by Bradley Hart
In 1933, a former Hollywood screenwriter-turned-mystic named William Dudley Pelley made a startling public announcement. During a trance four years earlier, Pelley claimed, he had received some startling news from his spiritual contacts. The world was about to be plunged into economic chaos. From that crisis, an important new world leader would emerge. Pelley would know him by his former profession: The leader in question would previously have worked as a house painter. When that leader had obtained power, the prophecy concluded, Pelley was ordained to create his own so-called Christian Militia and make preparations to seize power in the United States. With the recent rise of former painter Adolf Hitler to the Chancellorship of Germany, Pelley now announced, the time had come for him to make a play on the national stage through his new organization, the Silver Legion. Over the coming years, the Legion would become one of the most bizarre—and terrifying—groups looking to emulate Hitler’s Germany in the United States.