FACTNET REPORT: HUBBARD AND THE OCCULT ***** By Jon Atack (Part one of four parts) I stand before you having been accused in print by L. Ron Hubbard's followers of having an avid interest in black magic. I would like to put firmly on record that whatever interest I have is related entirely to achieving a better understanding of the creator of Dianetics and Scientology. Hubbard's followers have the right to be made aware that he had not only an avid interest, but that he was also a practitioner of black magic. Today I shall discuss these matters in depth, but I shall not repeat all of the proofs which already exist in my book A Piece of Blue Sky (1). Scientology is a twisting together of many threads. Ron Hubbard's first system, Dianetics, which emerged in 1950, owes much to early Freudian ideas (2). For example, Hubbard's "Reactive Mind" obviously derives from Freud's "Unconscious". The notion that this mind thinks in identities comes from Korzybski's General Semantics. Initially, before deciding that he was the sole source of Dianetics and Scientology (3), Hubbard acknowledged his debt to these thinkers (4). Dianetics bears marked similarites to work reported by American psychiatrists Grinker and Speigel (5) and English psychiatrist William Sargant (6). The first edition of Hubbard's 1950 text Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (7) carried an advertisment for a book published a year earlier (8). Psychiatrist Nandor Fodor had been writing about his belief in the residual effects of the birth trauma for some years, following in the footsteps of Otto Rank. In lectures given in 1950, Hubbard also referred to works on hynopsis which had obviously influenced his techniques (9). The very name "Dianetics" probably owes something to the, at the time, highly popular subject of Cybernetics. (10). By 1952, Hubbard had lost the rights to Dianetics, having bailed out just before the bankruptcy of the original Hubbard Research Foundation. He had also managed to avoid the charges brought against that Foundation by the New Jersey Medical Association for teaching medicine without a license (11). In a matter of days in the early spring of 1952, Hubbard moved from his purported "science of mental health" into the territory of reincarnation and spirit possession. He called his new subject Scientology, claiming that the name derived for "scio" and "logos" and meant "knowing how to know". However, Hubbard was notorious for his sly humour and "scio" might also refer to the Greek word for a "shade" or "ghost". Scientology itself had already been used at the turn of the century to mean "pseudo-science" and in something close to Hubbard's meaning in 1934 by one of the proponents of Aryan racial theory (12). Other possible links between Hubbard's thought and that of the Nazis will be made clear later in this paper. Scientology seems to be a hybrid of science-fiction and magic. Hubbard's reflection on philosophy seem to derive largely from Will Durant's Story of Philosophy (13) and the works of Aleister Crowley. Aleister Crowley is surely the most famous black magician of the twentieth-century. It is impossible to arrive at an understanding of Scientology without taking into account its creator's extensive involvement with magic. The trail has been so well obscured in the past that even such a scholar as Professor Gordon Melton has been deceived into the opinion that Hubbard was not a practitioner of ritual magic and that Scientology is not related to magical beliefs and practices. In the book A Piece of Blue Sky, I explored these connections in detail. The revealations surrounding Hubbard's private papers in the 1984 Armstrong case in California makes any denial of the connections fatuous. The significances of these connections is of course open to discussion. The chapter in A Piece of Blue Sky that describes Hubbard's involvement with the ideas of magic is called His Magickal Career. I hope I shall be excused for relying upon it. I shall also here describe further research, and comment particularly upon Hubbard's use of magical symbols, and the inescapable view that many of the beliefs and practices of Scientology are a reformation of ritual magic (14). In 1984, a former close colleague of Hubbard's told me that thirty years before when asked how he had managed to write Dianetics: The Modern Science Of Mental Health in just three weeks, Hubbard had replied that it had been automatic writing. He said that the book had been dictated by "the Empress". At the time, I had no idea who or what "the Empress" might be. Later, I noticed that in an article printed immediately prior to the book Dianetics, Hubbard had openly admitted to his use of "automatic writing, speaking and clairvoyance" (15). However, it took several years to understand this tantalising reference to the Empress. In the 1930's, Hubbard became friendly with fellow adventure writer Arthur J. Burks. Burks described an encounter with "the Redhead" in his book Monitors. The text makes it clear that "the Redhead" is none other than Ron Hubbard. Burk said that when the Redhead had been flying gliders he would be saved from trouble by a "smiling woman" who would appear on the aircraft's wing (16). Burk put forward the view that this was the Redhead's "monitor" or guardian angel. In 1945, Hubbard became involved with Crowley's acolyte, Jack Parsons. Parsons wrote to Crowley that Hubbard had "described his angel as a beautiful winged women with red hair, whom he calls the Empress, and who had guided him through his life and saved him many times." In the Crowleyite system, adherents seek contact with their "Holy Guardian Angel". John Whiteside Parsons, usually known as Jack, first met Hubbard at a party in August 1945. When his terminal leave from the US Navy began, on Dec 6th, 1945, Hubbard went straight to Parsons' house in Pasadena, and took up residence in a trailer in the yard. Parsons was a young chemist who had helped set up Jet Propulsion Laboratories and was one of the innovators of solid fuel for rockets. Parsons was besotted with Crowley's Sex Magick, and had recently become head of the Agape Lodge of the Church of Thelema in Los Angeles. The Agape Lodge was an aspect of the Ordo Templi Orientis, the small international group headed by Aleister Crowley. Parsons' girlfriend soon transferred her affection to Hubbard. With her, Hubbard and Parsons formed a business partnership, as a consequence of which Parsons lost most of his money to Hubbard. However, before Hubbard ran away with the loot, he and Parsons participated in magical rituals which have received great attention among contemporary practitioners. Parsons and Hubbard together performed their own version of the secret eighth degree ritual (17) of the Ordo Templi Orientiis in January 1946. The ritual is called "concerning the secret marriage of gods with men" or "the magical masturbation" and is usually a homosexual ritual. The purpose of this ritual was to attract a women willing to participate in the next stage of Hubbard and Parsons' Sex Magick. Hubbard and Parsons were attempting the most daring magical feat imaginable. They were trying to incarnate the Scarlet Woman described in the Book of Revelation as "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlot and Abominations of the Earth...drunken with the blood of saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus."(18). During the rituals, Parsons described Babalon as "mother of anarchy and abominations". The women who they believed had answered their call, Majorie Cameron, joined in with their sexual rituals in March 1946. Parsons used a recording machine to keep a record of his ceremonies. He also kept Crowley informed by letter. The correspondence still exists. Crowley wrote to his deputy in New York "I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts". Crowley was being disingenous. His own novel The Moonchild describes a ritual with a similar purpose. Further, the secret IXth degree ritual of the Ordo Templi Orientis (19) contains "Of the Homunculus" in which the adept seeks to create a human embodiment of one of the energies of nature - a god or goddess. The ritual says "to it thou are Sole God and Lord, and it must serve thee." In fact, Hubbard and Parsons were committing sacrilege in Crowley's terms. Crowley respelled "Babylon" as he respelled "magic". His magick was entirely dedicated to Babalon, the Scarlet Woman. Crowley believed himself the servant and slave of Babalon, the antichrist, styling himself "The Beast, 666". For anyone to try to incarnate and control the goddess must have been an impossible blasphemy to him. Crowley, after all, called Babalon "Our Lady". Hubbard and Parsons attempt did not end with the conception of a human child. However, just as Crowley said that "Gods are but names for the forces of Nature themselves" (21), so it might be speculated that Hubbard embodied Babalon not in human form, but through his organization. Parsons sued Hubbard in Florida in July 1946, managing to regain a little of his money. The record of their rituals was later transcribed and has since been published as The Babalon Working (22). Parsons made a return to Magick, writing The Book of The Antichrist in 1949 (23). Parsons pronounced himself the Antichrist. In a scientology text, Hubbard spoke favourably of Parsons, making no mention of their magical liason (24). A Piece of Blue Sky covers Hubbard's involvement with Parsons in much greater detail than I have given here. Hubbard's interest in the occult was kindled long before he met Parsons. It dates back at least to his membership of the Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis or AMORC, in 1940. Hubbard had completed the first two neophyte degrees before his membership lapsed, and later there were private complaints that he had incorporated some of the teaching he had promised to keep secret into Scientology (25). Having stolen Parsons' girl and his money, Hubbard carried on with magical practices of his own devising. Scientology attempted to reclaim documents which recorded these practices in its case against former Hubbard archivist Gerald Armstrong. Some $280,000 was paid to publishers Ralston Pilot to prevent publication of Omar Garrison's authorised biography of Hubbard. However, Garrison retained copies of thousands of Hubbard's documents and showed me one which had been referred to in the Armstrong trial. The Blood Ritual is an invokation of the Egyptian goddess Hathor, performed by Hubbard during the late 1940's. As the name suggests, the ritual involved the use of blood. Hubbard mingled his own blood with that of his then wife (the girlfriend he had stolen from Parsons and with whom Hubbard contracted a bigamous marriage.) In a 1952 Scientology lecture, Hubbard referred to "Aleister Crowley, my very good friend" (26). In fact, the two black magicians never met, and Crowley expressed a very low opinion of the man who he saw had tricked his disciple Jack Parsons. Even so, Hubbard had a very positive regard for Crowley, calling his work "fascinating" (27) and recommending one of his books to Scientologists. Having referred to Crowley as "The Beast 666", Hubbard said that he had "picked a level of religious worship which is very interesting." (28). He also made it clear that he had read the fundamental text of the Crowley teaching, The Book of the Law (29).