Jack Parsons life and biography

Jack Parsons picture, image, poster

Jack Parsons biography

Date of birth : 1914-10-02
Date of death : 1952-06-17
Birthplace : Los Angeles, California,U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-17
Credited as : scientist, rocket propulsion researcher, development of rocket solid fuel

1 votes so far

John Whiteside Parsons (born Marvel Whiteside Parsons on October 2, 1914 – died June 17, 1952), better known as Jack Parsons, was an American rocket propulsion researcher at the California Institute of Technology.

He was one of the principal founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Aerojet Corp. He was also an occultist and one of the first Americans to take a keen interest in the writings of English author and Thelema's founder Aleister Crowley. In this capacity, he joined and eventually led an American lodge of Crowley's magical order, Ordo Templi Orientis

In 1936, Parsons joined the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT) of the California Institute of Technology, where he worked for Frank Malina and Theodore von Kármán in Pasadena.

While his formal education was limited, Parsons demonstrated tremendous scientific aptitude and genius, particularly in chemistry. His rocket research was some of the earliest in the United States, and his pioneering work in the development of solid fuel and the invention of JATO units for aircraft was of great importance to the start of humanity's space age. The noted engineer Theodore von Kármán, Parsons' friend and benefactor, declared that the work of Parsons and his peers helped usher in the age of space travel.Parsons co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, commonly referred to as JPL. According to von Kármán, Parsons' work in solid fuel research "... made possible such outstanding rockets as the Polaris and the Minuteman.

It was in 1942, the same year Parsons was appointed as head of the Agapé Lodge by Aleister Crowley (who himself had studied chemistry), that Parsons made the crucial breakthrough in the development of rocket solid fuel. Following intuition, Parsons switched from black powder to asphalt and potassium perchlorate.Compared with Peenemünde, the contemporary German army research facility, America was finally in the race for rocket propulsion with solid fuel for the space age.

Parsons saw no contradiction between his scientific and magical pursuits. Before each rocket test launch, Parsons would chant Crowley's hymn to the Greek god Pan. In 1942 Parsons was chosen by Aleister Crowley to lead Agapé Lodge of OTO in California following Crowley's expulsion of Wilfred Smith from the position.

Sara Northrup (aka "Sarah Elizabeth" or "Betty" Northrup), began living with Parsons and Parsons' wife, Sara's half-sister Helen Northrup; later, Parsons and Sara became involved in an affair, which caused strife with Helen and eventually led to Helen leaving with Wilfred Smith. Sara Northrup went on to marry author L. Ron Hubbard, who served as the occasional magical partner of Parsons, and who would later found the Church of Scientology.
Parsons, a science fiction fan, had read in the fantasy pulp magazine Unknown the 1940 original shorter version of Jack Williamson "Darker Than You Think".

Parsons had identified the redheaded female love interest of the protagonist with Babalon or the "Scarlet Woman", who Crowley had prophesied would help to fulfill the Aeon of Horus and announce to the world the end of the Aeon of Osiris represented by Christianity and other patriarchal religions and social institutions. In 1946, Parsons and Hubbard (whose works Fear and Typewriter in the Sky, among others, had actually appeared in Unknown) participated in a work of ceremonial magic known as the Babalon Working. In simple terms, the Babalon Working was a ritual to summon this Scarlet Woman.

Almost immediately he met Marjorie Cameron right in his own home, and regarded her as the Scarlet Woman and the fulfillment of the ritual. Parsons, Hubbard, and Cameron then proceeded to the next stage of the Babalon Working in which Cameron acted as Parsons' magical sexual partner with whom he could sire a Moonchild. The creation of this Moonchild had been previously covered in fictional form in Crowley's novel Moonchild. Parsons ended the ritual by declaring it successful. A physical child was not conceived, but this did not affect the results of the ritual, as Parsons and Cameron soon married.

In January 1946, Parsons, Sarah Northrup, and Hubbard began a boat dealing company named Allied Enterprises. Parsons put in the sum of approximately $21,000 of which Hubbard contributed $1,200. Just as Crowley had predicted, Hubbard eventually abandoned Parsons and their business plans, leaving for a port in Florida with the boat and with Sarah. Parsons retreated to his hotel room and attempted to summon a typhoon in retribution (viz., with an evocation of Bartzabel — an intelligence presiding over the astrological forces associated with the planet Mars). A squall developed at sea and ripped the sails from the boat, forcing the ship back to port where Hubbard and Sarah were detained by the U.S. Coast Guard.A Florida court later dissolved the poorly-contracted business, ordered repayment of debts to Parsons, and awarded ownership of the boat to Hubbard. Parsons resigned his leadership of the Agapé Lodge in 1946.

Fritz Zwicky, a member of the original Aerojet team, disliked Parsons, and described him as a "dangerous man". This pronouncement would prove prophetic, at least for Parsons himself. On 17 June 1952 Parsons was killed by an explosion of fulminate of mercury at his home laboratory. Though gravely injured, he survived the immediate explosion, but he died of his wounds a few hours later. Distraught, Parsons' mother killed herself just hours after he died.

Unsubstantiated rumors of suicide, murder or a magical ritual gone wrong have attempted to explain Parsons' death. However, Parsons did store many volatile chemicals and compounds in his laboratory and had been working to finish a contract for a special effects firm.

Read more

Please read our privacy policy. Page generated in 0.003s