William Dudley Pelley

It’s our long-awaited (by some) look at William Dudley Pelley–fascist mystic, convicted seditionist, and a figure long associated with the dawn of Contacteeism.

9 comments

  1. Listening to your account of Pelley my impression is that he was an eternal optimist, genuinely confident that a world with no problems is just over the horizon. A trait I struggle to associate with many fascists’ “grim and manly” brooding focus on a glorious final war against the Jewish/ Bolshevik/ other menace. You’ve made clear that Pelley had the prejudices and the hope of authoritarian utopia. So two questions for your opinion:

    1) Was Pelley an eternal optimist?
    2) Do you think the fascism something he tacked on because it happened to be popular at the time, or was his vision of a new society naturally fascistic?

    On another note, I’ve recently read a bio on L. Ron Hubbard and I couldn’t help be struck by the similarities between the two, not least the time spent in Hollywood.

    On a final unrelated note: Do you have any opinion on the ‘theosophical-ish cum space opera’ book Oahspe, also referred to as ‘the Kosmon bible?’ If I remember correctly you would have at least heard of having read the Ray Palmer bio, ‘the man from Mars’.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I stumbled upon the concept of pyramid prophecies at an early age due to a Mexican graphic novel titled “The World of the End of the World.” I confess that when 9/11 happened I took it out of my library and re-read it, because the difference between September 17th and September 11th felt awfully minuscule.

    And even today one could make a good argument that 9/11 was a nexus point in our timeline in which things began to accelerate for the worse.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I believe Guy and Edna Ballard either met in an early Pelley study group in Chicago or when Pelley hit legal snafus, they got the idea to build The Might I Am on Pelley’s decline.

    If you do a show on The Mighty I AM look for Gerald Bryan’s expose Psychic Dictatorship in America 1935. Bryan west an insider. The Mights I AM would do massive group chants calling for the destruction of its enemies including FDR. Elizabeth Clare Prophet’s Church Universal and Triumphant was an off-shoot of The Mighty I AM complete with decrees and Ascended Masters.

    I’m not a fan of Beekman’s book. I found it shallow. There are more thoughtful examinations of Pelley in books that study Depression Era right wing politics. He is worthy of as major biography. In fact, I see Pelley as the leading character in a great unwritten novel by Sinclair Lewis. He is the quintessential Main Street Mystic. I believe he was sincere but like so many American prophets he was a magpie. It seems to come with the territory. Think of Joseph Smith, Ellen White, Mary Baker Eddy and The Urania Book. BTW all those along with Blavatsky, Alice Bailey and many New Age cults shared Pelley’s racial ideas though often veiled in purple prose.

    As Mark Twain said of The Book of Mormon, Pelley’s novels are “chloroform in print.” He was a Booth Tarkington wannabe. Along with “mayhap” he loved to use “betimes” and “supernal.”

    Thanks for a fascinating program.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a fascinating character. Sounds like somebody I’d like to know better. And a New Englander to boot. Sounds liked he’d be right up my alley. Thanks for posting this neat presentation, I’ve enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Here I am, late to the party for another very entertaining episode. I’ve fallen far behind in my Saucer Life listening. Perhaps some animal handicap has befogged my cognizance!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pelley was not convicted of sedition. He was (along with many others) illegally interned. Their trial The Great Sedition Trial of 1944 was dismissed without verdict.
    Pelley’s view of a fascist America was like Father Knows Best and not militaristic. He was fundamentally a small town Christian who longed for the good old days.

    Like

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