The Rocket Scientist Who Doubled As An Occultist

“Yea it is even I BABALON and I SHALL BE FREE. Thou fool, be thou also free of sentimentality. Am I thy village queen and thou a sophomore, that thou shouldst have thy nose in my buttocks?” —Revelation of the goddess Babalon to Jack Parsons

In A Nutshell

Jack Parsons has been called the “true father of the American space race” by no less than the prominent rocket scientist Wernher von Braun. Parsons was a co-founder of Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was a genius in the field of rocketry. But while most of us think of scientists as a rational and skeptical lot who cringe from superstition, Parsons led quite an extraordinary double life as scientist by day and occultist by night.

The Whole Bushel

Born to a wealthy Pasadena family in 1914, Marvel Whiteside Parsons hated his name and preferred to be called simply “Jack.” He was just 14 when he began experimenting with rocket propulsion methods. With his best friend Edward S. Forman, Parsons hung around the Devil’s Gate Dam area of Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, tinkering with experimental rocket motors. Through their connections with the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, they were able to obtain lab space at Caltech for their experiments in 1937. The hazardous nature of their activities resulted in an inevitable explosion that damaged their equipment, and they were thereafter dubbed “The Suicide Squad.” They were expelled from campus after a second explosion, and Parsons set up an outdoor lab back at Arroyo Seco. It was to become the foundation of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

In 1939, Parsons became familiar with the writings of occultist Alistair Crowley, the self-styled “Great Beast” and “wickedest man in the world.” Fascinated by Crowley’s ideas, he became a member of Crowley’s secret society, the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), which had a Pasadena branch called Agape Lodge. Parsons took on the alias “Frater 210.” In 1942, Parsons, Forman, and other colleagues formed the Aerojet Corporation which manufactured the Jet Assist Takeoff rocket motors used in military planes in World War II. With money from Aerojet, Parsons acquired a mansion where he transferred the Agape Lodge. Drugs and illicit sex became routine at the house. When Jack’s wife, Helen, became pregnant by another Lodge member, he hooked up with his sister-in-law Betty.

When the war ended, Parsons met a fellow sci-fi aficionado named L. Ron Hubbard, who soon moved in at Agape Lodge, where he took an interest in Betty. Though jealous, Parsons didn’t junk Hubbard. They even partnered in an 11-day ritual called Babalon Working in which Parsons attempted to conjure the goddess Babalon or the “Scarlet Woman.” With Hubbard acting as a scribe to record Jack’s revelations, Parsons would ritually masturbate onto a parchment. The appearance of a red-haired woman named Marjorie Cameron at the house one day convinced Parsons that he had indeed conjured up the figure. The couple began a series of rituals intended to produce a magical “moon child” with superior powers and intellect, who would be born in the astral plane. The rituals included a naked pregnant woman jumping through fire nine times to ensure a safe delivery. Concerned neighbors reported the sinister activities, but responding cops were easily disarmed by the charming Parsons, whose credentials as a respected scientist convinced them that nothing was amiss. Parsons would later marry Marjorie after losing Betty—and thousands of dollars—to the huckster Hubbard.

After an unrewarding court case versus Hubbard, Parsons left OTO and sought out the occult on his own. After one out-of-body experience, he took on the name “Belarion Armiluss al-Dajjal, Antichrist.” In the next few years, while Hubbard shot to fame with his book Dianetics, the core of Scientologist beliefs, Parsons remained virtually penniless and worked small jobs. He died in an explosion in 1952, most likely as a result of a botched experiment. Parsons left behind numerous patents for liquid and solid rocket fuel. In his honor, a crater on the moon was named after him. Yes, the crater is on the dark side of the moon.

Show Me The Proof

Forgotten Newsmakers: Jack Parsons
Space Safety Magazine: Jack Parsons and the Occult Roots of JPL
io9.com: The strangely true connection between Scientology, the Jet Propulsion Lab, and Occult Sorcery

  • Lisa 39

    Wow, he must have either had a genius IQ and no common sense or he was just a total nutjob, nice article Larry!

    • Why not both

      • Lisa 39

        Because geniuses don’t need meds like nutjobs!

        Some friendly advice, if you want to be unbanned from lv then you need to prove yourself on kn, if you continue trolling you’ll get banned here also. I know that you are capable of decent conversations and sometimes funny comments, I’ve seen them (cunt ries almost made me pee my pants laughing), you’re also smart, some of your pleasant comments have given me food for thought. Please lose the tude and come hang with the cool kids, balls in your court 🙂

        • Most genius defiantly need meds thinking people like Tesla, Pythagoras, Lord Byron, Tycho Brahe etc.
          I have never trolled i resent the accusation and the term, i will not change who i am to fit into your world view, i have my own thoughts and opinion and i will express them as i see fit.

          • Lisa 39

            I wouldn’t say most, definitely some but not all.
            I woke up to 20 replies on 12 articles from you today on kn, this one’s 1 month old, most are mocking me, what would you call that? Have a nice evening comrade.

          • Please point out where you we mocked? i would call it the discovery of a new site by and individual, who then proceeded to go there the back catalog and comment on older articles. Some of my comment were brief and merely agreeing with point made by other as i was on my phone at an airport where typing is somewhat inconvenient compared to an i pad or laptop computer. Not every comment needs to be war and peace, some are just to agree and acknowledge the authors efforts.

  • oouchan

    Nutter award! Guy lost a few marbles…especially having hooked up with Hubbard. o.O
    He was kind of an evil genius…similar to Dr. Evil. 🙂

    Weird.

  • Genius and madness all wrapped up in one weird guy. Certainly his association with Hibbard didn’t help, but he seemed to have jumped off the deep end way before meeting up with good ‘ol L. Ron.

  • Hillyard

    Frater 210? So who is it that runs this site and LV?