John Whiteside Parsons
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Basic Information

John Whiteside Parsons (born October 2, 1914, died June 17, 1952) was a rocket propulsion researcher at the California Institute of Technology by day… and an occultist by night! He became interested in the writings of Aleister Crowley and joined and eventually led an American chapter of Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis. He saw no contradiction between his scientific and occult work, frequently chanting Crowley's hymn to the Greek god Pan before a rocket launch. His home became a boarding house for various artists and eccentrics, including later Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard who first had an affair and then married Parson's mistress Sara Northrup. From January to March 1946 Parsons and Hubbard attempted the so-called "Babalon Working" which attempted to summon an entity called "Babalon" or the "Scarlet Woman", a female divine archetype which according to Crowley would reign in the end of Christian supremacy in the world. Almost immediately after Parsons declared the ritual complete and successful, he met a woman named Marjorie Cameron in his house, which he married and attempted to conceive a magical "Moonchild" with. He eventually died when a Mercury(II) fulminate in his home laboratory exploded.



Game and Story Use

  • Perhaps the "Scarlet Woman" or "Babalon" = The Whore of Babylon? If his ritual had been successful, maybe the "Moonchild" had been the Antichrist and the biblical apocalypse would have started…
  • Pan seems like an odd choice for anything technological. Did he want the launches to fail?
  • In a historical or time travel campaign set in the 1940s-50s, Parson's boarding house could be a good place to meet other mad scientists/occultists/interesting personalities.
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