Odd this day

3 min readJan 4


Ah, 4 January. The anniversary of — well, obviously — L Ron Hubbard trying to summon Baby Satan.

Apparently, it was this very day in 1946 when the founder of Scientology teamed up with a rocket engineer called Jack Parsons to create a ‘moonchild’.

This was something they’d read about in Aleister Crowley’s The Book of The Law, and it requires

a woman to give birth in the role of the Whore of Babylon

Whore of Babylon illustration from Martin Luther’s 1534 translation of the Bible — a crowd of people looks on as a woman in red robes and a papal tiara rides a many-headed dragon/beast
Whether she has to be riding the many-headed thing and wearing that hat at the time, I don’t know

This is based on a bit in Alec Nevala-Lee’s Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, which contains this beautifully understated sentence

Hubbard was enthusiastic about the project.

Ages ago, someone on Twitter posted this shot of a paragraph from the book, which I kept (of course), and which (if you’d never heard of either of them) tells you a lot about our protagonists:

The Babalon Working ritual began at 9pm on January 4, 1946, with Parsons and Hubbard preparing magical weapons and talismans, and continued for 11 days. One evening, Hubbard claimed he felt something knock a candle out of his hand. Parsons wrote, “He called us, and we observed a brownish yellow light about seven feet high … I banished it with a magical sword.” The next day, Hubbard allegedly had an astral vision of one of Parsons’ old enemies, which he drove away with throwing knives

The next night, they prepared an altar, smashed a statue of Pan and discovered the guesthouse where all this was happening was on fire.

A marble statue of the god Pan holding the back legs of a goat which is lying in front of him on its back (i.e. in ‘missionary’ position) as he kneels down and has sex with it
A statue of Pan from Pompeii in which he is rogering a goat — not the statue in question, but it captures the spirit of what’s happening here, I think

The night after that, they were joined by artist Marjorie Cameron, who was:

  1. also an occultist
  2. married to Parsons
  3. wearing a crimson robe.

Parsons and Cameron got down to the business of trying to conceive this unworldly child while Hubbard chanted nonsense, and the ritual was deemed a success — although not, when Parsons told him about it, by Crowley, who responded:

I thought I had a most morbid imagination, as good as any man’s, but it seems I have not. I cannot form the slightest idea of what you can possibly mean.

Crowley also wrote to the Ordo Templi Orientis* in America to say:

Apparently, Hubbard or Parsons or somebody is producing a moonchild. I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts.

(*rough translation: gathering of mystical eejits)

Aleisteir Crowley glowering at the camera in a self-consciously unhinged manner

Which is (a) wonderful, and (b) means we can add to the list of things we know about L Ron Hubbard: that he was too far off his bonce even for Aleister Crowley, which is quite an achievement.

Marjorie Cameron was Parsons’ second wife, incidentally. His first left him when he had an affair with her sister. The sister duly ran off with Hubbard, who defrauded Parsons of his life savings.

And, when it comes to old L. Ron, that really does sound in character.




Purveyor of niche drivel; marker of odd anniversaries