On the morning of September 12th, 1826, a stoneworker named William Morgan went missing from a local jail in Batavia, New York. Morgan was not a prominent man. In fact, he was known to be a drifter and a bit of a drunk. Furthermore, according to Andrew Burt, the author of American Hysteria: The Untold Story of Mass Political Extremism in the United States, Morgan “had moved his family relentlessly throughout the countryside, hauling his wife, Lucinda, and two young children from one failed venture to the next.”
However, Morgan was more than just the wanderer he appeared to be. He was able to infiltrate the infamous secret society of the Freemasons and even threatened to write a book exposing them. As expected, the local Masons started harassing Morgan so that he wouldn’t publish their secrets in his exposé.