Agnosticism’s strong right arm, Robert G.Ingersoll, figures prominently in two interesting stories from America’s heartland.
In Oklahoma, a tale comes about a grave and W.H. Sade, of Douglas, Oklahoma (http://cybermarsx.mls.lib.ok.us/Folklore/Originals/XI-1_009.pdf). He was reported to have been an infidel whose home was decorated with art and images depicting religious themes in a most sacrilegious manner and raised his family to despise all things religious.
His 15-year-old son, whom he had named after Robert G. Ingersoll, soon came down with an illness similar to appendicitis. He suffered for many days and spat out curses to his father for raising him wrong and telling him, he would suffer. This appears to have occurred as he developed strange ideas. The man believed his son’s illness arose from eating a peach. He became convinced his son would grow into a peach after death. When the boy died he had first did not want him buried in the regular cemetery but in a pasture across the road from the Douglas cemetery. His daughter convinced him finally but he insisted in carving a peach in the reverse of the stone. Years later, she had this moved to his feet and replaced the headstone with a more traditional one. As of 1936, John Miller reported the stone was still there in the cemetery.
One source did identify a grave in the cemetery which matches the description given, Robert G. Sade, b. 1881 and died 1897 (http://www.okcemeteries.net/garfield/douglasunion/douglasunion.htm).
Near Joplin, Missouri, a most horrific event was linked to Robert G. Ingersoll as well in 1899 (http://www.historicjoplin.org/?p=635). James Moss was a 35-year-old worker who was living with his wife and children in an area called the “Kansas City Bottoms.” A stench led some people to the remains of their camp in a tent where the horrific sight of the mutilated bodies of the youngest child outside led to the bodies of the other two children, the mother and Moss. Police determined he had killed his family and then shot himself. A Kansas City paper reported he was attracted to the writings of Ingersoll and his views on Suicide. A general belief seemed to be that his various views all indicated he was insane.
This all leads to the question - can agnosticism, like extremes in of any belief system, make a person mad? Is it possible the wide-eyed, ranting, ignorant, superstitious Bible believing or religious extremist may need to move over to allow room for the wide-eyed, ranting,and murderous agnonist? Opens up all kinds of charector possibilities.