3: The Slaves Shall Serve
Sex rituals? I thought when I awoke the following morning.
It didn't seem to fit. Jack Parsons and Ed Forman had been two
uncommonly bright kids experimenting with rockets, and corresponding
with the early rocket pioneers. They had showed up at Cal Tech and
formed an alliance with some of von Karman's graduate students.
Unlike the latter, Parsons and Forman already had hands-on
experience with mixing solid rocket fuels and constructing rocket
Cal Tech thought the idea of space rockets was silly, except for von
Karman, perhaps the nation's leading expert in jet propulsion. Von
Karman gave the group the use of facilities. After some explosions,
they ended up in Pasadena's Arroyo Seco--a small canyon that passes
near South Orange Grove Blvd.--at a spot near Devil's Gate Dam, and
near where von Karman, Parsons, and others founded the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory a few years later.
The project had soon attracted the attention of the U.S. military,
which was looking for some form of jet-assisted takeoff for planes
using the short air strips in Southeast Asia. The group obtained a
number of JATO patents, most under Parsons' name, and formed a
company named Aerojet Engineering Corporation to sell JATO units to
the military. The early stockholders had had financing problems, and
their intellectual property had essentially been expropriated by
General Tire and Rubber.
But JPL's WAC Corporal had become the first rocket to enter extra-
terrestrial space. And another member of the original rocket group
had gone on to found China's missile program.
Sex rituals? Was there some sort of contradiction here? On the other
hand, this was an important lead. Sex itself is a powerful
explosive. Perhaps Parsons' death had something to do with his
unusual personal life.
The new lead was waiting for me at the office. Sheri had started the
laborious process of sifting through our own research collection.
She had marked a reference to Parsons in The Great Beast, the
biography of Crowley mentioned by von Karman.
One of the particpants in those sex rituals was L. Ron Hubbard, the
future founder of Scientology.
A group of Crowley followers had established a church in Pasadena in
the 1930s. It was called the Agape Lodge, and was started by Wilfred
T. Smith, whom Crowley had met in Vancouver in 1915. According to
John Symonds, Crowley's biographer, Wilfred Smith subsequently
aroused Crowley's ire by seducing Helen Parsons, the wife of John
Whiteside Parsons. Parsons was then one of the Agape Lodge flock.
Symonds referred to Parsons as "Dr." Parsons, apparently thinking
his Cal Tech association implied a doctorate.
Crowley wrote Smith that his seductions were giving the Agape Lodge
the reputation of being "that slimy abomination, a `love cult'." (I
found it difficult to see how something named agape could have
avoided that stigma.) Crowley apparently expected little reform from
Smith, pointing out that when he had met Smith in 1915, Smith was
sleeping with both a woman and her daughter. So Smith was
disfellowshipped, and Parsons took over the church. Parsons,
meanwhile, had transferred his affections to Helen's younger sister
"Betty" (Sarah Elisabeth Northrup).
In the summer of 1945, some time after Parsons had sold his shares
in Aerojet, a young L. Ron Hubbard appeared at the Agape Lodge.
Parsons thought Hubbard had great magic potential. Betty did too,
and started sleeping with Hubbard. Parsons wrote Crowley of Ron
Hubbard: "He is the most Thelemic person I have ever met and is in
complete accord with our own principles. He is also interested in
establishing the New Aeon. Thy son, John."
With the loss of Betty, Parsons set about magically attracting
another principal partner. He had succeeded by February 1946 when he
wrote Crowley about a girl named Marjorie Cameron. "I have my
elemental! She turned up one night after the conclusion of the
Operation, and has been with me ever since, although she goes back
to New York next week. She has red hair and slant green eyes as
In the newspaper clippings Homer Nilmot had given me, Robert Cameron
was cited as Parsons' brother-in-law. Apparently Parsons was married
to Marjorie Cameron when he died in 1952.
Parsons continued his magical operations with the sexual
participation of Marjorie Cameron. By some unclear mechanism, these
resulted in revelations delivered through the mouth of L. Ron
Hubbard. Parsons gave them special significance, writing Crowley: "I
have been in direct touch with One who is most Holy and Beautiful as
mentioned in The Book of the Law. I cannot write the name at
present. First instructions were received direct through Ron, the
seer. I have followed them to the letter."
This was pretty rich. "Ron the seer." If Ron was God's (any god's)
mouthpiece, he was in an ideal position to manipulate Parsons.
Hubbard had started by taking Parsons' girl. You could already guess
that Parsons' money would be next.
Crowley wrote to his head man in America, referred to as Frater
or Hubbard or somebody is producing a Moonchild. I get fairly
frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts."
Moonchild? What was a
Moonchild? I made a note to look it up.
In the meantime, Hubbard ran off with Betty in Parsons' yacht.
Parsons wrote Crowley that he had magically evoked a storm which
drove the two back to shore. "I have them tied up; they cannot move
without going to jail," he wrote.
Symonds' account of Hubbard abruptly ends there. Clearly, however,
there was more to the story. Was there a continued relationship
between Hubbard and Parsons?
Later in 1949, Symonds relates, Parsons took the Oath of the Abyss,
which was said to be an attempt to unite his consciousness with the
Universal Consciousness. Parsons gave himself the magical name of "Belarion
Armiluss Al Dajjal AntiChrist." Symonds thought Parsons was going
crazy at this point.
explained, "is Arabic for `deceiver,' which was the name given
the Antichrist in Islamic legend. Ad-Dajjal was supposed to have
a red face, one eye in the middle of his forehead, and to rule
all the world, except Mecca and Medina, for forty years before
being destroyed by the Mahdi."
Weird stuff. Why would
Parsons chose that name?
"So now we know the
real identity of the Antichrist," I told Sheri. "Parsons was
trying to start a New Aeon or New Age, and Hubbard (Ron the
Seer) was trying to cash-in on it. There are God-hucksters on
the radio who have suspected all along that New Age movements
are the work of the Antichrist. I think they're right. When you
hear someone declaring a `New Age,' or a `New Order' run for
"What's wrong with a New Age?" Sheri wanted to know.
"I suppose it's mainly a question of who's in charge. When a
group proclaims a New Age, you can bet they themselves expect to
end up running the show. Those in power now typically wouldn't
need, and wouldn't want, a new order for themselves. They're
doing well enough under the old order, thank you. So it's either
another elite group making a power-grab, or else it's
disgruntled trouble-makers, angrily enduring the `present
distress,' perhaps envious of the rest of the world or suffering
from an illusion of insignificance. These types might well vote
for radical political and social reforms. The little guys in the
present age, naturally, are going to be well-rewarded big
honchos in the next world. But today's little guys are a large,
heterogeneous group, and they disagree on the nature of the
We catalogued a few
questions: What had lead Parsons to become a closet magician? Why
was he so naive where L. Ron Hubbard was concerned? What were
Parsons' occult activities immediately prior to his death?
Where was L. Ron Hubbard in June 1952?
Then there was Homer Nilmot. He undoubtedly already knew what we had
thus far discovered about John Whiteside Parsons. Probably a good
deal more. What hadn't he simply told me at the outset? What was he
trying to accomplish?
I had met Homer a few weeks previously at a party given by Trisha,
Sheri's roommate. Homer introduced himself and asked what I did. I
told him I was an "ontological detective". The description had just
slipped out, and it occurred to me it would look good on a business
card. Homer chose to focus on the detective part and asked for a
meeting. At lunch at Downey's he seemed to know a lot about
me--enough to make me wonder who was playing detective. He had given
me a cash retainer, and had discouraged any questions about himself
or his organization.
The strange phone call I had received indicated someone else was
also interested in Jack Parsons.
"Why don't we focus
on the following," I said to Sheri. "First, how did L. Ron
Hubbard come to meet Jack Parsons? The biography of Crowley
doesn't explain that. Was it through the O.T.O.? And what
happened after the incident with Ron running off with Betty in
the yacht? We need more details."
Sheri had arranged a
meeting with David Wilson, the Penn academic who was supposed to be
the Crowley expert. Like many academics, I assumed he had fallen in
love with his subject. If so, this would be helpful. In order to
understand Parsons, I had to see the world through his eyes, and
Parsons obviously admired Crowley.
How would an expert on rocket propulsion reconcile his professional
life with the other one involving the Agape Lodge? Maybe Parsons
just liked sex. Or maybe there was more to it than that.
There was a small line of students waiting outside David Wilson's
office. I had never understood why a professor would voluntarily
choose to teach a summer session. I knocked on the door and they
looked somewhat resentful when Wilson came out with a departing
student and told those waiting office hours were over for the day.
He gave me a good-humored grin and we went inside.
The room was sparsely furnished, but exuded more the atmosphere of a
private den than an academic office. Missing were the stacks of
papers and research reports piled high on desk, filing cabinets, and
spare chairs. There was an oriental rug spread out in front of the
desk, with two padded armchairs angled on either side. Nested among
the books on the wall shelves was a CD player, softly pumping out
"Bass Strings" by Country Joe and the Fish. A framed print on the
wall showed a dancer sensuously arching backward, her left hand
resting on the floor behind her.
Wilson himself was in his mid-fifties, with layered medium-length
white hair combed forward. His face showed the intense enthusiasm of
interested in that old rascal guru Aleister Crowley," he said,
waving me to an armchair. "What can I tell you about him?"
Homer Nilmot's questions
to me had indicated a political motivation for his interest in Jack
Parsons. I decided to start with that angle.
"Can you tell me
something about the political attitudes of Crowley and his
The answer came almost
immediately, without reflection, like a well- rehearsed lecture for
"You have to
distinguish between Crowley-the-Herald-of-the-New-Age, and
Crowley-the-Man. Crowley-the-Cambridge-Don had the
turn-of-the-century British upper class attitude that viewed
much of the outer world as peopled with inferior wogs, geeks,
and niggers, who for their own good needed to be ruled with a
firm British hand. By contrast, the Book of the Law (his
revelation) was democratic, anarchistic, hacking apart the group
mythologies of society and nation with their self-perpetuating
codes of personal and economic bondage.
"Crowley-the-Man sometimes said that women were creatures of
inferior minds. The Book of the Law said every man and every
woman was a star, which Crowley-the-Herald-of-the- New-Age
interpreted to mean full equality between the sexes. Most of
Crowley's followers were in fact women of an independent spirit.
"Occult organizations are by their nature hierarchical. There
are masters and disciples, inner and outer orders. Everyone gets
spiritually ranked according to his or her initiatory stage.
This aspect of things undoubtedly appealed to Crowley-the-Man,
who wanted to possess the occult knowledge and spiritual stature
denied ordinary people. Nevertheless, Crowley- the-New-Ager set
out to democratize magic by publishing the secret traditions.
"Crowley's political program was essentially set out in Liber
Wilson got up to pull
out a typed sheet from a drawer in his desk. It was a plain sheet of
white paper with no heading. An address in California was listed at
the bottom of the page. I read:
and every woman is a star.
There is no god but man.
Man has the right to live by his own law,
to live in the way that he wills to do,
to work as he will,
to play as he will,
to rest as he will,
to die when and how he will.
Man has the right to eat what he will,
to drink what he will,
to dwell where he will,
to move as he will on the face of the earth.
Man has the right to think what he will,
to speak what he will,
to write what he will,
to draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as he will,
to dress as he will.
Man has the right to love as he will,
take your fill and will of love as ye will,
when, where, and with whom ye will.
Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these
The slaves shall serve.
Love is the law, love under will.
I thought about it for a
"This is powerful
political stuff," I offered.
"It would upset a few people," Wilson said. "The right to die
when and how you will? The military and the medical profession
would prefer to keep that prerogative to themselves.
"The right to dwell and move around where you will? That's
anathema to the modern conception of the nation-state. How would
we dispense with immigration authorities, border patrols, the
passport mafia, and the coast guard? How would the tax collector
keep track of anyone in such a world?
"To love as you will? Free love provoked violent reaction in the
Sixties. And who believes in it anymore in the Live AIDS era?
"To eat as you will? That implies sovereignty over ones own
body. Are you kidding? Look at the governmental and media
hysteria over substances with psychopharmacological properties.
As for less controversial chemicals, it still takes an average
of 8-10 years and $100,000,000 to get a new drug approved by the
FDA and out on the market. Thousands can die while the FDA
decides whether a new treatment is `safe'.
"Free speech? Destroyed by the libel laws. A few years ago the
Trilateral Commission published a book by Harvard political
scientist Samuel Huntington which said that the problem with
modern democracies was there was too much democracy and too much
free speech. That democracies could only survive as long as most
people left the problems of running a country in the hands of an
educated elite, like (and this was Huntington's example) in the
good old days when Harry Truman was able to make do with a
handful of Wall Street lawyers and bankers. Huntington proposed
going after the press with a liberal dose of the libel laws.
"No God but man? What would the religious establishment say to
that? How are you going to terrify people into submission
without an external supernatural power to back up arbitrary
codes of largely monetary conduct?"
Okay, I thought. This
still doesn't tell me much about Homer Nilmot's interest. Or not
that I could see, right off hand.
"Do you know
anything about a Crowley follower named Jack Parsons?" I asked.
"Just what I've read here and there. The Symonds biography of
Crowley has some material. Then there are some books by the
current head of an O.T.O. lodge in London, Kenneth Grant. One is
called The Magical Revival and another Aleister Crowley & The
Hidden God. They discuss Parsons' experiences with a `Frater X.'
If you compare the events with Symonds' biography, Frater X is
obviously L. Ron Hubbard, the Scientology founder. Grant chose
not to use Hubbard's name, perhaps fearing a dirty tricks or
character assassination campaign conducted by some of Hubbard's
I took note of the two
"Does it make sense
for a scientist like Parsons to be a magician?" I asked.
Wilson just grinned at
"Does it make sense
for a scientist to be a Protestant?" he finally responded. "Did
it make sense for Isaac Newton, the inventor of the calculus and
expositor of the law of universal gravitation, to write
commentaries on the biblical books of Daniel and Revelation, and
to devote his time delving into alchemical treatises?"
"Okay. Let me alter the question. What is the relation of magic
to science and religion?"
I asked that question
because I was annoyed at his superior attitude, but he didn't seem
"Sir James Frazier,
the anthropologist, characterized science, magic, and religion
as three approaches to reality, and I would agree. The
scientific approach can be summarized in the phrase `seeing is
believing'. Scientists are from Missouri--you've got to show
them. Physical science deals with the basic forces of material
reality--gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong
nuclear forces--as elucidated by experiment.
"The key psychological characteristic of the domain of physical
science is that it purports to study behavior that manifests
itself independently of human cognition or belief. You don't
have to understand gravity in order to fall off a building and
die from the impact. It doesn't matter if you've ever heard of
gravity or even if you vehemently deny its existence. Stick your
finger in an electrical socket and you get a shock, whether
saint or sinner, Methodist or Moonie.
"Ideally, scientists are supposed to be neutral skeptics.
"For example, Einstein said that large gravitational bodies such
as stars would warp space-time around themselves. So that even a
light ray passing by would apparently change directions-- just
as though it had been `pulled' off course by gravity--and
continue at an angle to its original path. This was an
interesting theory by a leading scientist. But the theory was
only believed when the phenomena was actually observed in the
solar eclipse of May 29, 1919. When announced later, the
confirmation made headlines around the world. Even then Einstein
himself wasn't convinced his own theory was correct, because he
had made other predictions that hadn't yet been confirmed."
The phone began to ring.
"Anyway, that's the
way the scientific approach is supposed to work. But doesn't
really," he added, picking up the phone.
When he finished I asked
him what he meant.
don't work in a vacuum. You go to college to learn the current
body of accepted, and acceptable, beliefs. What questions you
ask depends on what questions you feel comfortable raising in a
seminar comprised of educated colleagues. The university
doctoral program indifferently screens out the incompetent and
the competently heretical. What experiments you perform depends
on what experiments are `worthwhile'. What is `worthwhile,' of
course, depends on what you can get grant money for, and what
you can publish. Both of these require referees who are already
grounded in the body of current beliefs.
"Here is one example. French peasants in the Seventeenth Century
kept reporting meteorites. The scientific community laughed at
the superstitious reports from gullible bumpkins. Any educated
person `knew' that stones don't fall from the skies.
"If you really believed in observation and experiment, of
course, you would have gone out and seen the meteorites for
yourself. This just shows that how scientists actually operate
differs from the Pollyanna descriptions of the scientific method
you find in high school textbooks."
"The Seventeenth Century occurred some time ago," I astutely
"It's not any different today," he replied. "In 1962 a French
astrophysicist named Jacque Vallee watched his colleagues erase
a magnetic tape on which his satellite-tracking team had
recorded data on an unknown flying object. The data had a
suspicious resemblance to classical ufo sightings, and he was
given the explanation that `people would laugh at us.' What is
interesting to a psychologist is the fact astronomers were
willing to destroy scientific data rather than run the risk
someone might associate them with cultists and cranks.
"You even have witch-hunting organizations like CSICOP--the
Committee for Snotty Interpretations of Claims of the
Paranormal--which engages in character assassination of
scientists involved in parapsychological research. CSICOP
members claim their goal is rooting out fraud. But it isn't
fraud that really upsets them. It's heresy. CSICOP once ran a
study refuting a particular astrological correlation. When one
of the editors of their magazine realized that a statistical
error had been made, and that the study actually supported the
astrological assertion, the magazine refused to print a
retraction. He wrote a letter to the editor, but they wouldn't
print that. He himself then did a further study, which this time
came to the `right' conclusion, and CSICOP published it, but
refused to publish the reference to the error in the previous
study. They then agreed to publish a statement that his second
report had been `censored.' Then, without his knowledge, they
censored the reference that the report had been censored. It
shows their real function is propaganda.
"They have a court jester, an erstwhile stage magician and a
paid disinformation agent for the U.S. Department of Defense,
who goes around claiming parapsychological research results are
obtained by trickery. Imagine CSICOP scientists being led around
by the nose by a stage performer! CSICOP even got Nobel-prize
winners to sign a statement that astrology was superstition. It
was absurd. Most of the people who signed that statement
wouldn't know a Gemini from a Taurus. Yet they were perfectly
willing to declare there was no scientific evidence for
David Wilson was clearly
on his soap box. I just listened.
"It's the basic
appeal to authority rather than evidence. The Pope says you
shouldn't wear prophylactics--he's the Pope, after all. And a
CSICOP T.V. scientist says there's no evidence for psychokinesis--well,
he's on T.V. after all. He must know what he's talking about."
He paused, so I
interjected: "How would you characterize the religious and magical
approaches?" I was still listening between the lines, trying to get
a sense of where Jack Parsons may have been coming from--living
simultaneous lives as a rocket genius and a Crowley disciple.
"The religious and
magical approaches are quite distinct. Both believe in an unseen
order, a sacred realm. Both are concerned with laws that operate
according to one's psychological state. It's difficult to
generalize, but the religious approach is basically concerned
with worship and reward and punishment. You worship a God by
emulating his characteristics. The devotees of Dionysus were
infused with his spirit. Followers of Jesus receive and express
"The magician is more pragmatic. Crowley defined magic as the
`art and science of causing changes in conformity with will.'
That is, magic integrates psychology and physics. Magicians
believe in the Hermetic principal `as above, so below.' There is
a complete correspondence between the inner and outer world,
between the microcosm and macrocosm, between your state of mind
and your outer world experience.
"The magical approach is technological in that you want to bring
about changes in your own or others behavior, in the state of
society, or in physical matter. But the starting point for
effecting change is the consciousness of the magician himself.
"A magician would not hesitate to use a religious approach. For
example, a magician might meditate on the God Dionysus, or
perform a prayer or ritual dedicated to Dionysus, in order to
infuse his own consciousness with the Dionysian spirit, if this
were important for the accomplishment of a particular goal.
"Neither would a magician hesitate to study science. Science is,
after all, a very powerful method for getting at certain aspects
of physical reality. In fact, one standard type of magical
exercise involves immersing yourself in a point of view
alternative to what you are normally accustomed.
"Around here," he waved his hand vaguely at the surrounding
walls--I assumed he meant the university--"we talk about putting
on our psychologist's hat, or economist's hat, or physicist's
hat--meaning you interpret something in terms of the
conventional wisdom of that profession. A good magician believes
in the multi-model approach. For the moment he may become a
psychologist, or economist, or physicist, or he may take the
cosmic viewpoint of a priest in the ancient Egyptian city of On,
or adopt the paranoia of a life-long member of the John Birch
society. The manipulation of reality requires a plasticity of
"Aren't there different types of magic?" I asked. "How does,
say, black magic differ from white magic?"
Wilson laughed. "How does the gas mileage of white cars compare
to that of black cars?"
"You're saying there's no difference."
"Not at all. People who buy black cars may be, in general,
different drivers from people who buy white cars, so white cars
may get different mileage." He paused. "I suppose there are
different ways to answer your question. On the one hand there's
the good-guys-wear-white-hats approach. White magic is what we
do. Black magic is what anyone I don't like does. In this sense,
`white' magic is magic used for a purpose you approve of.
"But magic is really a neutral technology, somewhat independent
of the goals of the magician."
Wilson paused, thought for a moment, then decided to stop there.
"Nothing you have said so far makes Crowley or magic seem all
that awful, aside from whether you think it makes any sense." I
said. "So why does the mention of Crowley's name arouse so much
"Oh. For a number of reasons. Crowley wasn't all that nice of a
guy. He was a notorious practical joker and show-off. If anyone
conceived a disagreeable opinion of Crowley, he went out of his
way to confirm their worst impressions, often acting like a
dirty-minded little kid. It was perhaps the inevitable
consequence of growing up in a family who believed in the
literal truth of the Bible, thought they were the only true
Christians, and looked forward to the imminent return of Christ.
Besides the fact that he enjoyed manipulating others'
perceptions of reality, Crowley was, I think, practicing the
magical principle that relates the degree of power you have over
someone to your capacity to generate intense emotion in that
person. That is, it was better they spoke badly of him, than
they not speak of him at all.
"He was a show-off alright. When he first left Cambridge, he
went around as a Count Vladimir Savareff. Another time, when the
Paris authorities had commissioned a bronze butterfly to cover
the private parts of the monument which Jacob Epstein had made
for the tomb of Oscar Wilde in Pere-Lachaise, Crowley stole the
butterfly and showed up at the Cafe Royal with the butterfly
afixed as a cod-piece over his evening dress.
"Then there was sex. Remember, we are talking about the early
part of the twentieth century. This was a time when parents
still read John Harvey Kellogg's Plain Facts for Old and Young
to learn the thirty-nine signs of the secret vice of self-abuse
in their children. Kellogg exemplified the spirit of the age
when he recommended having the skin covering the end of the
penis sewn up to prevent erection, and the application of
carbolic acid to the clitoris to prevent abnormal excitement in
"Well, Crowley's magic, especially later on, was tantric. It
involved sex. To the public at large that made it black magic by
definition. The public essentially first heard about Crowley
when he opened his Abbey of Thelema at Cefalu in Sicily. The
British papers began a campaign of villification claiming that
the Abbey was inhabited by drug addicts who spent their days
indulging in sexual abominations. As a result, Crowley was
banished from the country by Mussolini in 1923."
Banishment by Mussolini?
Was that serious condemnation or not? But I dropped that line of
thought because here was opportunity to ask a basic question about
those sex rituals.
"What's sex magic?"
Wilson turned for a
moment and looked out the window across his desk.
"Like most other
types of magic ritual, it's a way of reprogramming the human
mind," he said finally. He got up and moved to one of the
bookshelves. "I usually refer people to this book for the basic
The book was entitled
The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism, and Faith
Healing. It was written by a British psychiatrist named William
"Sexual magic was
practiced by the Ordo Templi Orientis long before Crowley became
a member. Crowley, incidentally, always wrote OTO in a manner
that made the phallic symbolism of the letters obvious--the O's
representing the testicles. He also formed the A in Aleister
with curls at the bottoms of the verticle strokes and the
cross-bar positioned at the top of the letter, so that the total
effect was an ithyphallic version of OTO."
The phone rang again.
While Wilson talked to a student about an exam, I looked once more
at the sheet of paper Wilson had given me when I had first come in
the office. A group entitled JPMS had sponsored the flier. The
address was in Glendale, California.
When Wilson got off the phone, he looked at me as though it were
time for me to leave.
"Just a couple more
quick questions," I said. "There are groups of Crowley followers
around today. What are they like?"
"It all depends. Many intellectuals read Crowley for the clarity
of his thought, which contrasts with a lot of the New Age bilge
floating around today-- channelled revelations from
35,000-year-old Lemurians and moralistic dolphins and whatnot.
But keep in mind the Media-Crowley. The Media-Crowley was the
wickedest man alive. Look at the Bantam edition of Crowley's
autobiography. Notice the advertising blurb at the top."
He showed me a paperback
The Confessions of Aleister Crowley.
The blurb said these
were "the profane and uninhibited memoirs of the most notorious
magician, satanist and drug cultist of the 20th century."
"Anyone who actually read the book will come away with a much
different impression that they get from the cover. But think
about it. There are all sorts of kooks and crazies who want to
be associated with Crowley because they take this hype
seriously. They're looking for a piece of the action of drugs,
black masses, satanism, sex, bloody rituals, and whatever else
the media have lead them to expect. It's not likely to be a nice
crowd. And some of those weirdos can be downright dangerous."
Wilson looked at me carefully. "Downright dangerous," he
"What about this group?" I held up the sheet of paper with the
quotations from Liber Oz, and tapped the name at the bottom.
Wilson shrugged ignorance.
"What does JPMS stand for?"
"Oh that." Wilson didn't bat an eye. "That's the Jack Parsons