Hubbard’s intense curiosity about the mind’s power led him into a friendship in 1946 with rocket fuel scientist John Whiteside Parsons.
Parsons was a protege of British satanist Aleister Crowley and leader of a black magic group modeled after Crowley’s infamous occult lodge in England.
Hubbard also admired Crowley, and in a 1952 lecture described him as “my very good friend.”
Parsons and Hubbard lived in an aging mansion on South Orange Grove Avenue in Pasadena. The estate was home to an odd mix of Bohemian artists, writers, scientists and occultists. A small domed temple supported by six stone columns stood in the back yard.
Hubbard met his second wife, Sara Northrup, at the mansion. Although she was Parsons’ lover at the time, Hubbard was undeterred. He married Northrup before divorcing his first wife.
Long before the 1960s counterculture, some residents of the estate smoked marijuana and embraced a philosophy of promiscuous, ritualistic sex.
“The neighbors began protesting when the rituals called for a naked pregnant woman to jump nine times through fire in the yard,” recalled science fiction author L. Sprague de Camp, who knew both Hubbard and Parsons.
Crowley biographers have written that Parsons and Hubbard practiced “sex magic.” As the biographers tell it, a robed Hubbard chanted incantations while Parsons and his wife-to-be, Cameron, engaged in sexual intercourse intended to produce a child with superior intellect and powers. The ceremony was said to span 11 consecutive nights.
Hubbard and Parsons finally had a falling out over a sailboat sales venture that ended in a court dispute between the two.
In later years, Hubbard tried to distance himself from his embarrassing association with Parsons, who was a founder of a government rocket project at California Institute of Technology that later evolved into the famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Parsons died in 1952 when a chemical explosion ripped through his garage lab.
Hubbard insisted that he had been working undercover for Naval Intelligence to break up black magic in America and to investigate links between the occultists and prominent scientists at the Parsons mansion.
Hubbard said the mission was so successful that the house was razed and the black magic group was dispersed.
But Parsons’ widow, Cameron, disputed Hubbard’s account in a brief interview with The Times. She said the two men “liked each other very much” and “felt they were ushering in a force that was going to change things.”
L. Sprague de Camp
Parsons’ pursuit of Hubbard had been closely followed by Hubbard’s fellow science fiction writers. For L. Sprague de Camp, a Caltech graduate in aeronautical engineering and now one of the most popular science fiction and fantasy writers of the day, the events confirmed his already low opinion of Hubbard. In a letter to Isaac Asimov, he wrote:
The more complete story of Hubbard is that he is now in Fla. living on his yacht with a man-eating tigress named Betty-alias-Sarah, another of the same kind … He will probably soon thereafter arrive in these parts with Betty-Sarah, broke, working the poor-wounded-veteran racket for all its worth, and looking for another easy mark. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Bob [Robert Heinlein] thinks Ron went to pieces morally as a result of the war. I think that’s fertilizer, that he always was that way, but when he wanted to conciliate or get something from somebody he could put on a good charm act. What the war did was to wear him down to where he no longer bothers with the act.1
- Pendle, George. (2005) Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons. Orlando: Harcourt Books ↩
In this 1962 lecture, Hubbard mentions one of his archenemies, Sprague de Camp as an example of someone who develops a psychosomatic reaction to a “wrong item” concerning some aspect of his case. Apparently de Camp was allergic to cats, which Hubbard found amusing and found satisfaction in using against him.
All of a sudden I hit this level on the Prehav Scale1, Pull. It had absolutely nothing to do with the pc2, had nothing to do with the case. And the pc’s first reaction was that it had nothing to do with the case. I saw that it could have nothing to do with the case, so I just left it in to find out what the hell’s going to happen.
It stayed with us, man! I even let the pc get off of it a little bit. You know, get off a little bit about it. Still with us! We’d of-would have wound up a Prehav assessment with the level Pull, which had nothing to do with anything!
You see why? Because as I went back, the pc says, “You know, that hasn’t got,” to self, see, says, “that hasn’t got anything to do with anything! Nothing to do with anything in the session. This one is totally extraneous.” Makes a big comment on it, protests it. Auditor, by reading it the next time, asserts it. Pc protests it-we get a lovely read. Do you see that? And that, amongst other things, was why the tone arm now really started to go up to 6.0 and 7.0 and get dirty needles and everything else. See that? So it became very difficult. Everything became very difficult.
All right. That’s just one phenomena. That’s the wrong item in. There’s another phenomenon-much more gruesome. You’re going down this list and it’s “Tiger. Waterbuck. Catfish.” See?3 And you get “Tiger” and it’s in; “Waterbuck,” it’s in; “Catfish,” it’s in; “Wolverine,” it’s in; “Polar bear,” it’s in; “Deer,” it’s in; “Stag,” it’s in; “Mouse,” it’s in. You say, “Dog,” it’s in; “Cat” it’s in. Everything’s in.
Or we’re-go down the list-we go down the list-we know very well this pc is allergic to cats. Every time a eat walks in the room, pc gets a black eye. We happen to know this out of the case history, see.
That, by the way, is old L. Sprague de Camp-one of my archenemies as a writer. I always thought that was very amusing, always offering to give him kittens. Even occasionally take one to a party and give it to him. He’d get two black eyes, just like that-bang!-the second he saw a cat. Most satisfactory result, you know, I’ve seen. And the only reason I got any satisfaction out of it is he used to criticize my stories to my editors-mostly because they wouldn’t buy his.4 Yeah, he had a couple of weak points. That was one of them. Anyhow …5
- Hitting a level on a Prehav Scale: Discussing a type of auditing in which the auditor uses the E-Meter to test a series of cookie-cutter abstractions known as the Prehav or Prehavingness Scale. Hubbard published several Prehav Scales, see Scientology 0-8. ↩
- pc: Preclear. Person receiving auditing on the way to Clear on Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.” ↩
- Hubbard’s “Tiger. Waterbuck. Catfish” is an imaginery list of abstractions being tested for emotional charge on the E-Meter. ↩
- According to Wikipedia, De Camp enjoyed debunking doubtful history and pseudoscientific claims of the supernatural. ↩
- Hubbard, L. R. (1962, 30 October). Prehav Scales and Lists. Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, (SHSBC233, 6210C30A). Lecture conducted from East Grinstead, Sussex. ↩
In this 1961 lecture, Hubbard uses the case of Sprague de Camp as an example of someone who is way down scale, i.e., not able to influence his own mind. Elsewhere Hubbard described de Camp as “one of my archenemies in writing.”
A little kid who was just trying to rehabilitate himself in the next lifetime, you see, and you give him an alarm clock. And he might have been a watchmaker at some time, but that doesn’t prevent him from wrecking the alarm flock. His ability to reach the alarm clock is so unaccompanied with any ability to understand the alarm clock, because he can’t communicate with it, that it winds up with the destruction of the alarm clock. You got the idea?
Well, below destruction of the alarm clock is no influence of any kind on the alarm clock. He cannot do anything to the alarm clock, not even destroy it and you’ve got a total withhold from the alarm clock.
All right. Add up all these withholds and all these “can’t-reaches,” “can’t-haves” actually, on the . . all dynamics and you eventually get a person who’s totally withdrawn. He’s individuated. And he individuates further and further and less and less effectiveness and of course, eventually he can’t affect his own mind. Now that’s the exact mechanic of it. I don’t care how complicated anybody makes it. That is what it is.
Now of course, when he runs “can’t-have” on people, he is running the . . a tendency toward unfamiliarity. He’s making people less familiar with something, so people are more withdrawn from it and then, because of the overt-motivator effect, naturally this reacts on him and that explains the exact mechanism of how it comes about that he stops reaching and starts withholding.
A “can’t-have” results in a “stop reach” and then this results in a further withdraw. And when you get this withdraw up there to a total a hundred percent . . crash, bang, exclamation point . . of course he can’t influence anything and you say, “All right. Now, get the idea of disliking cats.” He does.
You notice that every time a cat walks in the room he gets a black eye. I mean he sees a cat and his eye goes black, you know and you say, “Well, I’m going to fix this up for this man.” And you say, “All right, get the idea of not liking cats. Thank you.” And, “Get the idea of not liking cats. Thank you,” and so forth and you do this for three hours and nothing happens. Cat walks in the room: he gets a black eye in the other eye.
Well, what exactly has happened? His ability to influence his own mind is so low that no matter how many auditing commands you run on the guy, of course it doesn’t wind up with any result. It’s his ineffectiveness is what you’re dealing with and when you’re going in straight on a games condition, you’ll get this ineffectiveness considerably magnified. And of course, it must be a games condition with cats, if all a cat has to do is walk in the room and he gets a black eye, man, you’re way down the scale. I knew such a fellow once. His name was L. Sprague de Camp, one of the great science-fiction writers.
Anyway, this person, when he registers on the E-Meter needle, when the E-Meter needle registers and when you can get tone arm reaction, your command is affecting his mind and then therefore changing his electrical potential, so this tells you if you’re in a zone or area where he is being effective. That’s what it tells you most intimately and directly.1
- Hubbard, L. R. (1961, 20 July). Games Conditions. Saint Hill Special Briefing Course, (6107C20). Lecture conducted from East Grinstead, Sussex. ↩
Heinlein had been following the war news from Europe with increasing unease: the lights of democracy were going out all over Europe and Asia (to both fascism and communism, which Heinlein, regarded as equally evil). A year and a half earlier he had written a short-short for a fanzine that tried, unsuccessfully, to waken science fiction fans to the Nazi extermination camps. Now the U.S. was involved in the war, and he immediately applied for active duty, but was rejected for medical reasons — tuberculosis scars on his lungs and myopia (nearsightedness) “beyond the limits allowed even for the staff corps.” But a Navy buddy Albert Scoles was in charge of the Materials Laboratory at the Naval Air Experimental Station at Mustin Field, near Philadelphia. Scoles was the aviator friend Heinlein had “talked in” by radio in 1931 while both were serving on the Lexington. The Materials Lab had begun a steady expansion when war broke out in Europe in September 1939.1
- Retrieved on 24 January 2011 from http://www.lycos.com/info/robert-a-heinlein–naval-academy.html ↩