Fred and Ella Winterfeldt – Part 1

Fred with Baba


One devoted couple, who met Baba for the first time during his visit to Myrtle Beach, was Fred and Ella Winterfeldt, two German immigrants who had settled in New York, where they had met and married. Both were interested in finding a spiritual Master. Fred, age fifty-four, had been searching for many years, and Ella, age fifty-five, had felt a Divine Presence on earth since childhood. They decided to save money to take a boat or plane to the Himalayas or some South Sea island, where they would begin their search for their Master.

In mid-1948, a well-dressed lady came to the apartment building where Fred was the superintendent, and signed the lease for the penthouse apartment. As the woman’s fur coat parted open, Fred was drawn to a button she was wearing on her blouse. “Is he a spiritual Master or a yogi?” he asked.

The woman replied, “He is a great Perfect Master.”

Fred was curious, and the woman said that after she had moved in, he could come one day and talk about it.

The woman was none other than Ivy Duce. Fred was deeply impressed by what she told him of Baba. He borrowed Jean Adriel’s book, Avatar, and took it home to share with Ella.

Ella, on the other hand, looked at the book and felt that Baba was a false Christ, and said so. But as she opened it, gazed at Baba’s photograph and read of his love, she too was deeply touched and grew to love and think only of him. They became Sufis under Ivy Duce’s guidance.

Yet gradually Ella felt that her heart was Baba’s alone. She had respect for Inayat Khan, but she wanted only Meher Baba as her Master. And so without telling anyone, she wrote a note to Baba in India, not expecting a reply. But soon a letter came in which Baba stated: “I am touched by your love. The time has not yet come for you to serve me directly, but soon it will.” Ella was ecstatic: Baba had accepted her! She knew she must now leave the Sufi order, and she told this to Ivy, who released her from her vows.

At last, Fred and Ella came to Myrtle Beach to meet their Master. At 3:10 P.M. on May 10th, they were shown into the Lagoon Cabin. As they entered, Baba stood up, his arms unfurled to receive them. He embraced Ella first. She dropped her head on his shoulder like a tired babe or little bird, and all she could say was, “O Baba …” in a sigh of complete resignation and repose.



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