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Jack Parsons
July 4, 2008 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Jack "Marvel" Whiteside Parsons was the right hand man to Aleister Crowley, a founder of modern US rocket science, and early partner to L Ron Hubbard. Celebrate July 4th by investigating this major character in the birth of our age.

Why a major motion picture has not been made about Jack Parsons is at first, amazing to most. If such a film were made, it would reveal a great deal about the rise to power of L Ron Hubbard, the occult reality of the birth of rocket science and the atom bomb.

An attempt to make a film about Parsons has been attempted by David Duchovny and Marilyn Manson (to name 2), but Scientology will not let that happen.
posted by unpoppy (36 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
If this guy never existed, then R.A.W. must have created him.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:54 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


O Pan! Io Pan!

Strange Angel is another great book about the life of Parsons.

I've long been fascinated by his rather tragic tale, especially with the parallels between his own story and that of John Dee, with L. Ron playing the role of Edward Kelley. When I first began my research, there were no biographies yet released, and I was considering writing one myself, but ran into rather stiff resistance from Helen Smith among others. Still, this last year I was able to record an album in tribute to the Babalon Working, so perhaps I've fulfilled this strange obligation to keep his flame alive that has gripped me for years.

And tonight, as I light off some fireworks not very far from the site of the old Parsonage, I'll dedicate this little bit of pyrotechnics to the memory of this strange, beautiful, naive, and inspiring figure.
posted by malocchio at 1:56 PM on July 4, 2008


If this guy never existed, then R.A.W. must have created him.

R.A. Wilson created his own version of events in Cosmic Trigger, even attributing the founding of CalTech in part to Parsons, which is wildly incorrect.
posted by malocchio at 1:59 PM on July 4, 2008


"Sex and Rockets" was written under a pseudonym. Out of fear of....what? I was a little uncomfortable reading an account of a life written by someone who doesn't want to so much as give you his name.... Who is (or was...) 'John Carter'?
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 2:08 PM on July 4, 2008


While Parson's sex and cult antics sound intriguing, I find his day job interactions with the likes of Theodore von Kármán and Bob Truax rather more interesting.
posted by Skeptic at 2:44 PM on July 4, 2008


Aleister Crowley, a founder of modern US rocket science

On a second reading things got clearer.
posted by ersatz at 2:57 PM on July 4, 2008


The part about of him was the strangest of A piece of Blue Sky and that says all..
posted by darkripper at 3:18 PM on July 4, 2008


If this guy never existed, then R.A.W. must have created him.

I don't have any respect for Robert Anton Wilson, as in I only see him as a babbling prankster with a bland motive of political manipulation.
posted by unpoppy at 3:21 PM on July 4, 2008


"Sex and Rockets" was written under a pseudonym...Who is (or was...) 'John Carter'?

Rumors say it's Parfrey (the publisher).
posted by generalist at 3:39 PM on July 4, 2008


Also, no thanks for a crappy post about a fascinating subject.
posted by generalist at 3:42 PM on July 4, 2008


excuuuuuse me for offending you in what way with my post?

I'd love to know what's so "crappy" about it.
posted by unpoppy at 4:02 PM on July 4, 2008


I'd love to know what's so "crappy" about it.

There wasn't anything in it that anyone who hasn't read a biog of Hubbard/Crowley wouldn't already be familiar with?

The comment about Scientology preventing a Parsons movie is unsupported editorializing?

(Not that I'm saying it was crappy, mind. I'm just guessing here. I didn't learn anything from it personally, but I'm pretty sure someone will.)
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:21 PM on July 4, 2008


There wasn't anything in it that anyone who hasn't read a biog of Hubbard/Crowley wouldn't already be familiar with?

I'm ashamed to admit that I am unforgivably behind on my hubbard/crowley blog reading.
posted by Justinian at 4:54 PM on July 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


Parsons was definitely a fascinating character as was Mrs. Parsons, the rather hot Hollywood witch Marjorie Cameron, protege of mythologist Joseph Campbell.
posted by well_balanced at 4:58 PM on July 4, 2008


There was an article about this in issue 14 of Make Magazine. Or maybe it was 13. Very recently, anyway.
posted by DU at 5:01 PM on July 4, 2008


I just read that last link...Marilyn Manson thinks Parsons was responsible for the atomic bomb? And that the objective of the Babalon Working was to bring about the end of the world? I've always given him credit for being reasonably intelligent, but nearly everything that he asserts about Parsons is wrong.

(For those who have read that link and are trying to separate the wheat from the chaff, it is true that Parsons was a disciple of Crowley's, but Crowley was disgusted by Parsons' lack of discretion with Hubbard, and basically washed his hands of the whole affair. Crowley could sense Hubbard's con from thousands of miles away.

Parsons had absolutely nothing to do with nuclear weapons or "atomic fuel." He was, however, in large part responsible for developing solid fuel rocketry, and a chief figure in the foundation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratories.

Finally, the objective of the Babalon Working was to evoke a physical incarnation of the goddess Babalon, who Parsons believed to be a necessary counterpart to the Egyptian god Horus, believed by followers of Crowley to be the ruling force of the Age of Aquarius. Parsons would happily have cheered for the overturn of the old patriarchal order, but had no ambition to "destroy the world" in any literal sense.)
posted by malocchio at 5:07 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


David Duchovny doesn't know who sang "Personal Jesus"?
posted by Roman Graves at 5:11 PM on July 4, 2008


There wasn't anything in it that anyone who hasn't read a biog of Hubbard/Crowley wouldn't already be familiar with?

If that's what makes a bad post, most of the blue is in trouble.

For example, anyone who's read a couple of zombie fetish, nighttime photography, amish puppy, Canadian guitar or costumed geek exercise blogs (and really, who hasn't?) probably found very little of value on MeFi today.
posted by rokusan at 5:25 PM on July 4, 2008


Crowley could sense Hubbard's con from thousands of miles away.

Takes one to know one, dude.
posted by rokusan at 5:26 PM on July 4, 2008


Well, I've always thought of Crowley as something of a Rorschach blot...we tend to see what we want to see. If Crowley was a confidence artist, then by nearly any metric he was a rather poor one.
posted by malocchio at 5:44 PM on July 4, 2008


"Partner" in more ways than one... it's been rumored for years that Parsons and Hubbard had a homosexual relationship or at least had sex with each other, which is mostly notable due to the fact that Hubbard was a vicious homophobe who drove his own homosexual son Quentin to suicide. Of course, Hubbard later stole Parsons' wife and robbed him blind before skipping town and founding Dianetics/Scientology shortly thereafter.

Crowley on Hubbard and Parsons and their "Babalon Working": "I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts."
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:53 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd love to know what's so "crappy" about it.

Four wikipedia links, two amazon pages, one link to a Crowley manifesto sans context, a Marilyn Manson interview, and, as Peter McDermott noted above, an unsupported statement about scientology nixing a purported film? Crappy.

This one page from disinformation, broken links and all, does a better job than you did.
posted by generalist at 6:24 PM on July 4, 2008


I really, really wanted to make this post. I had been planning it. Seriously.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:30 PM on July 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I take that back. The disinfo page isn't that great either.
posted by generalist at 6:31 PM on July 4, 2008


so, generalist, is it required here to reference information linked through more "indie" urls than I have? I've linked each book that most would need or have already referenced.

you've neglected to mention the youtube link to an extremely informative NEW interview concerning Parson's science research from a history scholar.

what I find most entertaining is there is no disino page included in my post, so I'll stop responding to your trolling at this point.
posted by unpoppy at 7:55 PM on July 4, 2008


Parsons would happily have cheered for the overturn of the old patriarchal order, but had no ambition to "destroy the world" in any literal sense

Oh, my apologies for not knowing you had a deep personal relationship to Parson's brain function. It must be my guiltless patriarchal attitude.
posted by unpoppy at 8:05 PM on July 4, 2008


Ah, Jack, Jack. You fell in love with a goddess, and burned for her.

(I love Parsons' story, in the saddest way possible. My most enduring image of him is in Moore's Promethea, where he shows Parsons burning eternally upon a magic square, in communion with the Goddess. I like to believe that it's true.)
posted by kalimac at 8:47 PM on July 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd love to hear what metafilter's most prominent celebrity-obsessed Clearwaterite has to say about this story, but for some reason, she's never commented in a Scientology thread!
posted by interrobang at 11:03 AM on July 5, 2008


Oh, my apologies for not knowing you had a deep personal relationship to Parson's brain function. It must be my guiltless patriarchal attitude.

Hmm...I'm not sure what provokes your hostility. But if you can point me to anything in Parsons' writing that displays the nihilistic ambition of literal world destruction attributed to him by MM, please do so. Otherwise, I'll continue to maintain that Manson is full of shit.
posted by malocchio at 11:56 AM on July 5, 2008


Sorry I forgot the youtube link, which is interesting but still doesn't redeem your post. As to the disinfo page, you apparently didn't read the word "either."

And since you don't understand how to make tags (hint: LRonHubbard) I'll assume you don't spend much time here, and let you know that what you're doing is modding your own thread, which is generally frowned upon.
posted by generalist at 1:12 PM on July 5, 2008


I really, really wanted to make this post. I had been planning it. Seriously.

Odd, I also was thinking about doing one - on his birthday, Oct. 2. You snooze you lose, I guess. He's a fascinating character whose story has the makings of a great movie, musical, opera, whatever.

I do thank the FPP for bringing this in, and I'm not trying to flame, but if there's any evidence in those links to support your statement about Scientologists blocking a propsed Jack Parsons movie, I wasn't able to find it.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 7:00 PM on July 5, 2008


I never understood the appeal of this. At best he's a mild eccentric who followed a slighty odd religion (note mainstream religions have wacky beliefs too). Really, bad boat deals, chanting while wearing a funny robe, and the occasional explosion isnt exactly mass human sacrifice or anything.

Actually I hate this stuff. I hate how any sexual eccentric is the talk of the town for decades after his death. You cant mention Bob Crane or anyone caught doing something odd without decades of giggles and conspiracy theories. This is only interesting because as americans we are super, super prudes.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:45 PM on July 5, 2008


You cant mention Bob Crane or anyone caught doing something odd without decades of giggles and conspiracy theories. This is only interesting because as americans we are super, super prudes.

Or maybe it's because Crane got his head bashed in with a tripod.
posted by Snyder at 1:07 AM on July 6, 2008


I hate how any sexual eccentric is the talk of the town for decades after his death.

only if you go though much pain to completely ignore his contribution to science.
posted by unpoppy at 8:58 AM on July 6, 2008


I'm ashamed to admit that I am unforgivably behind on my hubbard/crowley blog reading.

Not blog, biog. I've never read a blog about either character either. But I've probably read all the biographies of both.

If you've never read one on either character, you're missing out. Seriously.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:14 AM on July 7, 2008


This is only interesting because as americans we are super, super prudes.

See my previous comment.

I'm about as far from a sexual prude as one could get. I've also got no interest in: magik, esoteric religions, rocket science or any of that crap.

However, I am interested in: people who are committed to exploring the far reaches of human consciousness, people who make a decision to abandon the expected path and pursue goals that the rest of us consider marginal, con artists and con games -- especially the religious variety. Oh, and sex too.

Anybody with any interest in any of these subjects whatsoever, will find most of the biographies of any of the subjects referenced in the post to be filled with hugely entertaining and rewarding material.

Now, I'm distributing tasty goodies for everyone in the thread. Cupcakes for all those who have read the materials referred to. Cakes of Light for those who haven't.

Please form two orderly lines, and do enjoy your cake.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:20 AM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


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