Jeffrey Epstein and Mad Scientists
In the 1st half I go over Epstein’s Foundation and its investments into genomics and mapping the brain for AI. Next I look at Robert Maxwell – father of Ghislaine Maxwell – who allegedly partnered with Epstein in business. What are the other Maxwell children up to now? All of this is viewed through the lens of medical ethics and the cultural subversion that happened in the US starting right before the breakout of the second world war.
EDIFY article July 2019 support for Harvard: https://www.wbur.org/edify/2019/07/10/jeffrey-epstein-harvard-mit-donations
Santa Fe Institute, Ecog’s Dream: https://www.santafe.edu/events/seminar-makoto-miyakoshi-alpha-theta-center-univer
Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation website: http://www.jeffreyepstein.org/Jeffrey_Epstein.html
Charting the Course – Church / Genome: https://www.the-scientist.com/lab-tools/charting-the-course-41826
VIDEO Church on Colbert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kuYQwfmUTc
Test Subject Children NYT: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/18/science/18kids.html
Human Subject Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6293356/
The Scientist, Challenges Human Subject Research: https://www.the-scientist.com/opinion-old/future-challenges-to-human-subject-protection-55908
Independent article re Maxwell Family, 2011: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/robert-maxwell-20-years-on-where-are-they-now-6258034.html
Maxwell Family fighting inquiry into businesses: https://www.gettyimages.ca/detail/news-photo/british-media-mogul-robert-maxwell-with-his-wife-elisabeth-news-photo/673325073
Book: Scandal! https://books.google.ca/books?id=GM2_O5dJ6GUC&pg=PT99&lpg=PT99&dq=Mechel+Hoch&source=bl&ots=CS4iNwLA_5&sig=ACfU3U0EvOIhgRQgPVzWugK6JK565B2Q_w&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjogK-txKrjAhUlB50JHfIiBEkQ6AEwBXoECAcQAQ#v=onepage&q=Mechel%20Hoch&f=false
Maxwell Red the Feds failed to nail: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/oct/14/freedomofinformation.uk
Creative Disturbance, Frank Malina: https://creativedisturbance.org/podcast/frank-malina-ideas-about-art-and-science-and-art-and-technology/
Frank Malina NASA: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/about/bio_malina.php
Vice JPL Parsons Occult: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/vvbxgm/the-last-of-the-magicians
NASA story of Rocket Boys: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jplhistory/early/index.php
THE CIA’S APPALLING HUMAN EXPERIMENTS WITH MIND CONTROL
On April 10, 1953, Allen Dulles, the newly appointed director of the CIA, delivered a speech to a gathering of Princeton alumni. Though the event was mundane, global tensions were running high. The Korean War was coming to an end, and earlier that week, The New York Times had published a startling story asserting that American POWs returning from the country may have been “converted” by “Communist brain-washers.”
Some GI’s were confessing to war crimes, like carrying out germ warfare against the Communists – a charge the U.S. categorically denied. Others were reportedly so brainwashed that they had refused to return (https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-korean-war-prisoner-who-never-came-home) to the United States at all. As if that weren’t enough, the U.S. was weeks away from secretly sponsoring (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/19/cia-admits-role-1953-iranian-coup) the overthrow of a democratically elected leader in Iran.
Dulles had just become the first civilian director of an agency growing more powerful by the day, and the speech provided an early glimpse into his priorities for the CIA. “In the past few years we have become accustomed to hearing much about the battle for men’s minds – the war of ideologies,” he told the attendees (https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80R01731R001700030015-9.pdf). “I wonder, however, whether we clearly perceive the magnitude of the problem, whether we realize how sinister the battle for men’s minds has become in Soviet hands,” he continued. “We might call it, in its new form, ‘brain warfare.’”
Dulles proceeded to describe the “Soviet brain perversion techniques” as effective, but “abhorrent” and “nefarious.” He gestured to the American POWs returning from Korea, shells of the men they once were, parroting the Communist propaganda (https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80B01676R002600130048-0.pdf) they had heard cycled for weeks on end. He expressed fears and uncertainty – were they using chemical agents? Hypnosis? Something else entirely? “We in the West,” the CIA Director conceded, “are somewhat handicapped in brain warfare.” This sort of non-consensual experiment, even on one’s enemies, was antithetical to American values, Dulles insisted, as well as antithetical to what should be human values.
Allen W.Dulles, director of the Central Intelligence Agency at an executive session of the Joint Congressional Atomic Energy Committee (foto Bettmann)
Fear of brainwashing and a new breed of “brain warfare” terrified and fascinated the American public throughout the 1950s (http://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/cold-war-state-mind), spurred both by the words of the CIA and the stories of “brainwashed” G.I.’s returning from China, Korea, and the Soviet Union. Newspaper headlines like “New Evils Seen in Brainwashing” and “Brainwashing vs. Western Psychiatry” offered sensational accounts of new mind-control techniques and technologies that no man could fully resist. The paranoia began to drift into American culture, with books like The Manchurian Candidate and The Naked Lunch playing on themes of unhinged scientists and vast political conspiracies.
The idea of brainwashing also provided many Americans with a compelling, almost comforting, explanation for communism’s swift rise–that Soviets used the tools of brainwashing not just on enemy combatants, but on their own people. Why else would so many countries be embracing such an obviously backward ideology? American freedom of the mind versus Soviet “mind control” became a dividing line as stark as the Iron Curtain.
How did a secret government mind control program inadvertently fuel the use of psychedelic drugs in the 1960s?
Three days after his speech decrying Soviet tactics, Dulles approved the beginning of MK-Ultra (https://www.history.com/topics/us-government/history-of-mk-ultra), a top-secret CIA program for “covert use of biological and chemical materials.” “American values” made for good rhetoric, but Dulles had far grander plans for the agency’s Cold War agenda.
MK-Ultra’s “mind control” experiments generally centered around behavior modification via electro-shock therapy, hypnosis, polygraphs, radiation, and a variety of drugs, toxins, and chemicals. These experiments relied on a range of test subjects: some who freely volunteered, some who volunteered under coercion, and some who had absolutely no idea they were involved in a sweeping defense research program. From mentally-impaired boys at a state school (https://www.nytimes.com/1998/01/01/us/settlement-reached-in-suit-over-radioactive-oatmeal-experiment.html), to American soldiers (http://archive.gao.gov/t2pbat2/152601.pdf), to “sexual psychopaths” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_MKUltra) at a state hospital, MK-Ultra’s programs often preyed on the most vulnerable members of society. The CIA considered prisoners especially good subjects, as they were willing to give consent in exchange for extra recreation time or commuted sentences.
Whitey Bulger, a former organized crime boss, wrote of his experience (https://www.ozy.com/true-story/whitey-bulger-i-was-a-guinea-pig-for-cia-drug-experiments/76409) as an inmate test subject in MK-Ultra. “Eight convicts in a panic and paranoid state,” Bulger said of the 1957 tests at the Atlanta penitentiary where he was serving time. “Total loss of appetite. Hallucinating. The room would change shape. Hours of paranoia and feeling violent. We experienced horrible periods of living nightmares and even blood coming out of the walls. Guys turning to skeletons in front of me. I saw a camera change into the head of a dog. I felt like I was going insane.”
Gangster James “Whitey” Bulger’s 1959 mugshot (foto Donaldson Collection|Michael Ochs Archives)
Bulger claimed he had been injected with LSD (https://www.history.com/topics/crime/history-of-lsd). Lysergic acid diethylamide, or acid, had become one of the CIA’s key interests for its “brain warfare” program, as the agency theorized it could be useful in interrogations. In the late 1940s, the CIA received reports that the Soviet Union had engaged in “intensive efforts to produce LSD,” and that the Soviets had attempted to purchase the world’s supply of the chemical. One CIA officer described the agency as “literally terrified” of the Soviets’ LSD program, largely because of the lack of knowledge about the drug in the United States. “[This] was the one material that we had ever been able to locate that really had potential fantastic possibilities if used wrongly,” the officer testified.
With the advent of MK-Ultra, the government’s interest in LSD shifted from a defensive to an offensive orientation. Agency officials noted that LSD could be potentially useful in “[gaining] control of bodies whether they were willing or not.” The CIA envisioned applications that ranged from removing people from Europe in the case of a Soviet attack to enabling assassinations of enemy leaders. On November 18, 1953, a group of ten scientists met at a cabin located deep in the forests of Maryland. After extended discussions, the participants agreed that to truly understand the value of the drug, “an unwitting experiment would be desirable.”
Doctors Harry Williams and Carl Pfeiffer conducting an LSD Experiment (foto Bettmann)
The CIA remained keenly aware of how the public would react to any discovery of MK-Ultra; even if they believed these programs to be essential to national security, they must remain a tightly guarded secret. How would the CIA possibly explain dosing unassuming Americans with LSD? “Precautions must be taken not only to protect operations from exposure to enemy forces but also to conceal these activities from the American public in general,” wrote the CIA’s Inspector General in 1957. “The knowledge that the Agency is engaging in unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions in political and diplomatic circles and would be detrimental to the accomplishment of its mission.”
OPERATION MIDNIGHT CLIMAX
The CIA’s initial experiments with LSD were fairly simple, if shockingly unethical. The agency generally dosed single targets, finding volunteers when they could, sometimes slipping the drug into the drinks of fellow CIA employees. Over time these LSD experiments grew increasingly elaborate. Perhaps the most notorious of these projects was Operation Midnight Climax.
A view of the old CIA building. (foto Ed Clark|The LIFE Picture Collection)
In 1955, on 225 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, the CIA was devoting substantial attention to decorating a bedroom. George White oversaw the interior renovations. Not much of a decorator, White had a storied career in the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. When the CIA moved into drug experiments, bringing White on board became a top priority.
White hung up pictures of French can-can dancers and flowers. He draped lush red bedroom curtains over the windows. He framed a series of Toulouse-Lautrec posters with black silk mats. For a middle-aged drug bureaucrat, each item evoked sex and glamour.
George White wasn’t building a normal bedroom, he was building a trap.
White then hired a Berkeley engineering student to install bugging equipment and a two-way mirror. White sat behind the mirror, martini in hand, and waited for the action to begin. Prostitutes would lure unsuspecting johns to the bedroom, where the men would be dosed with LSD and their actions observed by White from beyond the mirror. As payment for their services the sex workers receive small amounts of cash, as well as a guarantee from White that he’d intercede when the women inevitably had run-ins with law enforcement in the future.
George Hunter White, supervisor for the New England area of the Federal Narcotics Bureau (foto Evelyn Straus/NY Daily News)
Though the CIA piloted these safe houses as a stage for testing the effects of LSD, White’s interest shifted to another element of his observations: the sex. The San Francisco house became the center of what one writer called “the CIA carnal operations” (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/marks6.htm), as officials began asking new questions about how to work with prostitutes, how they could be trained, and how they would handle state secrets. The agency also analyzed when in the course of a sexual encounter information could best be extracted from a source, eventually concluding that it was immediately after sex.
But perhaps unsurprisingly, much of White’s actions were driven by pure voyeurism: “I toiled wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was fun, fun, fun,” White later said (http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/marks6.htm). “Where else could a red-blooded American boy lie, kill, cheat, steal, rape, and pillage with the sanction and blessing of the All-Highest?”
THE DEMISE OF MK-ULTRA
The CIA’s experiments with LSD persisted until 1963 before coming to a fairly anticlimactic end. In the spring of 1963, John Vance, a member of the CIA Inspector General’s staff (https://www.cia.gov/offices-of-cia/inspector-general/history.html), learned about the project’s “surreptitious administration to unwitting nonvoluntary human subjects.” Though the MK-Ultra directors tried to convince the CIA’s independent audit board that the research should continue, the Inspector General insisted the agency follow new research ethics guidelines and bring all the programs on non-consenting volunteers to an end.
President Gerald Ford meeting with the family of Dr. Frank Olson in 1975 (foto Bettmann)
In 1977, Senator Edward Kennedy oversaw congressional hearings investigating the effects of MK-Ultra. Congress brought in a roster of ex-CIA employees for questioning, interrogating them about who oversaw these programs, how participants were identified, and if any of these programs had been continued. The Hearings turned over a number of disturbing details, particularly about the 1953 suicide of Dr. Frank Olson, an Army scientist who jumped out of a hotel window several days after unwittingly consuming a drink spiked with LSD. Amid growing criminalization of drug users, and just a few years after President Nixon declared drug abuse as “public enemy number one,” the ironies of the U.S.’s troubling experimentation with drugs appeared in sharp relief.
But throughout the hearings, Congress kept hitting roadblocks: CIA staffers claimed they “couldn’t remember” details about many of the human experimentation projects, or even the number of people involved. The obvious next step would be to consult the records, but that presented a small problem: in 1973, amid mounting inquiries, the director of MK-Ultra told workers “it would be a good idea if [the MK-Ultra] files were destroyed.” Citing vague concerns about the privacy and “embarrassment” of participants, the men who crafted MK-Ultra effectively eradicated the paper record for one of the United States’ most obviously illegal undertakings. A program born in secrecy would hold onto many of its secrets forever.
A Harvard Financier, Jeffrey Epstein, Helps Bring Brain Science to the Public
The Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation helps launch NeuroTV, a highly popular academic program on the brain.
NEWS PROVIDED BY http://www.jeffreyepstein.org
Nov 11, 2014, 10:52 ET
New York, Nov. 11, 2014 | PRNewswire – One of the hottest areas on the Internet is not gaming or sports, but academic content, especially in the sciences. In fact, subscribers to educational YouTube channels tripled in 2013, with popular science topics leading the pack. Producers like AsapScience, or TED can get millions of viewers over months. Missing on TV and online however, is in-depth academic content, especially in the sciences, despite booming viewership for the small number of brainiac programs.
Now an unusual Harvard investor and private financier, called Jeffrey Epstein (http://www.jeffreyepstein.org/), has helped fund NeuroTV, the largest online network devoted to academic interviews on everything neuroscience. NeuroTV’s guest speakers are not run of the mill professors: two recent guests, May-Britt and Edvard Moser, directors of the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience, were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of grid cells. Other guests include: Hank Greely, Director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences and Professor of Genetics, at the Stanford School of Medicine and Sebastian Seung Professor of Computational Neuroscience at MIT.
“NeuroTV provides in-depth interview models, that delves deeply into science topics,” Jeffrey Epstein asserted whose foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation (http://www.jeffreyepsteinfoundation.com/), established the graduate Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (http://www.jeffreyepstein.net/) at Harvard University in 2003 with a $30 million dollar gift. “The episodes don’t tone down academic language, but provide video content that can be used in classrooms around the world, as well as a platform to educate and inspire.”
In addition to establishing the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics, which studies the mathematics of evolution with a focus on diseases, Epstein was a former board member of Harvard’s Mind, Brain and Behavior Committee and has funded numerous brain research initiatives at the university. Epstein’s affinity for promoting public access to academic science however, probably stems from his own self-taught background and the belief that higher education should be widely available.
To date, NeuroTV has launched 13 episodes with another 13 planned for Season 2. Viewership is rapidly growing with episodes typically gathering thousands of viewers within the first six months.
The Occult Rocket Scientist Who Conjured Spirits with L. Ron Hubbard
Born 100 years ago, Jack Parsons seemed devoted to reconciling opposites, smashing together the technical and the spiritual.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is the world leader in space exploration. JPL scientists have put robots on Mars, sent probes into interstellar space, and collected dust from the tails of comets. But what if the real purpose behind its mission was something darker?
What if the lab was less interested in exploring outer space than the depths of the void? What if its researchers huddled around their computer screens in search of paranormal entities or dark gods crawling clear of the event horizons of nearby black holes?
Of course, that’s not the case. JPL is not part of some Joss Whedon-esque occult-industrial complex. It does not mingle science with the supernatural. Yet one of its founders did.
“Slain Scientist Priest in Black Magic Cult” read one headline after the death of John Whiteside Parsons on June 17, 1952.
“John W Parsons, handsome 37 year old rocket scientist killed Tuesday in a chemical explosion, was one of the founders of a weird semi-religious cult that flourished here about 10 years ago,” read a report.
The rhetoric got more lavish as the days went by.
The Hell Portal Where NASA’s Rocket King Hung Out With L. Ron Hubbard
“Often an enigma to his friends [he] actually led two lives… In one he probed deep into the scientific fields of speed and sound and stratosphere—and in another he sought the cosmos which man has strived throughout the ages to attain; to weld science and philosophy and religion into a Utopian existence,” wrote one paper.
Soon the newspapers were at fever pitch with talk of “sexual perversion,” “black robes,” “sacred fire,” and “intellectual necromancy.” At the heart of every story was one simple question: Who the hell was this guy?
It’s hard to find as weird and tragic a tale in the annals of science as that of John Whiteside Parsons. Born 100 years ago, Parsons seemed devoted to reconciling opposites, smashing together the technical and the spiritual, the white lab coat and the black robe, fact and fiction, science and magic.
Parsons standing next to a JATO rocket canister in 1943 (foto JPL)
When he died in a mysterious explosion at his home laboratory, the tabloids weren’t the only ones to label him a mad scientist. So too did the scientific establishment. The story of Parsons was locked in the attic, hidden in the footnotes, swept under the launchpad of the US space program.
But Parsons’ scientific legacy is impossible to ignore. He forced the United States government to explore a science it had previously mocked, and laid the foundation for the rockets that carried man into outer space. He was one of America’s greatest space pioneers. He just happened to also be one of its greatest occultists.
If you were to tell someone you were a rocket scientist during the 1920s and 1930s, they’d have either laughed at you or backed away with a worried expression on their face. No universities taught rocketry courses and there were no government grants allotted to rocketry research. To the public, rockets were pure science fiction, and in established scientific circles, they were even worse, synonymous with the ridiculous, the far-fetched, the lunatic, a byword for insanity.
It was the very fantastical nature of rockets that first drew the young Parsons to it. Inspired by the stories in pulp science fiction magazines like Astounding (http://www.andrew-may.com/asf/) and Amazing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Stories), he began building simple gunpowder rockets in his Pasadena backyard and peppered the upscale neighborhood with burned out cardboard tubes and flaming paper.
When Parsons realized he needed some theory to bolster his experimentation, he and his friend, Ed Forman, calmly strode into the halls of the nearby California Institute of Technology and asked for it (http://www.worldcat.org/title/interview-with-frank-j-malina/oclc/733102223). Parsons was lacking any scientific qualifications beyond high school, but his enthusiasm piqued the interest of a broad-minded graduate student named Frank Malina. Together the three formed what was disparagingly known as the Suicide Squad (http://www.olats.org/OLATS/pionniers/memoir1.shtml), a ragtag group of rocketry enthusiasts whose volatile experiments threatened to kill them.
At Caltech, Nobel prizewinners rubbed shoulders with one another on a daily basis. Despite this fact, the prejudice against rockets was still strong. Fritz Zwicky, a renowned physics professor, became a particular bugbear of the group.
When Malina and Parsons approached him for some help, Zwicky erupted. “He told me I was a bloody fool,” Malina recalled, “that I was trying to do something that was impossible, because rockets couldn’t work in space.”
This was absolutely incorrect, directly contravening Newton’s Third Law of Motion (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/newtlaws/Lesson-4/Newton-s-Third-Law). When rocketry godfather Robert Goddard proposed in 1920 that rockets could reach the Moon, he was mercilessly, incorrectly mocked (http://www.airspacemag.com/space/the-misunderstood-professor-26066829/?all) in similar fashion. Zwicky’s response made abundantly clear that although Parsons had been brought into the fold, he was by no means part of the established scientific flock.
Parsons (center) and colleagues prepare rocket motor test October 1936 , had support from rocketry pioneer Dr. Theodore von Kármáan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_von_Kármán) to work as part of Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guggenheim_Aeronautical_Laboratory), GALCIT Rocket Research Group (foto JPL)
Parsons made this fact even clearer when he started to develop a growing interest in magic and the supernatural. By the late 1930s, he had begun frequenting nightly meetings of the Ordo Templi Orientis (http://oto-usa.org/), an occult society that met in nearby Los Angeles. The OTO, as it is known, was created by the English occultist Aleister Crowley, a heroin-addicted, sexually adventuresome, God-profaning master of the dark arts, who the tabloids had christened “The Wickedest Man in the World” (http://www.tomegatherion.co.uk/news.htm#top).
At these gatherings Parsons watched as strange rituals were performed, most notably the ‘Gnostic Mass’, a weird take on the Catholic mass. On a black and white stage stood an altar embossed with hieroglyphic patterns, a host of candles and an upright coffin covered with a gauze curtain out of which the group’s caped leader would appear. Poetry was read, swords were drawn, breasts kissed, and lances stroked. It was a highly charged sexual atmosphere. Wine was drunk and cakes made out of menstrual blood were consumed.
It was here that Crowley’s philosophy of Thelema was propounded. Thelema (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thelema) was a type of religious libertarianism that spoke of radical individualism and self-fulfillment. Its creed was “Do What Thou Wilt.” Parsons was immediately hooked. He became especially intrigued by Crowley’s belief that sex could be an intrinsic component of magical rituals, lifting the practitioner onto a higher plane of consciousness. What 24-year-old wouldn’t be?
While some of his Suicide Squad colleagues saw Parsons’ incipient occultism as kooky—communism was the preferred diversion of most Caltech students in the 1930s, according to period stories from school newspaper The California Tech—it did not prevent them from recognizing his genius at manufacturing rocket fuels. At the group’s testing ground Parsons could be heard chanting Crowley’s pagan ‘Hymn to Pan‘ (http://hermetic.com/crowley/book-4/hymn.html) prior to igniting his rockets. And the scorching flames and frequent explosions added a suitably infernal backdrop to his interests in the supernatural.
In 1941, Parsons and the Suicide Squad founded the Aerojet Engineering Corporation to sell their rockets to the military. Scientists who had previously derided Parsons’ work now queued up to join this boom industry. In 1943, with the need for advanced research into rockets growing exponentially, Parsons co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to continue the study of his one-time backyard playthings. At the same time as he was reaching his professional peak, he also found himself moving up the ranks of the OTO, corresponding with the aged Crowley in England, and eventually becoming the group’s leader on the West Coast.
Aleister Crowley as Magus, Libera Aba, in 1912 (foto Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aleister_Crowley,_Magus.png)
Just think about that for a second: one of the top minds driving America’s early rocket program, a program that helped fuel the space race and the Cold War, was at the same time a leading figure in the world of the occult. By day he built rockets for the government, by night he emerged from a coffin to perform sex magic with his followers.
But for Parsons it didn’t seem strange at all. He treated magic and rocketry as different sides of the same coin—both had been disparaged, both derided as impossible, but because of this both presented themselves as challenges to be conquered.
Rocketry postulated that we should no longer see ourselves as creatures chained to the Earth, but as beings capable of exploring the universe. Similarly, magic suggested there were unseen metaphysical worlds that existed and could be explored with the right knowledge. Both were rebellions against the very limits of human existence; in striving for one he could not help but strive for the other.
Three years before his death he wrote of his unusual position in terms that would have astounded any of his backers in the US military, but which for him seemed totally sane.
“It has seemed to me that if I had the genius to found the jet propulsion field in the US, and found a multimillion dollar corporation and a world renowned research laboratory, then I should also be able to apply this genius in the magical field,” he wrote in a letter to a fellow OTO member. He was shooting for the Moon.
With the money he had earned from Aerojet’s booming rocketry business, Parsons bought a mansion on Pasadena’s Millionaire’s Row and moved the OTO’s operations into it. “It was a huge wooden house,” remembered Liljan Wunderman, Frank Malina’s wife, in an interview years later. “A big, big thing, full of people. Some of them had masks on, some had costumes on, women were weirdly dressed. It was like walking into a Fellini movie. Women were walking around in diaphanous togas and weird make-up, some dressed up like animals, like a costume party.”
Frank Malina (hat, glasses) looks on as Von Kármán (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_von_Kármán) works on sketches for a JATO (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JATO) design in 1941 (foto JPL)
When she told her husband about it, Malina simply rolled his eyes, saying, “Jack is into all kinds of things.”
Nicknamed “The Parsonage,” the house became a natural magnet for all sorts of eccentrics, from professed witches and Manhattan Project scientists, to science fiction writers thrilled by their discovery of Parsons, a figure seemingly ripped from the pages of the pulps.
The sci-fi author Jack Williamson remembered Parsons as “an odd enigma.” A young Ray Bradbury, still years from writing Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, recalled Parsons as being “wonderful” and dazzled him with his descriptions of space rockets. Sprague de Camp, author of over a hundred fantasy and sci-fi books, declared him, “an authentic mad genius if ever I met one.”
Increasingly the scientific establishment was beginning to agree with de Camp. Parsons’ work on rocket fuels, mixing and melding chemicals to create something that was both highly explosive and yet controllable, had helped make rocketry a viable science, but he was increasingly perceived as being too weird, too eccentric, to keep working within it.
He was accused of seducing Aerojet’s secretaries by inviting them back to his mansion where debauchery, drugs, and fire dancing ruled. He met visiting scientists at his front door with a snake curled around his shoulders. At work he would arrive late and bedraggled in the mornings in a beaten up Packard and would treat the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as if it was his own private playground.
Fritz Zwicky, who had dismissed Parsons out of hand a few years earlier, had by now eaten his words and begun working for Aerojet. However, he still held huge contempt for the untrained Parsons and his unconventional lifestyle. Zwicky later remembered him as “a dangerous man” in an oral history interview by R. Cargill Hall and James H. Wilson.
“We told him all the time, I mean, all these fantasies about Zoroaster and about voodoo and so on, this is okay; we do that too in our dreams,” he said. “But keep it for yourself; don’t start impressing this on poor secretaries. I mean he had a whole club there you know.”
But Parsons wouldn’t slow down. He and Forman were renowned for holding duels on the rocket testing range, firing guns at each other’s feet and trying not to flinch. When Zwicky insisted that Parsons try a type of rocket fuel that Parsons disapproved of, Parsons discovered where the fuel was kept and blew up the whole batch in a mammoth explosion, “blowing up half the business,” according to a furious Zwicky.
A 1950 FBI documewnt summarizing the bureau’s investogation into Parsons for espionage (foto Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jack_Parsons_FBI.jpg)
It was stuff he’d been doing since he and Forman were youngsters, back when nobody but they took rocketry seriously. Now, however, a lot of people were taking rocketry very seriously indeed. The FBI (http://blacklies.xenu.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/jparsons1a.pdf) began investigating him as a possible security risk.
In 1943 Parsons was gently squeezed out of the very science he had created. He was offered $20,000 for his shares in Aerojet and, feeling the cold shoulder from the increasing number of scientists involved in rocketry, decided to leave. He was 30 years old.
He threw himself into his magic – not just Crowley’s magic, but strange new rituals of his own creation. Ever the scientist, he strived for physical proof that his magic was working by straining to obtain visitations, phenomena, and manifestations.
Without his rocketry work to act as a counterbalance, even his fellow OTO members started to worry about his growing magical intensity. “There is something strange going on,” wrote Jane Wolfe in a letter to fellow OTO member Karl Germer. “Our own Jack is enamored of witchcraft, the houmfort, voodoo. From the start he always wanted to evoke something – no matter what, I am inclined to think, so long as he got a result.”
His fortunes were not helped by the arrival at his house of a hugely charismatic young science fiction writer named L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard was a teller of exceptional tall tales, which he insisted his audience believe. His fellow sci-fi writers viewed him with suspicion.
“I recall his eyes, the wary, light-blue eyes that I somehow associate with the gunmen of the old West, watching me sharply as he talked as if to see how much I believed,” recalled Jack Williamson. “Not much.” But Parsons, who was always more than willing to believe, fell under his spell.
They fenced together, discussed magic together, and even performed magical rituals together. Hubbard moved into Parsons’ mansion and, taking to the air of free love like a fish to water, worked his way through the denizens’ girlfriends, wooing them and wowing them in equal measure. Whether you were an OTO member or a sci-fi writer, no wife or girlfriend was safe from Hubbard’s seductive pull. Not even Parsons’.
Section ”Liber 49,” written by Parsons from the perspective of the goddess Babalon, which he claimed he received during the Babalon working (foto hermetic.com, http://hermetic.com/wisdom/lib49.html)
But Hubbard made up for it by helping Parsons on the grandest magical working he had yet attempted. This was known as the Babalon Working (http://books.google.com/books?id=6wVBx9yriTUC&pg=PA137&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false), an attempt by Parsons to incarnate an actual goddess on Earth. For weeks the two of them engaged in ritual chanting, drawing occult symbols in the air with swords, dripping animal blood on runes, and masturbating in order to ‘impregnate’ magical tablets.
When news got to Crowley in England he was appalled. On May 22, 1946, he wrote a telegram to one of the OTO’s other members: “Suspect Ron playing confidence trick – Jack Parsons weak fool – obvious victim prowling swindlers.”
At the end of it Parsons believed the magical working had been a success, declaring it the greatest achievement of his life. But Crowley was right about Hubbard. In a July 1946 letter to Crowley, Parsons wrote that, under the guise of investing in a business venture, Hubbard had run off with Parsons’s girlfriend and $20,000 of his money, sending Parsons into a spiral of doubt and depression.
He managed to obtain some consulting work on rockets, but was swept up in in the Red Scare of the post-war years. He was accused of consorting with communists in the pre-war years and of being involved in what the FBI termed was a “love-cult.” He had his security clearance stripped from him. He was forced to pump gas, fix cars, and eventually ended up using his incredible scientific knowledge to make explosive squibs for Hollywood movies. Throughout it all he was insistent that his magical works were as real as his rocketry work.
On June 17, 1952, a huge explosion ripped through his home laboratory. Arriving police found Parsons still alive, although half his face had been ripped off, exposing the skull beneath. His right arm was missing. Surrounding him were rocketry papers and pentagrams, occult drawings and chemical formulae. He died shortly afterwards. He was just 37 years old.
George Pendle is the author of Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons (http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Angel-Otherworldly-Scientist-Whiteside/dp/0156031795).
Vice, Jan 2 2015, 6:30 am
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The rocket engine experimenters take a break, Nov. 15, 1936.
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test fire performed
A test fire on Nov. 28, 1936.
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The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s history reaches back to the tumultuous years leading up to World War II. Rockets were perceived as devices of fantasy, seen only in movie serials and comic strips like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. Despite rocket pioneer Robert Goddard’s successful development of early rockets, he was publicly ridiculed for his work. But in the fall of 1936, a group of enterprising young men in Pasadena, Calif., decided to risk their reputations and give engineering substance to rocket fantasy.
Link to Rocketmen video: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jplhistory/videos/rocketmen.php. Hear from one of the rocketmen who describe the first experiments that led to the making of JPL
The “rocket boys” were an unusual bunch. Frank Malina was studying aerodynamics at Caltech’s Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, known as GALCIT. Jack Parsons was a self-taught chemist, and Ed Forman was an excellent mechanic. They scraped together cheap engine parts, and on Oct. 31, 1936, drove to an isolated area called the Arroyo Seco at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Four times that day they tried to test fire their small rocket motor. On the last attempt, they accidentally set fire to their oxygen line, which whipped around shooting fire! These were the first rocket experiments in the history of JPL. They tried again on Nov. 15, 1936, and their experiment finally worked.
Mad Scientist #8: Jack Parsons
A little over 65 years ago, rocket scientist Jack Parsons and his scribe (a then unknown L. Ron Hubbard) embarked on grueling course of sexual magick designed to conjure an elemental mate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elemental). (1) It was the first step in what Parsons believed would become his greatest legacy… the invocation of the Goddess BABALON (http://fiercelymild.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/Metropolis-by-Fritz-Lang.jpg), the female messiah. (1)
On the 14th day, Parsons sensed the working was complete. He returned to his home in Pasadena to find his future wife Marjorie Cameron waiting for him. Together, the pair would attempt to incarnate a living vessel for BABALON herself. It was Parsons’ conviction that, if they succeeded, the spirit of female lust and Dionysian freedom would walk the Earth, and the blind Aeon of Horus would be redeemed. (2)
Oddly enough, this wasn’t the first time Parsons’ would crazily attempt to shape the future of humanity. Less than a decade earlier, this occult priest of the Ordo Templi Orientis (http://oto-usa.org/) pioneered a similarly far-flung set of experiments in rocketry. His research, though to this day obscure, led directly to the founding of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and set the stage for the era of spaceflight.
Soviet rocket from the early 30s
Today, rocket scientists are seen as paragons of genius, but in the 1930s they were little more than a fringe sect. Robert Goddard was lampooned by the press (3) and ignored by scientists (4) when he published what is now regarded as one of the field’s foundational texts: A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes. The most advanced “spacecraft” were developed by amateur enthusiast groups like the American Interplanetary Society (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Rocket_Society), or the German Society for Space Ship Travel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verein_für_Raumschiffahrt), as government funded agencies like NASA were still decades away. (5)
One of the big problems with rockets in those days was their tendency to just blow up. The black powder (5) and liquid fuel (6) mixtures employed were highly unstable, and prone to igniting all at once.
It was an issue Jack Parsons, Ed Forman and Frank Malina knew all too well when they were contracted by the U.S. government to design rocket-powered airplanes for the war effort. While Parsons was only 25 at the time, and lacked a college education, he was already one of the leading rocket propulsion experts in the country. (5) The military grant marked the first time the U.S. government had ever funded rocket research, (7) and the trio, cautiously dubbed the “Suicide Squad,” was anxious to deliver.
The first rocket powered airplane launch in the U.S. Pasedena California, 1941, Parsons and colleagues watch from the foreground
After months of explosive dead ends, Parsons, inspired by an obscure Byzantine naval weapon known as Greek Fire (http://www.greece.org/romiosini/gr_fire.gif), got it in his head to concoct a rock-solid fuel from asphalt and potassium perchlorate. (5) His hunch turned out to be spot on.
“Castable” solid propellants, so called because they need to be melted and poured into place, were much safer and more practical than any known alternative.5 They would go on to power the Space Shuttle, as well as the Poseidon and Minuteman ballistic missiles. (5)
More immediately however, Parsons’ asphalt engines led to an avalanche of government funded rocketry research. (5) Now that practical propulsion systems could be produced safely and en masse, the military finally had a use for them. Universities quickly began to offer courses, and then degrees in aerospace engineering. The Suicide Squad’s original grant ballooned into a full-scale, federally funded research program…the JPL. (5)
But it’s a sad story really. The U.S. government, as much as they love their mad scientists, had no real use for an amateur space-enthusiast with a quirky passion for the occult. By the mid 40s, the JPL was firmly enshrined in the military-industrial complex (http://i.ytimg.com/vi/vrZYlFdvFGw/0.jpg), and Parsons found himself adrift in a sea of joblessness, magick, L. Ron Hubbards, and oh pretty much right back where we started (5)
Jack Parsons with fellow members of the Agape lodge
Gnostic Mass being led by I believe Wilfred T. Smith. Parsons would go on to succeed Smith as head of this particular chapter of the Ordo Templi Orientis. Though a falling out with spiritual leader Aleister Crowley would lead to Parsons excommunication from the church (1)
Speaking of which, just what do we make of Jack’s dual interest in rocketry and the occult?
Parsons’ colleague and close friend Frank Malina doesn’t seem to think there’s much of a connection between these two pursuits: “as far as I can remember talking to him about calculations on rocket design, there was no input from what you might say alchemy or magic.” (5)
Obviously, Malina knows the guy about a million times better than we ever will. But the inquisitive student of science madness would do well to question an assumption like this.
Aleister Crowley, aka Frater Perdurabo, aka The Beast 666, aka To Mega Therion, once thought very highly of Parsons. There was talk of even naming the kid as Crowley’s successor. However, The Beast also worried the Parsons’ romantic side – his tendency to get caught up in magic just for the thrill of it – could get the better of him. He felt betrayed when Parsons refused to reveal to him the details of his encounter with BABALON, and discouraged when L. Ron Hubbard effortlessly duped the young soothsayer out of a good slice of his life savings. Eventually Crowley just gave up on him. (1) Hubbard, indecently, would go on to fame and fortune with his own occult philosophy of Scientology, a belief system based in no small part on the magic he learned conjuring ghosts and goddesses in Pasadena with Jack. (5)
I’m not going to get into the messy business of historically reconstructing Parsons’ precise humoral complexion (such a process is time consuming to say the least, and doesn’t make for engaging blog copy). I will only note that if the history of other occult scientists like Paracelsus serves as any guide, it can be damn near impossible to separate out a scientist’s magical beliefs from their scientific ones. Indeed, in Parsons’ time, many established scientists held space travel and occult mysticism in similar esteem. (5)
Magic and science both rely heavily on intuition, experimentation, and personal experience. In Parsons’ case, it seems they both draw on the same Faustian impulse. Who’s to say what exactly turned his mind to thoughts of Greek Fire and asphalt explosions.
For obvious reasons, Jack Parsons is as good a launching point as any for a journey into the modern American cryptosphere. Video artist and occult synchromystic researcher Steve Willner (http://labyrinthofthepsychonaut.blogspot.com/) says Parsons “was notorious in ripping wormholes in space-time and letting interdimentional negative entities in.” (8) Fringe thinker Richard Hoagland (http://www.enterprisemission.com/) nets our mad scientist in a vast occult NASA conspiracy that can be traced by carefully analyzing the astrological geometry at various launch dates. (9) I’m not going to get into that stuff just yet (oh but for the love of all that is good and holy I’ll have some fun with it later!). For now I’ll just leave you the links (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9yIBz7qMA) and you can go down whatever rabbit holes (http://fusionanomaly.net/jackparsons.html) you feel compelled to pursue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJXNqhsXbBQ).
Interest in Jack’s magical work (http://web.archive.org/web/20040211081706/http://www.babalon.net/jwp/babalon.html) has only increased since he accidentally exploded himself in his home laboratory at the age of 37. (5)
Though the scientific community has been slower to give Parsons his due, the International Astronomical Union bestowed upon him an honor befitting all great men of obscurity…an eponymous crater on the dark side of the moon. (5)
Parsons homunculus/wife as BABALON in Kenneth Anger’s 1954 film, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. Stop the video after 2 minutes unless you wanna watch the whole friggin movie.
Inauguration of The Pleasure Dome (1954)
Gepubliceerd op 1 mrt. 2017
“A Slavonic Mass by Leos Janácek plays as historical figures, biblical characters, and mythical creatures gather in the pleasure dome. Aphrodite, Lilith, Isis, Kali, Astarte, Nero, Pan, and the Great Beast and the Scarlet Woman are part of a visual feast of images superimposed, hallucinations, and the spirit of decadence of the “Yellow ’90s.” Mythological images from Aleister Crowley, cabalistic symbols, artifice, and magic combine to render the pleasure dome both as prison and as celebration. ”
(1) Staley, M. (1989). The Babalon Working. Starfire, 1 (3). Retrieved January 21, 2011 from http://user.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/dplanet/staley/staley11.htm)
(2) Parsons, J.W. (1946). Part One: The Book of Babalon. Unpublished Manuscript. Retrieved January 21, 2011 from http://web.archive.org/web/20040211081706/http://www.babalon.net/jwp/babalon.html)
(3) A Severe Strain on Credulity [Editorial]. (1920, January 13). The New York Times, p. 12.
(4) White, M. (2001). Rivals: Conflict as the Fuel of Science. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd.
(5) Pendle, G. (2005). Strange Angel: The Otherwordly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
(6) Yang, V., Anderson, W.E. (Eds.) (1995). Liquid Rocket Engine Combustion Instability. AIAA.
(7) Malina, F.J. (1967, June). Memoir on the Galcit Rocket Research Project, 1936-38. First International Symposium on the History of Astronautics. Symposium organized by the International Academy of Astronautics with the cooperation of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science, Belgrade. Retrieved January 21, 2011, from http://www.olats.org/OLATS/pionniers/memoir1.shtml
(8) Willner, S. (2008, January 14). Hyperborea, The Pineal Gland, and The Spear of Destiny. Retrieved January 11, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T9yIBz7qMA (jump to 1:30)
(9) Hoagland, R. (2009, March 12). Richard Hoagland 1/6 Parsons Crowley NASA & the Occult. Retrieved January 11, 2011 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiBSHcZ5lkI&feature=&p=62DD161CD45974AA&index=0&playnext=1
Mad Rocket Scientists, April 1, 2011.
Before It’s News, Friday, July 12, 2019 21:30