Creffield and the Holy Rollers made page one headlines from 1903 to 1907. When I was researching Holy Rollers: Murder and Madness in Oregon’s Love Cult I spent months transcribing hundreds of articles. I’m not sure why I was so obsessive. Maybe it was my way of immersing my self into a cult without joining one. Anyway, I’m posting them all for those who are really interested in the story, or are interested the history of journalism, or are interested in how a scandalous story played out in the "media" in a by gone era. Since I no doubt made typos and unconsciously corrected papers' typos, these web pages should not be cited in anything serious (e.g. your dissertation). For such projects they should only be used as starting points and you should refer to the original sources. If you want a shorter version of the story, buy my book. Enjoy.

December 21, 1903: Holy Roller Victim Worse


Esther MitchellEvening Telegram (Portland) 12/21/1903 p16

Holy Roller Victim Worse

Pretty Ester Taylor’s Reason Is Flown, and She Must Go to Insane Asylum.

Believes She Has Command From God That She Must Do Nothing but Pray.


Her reason destroyed by the influence of religious fanaticism, the case of Ester Taylor, the pretty young woman who was a member of the “Holy Rollers” is most pitiable. The girl shows no sign of improvement in mental condition, and Superintendent Gardner, of the Boys’ and Girls’ Aid Society, stated this morning that unless she grew better very soon he will have her consigned to an asylum.


“Miss Taylor is worse today,” said Superintendent Gardner, “and unless she improves quickly I guess she will have to be sent to the asylum for the insane. Her case is one of the most pathetic I ever knew. She now says she has a message from God to do no work, but to spend every moment of her time in prayer.


“Of course she cannot be treated as an incorrigible, for she is not; but is seems to do no good to let her have her own way, and unless she changes for the better soon we will ask to have her consigned to the insane asylum. She would pray all day, kneeling by her bedside if permitted to do so.”


Miss Taylor is but 15 years of age. She was among the first residents of Corvallis to join the “Holy Roller” movement and from constant association with the rabid leaders of the sect and from continual practice of the strenuous forms of worship of the members her mind became unbalanced. She has been in the care of the Boy’s and Girls’ Aid Society for about one month. It was thought that quiet and care would bring back her reason, but it is feared her case is hopeless.


Recently Frank Hurt, one of the “Holy Roller” leaders came up and spoke to Miss Taylor while she was going to church in company with the matron of the home. He told her to remain on victory’s side, and since then she has been gradually growing worse.

FBI Anti Piracy SealThe unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment