Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons.

114.

Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons.

NY: Harcourt, Inc., 2005. First edition. 350pp. + 8pp. photo-insert. Fine in dw.


Biography of Parsons, the rocket engineer and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech, who ran the Agape Lodge, the Californian branch of Aleister Crowley's Thelemite Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), and inspired fellow Lodge member L. Ron Hubbard's Scientology cult. He married artist Marjorie Cameron in 1946 (later an associate of Kenneth Anger, Curtis Harrington, Dennis Hopper and Wallace Berman), and sparked her involvement with Thelema and occultism. Parsons died in an explosion at their home in Pasadena in 1952, soon after which Cameron established a multi-racial occult group called 'The Children'.


Pendle writes that Parsons viewed space and magic as ways of exploring new frontiers, and that his "obsession with magic placed him in a long line of scientists stretching back to antiquity who have explored the occult" (p.17), including Robert Boyle, John Dee and Isaac Newton, arguing that it was his willingness to believe in magic's efficacy that allowed him to break scientific barriers.

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