Scientology, Occult Sorcery and the Jet Propulsion Lab

Whoever thought that Pasadena, California is a place where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens has most certainly never heard of Jack Parsons, a darkly handsome young man and chemistry autodidact. Parsons was also a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a group of explosion experts. You might think that being a man of science, he would not believe in the occult, but as it turns out, he was actually a goddess-obsessed acolyte and the financial supporter for a Pagan leader known as Aleister Crowley. Jack Parsons converted an old mansion into a house here artists, writers and other researchers who believed in Pagan culture were welcome.

For those who are not interested in attending college, you will be pleasantly surprised to hear that Parsons forfeited years of teachings in favor of his garage and on his backyard experiments. He became a researcher for CalTech in the year 1930, and by the late 30s he had already helped found the JPL, an international superstar that is responsible for the invention of rocket fuel. In the mean-time he was working on his pagan “hobby”: obtaining the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) status within Crowleys pagan organization.


John Carter retells the story of Jack Parson in a fascinating book called: Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons. You’d think that invoking Satan at the age of 13 would probably result in an incredible fear towards the occult, but for Parsons it meant the birth of a life-long passion for all that has to do with this field. Nevertheless, although both Crowley and Parsons talk about Satan in their works, they have never considered themselves “Satan worshipers”. Before free-spirited-souls could ever come up with open-relationships, Parsons had already discovered it. Another thing that he had discovered was hallucinogenic drugs. In his fiery passion, he discovered many things, created many fans, and received lots of money in exchange for spiritual guidance. By day he was a genius and respectable scientists, and by night he would dance naked in his backyard. Talk about being controversial. But the surprises don’t stop here.


Parsons had always shared his life with Betty, his girlfriend (with which he had an open relationship). At a moment in time, a pagan writer, L. Ron Hubbard moved in with them. He was a war veteran with a talent for story-telling, and he quickly became Parson’s best friend when it came to the quest of incarnating the goddess Babalon on Earth. These two men thought that Babalon would be a bewitching redhead, who will, at some point, give birth to the Antichrist. How did they try to achieve them? Well, Hubbard and Parsons held joint rituals inspired by Babalon’s sexuality: Parsons would masturbate repeatedly and Hubbard would chant rituals while taking notes. The notes referred to “invoking” with the help of a “wand”. How adorable.


Interestingly enough, Hubbard soon became bored with Parson’s lame excuse of invoking so he began sleeping with Betty (not that it was a problem). Soon after, the incarnation of Babalon (or at least this is what the two men thought) came knocking on their door: an adventurous redheaded artists called Marjorie Cameron. Because Parsons was handsome, she accepted to sleep with him and led Hubbard participate. The men believed that they were invoking spirits with their astonishing potency and sorcery, but no Antichrist was ever born. The redheaded beauty left, and this lead to a deeper relationship between Hubbard and Betty. Hubbard also became interested in the OTO status. For those familiar with Scientology, you probably already know that the only way to achieve enlightenment is to ascend through several numerical steps, and gain access to well-kept secrets.

 You might say that Scientology is the science fiction version of the supernatural horror that was the OTO. So the religions may be different genres, but they have a lot in common. (Source:

In the end, Hubbard and Parsons split up: Hubbard published his work Dianetics, and Parsons died in an idiotic accident on his front porch, but he will always be remembered for his contributions in rocket fuel technology, and his fascination with the occult may be explained by the fact that the major discoveries he made in the field of science emerged from fantasy and became reality. The lines were still blurred, so it is no wonder that magic was involved.

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