Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons by John CarterA fine and easily read biography of Jack Parsons (1914-1952). The author progresses in a workmanlike fashion with little flair or style, merely trotting out fact after fact, usually chronologically but sometimes in a more confusing fashion, with diversions which could have been cleaned up. After the brilliant introduction by the late Robert Anton Wilson (and the lamentation in realizing that there is a finite amount of R.A.W.s writing which I have not yet read, which can never increase), Carters tale of Parsons begins and is quite engrossing, despite its above mentioned flaws.
I was largely ignorant of both the American OTO, the history of rocket research in CalTech and J.P.L (Jet Propulsion Lab, or Jack Parsons Laboratory? Or Jack Parson Lives!) and the early history of rocket research in the US (Parsons met Robert Goddard, and possibly even Werner Von Braun after the war), and I had previously though that Parsons was merely interested in Crowley. Actually, they had a large correspondence, Parsons sent THE BEAST money, and Crowley was interested in Parsons life and work. Crowley was disappointed when Parsons was swindled out of thousands of dollars by none other than L. Ron Hubbard himself, whom THE BEAST 666 calls a confidence man!
Actually, that L. Ron Hubbard, a scheisty sci-fi pulp author and neophyte magickal adept, would steal a high ranking thelemic magicians money (which Parsons got from cashing out of Aerojet Inc, which still services NASA) and his girlfriend, buy a yacht with it, and run the risk of magickal retribution is pretty crazy in and of itself. I was happy to see the linkages between all these interesting 20th century personages (Crowley, Parsons, L.Ron Hubbard, Lovecraft, Von Braun, Goddard, Phillip K Dick even), which kept me reading straight through, finishing the book in about 10 hours total. Also interesting were the diversions into the 19th century history of the OTO, and mini-biographies of Dr. John Dee, court magician to Queen Elizabeth I, and Edward Kelley, his partner in what could only be described as spooky medieval Enochian shenanigans.
• Line 4, page XIV of the introduction by R.A.W. contains a spelling error: fundamtalists.
• In a footnote, Carter mentions that a Master Mason knocks three times to be admitted to the lodge for initiation. This is wrong as only a candidate for 1˚ is initiated, whereas a Master Mason 3˚ has been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and would not need to knock for admittance, unless he is outside the lodge after it has been opened.
Jack Parsons (rocket engineer)
Classified UFO. Parsons opened a door and something flew in. Associated with the California Institute of Technology Caltech , he was the inventor of the castable, composite solid fuel rocket and was one of the principal founders of both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL and the Aerojet Engineering Corporation. Parsons was born a child of wealth and privilege in Los Angeles to a broken marriage. Over his short but incredible life, Parsons was a bit of a creative genius in two key areas — the occult and rocket science. Parsons 'legitimate' claim to fame was in the latter field.
One of the weirdest historical confluences you can imagine took place in Pasadena, California, in the s. There, a darkly handsome young man and chemistry autodidact named Jack Parsons had just made a bundle of money by inventing solid rocket fuel and selling it to the military. He was also a goddess-obsessed acolyte and generous financial supporter of the infamous Pagan leader, Aleister Crowley. Parsons used his defense contract money to convert an old mansion into a group house whose residents included other Pagans, artists, scientists, and writers. One of his boarders was a charismatic science fiction author named L. Ron Hubbard, who became Parsons' greatest frenemy, participating in rituals of sex magic with the rocket scientist, sleeping with his girlfriend, and finally absconding with all his money.
Not the kind of church most Americans had heard of in the s and s. A Bruce Wayne type of character, Parsons during the day worked as a science engineer and made a fortune exploring the physics behind jet propulsion, and by night, instead of fighting crime as the cloaked vigilante of Gotham City, he was a cape-wearing occultist and a pagan worshiper who sought to create a spawn of Satan in Pasadena. He was a devotee of satanist Aleister Crowley and a fetishist who befriended L. Ron Hubbard, for a time sharing the same year-old girlfriend. Through various sexual practices, he thought he could summon a dark deity from the underworld.