Episode 31: Dollop: Jack Parsons

One guy was all about the cautious, scientific approach, and the other two guys were like, yeah, let’s pack it into a squirrel and light it!

My husband, Larry, is a science geek. It is genetic, his dad was a chemistry professor. I told him about the episode, and Larry recognized many of the details, but he didn’t realize the depth of Parsons’ psychological problems or the incest. I finished this dark little fairy tale, there was a dark silence, then he said, and I quote,

See if there’s a picture of that black box online. I want to see that box.

Larry, ladies and gentleman.

The Holy Books of Thelema:Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley, the founder of Thelema, designated his works as belonging to one of several classes. Not all of his work was placed in a class by him.

Class A consists of works that are not to be changed, even to the letter. The Holy Books fall in this category.
Class B consists of works of scholarship and enlightenment.
Class C consists of material that suggests things other than the obvious.
Class D consists of official rituals and instructions.
Class E consists of manifestos, broadsides, epistles and other public statements. (source)

Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons * George Pendle

Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons * John Carter and Robert Anton Wilson

Book of the Law * Aleister Crowley

Scientology and the Occult


Aleister Crowley: Magick, Rock and Roll, and the Wickedest Man in the World * Gary Lachman

A crater on a moon was named for Parsons the year I was born, 1972. It’s on the far side of the moon; I bet that is where they are hiding the black box of sex films.

I told you everything was connected: Parsons ended his science career at Hughes Aircraft Company. HAC (1932-1997) was founded by another spooky genius who also lived in his own spooky abode, Howard Hughes. Speaking of spooky abodes, Jimmy Page, Mr. Led Zepplin, lived in Crowley’s house, Boleskine House (which I keep reading as Moleskine, so I imagine it as an upturned black notebook, tent-shaped, on a lovely Scottish lawn, bats swooping about and such). Page has pictures and info at his official site.

Oh, and: Crowley is one of the many people depicted on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover. (Wipe that blank stare off your face. Yes, I can see you through your phone screen. Momma Carla sees all. The Beatles. Just nod and smile and act like you know who they are.)31: Sgt. Peppers

And more: In 1938, Parsons was invited by the horror movie Dude of Awesomeness Forrest J Ackerman to lecture on static rocket motor advances at Chapter Number 4 of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League (LASFL). Although he never joined the LASFL, he occasionally attended from then on, at one meeting having a lovely talk with a teenage Ray Bradbury.

It’s all connected!

And now, in honor of all the people in this weird American saga with multiple names: Marvel/John/Jack, Betty/Sara, Helen/Polly, Marjorie/Candy/the Babalon. . .a song from my Girl Scout days. It’s apparently also a German Oktoberfest drinking song, which highly amuses me. Here we go, repeat the only verse as many times as your companions can stand, in varying volumes. (We Brownies thought it was hilarious to sing the actual song softly then shout out the dah-dahs, and vice versa.)

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
His name is my name too.

Whenever we go out,
The people always shout,
There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt.

Dah dah dah dah, dah dah dah

Band names from this episode:

  • Momma’s Boy Marvel
  • Jack Rocket
  • Candy Angel
  • Porch Lab
  • Red Rocket

Cultural references from this episode:


  1. smawj

    Im working my way through the back catalogue of your excellent podcast, I cant listen to them in public because I laugh too hard and people stare at me. I enjoyed this episode but you really didnt give Parsons enough credit for his genius with rocketry. Several huge advancements can be credited to him and him alone, yes his magick stuff is batshit insane but he was incredibly smart for someone who only graduated from high school

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