Winnipeg Free Press, Saturday, May 31, 1969
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“Strange To Relate”
By SANFORD SPILLMAN
Are student revolts against academic authority a sign of the times – something new in this decade?
Back in 1924, the „wickedest man in the world,“ Aleister Crowley, offered to lecture at Oxford on Gilles de Rais, a 15th century Frenchman who was the wickedest person of his era. The Oxford authorities declined the offer, and the students paraded in protest at this attack on freedom of speech by „reactionary educators.“
„The Beast,“ as Crowley called himself, revolted against an unhappy childhood and became an adept in sex-magic religious practices.
At 21, he inherited a fortunde from his father’s estate and travelled the world seeking the secrets of Satan. He gathered about him a collection of jaded adherents seeking new thrills. He initiated them inti his various religions – The Order of the Golden Dawn, which he took over from another group; the Rites of Eleusis; The Order of the Silver Star; and a host of other weird and wild cults.
The basis of all his ceremonies was sexual practices of every variety and the use of drugs. He picked up superstitions and rituals from all the ancient teachings and twisted them to fit his own needs.
In 1902, Somerset Maugham described him in a novel, The Magician, as a large man with small ears and a neck like a bull.
Drugs, drink and debauchery seemed not to weaken him during his young years, though his various wives, women and men companions all fell by the wayside one by one. The children he sired were raised on drink and drugs.
Finally at the age of 50, his way of life caught up with him. He was broke – and a drug addict who needed huge doses every day.
He tried to sell love potions and to peddle pornography he wrote. He used every device but legitimate work to make a living. His offer to lecture at Oxford was a last attempt to earn his keep. He finally managed to prevail on elderly women to donate money to him: they thought he was a special sort of person.
He was special: he wote extremely well – both poems and books. But the subject was the same always – erotic and erratic sex.
Crowley was born in Leamington, England, on Oct. 12, 1875. His father was a wealthy, retired brewer. Aleister showed early signs of genius. He read by the age of four, and at ten was studying Greek and Latin. But he also delighted in ripping apart small animals and bird – and enjoyed pain himself: he liked having others be cruel to him.
All things decent and legal were scorned by the boy. He directed his future life purposely away from the straight and narrow. And his life was the wildest of any man’s.
He claimed that the black magic he parctised was real – that it worked.
On Dec. 1, 1947, he lay dying in a cheap boarding house in hastings, England, at the age of 72. He screamed for more morphine. The doctor attending him refused.
Crowley howled with rage: „Give me morphine – or you will die within 24 hours!“
The doctor refused. In a few hours Crowley died. And the doctor died 18 hours later.