By Adam Slight
The world has seen some strange leaders in its time, and I could go on forever listing the various eccentricities displayed by some of the most famous of them (Louis XIV – what’s up with that hair?!)
Today, however, I will be talking about one of Canada’s own leaders—Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King—best known for steering Canada through one of the western world’s greatest struggles, World War II.
Unlike most world leaders, King lacked the charismatic personality to command droves. Instead, it is said that the 10th Canadian prime minister had strengths that were uniquely appropriate for running an unusual country like Canada. He was made famous for placing Canada as a middle power in the world stage, and was recently ranked the #1 Canadian Prime Minister by one group of prominent historians. He was quoted as saying “A true man does not only stand up for himself, he stands up for those that do not have the ability to.” Good work Bill!
Of course, the true William Lyon Mackenzie King would be introduced to the world after the Liberal Party leader died in 1950. It was then that we got to take a peak at his personal journals.
And all I can say is, holy #$@^!
So it turns out Mackenzie King was a huge spiritualist, and frequently communicated with the ghosts of the dead.
Ok, that’s not a big deal, right? A lot of mainstream religions believe in communication with the dead.
But no. Mr. King’s beliefs went a bit further than saying “Hi” to grandma in heaven, and even affected the way he ran the country.
His personal diary describes direct communications with the ghosts of Leonardo da Vinci, former Canadian Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, his dead mother, his dead grandfather, as well as many others. On many occasions he would consult these figures for guidance in running the Liberal Party and the Government of Canada. He described one conversation with his dead mother that “spoke of the present elections, of seeming defeat, of the party being in a stronger position a little later on.” Strangely, this conversation took place months before King was elected out of office (and indeed, he would be re-elected years later).
Mackenzie King was also passionate about his Irish terrier, Pat. When Pat passed away, King was passionate about his new Irish terrier, Pat II. When Pat II passed away, King was passionate about his Irish terrier Pat III. And so on.
When these dogs were alive, King considered them as human, and claimed to even be able to communicate with them.
This communication didn’t end at death. King was so passionate about the Pat dogs that he reportedly held séances with them as well. Like with his other séances, King consulted the dead Pats in manners of international political policy, conscription, and Party Leadership.
What did Pat have to say about the founding of the United Nations after WWII?
Mackenzie King also had a strange obsession with numbers, and the magical, prophetic powers that he thought they held (most call it “math”). I have trouble describing the logic behind this obsession, so I’ll leave you with a quote found in King’s diary:
“… I had thought yesterday of ’47’ being the figures ’74’ reversed which was the year of my birth. Curiously enough someone remarked this to me. I had another rather odd thought related to numerals which was that in thinking of the Rebellion of 1837-38, thought of my age — 73rd year — which is ’37’ reversed. Were one to live to a very old age, 83 would be reverse of 38.”
Good observation Mr. Prime Minister! You may also notice that “plug” spells “gulp” when read backwards.
During the late 1930s, and Hitler had risen to power in Germany, most world leaders actually respected the man that we now associate with European domination and genocide. Hitler was charismatic, and on the outside, it appeared that he was pulling Germany out of economic despair.
King was a huge fan of the German composer Richard Wagner, and the godly mythology often depicted in Wagner’s compositions. Hitler was also a big fan of Wagner.
King believed that Hitler embodied the spirit of a Wagnerian Norse god, and that Hitler was guiding his people to triumph. He believed that it was his own higher mission to lead Hitler to peace, and this actually affected Canada’s relations with Hitler. While King disagreed with Nazism and the oppression of Jews, he wrote “the world will yet come to see a very great man-mystic in Hitler…[Hitler] – the peasant – will rank some day with Joan of Arc among the deliverers of his people.”
No one has ever called me a “man-mystic.”
This just goes to show that you can never really know your country’s leader. You look at the Parliament Buildings and imagine politicians inside putting motions forward, yelling at each other, and breaking down in tears, when in actuality, they’re throwing sticks at ghost-dogs, praising Hitler, and counting down to their champagne birthdays.
William Lyon Mackenzie King: Politician, Leader, Friend, Lunatic.