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William Dudley Pelley:
Spiritualist, Prophet, & Leader of the Silver Shirts

3,491 words

Scott Beekman
William Dudley Pelley: A Life in Right-Wing Extremism and the Occult
Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 2005

In 1945, Bess Myerson[1] won the Miss America contest. She became the first and, so far, only Jewish woman[2] to win the contest. When doing her tour as Miss America, Myerson claimed that she was discriminated against by hotels and such because she was Jewish. She cut her tour with Miss America short, and then toured with the Anti-Defamation League against “hate.”

Of course, after May 1945 Jews weren’t discriminated against anywhere in the world. Myerson’s tour was nothing more than a publicity stunt. Hitler had died in April, and formerly anti-Jewish Berlin was in ruins and its people prostrate. The Jewish Commissars of the Soviet Union ruled Eastern Europe with an iron fist. In British Mandate Palestine, Jews were quite free to be busily engaged in a terror campaign against the British and the native Palestinians. The US Government had Jews in many critical senior positions. Many of these Jews were actively engaged in pro-Soviet espionage. While the plain, but youthful Myerson went around the country showcasing Jewish power while claiming to be a victim, one of America’s first anti-Jewish prophets languished in prison. His name was William Dudley Pelley. His life is documented by Scott Beekman, a history professor at the University of Rio Grande, in Ohio.

Pelley was born in 1890[3] in Lynn, Massachusetts, to a father who claimed descent from one of Queen Elizabeth I’s knights, Sir John Pelley. Pelley’s father’s family came to the US from England by way of Newfoundland. His mother’s family had arrived in New England with the Great Puritan Migration. Pelley’s father, William G. A Pelley, was a minister for a time, but struggled financially throughout the depression of the 1890s. He eventually became prosperous working in a firm that produced toilet paper.

During his childhood, William Dudley Pelley realized he had a gift for writing and started to publish his first works. Eventually, he moved to Vermont where he became a newspaper man. In this capacity, Pelley wrote a popular fictional series of stories about small time life centered in the make-believe town of Paris, Vermont. Pelley thus further popularized the small-town genera of fiction that grew into television shows like The Waltons and The Andy Griffith Show. By 1918 Pelley had become the successful editor/owner of a Vermont paper called the Evening Caledonian.

In the summer of 1918 the Methodist Church offered to fund Pelley to visit Japan, Korea, and other parts of Asia and write about the status of missionary work there. Pelley and his wife headed to Japan, but the tour was cut short by the deployment of American and other troops to Siberia due to the Bolshevik Revolution. Pelley changed focus and joined the Siberian Expedition as a member of the International Red Cross.

In Siberia, Pelley came to realize that the Bolshevik Revolution was a horrifying example of what happens to a people who come under the rule of a hostile elite made up of Revolutionary Jews. Until his journey to Siberia, Pelley had never written anything negative about the Jews, afterwards he was a committed anti-Semite. In 1919, in Siberia, Pelley’s life came into focus.

The Bolshevik Revolution is remarkable in that the Gentiles closest to the event all reacted in a similar, anti-Jewish way. In Estonia,[4] Nazi writer Alfred Rosenberg started his career as an author of several prominent anti-Semitic works after the Bolshevik takeover of next-door Russia. Finland’s leader Carl von Mannerheim also “expressed anti-Semitism” during the revolution, but didn’t move against Finland’s Jews during World War II.[5] Winston Churchill wrote the classic article about the Jewish core supporting Bolshevism.[6] The US Army’s Intelligence Service also reported upon the Jewish role in Lenin’s government, and documented the fact that Jews in America were supporting Soviets.[7] Indeed every nation that had a Communist takeover or near takeover in the years after World War I – Spain, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Austria, the Baltics, etc. enacted official or semi-official anti-Semitism by the 1930s. During World War II, “[I]t is well documented that Himmler and his SS commanders sometimes used ‘partisan’ and ‘Jew’ as interchangeable terms.”[8]

Unfortunately, Scott Beekman doesn’t put Pelley’s awareness of the Jewish Question into the aforementioned historical context. He merely writes upon Pelley’s change in awareness in a disjointed manner. It is as though Pelley happens to go to Siberia. While there Pelley happens to witness a world-historical event. Then suddenly Pelley comes up with this wild idea that Jews are behind it all. The dots are deliberately not connected in this biography.

After his Siberia tour finished, Pelley returned to Vermont for a spell, but then decided to head out to California where he became a Hollywood script writer. During this time, Pelley’s marriage to his first wife effectively ended, but he wouldn’t divorce her for fifteen further years. (Pelley would be married three times). He wrote the screenplays for several movies as well as some novels.[9] None of his works became all-time classics, but by the standards of most modern screenplay writers he was wildly successful. Some of these movies starred the legendary actor Lon Chaney.

Eventually Pelley became frustrated with Hollywood’s intensifying Jewishness, but still held back throughout the 1920s. In 1929, Pelley would have an experience that launched him into fame and activism. While in a bungalow in Pasadena, California, Pelley had an “out of body experience” and wrote an account of it that became wildly successful with the public.[10]

With his newly found massive audience, Pelley began the extraordinary part of his career in 1930. He left Hollywood for Asheville, North Carolina to found a university where he would teach and publish spiritual works. Pelley’s religious ideas borrowed heavily from the concepts found in Theosophy. Today, one would categorize his beliefs as within the New Age Movement. In 1933 he founded the Silver Shirts. This organization copied the fascist “shirt movements” in Europe and was more explicitly anti-Semitic.

The Silver Shirts probably never got above 15,000 members. They were scattered a bit through the industrial cities of the North, but most of the membership was on the West Coast. As a Silver Shirt, Pelley’s activities attracted quite a bit of attention. The novelist Sinclair Lewis wrote a dystopian book about American “fascism” called It Can’t Happen Here (1935) which took inspiration from the Silver Shirts, as well as other 1930s era political figures. Jewish Congressman Samuel Dickstein’s House Un-American Activities Committee investigated Pelley throughout the 1930s.

There were several things going on with the Silver Shirts that were bound to trip up Pelley. One group in California had illegally secured a large number of firearms. This group hired two Active Duty USMC sergeants to train the men on the use of weapons. The situation was quickly discovered by the US government when the Marines went to the Office of Naval Intelligence. However, Pelley was really tripped up by his disorganized business practices. His finances were, to put it mildly, shady; although this fact was probably more related to dishonest, embezzling employees than any malfeasance on Pelley’s part. If there hadn’t been a Congressional Committee looking under every rock for a way to eliminate the Silver Shirts, his peccadillos wouldn’t have been discovered. But there were investigators, and his business mistakes gave Pelley legal troubles for years.

In 1942, with World War II in full swing, Pelley was charged by the government with a battery of charges related to sedition. Pelley’s legal defense team was overmatched by the government prosecutors and a jury of white, middle-class businessmen and farmers from Indiana found him guilty. He would be in prison until 1950.

A condition of his release was to refrain from publishing anti-Semitic material, and for most of the rest of his life Pelley steered mostly clear of the Jewish Question. He continued on with his spiritual ideas and popularized Ufology and the idea that spiritual epochs would change based on the measurements of the pyramids and other things. The hubbub surrounding the Mayan Calendar pointing to the end of the world in 2012 is a continuation of ideas popularized by Pelley. Pelley died in 1965. One of his daughters continued his spiritual work for many years. The New Age Movement owes much to the founder of the Silver Shirts.

Yankees and Jews

Much of Pelley’s work can be ascribed to his ethnic origins. America’s Yankees, those people who trace their roots to radical English Protestants who came to New England between 1620 and 1660 have a long history of interest in spiritual matters. Historian David Hackett Fischer calls this an “obsession with witchcraft.”[11]

Due to this cultural impulse, almost all new spiritual ideas in America come from Yankees. For example, Cotton Mather wrote Wonders of the Unseen World (1693). The First and Second Great Awakenings were religious revivals led by New Englanders. New York’s “Burnt Over District” was an area populated by westward moving Yankees. Mormonism’s founder was a Yankee, as well as that religion’s founding leadership, such as Brigham Young and Alpheus Cutler. The famous mediums that pioneered the séance and launched the Spiritualist Movement, Cora L.V. Scott and the Fox Sisters were all Yankees from Upstate New York. Christian Science’s Mary Baker Eddy is also a New England Yankee. It is likely that most of the West Coast tie-died wearing New Age spiritualists have an ancestor in the Winthrop Fleet. Even mainstream evangelical Protestantism was also promoted by Boston-born Nixon Administration staffer Chuck Colson.

Ultimately, America’s premier ethnic conflict is one between Yankees and Jews. Yankees have an impulse to build Utopian communities free of crime, vice, corruption, etc. As a result they automatically come into conflict with a group that makes its living operating in the low shadows. When Yankee moralists got Prohibition going in the United States, most of the bootleggers were Jews.[12] When Anthony Comstock,[13] a 19th-century anti-pornography activist of Yankee extraction carried out his activism, most, if not all of his opponents were Jews. While there are plenty of Yankees like Franklin Delano Roosevelt and George W. Bush who worked quite well with Jews, on the whole the two tribes are at odds. Matters have yet to be brought to a head.

What Did William Dudley Pelley Do Right?

Pelley’s professional success helped bring him to white advocacy. Unlike the stereotype of marginal people feeling “threatened” by outsiders, the truth is that successful people with high social standing are the ones most drawn to activism. Pelley was the first American to really challenge Jewish power.[14] His courage was simply amazing. A great many others owe their careers to Pelley’s toehold of activism.

Pelley was able to successfully get his views to a limited number of people through excellent writing and publishing. His magazines were well put together, free of printing errors, misspellings, and other problems. Pelley was also an excellent public speaker.

Pelley’s Pitfalls

Nonetheless, Pelley did not successfully change the metapolitical climate enough to keep the United States out of World War II, or create enough of a cultural impact to make the American public aware of Jewish influence on society in the critical decade of the 1930s. Indeed, today the very mainstream and influential evangelical Protestant movement views the New Age Movement as an extreme “danger”[15] while worshiping as “God’s Chosen People” the very same Jews that both mock[16] and work against Protestantism.

The problem is not Pelley’s spiritualism. Spiritual matters are important for most of society, so some kind of religion is necessary. Furthermore, in the church-saturated market of American culture, even to make a tiny splash one needs to do more than just the Latin Mass or old-time Reformation hymns. New Age spiritualism, indeed all spiritual and theological study, can work to bring about a raft of new ideas and positive social outcomes. The problem was that Pelley’s business practices landed him in trouble with the law. His warnings could be thus ignored as the ravings of a “crook” and “charlatan.”

Another thing to note is that Jews are a world-class adversary. The Romans, Spanish, and Portuguese are the only powers that really beat the Jews, and then they only beat them for so long. The Egyptians got the Saini back in the 1970s, but had to abandon the Palestinians to do so. The Greeks, Germans, Russians, Syrians, Iraqis, and Palestinians have all suffered terribly from their Jewish rivals. Pelley’s Jewish rivals were indeed quite competent. So competent,[17] that they were able to imprison the man and limit his First Amendment rights upon his release.

With that in mind, if one is carrying out pro-white advocacy which includes raising awareness of the Jewish Question, the standard for behavior in one’s private, personal, and professional life must be to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Pelley and many of his Silver Shirt followers did not avoid the appearance of impropriety.

A list of what to do and not do follows based on looking at the issues which damaged Pelley and the Silver Shirts (as well as modern activists):

  1. Hire good people. Especially avoid embezzlers or people comfortable with shady business practices. Avoid anyone with jail time. Do solid vetting. Be prepared to fire people.
  2. Avoid people that talk about lawbreaking or encourage someone to break the law. These could be informants looking to entrap you.
  3. It is best to have up-front standards for any financial dealing. This also includes up-front standards for personal behavior that staff in the organization must follow. In addition to avoiding financial misconduct, avoid sexual misconduct.
  4. Don’t get involved in gunplay, paramilitary drills, bomb-making, bomb talk, and fisticuffs. Keep sober during duty hours, interviews with journalists, etc.
  5. Don’t make unforced errors such as skip court hearings, represent oneself in court, or get cheeky with law enforcement or a judge.
  6. Have good accountants and lawyers and consult with them regularly.
  7. Shell corporations did not work for Pelley, but this may work in other circumstances. (Again – lawyers.)
  8. Practice “White Advocacy” in one nation. Endorsing, for instance, white expansion against Mongoloids in Central Asia is nice in theory, however the actions of a different nation are totally outside one’s control. White foreigners you’ve been admiring may attack your fellow white countrymen out of the clear blue. The Germans which Pelley admired and imitated declared war on the United States after Japan’s Dec. 7th sneak attack. Pelley became a “subversive” due to the decisions of others.
  9. Be intellectually consistent. Pelley’s spiritualism drew followers, but his spiritualism was so contradictory that it was indefensible, harming Pelley’s political message.

Conclusion

William Dudley Pelley should be considered one of the first of American Prophets pointing out the increasing Jewish control of the US Government and American Society in the early 20th Century. Pelley’s crusade occurred at a time when the mainstream society was sympathetic to the Jewish situation in Europe and Palestine. Most prophets are out of step with the mainstream of their time and get ignored, jailed, or even killed. It is only later that people see their wisdom.

This book makes one think further about the nature of Jewish power in America. In Pelley’s day, Jews may well have been at the height of their power, and since then there might be a weakening of this force. Other than the activists with guns influenced but not controlled by Pelley, the Silver Shirts was a “right wing” force that engaged in political speech and real-world activism that would be considered constitutionally protected today. After the 1940s, the US Government disbanded FDR’s tool-set for domestic suppression and such a thing won’t be assembled again in the same way in the future.

Later right-wing institutions engaged in Constitutionally protected activity – like Ben Klassen and Richard Butler’s organizations – did get defeated by their enemies, but through tort law, not criminal law. This is a small distinction that can lead to big changes down the line. Additionally, this legal sword cuts both ways. Jewish groups can get sued in civil court also.

Since Pelley died, other than a few holdouts Bolshevism has been swept away. The United States also executed, imprisoned, and blacklisted Jews engaged in various illegal schemes during the Cold War. While one may say this is small potatoes compared to the nature of the threat, it is important to note that in 1945 Jewish spies worked at the highest levels and Jewish Communists organized with impunity.

Furthermore, the American public has become fully engaged in Middle-Eastern affairs. The story of “plucky” Israel working as America’s “greatest ally” is losing its grip. “Red lines” are “crossed” and the public yawns – after all they are Jewish “red lines,” not American ones. Additionally, for all of its faults, the Obama Administration was more anti-Israel than any Presidential administration since Eisenhower. Small changes in one Presidency often carry over to the next administration. (See America’s Vietnam policy from 1946 until 1975 for more details. Once the train starts to roll…) One interesting thing to note, the 2016 Presidential Election is the first time that accusations of “anti-Semitism” failed to move the public. Trump’s recent withdrawing of support for Syrian “moderate” rebels and his defeat of ISIS is also a hard and fast defeat of Israeli interests.

Indeed the #metoo movement of 2017 has shades of Pelley. In the 1930s, fresh out of working in Hollywood for a decade, Pelley warned the public about Jewish movie moguls abusing Aryan women. His warnings were ignored. Today, due to the #metoo movement one Jew after another has lost his job or suffered in some way for his sexual shenanigans. In that rape isn’t so much about sex as power, it is also true the prosecution of rapists isn’t so much about justice as power.

Nonetheless, Jewish power remains quite large. Additionally, declining powers are often quite aggressive and dangerous. The Malay Communists were soundly defeated by British soldiers even as the Empire dissolved, and from 1878 until 1917 the moribund Austro-Hungarian Empire still won a great many victories on the battlefield. On a small scale they might well bury you. Regardless, William Dudley Pelley’s crusade is worth study. He has broken ground which one day will yield much bounty.

On a final note, Pelley was ironically convicted for subversion at a time when American foreign policy was itself subverted by Jews such as Henry Morgenthau and Harry Dexter White in the FDR administration. During World War II Americans did not need to carry out a policy of unconditional surrender against Germany. This policy caused a great many unnecessary deaths, extended the war, and an American separate peace with Germany could have moved the front lines of the Cold War from Fulda to Königsberg. In short, William Dudley Pelley did nothing wrong. As far as Miss America 1945, Bess Myerson, who “bravely” stood up to “hate,” her personal life was a series of dysfunctional relationships and divorces. In the 1980s, she was exposed as a crook and her reputation never recovered.

Notes

[1] https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/myerson-bess

[2] https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-was-bess-myerson-the-first-and-last-jewish-miss-america

[3] Some sources claim that Pelley was born in 1885. I’ve used Beekman’s date.

[4] All histories describing the Baltic Nations between 1919 and 1991 describe Jewish support for Communism and the Soviet Occupation. This book is one example: https://books.google.com/books?id=p3xqMEseAQwC&pg=PA192&lpg=PA192&dq=lithuanian+jews+cheer+soviets&source=bl&ots=cET4LTLrU3&sig=z3LjFtWVdlobilG7htMf_VIR1HQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjYl96G-LnYAhUBxSYKHVHMAw4Q6AEITzAK#v=onepage&q=lithuanian%20jews%20cheer%20soviets&f=false

[5] The reasons for this remain a mystery. Finland could have been looking to make a separate peace from the get-go with the Soviet Union and the Western Anglo-American allies and offered up this concession.

[6] http://library.flawlesslogic.com/ish.htm

[7] http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/benderskyrev.htm

[8] Böhler, Jochen et al, The Waffen-SS: A European History, Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 2017 Page 79

[9] http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0671163/

[10] https://archive.org/stream/1929PelleySevenMinutesInEternity/1929__pelley___seven_minutes_in_eternity_djvu.txt

[11] Fischer writes, “Many such wonders presented themselves to the people of New England. Their diaries tell us that heads without bodies would sometimes appear before them. Animals would appear to change their shapes; dishes would suddenly dance upon the table; doors and windows would mysteriously fly open and shut. They heard God and the Devil speak to them through the mouths of children. Dark warnings were detected in the whisper of the wind and the babbling of streams. Heavenly messages of high significance were thought to be written in clouds that scudded across the ever-changing New England sky. https://books.google.com/books?id=wWDugJTHHAwC&pg=PP214&lpg=PP214&dq=david+hackett+fischer+obsession+with+witchcraft&source=bl&ots=amADdCtx7s&sig=Fj0jkHUjyMm6CFgz-4xybU4vvng&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjaz_aCprzYAhUBXyYKHWCwBMwQ6AEIMDAC#v=snippet&q=obsession&f=false

[12] https://vinepair.com/articles/jewish-prohibition-bootlegging/

[13] Comstock served in the 17th Connecticut Infantry during the Civil War. His brother, Sergeant Samuel Comstock, was mortally wounded at the Battle of Gettysburg while serving in the same regiment.

[14] Scott Beekman writes, “Although North American anti-Semitism dated back to the rule of Peter Stuyvesant in New Amsterdam, American Jews, when compared to Europe, faced little organized hostility in this country until the turn of the twentieth century.” p. 51

[15] https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/recognize-the-danger-of-the-new-age-movement-1335438.html

[16] https://www.npr.org/2005/11/09/4994761/sarah-silverman-jesus-is-magic

[17] As an example of the competence of Jewish activists, this author offers the following dossier from an unnamed Jewish activist: http://www.ajcarchives.org/AJC_DATA/Files/THR-SS2.PDF The logistics and political acumen of this this document is a sight to behold. Pelley’s ideas are seriously studied and accurately condensed. The weak points of his ideas are revealed, and the final statement is meant to rally Jews together. There is no formal organization promoting white interests against Jewish schemes that could come up with such a document – only volunteers in fractious, private venues with no sympathetic US Attorneys, Congressmen, etc.

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2 Comments

  1. Pietas
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    How were the Greeks defeated? Another fine article!

    • C. F. Robinson
      Posted January 11, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      The Greeks weren’t defeated by Jews.

      However there were a great many Jewish attacks upon Greeks from the time of the Maccabees until after the Bar Kokhoba Revolt.

      These affairs were not pleasant for the Greeks.

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