JPL — The occult roots of NASA
The Babalon Workings
In August 1945, on leave from his less than spectacular naval career, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was introduced to Parsons. Jack was impressed by Ron’s exuberance and energy and wrote in a letter to Crowley: “I deduced that he is in direct touch with some higher intelligence. He is the most Thelemic (Crowley’s branch of magic) person I have ever met and is in complete accord with our own principles”. Hubbard moved in and promptly gained the affections of Parsons’ main squeeze, 19-year-old Betty Northrop. He was soon initiated into the secrets of the OTO and made Parsons’ magical partner.
Jack Parsons was one Hell of a guy, and not just because he might have been theAntichrist.John Whiteside Parsons was born in 1914, a child of wealth and privilege in unholy Los Angeles. His father took a hike while Parsons was a teen, and like so many other kids, young Jack successfully summoned Satan to assuage his loneliness. Hey, haven’t we all been there?
The departure of his father also left Parsons with an Oedipal fixation on his mother, according to his biography Love and Rockets (the author adds that later in life, Parsons is rumored to have filmed himself working through his complex through the novel approach of actually having sex with Mom).
Parsons was a bit of a wunderkind in two key areas — the occult and rocket science. Parsons legitimate claim to fame was in the latter field. He was by all accounts a brilliant chemist, who made major breakthroughs in designing the chemical composition of liquid rocket fuels.
Parsons’ fuel mixtures eventually helped America land on the moon (Ha! A likely story!) According to countercultural journalist Richard Metzger, Werner von Braun claimed that Parsons (a high-school dropout) was the true father of the American space program. Parsons helped create the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena (the JPL, also affectionately called the “Jack Parsons Lab”).
You would think all this scientific achievement would be enough for one person in one lifetime, but Parsons had a much loftier set of ambitions. He wanted to tear down the walls of time and space, and he had an entirely non-scientific set of ideas on how to do it.
Parsons had always been interested in occultism, but his path to notoriety really started in 1941, when he joined the California-based Agape lodge of Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis. Parsons threw himself into the Eastern-inspired mysticism and hormonally inspired sex magic of Thelema, the religion Crowley had either devised or channeled from beyond, depending on your point of view.
Parsons was an immediate success. He quickly took over the Agape lodge. Crowley and his associates spoke of him as a potential successor to the Great Beast himself.
One of Parsons’ best pals in the OTO was a young L. Ron Hubbard. They shared a zest for the work, as well as a mistress. One of their big projects was the notorious Babalon Working. The ritual was supposedly intended to create a new age of free love by shattering the confines of four-dimensional space time, but the major portion of it appears to have been primarily focused on getting Parsons laid.
The first stage of Babalon involved invoking an “elemental mate” — which, fortuitously enough for Parsons, turned out to be a voluptuous redhead named Marjorie Cameron, who would later emerge as a star of occult-oriented films by experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger.
Flush with the thrill of success, Parsons and Cameron set out to perform part two of the Babalon working, with Hubbard taking notes: Wild monkey sex with the goal of creating a “moonchild.” A moonchild in this context is best described as an Thelemic messiah, a magic homonculus monster child along the general lines of “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Phase Two collapsed on itself when Hubbard left town with a mistress and (allegedly) a substantial sum of money, both of which had previously been attached to Parsons. So if you’re angrily wondering why the Earth isn’t currently sex-soaked carnal paradise of peace, you can blame Hubbard.
Parsons got into a bit of a funk in the post-Hubbard era, which is reflected in the evolution of his magical work. Parsons’ next big project turned out to be the “Book of the Antichrist,” which is unsubtle making the connection clear:
“Now it came to pass even as BABALON told me, for after receiving Her Book I fell away from Magick, and put away Her Book and all pertaining thereto. And I was stripped of my fortune (the sum of about $50,000) and my house, and all I Possessed. Then for a period of two years I worked in the world, recouping my fortune somewhat. But that was also taken from me, and my reputation, and my good name in my worldly work, that was in science.”
Parsons “swore the Oath of the Abyss, having only the choice between madness, suicide, and that oath. (then) I took the oath of a Magister Templi, even the Oath of Antichrist before Frater 132, the Unknown God. And thus was I Antichrist loosed in the world; and to this I am pledged, that the work of the Beast 666 shall be fulfilled.” Who knew it was so easy?
Apparently noting that Antichrist is only a few letters away from “anarchist,” the manifesto that follows is in large part an exhortation to “do what thou wilt” in most things bodily-fluid-drenched, economic and/or political. The goal of all these efforts, according to Metzger, was to bring on the Apocalypse, since in theory things can only get better from there.
By now you may be thinking “What a load of crap!” But the FBI, none too keen about the notion that Parsons’ taxpayer-funded salary might be supporting the Antichrist and the hastening of the Apocalypse, took it seriously enough to open an investigation.
Documents recently released through the Freedom of Information act make up 130 pages of heavily redacted text in which G-Men try to make sense of Parsons’ religious beliefs and document his frequently careless handling of classified materials.
Parsons died in 1952 in his home laboratory, in an explosion generally characterized as “mysterious.” Various theories suggest that the explosion was the result of old grudges by his enemies, a sinister plot by the FBI, a magical experiment gone bad, the fact that his garage was filled with lots of explosive chemicals, or some combination of the above.As for Babalon? Well, the jury is still out on the Apocalypse, but it’s worth noting that within two years of the Babalon workings, which began in 1946, the first Atomic Bomb was detonated, the Roswell crash sparked a rash of UFO sightings that continues to this day, and LSD was invented.
In other words, things got a lot weirder, and they’re getting weirder every day. Parsons is legitimately one of the fathers of the space program, after all, which is no small thing. Maybe he knows something we don’t… or maybe, in the end, he was just a sex-crazed maniac.
More about Jack Parsons in the book: Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons
About Crowley and the OTO:
Aleister Crowley was a mountain climber, homoerotic poet, ritual magician, heroin addict, sleazy womanizer, racist, German collaborator, British secret agent and pedophile.
Ordo Templi Orientis Crowley was approached by the Ordo Templi Orientis, which invited him to take on a leadership role. The OTO claims to integrate “Freemasonic, Rosicrucian and Illuminist movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, the crusading Knights Templar of the middle ages and early Christian Gnosticism and the Pagan Mystery Schools.”
The leader of the OTO was a German named Theodor Reuss, a former Freemason and Illuminatus. He initiated Crowley into the sect in 1910 and in 1912 granted the Beast a charter to launch a British branch of the secret society. Crowley moved to the United States in 1914, at the onset of World War I, setting up shop in New York.
In New York, Crowley continued recruiting students and began rewriting the charters of the O.T.O. to better suit his beliefs. Starting from a base structure very similar to the Freemasons, Crowley added several significant elements to the OTO’s repertoire. He legalized the initiation of women into its ranks, wrote modernized English-language rituals for its members, streamlined initiation and degrees to more quickly advance members through the ranks, and integrated Thelema into the OTO’s core mission, placing the Book of the Law at the center of its teachings.
In the early 1920s, Crowley took control of the O.T.O. under ambiguous circumstances. Reuss allegedly suffered a stroke in 1920, an assertation which Crowley used to politick his way to the top of the hierarchy. He was the titular head of the OTO until his death in 1947.
One of Crowley’s most-lasting (but entirely unintended) contributions to the world of religion came from one of the OTO’s American branches, led by self-proclaimed “Antichrist Superstar” Jack Parsons. Parsons ran a California OTO lodge that attracted a young L. Ron Hubbard as an aspirant. According to OTO lore and various biographies, Hubbard allegedly joined the group and engaged in an affair with Parsons’ mistress (with Parsons’ knowledge).