offer our prayers to the Most High God, so that His mercies be given us soon. Make captive that Animal, that Ancient serpent, which is enemy and Evil Spirit, and reduce it to everlasting nothingness, so that it no longer seduce the nations.”

In the Spring of 1994, our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, urged the faithful to offer the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. He also made the strong suggestion that the recitation of the prayer be instituted at Mass once again. (Note that the Holy Father did not mandate the recitation of the prayer at Mass.) Clearly, the Holy Father was responding to the grave evils we see present in our world– the sins of abortion, euthanasia, terrorism, genocide, and the like. Satan and the other fallen angels are doing their best to lead souls to Hell. We need the help of St. Michael! For this reason, many parishes have erected a shrine in St. Michael’s honor or offer the prayer in his honor at the conclusion of Mass.


Hollywood legend Paul Newman was something of an early action hero, starring in films such as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Towering Inferno. He was married to fellow actor Joanne Woodward from 1958 until his death in 2008, but was also rumored to have had affairs with Marlon Brando and James Dean.

Barbara Stanwyck remains something of a gay icon to this day, even though she had to hide her own sexuality when she was making movies in the 1930s and 1940s. Her 1939 marriage to Robert Taylor was arranged by the studio to which she was contracted, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, though Taylor ended up being more a mentor than a husband.


Can we answer the Euthyphro dilemma?

There's no easy answer to the Euthyphro dilemma. In the history of philosophy and theology, various scholars have come down on either side. St. Augustine, Martin Luther, and Karl Barth would argue that it is God who defines what is good, while St. Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, and Averroës believed that God commands only that which is good.

Of course, those who aren't theists at all might find this all rather perplexing. But even for atheists and agnostics, the debate raises a question: if morality does not come from somewhere, then what guarantees it? If we want to argue that right and wrong are absolute, objective, or fixed, then what is it that makes it that way? If morality is simply a human thing, then why not just change it tomorrow?


While Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò is rallying bishops and priests around the world for a communal "Exorcism against Satan and the Apostate Angels" on Holy Saturday, St. Michael is again flashing his sword as many faithful are again turning to him for protection during this time of universal strife.

Sword of St. Michael

The priests and townspeople in the Italian town of Gargano called on St. Michael the Archangel on Palm Sunday to help them in their fight against the Wuhan virus.

A famed statue of St. Michael with sword held high resides in the Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo, a complex of structures built around a cave that has been a site of prayer and pilgrimage for centuries.

Usually the archangel's sword is taken out of its reliquary and carried in a procession on his feast day (September 29), but this exceptional year, while the world is being ravaged by disease, the sword was removed on Palm Sunday by the rector and processed along with the Blessed Sacrament and a relic of the Holy Cross (a gift brought back from a crusader in 1228) through the mountainous town in southeast Italy.

Il Timione, a Catholic Italian newspaper, described the event as "one of great impact" both "in terms of faith and history."


"To find a similar event," the newpaper said, "it is necessary to go back almost 400 years, to 1656 when the people had also pleaded to St. Michael to help them against the spread of [another] plague."

The rector from the Shrine, Fr. Ladislao Sucky, invoked the prince of the heavenly host:

Today we want to invoke him because as in the past, in the various moments of trial, of natural disasters, even of plague, our fathers in this place have invoked him and have always found his help. His intercession brought a prodigious salvation for Monte Sant'Angelo during the plague period of 1656. Today we invoke through his intercession the Lord to save not only Monte Sant'Angelo, but all Italy, all Gargano, all the world from this epidemic.

Gargano's mayor implored St. Michael on behalf of his fellow citizens, "Archangel Michael," he said, "[Gargano] is a city that kneels before you through my knees it is a city that looks up to you through my eyes it is a city that prays to you today through my voice."

Ley line connecting seven sanctuaries of St. Michael

"Accept this prayer of ours, defend with your sword our city, our country from this pandemic. Protect this people today as [in 1656]. Give them the strength to stay united in the face of this terrible emergency," the mayor added. "May this prayer of ours be a song that goes straight to God."

Saint Michael is believed to have made multiple appearances in the mountain town beginning in late A.D. 400, when a bishop, hesitant at first about who he was seeing, acquiecsed to the veracity of his visons after fasting and prayer. The cave-church was built following St. Michael's request and is believed to be the only building of worship in the Catholic Church consecrated by the archangel, earning its title of Celestial Basilica.

Saint Michael makes his presence felt in another powerful way in Gargano: The Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo rests in the middle of a mysterious ley line that links seven sacred sites &mdash all connected to the archangel &mdash from Ireland to Israel.


The line cuts a perfectly straight swath for over 2,000 km across the heart of Europe. According to tradition, "The Sword of Saint Michael" represents the blow with which St. Michael sends the devil to Hell.

The seven holy sites, each with stories of St. Michael to tell, include

  • Skellig Michael in Ireland, where the archangel appeared to St. Patrick, helping him drive the evil creatures in the 400s
  • Saint Michael's Mount in England, where he appeared to a group of fishermen in A.D. 495
  • Mont Saint Michel in France, where he appeared to St. Aubert urging him to build a church in the rock in the 700s
  • Sacra di San Michele near Turin, Italy, where St. Michael appeared to San Lorenzo Maiorano in the 5th and 6th centuries
  • Sanctuary of Monte Sant'Angelo, Gargano, Italy, where St. Michael appeared and interceded multiple times
  • Panormitis Monastery in Symi, Greece, which houses one of the largest statues of St. Michael in the world
  • Stella Maris Monastery on Mount Carmel in Israel, where, according to folk legend, St. Michael gave Elijah the thunder he wrested from Satan

Archbishop Viganò's call to bishops and priests worldwide "to fight the common enemy of the whole human race" also represents a return to St. Michael many faithful had forgotten and is now being resurrected.

"Since the early days of the Church, the archangel has been venerated as the defender of God's rights, helping Christians to be steadfast in their fidelity to God in times of trial," Abp. Viganò said.

During the troubled times of the Wuhan virus &mdash when the "common enemy" seems to have won many battles &mdash the faithful are turning to St. Michael for protection, as they prepare for the victory of Easter and ponder these words from the Apocalypse: "And there was a great battle in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels. And they prevailed not . ." (12:7&ndash8).


Share All sharing options for: There have been 16 out gay and bi football players in the NFL’s 102-year history

Colton Underwood played in preseason games for the Oakland Raiders. Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The NFL has played for more than 100 years and there have been 16 gay or bi players to come out publicly.

On June 21, 2021, Carl Nassib of the Las Vegas Raiders became No. 16 and the first one to come out as gay while on an active roster.

To only have 16 out players among the thousands who have been on preseason, practice squad or regular season NFL rosters (23,000 and counting in a survey done in 2014) is barely a blip and shows the stigma that still surrounds people who play football. Over the years, Outsports has known of a few other players who are gay but have never come out, even when retired. Dave Kopay was the first player to come out, in 1975, three years after retiring after a nine-year career.

Despite their small numbers, these 16 are trailblazers and have inspired many LGBTQ people in sports and every walk of life, so they are to be applauded.

Here is the list of football players in the NFL who have come out:

Played in a regular season game

Dave Kopay (1964-72): Running back with the 49ers, Lions, Redskins, Saints, and Packers.

Jerry Smith (1965-77): Tight end with the Redskins. The NFL Network produced a documentary on Smith being gay.

Roy Simmons (1979-83): Offensive lineman with the Giants and Redskins.

Jeff Rohrer (1982-89): Linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys.

Esera Tuaolo (1991-99: Defensive tackle with the Packers, Vikings, Jaguars, Falcons and Panthers.

Kwame Harris (2003-08): Offensive lineman with the 49ers and Raiders.

Ryan O’Callaghan (2006-11): Offensive lineman with the Patriots and Chiefs.

Ryan Russell (2015-17, spent 2018 in Bills camp): Defensive lineman with the Buccaneers and Cowboys. Identifies as bisexual.

Carl Nassib (2016-present): Defensive lineman with the Browns, Buccaneers and Raiders.

Attended training camp

Wade Davis (2000-03): Wide receiver with the Titans, Seahawks and Redskins.

Dorien Bryant (2008): Wide receiver with the Steelers.

Martin Jenkins (1977): Defensive back with the Seahawks.

Brad Thorson (2011): Offensive lineman with the Cardinals.

Michael Sam (2014): Defensive end with the Rams. Also on the Cowboys practice squad.

Colton Underwood (2014-20): Tight end had preseason or practice squad stints with the Chargers, Eagles and Raiders.

2020 update

In October, Martin Jenkins, a former defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks, was nominated to the California Supreme Court. Jenkins is gay and this was the the first time he widely discussed his sexual orientation.

2021 update

In April, Colton Underwood came out publicly. The star of “The Bachelor” said he has been struggling with his sexuality his whole life.

In June, Carl Nassib of the Raiders came out as gay.

(This story first ran in 2019 and is updated when new players come out).


The True Story of Michael Fagan's Infamous Buckingham Palace Break In From The Crown

The intruder has gone down in history&mdashand become the subject of a new episode of The Crown.

On July 9, 1982, at around 7:15 AM, Queen Elizabeth II awoke with a start. Looming over her bed was a mysterious intruder, &ldquounkempt, barefooted, and slightly tipsy,&rdquo who had wrenched back the canopy surrounding her bed with a bloody hand. The intruder was 32-year-old Michael Fagan, an unemployed tradesman who had a bone to pick with Her Majesty. What transpired between the Queen and Fagan has since gone down in history as one of the most dramatic royal security breaches on record. Nearly four decades later, it continues to loom large in the cultural imagination&mdashso much so that it has become the subject of a season four episode of Netflix&rsquos The Crown.

Yet perhaps the most shocking thing about Fagan&rsquos unforgettable break-in isn&rsquot that it happened&mdashit&rsquos that it wasn&rsquot the first time he&rsquod breached palace security. The story actually begins about a month before the July incident, when Fagan (whom you&rsquoll come to see as something of an unreliable narrator) claims he broke into Buckingham Palace for the first time on June 7, 1982, the day his wife left him. In search of a bathroom, Fagan entered the palace by shimmying up a drainpipe and through the window of a shocked maid, who headed straight to security.

&ldquoI walked straight in,&rdquo Fagan later said of the incident. &ldquoI was surprised I wasn&rsquot captured straight away. I could have been a rapist or something.&rdquo

Fagan compared the nature of his visit to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, describing how he sat on multiple thrones in order to find the softest perch. He walked through the sumptuous halls, encountered a storage room where baby gifts sent by the public to the expectant Princess of Wales were kept, shuffled through paperwork, and even drank half a bottle of Prince Charles&rsquo wine, which proved to be an unexpected vintage.

&ldquoI found rooms saying &lsquoDiana&rsquos Room,&rsquo &lsquoCharles&rsquo Room,&rsquo &mdash they all had names on them. But I couldn't find a door which said &lsquoWC,&rsquo&rdquo Fagan told The Independent UK. &ldquoAll I found were some bins with &lsquoCorgi Food&rsquo written on them. I was breaking my neck to go to the toilet. What do I do? Pee on the carpet? So I had to pee on the corgi food. I got into Charles' room and took the wine off the shelf and [drank] it. It was cheap Californian.&rsquo&rdquo

Eventually, as he would later testify in court, Fagan grew so bored of waiting to be caught by security that he decided to leave the palace.

"It was harder to get out than get in,&rdquo Fagan said of his exit. &ldquoI eventually found a door and walked out into the back gardens, climbed over the wall and walked down the Mall, looking back and thinking 'ooh.&rsquo I hadn't thought about going in there until that last second when it came into my head to do it, so I was shocked."

A little over a month later, following an arrest and a brief stint in jail for stealing a car, Fagan returned to Buckingham Palace merely a day after being released on bail. Why? Even he isn&rsquot sure.

"I don't know why I did it something just got into my head," Fagan said. "I went back because I thought 'that's naughty, that's naughty that I can walk round there'." He even suggests that the incident may have stemmed from putting too many magic mushrooms in his soup five months prior, saying, "I forgot you're only supposed to take a little handful. Two years later I was still coming down. I was high on mushrooms for a long, long time."

With approximately ten servings of whiskey in his system, Fagan shimmied up the same drainpipe with which he&rsquod gained access to the palace before, left his socks and sandals on the roof, then entered the palace through the unlocked office window of Sir Peter Ashmore, the Master of the Household. According to a Scotland Yard investigation, Fagan was spotted by a police officer, who passed the message to the palace control room via another officer on duty, but the game of telephone was too inefficient to stop Fagan before he reached the inner sanctum. In the first anteroom to the Queen&rsquos chambers, Fagan hatched a plan to slit his wrists in front of Her Majesty. He broke an ashtray, managing to cut his hand. With a shard of the broken ashtray in hand, he entered the Queen&rsquos bedroom, opened the curtains surrounding her bed, and sat down on the foot of the bed.

"I was scareder than I'd ever been in my life," Fagan said of what happened next. "Then she speaks and it's like the finest glass you can imagine breaking: 'Wawrt [sic] are you doing here?!'"

The Queen rang her night alarm bell, but because there was no one in the corridor or in the pantry where the bell rang, it went unanswered. She then picked up the telephone by her bedside, asking the palace switchboard operator to send the police to her chambers, but after six minutes without rescue, she phoned again. As she continued to wait, she was able to flag down a maid, who helped her steer Fagan into a nearby pantry with the promise of a cigarette. Shortly thereafter, the Queen&rsquos footman arrived he served Fagan a glass of Famous Grouse scotch, assisting the Queen and her ragtag team in stalling Fagan until the police, at last, arrived to remove Fagan from the palace.

Reports at the time suggested that the Queen held a lengthy conversation with Fagan, intended to buy time until help arrived however, Fagan tells the story differently. "Nah!&rdquo he scoffs at the notion of a long conversation with Her Majesty. &ldquoShe went past me and ran out of the room her little bare feet running across the floor."

The Crown takes creative license with this telling, imagining a version of events where Fagan and the Queen do, in fact, share a tense but enlightening conversation. In Season Four, Episode Five, titled &ldquoFagan,&rdquo the hour devotes much of its screentime to Fagan, whom it envisions as the embodiment of the Margaret Thatcher-era working poor, who struggled to earn a living wage under Thatcher&rsquos conservative, deregulated policies. When Fagan visits his local Member of Parliament to complain about Thatcher&rsquos policies, the MP jokingly encourages him to voice his complaints to the Queen. Fagan does exactly that, storming the palace to beg Her Majesty to save Britain from Thatcher.

&ldquoShe&rsquos destroying the country,&rdquo Fagan tells the Queen. &ldquoThe right to work, the right to be ill, the right to be old, the right to be frail, to be human&mdashgone.&rdquo

In a scathing report from Scotland Yard, Assistant Commissioner John Dellow wrote, &ldquoIf police officers had been alert and competent, Fagan would have been apprehended well before he got close to the private apartments.&rdquo After a full investigation, Dellow came to the damning conclusion that a number of palace windows were improperly secured, and that numerous alarms were either incorrectly installed or malfunctioning. The investigation resulted in the suspension of one security officer, the removal from duty of two others, and a significant reinvestment in palace security.

As for Fagan, he suffered no criminal charges in connection with the second break-in, as trespassing was a civil law violation in Britain, but not a crime. It was the first break-in that sent him to court, where he was charged with the theft of Prince Charles&rsquo wine&mdashand summarily acquitted by a jury in just 14 minutes. Merely a month after his acquittal, Fagan appeared in court again on charges of vehicle theft he was then committed to a maximum security mental institution in Liverpool for three months. Two years later, the shoes and socks he&rsquod left behind on the palace rooftop were returned to his mother.

The Buckingham Palace dust-up turned Fagan into an unlikely celebrity, rendering him a degree of infamy that he has seemingly relished. Nearly a year after the break-in, in 1983, Fagan teamed up with The Bollock Brothers to record a cover of The Sex Pistols&rsquo classic, &ldquoGod Save the Queen.&rdquo

In the nearly four decades since breaking and entering at the palace, Fagan has been charged with a myriad of crimes, including assaulting a police officer, dealing heroin (for which he served four years in prison), and indecent exposure (a &ldquomisunderstanding,&rdquo he insists). According to an August 2020 interview with The Sun, researchers from The Crown did not contact Fagan, who is lucky to be alive after recovering from both COVID-19 and a heart attack earlier this year. Fagan is pleased with the performance of Tom Brooke, but jokes, &ldquoAl Pacino would have been better.&rdquo Yet all these years later, Fagan has no regrets.

&ldquoPeople who have done marvelous things get to kneel in front of her to be honored,&rdquo Fagan said, &ldquobut I actually sat on her bed and almost got to talk to her.&rdquo

In a 2012 interview, Fagan was asked if he had a message for the Queen on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee, a national celebration marking her sixty years on the throne. Fagan replied, "Yeah, 60 years&mdashthat's fucking great! I hope she beats Victoria. I hope she lives to be a hundred. If she does, I'll send her a hundredth-birthday telegram."

The Queen may not be eager to hear from Fagan&mdashbut hey, at least he&rsquos not planning another unscheduled visit to Buckingham Palace.


Watch the video: Michael Houdini - The Office US