MURDERING HOLINESS The Trials of Franz Creffield and George Mitchell

Author: Phillips (Jim) & Gartner (Rosemary)
Year: 2003
Publisher: UBC Press
First Edition
Edition Details: 1st Canadian Edn.
Book Condition: F/F
ISBN: 9780774809061
Price: 15.00
Hardback. The authors explore the story of the "Holy Roller" sect led by Franz Creffield in the early years of the 20th century. In the opening chapters they introduce the community of Corvallis, Oregon, where Creffield, a charismatic, self-styled messiah, taught his followers to forsake their families and worldly possessions and to seek salvation through him. As his teachings became more extreme, the local community reacted: Creffield was tarred and feathered and his followers were incarcerated in the state asylum. Creffield himself was later imprisoned for adultery, but shortly after his release he revived the sect. This proved too much for some of the adherents' families, and in May 1906 George Mitchell, the brother of two women in the sect, pursued Creffield to Seattle and shot him dead. The authors take us into the courtroom for the trial that made headlines across North America, as Mitchell was acquitted of murder. Though the formal plea was insanity, the defence built its case on the "unwritten law" that justified killing to protect or avenge family honour. Based on court records and archival sources, this case study includes a detailed examination of the trial, the media's response to it, and the dramatic aftermath, and sheds light on the rise of ardent religion in the Pacific Northwest, the justice system in Seattle, and the role of the press in influencing public opinion. Illus., Appendix, Notes, Bibliog. and Index. 347pp. 8vo. h/back. From the library of true crime writer, Wilfred Gregg, with his personal b/plate. F. in f. dw.


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