When Aimee Semple McPherson disappeared that day from a Santa Monica beach in 1926, she was convicted in the court of popular opinion....
No one saw her being taken, but, NO ONE saw her leave with this Married man, either. That is why everyone assumed she drowned. One minute she was there, the next, GONE.
When she was found dazed, disoriented and injured, wandering a desert in Mexico 30 days later, she was subsequently prosecuted by the Los Angeles District Attorney for LACK OF EVIDENCE of a kidnapping, among other shady charges...
I have been to that beach in Santa Monica HUNDREDS of times in my life. There are people on that beach 24 hours a day, rain or shine.
So, how is it possible that Aimee Semple McPherson was kidnapped in broad daylight without a single person witnessing the event?
First of all, the entire stretch of the beach that lies in front of the Boardwalk and Ferris Wheel area is visible from Santa Monica Pacific Park, which is situated 30 feet above the area in question.
Aimee Semple McPherson was a well-known celebrity. Celebrities RARELY hang out near the always active Boardwalk area...
There is a relatively barren stretch, even today, that lies 1,000 feet or so further SOUTH down the beach, an area that is fronted by motels and bars today.
Access to roads, then the Freeway?
QUITE quick and easy.
If she was in this area, avoiding the crowds on that fateful day, then she could have been snatched with no problems, no witnesses....
But, people were absolutely LOST in the image of a good girl gone BAD.
Frank Capra, director of "Miracle Woman", the McPherson picture, became LOST in the image of his idealized version of Aimee....
Aimee Semple McPherson became lost in the same image, that of a pious woman above earthly desires. The fact that she had been married a few times had already cast aspersions on her character....
Aimee's FLOCK became lost in all the sound and fury that PENTECOST inspires. I attended a few Pentecostal services when I was a child. There was a charismatic preacher that looked a LOT like Jerry Lee Lewis barnstorming our town when I was a kid, a man by the name of BROTHER CATES.
He snatched my brothers and I off the streets, called us HEATHENS and BACKSLIDERS, made us promise to attend that WEDNESDAY'S services.
Church on WEDNESDAY? Shades of my Grandmother! So, it was a promise that none of us intended to keep.
When the fateful day arrived, Brother Cates was sitting in his station wagon, along with HIS kids, just WAITING for us to leave the house....He grabbed us the moment our front door opened.
WILDEST service I'd ever witnessed, wilder than ANY of my Grandmother's famous BAPTIST revivals...
People jumping and shaking and BABBLING in "Tongues", suddenly falling prostrate to the floor, lurching and kicking....
People that we had seen all our lives walking down the road, at the store, the movies, behaving in a wild manner that we never would have dreamed possible for any of them.
PENTECOST is powerful. It is HYPNOTIC.
We were told we could not leave unless one of us "Got the HOLY GHOST", just like some of the folks shaking on the ground. We wanted OUT of there.
So, my little brother winked at me and fell shaking and babbling to the floor.
We NEVER went back. We spent YEARS being yelled at by Brother Cates where ever he saw us:
"BACKSLIDERS!" he would yell.....
Easy to get caught up in, if you need it. Easy to get LOST in...
Who can claim to know what REALLY happened to Aimee Semple Mcpherson. Was she actually kidnapped? It is entirely POSSIBLE.
Did she run away with a married man? Entirely possible.
And entirely UNDERSTANDABLE.
She had EVERYTHING and NOTHING.
And HEAVY is the head that wears the CROWN. I can easily see her ditching all that royalty and piety for something a little more REAL and HUMAN.
What is wrong with that?
We are all BACKSLIDERS.