Front Cover - 'a WOLF among the SHEEP'
a WOLF among the SHEEP

This unauthorised biography traces the rise and downfall of Australian cult leader William Kamm, alias "The Little Pebble". Regarded by followers throughout the world as a prophet during the past 25 years, Kamm appointed himself chief of a global network of seers and claimed he would be the Roman Catholic Church's last Pope. His life and leadership of the Order of Saint Charbel - a sect based near Nowra on the NSW south coast - is exposed in the book, which is available through this website. More details: Home

Excerpt from

a WOLF among the SHEEP
Chapter 5: p80-83

Critics may scoff at the influence of The Little Pebble, but the Order of Saint Charbel did have dozens of communities based on properties ranging from a couple of acres to sprawling farms. The Order had four branches comprising: priests; religious brothers and nuns; families; and those who lived in the outside world but were committed to following William Kamm's rulebook.

The motherhouse at Cambewarra - aptly named the Garden of Gethsemane (where many a disciple held the prophet in a Judas-like embrace) - was the biggest community, numbering up to 200 residents. A dirt road parted dense bushland west of Cambewarra, branching off to the compound where a tall white cross and a large portrait of the Virgin Mary overshadowed iron entrance gates. Enclosed by bushfire-prone scrub, dozens of relocatable homes and caravans were arranged along parallel streets. Some of the smaller cladded cabins looked like sheds and landscaping was minimal - if it was still open to tourists, the caravan park would have been at the budget end of the market.

Most of the Order's other settlements comprised only a few families. In Victoria, there were communities at Tyaak, Seymour, Lethbridge and a 1,500-acre property at Meredith. Tyaak was the second most populous community, home to as many as 35 people, under the leadership of ardent Kamm supporters Ted and Bridget Stokes. The isolated 25-acre property was purchased by the Stokes family in 1988 and became known as the Sacred Heart Community where children were home-tutored before the government approved a private school on the grounds. During an exorcism of the property's historic graveyard, Kamm 'saw hell opened and the demon fall into it, and the souls of the saved rise up to heaven'.

There were also communities at Mallalla and Mount Gambier in South Australia, Ormeau in Queensland and others in the United States (Texas, California and Wisconsin), Canada, Japan, Uganda, Tanzania, Zaire, Kenya, Ireland, France, Poland and New Zealand. In 2001, Kamm numbered his communities at 40, saying that 27 had already been formed and thirteen more were on the drawing board.{1} Always thinking big, Kamm once wrote an open letter to Nowra residents saying that their township could become the eighth wonder of the world, if only the Order were given a fair go.

From the Order's sparsely-populated clutch of communities, the number of Kamm's followers multiplied like the miracle of the loaves and fishes. His usual claim was that the Order had 500,000 members and 40,000 prayer houses (which were usually private shrines in homes). He told a Vatican adviser in 1990 that his apparition site was 'known and followed by millions of souls throughout the world'.{2} But such were the internal inconsistencies of the Order's various tallies for priests, nuns, and lay members when compared over time that the statistics stacked up like blocks of jelly.

Kamm's profile-building endeavours really took off as the internet rolled out across the globe, although he wasn't too keen on it at first. 'The electronic highway that exists in the world today is the tool that Satan will use to enslave the world!' a Message from 1996 said. But he soon realised that a website and email could extend his reach - so the Kamm juggernaut veered into cyberspace.

If Kamm did have half a million followers, not many of them demonstrated much interest in his website, which was launched in January 2000. Website counter records retrieved from internet archives reveal that The Little Pebble's homepage received 37,925 hits during the first eight months. [However, this figure would appear to be significantly overstated, considering that the Order's chief spiritual guide and self-appointed bishop, Fr Malcolm Broussard, said that cyber contacts had only 'reached just over the 30,000 mark' during the first twelve months.{3} The difference in visitation tallies is possibly due to return visits to the homepage during each log-on being recorded as 'unique visitations'.] Nonetheless, internet archives indicate that it took two more years for the number of hits to double to approximately 80,000; the online counter climbed to 160,529 in July 2005. By this stage, Kamm was attracting national media attention and interest from non-supporters as the cybermeter clicked over 234,412 in May 2008. So in the eight-and-a-half years since Kamm's website was launched, less than half of the Order's purported 500,000 members had bothered to log in even once.

Ted Stokes, who was in charge of sending out Kamm's Messages through the post, quashed any suggestion that the hordes of supporters might have instead been staying in touch via postal deliveries. Stokes revealed in correspondence from both 2003 and 2004 that the mailing list did not comprise hundreds of thousands - or even tens of thousands - of names but a mere '150 or so members'. Despite the small number of mail-outs, The Little Pebble still appealed for donations to subsidise subscriptions in developing countries such as South Africa and New Guinea. Kamm had meanwhile stated in the second volume of his autobiography, published in July 2000, that 'there are over two-million followers of the Nowra apparition; 450,000 on the mailing list'.{4} 

{1} Kamm's autobiography Volume 3, p149
{2} Autobiography, Volume 2, p44
{3} Apocalyptic Ark (the Order's journal) June 2001 Issue
{4} Autobiography, Volume 2, p47

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