Aleister Crowley in the Hell Fire Caves
On a visit to the Hell Fire Caves in High Wycombe, I couldn't help notice the similarity between the Banqueting Hall in the caves and the Nightmare room in the Abbey of Thelema, with their purposely domed ceiling's.
Does anyone know if Crowley ever visited the Hell Fire Caves? I've never heard that he did, (but thats nothing to go by) and searching online dosent shed any light.
Well, I've been doing some research, and I learned that the caves weren't opened to the public until the the 11th Dashwood Baronet visited Carlsbad Caverns, in 1949. He was so impressed with the hordes of visitors that he decided to open the Caves at West Wycombe to the public. I'll have to ask Eamonn Loughran, he's the current Abbott of the Knights of St. Francis of Wycombe. Many of you, no doubt, are already aware of his efforts with Hellfire Club Books. I was curious about this as well, Wycombe isn't far from London. I'll be travelling there in early October.
Eamonn Lochran is undoubtedly the expert, but I think you will find that Crowley's and Dashwood's common inspiration was Rabelais, the creator -in imagination- of the original Abbey of Thelema.
Although the caves only became a "tourist attraction" as such, after the war, there was a long tradition of visitors gaining access via tipping the key-holder. I'm sure that if he was able to arrange night-time rituals in a pyramid, Crowley would have been able to access the caves if he had wanted to.
As an aside, I once saw a letter written by Gerald Yorke, in which he mentioned a request from Dashwood to borrow the disc of Crowley's voice, to use as part of the tannoy commentary.
I did spot AC there once with Clive, (I suspect others have as well) this photo (login required for view) documents my evidence crudely photo-shopped together:
Hmmm, if memory serves, AC was "retrieved" from beyond the River Styx. A remarkable achievement 😉