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Holy Rollers

Edmund Creffield's Holy Rollers got their start in Corvallis in 1903.

When they all prayed and rolled together they made a “Babel of weird sounds”--or so said those living near the services--“the effect to the uninitiated being extremely weird.”

They were so annoying that officials forbade Creffield from holding gatherings within city limits.

Undaunted, he told his followers that he had “received instructions from on high” to hold a camp meeting on Smith Island, a small, uninhabited island three miles out of town. Bring family and friends, he told everyone, because there are a limited number of spaces on that Holy Roll in Heaven, and if your family and friends don’t get their names inscribed on it soon, they will be doomed, doomed to spend an eternity in Hell. Besides, it’ll be fun. We’ll build wigwams and camp out. It’ll be sort of like a vacation. It was on the island that things really started to get wild.

So who were these people who joined Creffield on the island? It would be comforting to think all of them were a bit off. Who else would mistake hallucinations--they were hallucinations, weren’t they?--for the voice of God, but someone who was a bit off? Or at the very least that they came from bad stock. Or had wretched childhoods. It could be disconcerting if they were normal people, people like the rest of us, intelligent, well-adjusted people from good homes, people of “a sane mind and a reasonable being, because it means that normal people--people like the rest of us--can fall victim to someone like Creffield.

Respectable, modest and refined women and girls,” was the way Will H. Morris, an attorney who got involved in the Creffield case, described many of the group. “From old neighbors, who had known them from childhood, I learned that prior to their coming in contact with Creffield and his pernicious teachings and blighting influence, all of these women and girls were from families of good reputation, respected by all who knew them, and that not a breath of reproach or a taint of suspicion had ever been directed toward their reputation for virtue and womanly conduct.”


The stills from How the Fire Fell, Edward P. Davee’s movie based on the Holy Rollers.

Most were taken by Destiny Lane.


Hurt Family

Hurt FamilyKrizia Amber, Maren McGuire, David Poland, Jacob Reehl, Jon Ashley Hall, & Alana Crow as Mae, Maud, O.V., Roy Robinett, Frank and Sarah Hurt.

O.V. Hurt

OV HurtDavid Poland as O.V. Hurt

Edmund Creffield

Edmund CreffieldJoe Haege as Edmund Creffield

Maud Hurt

Maud HurtMaren McGuire as Maud Hurt

Sarah Hurt

Sarah HurtAlana Crow as Sarah Hurt

Frank Hurt

Frank & Mollie Hurt

Sara Robbin & Jon Ashley Hallas Mollie & Frank Hurt

Attie Bray & Mae Hurt

Holy RollersMaren McGuire, Brighid Thomas and Rachael Perrell as Maud Hurt, Esther Mitchell and Donna Starr

Roy Robinett Hurt

Roy Hurt

Jacob Reehl as Roy Robinett Hurt

Esther Mitchell

Brighit Thomas as Esther Michell

Brighid Thomas as Esther Mitchell

George Mitchell

George Mitchell

Jason Haines as George Mitchell

Donna Starr

Donna Starr

Rachael Perreli, Ben Decampo & Jeffree Newman as Burgess & Donna Starr & Sheriff Burnett

Florence Seeley

A woman in a Mother Hubbard

Rachael Perrell as Donna Starr

Edmund Creffield

Holy Rollers

Buy Holy Rollers: Murder & Madness in Oregon's Love Cult as an eBook for a measly $3.99 or get an autographed paperback for $15.

Holy Rollers is a story that has everything a good read should have: sex, religious fervor, mass insanity, the downfall of prominent families, murder and sensational court trials.

And it's all true.

John Terry, the Oregonian's 'Oregon's Trails' columnist says of the book: "A dandy piece of research and a good read. Lots more stuff than I was aware of. It deserves an audience"













Holy Rollers Paper Back

Get an autographed paperback for $16.95 (that includes postage and handling for U.S. addresses)

Want to write a check instead of using a credit card? I'm trusting. e-mail that you want the book and I'll send you a copy. You don't send a check until you get the book with an invoice.

Theresa (T-) McCracken, 890 North Bayview, Loop Waldport, Oregon 97394 (541) 563-3112


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


The Cast of Characters
Photos and Bios of the Holy Rollers


Holy Rollers' Asylum Commitment Papers


Info for Book Groups

Book Reviews


1903 to 1907 Newspaper Articles About the Holy Rollers

1906 Editorial Calling for Gun Control
After Multiple Murders Involving the Holy Rollers

Stewart Holbrook Holy Rollers Article

Advertisements from 1893 to 1913


Oregon Insane Asylum
Where the Holy Rollers Were Committed

Creffield, Brainwashing & Thought Reform

Early Cases of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

1906 Autopsies Of Holy Rollers
Forensics Before CSI

Holy Roller Bizarre Divorce Decree
Hartley describes trying to kill his wife's lover


Comedians on Edmund Creffield

The Shadow Testament
A Play About The Holy Rollers

How the Fire Fell
A Movie About The Holy Rollers


Life in Corvallis in the early 1900s

Life in Waldport, OR in early 1900s

Heaven's Gate

Facts & Stats about 1906
And How The Holy Rollers Measured Up

Oregon State Penitentiary
Where Creffield Was Incarcerated


Info about Cults

Could you ever be lured into joining a cult?

Share your thoughts about, and experiences with, cults


Creffield's Preachings

Creffield Vs. Crefeld

The Salvation Army Opening Fire in 1886

Holy Roller Theology

Reverend Knapp's Bible Songs of Salvation & Victory
Songs Sung by the Holy Rollers


About the Authors

Theresa (T-) McCracken

Robert B. Blodgett

In addition to writing, McCracken is a cartoonist.

To see some of her 'toons, go to the Home of McHumor Cartoons mchumor.com

McCracken's Blog

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Snail Mail
Theresa (T-) McCracken
890 North Bayview Loop
Waldport, Oregon 97394

(541) 563-3112


copyright by
Theresa (T-) McCracken