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BORDERLAND is about the blazing life and tragic death of Ida C. Craddock, a real-life 19th century sexologist who claimed she was married to an angel. 


When Belly Dancing debuted at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, its impact was historic. Pious politicians were scandalized by the “oriental gyrations.” A glutton for controversy, 34 year-old virgin sexologist Ida C. Craddock wrote a rousing defense of the belly dance that garnered international attention. Ida viewed the dance as a "much needed blend of sexuality and spirituality," that “lifted the veil of secrecy” off the God-given gift of sex. Riding on her newfound fame, Ida launched a series of sex education pamphlets that she sold through the mail.  As Ida’s fame grew, questions started bubbling: how could she know so much about sex if she wasn’t married? To everyone’s surprise, Ida claimed that she was married, to an angel no one else could see, and that they made love on the borderland between this world and the grave. Considering that America was in the midst of a Spiritualist peak — Ouija boards were parlor room staples and spirit photography was huge —  Ida’s divine explanation was accepted in many circles. But not in the scientific community where Ida so longed to be respected and recognized. Tragically,  Ida’s effort to defend her virtue caused her sanity to be forever called into question. There were many attempts to have her permanently institutionalized, but nevertheless she continued with her mail-order sex education program. Ultimately, Ida was charged with “obscenity” by the postal inspector Anthony Comstock. Although most of her work was destroyed, enough of it remains for us to know that Ida C. Craddock was a glowing beacon for freedom whose light went out too soon. 


Ida C. Craddock (August 1, 1857 – October 16, 1902) was a 19th-century American advocate of free speech and reproductive rights. Never married in a traditional sense, Craddock claimed to have a blissful ongoing marital relationship with an angel Soph. Craddock stated her intercourse with Soph was so noisy, they drew complaints from her neighbors. She wrote extensively on sexuality, leading to her conviction and imprisonment for obscenity. Facing further legal proceedings after her release, she committed suicide.

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