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Monday, July 04, 2005

Black-magic rocket scientist

The Huntsville (Ala.) Times carries a book review of "Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons," by George Pendle.

But in Parsons, the scientific nature was remarkably (though, by Pendle's account, not incongruously) allied with a keen interest in black magic and the occult. At the same time that he worked long hours for the California Institute of Technology, Parsons also became deeply involved in the religion propounded by the English mystic Crowley. He came to lead the Los Angeles contingent of Crowley's religion, and also led a life of libertine excess and unorthodox occult practices that are shocking even to modern-day observers. Parsons' larger-than-life story includes youthful attempts to correspond with von Braun, seeking advice on rocket experiments; a long, rocky relationship with Crowley; and even a stint as house mate to [Scientology founder and sci-fi writer L. Ron] Hubbard, to whom he lost both money and a lover. Parsons' zeal for the occult included experiments in magic that equaled his rocket research in diligence and sincerity. His imagination and passion for the possibilities of space travel was paralleled with a similar vision for the promise of the darker sciences.
Rigorous Intuition writes some interesting things about Parsons, Hubbard and the occult workings behind the military industrial complex. There is an interesting theory that the Crowley-inspired occult ritual performed by Parsons and Hubbard launched the weirdness of the UFO era.


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