Jack Parsons


Jack Parsons

John Whiteside Parsons (born Marvel Whiteside Parsons on October 2, 1914 – died June 17, 1952), was an American rocket propulsion researcher at the California Institute of Technology and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerojet Corp.. He was also an enthusiastic occultist, and one of the earliest American devotees of Aleister Crowley.

His formal education was limited, but Parsons demonstrated tremendous scientific aptitude, particularly in chemistry. His rocket research was some of the earliest in the United States, and his pioneering work in the development of solid fuel and the invention of JATO units for aircraft was of great importance. The noted engineer Theodore von Kármán, Parsons's friend and benefactor, declared that the work of Parsons and his peers helped usher in the age of space travel.

Parsons and the Occult

Parsons was also an avid practitioner of the occult arts, and a follower of "Thelema". He saw no contradiction between his scientific and magical pursuits, and before each rocket test launch, Parsons would invoke the name of the Greek god Pan.

Parsons was chosen by Aleister Crowley to lead the "Agape Lodge", the Thelemic "Ordo Templi Orientis" ("O.T.O.") in California, in 1942, after Crowley expelled Wilfred Smith from the position.

Sarah Northrup (aka "Sarah Elizabeth" or "Betty" Northrup), began living with Parsons after his wife, Sarah's half-sister Helen Northrup, left with Wilfred Smith. Sarah Northrup later married L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology and sometime magical partner of Parsons. Parsons and Hubbard participated in a ritual known as the Babalon Working which is famous in occult circles — loosely, it was an attempt to summon a living goddess and change the course of history.Fact|date=May 2008 They were aided in this work by Sampson Bennetts of the Rosicrucian Order and his wife Sara Melian Gabriel, a spiritualist from India.

In January 1946, Parsons, Betty, and Hubbard started a boat dealing company named Allied Enterprises. Parsons put in the sum of approximately $21,000— Hubbard put in $1,200, and Sarah Northrup nothing. Hubbard eventually abandoned Parsons and their business plans, leaving a port in Florida with the boat and with Betty. It is said Parsons retreated to his hotel room and summoned a typhoon in retribution (i.e. with an evocation of "Bartzabel" [citation|author=Alexander Mitchellurl=http://www.lermanet.com/scientologynews/crowley-hubbard-666.htm|title=SCIENTOLOGY: Revealed for the first time...|publisher=The Sunday Times|date=October 5, 1969] - the so-called "intelligence" supposedly presiding over the planet Mars). A Florida court later dissolved the poorly-contracted business, ordered repayment of debts to Parsons, and awarded ownership of the boat to Hubbard.

The Hubbard/Allied Enterprises relationship lasted until 1947, when Hubbard again defrauded Parsons of a sum of money and ran off again with Sarah Northrup. Hubbard used much of this money from Allied Enterprises to promulgate and publish his book "Dianetics", whose "teachings" later evolved into and was superseded by so-called "Scientology". Parsons set out to find another partner, his so called "scarlet woman", a magical partner with whom he could sire a "Moonchild." The Moonchild is traditionally the incarnation of a god, as prophesied in Aleister Crowley's channeled script "The Book of the Law". The creation of this Moonchild was covered in Aleister Crowley's novel, "Moonchild".

When Parsons met the artist and poet Marjorie Cameron, he regarded her as the fulfilment of his magical rituals. This same year he resigned his leadership of the "O.T.O."

Death

Jack Parsons died on June 17 1952 in an explosion of fulminate of mercury at his home laboratory - which is generally regarded as accidental. He had stored many volatile chemicals and compounds in his laboratory. Though gravely injured, he survived the immediate explosion, but he died of his wounds a few hours later. Distraught, Parsons' mother killed herself just hours after he died.cite book | first=George | last=Pendle | title=Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons | publisher=Harcourt | year=2005 | isbn=0-297-84853-4 | oclc=59352636]

Parsons in Popular Culture

Jack Parsons has an appearance in Anthony Boucher's murder mystery novel "Rocket to the Morgue" (1942) as the character Hugo Chantrelle. The book also includes L. Ron Hubbard as D. Vance Wimpole. His relationship with Hubbard also appears in Paradox's "Big Book of Conspiracies", Alan Moore's Cobweb story in "Top Shelf asks the big questions" and Jon Atack's A Piece of Blue Sky.

Honors

The Parsons crater on the far side of the Moon has been named after him.cite book | first=John | last=Carter | title=Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons | publisher=Feral House | year=2000 | isbn=0-922915-56-3 | pages=vii]

Bibliography

* Freedom is a two-edged Sword; by John Whiteside Parsons, Edited by Hymenaeus Beta, ISBN 0972658327
* "The [http://web.archive.org/web/20040211081706/http://www.babalon.net/jwp/babalon.html Collected Writings of Jack Parsons] : The Book of Babalon, The Book of Antichrist, and other writings" including:
** The Book of Babalon
** The Book of Antichrist
** The Birth of Babalon (poem)
** We are the Witchcraft
** The Woman Girt with a Sword
** Letters to Cameron

The Books on Jack Parsons:
* Testa, Anthony; The Key of the Abyss, Lulu.com, 2006, ISBN 1430301600
* Carter, Jack; Sex and Rockets, Feral House, 1999
* Pendle, George; Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons, Harcourt, 2005

References

*Rowlett, Curt (2006). "Labyrinth13: True Tales of the Occult, Crime & Conspiracy", Chapter 2, "The Strange Case of John Whiteside Parsons". Lulu Press. ISBN 1-4116-6083-8.

External links

* [http://altreligion.about.com/library/texts/bl_twoedged.htm Freedom is a Two-edged Sword]
* [http://www.reason.com/news/show/32190.html The Magical Father of American Rocketry] , "Reason Online"
* [http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/mad-science/jack-parsons/ Rotten.com bio]
* [http://feralhouse.com/press/sexandrockets/index.html Feral House's "Sex and Rockets" mini-site] .
* [http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ The Jet Propulsion Laboratory]
* [http://www.aerojet.com/ Aerojet corporation]
* [http://www.thelemapedia.org/index.php/Jack_Parsons Thelemapedia entry on Jack Parsons]
* [http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/jplhistory/videos/rocketmen.php JPL history video]
* [http://www.webcomicsnation.com/rscarbonneau/parsons/series.php Webcomic based on the life of Jack Parsons]


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