On July 30, 1965, American fascist and anti-Semite William Dudley Pelley died. A writer, novelist and screenwriter from Massachusetts, he turned to politics and religion after a near-death experience and the Great Depression.
He spent the 1930s in Asheville where he developed his “Liberation Theology,” a combination of elements of Christianity, fascism, nationalism, theocracy and socialism. In Asheville, he established Galahad Press, through which he published his radical magazine New Liberator. In 1932, he founded Galahad College where he further promoted his political and economic theories.
In 1933, Pelley founded the Silver Legion of America, better known as the “Silver Shirts,” an organization modeled on Hitler’s Brown Shirts. He ran for president in 1936 as a candidate of the Christian Party.
Convicted of fraud in North Carolina, Pelley moved to Indiana in 1940. Arrested in 1942 and charged with sedition and treason, he spent the rest of the 1940s in federal prison. After his release in 1952, he lived the rest of his life in Noblesville, Ind., developing and publishing on another religious philosophy called “Soulcraft,” which was based on UFOs and later on his reported contact with souls of famous historical figures.
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