The Dim-Post

June 11, 2012

What I’ve been reading

Filed under: books — danylmc @ 3:49 pm

Strange Angel, by George Pendle. This is a biography of John Whiteside Parsons, a chemist and pioneer rocket scientist who helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Parsons was an occultist and an early disciple of Aleister Crowley; he was also a friend of L. Ron Hubbards, back when Hubbard was a struggling pulp sci-fi author. They conducted various mystical rituals together in the desert near Pasadena, until Hubbard swindled Parsons out of his life savings and ran off with his girlfriend, who he went on to found Scientology with.

(The official Scientology account of this is a little different:

Hubbard broke up black magic in America … L. Ron Hubbard was still an officer of the U.S. Navy, because he was well known as a writer and a philosopher and had friends amongst the physicists, he was sent in to handle the situation. He went to live at the house and investigated the black magic rites and the general situation and found them very bad. … Hubbard’s mission was successful far beyond anyone’s expectations. The house was torn down. Hubbard rescued a girl they were using. The black magic group was dispersed and destroyed and has never recovered.)

I commend this book to anyone who shares my interest in the history of science, cults, occultism and cold-war paranoia.


  1. Biographies of scientists… I don’t see the appeal.

    Comment by Hugh — June 11, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  2. You might be interested in Patrick Wright’s Tank as well. It’s a bit wider in scope, looking at the varied cultural reactions to armoured fighting vehicles… turns out the odd Crowley follower drove some tank development too.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — June 11, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

  3. Just read Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith

    ” In Grahame-Smith’s telling, the so-called “Three Wise Men” are infamous thieves, led by the dark, murderous Balthazar. After a daring escape from Herod’s prison, they stumble upon the famous manger and its newborn king. The last thing Balthazar needs is to be slowed down by young Joseph, Mary and their infant. But when Herod’s men begin to slaughter the first born in Judea, he has no choice but to help them escape to Egypt.”

    It is an interesting look at cults as well. I also enjoyed the ibex’s point of view on events.

    Comment by IHStewart — June 11, 2012 @ 7:25 pm

  4. What the hell happened to Infinite Jest?

    Comment by Guy Smiley — June 11, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  5. Actually en point for a political blog.

    Our politicos all claim to to practise their dark arts for our benefit.

    The so called neo con economists would have to be Crowley adherents (actually the Liberterianz are very very close to Crowley).
    Which means that ACT (Banks has to be a Crowley relative, surely) comes from the same cult.

    Given the Nats favouring neoconism, Act, Banks and (probably) liberterianz must mean that that our government is a large coven of witches and warlocks.

    The opposition parties are compliant sacrificial material.

    The coven needs to be over turned.

    Perhaps one has to become a scientologist to overthrow this government.

    That is even more depressing than Danyl not being THE left wing commentator v the other wannabe’s.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — June 11, 2012 @ 9:36 pm

  6. the history of science, cults, occultism and cold-war paranoia

    Oy vey, God dies and look what happens.

    Comment by NeilM — June 11, 2012 @ 10:13 pm

  7. Don’t worry Neil, God rose again🙂

    Just that he rose as the Son of Man, not as L Ron Hubbard😉 Oy vey!

    Comment by bob — June 11, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

  8. What was that I just blacked out….

    Comment by max — June 12, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  9. bah no kindle version…. pass.

    Comment by meh — June 12, 2012 @ 11:53 am

  10. So basically Scientology is derived from black magic? That’s quite interesting. I may have to read the book myself.

    Comment by Daniel Lang — June 13, 2012 @ 8:57 pm

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