Parsonian Erratae Terminatus

Jack Parsons

In the interest of responsible journalism,

we have included this list of bug fixes to the recent Parsons BABALONian meme which,

it appears, is still in beta. Many thanks to Brother Bill for his debugging efforts.


On Mon, 10 Nov 1997 16:20:39 GMT, (Bill Heidrick, OTO officer) wrote:

Some small difficulties and amplification.

Jack Parsons: Sorcerous Scientist
by Douglas Chapman
Jack Parsons and his wife Helen bad come into contact with the Agape lodge of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis international magical fraternity) in Los Angeles in 1939, and had joined it in 1941.
Jack and Helen (nee Northrup) did join OTO in 1941, already married. The date was: 15th Feburary, 1941 e.v. Both took Minerval and went on to Ist degree OTO immediately after.

It was under the leadership of Wilfred Talbot Smith, a Britisher who had founded this particular lodge about a decade earlier, circa 1930.

No, wrong on the date.

W.T. Smith started Agape Lodge in the US on 21st September 1935 e.v., according to the minutes of the Lodge.

Achad founded the 1st Agape Lodge, earlier in Canada and under Crowley's direction. W.T. Smith came down from there (his initiations were recorded at Achad's Agape Lodge) to southern California and re-started the then dormant Lodge. Achad took exception to this, but Crowley over-ruled and kept it open.

Crowley, the world head of the O.T.O., took action that increased Parsons' stature in the Order. Circa 1943-44, he convinced Smith, via a paper entitled 'Is Smith a God?' that astrological research had shown that Smith was not a man, but actually an incarnation of some deity. Taking the hint that Crowley wanted him out, the "god" went into private magical practice, eventually with reportedly rewarding results, remaining head of the lodge in name only.

This is somewhat inaccurate. Crowley called W.T. Smith "The Unknown God", since Smith apparently had something of that kind going but had never claimed KandC of the HGA. All went well until the incorporation of the Church of Thelema by Smith. A gossip campaign convinced Crowley that Smith was pulling a fast one, and Crowley wrote Liber Apotheosis as a cover for ordering Smith out. Liber Apotheosis set forth conditions (including Coventry) for magical retirement (to Louis Culling's turkey farm, of all places!) Smith was formally removed as head of Agape Lodge #2, and Helen (now divorced from Jack and with W.T. Smith) was included in the Coventry without her knowledge. Ultimately Grant took up Crowley's sobriquette for W.T. Smith as a book title with no evident relation to Crowley's usage.

Parsons became acting master of the lodge.

No. Actual and formal master.

(4) Why did Crowley in effect kick Smith upstairs? The ostensible reason seemed to be the danger that the man was turning the Order into (as Crowley put it) 'that slimy abomination, a love cult'."

That was part of the gossip, but the straw that did it was language in the incorporation papers of the Church of Thelema -- mis-read as seeming to dispose headship of the OTO to Smith's as yet unborn son. It wasn't a kick up. It was a kick out -- as clearly seen in Crowley's rather nasty letters to Smith.

(5) Actually, Crowley, who was unable to emigrate to the United States, was isolated from the only successful O.T.O. lodge in the world. Because of this frustration, bad blood resulted, despite the fact that Smith was probably the best field commander Crowley ever had.

I agree.

Parsons had lost his wife to Smith, yet remained on good terms with her. He was kept busy by Order activities, one of the most important of which was the sending of money to Crowley, for both the old man's minimal upkeep and the O.T.O. publishing fund. A good percentage came from Parsons' own pocket." (6)

Crowley was very unhappy about the amounts involved, especially after learning of the losses Parsons had in business dealings.

After having lost Helen Parsons to Smith in 1944, Parsons soon fell for her younger sister, Sara Northrup (a.k.a. Betty), who was 18 year old and a student at USC.

Sequence, dates etc. off. Helen came back from visiting a sick relative, only to learn that Betty and Jack had become a number. Smith and Helen were later. Betty was younger and Helen once denied to me that Betty was her blood sister -- going from memory on that one.

Parsons encouraged her to drop out of school and come live with him (not exactly thrilling her parents). She joined the O.T.O. and was not monogamous, since she agreed with Parsons that jealousy was a base emotion not fit for the illuminated.

Sariah Northrup and Betty Sisk may be confused here -- both were OTO members. I am not clear on the identity myself.

Because of the O.T.O. disaster, Parsons changed his magical emphases to "the Witchcraft." (19)

Time relations in question again. Jack's material on "the Witchcraft" was at least partly circulated during his mastery at Agape Lodge.

93 93/93
Bill Heidrick