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Billy the Kid and Weston Price

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  • Billy the Kid and Weston Price

    I came across an interesting image of William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid today. (And as if that's not enough names, Wikipedia claims his baptismal name was Henry McCarty.)

    Here it is:

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...0bffd1a754.jpg

    Interesting, huh? Note the receding chin.

    I think the usual picture one sees is the one Wikipedia has:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Billy_the_Kid

    The other image does look like the same man (I've no way of verifying the attribution), but from that angle the deformation of the face - the "dental deformities" - are obvious.

    I was also listening to Pat Garrett's biography of the Kid on audiobook today. (That's why I was looking at the images.) Now Garrett does mention that the newspapers referred to Billy's prominent front teeth - as lurid and shallow in those days as they are now they compared them to the fangs of a wild animal. I took that as oblique confirmation of what I'd already noticed from the photos. If your lower jaw doesn't grow properly, and if your face doesn't grow wide enough, then your front teeth appear to stick out. But, actually, this isn't about the front teeth - it's a wider problem.

    I guess those who are familiar with the writings of Price will know what he said causes this. (And it's not a mixture of "races", not having chewy enough food or sucking one's thumb that's responsible - all hopelessly off-target guesses put out by the anthropologically uninformed mainstream in dentistry.) It is, says Price, what happens when your diet is short in minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. (Particularly important, those in the know now think, is the one Price hypothesised - it hadn't yet been isolated - and dubbed "Activator X". This would be what we now know as vitamin K2, found in useful quantities emu oil, skate liver oil, high quality dairy products, and natto.)

    Two reasons I think Billy is a significant person to think about in this context. First, if you thought the problems Price were pointing to only began in the 20th century, think again. Billy was born in 1859. Garrett describes him as being only 5 foot 7 and a half in height, but lithe and "muscular". I doubt he was unusually short. Garrett also mentions that he was a little taller than Jesse James. It's been suggested - plausibly, I think - that the great increase in height in modern populations is owing to excess refined carbs in the diet, since we know those spike insulin and when insulin is high so also is IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor one). I suggest that Billy probably wasn't over-stuffed with refined carbs the way modern populations are, probably wasn't very insulin resistant and hadn't had his growth over-stimulated. (I guess he probably would have eaten a lot of bread but not perhaps that much sugar, cookies, cakes, etc.) What was lacking in his diet I'd guess were minerals and/or fat-soluble vitamins, particularly the latter. Meat perhaps often came in the form of bacon when growing up - cheap and kept well - and not liver, kidneys, etc. I doubt high quality dairy products or seafood were given to him

    Second, I wonder about the effect of the facial deformation on his mental life. There's an old article at the WAPF where an expert in psycho-physical medicine - a chiropractor, IIRC - says that crowding of the teeth and lack of room for the tongue can cause an upset to the sympathetic-parasympathetic balance in the nervous system.

    I'm not trying to find a "physical" cause for his career. I think anything like that would be a gross oversimplification. But I do wonder whether his sympathetic nervous system was over-reactive and that played into his character. I find it interesting that Garrett writes that Billy could be cautious when he was not over-excited.

    Comments?

  • #2
    It's interesting that you used Billy the Kid as your example for this thread. I spent about a decade studying BTK's life and this is a nice convergence of two of my interests.

    George Coe, a friend of BTK's and a fellow regulator, wrote a book about his life and he talked about the winter that BTK spent with him on his ranch. He stated that they pretty much subsisted on wild turkey the entire winter.

    Also, that part of New Mexico was prime grazing land and beef was a major part of economy. Billy was involved with cattle both as a ranch hand and as a thief. In fact, in the 1880 census he listed his occupation as "works in cattle".

    From 1878 to 1881, when he was killed, BTK was pretty much always on the move so it's probably a given that a huge part of his diet consisted of meat.

    However, BTK moved to New Mexico from somewhere else and the first decade or so of his life was probably spent in more settled areas where refined carbs were more available.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Corwin1968 View Post
      It's interesting that you used Billy the Kid as your example for this thread. I spent about a decade studying BTK's life and this is a nice convergence of two of my interests.

      George Coe, a friend of BTK's and a fellow regulator, wrote a book about his life and he talked about the winter that BTK spent with him on his ranch. He stated that they pretty much subsisted on wild turkey the entire winter.

      Also, that part of New Mexico was prime grazing land and beef was a major part of economy. Billy was involved with cattle both as a ranch hand and as a thief. In fact, in the 1880 census he listed his occupation as "works in cattle".

      From 1878 to 1881, when he was killed, BTK was pretty much always on the move so it's probably a given that a huge part of his diet consisted of meat.

      However, BTK moved to New Mexico from somewhere else and the first decade or so of his life was probably spent in more settled areas where refined carbs were more available.
      Thanks! That's great information!

      My thoughts here are that it's the early years that matter most for how the face forms and the teeth come through. I speak subject to correction, but that's how it goes as far as I can tell.

      Garrett states Billy was brought up in New York. Maybe he's right, but I think there's doubt there - I've heard otherwise. You'd know better than me.

      IIRC, Rudolf Steiner - a shadowy background influence on WAPF thinking (though I doubt Price himself ever heard of him) - thought you could divide human development into 7-year phases. People must take Steiner how they want, but this is certainly suggestive and there's a link with when the second teeth, and the wisdom teeth, come through (if the latter even do - which they mostly don't these days).

      My thought is that Billy's facial/dental development may have been ruined in his first seven years of life.

      On another note I think both his life and his physical development make an interesting comparison and contrast with those of the Australian outlaw Ned Kelly.

      There's a photo of Ned at 15. He has high cheekbones and a well-formed lower jaw. In contradistinction to Billy's 5' 8" frame, Ned was 5' 10" even by this age, and 6' when fully grown.

      There’s a contemporary account where a traveller from England notes that the people in that corner of the State of Victoria, for the most part first-generation Australians of Irish descent, were pretty much all tall, lean and good-looking, the men having broad shoulders and deep chests. I guess it must say something about the quality of the food available in Australia in those days.

      Ned's is a sad story. He seems to have been quick-tempered and not averse to shady dealings but not actually a particularly bad man. I guess the same might be said of many other nineteenth-century people: those were violent days—but he seems more one for a scrap with his fists than a killer. Billy probably killed 4 or 5 men (rather than the 21 legend attributes to him) but he certainly was a killer.

      Ned seems to have succeeded in annoying some unscrupulous policemen and fallen foul of a political/legal establishment that favoured large, and themselves exceedingly unscrupulous, landowners. One of these policemen, an obnoxious North of Ireland man, who was known to be violent, vindictive, untruthful and to have pursued vendettas against colleagues in the police, so who should never have been allowed to stay in the force, shot at him with a revolver on suspicion that he had stolen a horse. Actually, he hadn’t, and anyway to shoot at a 16 year old boy on suspicion beggars belief. It’s really attempted murder. Later the man asserted that he’d read that the horse had been stolen in a police publication, which was perjury, because the story he was referring to hadn’t been published until some days after his attack on the boy.

      Anyway, the gun misfired three times, and Ned took it off him and gave him a beating. Bystanders intervened, and when Ned had been secured, this policeman hit him over the head five times with the pistol. A doctor eventually arrived at his cell, and it took 2 hours to stop the flow of blood, and more than the one visit by the doctor to sew his head up and treat the wounds. There’s a comment in State records by a senior officer to the effect that this officer ought to be told not to occasion the State so much expense in doctor's bills by breaking people’s heads—but they did nothing about it. And so it all goes on till it ends in tragedy.

      There's a long and painful history that starts long before either man's birth. Billy was born with the name McCarty and Ned was a Kelly. Ireland was effectively an occupied land for centuries. And I guess where this didn't directly affect what happen to people from day to day it had an incalculable cultural effect. Ned's latter career has a kind of (pathetically unsuccessful and inconsequential) political dimension to it that Billy's hasn't. But I'm either case the attitudes they had, their mores and so on, have, I think, a cultural dimension that isn't unrelated to a dark and difficult political/social/economic past. Even the ready resort to violence - among themselves as well as to outsiders - perhaps speaks to a past where you would NOT take your disputes to trusted authority to be settled non-violently - because authority was non-native and wouldn't be trusted.

      I'm not Irish myself. I'm English. This is just how the history seems to me.
      Last edited by Lewis; 09-25-2016, 05:01 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        It's been my understanding as well, that diet during the formative years has a major impact on physical development. This fits BTK because even though he was probably eating pretty primal in New Mexico, he grew up back East, probably on a more processed diet.

        Some historians have described the Lincoln County War as being the English vs the Irish. Billy, despite being Irish thru-and-thru, ended up on the side of the English, who subsequently lost the war, relegating him to an outlaw's life.

        Comment


        • #5
          AFAICT, Billy liked and was personally loyal to John Tunstall, who was English. But after Tunstall's murder he fell out with the other main figure on that side—McSween?

          I think it's interesting to notice some of the names involved, and it's a reflection on which peoples from Europe were on the move at the time. ... And I think beyond that there are questions about how the culture and mores that people brought with them affected who they were and what they did. On the other hand, I think it would be a mistake to see people deliberately dividing on "national" grounds.

          There's a fascinating book by an American historian that tries to trace this cultural history for the U.S.--Seeds of Albion.

          I think the same probably goes for Australia. There's a kind of British-Irish tension underlying this, but it doesn't seem that people were necessarily hostile to people from different nationalities—let alone that they were "sectarian". Ned was Roman Catholic, and obviously deeply sincere, if maybe a bit shallow, in his religion, but he had associates who were protestant. I think he'd have felt very strongly that his identity was tied up with the "selectors" (small landowners) and labourers.

          I think there'd be a tendency for someone like Ned to come into conflict with anyone who came from a very different background. He had a couple of brushes with Chinese people. On the first occasion at least it's not really clear what went on and who was to blame, but it's almost the kind of thing that would be waiting to happen.

          There's also an occasion where a relative of the Kellys turned up drunk one day and apparently became "amorous" towards one of more of the women in the Kelly household. Eventually Ned's mother chased him off with a broom and threw him out the house. He returned and set fire to the house as revenge. That's an action that could have resulted in the death of everyone in the building. I mean how's that as an example of internal conflict and violence within a community?

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