Charles Pichel

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History of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem (1957).

Charles Pichel (26 June 1890 - 1 May 1982), sometimes referred to as Charles Louis Thourot Pichel, was an American conman best known for founding the Shickshinny Knights of Malta in 1956 which claimed to be the authentic continuation of the Knights Hospitaller of the Crusading Age. He was apparently from New York, but later moved to Pennsylvania. Pichel fabricated a pseudo-history for his organisation and during the late 1920s was convicted for narcotics dealing, as well as defrauding people through the American Heraldry Society. A member of the Old Roman Catholic Church, he claimed to have been a military Colonel (likely untrue). He published a number of writings under the banner of Crux News Service and Maltese Cross Press.



  • History of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta (1957)
  • An Account of the Old Roman Catholic Church (1964)
  • Samogitia: The Unknown in History (1975)


Pichel was not only an adherent of the Old Catholic Church but a fanatical anti-Communist who apparently actually came to believe that the SMHOM was a nineteenth century Papal foundation and that his organization alone represented the true continuation of the ancient crusader Order. He became increasingly eccentric (forming the Galactic Powers Task Force described above) and, in 1969, announced that he was forming the "Maltese Cross Legionaries" to combat a secret alliance between the Holy See and the government of Malta to hand the island over to the Soviets. In 1967 Pichel became allied with a group of Catholic traditionalists who denied the authority of the US bishops and, in 1969, accused the Jesuits of manipulating the Papacy for their own ends. He also became associated with the "alternative medicine" movement, sponsoring nature cures and promoting what he described as "Cosmic Energy". After the numerous divisions and quarrels among his adherents, his group ultimately fragmented and he died in very distressing circumstances in 1982 aged ninety-two.

—Tony Buttigieg, So-Called Orders of St John, Part One.[1]

See also


  1. So-Called Orders of St John, Part One. A Site about Maltese Fakes. Retrieved on 14 March 2012.

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