Peter Levenda on David Ferrie's Religious Leanings
Peter Levenda contacted me in late April 2005 after reading my web page which, in part, commented on Judyth Baker's involvement with David Ferrie. Peter offered additional insight into and correction of some misconceptions I had about Ferrie's religious experiences. It should be noted that Peter is the author of Unholy Alliance in which he examines Adolph Hitler's obsession with the occult. He is also the author of the upcoming book Sinister Forces.


I just came across your website and wanted to make a small correction/amendment to the page showing the information from Judyth Baker. As the author of the upcoming book, "Sinister Forces", which explores the phenomenon of the "wandering bishops" in some detail in two chapters, I have submitted some background on the case which you may find of interest.

You mention that David Ferrie was not a bishop in the Old Roman Catholic Church, and that there were very few bishops in that organization anyway. That may be true so far as it goes, but Ferrie was consecrated a bishop by Carl Stanley of the American Orthodox Catholic Church -- according to Stanley's own testimony to the FBI -- but was later deposed (according to Stanley) due to allegations of homosexuality. What has yet to be uncovered is why Stanley -- himself a convicted felon with a long rap sheet -- would have demured from having a "gay" bishop among his ranks; there was no precedent for this in the AOCC and, indeed, Ferrie's credentials were vouched for by another bishop, one quite well-known for his support of a ministery outreach to homosexuals. In fact, it may have been more the legal problems Ferrie had with Eastern Airlines over his homosexual conduct that contributed to his ouster from the church, once Stanley -- no stranger to the legal system -- learned of them and feared that close scrutiny would be paid to his own operation.

Further, the claim that the Old Roman Catholic Church had few bishops is a bit misleading. There are several Old Catholic denominations, and others that share an Old Catholic line of succession but which are not, themselves, Old Catholic. Like most churches of the independent movement, many of these had rather more bishops than congregants. While the total number of ORCC bishops may not have been great, when put against the number of actual communicants it will be seen to have been a topheavy affair. However, in all fairness, bishops of the ORCC did participate in the consecrations of bishops from other denominations, thus giving rise to even further confusion. If a bishop of the ORCC assists in the consecration of a bishop of the AOCC -- as happened more than once -- then is that newly-consecrated bishop a "member" of the ORCC or the AOCC, or both? Or neither?

Do not rely on the apostolic succession lists published on the web for an idea as to how many bishops were involved with either church, since these lists are by no means complete. They only name the prime consecrator in most cases, and there must always be a minimum of three consecrators. Often, these consecrators are not members of the same church as either the prime consecrator or the consecratee. Most bishops do not publish lists of all the consecrations of which they have been participants; however, they will publish lists of the bishops who consecrated them (in order to prove their bona fides). The student of the independent movement is then faced with the arduous task of matching these lists against each other to find out who consecrated whom. This, in the face of lost archives from small churches that went in and out of business frequently and other missing documentation, can drive one insane.

Thus, unraveling David Ferrie's religious affiliations is not a task for the faint of heart. That he was a priest and a bishop at some point in his life is beyond question. That he was "self-ordained" is, in my view, erroneous. He was definitely ordained and consecrated by others. It is up to the bias of the reader whether or not he was "validly" ordained and consecrated, or if his church was renegade, or heretical, etc. Carl Stanley himself was not "self-ordained" and, in fact, he was the beneficiary of several different consecrations during his lifetime. As I mention in "Sinister Forces", Stanley died only a month after David Ferrie; one of those coincidental timings that has fallen below the radar of most conspiracy speculation but which drove Jim Garrison (and others) apoplectic. The only bishop of that entourage that managed to survive accidental death and disappearance was Jack Martin, but that's another story!

Ferrie's affiliation was given several different times in different ways in "American Grotesque", Kirkwood's attack on the Clay Shaw investigation, thus pointing out the incredible difficulty in identifying Ferrie's actual denomination. His consecration by Stanley -- of the American Orthodox Catholic Church -- however, can be in no doubt; that there may have been others, though, is entirely within the realm of possibility. I would have dearly loved to watch "Bishop" Ferrie celebrate the Orthodox Divine Liturgy, though! What a surreal experience that would have been ...

Peter Levenda