Frederick Weaver, founder of the controversial movement known as the Peace Emporium died Wednesday at his home inside the group’s compound located in an unincorporated part of the county 30 miles east of the city. He was 91.
Weaver first came to prominence during the depression as a street preacher who claimed to have been visited by two angels named Mangle and Bunce. He claimed these angels had given him the secret of happiness, a philosophy that came to be known as The Invisible Adornments of Joy. Thousands flocked to Weaver’s message, but following WWII adherents to his beliefs began to dwindle.
In 1957, the group purchased land outside the city and Weaver started writing in the hopes of attracting new followers. His first book, “Dressing in Happiness,” succeeded in attracting new followers with its message that success and fulfillment are simply clothing we put on every day.
“Every morning,” he wrote, “I put on the hat of happiness, the socks of success, the coat of contentment, and my treasure trousers and so greet the day as its master.” All of the hangers in his closet were stamped with the word “Happiness.” Though the group was never again as successful as during the depression, it did experience a small resurgence in the late 1960’s. Weaver eventually clashed with his “hippy” followers, some of whom complained that for a man who supposedly dressed in happiness every day he was awfully fond of fashionable suits and seemed pretty miserable.
In his writings, Weaver began to focus less and less on happiness and more on ideas of peace. In the early 80’s the movement had an influx of new members, many of whom were wealthy. In 1988, Weaver declared publically that he was the Emperor of Peace and that he wore the Cloak of Happiness.
Frederick Weaver never married; though it is rumored he is survived by many children.