The Electric Commentary

Monday, July 18, 2005

Michael Crowley on L. Ron Hubbard

in The Slate.

I know a fair amount about Scientology. I did not, however, know this:

In the mid-1940s, he fell in with John Parsons, a wealthy and brilliant young rocket scientist in California, who also happened to be under the tutelage of the infamous satanist Aleister Crowley (no relation to yours truly, thankfully). According to Russell Miller's damning biography of Hubbard, Bare-Faced Messiah, Parsons was a science-fiction fan who briefly hosted Hubbard at his Pasadena, Calif., mansion, which featured a domed backyard temple and a rotating cast of occultists and eccentrics. Parsons described Hubbard as his "magical partner," and together the men engaged in a rite in which Parsons tried to impregnate with an antichrist child a woman he considered the whore of Babylon, a goal that Crowley had long promoted. With Rachmaninoff's "Isle of the Dead" playing in the background, Hubbard allegedly chanted spells over the copulating couple, according to Miller and others. (Ultimately Hubbard would steal Parsons' girlfriend and allegedly bilk him in a Miami yacht venture.) Years later, when Hubbard had grown famous and realized the antichrist episode didn't comport with his image as a man of culture and wisdom, he would reportedly claim to have been working on an undercover mission for U.S. Naval Intelligence to investigate black magic.


or this:

A week later he was dead. Scientology attorneys arrived to recover his body, which they sought to have cremated immediately. They were blocked by a county coroner, who, according to Scientology critics, did an autopsy that revealed high levels of a psychiatric drug (Vistaril). That would seem like an embarrassment given the church's hostility to such medications (witness Tom Cruise's recent feud with Brooke Shields), but it didn't stop the church from summoning thousands of followers to the Hollywood Palladium days after Hubbard's death.

3 Comments:

  • I can't remember if you've linked to it in the past, but I think this Time cover story from about 15 years ago is the best Scientology-related article I've read:

    http://www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Fishman/time-behar.html

    By Blogger MDS, at 2:58 PM  

  • xenu shall have his vengance upon thee...

    By Blogger ahren, at 4:07 PM  

  • Whatever. Me and Xenu are like brothers. Except that one of us is trapped under a mountain.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 4:25 PM  

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