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If you don’t have the CBS streaming service (which you should get for at least the free trial week to binge watch Star Trek: Discovery anyway!) then you might have missed a new show that deals with someone who seems to have been written out of the history of the United States space program and even much paranormal folklore. But there’s not much you need to fictionalize about Jack Parsons’ incredible life in order for the new show Strange Angel to be a completely fascinating story.
Based on the 2006 book, Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons by George Pendle, it’s a dramatization of the renegade rocket scientist in 1930s California. A firm believer in the possibilities of rocketry at a time when most mainstream scientists believed that it was solely in the realm of science fiction, Parsons conducted amateur rocket experiments himself when the Great Depression caused him to have to leave college. He would go on to become one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Today, JPL is part of NASA but it was formed over a decade before when the United States government finally understood the effectiveness of rockets after the Nazis bombarded the British with their V-2s during the Second World War.
But while Parsons contributions to the development of solid rocket fuel might have been a major scientific accomplishment, he’s also known for something a little more sinister. Indeed, Jack Parsons practiced Aleister Crowley-style sex magick in a quest to create a Moonchild (named after Crowley’s 1917 book) that would be the human vessel for the Whore of Babylon, who would bring in destruction and rebirth to the world and bring about a new age of love and enlightenment. Yeah, he was pen pals with the Great Beast himself and lead the Los Angeles OTO temple as he practiced Thelemic magic.
Sounds like it might be a good premise for a TV show, eh?
In this episode Allison Jornlin from Milwaukee Ghosts and Scott Markus from What’sYourGhostStory.com join Wendy and I as we discuss Strange Angel and the real Jack Parsons. You’ll learn:
- What the Strange Angel TV show gets right and wrong so far
- What is Aleister Crowley’s Thelema?
- What is a sigil and how does it relate to magic?
- How is ceremonial magic like rocket science?
- What Iron Maiden song is related to Jack and Aleister
- What does L. Ron Hubbard, sci-fi author and founder of Scientology, have to do with this?
- Possible reasons that Jack may have been cursed later in life (paranormal and not so paranormal)
- What are these weird places in Pasadena like nowadays?
- Where to go for more information and further reading on Jack
One of the most interesting stories about Jack Parsons is how he, his second wife Marjorie Cameron, and L. Ron Hubbard used to perform a nightly magical ritual called the “Babalon Working” which was a series of ceremonies dedicated to manifesting Babalon’s presence so they could all get it on and impregnate Marjorie with the Moonchild. Jack even wrote a sequel to Aleister Crowley’s Book Of The Law which he said was dictated to him by Babalon herself.
Now there was a theory that Jack and Marjorie believed all that manifestation of Babalon led to bad luck for them in the end and I can believe it! While we were working on this week’s song, I lost my phone, my nice microphone stopped working, and while I was working on integrating quotes directly from Jack’s book that are spoken by Babalon, my Evernote wasn’t saving the notes and the lyrics weren’t recording. It’s probably all just a coincidence and of course, I’m trained to see patterns in these things (particularly after we spent a weekend talking ghost stories, spirit possessions, and more at the Haunted America 2018 conference in Alton, Illinois all weekend) but that doesn’t mean I can’t take a hint. We turned this one into just an instrumental with a guitar lead that will make you think of sex and rockets in the desert. We called it “Babalon Working”…