Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon's Love Cult

by T. McCracken and Robert B. Blodgett

An Inherited Streak of Insanity



Headline, Seattle Sunday Times, July 1, 1906


Silas M. Shipley spent the entire Monday morning session making his opening statement. “We are not before you for the purpose of pettifogging, or attempt to befog the real issue before you,” he said—promptly going on to say the defense’s position was that while they would not deny that the defendant had “fired the ball from his revolver which severed the bond connecting the soul of Creffield with his body and sent him to his grave in the cemetery,” the defendant hadn’t been “in the full possession of his senses” when he did so.

In other words: Young Mitchell admits he killed Creffield—but we contend that he was crazy at the time.

The defense, Shipley said, would show that “a certain sequence of events” led to the defendant becoming mentally unbalanced.

In other words: We will tell the sordid details of the Holy Roller orgies.


Dear Reader,

Sorry. I really would love to continue this chapter and give the whole book away, but I'd also really love to sell a few books to pay the bills.

Then next whole next chapter is online, though. Chapter 20: Testimony.

George & Perry Mitchell and Silae Shipley

George Mitchell

Esther Mitchell

Hattie & Clarence Starr

Phoebee Mitchell

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