We have previously written about Aleister Crowley in general (see here) and focused upon his influence upon pop-occulture via music in the articles Aleister Crowley’s continued influence on music and “Do what thou wilt” on Aleister Crowley’s influence on pop-occulture.
Herein we will present a series of books wherein Aleister Crowley appears as himself and also as fictional characters.
On the reality side of things we have Richard B. Spence’s book Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult:
“Using documents gleaned from British, American, French, and Italian archives, Secret Agent 666 sensationally reveals that Crowley played a major role in the sinking of the Lusitania, a plot to overthrow the government of Spain, the thwarting of Irish and Indian nationalist conspiracies, and the 1941 flight of Rudolf Hess.
Author Richard B. Spence argues that Crowley—in his own unconventional way—was a patriotic Englishman who endured years of public vilification in part to mask his role as a secret agent.
The verification of the Great Beast’s participation in the twentieth century’s most astounding government plots will likely blow the minds of history buff s and occult aficionados alike.”
Another Crowley reality based book is Philip Gardiner’s The Bond Code: The Dark World of Ian Fleming and James Bond which pertains to Crowley by extension do to Flemming’s involvement of the occult and the fact that:
“At the outbreak of war [WWII]…Ian Fleming, working for naval intelligence in M15, contacted him with an outlandish plan to lure Rudolf Hess to Britain by using mystical enchantments and astrology. The details of this plot remain obscure, but Hess, a passionate devotee of the occult, did fly to Scotland and Fleming was keen that Crowley should interrogate him using his magical knowledge. All that is certain about this curious episode is that Crowley provided Fleming with the template for Le Chiffre, the first Bond villain in Casino Royale (1953).”
—Jake Arnott, “Aleister Crowley's lives - The Satanist and spy has inspired memorable characters,” Telegraph, May 30, 2009 AD
The Bond Code is described as follows:
“The Bond Code is the remarkable story of how Fleming's association with the occult world led him to create a masterful series of clever clues, ciphers, and codes within his books. Philip Gardiner finally unravels the secret of James Bond piece by piece from the novels and films used to create his aura of mystique. This book not only introduces new material, but also radically reappraises everything we thought we knew about Bond--and his creator.”
Of course, as we elucidated in our article Secret agent 666 and 007 – Aleister Crowley and James Bond; James Bond is the name of a fictional British Secret Service agent created in 1953 AD by writer Ian Fleming. Bond’s agent number 007 is taken from the real life and original 007 which is John Dee (1527-1608 AD) who was the court occultist for Queen Elizabeth and who identified himself with the number 007.
William Ramsey wrote Prophet of Evil: Aleister Crowley, 9/11 and the New World Order:
“Do the numbers suffusing the day of September 11th have occult significance? Why are the numbers 11, 77, 93, and 175 extremely significant in understanding the event? How did Aleister Crowley influence the events of 9/11, considering the fact that he died in 1947? How did Aleister Crowley inspire the doctrines of the New World Order? The answers to these questions are contained in the riveting book…”
Ramsey also published Aleister Crowley: A Visual Study:
“…As the foremost accumulator of occult knowledge in the late 19th and early 20th Century, Crowley based his writings upon prior magicians, writers, and philosophers, incorporating their ideas, and his own, into a new religion for a New Age. This book details Crowley’s progression from a self-described childhood in hell, to notorious magician, to drug-addled middle age as the Great Beast, and on to his final years living in an upscale boarding house in southern England. As this visual study confirms, a copious amount of photographic and newspaper evidence still remains concerning the Beast 666-Aleister Crowley.”
Now (this being September 2013 AD) Ramsey is about to publish a new book about Crowley’s influence upon pop-occulture, literature, etc. which is to be titled Children of the Beast (keep an eye out for our review coming in the near future).
We also have Mark Beynon’s book London's Curse: Murder, Black Magic and Tutankhamun in the 1920s West End about which we wrote here.
We now come to fiction wherein Aleister Crowley appears both as himself (although fictionalized to whatever degree) and as a character by another name.
William Somerset Maugham admitted to having based the main character Oliver Haddo on Crowley in his book The Magician (1908 AD).
A character in Arnold Bennett’s Paris Nights (1911 AD)
Some have asserted that Aleister Crowley was the basis of the evil alchemist Karswell in Montague Rhodes James’ book Casting the Runes and Other Ghost Stories (1911 AD). One reason is that Karswell is said to have “invented a new religion for himself” which Crowley sought to do.
Had it been published later one may have thought that it was based on L. Ron Hubbard who was a practitioner of Crowley’s magick and magickal scribe for Jack Parsons the (in)famous rocket scientist.. Hubbard went on to found his own religion Scientology and its underlying philosophy Dianetics (see here for details, including that Hubbard’s son claims that Scientology is a black magick ritual extended over an extended period of time).
William Butler Yeats The Second Coming (1920 AD) wherein Crowley was the inspiration behind the Antichrist character, “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last.” Yeats and Crowley were fellow members of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) where they became magickal and literary rivals.
A character in Warwick Deeping’s Exiles (1930 AD).
A character in Herbert Russell Wakefield’s He Cometh and He Passeth By (1930).
A character in Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out (1934 AD).
A character in Dion Fortune’s The Winged Bull (1935 AD).
Anthony Powell used Crowley for inspiration of two characters in A Dance to the Music of Time and Hearing Secret Harmonies (ranging 1951-1975 AD). The characters are Dr. Trelawney and Scorpio Murtlock.
A character in Ernest Hemingway A Moveable Feast (1964 AD).
A character in Christopher Isherwood’s A Visit to Anselm Oakes (1969 AD).
A character in Jake Arnott published The Devil's Paintbrush (2009 AD).
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