Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space Pro

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:12 am

Part 10: The Cult of Intelligence

After leaving the Pasadena Public Library, I drove to Orange Grove Blvd. and then down into the Arroyo Seco near the Colorado overpass. I circled the Rose Bowl then exited on the Arroyo's far side. I continued to Oak Grove Park and parked by the equestrian trail.

I walked down the trail, the sandy soil clinging to my Adidas running shoes. I reached the edge of Devil's Gate Dam and stood looking out over the Arroyo's bed, which was formed of a lumpy mixture of sand and small brush. I listened for the explosions, the test firings of Parsons' small rockets. I sat on a large rock, the breeze blowing in my face, and thought of the apartment on the other side of the canyon, down a couple of miles on South Orange Grove, where Parsons had lain with his limbs shattered, methodically directing his rescuers.

I drove on up Foothill through La Crescenta to the Glendale freeway, and headed south to Glendale. On Glendate Avenue I passed a sign that read "Virgils Glendale Hardware--Eggs 99 cents a dozen." I turned right on Chevy Chase and came back up Brand past the Alex Theater. There I discovered a private office whose business was supplying postal lock boxes.

The office catered to people and organizations who wished to receive mail under another name, or who wished to keep their real locations private.

Organizations like the Jack Parsons Memorial Society. I rechecked the address on the flier I had gotten from Professor David Wilson. I was at the right spot alright. Nowhere.

I suddenly felt tired. I drove back to Pasadena and the Hilton. In my room, I turned on the TV, on my usual theory that you've never visited a place unless you've sampled the same electromagnetic noise the locals experience. Then I stepped into the shower.

When I got out of the shower, a poignant image on the screen caused me to turn up the TV volume. It was an aerial view of a vast triangular plain.

"The Plain of Esdraelon," explained the voice, "the Greek name for the biblical Valley of Jezreel, which means `God sows'. This was the most famous battlefield in ancient Israel. Here Thutmose III of Egypt fought the Canaanites. Here Gideon, who you can read about in the Old Testament Book of Judges, defeated the Midianites, as did Deborah and Barak the Canaanites. And Saul, the first king of Israel, battled here with the Philistines.

"More recently, in 1917, the British army under General Allenby faced the Turks in this same valley."

You might have thought it was a military documentary, but I recognized the voice as that of Oral Jerry Swagger, the evangelist.

The voice continued: "The principal North-South route through this plain goes through the pass of Megiddo, named after the ancient city. From Mount Megiddo, or `Har Megiddo' in the Hebrew, we get the name Armageddon.

"The Bible tells us this valley will be the scene of the final apocalyptic battle between the Armies of Man and the Armies of God, between Christ and Antichrist. In the Book of Revelation, chapter 16, verse 16, you read, `And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.' Here occurs the seventh vial of the seventh trump. Here the `Kings of the East', as it explains earlier in chapter 16, will be gathered with their armies. East of Israel are the great oriental hordes--the Chinese, probably assisted by Japanese technology, and allied with their Communist cohorts the Russians. The latter are the Gog and Magog we read about in Ezekiel 38. Verse 1 in Ezekiel 38 tells us Gog was the chief prince of Meschech. Historically, the Assyrians called the children of Meschech `muska,' which is similar to `Moskva,' the Russian name for Moscow. In addition, `chief' is Hebrew `rosh,' and Rosh is an ancient name for Russia.

"These Communist forces from the east will join together with the Beast Power, which is the union of ten European nations allied under a common political leader that the Bible calls `the beast,' and a religious leader that the Bible calls the `false prophet,' or the Antichrist. See Revelation, chapters 13 and 17. This European combine will be a revival of the ancient Roman Empire, and--like the ancient Roman Empire--will be under the spiritual leadership of a church called the `great whore' in Revelation, chapter 17.

"These two great contenders for world power, armed with the latest in atomic weapons, will, under the guidance of the Antichrist and assisted by Satan and his demons, join forces against Jerusalem and the invaders from space. What invaders from space? The returning Jesus Christ and all his angelic hosts, when he returns to reign on this earth for a thousand years, a millennium of peace, happiness and prosperity. The world government of God, which will eliminate war, sickness, and crime. But first must take place the slaughter of Armageddon, where the blood will rise up to the horses' bridles. It says in Zechariah, chapter 14, verse 12, that a soldier's flesh will rot off his body, and his eyes will be eaten out of their sockets. This will happen when Jesus turns atomic and biological weapons back against the armies that use them.

"It will be a terrible, terrible time.

"But I'm not alarmed. You know why?"

Oral Jerry Swagger looked me right in the eye through the TV screen. "Why?" I asked.

"Because I'm not going to be here," he smiled.

No, I thought. You wouldn't be here, because every atom in your body will be ten feet removed from its neighbor. I turned off the TV.

Oral Jerry was obviously a pre-tribber. Like other pre-tribs, he expected all good Christians to be raptured out of harm's way before the arrival of tribulation events like nuclear war. By contrast, post-tribbers like Pat Robertson thought Christians would have to live through seven years of trial. They would be protected by God, of course, but they had to do their part too. Many of the post- tribs, fully expecting nuclear war, were stocking up on food, studying survival tactics, even forming paramilitary armies. For some of them the millennium would arrive once Christians had infiltrated and seized control of the U.S. government.

I was more familiar with the post-tribbers because they wrote financial newsletters, expounding theories of end-time economics. Post-tribs thought pre- tribs like Oral Jerry Swagger were copout wimps.

* * *

Some of the drivers were razzing him because his was the only white limo in the line of blacks parked alongside the Four Seasons.

"You sure you can handle that thing all by yourself?" one of the drivers taunted again.

Hell, he muttered, stepping inside and starting the engine. He pulled hard to the left, out of the line and across the narrow street, halting on-coming traffic. He reversed direction in a Y, pulled forward, and then deftly reinserted the limo into the middle of the line. Backwards.

The other drivers were still cheering when OJ came out of the hotel. Oral Jerry Swagger was known as OJ to his friends and OJS to his subordinates. He looked at the backwardly parked limo in puzzlement, but didn't say anything as the driver stepped out to open the door.

Today OJ was more than a little excited. It had been Larry Meier who had called him with the invitation--a luncheon in honor of the sister cities of Philadelphia, Florence, and Tel Aviv. And it had been Meier who had given him the inside story.

To those really in the know, Meier's credentials were of the highest order. Larry Meier, it was said, had been the young Irgun member who actually planted the bomb which destroyed a wing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 22, 1946. The explosion had taken out a piece of the British military headquarters and left a hundred bodies in its wake.

OJ told the driver to head for the airport. Then he settled back in the limo, opened the bar, and helped himself to a club soda.

It was time to sweep the deck for the Third Temple, Meier had emphasized as they worked their way through the prosciutto.

OJ clicked them off in his mind. The First Temple was the ancient Temple of Solomon, destroyed in the Babylonian capture of Jerusalem more than two and a-half millennia ago. The Second Temple was begun after the return of the Jews from Babylon. It had started out small with the inferior construction of Zerubbabel, but several hundred years later--just prior to the birth of Jesus--it was magnificently rebuilt by Herod. Herod's Temple was demolished by the Romans in 70 A.D. Now there would be a Third Temple, erected by a second Solomon or a new Herod, and located on the same site on Mount Moriah.

Meier had been unusually frank. The society was fragmenting and the survival of Israel depended on a new symbol of national unity. He had talked about the high crime levels which caused overcrowding in Israeli jails. About the peace demonstrations mounted in the streets by traitors and whores. About excessively devout Orthodox types, exempt from military service, who hurled rocks at secular Jews driving cars on the Sabbath. Meier referred to the epidemic of hashish, brought home by soldiers returning from the occupation of Lebanon, and the cocaine from Iran that circulated among the society's upper crust. While the young sought escape in drugs and disco frenzy, the rest spent like there was no tomorrow.

The kibbutzim and moshavim, which had made the desert bloom through the miracle of borrowed money, were in virtual bankruptcy. The country's high standard of living and high level of military expenditures had long depended on contributions from American Jews, reparations from Germany, and military aid from the U.S. But the inflow of foreign cash seemed to be drying up.

Some of the largest industrial groups, Meier had confided, were well behind in payments to foreign banks.

The Israeli economy, set in motion by the fiery socialist David Ben-Gurion, was a mess. Ben-Gurion had saddled Israel with an inefficient government bureaucracy and the socialistic union movement, the Histadrut. Inflation was stuck at the double digit levels dictated by the government's continued resort to the printing press to finance a chronic budget deficit. There was a large black market in goods priced and traded in U.S. dollars, because no one trusted the shekel, which had been intended as a new symbol of national pride when it replaced the Israeli pound.

Then there was the population problem. Sixty percent of the Jewish population was Oriental, and the Oriental Jews, with differing cultural traditions, were growing much faster than European Jews. The government was attempting to rectify the balance by encouraging more European immigration. It had even tried to get the U.S. to refuse admission to Soviet Jewish refugees, and hence to force them to emigrate to Israel, but the U.S. didn't appear cooperative.

Finally, there were the Palestinians. In another decade they would outnumber Jews in Greater Israel, which was the combined areas of Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank. You needed a few Palestinians, Meier said. Someone had to collect the garbage and do the menial chores which Jews didn't want to do anymore. But more than that, Palestinians were a security threat. Ben- Gurion had known this from the beginning of Israel.

Despite his economic short-comings, David Ben-Gurion had been an astute political strategist. As a temporary tactical maneuver Ben-Gurion had accepted the U.N. Partition Resolution of 1947, which would have created Jewish and Palestinian states, because he had already worked out a secret agreement with Abdullah of Transjordan whereby Abdullah would annex the territory allocated to the Palestinians. Abdullah had had plans for a "Greater Syria" under the Hashemites, and Ben-Gurion had agreed to support his goals in return for Abdullah's acceptance of Ben-Gurion's. Then, during the 1948 war, Ben-Gurion had engaged in wholesale destruction of Arab towns and villages in his own allocated area, and had expelled the inhabitants from the country. But the process had not been complete, and now the more recent acquisition of the West Bank complicated matters. There would be no security in modern Israel, Meier had indicated, unless the remaining Palestinians were also expelled from Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank.

Well, OJ reflected, you couldn't say Oral Jerry hadn't done his part. OJ's support for Israel was unqualified: God had said he would bless those who blessed Abraham's seed, and curse the rest. And anyway, OJ knew, Israel was the only real friend America had in the Middle East. So did OJ's followers, especially those privileged to take one of his sponsored scenic tours of the Holy Land. Tourism was the largest industry in Israel, and it was mostly Christians--not Jews and not Moslems-- who provided the tourist dollars. But Christian aid wasn't just a simple matter of credit cards and traveller's checks. During the tour each group member had the opportunity to hear discussions of Israeli military strategy and to receive explanations why Israel needed more American weapons. Tour members returning from the Holy Land were urged to write their congressmen and senators, and to demand American support for Israel.

The limo headed south on the 76 Expressway and OJ looked out the tinted windows at the passing scenery. It wasn't a pretty sight. An urban version of gehenna, he reflected. Greater Philadelphia was a stench in the nostrils of God. Nothing anyone would really miss when the bombs of the Beast Power began their work of urban renewal.

To Christians like himself, the planned construction of the Third Temple meant the End was near. OJ knew that Bible prophecy indicated Jesus would not return until the Jews had rebuilt the Temple and reinstated animal sacrifices. It had been foretold. God wouldn't have preordained something that wasn't his will.

And it was God's will the Temple rise again. But first there was the little matter of the ungodly Moslem structures on the site. Every picture you see of Jerusalem, Meier had reminded him, is dominated by the Dome of the Rock. It was like a tumor growing unchecked in the heart of Judaism. When pressed for details, Meier had been vague, but OJ knew Meier could see what was needed. The Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque would have to be razed. So be it. God had made a covenant with his chosen people. He had given them the land of Palestine. To the Jews, not the pagan Arabs who were trying to steal Jacob's birthright. Satan's monuments must give way to the House of God.

The plans for the Temple had been drawn up, Meier had confided. Most of the stones had already been cut and stored away in hidden places. Dozens of craftsmen were at work molding the temple artifacts and weaving the priestly garments. In a few select religious schools, students were being trained to perform animal sacrifices as carefully prescribed in the book of Leviticus.

Fresh blood would once again be dashed at the base of the altar. Why not? OJ thought. Life is in the blood. And without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin. But the oblations wouldn't be just lambs and oxen. Not this time. Not when the armies of man gathered around Jerusalem like vultures around a carcass.

The Lord had long delayed his coming. But now, perhaps, the Apocalypse was truly at hand. Likewise the day of the Rapture, when true Christians would rise to meet their Lord. A time of rejoicing whose proximity would be signalled by the building of the Third Temple.

OJ comforted himself with that thought the rest of the way to the airport.

* * *

When he had founded Trans-Global Consultants, Edward M. Lodge had selected Philadelphia for his base of operations. It was centrally located, only an hour away from New York by the Amtrak Metroliner, and two-and-a-half hours from Washington, D.C. Office space was cheap, and there was privacy of a sort unobtainable in either of the other two cities, where many of the better restaurants had been bugged for years.

Trans-Global had since provided services to both private and governmental organizations, including Lodge's former employer, the CIA. Given the leaky sieve of Congressional oversight committees, which were manned by rival political factions fighting over control of the intelligence bureaucracy, many of the latter projects took the form of private consultations to private individuals, some of whom happened to be intelligence officers. The funding also came from private sources, usually from companies who could recoup by overcharging on on-going government contracts. This arrangement gave both Trans-Global and Trans-Global's clients a good deal of flexibility.

The upsurge of fundamentalism at the beginning of the 1970s had brought a potent new force into American politics, and a decade later Trans-Global had been retained to monitor political attitudes and activities. Lodge had developed a network of informants in all the major fundamentalist and evangelical groups. Literature and media output was scanned for political content, and this was summarized and filed for reference. Careful notes were also kept on the major players, men like Oral Jerry Swagger, and their contacts and habits and personal sexual peccadillos. On occasion these files were selectively leaked to bring about a leadership change, or to exert subtle pressure on a group in a direction desired by a Trans-Global client.

For reasons known only to himself, Lodge had assigned the operation the codename PIGEON. Some thought the name derived from the ditty he occasionally recited while going over reports:

We place no reliance
On virgin or pigeon;
Our Method is Science,
The Target is Religion.

Others thought it referred to the traditional esteem Columba livia bestowed on public monuments.

Shortly after initiating PIGEON, Lodge had made all his employees watch the French documentary Idi Amin Dada. He never explained why, but many of them had been struck with the Ugandan president's revelation he obtained instructions on government decisions through voices and dreams. Amin was a traditional tribal leader who swaggered and boasted, who ate the hearts of his enemies to acquire their courage, and who had fathered more than a hundred children upon his stable of wives. At least some of the employees saw that Amin's worldview was a vision easily manipulated.

Amin had confessed to the camera that he had been able to obtain "secret" Israeli documents containing Israel's plans for world conquest. Israel would be very upset if they knew he had them, Amin said. The Ugandan leader had then produced an old hard-bound copy of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, the classic work on the International Jewish Banking Conspiracy, fabricated in 1903 by the Czarist secret police from a French satire, Dialogue aux Enfers entre Machiavel et Montesquieu, by Maurice Joly. Amin apparently had no conception of the incongruity of Israel's "secret" documents available from a book publisher, and printed long before the founding of the state. Such a man was ripe for psychological manipulation by the right operative, like the one who had provided him with the book in question.

Although he never said so to his employees, Lodge viewed fundamentalist Christians in pretty much the same light as he viewed Amin. A dumb SOB born in, say, 1955 is positive that the selective interpretation of a compilation of writings arrived at through a complex and obscure political process, about which he knows little or nothing, is "God's Truth" just because a publisher serves it up with "Holy Bible" printed on the cover, and another dumb SOB reads it from the pulpit. The same suckers were likely to revere King James English as the language spoken by Jesus and the Apostles.

The most difficult aspect to PIGEON was finding good informers and analysts. He had tried some academic sociologist types as researchers, but they seemed to be more interested in methodology and theories than in careful investigation, and they often placed an excessive reliance on printed literature. Lodge himself firmly believed in the OSS principle that you only put into a file what you wanted to be found later. And, for the same reason, he knew you couldn't understand a group just by analyzing its publications or reading stolen memos. Truth is not to be found in paper documents.

Ex-fundamentalists who had held influential posts were often more sensitive to the impact that personalities, organizational structure, and subtle doctrinal points could have on political orientation. But most of that lot were still crusaders of a sort, or else were so mentally fucked-up he wouldn't have hired them to sharpen pencils, much less do analysis.

Informants were a different matter. Here you couldn't be too picky: you had to take whomever you could get. But then all you needed was someone with inside information. You didn't care about his or her motivation for supplying it, just as long as the information itself was reliable.

It was a West German source, curiously, and not his man in Pasadena who had told him about Homer Nilmot. Homer was reputed to be a bright young chap who had once worked for Oral Jerry Swagger--with whom he was disillusioned-- as an analyst of other, competing fundamentalist and evangelical groups.

The recruitment of Homer--first as informer, then as employee--had been easy. Lodge had said he wanted Homer to help monitor the secular activities of American millennialists. He made the pitch--it was more than a pitch, he thought --that their apocalyptic political orientation was dangerous because it promoted military confrontation in the Middle East and was conducive to nuclear brinkmanship. Homer would have the chance to help prevent nuclear war.

Lodge knew that Homer, like other followers of the Oral Jerry Swagger, believed he had a unique handle on the "truth". Homer's views had undoutedly varied over time, given his disillusionment with Oral Jerry Swagger, but in his new job, as in his previous one, Homer would continue to view other groups as "false Christians" in some sense. Homer would interpret his religious background as "preparation" for his new role. And there were powerful economic incentives: Religious Analyst was one of the few occupations Homer was really trained for.

Lodge had figured Homer would find the job offer irresistible. And he had been right. The hire had been fortuitous. For it was only a few months afterward that Trans-Global received its contract on Oral Jerry Swagger. And Lodge had lept to the task at hand with an enthusiasm he hadn't felt for years. Homer's help made it all the more delicious.

* * *

I had naively expected to show up at the door to the Jack Parsons Memorial Society, seek out the Society historian, and find The Answer in a leather-bound folio. Instead I had reached a dead end at a postal box.

But the key to doing research is to renew the search. Eventually the universe conspires to deliver what you're looking for. That's what happened in the case of Jack Parsons.

The day started slowly. I had breakfast in the Cafe Madagascar at the Pasadena Hilton. The huevos verdes and coffee.

Then I drove up California Blvd. to Cal Tech and parked by a sign that said 30 minutes parking at all times. I went into the Robert Andrews Millikan Memorial Library but didn't find anything helpful. Afterward I passed by the Karman Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics & Jet Propulsion on my way to the Aeronautics Library in the Guggenheim building.

In the January 1938 issue of Astronautics: The Journal of the American Rocket Society, I found this note:

"Latest of educational institutions to join the rocket research profession is California Institute of Technology.

"Frank J. Malina of the Daniel Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of California Institute, in collaboration with Mr. Jack Parsons of the Halifax Powder Company, and others, has begun experimental rocket motor studies. Preliminary tests have already been run with motors burning gaseous oxygen and methyl alcohol on a simple proving stand equipped with a thrust-recording drum. Plans are underway for a complete testing laboratory."

An article by Jack Parsons and Ed Forman appeared in the August 1939 issue. They had used the law of the conservation of momentum to measure the thermal efficiency of various rocket fuel powders.

The scientific approach of Parsons and Forman contrasted with research being conducted elsewhere. In the April 1940 journal I read a letter from the Philatelic Club of Cuba Rocket-Postal Commission. The Postal Commission had experimentally launched a few pounds of mail for a short distance in an overgrown 4th of July rocket.

I had often suspected some of my own mail was delivered in a similar manner.

The July 1940 issue of the journal reported an interesting item from the June 26 New York Times:

"Pasadena, California.

"A discussion of the use of rocket motors for propelling airplanes, set for today's session of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, was cancelled on recommendation of the Army. The cancellation was made without explanation."

The date was well before Pearl Harbor, but the Army had already gone into action, classifying GALCIT's war-related research. It gave you the idea they had already decided to get into the war.

I had xeroxed the article by Parsons and Forman, as well as a later one on GALCIT. The copies were laying on the table in front of me, and caught the eye of a grad student sharing the same table.

"Doing a history of JPL?" he asked casually.

"Actually I'm doing research on one of JPL's founders, a fellow named Jack Parsons," I said.

He looked me over carefully. "What do you want to know about Jack Parsons?"

"How he lived. What he did. How he died. Basic stuff like that."

"Jack Parsons was always trying to get off," the student mused.

"So I heard." Possibly he was referring to Parsons' sex magic.

He continued: "Parsons' work in rocketry lead him to correspond with Igor Sikorsky, the pioneer Russian helicopter designer. Parsons read Sikorsky's autobiography The Story of the Winged-S when it was published in 1938. When Igor Sikorsky was eleven he had a dream of walking along a luxurious passageway, with carpet on the floor and walnut doors on either side. A spherical electric light on the ceiling gave out a bluish glow. Sikorsky felt a vibration under his feet, and was not surprised it differed from a train or a steamer, because he knew he was on a large flying ship in the air.

"Thirty-one years later, in 1931, his company Sikorsky Aircraft delivered the S-40 to Pan American Airways. The S-40 was a four-engine plane christened `the American Clipper'. After it had been outfitted with interior furnishings, Sikorsky took a flight in it as a passenger with the Pan American Board of Directors and, noting the furnishings in surprise, found himself standing in the corridor of his dream. Much of Sikorsky's life had been programmed by a childhood vision of his future self flying.

"Jack Parsons had also heard from Arthur Young, who was then designing the Bell Model 47, which was awarded the world's first commercial helicopter license. Young had come to believe that he was really working on a `psychopter', a vehicle for the winged self, for which the helicopter was only the outer form.

"Parsons was tremendously excited by the examples of Sikorsky and Young because their search, like his, was the product of a deeply-felt internal, one might say mystical, vision.

" `We're all prisoners at the bottom of a 4000-foot gravity well,' Jack used to say. `We'll never be free until gravity's tyranny is toppled.' "

"Gravity's tyranny?" I repeated.

"Parsons believed man's evolution to this point had been largely controlled by Ialdabaoth, the God of Genesis in Gnostic tradition, a basically earthbound presence whose intention was to hold man in slavery through ignorance. Ialdabaoth was one sense man's creator, but was also an evil tyrant who wanted his creation to obey him and believe everything he said with no questions asked. He would go into a rage at the first sign of individual initiative or independence of thought, like the experimental process of eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. The latter was `original sin'."

I didn't say anything. I just listened.

"Not a nice guy, Ialdabaoth. He existed on a regular diet of human- provided sacrificial blood, for example. He was pleased with Abel, the shepherd, because Abel made animal offerings out of the flocks he tended. But Cain, the farmer, was rejected because he could only offer fruits and vegetables from the field.

"Ialdabaoth's control somehow depended on man remaining a terrestrial creature. By contrast to Ialdabaoth, there was Lucifer, the light-bringer, the Serpent, or Prometheus, who wished to release mankind from the bonds of ignorance, and, by analogy, from his earthly prison. Lucifer's sin was the attempt to ascend into the heavens, so the legend of Lucifer cast down to earth symbolizes man's imprisonment in, among other things, Ialdabaoth's gravitational gridlock."

"You seem to be awfully well-informed about Jack Parsons," I said. I emphasized "awfully" to see what reaction it would provoke.

He grinned. "Let me introduce myself. I'm Srinivasa Muthuswamy, Secretary-Treasurer of the Jack Parsons Memorial Society. Just call me Renny."


"What kind of people join the Jack Parsons Memorial Society, Renny?"

"Oh, we're mostly a group of space freaks, longevity researchers, nanotechnology enthusiasts, acid heads, ceremonial magicians, upwinger futurists, cyberpunkers, scifi afficionados. Largely libertarians, believers in free markets and free minds, although we tolerate most anyone who has an interest in Jack Parsons--like a few Randroid Objectivists who are still explaining the rational criteria that make Rachmaninoff a greater composer than Bach."

"Rachmaninoff was a greater composer than Bach," I said.

Renny nodded thoughtfully, then grinned.

"And Jack Parsons built better rockets than Isaac Newton," he replied.

"So getting outside gravity's stranglehold was all part of Parsons' search for liberation?"

"That's right," Renny said. "Parsons was always talking about a `Rocket to Amargi.' "
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:12 am

Part 11: The Book of the Antichrist

The Oral Jerry Swagger had five homes, now, scattered across the U.S., including one on the East Coast, near Philadelphia where he had had the meeting with Larry Meier. But his house in Pasadena--it was a mansion, really--was in some sense his real home, his base. For it was in Pasadena that he had gotten his start, building a radio empire that reached listeners around the globe.

In more recent years more and more of the media budget had been devoted to television, but although the work had continued to grow, viewers had never quite trusted his image the same way listeners had trusted his voice.

OJ's home in Pasadena was his favorite, but he only opened it to special visitors. God was a planner, a builder, and He in no way scorned wealth. But OJ was wary of the slew of media stories that had once alluded to the opulence of his home's furnishings. "Gold brick- a-brack" they had written.

Illiterate reporters. Uncultured, slovenly scribblers. They seemed incapable of understanding the finer things of life.

To the Oral Jerry Swagger, culture had always connoted British royalty, and he had decorated his home with quality purchases from Harrods in London--articles he had selected himself. Yes, there was goldware at the dinner table, but that was a matter of respect. Carnal, material people--the kings and prime ministers and educators he invited as weekend guests--only respected material possessions. And if they paid homage to a Man of God for the wrong reasons--well, it was still better to be respected than not.

It was good to get back to the West Coast. He always slept better in Pasadena. The nightmares of years past ("that thing" was the way he thought of it now) had gradually faded, and he normally felt the security of being surrounded by the familiar and precious things God had given him.

But for some reason tonight, his first day back from the East Coast, he turned and tossed, and when he would briefly awaken, he seemed to hear voices echoing in the room. Perhaps he had a touch of fever, he thought.

But later he realized he was sleeping restfully. "See, I am sleeping peacefully," he said to someone in his dream. Then, silently, to himself: "You are dreaming." Space and time slowly solidified, and in his dream he was consciously aware of that time in the early days of his organization, when the security guards had rounded up a crazed prophet who was wandering the property. Being a little unsure of themselves, they had brought him to OJ's private office. The man had focused his gaze in awe above OJ's head, and asked: "How is it possible that both an angel and a demon hover over you at the same time?"

At that time it had made OJ's hair stand on end to discover the war in heaven taking place so close to home. Even now, awake in his dream, he involuntarily glanced up over his head, and saw a cowled figure hovering. There was a blurry mist where the face should be. He opened his eyes and sat up with a start.

Was he awake, or just dreaming he was awake? OJ turned on the light. Yes, he was definitely in his own room. He started to swing back the covers, but then felt the wetness under his hand. There was a line of white across the bed.

He sniffed his fingers. The smell was briny. He brushed the white line with a finger and sniffed again. It was ocean foam. Somewhere he thought he heard a door click.

Quickly he picked up the phone to summon the housekeeper. Was she staying tonight? He really didn't know. And it didn't matter. The line was dead.

OJ rose quickly and began to turn on all the lights. The bedroom light. The light in his adjacent study. The third floor hall light. Nothing. Gradually he worked his way through the house, turning on all the lights. There was no one there. He picked up the phone again. The line was good.

He dialed Security. "Yes, Mr. Swagger," the voice answered promptly.

"I thought I heard someone trying to break into the house."

"We'll be right there, Mr. Swagger. Do you want us to come inside?"

"No. No, just check around the outside. What time is it?"

"It's ten minutes after 4 o'clock, sir."

OJ returned to the third floor, leaving all the lights on. I need to settle down, he thought. He remembered he had unopened mail in his study. He would look through it.

And that was when he saw the book, lying there in the center of his desk. It hadn't been there earlier in the evening. The Book of the Antichrist. He knew the author. He could never forget the name.

Jack Parsons.

Involuntarily OJ sat down at his desk, and began to read the dimly remembered passages.

The Black Pilgrimage

Now it came to pass even as BABALON told me, for after receiving her Book I fell away from Magick, and put away Her Book and all pertaining thereto. And I was stripped of my fortune, (the sum of about $50,000) and my house, and all I possessed.

Then for a period of two years I worked in the world, recouping my fortune somewhat. But that was also taken from me, and my reputation, and my good name in my worldly work, that was in science.

And on the 31st of October, 1984, BABALON called on me again, and I began the last work, that was the work of the wand. And I worked for 17 days, until BABALON called me in a dream, and instructed me on an astral working. Then I reconstructed the temple, and began the Black Pilgrimage, as She instructed.

And I went into the sunset with Her sign and into the night past accursed and desolate places and cyclopean ruins, and so came at last to the City of Chorazin. And there a great tower of Black Basalt was raised, that was part of a castle whose further battlements ruled over the gulf of stars. And upon the tower was this sign.

And one heavily robed and veiled showed me this sign, and told me to look, and behold, I saw flash before me four past lives wherein I had failed in my object. And I beheld the life of Simon Magus, preaching the Whore Helen as the Sophia, and I saw that my failure was in Hubris, the pride of the spirit. And I saw my life as Giles de Retz, wherein I attempted to raise Jehanne d'Ark to be Queen of the Witchcraft, and failed through her stupidity, and again my pride. And I saw myself in Francis Hepburne, Earl Bothwell, manipulating Gille Duncan, that was an unworthy instrument.

And again as Count Cagliostro, failing because I failed to comprehend the nature of women in my Seraphina. And I was shown myself as a boy of 13 in this life, invoking Satan and showing cowardice when He appeared. And I was asked: "Will you fail again?" and I replied "I will not fail." (For I had given all by blood to BABALON, and it was not I that spoke.)

And thereafter I was taken within and saluted the Prince of that place, and thereafter things were done to me of which I may not write, and they told me, "It is not certain that you will survive, but if you survive you will attain your true will, and manifest the Antichrist."

And thereafter I returned and swore the Oath of the Abyss, having only the choice between madness, suicide, and that oath. But the oath in no wise ameliorated that terror, and I continued in the madness and horror of the abyss for a season. But of this no more. But having passed the ordeal of 40 days, I took the oath of a Magister Templi, even the Oath of Antichrist before Frater 132, the Unknown God.

And thus was I Antichrist loosed in the world; and to this I am pledged, that the work of the Beast 666 shall be fulfilled, and the way for the coming of BABALON be made open and I shall not cease or rest until these things are accomplished. And to this end I have issued this my Manifesto.

Belarion Armituss AL
Dagjal Antichrist

Jack Parsons
First revealed Oct. 31, 1984 e.v.

OJ stared at the final page for a long time. The date was altered, OJ knew. 1984: the name of George Orwell's novel. Orwell had originally titled it 1948, because the events he was writing about were occurring in his own time. But an editor thought the title too controversial, and so had inverted the last two digits. The correct date in Jack Parson's book was 1948.

Yes, OJ remembered Jack Parson's book well. It had been given to him in 1952 when he was a young man twenty-two years of age. And he remembered the other book, also: 1984. The substitution meant someone knew. Someone knew the evil that he, OJ, had once done and forever atoned for.

"That thing" had returned to haunt him. And there, sitting at his desk, with all the lights on, surrounded by the Godly culture of Harrods, the terror swept over him like a tidal wave.

* * * * *

Dean Malik sat at one of the small round tables in the basement of Larry Blake's Bar on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, California, nursing a Dos Equis. The baseball game was still playing on the wide screen, which would soon be rolled up to make way for the band. He wasn't sure who was on. Perhaps Pamela Rose and Peter Walsh with The Blue Monday Party.

Zak, sitting across from him, blew smoke at the exposed pipes hanging from the ceiling. Dean could tell he was tense. But then Zak was always that way, veins filled with a natural flow of amphetamines.

"You've gone over everything?"

"I've been through it. There won't be any mistakes," Dean said.

Dean's real name was Salah ad-Din, but they had always called him Dean at school. He was the son of a former consular official. Zak was Yitzhaq Adolph Alfasi.

"I thought Jews didn't name their kids Adolph anymore," Dean had remarked, on hearing the decipherment of the middle initial.

Zak had shrugged. "I was named after my grandfather."

The explanation made partial sense to Dean. Zak's other grandfather was Yitzhaq. Not much you could do about the balance of genealogical power.

"I have to have it on tape, the documents prove nothing," Zak said.

"You'll have it." A short pause. "Provided you have the money."

The band began setting up. There was a bald man with a small pony tail. And a girl singer who looked something like Bette Midler.

It was a dangerous game Zak was playing, Dean mused. Crossing your own people. Not that Dean cared. The Institute can go to hell, he thought, but without passion. A long time ago they had killed Dean's father at Cannes, where the family had gone for vacation. His father had been standing on a balcony below an apartment owned by an important PLO official when the Mossad had cut him in half with a Kalashnikov. The choice of weapon was apparently meant to imply a Palestinian internal dispute. But the deception was ineffective because they had assassinated the wrong man. The police were already there when Dean and his mother returned from the beach, and Dean remembered thinking irrelevantly that now they wouldn't be taking the boat over to the Iles de Lerins, to see the cell of the Man in the Iron Mask at Ste. Marguerite.

Some friends got them a room at the Hotel Carlton on the Rue du Canada, and at breakfast the next day he heard people talking, shaking their heads over the mistake, but saying when you got down to it all these Arabs looked alike.

What makes you think it was the Mossad, Zak had asked, when Dean told him the story.

The DGSE had the apartment under surveillance, Dean said, using the French initials for La Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure. They had taken a photo of a man in the hedge moments before the killing. The man had been identified as an agent of Mossad.

Zak didn't believe it. Mossad assassins killed at close range with .22 Berettas. They checked their victims carefully so no mistakes were made. They normally avoided noisy attention-attracting weapons. You looked your man in the eye, the Beretta went poof- poof, and you slipped away quietly.

Dean snorted in derision. Zak was a romantic. The Mossad made mistakes like everyone else. Dean had also read the self-serving propaganda, he said, seen it in a film or two--Israeli agents wrestling with issues of morality. Bullshit. The implication seemed to be that assassination was okay as long as you had a conscience. As for innocent by- standers, Dean figured the Mossad was like any other outfit of its kind: some might agonize over the death of innocent by-standers, but most would shrug it off as as one of the risks of war. And the more fanatical wouldn't concern themselves at all, as long as the by- standers were Arab, the only good Arab being a dead one. Just like in the West Bank: when soldiers couldn't get at the actual rock-throwers, they just shot any Palestinian youth who was handy.

But Zak said it probably really was Palestinian infighting. Palestinians were always killing off each other. The rival gang had simply mistaken Dean's father for the PLO official upstairs.

All Mossad hits are palmed off as Palestinian infighting, Dean replied. The U.S. press dutifully passed along that interpretation because the press was centered in New York, hardly a city with an unbiased view of world politics. Christ, the city was mostly Jews and Puerto Ricans.

Had Dean seen the photograph? Zak wanted to know.

Yes, he had.

How did he really know when, or under what circumstances, the photo was taken? He only had the DGSE's word for that.

Dean didn't argue the point. But he couldn't see the French external intelligence service had any motive to lie about it.

As one blues number started, some girls got up and begin dancing on the side of the room away from the stairs. Dean watched one of the girls with interest. Tight blue jeans were one of his adolescent sexual imprints, and this girl had his number. He watched the girl's undulating bottom as he thought about the Haram es-Sharif, the Temple Mount, the focus of all this duplicity.

Es-Sakhra, the large Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount, was reputedly the spot where Abraham had built an altar to sacrifice his son. The Stone later served as the location of the Holy of Holies of the First and Second Jewish Temples. After the destruction of the Second Temple, the same spot was chosen by the Roman Emperor Hadrian for a new Tripartite Temple dedicated to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva.

Then for a time the area had remained barren. When Omar Ibn Kittab conquered Jerusalem in 638 A.D., he was shocked at the Temple Mount's filthy condition and ordered it cleaned. At that time it was called Al Aqsa, "the distant place." It was the spot where a few years earlier Mohammed had ended his aerial night journey from Mecca, then ascended to heaven on the flying horse Burak.

Over the Foundation Stone, which marked the actual spot of Mohammed's ascent, the Caliph Abd-el-Malik erected an octagonal monument, the Dome of the Rock, in 691. El-Malik's son el-Walid added another building in 705: the Al Aqsa Mosque at the southern end of the Temple square. The latter structure was built on an unstable foundation of rubble, and was consequently destroyed by earthquake a number of times, and had to be repeatedly rebuilt.

Christian Crusaders took Jerusalem in 1099, and the first Christian Kings of Jerusalem used the Al Aqsa Mosque as their palace. Then administration of the Mount was turned over to the Knights Templar. Al Aqsa, which the Templars renamed Solomon's Temple, served as the Templar headquarters, and the Dome of the Rock became the Templum Domini, the Temple of the Lord.

"You sure you want to do this?" Dean asked Zak.

"Yes, I'm sure."

"Tell me something. When you enter the Temple Mount through the Moroccan Gate--that is, walking up the ramp past the Wailing Wall--there is a large sign, put there by the Chief Rabbis of Israel, saying under Jewish law it is forbidden for anyone to enter the Temple Mount area. Why is that? Why won't Orthodox Jews go there?"

"No one is qualified to sacrifice the Red Heifer," Zak said.

Dean listened to the band for a while. "I don't get it," he said finally.

"All Jews have been unclean since about the Sixth Century A.D."

"Why is that?"

"In Jewish law you become unclean in various ways. Like being around the dead bodies of other Jews, for example. Say you go to a hospital where there's a corpse or visit a cemetary. Once you become unclean you are prohibited from entering sacred areas like the Temple until you go through the cleansing ritual of Numbers 19. To do that you need the scouring power of the water of impurity, containing the ashes of a sacrificed Red Heifer. You take an unblemished Red Heifer, slay it outside the camp, and burn it with cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet string. Then you put the ashes in the water."

"So why don't the Orthodox do just that?"

"Only a Jewish priest who is clean can sacrifice the Red Heifer. The problem is there aren't any clean Jewish priests, because they need the ashes of a Red Heifer to become clean."

"So there is no way out of the dilemma."

"Not for most Jews. They have to wait until the Messiah comes. Others theorize there might be Red Heifer ashes buried in a jar somewhere under the Temple Mount."

"But if it is forbidden them to enter the sacred ground of the Mount, they obviously couldn't dig for ashes."

"They could tunnel under. That would be okay, because sacredness extends upward, not downward. That's why El Al doesn't fly over the Temple Mount: it would be violating sacred air space. The flights to Johannesburg used to fly over it, but planes are now prohibited from doing that. But you could look for jars of Red Heifer ashes if you first dug a tunnel under the Mount, then searched in an upward direction while staying below the surface."

It made sense to Dean. Total sense. He now knew exactly what Larry Meier was up to.

* * * * *

No man can serve two masters, Zak thought to himself, leaving the meeting with Dean. But then, he, Zak, never had. Sure, he had led Dean to think his game was one of betrayal. Just as he had told Larry Meier what Larry Meier wanted to hear. But neither Dean nor anyone else knew who Zak's true masters were.

Zak didn't think of them as masters. What he was doing was . . . a joint operation. A breathing together. Half the time he didn't understand what he was doing himself. But it gave his life a higher, nobler purpose.

Early on the Hoova messengers had informed Zak they came from thousands of light-years in the future. He puzzled over the seemingly nonsensical statement for many days. Had he understood them correctly?

He remembered from high school physics that a light-year was a measure of distance, not of time. One light-year was the distance light travelled in a year: about six-trillion miles. How was it possible someone resided light-years in the future?

The answer came to him one day when he heard a friend say, "I live twenty minutes away."

His friend could have said, "I live five miles away." But knowing the actual distance was less helpful: depending on the speed of traffic it might take you five minutes to go those five miles, or it might take you an hour. Most people in daily life were more concerned with the time it took to get from here to there, so they used a time-measure of distance: twenty minutes away.

In a similar way, Zak realized, the Hoovans used a distance-measure of time: the number of miles they had to travel to get from Then back to Now. How far they had to travel depended on the rate of time flow. Zak wrote it out in the form of an equation. If T was the number of years the Hoovans came back into the past; D, the number of miles they had to travel to get here; and c, the speed of light in miles per year, then the expression

D - (cT)

would be invariant in any inertial frame of reference. Was that right?

Zak was attending Cal State Los Angeles at the time contact was made. Cal State L.A. was a commuter college perched on top of a semi-isolated hill, and the nearest free parking was in an ungraded dirt lot a quarter of mile away. Zak would walk from the lot to the edge of campus, then climb the wooden steps up the vertical hillside, arriving at the summit totally exhausted. From the summit's far side was a commanding view of the freeway interchange below.

Zak was an indifferent student. He worked most days for a roofing company, and his attendance at Cal State L.A. was dictated by its full selection of evening classes. He had Fridays off, however, and it was the one day he arrived on campus early.

Streaking was popular among students that summer, and one Friday at high noon four of them took off their clothes, and went running along the campus's central walkway. Their timing was impeccable. The college was seeking to end the fad, and the following week two other streakers were arrested and formally charged with indecent exposure. Plea bargaining was allowed, however, and the pair were released when they agreed to publish a confession in the student newspaper, urging any would-be future streakers to get psychological counselling and avoid a criminal record.

Zak remembered the streaking episode well, because Hoova made contact the next day. Zak was laying shakes at a house in La Crescenta, and had worked late to finish a section of roof. He would tack a one-by-four on top of the row below as a guide to keep the next row of shakes even. Then he would drive two nails through the top of each shake into the underlying wood of the roof. Next he would roll out a layer of tar paper to cover the row of nails, sliding it far enough down to secure against leakage around the holes, but not so far the paper would show once covered with another row of shakes.

Louie had come by during the afternoon to check on progress and to deliver the latest jokes. "Hey, Zak, you know the difference between a penis and a paycheck? . . . You don't have to beg your wife to blow your paycheck."

Zak had grinned at that one. Louie's wife spent a lot a money on clothes, but always managed to look like a tramp anyway.

"This lawyer is praying, `Oh Lord, give me that million- dollar case.' The Devil appears, and says, `You're asking the wrong person. I'll give it to you, but I want something in return.' `Sure, anything,' the lawyer says. `I want your soul, your wife's soul, the souls of your parents, and the souls of your three children.' And the lawyer says, `Okay. What's the catch?' "

A few hours later it had become too dark to see, and Zak was rolling up the power cord of the circular saw. As he looked up at the mountains to the north, a bright light suddenly appeared. At first he thought a plane had just turned on its landing lights. But that didn't make sense: no landing approach angled down from the mountain crest. Then he sensed a warmth as the light fluctuated in a slow rhythm. He felt his own pulse, but his heart beat was more rapid than the cycles that came from the unknown plane.

No, not plane, he felt suddenly. Whatever he was seeing was alive.

The light vanished as abruptly as it had materialized. Something significant had occurred, Zak thought, but he wasn't sure what. He had a strange sense of anticipation which lasted the rest of the weekend. By Monday, however, he had pretty much forgotten the incident.

In the morning he begged off time from work to drive over to Wilshire to talk to the owner of the apartment complex where he lived. Zak himself was the resident manager, and got a free apartment and a minuscule salary in return for doing miscellaneous chores, but he was getting tired of unclogging garbage disposals for families who let their kids throw plastic jacks into the kitchen sink.

The owner's office was on the tenth floor, and Zak subconsciously noted that nine people got on the elevator in the first floor lobby. Each pushed a different button, lighting up floors two through ten. Zak was amazed. He began to calculate the odds of this happening.

Under random ordering, nine people could fit into nine floors in 9^9 (nine to the ninth power) possible ways. But each getting off at a different floor was a case of sampling without replacement. Any one of the nine could get off at the second floor, any one of the remaining eight could get off at the third floor, etc. So there were 9! (nine factorial) total ways for the group of nine to each get off at a different floor. Thus the probability of what had happened was 9!/9^9. Or about .0009. The chance was less than one in a thousand.

The elevator had a programmed voice that announced each arriving floor, and the last passenger excepting Zak got off on nine.

Zak arrived at the tenth floor an hour later.

Or by his watch it was an hour later. According to the building clocks, he had been between floors only a few seconds, and was easily on time for his appointment.

Zak didn't know what had happened to his watch. But that night as he was falling asleep, he remembered what had occurred just after the door closed on the ninth floor.

The elevator's programmed voice had begun to speak to him.
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:14 am

Part 12: Stairway from Heaven

In Philadelphia Homer Nilmot stewed. He had expected to be taken into Edward Lodge's confidence, but the information flow had been one-way. Homer didn't demand much in the way of salary and perks. But he wanted to feel needed. To be in the know. To be a part of the decision-making process. Yet after pumping him relentlessly about Oral Jerry Swagger's history, Edward Lodge had proceeded with the operation without making Homer privy to the details.

Homer had to know what was happening. That, he knew, had been one of the reasons he had broken with Oral Jerry Swagger. And, as in those days, he now found himself standing on a step ladder, pushing up the acoustical tile in the ceiling, and sticking his head through the opening to take a look around.

Nothing more than a tight crawl space above an aluminum frame. Was it structurally stable? His weight might bring the whole ceiling crashing down into the room.

It had been easier back at OJS headquarters in Pasadena. There, in the area above the fourth, or top, floor had been a small catwalk alongside the air conditioning ducts. So if you pulled the ladder up behind you, you could then move from office to office, dropping in at will after removing a ceiling panel and lowering the ladder like a stairway from heaven. It had been simple to bypass door locks and security alarms.

The best, safest time had been in the middle of the night, when he would make his way through Oral Jerry Swagger's desk drawers and filing cabinets, reading the letters and the memos, perusing the strategy papers he was normally denied access to.

There was no one to whom Homer could have justified his activities, in those days. No one but himself. They wouldn't understand his dedication and his desire to know. He just needed to understand, he had told himself, so that he could be of greatest assistance to the Work. So that he could make the maximum contribution. He wasn't stealing, trespassing, he told himself. But he had been well aware he would have been fired had he been caught in the act.

Homer looked around the crawl space. The path into Edward Lodge's office looked impossible. Maybe he could remove a panel just this side of the office wall, wiggle through, and come down immediately on the other side of the wall, bracing against office furniture or the wall itself. But this appeared dangerous. He would leave marks, dust. The trail would lead right back to Homer Nilmot's own office.

Homer sighed and replaced the ceiling tile. When someone took everything you knew, and then said thank you very much, and kicked you out of the room . . . Well, it felt like mental rape. A violation of a trust. What you have to tell us is important, they seemed to be saying, but what you think about what you are saying is irrelevant.

It was worse than that, even. For Edward Lodge had brought an outsider into his deliberations. The woman. The goddess. Trisha. When Homer had first seen Trisha around the office, he had asked Lodge if she was a Trans-Global employee. No, Lodge had answered. Was she a client? No. Well, what was she? A fellow traveler, Lodge had grinned. Just a fellow traveler. For a while Homer had thought Trisha was one of Lodge's girlfriends. But that wasn't right either.

She was a fellow traveler who was involved in the operation against OJS, Homer had come to realize. When he had discovered that, he had almost spoken to her. Almost, but not actually. Women that beautiful terrified him.

Homer was sensitive to nuances. Back in Pasadena, he had first come across Jack Parsons' name in the bundle of letters Oral Jerry Swagger kept locked in his upper right desk drawer. It had been Homer's third or fourth middle-of-the-night visit to OJ's office, when he found the key hidden in the bottom of a hanging folder in one of the filing cabinets. The folder was labeled "Moriah" and contained some news clippings about the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Homer had tried the key immediately and it had fit. OJS had apparently placed the spare in an obscure location, but one easy for him to remember.

Homer had puzzled his way through the letters. The occasional references to Jack Parsons had always seemed cryptic, tinged with mystery, pregnant with meaning. But never explained.

Yet one thing had been evident. What the exact relationship had been between Parsons and OJS wasn't clear, yet the subject of Jack Parsons terrified Oral Jerry Swagger. And the letter writer was well aware of that fact, taunting the evangelist, and asking for money to help pay various medical bills.

Homer sat down at his desk and leaned back in his chair. He looked at the ladder. He would have to return it to the janitor closet before he left. He looked at his watch. It was only 8:30 p.m.

Then he thought of Sheri. She was Trisha's roommate: might she know something? No, it didn't seem plausible. Sheri was also Hermes' secretary. "We need a diversion," Lodge had said. And then he had set Hermes on the track of Parsons' killer, sending Homer himself to recruit the "ontological detective" for the job. Homer was sure that Hermes and his secretary Sheri were that diversion. Just bit players, really, to stir the waters, and to give OJS the illusion he was being pursued by a demented ex-stock broker from Philadelphia.

But Trisha might have said something to Sheri. Why she was going to the West Coast. Or why her departure coincided roughly with that of Hermes. Or whatever. Who knows what she might have let slip?

8:30 was just 5:30 in Pasadena. Sheri might well still be at the office, in case her boss called in from the West Coast. Homer picked up the phone and dialed the number for Personal Paradigms Inc.

* * * * *
Sheri had had a good day. With both Hermes and Trisha gone, she felt generally lonely, even a little lost.

Hermes had called in that morning, in a rush.

"Parsons wrote something called The Book of the Antichrist. Do we have a copy in the files somewhere?"

"How did you hear about it?" Sheri wanted to know.

"Renny told me about it. I'll explain later," Hermes had said.

Renny? Was that a man's name or a woman's name? Sheri felt an immediate prick of jealousy that there might be some woman out in Pasadena helping Hermes in his search, while she was stuck back here in Philadelphia in the dark.

But after looking through all the magic files, Sheri had eventually found a copy in a different location, tucked away with some Christian interpretations of the Book of Revelation, the Beast 666, and so on. It was a stupid filing system, Sheri had decided, much like creating an "anti" file where one placed material on the Antichrist along with scientific articles on the antiproton and political material on antidisestablishmentarianism.

She faxed a copy to Hermes at the Pasadena Hilton. Only afterward did it occur to her to wonder who would pull it off the fax machine, and whether they would read it before placing the fax in the appropriate guest mailbox. Oh, well. Pasadena was a weird place, and they had to be used to weird things like that.

Now she sat sipping frop and annotating the text of The Book of the Antichrist. Today's choice in frop beverages was an underground cola with phenylalanine, and it cleared her mind and made her heart go pitter- patter. She felt alive and excited. She planned to stay right on top of things, Renny or no Renny.

First paragraph:

Now it came to pass even as BABALON told me, for after receiving her Book I fell away from Magick, and put away Her Book and all pertaining thereto. And I was stripped of my fortune, (the sum of about $50,000) and my house, and all I possessed.

Sheri was sure this referred to Allied Enterprises, the joint venture with L. Ron Hubbard and Betty. The idea had been to buy boats cheaply on the East Coast, and then to sell them on the West Coast, where they would bring a premium. Betty was the USC coed who had been Parsons sister-in-law, and then his mistress, before devoting herself to Hubbard.

Parsons had put up most of the money in the venture, about $21,000, Sheri's information said. But Parsons had lost more money than this. $50,000, it said here in the Antichrist. And he had lost the house on South Orange Grove, the one he had inherited from his father, the one-time tycoon.

This all took place "after receiving [Babalon's] book". Allied Enterprises had been formed in January 1946 and was later dissolved in July 1946. So Parsons must have received Babylon's book before this--in 1945. That would have been when he was attempting to create a Moonchild with his new scarlet woman, Marjorie Cameron.

Sheri began flipping a pencil in the air, seeing if she could catch it by the point after two flips. It was ironic. Parsons, the Magician-Scientist "fell away from magic" at this time. And immediately things begin to go wrong. It was as though Parsons had cut off one of the founts of his genius and success.

Next paragraph:

Then for a period of two years I worked in the world, recouping my fortune somewhat. But that was also taken from me, and my reputation, and my good name in my worldly work, that was in science.

Two years. This would be approximately July 1946 to July 1948. What had happened? Parsons says he had gotten some of his fortune back, but then lost it. How? Along with his scientific reputation. Why? This was a mystery. None of the sources she and Hermes had consulted said anything about Parsons' activities during this two-year period. Hmm, hmm, hmm. A sip of frop.

And on the 31st of October, 1948, BABALON called on me again, and I began the last work, that was the work of the wand. And I worked for 17 days, until BABALON called me in a dream, and instructed me on an astral working. Then I reconstructed the temple, and began the Black Pilgrimage, as She instructed.

The work of the wand. That would be some form of sex magic. The wand was the penis. Was BABALON really just a metaphor for Marjorie Cameron? Some entity that spoke through her? Although now BABALON was speaking directly to Parsons: "BABALON called me in a dream, and instructed me on an astral working."

Then he "reconstructed the temple." This was probably a temple like the one at 1003 South Orange Grove, where the Agape Lodge had held their meetings. And then the Black Pilgrimage began. Right. What the hell was that?

And I went into the sunset with Her sign and into the night past accursed and desolate places and cyclopean ruins, and so came at last to the City of Chorazin. And there a great tower of Black Basalt was raised, that was part of a castle whose further battlements ruled over the gulf of stars. And upon the tower was this sign.

The City of Chorazin. Maybe Parsons was astral traveling. A soul (mind, nous, whatever) journey while his body stayed in California. Sheri had decided such journeys were not impossible, in principle. Was Parsons in the Middle East? Black Basalt. Wasn't the kaabah stone in Mecca constructed of Black Basalt?

And one heavily robed and veiled showed me this sign, and told me to look, and behold, I saw flash before me four past lives wherein I had failed in my object. And I beheld the life of Simon Magus, preaching the Whore Helen as the Sophia, and I saw that my failure was in Hubris, the pride of the spirit. And I saw my life as Giles de Retz, wherein I attempted to raise Jehanne d'Ark to be Queen of the Witchcraft, and failed through her stupidity, and again my pride. And I saw myself in Francis Hepburne, Earl Bothwell, manipulating Gille Duncan, that was an unworthy instrument.

Hmm. The past lives of Jack Parsons. The first one, Simon Magus, was the big bugaboo of the early church fathers. He had--according to their diatribe--been one of the primary early heretics. Simon Magus had tried to fly from a tower, or so the story went. Much like Parsons had tried to fly via his solid-fuel rockets. But Parsons had succeeded. Giles de Retz? Earl Bothwell? Sheri would have to look them up.

And again as Count Cagliostro, failing because I failed to comprehend the nature of women in my Seraphina. And I was shown myself as a boy of 13 in this life, invoking Satan and showing cowardice when He appeared. And I was asked: "Will you fail again?" and I replied "I will not fail." (For I had given all by blood to BABALON, and it was not I that spoke.)

As a boy of 13, this would be--what? 1928. Toward the end of the Roaring 20's. Parsons at 13 invoking Satan? The age of puberty. Sheri wondered what he had done and how he knew it was Satan and not some other spiritual imposter.

And thereafter I was taken within and saluted the Prince of that place, and thereafter things were done to me of which I may not write, and they told me, "It is not certain that you will survive, but if you survive you will attain your true will, and manifest the Antichrist."

What had they done to Parsons? You haven't been brainwashed until you've been brainwashed by the spirits, Hermes was fond of saying. Maybe Parsons' experience was positive. But maybe it was a spiritual mind-fuck. Either way he had been through Chapel Perilous.

And thereafter I returned and swore the Oath of the Abyss, having only the choice between madness, suicide, and that oath. But the oath in no wise ameliorated that terror, and I continued in the madness and horror of the abyss for a season. But of this no more. But having passed the ordeal of 40 days, I took the oath of a Magister Templi, even the Oath of Antichrist before Frater 132, the Unknown God.

Frater 132 would be Wilfred Smith. The former head of the Agape Lodge whom Crowley had expelled. The one who had run off with Parsons' wife Helen. Apparently he was still around. This was in 1948, Sheri reflected. Crowley had died in December 1947.

And thus was I Antichrist loosed in the world; and to this I am pledged, that the work of the Beast 666 shall be fulfilled, and the way for the coming of BABALON be made open and I shall not cease or rest until these things are accomplished. And to this end I have issued this my Manifesto.

Belarion Armituss AL
Dagjal Antichrist

Jack Parsons
First revealed Oct. 31, 1948 e.v.

Well, at least Parsons had a mission.
The phone rang, and Sheri picked it up, expecting to hear Hermes again.

It was Homer Nilmot instead. Theme and variation on the letter "H", Sheri thought. Hermes was the Greek messenger of the gods. But "Homer"? That was a hick name. Why didn't Homer change it? Sheri thought all this. But what she said was:

"Yeah, Mr. Nilmot. What can I do for you?"

* * * * *
Zak gradually learned that Hoova was a sort of messenger. As best he could determine, Hoova, coming as it (as they?) did from the future, was in all probability simply a forward version of humanity itself. Hoovans had long since disgarded ordinary biochemical bodies and now existed as personality/character recordings in some unknown, but more permanent, medium. In that form they controlled their ships, which were, in truth, mobile homes. They were virtually immortal.

Hoova was only one genre of a hierarchy of messengers. At the top of the pyramid were the Nine Controllers of the Universe. Zak wasn't exactly sure what Controllers did, but he understood the Nine were responsible for his own contact.

Sometimes Hoova would leave messages on his telephone answering machine, or on the tape recorder which he left unplugged in a nearby desk drawer. After he had listened to a tape, he would later find it had erased itself. Sometimes the tape disappeared entirely.

To avoid socio-political disturbances, the Hoovans had elected to contact selected humans in a manner that would avoid much tangible evidence for their existence. Thus if their alien presence became psychologically intolerable to the public, an automatic process of reaction would reduce the credibility of such contact.

The Hoovans explained their conditioning process thusly: "The surge of interest in ufos will soon peak, then gradually fall out of fashion. Then we will see what came in with the tide. We work in periodic waves. The force of each wave crests, then ebbs in preparation for a new surge. The ebb period is important, for it allows the debris and jetsam to drift away, leaving the sands clean for a new impression. Each successive surge, proportionate to its power, generates a foam of premature credulity and false or half-false contacts, along with a scum of books, talks, efforts, frauds, and talk-show clackings. During the ebb period, the latter are blown away by the winds of common sense. The lack of immediate re-inforcement allows the idle- and weak-minded to turn the inconstancy of their attention elsewhere.

"One of our most important pieces of work was to foster the rise of metaphysical sensationalism in The Weekly World News, The National Inquirer, and similar publications. The public is bombarded daily with news of Bermuda triangle disappearances, teenagers pregnant by Bigfoot, ufo crews in Moscow hospitals, Presidents who consult astrologers, three-headed babies who speak six languages, ghosts aboard 737s, killers possessed by a family pet, and secret races dwelling at the center of the moon. The sheer number of outrageous reports leads the educated public to believe none of them. The signal has been effectively obscured by a barrage of noise."

Despite the attempted explanation, it was not clear to Zak what Hoova was up to. Hoova frequently talked about peace and seemed to have an inordinate interest in the Middle East. Because, they said, they had first landed in Jerusalem thousands of years ago. Zak thought about it. If the Hoovans were really from the future, what the fuck were they doing in Jerusalem thousands of years ago? It was one more of a growing list of Hoova enigmas.

For a season Zak hypothesized Hoova was a group of Cosmic Clowns, out to have a good time by razzing the natives.

On one occasion Hoova informed him its agents had infiltrated U.S. and U.S.S.R. military bases and had determined that the Arab-Israeli confrontation in the Middle East had increased the probability of nuclear war to nearly thirty percent. The Hoovans themselves, being recorded intelligences, were relatively impervious to the threat, but they had thoughtfully prepared an assortment of shelters for the more earthbound messengers.

Each shelter would furnish food and supplies for 100 people for approximately two years. No one would be permitted to bring into the shelter any electrical apparatus, watches with phosphorescent dials, or objects made from pure titanium.

Hoova had instructed Zak to maintain a prayer vigil for peace, but he had rebelled because they wouldn't tell him where the shelters were. Finally they had relented and said there was one near Dulce, New Mexico.

A shelter in Dulce will do me a lot of good in Los Angeles, Zak had reflected. He had erased the tape himself, and instead of praying for peace had gone out for pizza.

But, more often than not, he did what Hoova asked. He went over to Hollywood and Vine to witness a curiously-dressed individual get out of a black limousine, walk stiltedly to the corner, and disappear. He took one of the tapes recorded by Hoova, put it in a brown paper sack with the name "Sally Rand" marked in large letters, placed two empty mason jars on top of the tape, and left the sack on the doorstep of a house in San Marino. He drove out to the Mojave desert late at night and waited for an hour until a large aerial craft with blinking blue lights passed, then returned to his apartment at 5:00 a.m. to observe the light sunburn covering his body. He purchased a borrower's card at UCLA and spent hours researching Middle East history.

"Why do what they want?" Dean asked him once. "Maybe they really are just jokers, sending you out to play fetch like an obedient dog." Dean was one of the few people Zak told about Hoova. Dean and two childhood friends.

Zak mused: "I guess it's because I'm having more fun doing this than anything else I can think of."

Dean's question had been rhetorical. Dean didn't believe in Hoova for a minute. Zak obviously worked for the Mossad. How else could Zak have learned about his meeting with Larry Meier?
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:14 am

Part 13: Sacred Tunnels

I am getting too old for this sort of thing, Larry Meier thought to himself, as he stooped to make it through the narrow passageway.

The concealed tunnel began innocently enough as just another branch of the archeological dig being carried out at the South Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the dig that had made Benyamin Mazar world famous.

Mazar looks for shards, the past, Meier reflected, while I make the future.

Since the age of 17 or so, Meier had always viewed himself as a maker of history, one who sees its forward progress and nudges it this way and that, while remaining himself unseen.

The tunnel sloped upward, and curved to the right. "Where are we now?" he asked the figure in front, which was much overdressed for the summer heat.

"Almost directly beneath Al Aqsa."

Al Aqsa. The Moslem mosque at the South end of the Mount. Meier recalled that in the late 60s, during the early days of the South Wall excavations, there had been an incident with some Australian. Up above, on the surface of the Mount itself. Denis Michael Rohan. The name came back to him.

Rohan had been reading Christian literature that referred to the Moslem structures on the Mount as the prophetic "abomination of desolation". One day Rohan had thrown kerosene-soaked rags into the Al Aqsa mosque, setting it on fire. It had taken fire fighters four hours to put out the flames. Later, at his trial, Rohan made it evident he saw himself as the fulfillment of a prophecy in Zechariah. He would, like Israel, become a fire to the surrounding nations. And he would personally remove the offending Moslem abominations, Rohan had believed. Instead, Rohan had almost started a war, but had done no lasting damage.

Denis the Pyrotechnic Menace, Meier had called him at the time. Those sorts of wild-eyed fanatics were too erratic, too loony, to be really useful, except occasionally as assassins or as patsies. While not reliable on the job, they could be counted on to self- destruct afterward. No. The really useful types were those who were strongly religious, but not mystical. The ones that you just had to figure out how to convince that God wanted them to do what you wanted them to do. Then they would do your bidding without very much supervision. People like the Oral Jerry Swaggers of the world, who could be counted on to give money to your cause year after year because of their beliefs about prophecy. Or the Temple Mount Zealots, who would do the arduous work of digging tunnels, and making temple preparations, and, yes--when the time came--even smuggle in explosives past Israeli military intelligence and the Waqf, the Moslem authority that administered the Temple Mount. For the Zealots, it was sufficient they thought they were searching for an ancient urn of red heifer ashes, which would allow them to be ritually cleansed. Then they could enter the surface area of the Temple Mount, and begin construction of the Third Temple. Meier would explain to them the need for blasting materials at the right time. They trusted him: he delivered the money that made the project possible.

But without the red heifer ashes, all talk of destroying the Moslem structures and reclaiming the area for the Third Temple was just so much idle chit- chat. What was the point of getting the Arab abominations off the Mount, if many religious Jews still wouldn't come on? Moreover, when the tunnel blasts brought down the Arabic structures on the Mount, it would still not be certain that all-out war would erupt, especially if no sufficient sector of the Israeli population saw the hand of God in the sabotage.

That's where the miracle would come in. The explosion itself would be the mechanism that uncovered an urn of red heifer ashes. The ashes would enable believers to be ritually purified. The illusion would have to be perfect. Meier had several scholars working on it-- finding the right vase. The red heifer ashes would have to be properly burned and aged. And they would have to be exposed in just the right way and at the right time. Once religious Jews believed they now had the right to storm and occupy the Temple Mount surface, there would be no turning back.

Of course, luck might have it that the tunnels would accidentally turn up an urn of red heifer ashes before then. Such luck would simplify matters. No one Meier knew would hesitate to use explosives in that case. But Meier didn't believe in luck. The only hand of God that Meier had ever seen was the one attached to the end of his own right arm. And that right arm was going to make sure all the necessary ingredients were available.

The figure in front of him pointed to a hole in the side of the tunnel, and held his flashlight. Meier stuck his head through, and saw a small crevice that dropped downward in the dark.


The figure shrugged. "It's at least 100 meters deep. We've started using it for dirt disposal."

Meier paid careful attention to the religious expectations of the Zealots. Success was largely a matter of meeting those expectations in a consistent manner. So he noted doctrinal and historical points carefully, on matters to which he was personally indifferent.

Matters as simple as that of the temple location. There was scholarly disagreement over the exact location of the First and Second Jewish Temples on the Temple Mount area, because of the extensive changes and modifications that had been wrought by Romans, Moslems, and Crusaders after the destruction of the Second Temple by a Roman army under Titus in 70 A.D. The traditional view put the temple in the location of the present-day Dome of the Rock. But making this fit the historical record had some problems, and there were arguments for at least three other locations. One would place the temple north of the Dome of the Rock, where the present Dome of the Spirits (or Dome of the Tablets) is currently located. Another theory would locate the temple due east of the Western Wall, in the area of the Al Kas fountain, roughly midway between the current Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque. A fourth location some argued for was the current site of the Al Aqsa mosque itself.

Tunneling plans were simplified, however, in that none of the Zealots gave credence to the conjectured northern location, so the main focus was in the areas of the El Kas Fountain and the Dome of the Rock.

One thing seemed apparent to Meier, as he listened to the debates. The current organization of the Temple Mount area followed a model designed for the Temple of Jupiter that had been built on the site by the Romans after the Bar Kochba rebellion in 132 A.D. The Roman Emperor Hadrian, one of the world's great builders, had cleared off all remains of the Jewish Temple, and placed the Temple of Jupiter on the Mount as a sort of Jew-repellent. He renamed the city Aelia Capitolina. Hadrian also constructed a Jupiter Temple in Baalbek, in Lebanon, using an identical layout.

In the Baalbek model, there was the Temple of Jupiter itself (a rectangular structure), along with a polygonal (in this case hexagonal) forecourt and propylaea. Just as on the Temple Mount there is the present-day rectangular Al Aqsa mosque and a polygonal (in this case octagonal) Dome of the Rock. In Baalbek, in between the rectangular temple and the polygonal structure which served as an entrance building, was a court area and a sacrificial altar. Similarly, on the Temple Mount, we find an equivalently proportioned court area between the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. One record mentioned that an equestrian statue of Hadrian had been erected right over the spot where the former Holy of Holies of the Jewish Temple had been. If so, this would put the Holy of Holies approximately beneath the present Al Kas ablution fountain.

Hadrian had also constructed a Temple of Aphrodite, west of the Temple Mount, located at the site of the present-day Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

The Temple of Jupiter was subsequently razed by Christian invaders, and the Temple Mount surface area was left barren. Then the Arabs arrived, cleaned up the Mount, and built the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque. But it seemed clear, to some of those Meier listened to, that the Arabs had constructed the Al Aqsa mosque on top of the old rectangular Temple of Jupiter (which they erroneously believed to be the ruins of Solomon's Temple), while the Dome of the Rock replicated an octagonal structure that was part of the same original Jupiter Temple complex. The Arabs had simply built on the ruins of the old Roman Aelia Capitolina. Meanwhile, the location of the original Jewish temples remained a mystery, as the Romans intended it should.

Meier didn't care, one way or another. As long as the tunnels went to the right spots where he needed to deliver his explosives, and as long as he could properly weave his red-heifer magic out of what was believed, then all would be well.

The current engineering problem was one of connecting up various tunnels that permeated the Temple Mount area, as well as creating new ones in locations of interest, such as the sub-surface area around the Al Kas fountain. This had not proven difficult, as the area bound by lines running north from the Double and Triple Gates at the South Wall was already peppered with underground halls. But to reach the Dome of the Rock itself, it would have made more sense, from the point of view of tunneling, to come from the north, or from the Warren's Gate area to the west. Doing so, however, would attract too much attention. So the Zealot diggers were heading north from around the Al Kas fountain, in an attempt to tie into the well-known cave beneath the Dome of the Rock. Once there, they would have to create an entry point without alerting the Waqf.

Digging progress was slow, to be sure. The Zealots, with their archeological picks, didn't want to damage any holy artifacts they might come across. Meier nevertheless took advantage of each visit to urge them on to ever speedier work.

"How much further?" Meier asked his overdressed guide.

* * * * *

Dean looked up from the shadows. Through the branches of a tree, he could see the evening star, Venus. There was no question that it was her star. He moved forward for a better view.

The pain shot through his shin, and he abruptly sat down on the earth amidst the leaves and other forest detritus. He had walked into a broken branch lying concealed in the darkness. Ouch. He felt like a fool. Because I am a fool, he thought.

He wondered if they would make love. Or whether they would ever again make love. That time . . . She had seemed to be rewarding herself for a task well done, that one time. Their love-making had been non-personal, but not impersonal. It had been non-personal, because there were no identities involved. No individuality was present, but rather only the fierce current of desire and its hungry satisfaction.

He was a fool, alright. That had been the most erotic experience of his life, and he would keep coming back, like a heroin junky, hoping to someday again feel like Jesus' son. When I put a spike into my vein. And I'm rushing on my run. I tell you things are just not the same. I feel like Jesus' son.

The fingers ran through the back of his hair. Thus she appeared, ofttimes, seemingly out of nowhere.

"Hurt yourself?"

"Not really. I bumped my shin in the darkness."

She settled on the ground, beside him. Only the silhouette of her hair was visible.

"What do you have for me?" she asked.

"I know what Meier is doing. He's using this red heifer thing to raise money and get tunnels dug under the Mount. Then he's planning to blow up the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque. Apparently he's bent on starting a war, for some reason or another. A war that the main government faction doesn't want."

"And Oral Jerry Swagger? How do you see his role?"

"I think he's just providing money for the bombs. Or the shovels. Take your pick."

Dean smiled in the darkness. He could not see, but felt, the return smile. They sat for a while in silence.

Finally Dean asked, "What about Lodge? Is he going to stop this? Stop the war?"

"He says he is. Maybe he will. Maybe he won't."

"I thought you were working with Lodge. Aren't you?"

"We have mutual interests."

"That's what I've never figured out. What mutual interests? What's your interest in the Temple Mount?"

Trisha didn't answer. Dean thought for a while, and tried a different tack.

"What's your interest in Jack Parsons?"

She laughed. "You don't know?" There was a hint of incredulity in her voice. Dean knew from experience that it was impossible to tell if the incredulity was real or feigned. Nevertheless, it made him feel stupid.

"No. Not really."

"Jack Parsons was my father."

Pieces of the jumbled mosaic seemed to settle into partial coherence. A chill went through Dean, and his heart began pounding. Except. Except for one thing.

"You're too young for Jack Parsons to have been your father."

"Oh, how old am I?"

Dean knew better than to try to answer.

After a while she said: "I am a moonchild. Jack Parsons' moonchild. Sometimes there are time skips in the effects of the ritual."

Some primal instinct forced Dean to look for her hands. His eyes were beginning to adjust to the darkness, but he still could not see her hands. He was looking for the dagger, he realized. Maybe she was telling him all this, because she was planning to kill him afterward.

And she was beginning to sound as crazy as Zak. But still, this could be his one chance to find out what was happening.

"So what's going on? What's all the deal with Jack Parsons? I mean, right now, with Jack Parsons?"

She understood his question. "It's all part of Lodge's psychological ops," she replied. "Meier, Parsons, and OJ all knew each other back in the 40s. Lodge is using Parsons to fuck with OJ's head. He hired this investigator from Philadelphia to look into Parsons' death. A guy named Hermes. My roommate works for him. Lodge will now make sure that OJ knows about the investigation. He expects OJ to spook. Then Lodge will weave his magic--whatever he is planning to do."

Dean thought about the answer. "OJ had something to do with Parsons' death?"

"Maybe. Lodge has this ex-disciple of OJ whom he uses as an information source. He--this disciple--says that someone was once blackmailing OJ with respect to something involving Parsons."

"How did they all come to know each other? I mean Jack Parsons, Larry Meier, and Oral Jerry Swagger?"

"It seems that Meier was involved in arms for Israel, back then, while still a teenager almost. Parsons helped out in that, supplying Meier's group with explosives. As for OJ? I don't know any details. He was briefly a member of Parsons' Agape Lodge before he went off and turned himself into a Christian evangelist."

"And you think one of them killed your father?"

Trisha was silent. Then: "Yes, I think one of them was responsible for the death of my father."

Dean's eyes again looked down, searching for the dagger. He took a deep breath. This is ridiculous, he thought. He looked up again at the sky, at Venus, shining like a jewel on a dagger handle.

After a time, Trisha spoke again, questioning.

"And Zak?"

"I think Zak's just a cut-out. He's obviously Mossad's tool. But he keeps telling me this bullshit story about The Nine, who are cosmic overlords of a sort."

"The Nine?" Dean heard a slight change in her voice. A tightening of the vocal cords.

"Well, they are supposed to be in charge," Dean said. "Actually Zak talks to a spaceship, he claims, operated by intelligences who have downloaded themselves into the ship's computers."

"What's Zak's role? In the operation?"

"Just to pick up cash from OJ, and to take it to a Chinatown location, where it will be deposited into various accounts, and then wired to Bank Hapoalim, to an account Meier set up."

"Why does Zak want you to film the operation?"

"Blackmail, I think."

"OJ or Meier?"

"Who knows?"

"Maybe it's just insurance. Maybe Zak just wants proof he picked up and delivered the money," Trisha said.

"Yeah. But why would he need proof? For whom? If Meier or OJ say they were crossed, who is he going to show the fucking film to?"

Trisha was silent, thinking.

Then: "Tell me about Zak's Nine. Who are they supposed to be, again?"
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:15 am

Part 14: The Tyranny of the Black Brotherhood

I had gathered a few things through Renny. The Jack Parsons Memorial Society ran an archive and lending library out of an old mansion near South Orange Grove. It turned out that The Book of the Antichrist, a copy of which Sheri had faxed me at the Hilton, was followed by Parsons' The Manifesto of the Antichrist. I had collected a copy of this, and copies of some related O.T.O. materials.

It was late in the afternoon on a warm and smoggy Pasadena day, and I decided to take the copies with me, and head for the park over in San Marino. In the hotel closet, I found an extra quilt, and I carried it with me out to the car. When I arrived at the park, I found a relatively secluded space, and spread the quilt over the grass in the shade of a tree. Much better. Now I could concentrate again.

My thinking was this: if Parsons thought he was the Antichrist, then he would undertake actions consistent with whatever it was the Antichrist was supposed to do. These activities were sure to stir up antagonism, even fanaticism, considering we were talking about the Big Bad Antichrist here. And Parsons was no ordinary Antichrist. This Antichrist was an explosives expert.

True, one coworker had described Parsons as the kindest man he had known. And von Karman had called him "an excellent chemist, and a delightful screwball" and noted he loved to recite pagan poetry to the sky while stamping his feet. It seemed evident that Parsons was liked by colleagues as well as the ladies. But that wasn't the point. The point was that now Parsons was getting political. He was no longer content just to discuss "fortune telling"--as he had so quaintly described his occult activities to the Pasadena police- -in private. No. Now he was writing manifestos and declaring war. I wanted to get an idea who would have felt threatened by Parsons.

First, the Manifesto. I followed my standard practice: Read all the way through. Then go back and focus on details.


by Jack Parsons

I, BELARION, ANTICHRIST, in the year 1949 of the rule of the Black Brotherhood called Christianity, do make my Manifesto to all men. And I, THE ANTICHRIST, come among you, saying:

An end to the pretense, and lying hypocrisy of Christianity.

An end to the servile virtues, and superstitious restrictions. An end to the slave morality.

An end to prudery and shame, to guilt and sin, for these are of the only evil under the Sun, that is fear.

An end to all authority that is not based on courage and manhood, to the authority of lying priests, conniving judges, blackmailing police, and

An end to the servile flattery and cajolery of mobs, the coronations of mediocrities, the ascension of dolts.

An end to restriction and inhibition, for I, THE ANTICHRIST, am come among you preaching the Word of the BEAST 666, which is, "There is no Law beyond Do What Thou Wilt."

And I BELARION, ANTICHRIST, do lift up my voice and prophesy, and I say:

I shall bring all men to the Law of the BEAST 666, and in His Law I shall conquer the world.

And within seven years of this time, BABALON, THE SCARLET WOMAN HILARION will manifest among ye, and bring this my work to its fruition.

An end to conscription, compulsion, regimentation, and the tyranny of false laws.

And within nine years a nation shall accept the Law of the BEAST 666 in my name, and that nation will be the first nation of earth.

And all who accept me, the ANTICHRIST, and the Law of the BEAST 666, shall be accursed and their joy shall be a thousand fold greater than the false joys of the false saints.

In the name BELARION shall they work miracles, and confound our enemies, and none shall stand before us.

Therefore I, THE ANTICHRIST, call upon all the Chosen and elect and upon all men, come forth now in the name of

Liberty, that we may end for ever the tyranny of the Black Brotherhood.

Witness by my hand and seal on this day of 1949, that is the year of BABALON 4066.

What a couple of weird names: Belarion and Hilarion. It sounded like a vaudeville couple. Maybe Parsons was going mad, as John Symonds had alleged. All this making of pronouncements and proclamation of laws to be followed. However, it was hard not to like a lot of what Parsons was saying.

No matter what Parsons called himself, who wanted to be on the side of "lying priests, conniving judges, blackmailing police"? Who wanted to defend the "tyranny of false laws"? This was dangerous stuff. Parsons was attacking the established order, fraught as it was with corruption, and papered over as it was with fake religion.

How would the U.S. government react to all this? Not well, I suspected. I looked through some of the other papers and found a statement from a Agape Lodge member in 1940 that Parsons traveled "under sealed orders from the government". But in 1948 he temporarily lost his security clearance due to the charge that his membership in a "sex cult" was subversive. After a closed court hearing, the charges were dismissed in April 1949, and his security clearance reinstated.

But in September 1950 he lost his job at Hughes Aircraft because he was in possession of classified documents. Some of these, however, were ones from his Cal Tech days, papers of which he was a co-author. Parsons argued that he was in the process of trying to convince the Israeli government to build a jet- propulsion laboratory and factory, and was using the documents only for background information. The Justice Department decided there were insufficient grounds for prosecution. But the Appeals Board was not amused, and withdrew his security clearance in January 1952.

So. The Antichrist wanted to build missiles for Israel. I tried to put this in perspective. Laying on my stomach on the quilt, I sketched out a brief chronology of Parsons' life, as I now understood it, in my notebook.

Oct 2, 1914: Parsons' birth.

1928: Jack Parsons, age 13, invokes "Satan" but reacts with "cowardice when He appear[s]."

1936: Parsons, age 21, shows up with his friend Ed Forman at Cal Tech wanting to build space rockets, something they have been working on for years. The GALCIT project is initiated under Theodore von Karman, with Frank Malina, Jack Parsons, and Ed Forman initially the key individuals. Money is always an issue, and Parsons and Forman later take jobs with the Halifax Powder Company in the Mojave desert.

1938: The Army Air Corps becomes interested in the research. Hap Arnold appears at the GALCIT laboratory in Pasadena wanting to know if rocket research could help him with the problem of air strips which were too short for takeoff of modern military planes.

1939: Parsons and his wife Helen (Northrup) join the Los Angeles (Pasadena) branch of Crowley's O.T.O. This group is known as the Agape Lodge, and is headed by Wilfred Smith. Smith and his wife have an innovative way of recruiting members via sexual seduction, according to member Louis T. Culling.

1940: The Army Air Corps takes over sponsorship of the GALCIT project. Parsons spends most of his time developing jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) units. Most of the JATO patents are in Parsons name. December: Jane Wolfe, a Crowley associate who is a member of the Agape Lodge, writes in her diary that Parsons travels "under sealed orders from the government." She also says she believes Parsons will be the future leader of the order.

March 1941: The head of the Agape Lodge, Wilfred Smith, writes Crowley that he had "at long last a really excellent man, John Parsons. And starting next Tuesday he begins a course of talks with a view to enlarging our scope."

1942: Parsons, von Karman, and others found Aerojet in order to build and sell JATO units to the Army Air Corps. Parsons leaves his position as head of solid- fuel rocket research at the Army Air Corps Jet Propulsion Research Project to take a similar position at Aerojet. March: Jane Wolfe writes Crowley: "I believe Jack Parsons--who is devoted to Wilfred--to be the coming leader." She goes on to note that he was "`sold on the Book of the Law' because it foretold Einstein, Heisenberg--whose work is not permitted in Russia--the quantum field folks, whose work is along the `factor infinite and unknown' lines, etc."

July 1943: Crowley wants to get rid of Smith and appoint Parsons head of the Lodge. But he has problems doing so, because there is a good bit of loyalty to Smith, including on the part of Parsons himself. Crowley writes an Agape Lodge member named Max Schneider: "As to Jack; I think he is perfectly alright at the bottom of everything; but he is very young . . ."

1944: Aleister Crowley expels Wilfred Smith from the OTO for turning the Agape Lodge into a "love cult". Smith leaves with Parsons' wife Helen, who had taken the place of Smith's previous mistress, Regina Kahl, as high priestess in weekly performances of the gnostic mass, in which Smith served as high priest. Crowley appoints Parsons as head of the California O.T.O. in Smith's place. Helen's sister "Betty" (as she is known around the house at 1003 S. Orange Grove) moves in with Parsons. Parsons, Theodore von Karman, and others found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, near Devil's Gate Dam in the Arroyo Seco-- nearby the location of many of their early rocket tests.

August 1945: Parsons and Lafayette Ronald ("L. Ron") Hubbard are introduced by a science fiction illustrator named Lou Goldstone. Goldstone often visits at Parsons' place, and one day he brings Hubbard with him. Hiroshima and Nagasaki have just been devastated by atomic bombs. The world is amazed. Many people are elated. The social consequence, only seven years later, when every Pasadenan would be contemplating wearing a "colorimetric dosimeter," a chemical radiation detector, to tell who would live or die in an atomic raid, was the furthest thing from anyone's mind. Association with someone like Jack Parsons, conversant with JPL and Aerojet projects, is heady fare for Navy Lieutenant L. Ron Hubbard, on temporary leave, who is in any case eager to take up residence in a Bohemian house bustling with attractive women. After sleeping with as many of them as possible, Hubbard then creates turmoil by taking up with Betty, Parsons' own girlfriend. Parsons tolerates this (just as he had previously tolerated Smith's affair with his wife Helen) because, he says, he needs a magical partner, and he believes Hubbard can play that role.

Dec. 5, 1945: Hubbard is officially discharged from the Navy. He immediately applies for a pension, claiming various disabilities, and heads for Pasadena, where he moves in with Parsons. Betty (Sara Elizabeth Northrup) again devotes herself to Hubbard. Parsons, sans Betty, looks for a replacement, and decides to attract one through magic ritual. But Parsons has bigger things in mind also.

January 1946: January 4: Parsons and Hubbard begin work on a magic ritual to attract a Scarlet Woman, through which Parsons will conceive a Moonchild. January 15: Parsons, Betty, and Hubbard start a company called Allied Enterprises. Parsons puts up most of the money, which he has from the sale of his Aerojet stock to General Tire. January 18: Parsons and Hubbard are in the Mojave desert, when Parsons realizes the experiment has succeeded, and tells Hubbard: "It is done." He returns home and finds the artist Marjorie Cameron, on visit from New York, waiting for him. "She is describable as an air of fire type with bronze red hair, fiery and subtle, determined and obstinate, sincere and perverse, with extraordinary personality, talent and energy," Parsons wrote.

January 4 to March 4, 1946: Parsons writes an account, called The Book of Babalon, of the whole magick working. Jan 19-Feb 27: Parsons continues to invoke Babalon with the help of Hubbard. Feb 28: With Hubbard gone on a trip, Parsons, invoking Babalon by himself in the Mojave desert, receives a revelation of 77 clauses, which he calls Liber 49. He claimed it was the fourth part of the heretofore three-part Book of the Law (Crowley's revelation). This claim upsets many Agape Lodge members. March 1-3: Following the instructions in Liber 49, Parsons and Marjorie Cameron spend three days in ritual sex, with Hubbard in attendance, in an attempt to conceive a moonchild.

March 6, 1946: Parsons writes Crowley: "I am under command of extreme secrecy. I have had the most important, devastating experience of my life." He goes on to say: "I believe it was the result of the IXth degree working with the girl [Cameron] who answered my elemental summons. I have been in direct touch with One who is most holy and Beautiful as mentioned in The Book of The Law. I cannot write the name at present. First instructions were received direct through Ron the seer. I have followed them to the letter. There was a desire for incarnation. I do not know the vehicle, but it will come to me bringing a secret sign. I am to act as instructor guardian for nine months; then it will be loosed on the world. That is all I can say now . . ." Crowley was annoyed with Parsons' secrecy, and wrote back he had no idea what Parsons was talking about.

April 1946: Hubbard and Betty head to Florida with Allied Enterprise money to purchase a boat on the East Coast, to be sold on the West Coast. Parsons doesn't hear from them subsequently, because they are in fact taking a luxury vacation with Parsons' money.

July 1946: Parsons tracks Hubbard and Betty to Miami, where he discovers they have purchased three boats. He files suit in Dade County court and gets possession of two of the boats, and part of the third. Parsons then dissolves Allied Enterprises, and Parsons and Hubbard part ways. But the first boat Hubbard had acquired with Allied Enterprise money had been the Diane. Hubbard would afterward combine Diane (which may have been another name for Babalon) with the then popular term cybernetics (Gk. "steersman") to form "Dianetics", the label Hubbard gave the philosophy and system of mind control which he created by combining his own science fiction concepts with the magick he learned from Jack Parsons as well from as the writings of Parsons' mentor Aleister Crowley. Later, mostly for tax reasons, Dianetics was renamed "Scientology."

August 1946: Hubbard, age 37, marries Betty (Sara Northrup), age 21. Hubbard is still married to his first wife at the time.

October 1946: Parsons, age 32, marries Marjorie Cameron, age 24. Crowley thinks Parsons has gone off the deep end with the Babalon working. Crowley writes Louis T. Culling: "About J.W.P.--all I can say is that I am very sorry--I felt sure that he had fine ideas, but he was led astray firstly by Smith, then he was robbed of his last penny by a confidence man named Hubbard." Sometime during 1946 Crowley suspends Parsons as OTO head.

December 1946: Crowley further writes: "I have no further interest in Jack and his adventures; he is just a weak-minded fool, and must go to the devil in his own way. Requiescat in pace."

1947: Parsons becomes involved in arms for Israel, according to von Karman.

Dec. 1, 1947: Aleister Crowley dies.

1948: Parsons loses his security clearance for doing classified government work, because "of his membership in a religious cult . . . believed to advocate sexual perversion . . . organized at subject's home . . . which had been reported subversive." He also breaks up with Marjorie Cameron. This break-up lasts until late 1949 or early 1950.

Oct. 31, 1948: The events recorded in The Book of the Antichrist begin. He has put away magick for two years, when Babalon calls.

March 1949: Parsons successfully defends himself against the subversion charges in closed court, and the Appeals Board reinstates his security clearance.

1949: Parsons writes The Manifesto of the Antichrist.

September 1950: Parsons loses his job at Hughes Aircraft for being in possession of classified documents, which he was using to persuade the Israeli government to build a jet-propulsion laboratory and manufacturing plant.

January 1952: The Appeals Board again revokes Parsons' security clearance.

July 17, 1952: Parsons, while making preparations for a trip to Mexico, where he will build an explosives factory for the Mexican government (he tells von Karman), is killed by an explosion at his garage laboratory at 1071 South Orange Grove at 5.08 p.m. He is pronounced dead an hour later at Huntington Memorial Hospital. His mother commits suicide after hearing of the death.

So. If Parsons had been involved in arms for Israel in 1947, as von Karman said, this would have been just prior to the founding of the state in 1948. This would probably imply continuing relationships afterward, hence leading to his 1950 proposal for an Israeli jet propulsion lab. Parsons was undoutedly contemplating building solid-fuel missiles as one of the by-products of the jet propulsion work. That was, after all, his specialty.

This had to be the key. Parsons' beliefs about the Antichrist, and similar beliefs--say concerning the Knights Templar--would have led Parsons to focus his attention on Jerusalem. Combine this with Parsons' need to make a living.

Who would Parsons have upset?

Parsons calling himself the Antichrist was powerful stuff. It would upset Christians concerned with the same matrix: namely, the notion of an end-time clash of Christ and Antichrist around Jerusalem.

And where would that lead? The image of Oral Jerry Swagger whom I had seen on TV in the room at the Hilton, talking about the final battle on the Plain of Esdraelon by Mount Megiddo (Armageddon) came to mind. To someone like Oral Jerry Swagger, I thought. Someone who is into beliefs as equally apocalyptic as those of Parsons himself. Given the right incentive, I thought, someone like that might want to kill the Antichrist. The Antichrist Jack Parsons.

Where was Oral Jerry Swagger based? I wondered. At the moment, I decided, he seemed as likely a possibility as any to look into. I wrote his name down in my notebook, and drew a box around it.

I closed my notebook, rolled over on my back and closed my eyes. Even though the lead might be tenuous, I felt strongly confident I was on the right track. The world was at peace. Perhaps I dosed for a moment.

When I opened my eyes again, the light had turned pinkish. I turned on my side and looked through the tree at the sky to the west. The sun had just set, the sky glowed with a reddish hue. One star was visible: the evening star, Venus.

It was time to go, I thought. I lay back for a moment. Then I saw the man staring at me. He was only a few feet from the quilt, short, rotund fellow, black hair, slicked back, perhaps olive skin--hard to tell in the light--and something in his hand. He raised his right arm as he lunged at me, and I saw it was a hand ax.

Instinctively, like a thousand times on the school playground or the wrestling mat, I swung my right leg up and caught him in mid-abdomen, simultaneously rolling to the left, sweeping my arm trying to catch his and deflect the ax from my face. His momentum and the pivot of my leg carried him completely over and to the side. I scrambled up and saw that he had dropped the ax as he had come down hard on the ground. I started to reach for it, but then a blur in the corner of my eye caused me to leap to one side. This one was taller, dressed in black, but with a pasty face. In shock, I realized it was the ghoul I had met at the Palladium, in Philadelphia. The ghoul picked up the ax. I turned and ran through an opening in a hedge, then turned again and ran parallel to the hedge. I glanced back to see if anyone had come through the opening. No one. I did a couple more turns. Where was I going? Was it safe to try for the car? I decided that sounded more attractive than wanderning around on foot in a strange part of town. I was a little disoriented, and it took me a minute to locate where I had parked. When I saw the car, I stopped a moment, looked around. Then I raced for the car and hopped in. Had the car been rigged? I turned the key. The engine started and I pulled out. I looked in the mirror and through the windows as I departed. There was no sign of either of them.

I thought about going back to the hotel. I passed a shopping center. There was a hardware store open. I went in and purchased a full size ax, and a large chef's knife. The blade on the latter was sturdy and razor sharp. There was a sporting goods store nearby. I bought a baseball bat, a nice Louisville slugger.

When I got back to the Hilton, I parked in the garage. I decided to leave the ax in the trunk. I kept the knife in my right hand, but pulled a shopping bag over the blade, wrapped the bag around my hand, and held the end along with the knife handle. People would be able to see I was carrying something rolled up, but not what exactly. I picked up the bat in my left hand and went into the Hilton.

"Any messages for me?" I asked at the desk. There weren't any. The woman at the desk looked at me strangely, with hostility. Maybe she was just reacting to my body posture, I thought. But maybe not.

At the door to my room I leaned the bat against the wall, and slipped in the card with my left hand. As the door lock clicked, I shoved open the door with my foot and picked up the bat. The room was partially lighted. The maid had turned down the covers, and left the bedside lamp on. I put the bat down on the bed, dropped the paper bag from the knife in order to get a better grip, and checked the bathroom and the closet. Everything seemed normal.

Normal. I turned on the TV, trying to return to a normal frame of mind. Maybe I would call Sheri and chat for a while.

Only then did I realized I had left my notebook back in the park with the two ghouls.
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:15 am

Part 15: Mute Testimony

Craig sat in Oral Jerry Swagger's outer office waiting. You always had to wait, even when OJ summoned you frantically. OJ's office was a revolving door of high-level traffic at this time of the day. That's just the way things were in $100 million-a-year organizations, Craig reflected.

Craig turned his attention back to the report. Occultists in the military? Well, he had always known that was possible, whether or not they had anything to do with the cattle mutilations. He had seen some weird shit in his Washington days. But an Antichrist was hard to take seriously. Preachers needed an Antichrist the same way the Pentagon needed the Russians. It didn't hurt to have a bogeyman to wave around before the faithful right before you dug into their pockets.

Craig read over the details. A woman on a ranch in Colorado was up late one night when she heard the sound of a helicopter. She stepped outside onto the second floor balcony which encircled the house, giving her 360-degree surveillance. There were stars in the sky but no lights from the chopper, nothing she could see. She could hear it though--it was the third time the sound had mysteriously emerged in the last three days--and she felt a fear she couldn't define. Her dog had come out onto the balcony with her, and it began to growl and back up into the house. She followed the dog inside and called the sheriff's department to report the helicopter with no lights.

Later that night as she sat up in bed with a back ache, she saw the chopper for the first time. The clear yellow light came in low from the bluffs to the north. She went out to the balcony and watched it pass by and gradually disappear. Afterward, with the help of an illustrated book, she identified the craft as a Sikorsky Black Hawk.

The following morning she found one of her cows lying on its side in a nearby pasture. The coyotes hanging about had tipped her off to the presence of the carcass. The long grass around the animal was somewhat trampled down, but there were no signs of a struggle. The cow's right ear had been removed in a jagged circle. There was a small amount of blood in the ear cavity. The right eye had been extracted, along with a strip of hide. There was also blood in the eye socket. All but three inches of the tongue had been severed, and the jaw and teeth on the right side of the face had been exposed through surgical removal of the lips and hide.

The other end of the cow had not fared any better. About one-half the udder had been carefully excised, as well as the bottom half of the remaining two teats. The rectal area had been cored out, leaving a hole about eight inches wide and six inches deep.

The coyotes remained in the neighborhood over the following days, but they refused to actually approach the carcass itself.

The question of the mutilations, or the "mutes," had preoccupied Craig for months. He had reports of hundreds of similar cases. Craig wanted to know the answer, but not out of any deep intellectual curiosity. Ever since his days as a political dirty trickster, he had viewed information simply as a mechanism for influencing behavior. But to play the game the right way, one needed to avoid surprises. Surprises were unexpected events that could upset the scenario one was developing. To avoid surprises it was always better to know what was really going on.

Craig's most recent job before going to work for Oral Jerry Swagger had been more boring, but easier. He had been employed by a government department as a fabricator of documents for release under the Freedom of Information Act. There he had had more control, because he got to see all the available records ahead of time. There were no surprises, at least with respect to the files. Once he had a clear picture of what was available, he would go to work: altering a sentence here, inserting a paragraph there. Though illegal, the result could be explosively effective: the recipient of the information lived with the fantasy he was using the FOIA to force the government to expose the truth, and consequently had all his guards down when slipped a doctored document.

Craig hadn't known exactly what to expect when he had joined OJS's secret investigative agency. The "Antichrist Squad", as it was informally called. The questions were different and the intended audience was different, but it was political work of the type Craig was used to, and he was paid good money.

Plus he was able to pick up a few extra bucks by cross-filing all his reports with Trans-Global Consultants in Philadelphia. Craig had known about Trans-Global's interest in religious organizations from his campaign days, so he had put in a call to Edward Lodge shortly after receiving the employment offer from OJS.

One thing Craig was sure about: the mutes weren't due to coyotes. As one farmer had said to him once: "If it was a coyote that did it, that coyote must have brung his scalpel. And his flashlight. There were bright lights flashing all around those parts about an hour earlier. No, there weren't no coyote tracks around that carcass either. Or tracks of any other creature. No, I figger it must have been some of them ufos."

Craig had snorted at the mentioned of ufos. You expected farmers to be wily in the ways of coyotes. But in other ways they were just dumb hicks. Craig didn't care much for Oral Jerry Swagger's explanation either. But that was the one he was being paid to verify, and he would do his damnedest to come up with supporting evidence.

OJS said it had to be Devil worshippers. Who else would mutilate cattle for body parts and blood? And thousands among OJ's television and radio audience would send for the book or the video expose. There was profit to be made in unveiling the wicked deeds of the ungodly.

Craig himself personally believed the mutes were nothing to get excited about. It was just the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or whoever, conducting routine research on chemical and biological weapons. Everyone knew about the similarities between human and bovine nervous and reproductive systems. Better to do in a few cows at a farmer's expense than to do in the farmer himself.

Biological warfare experimentation would explain the surgical post-mortems. But Craig was still puzzled at the clandestine use of choppers. Even Senator Jack Schmitt of New Mexico had discussed the mystery helicopters when he had co-sponsored a mutilation conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1979. That had been eight years ago. The mutes, meanwhile, continued to accumulate.

Oral Jerry Swagger, for his part, was sure that a cult of military Satanists using government helicopters were at work among the farmers who wrote to him from rural America. No wonder there was a decline in America's God-given military strength: there were Devil worshippers in the Pentagon. OJS planned to go public with all this on his weekly telecast once Craig had sufficiently documented the charge.

But, at this rate, that day was still some months away. OJS would never get his documented proof if he kept sending Craig and the others on spontaneous chores like whatever it was that was brewing now.

* * * * *
Oral Jerry Swagger wasn't ready to talk to Craig yet. Craig was an unbeliever, one of the few who worked in his organization. And OJ needed to think how to properly present the task at hand. OJ used unbelievers to fight fire with fire. They were carnal, disposable, and could be assigned ungodly tasks that believers should not properly perform.

Like taking care of the inquisitive snoop who was staying at the Pasadena Hilton.

OJ paged through his Antichrist file. Wasn't it ironic, OJ thought, that "CFR" appeared on al Dajjal's forehead?

OJ had never determined why Jack Parsons had chosen to sign his name al Dajjal. Al Dajjal (or "Dagjal", under an alternative spelling), the Antichrist in Islamic theology, was--according to OJ's researchers--supposed to be one-eyed and marked on the forehead with the letters "CFR," standing for cafir: infidel. He would supposedly appear between Iraq and Syria riding on an ass and followed by 70,000 Jews. His reign would last forty days. The first "day" would be a year, the second day a month, the third day a week, and the remaining thirty-seven days would be just ordinary days. Al Dajjal would destroy every city but Mecca and Medina, which would be guarded by angels. Finally, al Dajjal would be slain in Jerusalem by Jesus at the Gate of Lud. Jesus will be assisted by the Inman Mahedi, and afterward Christianity and Islam will become a single religion.

CFR. Cafir. But the initials CFR stood also for the Council on Foreign Relations, the group which now largely determined U.S. foreign policy.

Was it only a coincidence that the Council on Foreign Relations symbol was a picture of a man riding an ass?

OJ's thoughts returned to the immediate task. It had been one of his viewers who had alerted him to the investigator staying at the Hilton. Her attention at work at the hotel desk had been aroused by receipt of a faxed copy of The Book of the Antichrist, by one Jack Parsons, followed by some other faxes which mentioned OJ's name. She had called into the main switchboard, and had been transferred to OJ's executive secretary, who had taken the information and thanked the lady. Hermes T. Megistus was the hotel guest's name. OJ, Jack Parsons, The Book of the Antichrist, the message said.

It was probably this guy, Hermes, who had broken into his house that night, placing an altered copy of The Book of the Antichrist on OJ's desk, frightening him out of a weary sleep.

Well, Mr. Hermes wasn't going to get away with this. OJ suddenly came to a firm decision. He would tell Craig he was an appointed "avenger of the blood." OJ himself would anoint Craig in this role. Craig would then have the authority to administer God's justice without personal sin.

OJ knew Craig was capable of killing. He had done it before. Oh, he wouldn't look you in the face while he cut your throat. No, Craig wasn't that type of guy. But Craig knew how to arrange little accidents. And he enjoyed it. "It's just research," Craig had explained to OJ, that one time before.

* * * * *
Edward Lodge was watching a basketball game in his office when the call came through.


"Mr. Lodge. It's Craig. From California."

"Where are you calling from?"

"It's okay."


"Someone gave me a job."

"Yeah?" Lodge knew that Craig was referring to Oral Jerry Swagger.

"I'm looking at another investigator. He's from out your way. That's why I thought I would call."

"What's his name?"

"Hermes T. Megistus."

"Never head of him," Lodge said.

"Okay. Just thought I would check. Didn't want to step on any toes."

"I appreciate that," Lodge said.

"I'll be copying a report as usual."

"I look for it." Lodge severed the connection. He reflected. Things were moving ahead of schedule. Maybe too quickly. Lodge buzzed his secretary.

"Yes, Mr. Lodge?"

"Find Homer Nilmot. Tell him to pull Hermes T. Megistus off the case he's working on. Tell him to tell Mr. Megistus thanks, and to send us a bill, but we no longer require his services."

So, Lodge reflected. OJ must have had his ear to the ground, to have already learned of Hermes' investigation of Jack Parsons. Unless that woman, Trisha, had somehow planted a bug in his ear prematurely. Where was she, anyway? She hadn't checked in for two days.

Thinks were heating up. And Lodge liked to know where all the players were at all times.

* * * * *
Sheri sat at the bar in the Knave of Hearts on South Street in Philadelphia, waiting for Homer Nilmot. The room was lit with the soft glow of candles. Fresh flowers on the tables. It was romantic, and definitely not the place she wanted to be meeting Homer Nilmot at. But he had suggested it, and she couldn't really resist the food there. She was dying for the peach soup and the roast duckling.

What did he want to talk about? He had seemed to imply it was business. The Antichrist, he had said cryptically.

Sheri took a sip of cote du rhone. The Antichrist would have to be a woman, she suddenly realized. It was obvious when she thought about it. It was a naturally occurring duality, a change of polarity from protons to antiprotons, or sex from yang to yin. Christ was male, so the Antichrist would be female.

Like any new idea, this thought energized her, lifted her spirits. The female Antichrist. It was a mallet with which she would bludgeon Homer Nilmot for inviting her here to this romantic spot, when she would rather be with . . . well, Hermes. The messenger of the gods. The magician. The god of borders. She wished Hermes would return and drag her across the border into Mexico, or Canada, or anywhere.

Sheri signed, some of her elation evaporating. With Hermes and Trisha gone, it was lonely. She hadn't heard from Trisha, and barely from Hermes. What was Trisha doing in LA? All her instincts told her it was related to Jack Parsons, same as Hermes, but Trisha had not been forthcoming, the conversation devolving into the usual sorts of Trisha-style paradoxes and parables.

Sheri found it impossible to be angry with her roommate. Because at heart she worshipped Trisha and yearned to be like her. Trisha is a goddess and I'm just a groupie, Sheri thought. That's all I'll ever be, a groupie. There was always a distance between them Sheri couldn't seem to close.

Sheri saw Homer Nilmot come past the wall into the bar area. "Hi. Sorry I'm late." He took a seat beside her at the bar.

"Get you something?" the bartender asked.

"I think I'll have what she's having." Homer point at Sheri's wine.

There was a moment of silence. Then Sheri spoke: "Well, what can I do for our noble client?"

Homer shuffled on his barstool awkwardly. Finally, he spoke: "Well, frankly, I was hoping you could help me figure out what has been going on in California. But I guess it doesn't matter anymore. I just got a phone call. My boss is pulling your boss off the case."
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:16 am

Part 16: My Name is Zak

Some would say I am crazy. I'm not. The crazy ones are the people who point radio telescopes into deepest space and search for alien messages. What a waste of tax dollars. Do those idiots really think that aliens think this way, that they would have the slightest inclination to cater to human notions of high-tech communication, to first make contact with scientists and their latest batch of tinker toys? Why would aliens deal with such moronic setups when they could just make contact with that finest of receivers, the human brain, or plug into the ordinary methods of communication, like the telephone, fax, mail, radio, TV?

My name is Zak. I didn't ask to be contacted by the Hoova messengers. Nor do I think I am someone special to be communicating with them. The prophet Jeremiah was called from the womb, so it is said, but I doubt I would have ever become involved if I hadn't been working on the roof that day. They told me they dwell in spaceships, which they wear like mechanical bodies, and that they come from our own future. Why would they lie? But even if they lie, who could explain their ability to keep track of my own activities, my own thoughts? If this is all a trick by some group, they must have an army of surveillance people. I don't believe it's possible. And if it were possible, why would they care about me? And no, I am never looking or listening when the messages appear on my answering machine. But if this is a hoax or a prank, why does the answering machine tape often erase itself, or even disappear entirely, while I am still in the room? No one has come and gone, and I have felt no chills from passing ghosts.

I am not a mystic. I've never cared for religion or spiritual things, at least before now. I dropped out of synagogue when I turned thirteen and refused to attend anymore. My mother was always trying to send me off on one of the summer programs to work on a kibbutz in Israel, but she couldn't make me go. Oh, I like working. I like tinkering with real things, using my hands. I enjoy construction, and mechanical projects. But there was an abundance of summer jobs right here in Los Angeles, where I could be with my friends. I am an American. Yeah, maybe a bit alienated because I am a Jew, but not as half alienated as I feel toward my own family when they try to force me into modes I didn't want. We never could have French wine at home. Some offense the French committed against the Jews or Israel--I forget what. She--my mother--went out of her way to buy imported Israeli wines. Awful stuff. That's why I don't care for wine much, I guess.

I am a down-to-earth kind of guy, and so are most of my friends. I didn't suddenly become a raving lunatic just because I started talking to spaceships. But I was conscious of how it might look, so mostly I kept it to myself. I told Jeff. Jeff has a good head on his shoulders. I had taken classes with Jeff. He was good at history and biology, but he was also a cabbalist, and thought about the structure of the world in terms of the tree of life, and he was also interested in gematria and other weird stuff.

And Dean. But only because Dean asks too many questions. I occasionally run errands for Hoova. Sometimes the schedule is awkward, and people wonder where I've been, and I make up some innocuous answer. But Dean is too sharp. That crazy Arab thought I was working for the Mossad, or some spy agency such as that, so I finally told him about Hoova, so he could relax. Surprisingly, I only managed to convince him more than ever that I was working for the Mossad. The whole notion is ridiculous. Though my father does know a few of those people. I think he met them at synagogue, or through friends there.

What I like about Dean was that he has been everywhere. He is only a little older than me, I think, maybe even younger, but he has been all over the Middle East, and he has been to Jerusalem, and in most of the countries of Europe. Hearing him talk, seeing things through his eyes, makes me think the world is brimming with infinite possibilities. I've never been out of California much, really. But so what? It has everything--the beach, the mountains, the desert, and up north the forests.

Anyway, back to Jeff. Jeff is a cabbalist, and I was sure he wouldn't think the notion of Hoova was all that weird. We had known each other a long time. But to my surprise, he was pretty upset. "Do you know what happens to most people who get involved with elementals?" he asked. Then he answered his own question: "Their lives are usually ruined. They lose their job, their friends, their wives/husbands/lovers. Their business goes bankrupt. Often they themselves go insane, or end up in some abandoned hole where whatever is chasing them can't find them, writing their revolutionary manuscripts that are going to overthrow current notions of science or revoke the rules of society so humans live by the same conventions the spirits live by."

It annoyed me he talked about spirits. Look, this is science, I said. The spaceships come from the future, and they are controlled by humans. Future humans who live inside the electronics of the spaceships themselves. Flying saucers, not angels, I said.

There are parallel realities, Jeff said. When something oozes through the barriers between them, when humans make contact with the other, their nervous systems are not equipped to deal with something so alien to this space-time. So they interpret the phenomena in terms familiar to them, ending up with explanations that are rife with contradictions, but which are now an embedded memory, the mind's best attempt to impose order on chaos. Spaceships, angels and demons, fairies, elementals, strange animals--these are all flawed human interpretations.

Then Jeff told me about Jack Parsons. I remember this now, because Dean called the other day and asked me if I had ever heard of a guy named Jack Parsons. I said yeah, and he seemed really surprised. What Jeff had told me was Parsons had been doing magic experiments in the Mojave desert. Shortly thereafter this was the same area where George Adamski had met a Venusian, and spaceships from Venus. And then after that Kenneth Arnold saw flying disks up in the Northwest in July 1947 and the flying saucer age began. "Parsons opened a hole in the fabric of space-time," Jeff said, "and something flew in."

For a while I was impressed with this story. Parsons had been trying to invoke a goddess named Babalon. Apparently one aspect of Babalon was Aphrodite, or Venus. And George Adamski had met a "Venusian" and even traveled on their spaceships, he said. So it kind of fit. But later I read about the great "airship" wave of 1897, and I wasn't so convinced anymore. The airship wave happened all over the western part of the U.S. It was like a ufo wave, except instead of modern spaceships there were dirigibles, and this was consistent with the technology of the time. Sometimes people would come out of the airships, tell people they were from Kansas, and this was an experimental aircraft, and so on, all of which would later prove out false, but sounded so reasonable to the people who were observers. But sometimes there were other, alien, creatures in the blimps, and once a farmer saw an airship trying to lift one of his cows up inside with a sort of hoisting belt. When the farmer gave pursuit, the airship dropped the cow, and the farmer later lodged a complaint with the local sheriff.

What about it? I asked Jeff. Here we have a ufo wave fifty years before Kenneth Arnold. Jeff thought about this a while. And then he came back and said that there were occasional bleed-throughs between realities because of terrestrial or solar events, just like there were sometimes in ritual magic, like the kind Parsons practiced. But these holes opened and closed again. What Parsons had done was create a permanent rip.

I guess this made sense. I mean it was possible. But he had explained it this way only after I confronted him with the 1897 airship wave. So I was still somewhat suspicious. But it also made me question whether I should take Hoova at face value. Jeff had given me Passport to Magonia, by a Frenchman named Jacque Vallee. Vallee seemed to show that Irish encounters with "fairies" had all the aspects of what modern people reported as contact with ufo occupants. Jeff also showed me a picture of "Lem", an elemental Aleister Crowley had been in contact with, from his magical workings. Crowley's Lem painting had appeared in a Greenwich Village art exhibit in 1919. Lem looked like one of the "grays" of ufo lore. The oval-shaped head. Although the eyes were closed in Crowley's portrait, and weren't the big cat eyes you usually see. But all this did make me think.

Despite everything, I tried to explain to Jeff why it was important to interact with Hoova. It was hard to explain. It was like in the Tanach there were all these stories about interactions with the gods or angels or Yahweh or whoever. But these were just old stories that were already distorted before they were written down. And then they got edited and edited again, and the Baal's crossed out and Yahweh inserted, or vice-versa, and who knew what it all meant?

But here I was dealing with the source--or at least some source. If you want to call it the other, then I was in contact with the other. And the way to learn about it, it seemed to me, was to play with it. To perturb the system, as computer people might say. I'm not much into computers, so let me use another analogy. Say you wanted to learn about a cat. Some idiots would say: Let's dissect the cat. That way we can observe its internal catness. Others will say: Show me the evidence of this cat. Give me some fur. Let me measure and do a chemical analysis of this alleged cat fur. But the way to learn what a cat is all about is to play with it. To feed it and not feed it. To watch it creep up on a bird through the grass. To watch it move to the one spot in the room where the sun is coming through the window. Interaction and observation. I got a better handle on things when I read Jacque Vallee's The Invisible College. He called ufos a control mechanism. Their function, as best I could understand, was to change people's beliefs. But his calling it a control mechanism gave me confidence in what I was doing. "I'm probing the mechanism as it probes me," I told Jeff. "I'm trying to figure out what it's all about." I didn't want Jeff thinking I thought I was some sort of prophet or holy man. And I was cautious about doing anything I didn't want to do. My parents couldn't make me pray, and I was damned if I was going to pray for peace in the Middle East because Hoova wanted me to. "Let those idiots blow each other up," I said to Dean. I think Dean agreed. That's when I decided that the true Semites--ones like Dean and me--lived in the desert of Los Angeles. Jerusalem was inhabited by the remnants of some ungodly Nazi experiment. Let them keep fighting over the water and the oil, and killing each other like they've done for the past several thousand years. What was Hoova's point? Pray to whom or what? Here these people come from thousands of years in the future, and their bodies are electronics and hardware--the spaceships themselves. Do they really still believe they were created in God's image? I mean, is God a spaceship? And if he is, then what about us? We have two legs and two arms, so we're not in God's image. It's all self-contradictory. So you can throw the Tanach out the window. Like I say, pray to whom or what?

Maybe I shouldn't say, or think, some of this. But I never could understand why so many people who shouldn't have been involved cared what happened between two tribes in the Middle East. Yet, at the same time, I found myself suddenly in the middle of world events because of Hoova. Hoova always seemed to have its finger on the latest trouble spot. I found myself going about my daily life in Los Angeles, yet somehow I was a participant in events happening around the globe. It was a heady feeling. Take Larry Meier. A casual acquaintance of my father. Some sort of explosives expert or spook. We were at a dinner party and out of the blue we start talking and he ends up asking me to do him a favor. To pick up some money from Oral Jerry Swagger and to deliver it somewhere downtown. Once upon a time I would have said no, thinking this was really weird. Oral Jerry Swagger, for Christ's sakes. But I knew it was because of Hoova, and I said sure, no problem. It was just another one of those strange coincidences that keep happening to me. And Hoova was watching. They left me a message--to videotape the entire transaction. No reason given, but this was the type of thing that appealed to me, and which I liked doing for Hoova. I asked Dean to do the taping, since he had done that sort of thing before, and since he already knew about Hoova. I didn't tell him who I was doing it for. But later Hoova warned me to keep Dean out of sight, because Dean knew Larry Meier, had met him in Paris once. I casually asked Dean about it and it blew his mind. But it goes to show you Hoova is what it claims to be, or at least has amazing powers. I certainly had no idea that Dean knew Meier, much less about their meeting in Paris. So it wasn't like I was making all this up, hallucinating or something. You can say: Those tape recordings, you just imagined them. It all happened in your mind. Hoova is all part of the hallucination. Well, if that true, then how did Hoova know about Dean and Larry Meier?

So now I am going to have dinner with OJ, which is what people call the Christian evangelist. At L'Orangerie over in West Hollywood, for Christ's sakes. OJ goes there all the time. We are going to ride in OJ's limo from Pasadena over to L'Orangerie, and have dinner. Then when I come out I will be carrying a briefcase of money. I will get into a different car to take me to my next destination. I don't know how Dean is going to get a video of us at the table in L'Orangerie. It worries me some, but that's Dean's problem. And Hoova's.
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:16 am

Part 17: Stab Your Demoniac Smile to My Brain!

I awoke with a start. The room was dark. Apparently I had turned off the TV and bedside lamp and fallen asleep.

Then I heard it again. A noise in the hall. I reached out to the bedside table and closed my fingers around the handle of the chef’s knife. Someone walking down the hall.

I went to the door cautiously, quietly braced my foot against the bottom edge, and looked through the keyhole. Someone was disappearing around the corner. I couldn’t tell whether the figure was male or female.

I’m a sitting duck, I thought. Staying here in a public place, the Pasadena Hilton, checked-in with a credit card. Anyone could locate me. I ought to get moving. Disappear somewhere randomly. Now.

I had left an imprint of my credit card with the desk downstairs, so all I would have to do would be to leave my key in the little executive check-out folder in the room, and depart.

I turned on the bedside lamp and looked at the knife in my hand. I didn’t really need it on the way to the car, I decided. So I wrapped it in a bag and laid it aside to pack with the rest of my things. I hastily threw everything into the travel bag, zipped up all compartments, and slipped the carry strap over my shoulder.

I picked up the baseball bat and looked through the keyhole again. There was no one in the hall. I let the door click shut behind me, walked to the elevator, and hit the button for the first floor. I encountered no one on the way out to the garage.

I put the travel bag in the trunk with the ax. After looking around, I put the baseball bat in the trunk also. I started the car and headed for the nearest freeway. I would drive and think for a while, and then decide where to go.

As I drove, I thought about the two ghouls. The two men-in-black. The large pasty-faced one and the short fat one. I had met one of them at the Palladium just after talking to David Wilson. It was from his flier that I had learned about the Jack Parsons Memorial Society. Now I had come out here to California, and run into Renny of the same group.

Helpful, likeable Renny? It didn’t seem possible he would be involved in something like this. Attempted murder. Or David Wilson either, for that matter.

But maybe it was naive thinking like this that had nearly gotten me killed.

Jack Parsons had been killed also. Then it hit me. Who was it that had been harassing Parsons when he died? The U.S. government. At the time he died, the U.S. government had just taken away his security clearance, for the second time. Why? Because he had "classified" documents—mostly ones he had written himself years earlier. So it had to be simple intimidation. And why the persecution? Because Parsons wasn’t controllable. Because Parsons was going to break the monopoly. He wanted to build a jet propulsion lab for Israel. It was probable that he was motivated by necessity, at least in part. Cut out of the center of things in the U.S., and ostracized professionally, he would naturally seek to use his talents elsewhere, where he could profit from them. A JPL for Israel, an explosives factory for Mexico (the latter was the purpose of his trip, Parsons had told von Karman). Who knows what else. Parsons was escaping the control of the U.S. government.

No, the U.S. wanted its jet propulsion monopoly to continue—the monopoly on missiles and certain types of explosives. Here at home all the profits were to be funneled to defense giants like General Tire and Rubber. There was no room for individualists like Parsons. So when he had tried to sell his talents elsewhere, they had killed him. As simple as that. The Army ordinance experts had arrived and cleaned up after the "two" explosions. This was followed by a blizzard of contradictory cover stories—a different one for each person’s taste. Parsons was sloppy. No, Parsons was a careful researcher, but he was a devil worshipper and got what he deserved. No, Parsons was a genius, but there was a mysterious "death angel." Everyone was allowed (even supplied with) his own pet theory—but all of the stories were bullshit because the U.S. government had killed Parsons.

So who was trying to kill me? The government? No, that didn’t make any sense. Even if there were iron-clad proof of what had happened 35 years earlier, who would care? "Yeah, we killed him. So what?" No. What was happening to me was related to something I couldn’t fathom.

I drove at random from freeway to freeway. It seemed like hours, but it was still dark out, so it couldn’t have been that long. Eventually I found myself headed out into the desert. Mountains closed in around the sides of the pavement. The cliffs looked like the Cyclopean ruins of ancient fortifications.

After a while I realized I had seen no other cars for some time. I looked in the rearview mirror. There were no headlights from on-coming traffic behind me. I slowed down. Maybe I should turn around somewhere and head back into the city. Then I saw the desert sand was covering the highway in front of me. I came to a stop. I left the headlights on and stepped out to look at the road.

I stepped out of the car into a thin layer of sand. I scrapped a small furrow with my shoe. It was just sand, but seemed to have a hard undersurface. Sand on the pavement. I looked at the road behind me. More sand. The highway had disappeared.

This is ridiculous, I thought. I’ll wait until daylight to move the car. But what should I do until then? I didn’t want to sleep in the car. The very idea gave me that sitting-duck feeling again. I opened the trunk and took out the baseball bat. Then I turned off the car lights and locked the doors. It was pitch black. I looked up at the cliffs. They were faintly silhouetted against the sky. I began to walk in the direction of one of them.

I walked carefully but the sand was firm. I gradually got over the feeling I might be walking on quicksand. I finally reached a slope and made my way up the steep incline and onto a large slab of rock. I could now see somewhat better in the darkness, but looking back down the way I had come there was only blackness. Further away in the distance, on the other side of the road, was another line of cliffs, and I could see the whole craggy outline against a background of bright stars.

This was a good spot to camp I decided. I’ll wait for daylight here. I looked around me for a place to put the baseball bat, and somewhere to rest my back. There was a smaller rock nearby and I propped the bat against that, and then I sat down, feeling for a niche in the cliff face. I kept looking behind me and that’s when I saw the faint glow of blue light.

It seemed to be coming from a spot slightly above. I worked my way up a couple of yards higher. It was a small cave. The cave tunnel sloped steeply downward and the blue light seemed to be arising from below. The light beckoned.

It would be a close fit, but I could worm my way in head first. No telling what was in the tunnel. Snakes, probably. Maybe bats or other animals. I retrieved the baseball bat to push along in front of me. But when I started to rest it on the tunnel floor in front of my head, it almost leaped into my face.

Gravity was pulling the bat down toward me. I pushed myself partly into the hole and I could feel gravity’s force pushing me back. It was as though I were crawling upward in the tunnel, instead of downward. I slipped back out to get the feel of the ground around me. Yes, I was standing vertically, more or less. Gravity was down. I looked in the tunnel toward the light again. It also was clearly down. But as I crawled into the tunnel, gravity tugged at me to come back out.

Gravity was reversed in the tunnel. Shit, I thought. Now I have to see what’s in there. I put the bat aside, out of my way, and began to pull myself downward through the cave, bracing my feet against the sides. I could hear faint music—the voice of a choir.

For some reason, a phrase kept popping into my head. "Stab your demoniac smile to my brain!" I tried to recall where I had heard it. It seemed distinctly familiar—something hovering on the borders of my mind, but keeping just out of sight around the corner.

The cave opened into a small room. I could sit up and look around. There was a faint bluish light lightly illuminating everything, but I couldn’t detect its source.

Maybe I’m being fried by radiation, I thought. Then I heard a voice. "Not radiation. Radiance."

It was Trisha. Sitting motionless, smiling, perhaps laughing at me.

"What are you doing…" I started. Then I realized I sounded ridiculous, even to myself. What are you doing in a cave? I had started to say. Jesus. What am I doing in a cave? So I said:

"What are you doing in Southern California?"

"What are you doing in Southern California?" she said. Just like Jesus in the New Testament. Answering a question with a question. Clearly two couldn’t play this game.

"I’m looking for Jack Parsons’ killer," I said. I didn’t expect her to have a clue what I was talking about. Unless Sheri had said something. Sheri. Sheri might have told her I was here. Not that that helped explain much. The two of us in a cave. Nothing made any sense.

"So am I," Trisha smiled. "So, who do you think it was? Larry Meier or Oral Jerry Swagger?"

I realize then that I was insane. I had driven randomly from Pasadena and I had ended up in a cave. With my secretary’s roommate—one of the most gorgeous women, if not the most gorgeous woman, in history—and she had used a name that I had only thought about in my private thoughts. Oral Jerry Swagger. The other name I didn’t know. I hadn’t a clue who this "Larry Meier" was.

If I am insane, I thought, I might as well play this out. If I am insane, aren’t I supposed to already know what she is going to say next, since I’m making it all up? If so, I am still going to have to wait for her to say it. Because I haven’t a clue. Right brain, talk to my left brain. Whatever.

Then I realized it was my turn to answer. So I told her my theory it was the U.S. government that had killed Parsons.

Trisha nodded thoughtfully. Then we sat there for a time. Neither of us felt a need to speak.

Finally she stood up. "I have to go," she said. "Be safe. Are you going back the way you came in?" She pointed to the cave tunnel. I looked at it, angling upward above me. There was daylight at the top of the tunnel.

"Yes, I guess." I didn’t want her to leave. "How are you going?"

"Here," she said. She smiled. There was a copper door in the wall, and she opened it. Copper—the metal of Aphrodite, of Venus, I thought irrelevantly. She stood there looking at me. She didn’t invite me to follow her.

"Wait," I said. "When I was coming down here, I kept hearing the line of a poem, ‘Stab your demoniac smile to my brain!’ It was that night. You were there. The Mauvaise Arts Ball. Something happening that night. Something… in Jerusalem." Then I remembered. The Temple of Aphrodite.

"Oh, that," she smiled. "It was just something that happened to two people."

"Who? Who were those two people?"

I wanted her to stay. I wanted her so much. I thought I would burst into flame, like a spontaneous combustion victim.

She smiled even brighter. A face that would launch a thousand aircraft carriers, I thought. "Maybe it was my mother and Jack Parsons," she said.

Then her face became totally expressionless. "Or maybe it was you and me. Or maybe some of all of the above."

The copper door slammed behind her and I was alone.
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:16 am

Part 18: Bloody Diochondra

Dean was watching it all from the car. The two external cameramen had caught Oral Jerry Swagger and Zak entering the restaurant. OJS had been carrying the briefcase with the money. The internal cameraman would film and record part of their dinner conversation. Then . . .

Here they came. Zak was carrying the briefcase now. They were shaking hands. Three cameras going. The man inside had followed them out and was making no effort to be non-obtrusive. He caught OJS with his mouth dropping open as he looking directly into the camera lens.

Zak came over and got into the car, two cameramen following him, filming. One of them got into the back seat. Zak opened the briefcase and the cameraman leaned forward, filming the money.

"Where to?" Dean asked.

"Chinatown," Zak said. "I deliver the money and we—they—generate the wire transfer records."

"I sure hope you know what you are doing," Dean muttered, as he started the car.

"Relax," Zak said. "You’ll get paid shortly. Cash." He tapped the briefcase. Hoova had told him he could keep ten percent. That would be enough to pay Dean, and a few bucks left over for himself. Zak was in a good mood. All the stuff for Hoova had been voluntary—a freeby. Now something was coming back.

True, Larry Meier hadn’t mentioned the part about the ten percent. But that was Hoova’s problem. Ten percent. A tithe. Zak snickered to himself. A tithe of a tithe. Ten percent from money OJS had collected as tithes and offerings from his followers.

Hoova had told him to leave the tapes under some Mason jars in a paper bag marked "Sally Rand" in the same place as previously.

"Chinatown!" Zak yelled. "Chinatown here we come!" Dean only glanced at him and drove in silence.

* * * * *

Craig hit the button in the Hilton elevator. The woman who had called in to headquarters wasn’t there anymore. Vacation or something. But the suspect, Hermes T. Megistus, was still in his room. He hadn’t stirred for twenty-four hours, apparently.

Craig just wanted to pass by. Check the location of the room number. Any excuse to deal with the endless boredom of waiting for the suspect to make a move. What was he doing in there anyway? Watching TV? Shacked up with some whore?

Craig stepped out into the 10th floor and checked the location of the room number. Down this way. Here it is . . .

The door was slightly ajar. Shit! Craig thought. It was three a.m. in the morning. It couldn’t be the maid. So—was the suspect there or not? Obviously he had come in or out—but no one had bothered to close the door. Maybe the suspect had just gone down the hall for some ice. Craig looked behind him. No one. But in that case there ought to be a light in the room. The room was dark.

Craig hesitated. Then he knocked on the doorjamb.

"Mr. Megistus? Hotel security. We noticed your door was open."

He waited. Nothing. He listened. No sound.

Craig pushed open the door and slipped inside, fumbling for the light switch. He hadn’t quite found it yet when he felt the sharp point. A sting in his solar plexus.

He was still fumbling with the blade in his belly when he blacked out.

* * * * *

Edward Lodge was watching a basketball game to pass the time when the STU-III rang on his desk. It was a new product that gave an encrypted communication session.

Lodge didn’t really trust it. But at least he knew who was calling when it rang.

"Yes," he answered, never taking his eyes off the TV screen.

"Um, hmm," he said several times as he listened. Then:

"Sanitize the trail. We don’t want it leading back here."

He hung up the phone and yelled at the TV: "Shoot! Shoot!"

* * * * *

Oral Jerry Swagger had gotten up early that morning. He was dressed in his morning outfit—suspenders, red shirt, bow tie—when he went out for the paper on the front lawn. Usually the housekeeper delivered it at 7 a.m. along with breakfast. But it was 6:30 and OJ was impatient for the news.

The paper was half-way down the stone path to the front gate. OJ opened up the Los Angeles Times, and stood there, reading and shaking his jowls at the sin and corruption of the world.

Only gradually did he become aware of some blemish on his spacious front lawn. The lawn had long ago been replanted with dichondra, which gave a uniform green, in place of the patchy and fickle grass.

It was a human figure. OJ walked cautiously across the dichondra for a closer look. The man was laying face down.

He tapped on the man’s shoulder.

"Get up!" he commanded sternly.

The man—still drunk—didn’t move.

OJ grabbed his shoulder, and with some effort flipped him over. It was Craig. His employee—the one looking into the military Satanists. The one taking care of that Jack Parsons matter.

Craig’s throat was slit open with a large gash. His intestines were partly hanging out through his shirt.

OJ felt a little sick. He went back into the house and called his attorney, Randy Stader.

Stader will know how to handle this, OJ reflected. He felt quite numb and calm.

Will the Parsons’ horror never cease? he wondered.
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Re: Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space

Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:17 am

Part 19: Axe Me No Questions

I dozed off for a while. When I awoke, I could see bright sunlight at the top of the tunnel. I looked around but there was no Trisha, no copper door. I wasn’t surprised. Still, I checked the wall carefully and clawed away some of the dirt. Nope. No copper door here. Just daylight and sanity.

I looked at the tunnel with some suspicion. I had crawled down the tunnel, with gravity trying to pull me back up. So, logically, I would have to work my way up the tunnel, being careful that gravity didn’t accelerate me along and spit me out to the external world. I tossed a rock part way up the tunnel. It came rolling back down toward me.

I stuck my torso partly into the tunnel. No suction. Gravity was pulling me down. So, it was a weird tunnel. No matter from which direction you entered it, it pushed you back. Get out of me! it seemed to be saying. I worked my way through it, and stood up outside in the warm sunlight. It was mid-afternoon.

Down below, my car stood on a dirt road that ended at the cliff. For off in the distance I could see a highway with two-way traffic.

I sighed, looked for the baseball bat, and took it down with me. I got in the car and tossed the bat against the other door in the front seat. The gas gauge told me I had 1/8 of tank left. I started the car and headed back to the highway. There I turned back in the direction of Los Angeles. At least that part was easy. Los Angeles was always to the west, as long as you weren’t at the beach.

I turned on the radio and found a station. They were playing a song by Shocking Blue. I laughed out loud. Venus. Then came the news.

"And now the news from KJIZ, brought to you by Dusty Trail Carburetors, the carburetor of the future.

"There has been a bizarre new development in the Oral Jerry Swagger case. Early today the body of one of the television evangelist’s employees was found on the front lawn of Swagger’s Pasadena mansion. According to police sources, the man’s throat had been cut and he had been disemboweled with a butcher knife.

"A church spokesman, attorney Randy Stader, suggested that Satanists were responsible for the killing."

(The voice of Randy Stader.)

"We regret immensely the tragic death of Mr. Craig Knowles, and extend our condolences to his friends and associates at this time of sorrow. Mr. Knowles was recently engaged in an important investigation concerning what appear to be a coterie of Satanists linked to the U.S. military, who were believed to be responsible for a wave of cattle and even human mutilations throughout the western part of the U.S. We can only speculate that members of this group took revenge on Mr. Knowles for getting too close to the truth."

(The voice of the newsreader again.)

"However, confidential police sources tell KJIZ that the Pasadena police are pursuing the possibility that Craig Knowles’ death was the result of a love triangle. These sources speculate that at the time of his death, Mr. Knowles was having a homosexual affair with the older Mr. Swagger, and that he may have been killed by a jealous lover. KJIZ has been shown photographs of what appear to be Mr. Swagger as a young man, engaged in sex with another unidentified man. These sources imply that Mr. Swagger has been a practicing homosexual for much of his life, and that the death of Mr. Knowles has to be considered in that light. While these sources say Mr. Swagger is not a suspect in the case, a note found in the shirt pocket of the deceased reads: "I can’t live without your love."

"In other news, Israeli police reported today that they have arrested a group of orthodox extremists who have been planning to blow up the Temple Mount. According to Israeli authorities, the group had hoped the incident would precipitate an apocalyptic war between Jews and Arabs, and hasten the coming of the Messiah . . ."

I turned off the radio and drove in silence for a while. Much as I tried to suppress it, the news report on Oral Jerry Swagger was bothering me a lot. Finally, I could stand it no longer and stopped the car beside the road and opened the trunk. Killed by a butcher knife.

I checked each compartment of the travel bag for the chef’s knife. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had wrapped it in protective covering and put it in with the rest of my things back at the Hilton. Hadn’t I? Well, it wasn’t there now. I checked the passing traffic, and waited for an appropriate gap. Then I slipped the axe out of the trunk and tossed it out to the side of the road. I got back in the car and drove on.

I entertained myself with some consoling thoughts. Even if I had left the knife in the room, and the maid had found it, there was nothing to connect me to Oral Jerry Swagger. Just my thoughts. And thankfully no one could read those. I had speculated that someone like Oral Jerry Swagger might have killed Parsons. That was all. And I didn’t think that anymore.

Except. Except for the notebook. I had left my notebook in the park when the two ghouls attacked me. It was my last entry: Oral Jerry Swagger. It seemed obvious to me now. I was being set up for a murder charge. True, it hadn’t been Oral Jerry Swagger that had been killed with a butcher knife. But my butcher knife was missing. The police had probably found it near the body of this Craig character. The story would be: I was stalking Swagger, hiding out near his mansion. But I had run into Craig, the noble investigator of Satanic matters, and killed him. Look: here is the purchase order for the knife. Look: here is the notebook. Look: he bought an axe also. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, what do you think was on this Satanist’s mind?

Jesus. The more I fled, the bigger the trail I left behind. My fear has come upon me. Job 3: 25. The land of Uz, I muttered to myself. I drove for a while checking the exits.

Well, I have no choice, now, do I? There is nothing I can do. I have to disappear.

* * * * *

Sheri slept late. She looked at the clock. She was supposed to be at the office in a few minutes.

She didn’t move, but instead snuggled a little deeper into the pillows. With Trisha and Hermes gone, Sheri felt at a loss. Her life seemed directionless. As much as she hated to admit it, her purpose in life was basically defined by her roommate and her employer. Who knows? Maybe they were working together. Way out there, somewhere, in Los Angeles.

She didn’t really believe that, but the thought left her feeling left out, lonesome, and depressed. Trisha could have anyone she wanted. Leave Hermes alone.

Sheri sighed. She got out of bed and looked in the mirror. Her hair was disheveled and her face looked a little puffy. Why can’t I be like Trisha? Well, maybe I can, she thought, with sudden determination. I’ll wear something sexy to the office. Just for me. Maybe the short skirt I wore when Hermes took me to Copa. Okay, maybe I took him, but he had said yes, hadn’t he? But something more than that. What?

No panties! Brazilian-style. The thought made her feel moist inside already.

And she would leave work early and hit South Street. Maybe meet someone. That would teach Hermes, off on the west coast.

And gradually, as she showered and dressed, her natural enthusiasm returned full force.
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