>He came to prominence as a writer, winning two O. Henry Awards and penning screenplays for Hollywood films. His 1929 essay "Seven Minutes in Eternity" marked a turning point in Pelley's career, earning a major response in The American Magazine where it was published as a popular example of what would later be called a near-death experience. His experiences with mysticism and occultism drifted towards the political, and in 1933 Pelley founded the Silver Legion of America, a fascist, para-military league. He ran for president of the U.S. in 1936 as the candidate for the Christian Party.
>"Seven Minutes in Eternity" by William Dudley Pelley (1929):
But between three and four in the morning-the
time later verified-a ghastly inner shriek seemed
to tear through somnolent consciousness. In despair-
ing horror I wailed to myself:
"I'm dying! I'm dying!"
What told me, I don't know. Some uncanny
instinct had been unleashed in slumber to awaken
and warn me. Certainly something was happening
to me-something that had never happened in all
my life-a physical sensation which I can best de-
scribe as a combination of heart attack and
Mind you, I say physical sensation. This was
not a dream . I was fully awake and yet I was not.
I knew that something had happened to either my
heart or head-or both-in sleep and that my con-
scious identity was at the play of forces over
which it had no control. I was awake, mind you,
and whereas I had been on a bed in the dark of a
California bungalow when the phenomena started,
the next i was plunging down a mystic depth of
cool blue space not unlike the bottomless sinking
sensation that attends the taking of ether for
anesthetic. Queer noises were singing in my ears.
Over and over in a curiously ·tumbled brain, the
thought was preeminent:
"So this is death?"
I aver that in the interval between my seizure
and the end of my plunge, I was sufficiently pos-
sessed of my physical sensfs to think: "My dead
body may lie in this lonely house for days before
anyone discovers it-unless Laska breaks out and
Why I should think that, I also don't know-
or what difference it would have made to me, be-
ing the lifeless "remains"-but I remember think-
ing the thought as distinctly as any thought I ever
originated consciously and put on paper in the
practice of my vocation.
Next I was whirling madly. Once in 1920 over
San Francisco an airplane in which I was pas-
senger went into a tail-spin and we almost fell in
the Golden Gate. That feeling! Someone reached
out, caught me, stopped me. A calm, clear, friendly
voice said close to my ear:
"Take it easy, old man. Don't be alarmed.
You're all right. We're here to help you."
Someone had hold of me, I said-two persons in
fact-one with a hand under the back of my neck,
supporting my weight, the other with arm run under
my knees. I was physically flaccid from my "tum-
ble" and unable to open my eyes as yet because
of the sting of queer opal light that diffused the
place into which I had come. ·
When I finally managed it, I became conscious
that I had been borne · to a beautiful marble-slab
pallet and laid nude upon it by two strong-bodied,
kindly-faced young men in white duck uniforms
not unlike those worn by internes in hospitals, who
were secretly amused at my confusion and chagrin.
"Feeling better?" the taller of the two asked
considerately as physical strength to sit up un-
aided came to me and I took note of my sur-
"Yes," I stammered. "Where am I?"
They exchanged good-humored glances. "Don 't
try to see everything in the first seven minutes,"
was all the answer they made me then.
THEY did not need to answer my question. My
question was superfluous. I knew what had hap-
pened. I had left my earthly body back on a
bungalow bed in the California mountains. I had
gone through all the sensations of dyi ng and
whether this was the Hereafter or an intermediate
station, most emphatically I had reached a place
and state which had never been duplicated in all
I say this because of the inexpressible ecstacy
of my new state, both mental and physical.
For I had carried some sort of a physical body
into that new environment with me. I knew that
it was nude. It had been capable of feeling the cool,
steadying pressure of my friends' hands before my
eyes opened. And now that I had reawakened with-
out the slightest distress or harm, I was conscious
of a beauty and loveliness of environment that sur-
passes chronicling on printed paper.
A sort of marble-tiled-and-furnished portico the
place was, lighted by that soft, unseen, opal illu-
mination, with a clear-as-crystal Roman pool diag-
onally across from my bench on which I remained
for a time striving to credit that all this was real.
Out beyond the portico everything appeared to
exist in a sort of turquoise haze. . . .
I looked from this vista back to the two friends
who had received me. There were no other persons
anywhere in evidence in the first half of my expe-
Somehow I knew those two men-knew them as
intimately as I knew the reflection of my own
features in a mirror. And yet something about them,
their virility, their physical "glow," their strong
and friendly personality sublimated as it were, kept
me from instant identity.
And they knew a good joke about me. They con-
tinued to watch me with a smile in their eyes when
I got down from my marble bench and moved
about the portico till I came to the edge of the
"Bathe in it," came the instruction. "You'll find
you'll enjoy it."
I went down the steps into delightful water. And
here is one of the strangest incidents of the whole
"adventure" ... when I came up from that bath