From RLSH Wiki
These are guides written by Knighthood and posted on RLSH.net, pasted verbatim with only minor formatting tweaks for clarity.
Precursors to the RLSH movement
THE REAL LIFE BATMAN; El Murcielago, which translates as "The Bat" was a Mexican wrestler whose debut match was April 3rd, 1938, a full year before Bob Kane and Bill Finger created Batman in Detective Comics #27 and also before Norman Daniels aka G. Wyman Jones introduced his pulp fiction hero the Black Bat in July of 1939.
Bob Kane maintained until his death that the only Bat character he knew of prior to creating Batman was the villain in the 1930 film "The Bat Whispers", but what of Bill Finger? Could Finger perhaps have seen a photo of El Murcielago prior to drawing Batman?
El Murcielago wore a full length black cape, black boots, black full face mask and trunks similar to Batman, but as an artist myself I was particularly struck by El Murcialago's large thigh muscles which bear a strong resemblance to those drawn by Finger of Batman's in Detective #27. A coincidence? It's possible. After all Batman and the Black Bat only came one month apart in 1939 and were created independently.
Even though his influence on American Comic books is debatable, El Murcialago aka Jesus Valazquez was one of the original wrestlers who helped create the world of Lucha Libre or "free wrestling" as it translates. He was one of the first, if not the first to wear a mask in the ring and would be followed by thousands to come.
These masked characters were far more to their Mexican fans than mere wrestlers, but are considered true folk heroes. Many like the famous "El Santo" appeared in comics, and multiple films in character as well as personal appearances.
This culminated in 1996 with Superbarrio, one of the first of the RLSH community, who uses his image to organize labor rallies, protests and file petitions for better living conditions for the poor. Superbarrio is joined by other Luchadors who battle corruption, animal rights, pollution and poverty. So there is little doubt that El Murcielago, "The Bat" is definitely one of the precursors to the real life superhero movement.
EL SANTO ; Real name Rodolfo Guzman Huerta began wrestling under several other names, El Hombre Rojo (The Red Man), El Demonio Negro (The Black Demon) and El Murceilago II (The Bat II) It was this last name that prompted a lawsuit by Jesus Valazquez the original Bat, so he was forced to change his name once again.
It was then that he first donned his iconic silver mask and cape and became El Santo ...(The Saint). As El Santo his fame exceeded the sport itself. In 1951 an El Santo comic book was published which ran for 35 years. Then in 1958 he began making movies as El Santo. His movie character had similarities to Batman in that he had a cave filled with scientific equipment.
In the films he was not only a wrestler but a crime fighter as well. He fought everything from Martians, witches, vampires and zombies to real life villains like Nazis. From 1958-1982 he starred in over 54 films. He never appeared in public without his mask.
In 1982 he announced his retirement and passed away one week later at age 66. In the minds of millions of fans, El Santo was a real life superhero who stepped out of the comic pages and really existed. This fact alone definitely makes him one of the precursors of the real life superhero movement.
CLAYTON MOORE; 1914-1999; The actor is best remembered for playing the Lone Ranger on television and also 2 films, but that is not why I consider him one of the precursors of the RLSH movement. It's what happened after that. For he so loved the role that he gave up acting and dedicated the next 40 years to portraying the character in public appearances.
He was never seen in public out of character and lived his life according to the code of the Lone Ranger, never once doing anything to tarnish the heroes image. He told his friends and family that he had "become the Lone Ranger". They did not understand what he meant by that and may have worried he'd gone a little mad, but those of us in the rlsh movement know exactly what he meant.
Aside from his many, many public appearances at schools, where he lectured on gun safety and also on not using tobacco, alcohol or drugs, he would visit sick children and other fans in the hospital as the Lone Ranger.
What few know is that on 2 different occasions he saved 3 lives in character as the Lone Ranger. Once on his way to a public appearance he witnessed a motorcycle hit by a hit and run driver. He jumped out of his vehicle and ran to the victim, propping up his head and keeping him conscious until the ambulance arrived. At the ER the victims doctor nearly ordered a psychiatric evaluation as the man kept asking if the Lone Ranger was still there. Thankfully the paramedics confirmed his story.
In another incident Moore was invited to a party by a producer and he spotted 2 little girls, ages 3 and 4 drifting away in an untied rowboat on the lake. He jumped in the water and swam to retrieved the boat and brought them back safely to shore. In his typical modesty he asked that his name be withheld from the story until till after his death.
Like the Lone Ranger he did not want to be thanked. Clayton Moore received the Congressional Medal of Honor and was declared a National hero. So in every way that counts Clayton Moore was the Lone Ranger and was therefore a precursor to the real life superhero movement.
As I mentioned several times I watched the Lone Ranger from the cradle and when I decided to hit the streets as a masked crusader this character was my main influence. I adopted his method of operation and use disguise frequently to get in close to the criminal activity and only don the mask when I am ready to act as Knight-Hood. In fact I used the Lone Ranger's real name John Reid as my alias on my Facebook page.
THE FOX; aka James Phillips; (Nov. 30, 1930- Oct. 3, 2001) One of the earliest of the rlsh's, James Phillips was an environmental activist long before the word was coined. He operated in the Chicago area in the 1960's and was known only as the mysterious character who called himself "The Fox".
One of the first things he did was to plug a sewage outlet dumping pollution into the Fox River when he saw dead ducks floating in it. He signed his name on the sewage pipe "The Fox" with the "o" replaced with a drawing of a fox head.
That was only the beginning of his one man war against the companies who were polluting our air and water. In the years to come he capped smoke stacks, held a mock funeral for the Fox River, placed signs in store front windows secretly that read "I can't stop killing your environment, I need the profits- U.S. Steel". He left skunks on the doorsteps of polluting companies and in one instance transported 50 pounds of raw sewage from Lake Michigan and dumped it in the lobby of the company who discharged it.
He left his calling card which said "The Fox". His form of protests never actually hurt anyone. His mission was to protect our air and water from the large corporations who polluted them without restraint, so he chose to embarrass them, to call attention to their actions and to bring about public pressure on law makers to curtail corporations and fine them for damage to the environment, which was unheard of before the 1960's. Now this is a vigilante I can get behind as he never hurt anyone.
Wanted by the police for his actions he became a folk hero to the people of Illinois and even bumper stickers could be seen with his now famous Fox logo supporting his efforts. In 1999 he penned a self published book titled "Raising Kane; The Fox Chronicles" under the pseudonym "Ray Fox". While he never admitted to being the Fox his family confirmed his identity after his death in 2001.
NIGHT-RIDER; Ok cue the Twilight Zone music because as I mentioned in my biography as a teenager I was writing and drawing the fictional adventures of a masked hero I created called “Night-Rider”. Now little did I know or dream that there was a man out there wearing a mask and calling himself Night-Rider, I think? All that is known for certain is that a self published hand made book came out in 1980 titled “How to Be a Superhero” by Night-Rider. In his book “Heroes in the Night” Tea Krulos explains it better than anyone. Here is an excerpt...
“THE NIGHT RIDER GRAIL
I think first heard about the “Night Rider book” as it’s usually referred to, in Vancouver from Knight
Owl while cruising around in the Thana-van. What I was hearing was that an individual had written a guide book to be a real life superhero…in 1980.
I talked with Zimmer about this book again when I was in NYC, and of course both times I discussed it, I realized that it was important to me to read this book. I finally got a chance to read it a couple days ago. Reading a copy is a rare opportunity, and some details on the book will tell you why.
-The book actually titled “How to be a Super-hero” by The Night Rider, was published in 1980 by
GEM Enterprises with a PO Box in Morgantown, WV listed as the address. Judging from the lay out, style, and typos my guess is that this enterprise was a name Night Rider used to self publish the book himself or with a small group of people. This sort of thing is easy to do now with Lulu and other sites, but was significantly more difficult back then- you had to commit to a certain print run for your book- ranging from a very small one to a few thousand. > Point being: No one but Night Rider and his publishing partners know how many copies of this book were printed?
-Fun Fact: Night Rider’s book was published two years before the David Hasselhoff/ talking car TV show Knight Rider aired in 1982.
- The only known copy of this book is in the special collections department of the Michigan State University Library. It can’t be checked out or even taken out of the small reading room in the special collections.
Tracking it down took an international RLSH effort- Toronto based detective Wolf located the book and then RLSH worked together and got Blue Lightning to go to the library, convinced the librarians that he needed to photocopy the entire book (they usually allow only 5 pages copied for copyright reasons) for scholarly reasons. They agreed and he photocopied the whole thing- the book is only 54 pages- and then scanned the pages.
Contents: Night Rider provides chapters on physical and mental training (mostly “visualize yourself as the person you want to be" type techniques) a chapter on selecting an effective “uniform,” a chapter on weapons- mostly talking about different ninja weapons; nunchucks, bo, sai, tonfa, manriki-gusari, etc. I think the most interesting is the last chapter, titled “More True Stories of Real-life Superheroes.” Yes, Night Rider uses this term a few times in his book, 30 years ago!
According to Night Rider, he was not alone out there and gives short accounts of the Phantom Avenger and Ms. Mystery. The Phantom Avenger, he says, swung into action after a friend of he and his wife came to them for shelter from her abusive husband. The book gives an account of what happened next.
Betty(woman being beaten)'s husband pulled up the driveway and exited his car, an expensive white Continental. As he opened his front door, Jim(aka the Phantom Avenger!)hit him with a flying tackle that carried them both into the living room. Betty's husband looked up at Jim and cried, "Who are you?
"I'm the Phantom Avenger and I'm going to teach you a lesson you’ll never forget!" With that, Jim hit his opponent with a terrific right that sent him sprawling over the coffee table. Pouncing on him, he raised him up to his feet by gripping the man's throat.
He tried unsuccessfully to fight back, but The Phantom Avenger was too much for him. A flurry of blows knocked the wifebeater across the room, each one hitting the mark. His mouth was bubbling red.
"You like slapping women around, eh?", the Phantom Avenger asked. "Well, get this. If you try to get at Betty at June and Jim's house or anywhere else, I'll be back to give you a real sample of what I can do"
Night Rider said the Phantom Avenger continued his quest:
And occasionally, a drunken and violent wife-beater is found tied to a tree with a sign around his neck: "THE PHANTOM AVENGER HATES WOMAN BEATERS!"
Up next is Ms. Mystery, who in a similar fashion decided to bring street justice to her boss. Ms. Mystery’s secret identity worked as a secretary, and her and her fellow secretaries were being assaulted at the workplace by their sexist boss and his horny hands.
She called the boss and without revealing who she was told him to meet her in the office, luring him with a sexy, suggestive voice. When he arrived, she was dressed in a disguise, hit him in the shins with her nunchucks and handcuffed him to his desk, leaving a note in the typewriter:
REMEMBER WHAT I TOLD YOU. IF YOU GET FRESH WITH ANY OF THE GIRLS, I’LL COME BACK AND BREAK BOTH YOUR ARMS! --MS. MYSTERY
It is unclear as to whether she operated as Ms. Mystery outside of that incident.
Although these stories are interesting, nothing supports these stories except Night Rider’s book, so we have to take his word. Two other people he mentions, however, do have a lot of documentation: Curtis Sliwa and The Fox.”
Knight-Hood speaking. So! It is possible that there was a real life Knight-Rider in the 1970's. One thing is certain, the book is real and definitely uses the term “Real Life Superhero” throughout it's text, so if nothing else the author gets credit for coining the term 30 years before the RLSH movement took off.
Now this is the perfect example of why it is impossible to write a book on the History of Real Life Masked crusaders simply because most operate in secret. They never tell a soul what they are doing and so they die anonymously along with their deeds and name. This one actually writes a book and tells us he and two others were operating in the 1970's as RLSH's, his words, but all we have a this obscure manuscript as proof. Was it fiction or fact? There is no way to really know and were it not for the manuscript no one would ever have heard of him. If true, how many others down through the ages may have existed?
I had the very same problem. From 1989-2010 no one ever had any idea I was out doing this not
even members of my own family. I made sure of that. The anonymity was my greatest protection from police and criminals alike, but then in 2010 I became aware of the RLSH movement and waited some time debating about whether or not I should contact them?
Curiosity about them drug me out of the safety of the shadows and I introduced myself, but I had not a shred of proof I existed anymore than Night-Rider. The first RLSH I met on line was Artisteroi, who was running rlsh.org at the time. The first thing he asked for was some photos of me out in the street doing something in public. The reason he asked for that was the forum was bombarded each day with posers and pretenders, mostly teens with big imaginations making costumes and snapping photos of themselves in their bedroom and claiming to have been RLSH's for years. The posers were always pretty easy to spot as they either claimed to have “superpowers” which of course no one has, or they make overly grandiose claims stating they once “crashed through a skylight and foiled a bank robbery single handed” etc.
So naturally Artisteroi simply asked for some evidence that they really were RLSH's before they could join the forum and photos of yourself in your bedroom was not sufficient, but I had no photos at all! I was doing my best to remain covert and work undercover. I certainly did not have a photographer following me around nor any newspaper articles chronicling my “exploits”. That was the opposite of my M.O. Being invisible worked well for me, but since I lurked a long time on the forum, months really, just reading what they had to say I knew full well that they would at least ask for photos, so I thought, “Well I guess I better take some photos before I pop up and say hello.
I went out and bought a disposable digital camera and began to realize just how hard it was to snap your own photos. I got better at it eventually and when I had a few that were not too blurry I
joined the forum and of course they were still skeptical but gave me the benefit of the doubt at least. I think they eventually accepted me as legit but it took a while to win their trust. To see photos of me you can go to the link at the first beginning of this book, or just Google “John Reid/Facebook and no doubt you will have little trouble finding my masked profile pic. On there you will find a whole album of photos.
Meeting the RLSH community changed me and my methods far more than the other way around. Even though I had been at it for over 20 years, I always considered my efforts a complete failure. I never managed to save a life nor foil a crime in progress no matter how long I patrolled. Then I met these young people who seemed to be very proud of their accomplishments. As I read about what they had been doing, I realized that I had been doing all of those things for years. They forced me to look at what I did in a different way. I realized then that it was not how big the deed that counted, but the fact that you were willing to risk your life to do it. That you were willing to make the effort and not just sit at home and wish you could do something.
They also made me realize that by working undercover and never allowing myself to be seen doing this I had inspired no one to take up the cause themselves. Truthfully the thought never even
occurred to me, probably because I was not proud of my career, but looked at it more as a failed dream. So I began to try and make an effort to do things their way. That was when I met Artisteroi and Superhero in person and asked them to help me make a video for You Tube as a lot of them were doing. That was why I began my FB page and why I am now publishing the posts, not for “pats on the back” because I still feel I haven't done anything anyone could not have done, but instead to inspire others to go out there and do this themselves.
Getting back to the Night-Rider book, he mentioned The Fox which we just spoke about and also Curtis Sliwa, let's talk about him.
CURTIS SLIWA; is the founder of the “Guardian Angels” and no chapter on the precursors of the RLSH movement would be complete without mentioning him. Here is what wikipedia had to say about him.
“In May 1977, Sliwa created the "Magnificent 13", a group dedicated to combating violence and crime on the New York Subway At the time, the city was experiencing a crime wave. The Magnificent 13 grew and was renamed the Guardian Angels in 1979. The group's actions drew strong reactions, both positive and negative, from the police, public officials, residents, and the media. Throughout the early 1980s the group's distinctive uniform, a military type red beret and white insignia T-shirt, became recognizable as the group grew and courted media attention. In 1992, Sliwa received the prestigious Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey, at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston.
In the early 1980s, he became active in Buffalo, New York and was often critical of local police policies and practices. Sliwa continues to act as the president of the organization and oversees its worldwide operations. His wife Mary was Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer. Sliwa frequently visits chapters throughout the world and graduates new chapters. Sliwa stated that as of 2011, the Guardian Angels operate in nine countries and 82 cities around the world, with approximately 5,000 members.”
THE HUMAN FLY; Of all the precursors to the real life superhero movement, the Human Fly remains the most mysterious. Some articles claim that several characters wore the Fly costume, others that it was worn by a man named Rick Rojatt and still another that claimed his real name was Rick Rojette. Here is what we do know. The Human Fly was a famous stuntman of the 1970's who kept his real identity a secret. He traveled around the country, always in costume, to attend charity events, these events were elaborately staged and there would be a comic book villain waiting to steal the money that had been raised. The Human Fly would triumph over him in the end and the children in attendance would lose their minds with glee.
Even his origin sounds invented as he claimed that 5 years before he became the Human Fly he was in a car accident that took the life of his wife and daughter and left himself pretty broken up. That the doctors used steel to support his fractured bones. True or hype one thing is indisputable and that is the incredible stunts he performed.
His most famous was when he mounted himself atop a Douglas DC-8 wearing only his thin cotton costume and was flown at speeds in excess of 280 mph at 5000 ft. The plane encountered light rain during the flight and the pain of being hit with droplets at that speed was so excruciating it caused him to black out. He was hospitalized for 6 weeks after that, but insisted on performing it again, the second attempt was successful.
His last recorded stunt took place at the Montreal Olympic Stadium in 1977. He rode a specially built rocket powered Harley Davidson over 27 buses to beat Evil Knievel's world record of 13.
His exploits were so spectacular that Marvel Comics created a short lived series that ran for 19 issues and had the caption "The Wildest Superhero ever, because he's real!" After the comic series ended the Human Fly performed one more time then disappeared into history.
On a personal note I remember buying that comic when it came out and I read that it was one of the main inspirations that inspired Master Legend. (more on him later) I have also heard rumors of a Human Fly feature film, but am not sure if it was shelved or not?
CAPTAIN STICKY; I recall seeing Captain Sticky on the nightly news during the 70's. Richard Pesta; 'Captain Sticky' championed consumer causes . Here is an edited article on him I found on the internet.
“By Jack Williams UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER ...
February 18, 2004 Richard Allen Pesta
As Captain Sticky, a caped cartoon character come to life, Richard Allen Pesta was hard to ignore. Massive in girth and flamboyant in personality and Superman-style costume, he proudly played the role of one of America's wackiest watchdogs.
Based in San Diego, Mr. Pesta campaigned against everything from rental car rip-offs and sugar-coated cereal to abusive nursing homes, attracting widespread media attention in the 1970s and 1980s.
"I am America's only practicing caped crusader," he told the San Diego Tribune in 1984. "That is the role I desire to maintain for the rest of my life."
Mr. Pesta's fiancee, Lynne Shiloh, said this week that he died Dec. 12 of complications from heart bypass surgery at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. He was 57. The couple had been vacationing when Mr. Pesta became ill and underwent surgery. Although his chances of recovery were said to be favorable, he developed an embolism in his leg, Shiloh said.
At the peak of his Captain Sticky popularity, Mr. Pesta drove a bubble-topped Lincoln with flags and flashing lights that he called his Stickymobile. Wearing a gold cape, glittery matching boots and blue tights, he took his causes to Sacramento and to media outlets.
Mr. Pesta was born in Pittsburgh and moved with his family to Escondido as a child. He graduated from high school in Redondo Beach.
"His dream was to alter the course of history," Shiloh said. "He was a huge man with a huge heart filled with love for everyone."
After battling a weight problem for much of his life, Mr. Pesta underwent surgery in the late 1990s.
"The good doctor pulled my stomach way back and filleted me," he told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 1998. "They took two five-gallon pails of fat from me."
Mr. Pesta leaves no immediate family. He was cremated in Thailand, where his ashes were scattered at sea.”
JAY J. ARMES : Definitely one of the precursors of the real life superhero movement and his real life reads like a comic book.
Born Julian Armas to Mexican American parents on August 12, 1932. He is a real-life Texas private eye, and generally considered one of the best, receiving awards and recognition as "the man who has made the greatest contribution to the investigative profession." He has friends in high places (see below) and his clients have included Elvis Presley, Howard Hughes, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando, whose son, Christian, Armes rescued from kidnappers. Supposedly he's never lost a case, and has even succeeded where the FBI and CIA have failed. Origin; At the age of twelve, he lost both his hands in an accident (dynamite was apparently involved), and was outfitted with prostheses.
Over the years those prostheses have evolved, transforming Armes (his real name!) into a sort of real-life James Bond/Six Million Dollar Man. His two powerful steel claws can slice through steel, but are delicate enough to thread a needle. At one point he even had a .22 Magnum implanted into his wrist. But he also owns five-fingered prosthetics which he can wear when the occasion demands, allowing him to appear in public without attracting undue attention to himself.
Not that he used those, of course, when he appeared in an episode of Hawaii 5-0 as a deranged sniper called "The Hookman." His biography, co-penned by Frederick Nolan came out in 1976, inspired a series of toys from Ideal, hoping to capitalize on the "Bionic Man" craze. Billed as "J.J. Armes: The Detective with Interchangeable Hands," the figure came with various interchangeable "action" hands, including suction cups for climbing walls, a magnet for hanging onto steel structures, a machete, a pair of false hands for undercover roles, a hook that converts to a pistol and a pair of spring loaded hooks. There were also numerous accessories available, including a Mobile Investigation Unit with a "Super Hook".
Eventually Hollywood came a-calling. A 1993 TV movie was shot and aired, a potential pilot for a series that, alas, was not picked up.
But they keep trying. In January 2005, it was leaked that Marvel Comics' honcho Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man, the X-Men et al, was developing a superhero based on Armes. Says Lee, "When I first met Jay I was bowled over. I couldn't believe that a real live person could have the incredible powers that he possesses"
One of Lee's co-producers laid it on even thicker: "This can truly be a tent pole franchise with the right studio partner. Amazingly, Jay can now do more with the fantastic steel claws that have replaced his hands than people with their own hands can do. He can reach into fire, smash through doors, fire bullets with unerring accuracy, cut through metal, fly utilizing a jet pack, scuba dive, pilot a jet -- and he is master of the deadliest karate chop. No wonder Jay J. Armes is the most famous, most sought after investigator in the world."
Meanwhile, Armes is still walking down those mean streets. He is currently the "Chief Investigator" for “The Investigators”, an El Paso-based detective agency, and lives on a fourteen acre estate in Texas, with assorted tigers and cheetahs, a chimp, a wife and a loving family. Supposedly he's been known to use his 750 pound tiger as a "lie detector." He tools around town in a specially rigged Hummer.
WILLIE PERRY; The Batman of Burmingham
Willie James Perry, also known as Batman or the Birmingham Batman (born December 14, 1940; died January 24, 1985 in Birmingham) was well-known for cruising around Birmingham helping stranded motorists and giving free rides in his customized 1971 Ford Thunderbird, dubbed the "Batmobile Rescue Ship".
Perry lived at 702 Delta Street South in South Titusville. Since he was a teenager he worked at window distributor J. F. Day & Company in Lakeview where he assembled cast-iron furniture as well as door and window units. He was eventually promoted to shop manager.
Perry lived by the motto "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." After he heard about a woman whose car had broken down being raped by a group of men who had seemingly stopped to help her, he decided to take to the streets in a way that he could be recognized as a helper that could be trusted. In addition to carrying gas, jumper cables and tools to help people whose cars had broken down, Perry gave free rides to people who had too much to drink, took elderly people to doctor's appointments and drove kids around to McDonald's or as entertainment for birthday parties. He visited home-bound neighbors and assisted with guiding traffic around road hazards. On at least one occasion
Perry foiled an attempted robbery at a pharmacy. He always refused any offer of payment for his services.
When making his rounds, Perry wore a white helmet with the bat logo and a white jumpsuit with brown trim. He accessorized with portable pagers and various tools worn on his utility belt. Friendly business owners sometimes helped him by donating gasoline and parts for his car. Mayor Richard Arrington, Jr honored Perry on August 3, 1982, declaring it "Willie Perry Day" and presenting him with a proclamation thanking him for his service to the city. He praised the hero for being "one of the few people who disregarded himself completely in the name of others."
Perry's heroics were featured in a 1982 episode of the television show That's Incredible!, with several staged re-creations. Later, while in town rehearsing with his brothers for the "Victory" tour, Michael Jackson arranged to meet Perry and examine the famous Batmobile. Perry also drove the car, lights flashing, at the head of Bear Bryant's funeral procession to Elmwood Cemetery in January 1983.
During a rare snowfall in January 1985, Perry assisted four University of Tennessee students stranded in the city. He found them a hotel room and, since they had only $7 between them, gave them $30 to pay for the room. A few days later Perry was working on his Rescue Ship in the small garage space behind J. F. Day. Either he closed the door to escape the cold, or it closed on him unnoticed. He was found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Perry was survived by his wife, Dorothy, and daughter Renee Perry-Hill. The City of Birmingham agreed to buy Perry's car for $15,000, eventually putting it on display at the Southern Museum of Flight and later at the Alabama State Fairgrounds. In 2014 filmmaker Lee Shook completed a documentary about Perry and located the Batmobile Rescue Ship in storage near the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. Efforts to restore the car and put it on permanent display, as well as to honor Perry's legacy with a day of service and a scholarship program, have begun. Willie Perry- The Batman of Birmingham
I'm sure these are not all of them by any means but it should give you an idea that costumed activism is not as modern an idea as you may have thought. 
If you decide that you want to do this kind of work. You need to ask yourself, “What is your mission?” Why do you want to do this? What sort of superhero do you want to be? In the world of fictional superheroes they come in 3 types. The Hero, the Anti-Hero and the Vigilante. My friend Blackmage summed up the difference better than anyone I know. Here is a quote by him.
“-The Hero focuses on stopping crime first and addressing evil second while following the law.
-The Antihero focuses on stopping crime and stopping evil alike. He is willing to bend the law to accomplish his task.
-The Vigilante focuses on stopping evil first and addressing crime second and is willing to break the law.
The Hero strives to inspire, to be accountable to those he serves, and embraces the responsibility that comes with his position. (The Superman Method)
The Antihero creates apprehension in those he opposes and inspires those that he has served and saved directly. He lacks accountability but embraces the responsibility of his position. (The Batman Method)
The Vigilante is terror. He exists as the necessary evil existing to rival the evil that he combats. He cares not about accountability or responsibility. This is a path that he has no choice but to travel. He is the warring angel in the bowels of hell. (The Punisher Method)”
In real life choosing to try and become either an anti-hero like Batman or a vigilante like the Punisher will end only two ways, prison or death. Even trying to be a hero can have fatal consequences, but of the three it is the only path I recommend you choose. Always obey the law and remember that it is the job of the police to enforce the laws, not yours. You are not a replacement for the police, but you could be a great help to them by being an extra set of eyes and ears for them.
I have had people compare me to Rorschach of the Watchmen, but I am in every way his opposite. In both cases our mask is our whole costume, but that is pretty much where any resemblance ends. Both Alan Moore who created Rorschach and I based our characters on the old pulp fiction characters which is why we look similar. In Alan Moore's fictional “Watchmen” Rorschach begins his career seeking to be a hero, but swiftly chooses to become an anti-hero and then much later he descends even further into becoming a vigilante. Even in the fictional story he ends up in prison and later dies.
I have met many young rlsh's who dream of being a violent vigilante like the Punisher. So what is wrong with just killing criminals? Here are 2 examples of two different groups in history who decided to put on masks and take the law into their own hands.
I don't think we can escape mentioning the early Klu Klux Klan who saw themselves as masked crusaders and heroes. Truthfully there has never been a villain in history who did not see himself as a hero. They donned masks and costumes and created a vigilante organization that they saw as heroic.
“The first Klan flourished in the Southern United States in the late 1860s, then died out by the early 1870s. It sought to overthrow the Republican state governments in the South during the Reconstruction Era, especially by using violence against African leaders. With numerous chapters across the South, it was suppressed around 1871, through federal law enforcement. Members made their own, often colorful, costumes: robes, masks, and conical hats, designed to be terrifying, and to hide their identities.”
I wanted to discuss this subject to point out that being a Vigilante is never a good thing. Yet I meet young people on line every day who are ready to become real life versions of DC's Rorschach, from the Watchman or “V” from “V for Vendetta, also created by writer Alan Moore or Marvel Comics, The Punisher. Most are all talk of course and few there are who ever leave their bedrooms. One of the purposes of this book is to discourage anyone from taking the law into their own hands. It can only end in imprisonment or death.
Another example of masked vigilantes in history is the group that called themselves the “Bald Knobbers”. Here is an edited article about them from wikipedia...
“The Bald Knobbers”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“The Bald Knobbers were a group of vigilantes in the Ozark region of southwest Missouri from 1883 to 1889. They are commonly depicted wearing black horned hoods with white outlines of faces painted on them, a distinction that evolved during the rapid proliferation of the group into neighboring counties from its Taney County origins. The group got its name from the grassy bald knob summits of the nearby Ozark Mountains. The hill where they first met, Snapp's Bald, is located just north of Kirbyville, Missouri An article in the October 5, 1898 issue of Spirigfield, Missouri's The Leader-Democrat states:
“Henry Westmoreland is in from Beaver County, Oklahoma, which was formerly a part of the strip known as No-Man's-Land and was the man who gave that organization its name.”
The Bald Knobbers, who for the most part had sided with the North in the American Civil War, were opposed by the Anti-Bald Knobbers, who for the most part had sided with the Confederates. Hernando summarizes their political role:
They began as a group dedicated to protecting life and property, aiding law enforcement officials in the apprehension of criminals, opposing corruption in local government, and punishing those who violated the social and religious mores of their community.
In some places, the vigilantes gained much political influence, occupied key offices, and became effectively the ruling faction in local politics. They made many enemies, however, with whom they had several violent, sometimes fatal, confrontations.
The Bald Knobbers initially set out to put an end to the marauding gangs of outlaws but the Bald Knobbers were to end up having their own excesses and criminal activities.
The Taney County chapter In 1883, thirteen men led by Nat N. Kinney formed the group, in retaliation against the hordes of invading marauders that had plagued the area since the start of the Reconstruction Era.
During the period of 1865-1882, over thirty murders were committed, none leading to a conviction. The group was called both the "Citizen's Committee" and "The Law and Order League" by its members.
However, because their secret meetings were held atop a "bald" mountaintop (in order to keep a lookout for spies), the public began to refer to them as the Bald Knobbers. As their numbers grew into the hundreds, out of a county of only 7,000 people, the original intent began to lose focus.
Though initially praised for driving out the notorious outlaws, public sentiment soon turned against them.
Although the men initially wore nothing more than a simple kerchief over their lower faces, if any disguise at all, many soon adopted a simple white muslin hood with corners tied off like ears, and cut out eye and mouth holes. This fearsome appearance only inflamed the anti-sentiment, peaking with the formation of the anti-Bald Knobbers.
While the Bald Knobbers were mostly Republicans that had fought for the Union Army, most of the anti-Bald Knobbers were Democrats who had supported the Confederacy. When the county courthouse burned down, both rival sides pointed fingers at each other, intensifying the bitterness between the groups. Though their opponents could never agree upon a proper means of dissolving the Bald Knobbers, they did succeed in petitioning the Missouri Governor to send an Adjutant General to Forsyth to investigate.the situation. Upon arrival, although the representative was pleased to see the atmosphere of order that prevailed, he recommended to Kinney that an official dissolution of the Bald Knobbers would be in the best interest of the county. That next day a formal dissolution ceremony was held in the town square where the Bald Knobbers were publicly disbanded, having served their original purpose.
The Christian County chapter
Neighboring counties such as Christian, Douglas, Greene and Stone had already adopted the idea of masked night riders, and disregarded the strict rules that had governed the original Taney county chapter.
The Christian County group became the most notorious by far. At the time Chadwick was the most bustling town of Christian County due to the nearby railroad, and a prime market for timber made into railroad ties. However, Chadwick's design as a "railroad town" meant that saloons and brothels dominated the area, and led many men to gamble, drink, and whore away their week's earnings.
In a move towards moral straightening, the Christian County group held meetings at a large cave on the edge of the Walker's land, and the members wore black hoods with cork or wooden horns protruding out of the top, decoratively designed with white or red stripes around the eyes, mouth, and horns, and sometimes with tassels dangling off the horn points. The members also routinely burned down saloons, and were generally more threatening than the Taney County group had been.
William Edens was a young opponent of the group, and would publicly criticize them. After he received several warnings (including a late-night beating), tragedy struck. The night of March 11, 1887, the Christian County group met at the cave to discuss disbanding.
However, that night new members were inducted, and several members were incensed by new remarks William Edens had made about the band. As the meeting finished, many of the younger men headed home the long way, towards the Edens' cabin. Captain David Walker pleaded with them not to go, but his son Billy and several others, including Wiley Mathews, were headstrong.
When the men discovered that Edens was not home, they continued up the road to the cabin of James and Elizabeth Edens, William's parents. The Bald-Knobbers busted in the windows and splintered in the doors of the tiny cabin, spraying shotgun blasts as they intruded. In the gunshot exchange, William Edens and Charles Green were killed, James Edens seriously wounded from an axe blow to the head and Bald Knobbers William Walker and John Mathews shot. The wails of the women and children led neighbors to the scene of the massacre. First to arrive was Charles Green's father, George Green, who lived near enough to hear the shots.
Though Dave Walker had attempted to prevent the men in his group from letting their actions escalate, his very presence in the nearby road at the time of the attack ultimately doomed him. After 80 men were indicted and tried in a series of worldwide-media covered trials over the course of the next 18 months, it was ultimately decided that four would hang for the crimes: Dave Walker, his young son Billy, Deacon John Mathews and his nephew Wiley Mathews. Wiley would later escape the county's new jail, leaving the three others to be punished for the reign of the vigilantes.
The execution date came to bear on May 10, 1889. After a late night of prayer services and repentance, the next morning the three men were led out into an enclosed area and onto a scaffolding the sheriff built himself, despite not having any prior hanging experience in executing prisoners. After last-minute prayers and final goodbyes between a father and son, the trap was sprung. Onlookers watched the three men twist and writhe on ropes that were too long. The condemned men's feet dragged along the ground, and at one point young Billy's rope broke, leaving him writhing on the ground and calling out for help. He was re-hanged, and after thirty-four minutes, the last of them finally died. Public criticism of the botched executions ran rampant.”
Knight-Hood speaking. Now this group was clearly influenced by the Russell Thorndike hero the Scarecrow, who was himself the leader of a group of masked vigilantes who blatantly broke the law in favor of their own moral code of right and wrong.
This is a classic example in history of why vigilantism simply DOES NOT WORK !
BECAUSE EVERYONE has their OWN code of RIGHT and WRONG and to go out and “punish” anyone who does not follow your own personal code makes you the outlaw and you the villain.
Not to mention you will not only have the criminal world out trying to find you but also the police force. The murder of a criminal is still murder and make you the criminal and that is what is wrong with it.
Once again the Bald Knobbers, like the KKK saw themselves as heroes, not villains and a more perfect example of how this can only end in tragedy could not be found than in these two masked vigilante groups.
Let's talk about masks for a second. There are 3 types basically. The domino mask as worn by the Lone Ranger, Zorro, the Spirit, Robin the boy wonder, etc, the cowl as worn by Batman, Daredevil, the Flash, Captain America, etc. and the full face mask as worn by Spider-Man, Iron Man, Rorschach, Deadpool, Deathstoke, etc.
Truthfully only the full face mask is a complete disguise. Especially when even the eye holes are covered with some material ala Spider-Man. I used white plastic mesh myself. This allows you to have large eye holes that will not block your peripheral vision and yet not expose your eyes, which alone can be enough to identify you.
The domino mask is the worst disguise of all as everyone can still see your forehead, mouth, nose, etc. It was best presented in the movie “Green Lantern” when his girl friend Carol Farris recognized him as Hal Jordan and stated, “Did you think I wouldn't recognize you because I couldn't see your cheekbones?” Exactly.
The cowl type mask is nearly as bad. Once again all can see your mouth and chin and sometimes even nose as in Captain America or the Flash's versions and the eyes are still visible. Try Googling Batman movie images and you'll immediately see photos of all the actors who have played him. Micheal Keaton and Val Kilmer wore identical cowls. Have any trouble at all recognizing who is who? No. it's easy isn't it. Try putting on one this Halloween and walk up to a family member. They will immediately know who you are, so this type of mask is also an ineffective disguise.
There is a 4th type, the “cowboy kerchief” such as is worn by our friend Geist. But along with his goggles and hat, it counts as a full face mask. But if worn alone without the hat or glasses then it only covers the face from the nose down and is just as bad of a disguise as the cowl which only covers the upper half of your face. Half a face is still pretty easy to recognize.
To wear a mask or not to wear one that is the question.
Masks vs No-Mask; Even in comic books the subject is divided. Is it better to conceal your identity like Spider-Man or have a public identity like the Fantastic Four?
There are pros and cons to both.
Wearing a mask allows you to have a civilian life without the “stigma” of being a rlsh and believe me that is what it can be? Our good friend Master Legend keeps his face and identity a secret. Unfortunately for him he was called to Hollywood as an adviser on the film they made about him titled “The Legend of Master Legend”. In order to get time off from work he decided he had to tell his boss who he was. He was fired.
Phoenix Jones kept his identity a secret until he got arrested and decided to unmask publicly as his name was now part of the public record. He too lost his job.
Getting fired might only be part of your troubles. It depends on just what you do as a rlsh? If you focus on fighting crime and report all crime, like drug dealing or prostitution to the police to the point where you are responsible for many arrests, you may need to conceal your identity, because the only things street gangs hate worse than the police are police informers.
MS 13 the most feared gang in the world and reputedly boils informers alive in oil if they catch them. Since the police do the actual arresting this is not usually a problem, but if you are at the scene and are directly responsible for the criminals getting arrested, remember that they are entitled to one phone call and while unlikely they would waste it on getting revenge, you never can be too sure.
Now the argument often is, that Police officers, lawyers and Judges arrest and convict the worst of criminals and their identities are well known, but they have one advantage a rlsh does not have. Authority. They have a badge and the full support of the justice system and you do not. All criminals know that there will Hell to pay for the death of a Police officer, prosecutor or Judge so naturally they have to really want them dead to take such a risk, but even so, it does happen.
You as a rlsh have no such protection and gang members know this. The only reason there have not been any deaths in the rlsh community (save for one and I will address this tomorrow in my tutoral “Getting killed or arrested”) is because most people still do not know we really exist, except for reporters and the police and they for the most part consider us a joke. This does not mean there will not be deaths in the future and is a factor you need to consider before you decide to do this.
So a lot of whether to wear a mask or not depends a lot on what your mission is? Some rlsh's are homeless advocates strictly , others strictly crime fighting and some like myself do both. This is why I chose to remain as anonymous as possible and in the 28 years since I began doing this I have never had any problem with the police nor with any criminals.
Other than worrying about your reputation, losing your job, getting evicted from your home, etc. there are also family members to consider. My main purpose for staying anonymous is to keep my wife safe who had no idea I was doing this.
If you choose a public identity make sure you tell your family first because your decision may also effect them.
One other thing, if you are out on patrol and encounter a police officer who insists you unmask and reveal to him your identity, you have no choice but to comply. Failure to cooperate is grounds for being arrested and for God's sake don't try running away from a police officer, that can get your shot.
To the Police you are a suspicious character and he has every right to investigate. Indeed most of the public will also consider you a suspicious character and can and often do call the police and ask them to check you out.
This is how the Beast got arrested. He was just in a home depot parking lot offering to help people, but it was the day after that crazy guy shot up that movie theater and called himself the Joker, so needless to say people are naturally going to be afraid of anyone wearing a mask and why wouldn't they?
That alone is the best argument that the non mask wearing rlsh's have. Masks are inherently frightening and many rlsh's choose to imitate Batman by creating very frightening looking personas. I have not had this problem in my long career but my M.O. Is different than the modern rlsh. Today most rlsh's dress in full costume and patrol in groups allowing the costume itself to help deter crime, much the same as a cop on the beat. I have always worked alone and operate covertly like an undercover police officer, choosing disguise over a costume. I wear the mask rolled up like a hat and only don it when I need it, which has been blessedly rare, and then immediately discard it as soon as possible. This has prevented me from being noticed by the police or criminals alike. I mention it here to provide you with an alternative method of operation that you could choose to adopt.
Protect and serve, Knight-Hood 
Getting Killed or Getting Arrested
GETTING KILLED OR GETTING ARRESTED
I feel it would be remiss if I did not warn you that working with the public in any capacity can be dangerous. Some RLSH's like me both fight crime and perform homeless outreach, but others specialize. Some do only crime fighting and others are only homeless advocates.
One might think of the two the crime fighting might be the most dangerous, but sadly the only fatality so far has been a man who called himself “Brother John” who was a homeless advocate and fed the homeless on a regular basis. Here is an article I cut and pasted about his tragic story.
Man shot while feeding the homeless with family July 27, 2011 8:28:44 PM PDT By Cecilia Vega OAKLAND, Calif. -- The only way police can describe it is a "senseless act." A man is clinging to life after being shot in the head while feeding the homeless in East Oakland early Wednesday morning. It's not looking good. Police call these life threatening injuries. The man is on life support at a hospital in Oakland and homicide investigators are on this case. In addition to the man's wife being shot, a police source tells ABC7 one of the man's young daughters was also struck by a bullet. She and her mom are both expected to survive. He is known simply as Brother John and just about everyone in the area knows him. At least once a week, Brother John, his wife and their two young daughters pass out home-cooked meals to East Oakland's homeless. "He stops right in the middle of the road and gives you some food," Tony said. "He came out here and fed us last night -- fried fish and French fries," Roxanne said. That fish meal served in the shadow of the BART tracks and out of the back of Brother John's van on 47th Avenue may be his last and a man named Bill could be the last man he ever helped. "He passed Brother John's van, he stopped and he backed up, then all of a sudden three shots, I ducked, then two more shots," Bill said. The shooter fired into the van with 29-year-old Brother John and his family sitting inside. Police do not have a motive for a shooting they can only describe as senseless. "They were just trying to do a good deed and feed people that were less fortunate than they were," Oakland Police Offc. John Scott said. And while everyone on these streets knows Brother John's name, few seem to know more about him than that. Except Bill, who has called these streets home for more than 20 years. Once Brother John looked for help from the one person he was there to serve. "One time he was going to stop because he said, 'You know, Bill, I don't think people appreciate what I do for them,' I said, 'Brother John, as long as one person appreciates what you do for them, that's good,'" Bill said. Wednesday, there was nothing but appreciation for Brother John and the kindness he showed for those who don't often get it -- appreciation and anger. "That man don't have an enemy; it was a senseless killing," Bill said. Police are not releasing Brother John's identity for his safety. The witness, Bill, says the shooter was alone in an older model turquoise Astro van. There is a $25,000 reward for an arrest in the case. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the Police Department's homicide section at (510) 238-3744 or email [email protected]"
Knight-Hood speaking. “Brother John” whose real name was Paris Powell died at 10:25pm Wednesday July 27th, 2011. He was 29 years old. Although “Brother John” was not an “official” member of the RLSH movement, probably like me he never heard of it, but he did everything that we do. He fed the homeless under a pseudonym and did it without looking for any praise, nor publicity. He ended up giving his life for his cause. People like this put the H in hero as far as I'm concerned. Brother John I salute you.
As some of you know I began doing this in 89 because I was feeling suicidal. I started doing this work seeking a bullet in the head, but Brother John didn't. My “suicide mission” ended up becoming my reason for living, but he was not seeking to die. He was trying his best to keep people alive. People that no one else in the world cared about, but he cared.
As far as I am concerned he took the bullet that should have been mine. This story really hit me hard when I read it and it still gets to me. So never think as long as you are just doing charity work and not actual crime fighting that you will be safe from harm, because that's not the world we live in.
Each time you step out doors to go on patrol you may end up like Brother John, but don't let your fear stop you. Don't let anything stop you. Help others who need your help. Imagine a world where a million Brother John's are out there feeding the hungry. Hunger in the world might end over night. Imagine a world with a million real life superheroes out there fighting crime, what a difference they could make.
On another topic and I would remiss not to mention, at the end of Tea Krulos book “Heroes in the Night-Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement” he chronicles a list of RLSH's who have been arrested. I'd like to re-post this to point out that you must be very careful to avoid getting arrested yourself.
Here is the list and what they did?
Phantom Patriot; Was arrested January 20, 2002 at the Bohemian Grove (Outside Monte Rio, CA) Charges; Five felonies-two counts of arson, one burglary, one possession of a billy club, one exhibiting a firearm in the presence of a police officer. (He is an good example of why being a vigilante does not work in real life. He spent 6 years in prison and was paroled in 2008)
Viper; Was arrested June 30th, 2010 in Columbia, TN and charged with carrying ninja throwing stars and plastic batons. Verdict let off with a warning. (This shows you that carrying weapons is a mistake. Plastic batons got him arrested.)
Phoenix Jones; Was arrested on October 9, 2011 in Seattle, Wa. and charged with four counts of assault for spraying attackers with pepper spray. The charges were dropped. (But not before he was arrested, unmasked and his identity revealed. He chose to unmask to reporters himself but that was only because his identity was now public record. This is a case where he did nothing but defend himself and still got arrested. I avoided that scenario by working covertly to stay off the police' radar.)
The Ray; Was arrested on November 2, 2011 in Oakland, Ca and charged with Battery on a Police Officer and remaining at the scene of a riot. (Never never fight with a police officer. If they want to arrest you or unmask you you'd better comply)
Bee Sting: Was arrested on April 26, 2012 in Burton, MI. and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and wearing body armor during commission of a violent crime. He spent 100 days in jail and was then put on probation. (I remember this case. He and his rlsh partners confronted a motor cyclist in a park and the cyclist made a grab for the shotgun that Bee Sting was carrying and it went off causing some property damage. He was lucky no one was accidentally killed. Never ever carry a loaded shotgun on patrol. I used to carry a firearm but quit doing so. I do not recommend you carry any weapons. If you use your head you will never find yourself in a situation that you must fight your way out of in the first place. Don't become a George Zimmerman. There are only two things you can do with a gun. Shoot someone with it deliberately or accidentally or shoot yourself. Both have disastrous results.)
Beast; Was arrested on July 31, 2012 in Mansfield Township, NJ and charged with being disorderly and unlawful possession of handcuffs. The handcuff charge was later dropped. (Now again I'm sure you did not know that it was illegal in some states to walk around carrying handcuffs. It is illegal in every state to unlawfully restrain someone. So if you imagine cuffing criminals and leaving them for police with a note as many comic book heroes do, forget it. They will release the criminal, take his statement and put out an APB for you. Always call the police and let them do the cuffing. I also remember this case. What did the Beast really do? He was hanging out in an Office Depot parking lot wearing a mask. He was offering to help others, but this was the day after James Holmes shot up the movie theater in Aurora. People today are very cautious naturally about seeing anyone in a mask or costume walking around due to today's headlines. Be mindful of that and that too is one reason I do not wear the mask on patrols except rolled up like a hat so it is there if I need it but I lose it as soon as the crisis is over and even so I have been lucky really never to have been arrested or unmasked doing this. I was a rank amateur in the beginning with no idea other than comic books about how to go about doing this? I made many many mistakes. There was no book like Roxanne Cai's, or Tea Krulos, to guide me and or websites like this one.)
Those were just the arrests at the time of the publishing of Tea Krulos book which came out in 2013. Since then...
‘The Petoskey Batman arrested by police in Michigan ‘The Petoskey Batman’ busted — again — by police in Michigan BY Michael Sheridan NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 1:51 PM Mark Wayne Williams, known as 'The Petoskey Batman,' was arrested at the scene of a car accident while trying to 'aid' police. BY Michael Sheridan NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 1:51 PM The Dark Knight is in trouble with the law once again. Michigan police busted Mark Wayne Williams, known as "The Petoskey Batman," after he showed up at a car accident Saturday. The 33-year-old wanted to help, but police said he only got in their way. RELATED: MANN DRESSED AS BATMAN ARRESTED ON MICHIGAN ROOF "Troopers were securing a large area for the search of a subject for leaving the scene of a personal injury crash when Williams took it upon himself to search the area in his Batman persona," the state police said in a statement. The Caped Crusader wanna-be insisted he could help police find the driver involved in the wreck, who had wandered off, according to the Petrosky News. Petoskey Department of Public Safety/AP Mark Wayne Williams was busted back in 2011 while donning this make-shift Batman costume. "He wouldn’t clear the scene and we had a canine out there and he kept screwing up the scent,” Sgt. Jeff Gorno told the newspaper Since Williams wouldn't leave, officers arrested him. He was charged with obstructing police in an investigation and resisting. Authorities also confiscated his Batman attire. He is due back in court Oct. 18. This isn't the first time "The Petoskey Batman" has run afoul of the law. Last year Williams was arrested while dangling from the side of a building. During that bust he was found with "a baton type striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray, and a pair of lead-lined gloves." He was later sentenced to six months probation, during which time he was forbidden to wear his Batman costume. [email protected]; or follow him at Twitter.com/NYDNSheridan
Knight-Hood speaking. Now I would like to add my two cents to this. As far as I am concerned Mark did absolutely nothing wrong. It is not illegal to buy a Batman costume and wear it, nor stand on a rooftop wearing it. He was arrested solely because the police wanted to humiliate him as much as they could and the press eagerly joined in! The second time he was arrested was equally ridiculous. All he wanted to do was to help and had he not been wearing a Batman costume I have no doubt they would simply have told him to move along. Once again he was arrested merely because he was dressed as Batman in an effort by the police to discourage people from trying to be a real life superhero “For our own good”! To his credit he has refused to be intimidated or humiliated out of doing this.
Mark was not the first man arrested for dressing like Batman. Indeed if you Google “Batman arrested” you will be surprised at just how often this happens!
Indeed my first impulse when I got the idea to attempt to do this, was to do as he did and try and become a real life Batman. I went as far as buying a Batman costume, but swiftly realized that it was not only too impractical to work in but I felt ridiculous wearing it, so Mark's embarrassing arrest could easily have been my own.
Other than dressing up like Batman probably the fastest way to get yourself arrested is by dressing up like a Ninja. Here is an article from the Telegraph I cut and pasted to illustrate my point.
Real Life Masked 'superhero' ends up being arrested A comic book fan who dressed as a masked ninja to emulate his favorite superheroes and fight crime in his neigborhood ended up being arrested himself by police. By Richard Alleyne 11:55AM GMT 13 Dec 2012 He desperately wanted to be like his favorite superheroes, but Tanis Baker’s efforts at fighting crime were more comic farce than comic book. Patrolling his neighborhood as a masked ninja to “strike fear” into local villains, it was he who ended up on the wrong side of the law. The self-styled “eyes and ears” of the right-thinking people was arrested for possession of a wooden sword. The mild-mannered comic book fan told a court he turned to crime-fighting after being mugged by a local gang and bullied at school. Frustrated that his assailants had got away Scot free, he made himself a black martial arts costume complete with body armor and mask. In an imitation of the film Kick-Ass, he then armed himself with smoke bombs and a home-made wooden Samurai sword. The 21-year-old, who by day was a barman at a snooker hall, then crouched in the darkness in a nearby park ready to pounce on any troublemakers. Locals, who dubbed him the Ringland Ninja, said his heroic deeds included taking alcohol off under-age drinkers and literally “smoking out” any loitering gangs. But his crime fighting days were cut short in September when he was spotted by a police officer. Believing he was carrying a real Samurai sword, the officer called for backup and the police helicopter was scrambled and dog handler was called. Baker, of Ringland, Newport, South Wales, fled into nearby Beechwood park and hid in bushes near the children’s play area. He was arrested and led officers further into the park where he had hidden two rucksacks, one containing clothes and the other holding seven smoke grenades. He told police in interview he was a "vigilante in a costume" and that he wanted to help people in trouble. He said he believed he was the "eyes and ears" of the police on the streets and wanted to "strike fear" into criminals. The probation officer who assessed him said Baker was a fan of American comic book superheroes. His probation report said: "He seems to get confused between fantasy and reality and sometimes had trouble distinguishing between what was in comic books and what was real life." The court heard that in real life Baker is no superhero but works as a barman in a snooker club in Newport, South Wales. Louise Warren, defending, said: "Baker was bullied for many years and struggled growing up in his neighborhood. "He was attacked by a gang of youths while out with his sister a year ago, but police were unable to find the offenders. "Since then Baker has wanted to help the police to protect society." The court heard Baker was asked what he would do if he encountered a real crime and said he had not thought that far ahead. Paul Lavin, the chairman at Cambran Magistrates court, said: "You may have thought you were helping but you caused a lot of trouble. "Do not do this in future or else you'll be in big trouble." He was given a 12-month supervision order and ordered to carry out 60 hours unpaid work. He declined to comment after the case. “
Knight-Hood speaking. While on line I have met a great number of young people who want dress in ninja costumes and carry swords, knives, Ninja throwing stars, etc to fight crime. Ninjas in history were assassins and people spotting you wearing such attire naturally assume you are a criminal or maniac. I'm quite surprised that more arrests have not occurred, but there have already been a considerable number of them. Once again simply Google “Man arrested for dressing like Ninja” and you will be shocked to see just how many times it has already occurred.
As I said in a previous tutoral, in fiction there are 3 types of heroes; the hero, anti-hero and vigilante. In real life only the first category is acceptable to the public and law enforcement in this age of terrorism. The modern RLSH movement is composed of young people who dress in costume and walk the streets on patrol in plain sight. Even the comic book heroes who they are imitating do not do that. You'd never see Batman or Daredevil just going for a stroll down the sidewalk. If they did they too would find themselves surrounded by police cars with helicopters and dogs chasing them. I knew back in 89 if I dressed in a costume I would get arrested and probably taken to the nearest mental ward, so I chose to work undercover. The downside of course was that I never inspired anyone to follow in my footsteps, nor did it even really occur to me to try.
By patrolling in costume though, the modern RLSH's started a world wide movement, so I have mixed emotions about it. The purpose of this site is to inspire others to take up the cause, so you will have to use you your own judgment as to what you will wear? I only want you to be as informed as possible that arrest is a real possibility if you choose to go that route.
The other downside to the Ninja costume is they usually come equipped with swords as well. As you read even fake wooden swords can spell big trouble, but I have spoken with young people who want to carry the real thing. There is really only one thing you can do with a sword and that is stab people. The same goes for knives and other deadly weapons. The police really frown on those and since they are looking for a reason to arrest you anyway, why give them the perfect excuse? Phoenix Jones was arrested for pepper spraying an attacker and that was only pepper spray, and he was defending himself.
By now you may be thinking, how can we go out into crime ridden areas completely unarmed? I've been doing it for most of my career. I too used to carry pepper spray, and other weapons and even a gun with rubber bullets for awhile. Truthfully I am very lucky not to be in prison for some of the stupid things I did early on. All I am asking is that you learn from my mistakes.
When it comes to weapons and what you can legally carry, that varies from state to state, so it might be a good idea to check your local laws as to what you can carry? One thing though is universal, if you use any of them against someone else, even in self defense you can be arrested for assault. This is equally true for just using your fists. The main difference is if you are stopped by the police, and if you are wearing a cape and or mask, you can be arrested for even carrying weapons.
There are some weaponless weapons as I call them. Things you can carry which could be used as a weapon if you are attacked that is not perceived as a weapon on sight.
Hard wood canes. Canes are not illegal in any state. Some of them are made from very hard wood and if you know how to use it can be a very effective fighting weapon, but that is the catch you see. Remember that any weapon that you choose to carry can be taken away from you and used on you by your opponent.
Hat pins or straight pins. These are perfectly legal and I still always carry one on my sleeve or somewhere I can get to it quickly. What on earth can one do with a hatpin? If you are suddenly grabbed from behind, pull out the hatpin or straight pin and jab them in the arm. They will let go. Even if someone grabs you from behind and holds a knife to your throat, stick them in the hand with the pin and they will drop the knife
immediately. God forbid you should ever find yourself fighting to take a gun away from someone, (which happened to my friend Crossfire the Crusader) but if you do, stab them in the hand with the pin and they will let go of it instantly. Hat pins are longer straight pins and there are some things you must not do. If you stab someone in the chest you might puncture the pericardium and they will die instantly. Never stab someone in the throat, that too can be fatal. If you stab them in either eye it will not only blind them but may be long enough to go through it to the brain and that is instantly fatal. So too just behind either ear. All of those areas will cause death. Stabbing someone in the arm can paralyze that arm just like being stabbed with a knife.
Make-shift black jacks; You can buy on line leather drawstring coin purses. One of those filled with quarters would make a heavy duty black jack but again if you use it on someone you will be arrested for assault if caught, but at least you can legally carry it.
A Swiss Army knife contains a lot of useful tools and I carry one myself. The blade is less than 6 inches and therefore legal to carry, but again only use it as a weapon if you are in a life and death situation otherwise be prepared to go to prison.
900 plus lumen flashlights are a great non lethal weapon. Some even come with strobe lights to further dazzle your opponent.
Invisibility; this is my preferred weapon of choice. By using disguise I walk invisibly on the street with no harassment from the police or criminals alike. Homeless people are invisible in our society, by making my whole costume just the mask I can become Knight-Hood in an instant and disappear just as quickly. This method has worked well for me since 1989. I hope you will consider it yourself.
The bottom line here is to avoid trouble if at all possible. Always call the police as your first priority. They are the ones with the guns, man power and authority to use force. The only time that you should get involved is when there is no time to call the police. Even then, getting yourself killed is not helpful to anyone, so always use your judgment. Remember on the street stupid equals dead.
Protect and serve Knight-Hood
UPDATE; May 8th, 2018; In Grand Rapids, Michigan an 8 year old girl named Neveah Alston died by getting hit by a car. She was feeding the homeless. Rest in peace Neveah.
What can I do to help my Community?
What can I do to help my community?
I wish I had a site like this to come to when I first started in 89. I had to learn it all by doing. One of my problems as a beginner was trying to figure out just what things I could do to be of any help to anyone. So if you are just getting started here is a list ready made for you. No one expects you to do everything listed, but even if you do one of these things you are already well ahead of most of our society. So many people simply set at home and think “I'm just one person, what can I do?”
List of things you can do to serve your community.
Here is partial list of things you can do help your own communities.
- Try to feed one homeless person each day. It may be the only meal they've had in days.
- Buy a bag of groceries and donate it to your local food banks and shelters.
- If you have a well behaved dog talk to your local Nursing homes about bringing it over. A furry face lifts everyone's spirits.
- Donate blood. Each pint can save up to three lives.
- Take a CPR course. You never know when you might need it.
- Donate your used clothes and housewares to charity. One person's trash is another person's treasure. Your old sweater might help keep someone warm rather than hang unused in the back of your closet.
- By joining a bone marrow registry like “One Match”, you could be saving someone's life someday.
- The next time you go grocery shopping buy a large bag of dog food or cat food and donate it to your local animal shelter.
- Take a pocket full of quarters and each time you see a parking meter about to expire feed it into it.
- Help keep your city clean. Go out and start picking up trash and disposing of it.
- Volunteer your time. Volunteer to help feed the elderly at a nursing home. Volunteer to read to sick children in the hospital.
- Spray paint over graffiti, especially gang signs.
- Buy a phone card and donate it to a homeless shelter for them to give to someone.
- Create care packages for the homeless. They need more than food and water. They can use toothpaste and brushes, antiperspirant, dry socks, combs, razors, etc.
- Join “Save the Children”. It's only 25 dollars a month. I sponsored a child in Thailand.
- Send mail to “Cards for Hospitalized Kids” which delivers cards to kids in US hospitals.
- Help a teacher get the supplies needed for class. Donors Choose.org let’s you support schools and teachers in your community so students can get the tools, supplies and experiences they need for a great education. Here’s an opportunity where a small donation will make a big difference. DonersChoose.org let’s you support schools and teachers in your community so students can get the tools, supplies and experiences they need for a great education.
- Collect soda can pull tabs and donate them to “The Ronald McDonald House” for sick children and their families. The charity gets paid for these.
- Sign up to be an organ donor. Your organs could save lives or help the blind to see. Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
- Donate stuffed animals or other toys to a children's hospital.
- During the holiday season, answer a letter to Santa from a needy child. Visit your local participating post office to get a letter from an underprivileged child, buy a gift and mail your package.
- Send a care package to deployed troops, veterans, or wounded soldiers. Write a thank-you letter and include some food (no homemade or canned food allowed). If you’re under 18, make sure to sign your letter with your first name only. Take a look at Operation Gratitude or Give2Troops to learn what to donate and who to send it to.
- Check out DoSomething.org You can choose the cause you're passionate about, specify how much time you have available, and select the type of service in which you want to participate (donations, face to face, hosting events, taking a stand, etc.). Some examples include helping friends stop texting and driving, raising awareness about domestic violence, and creating activity books for children in hospitals. Volunteer on your schedule at your own pace!
- Donate children’s books, novels, and other reading materials to shelters, libraries, and school.
- Write a letter to your Congressman about an issue that you care about.
- Offer to rake leaves, shovel the walk, or do housework for an elderly neighbor
- Plant a tree on Arbor Day.
- Trick or Treat for Unicef. Collect money to donate door to door on Halloween.
- Hold a yard sale and donate the money to charity.
- Donate your time or money to the Red Cross.
Don't think one person can make a difference? Here are some hero teens and what they did.
- Jonathan Woods established the Under the Tree foundation at 12, when he realized that teens are often overlooked during toy drives.
- Neha Gupta began her non-profit at the age of 9! Her organization, Empower Orphans, has helped more than 25,000 children globally.
- Jordyn Schara founded WI P2D2 (Wisconsin Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal) when she turned 14, which works to dispose of drugs in an environmentally friendly and safe way.
- A 10-year-old Zach Certner started his organization, SNAP, as an athletic program for children with special needs.
- Shannon McNamara started SHARE, a non-profit that provides thousands of girls in Africa with books and school supplies, when she was 15.
- Kalin Konrad started her annual backyard carnival for Alzheimer’s when she was in 5th grade. Kalin originally began the event when her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease.13-year-old Claire Fraise wanted to give dogs who would be euthanized a second chance with her organization, Lucky Tails Animal Rescue.
- Former anorexic teens Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran decided to start Project HEAL to raise money for teens who needed treatment for eating disorders
- LuLu Cerone founded LemonAID warriors at 10 years old to help other kids make social activism part of their social lives.
- Wanting to end hunger, Katie Stagliano, now 14, started planting fruits and vegetables in her garden to help the hungry. Her organization, Katie's Krops, has helped feed thousands of people so far.
I hope these ideas will be helpful to you. Help whoever you can.