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Rollo Ahmed in Fortean Times (July 2014)


 Anonymous
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The current Fortean Times (no.316, July 2014) has the first part of my two-part article on Rollo Ahmed. To be fair, the second part (hopefully in next month's, no.317) covers Ahmed's relationship with Crowley, not this first part...but I thought I'd mention both, for the sake of completeness  😉

https://twitter.com/forteantimes/status/482117110735593472/photo/1

Apologies if it's bad form to advertise one's own wares; I couldn't see where else to put this - the 'For Sale' subforum appears to be offering single items, rather than a particular book or magazine.


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lashtal
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"Watkins" wrote:
Apologies if it's bad form to advertise one's own wares

Not at all - it's an excellent article that I thoroughly enjoyed. Looking forward, also, to the second part.

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 Anonymous
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Thanks Paul.

I was recently in Hastings, so took lots of photos of Harpsichord House, one of Ahmed's former residences, and a most atmospheric and unusual building - I'm hoping that at least one of these photos will feature in part two.

There are some 1950s accounts of what Ahmed and his circle got up to in the top floor room there, seemingly a combination of Western Ceremonial and Voodoo-style rituals.

Also, a few details about his friendship with Crowley. It's interesting to speculate that Crowley may have shown some interest in Ahmed's (claimed) knowledge of Voodoo and related African Diasporic traditions (although, as far as I could tell, they were making each others' acquaintance in the period after Crowley's separation from his second wife Marie, the 'High Priestess of Voodoo').


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michaelclarke18
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Doh!.....the link doesn't actually work.

https://twitter.com/forteantimes/status/482117110735593472/photo/1


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 Anonymous
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Strange, it works for me Michael...a pic of the magazine cover.  ??? What do you see when you click the link (if anything)?


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michaelclarke18
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I see 'Page not found', perhaps the link is through your personal account?

I'm quite interested in Rollo Ahmed, particularly with regards to the Dennis Wheatley connection. (If I remember correctly...) in Gunman, Gallants & Ghosts, Wheatley introduces Rollo as his teacher, and the source of much of the occult material that found it's way into Wheatley's black magic books.

Hastings, so took lots of photos of Harpsichord House, one of Ahmed's former residences, and a most atmospheric and unusual building....There are some 1950s accounts of what Ahmed and his circle got up to in the top floor room there, seemingly a combination of Western Ceremonial and Voodoo-style rituals.

For some reason, and I don't know why.....but I can't help comparing this - in my minds eye - with the descriptions of Simon's house in The Devil Rides Out. Like Rollo's temple in Harpsichord House, Simon's temple is located at the top of the house...and not in the basement or on the ground floor which is what you'd expect. 

I'd be interested in finding more about the accounts of Rollo's rituals in the 1950's - any easily available sources?


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lashtal
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I suspect you need to be logged-into Twitter to view the image.

Here it is...

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 Anonymous
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Sorry about that, not sure why it won't link - it's not my personal a/c (although it is a secure https url). Does this work instead? pic.twitter.com/CrS21WyNiW

As far as accounts of Rollo Ahmed rituals go, I found most of the info I used in the article from spending time at Colindale (British Library Newspaper Library, now sadly closed - digitization project in progress); a series of witchcraft and magic exposes in the 1950s UK press.


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 Anonymous
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"lashtal" wrote:
I suspect you need to be logged-into Twitter to view the image.

Here it is...

Ah - thanks Paul, you beat me to it.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I'm quite interested in Rollo Ahmed, particularly with regards to the Dennis Wheatley connection. (If I remember correctly...) in Gunman, Gallants & Ghosts, Wheatley introduces Rollo as his teacher, and the source of much of the occult material that found it's way into Wheatley's black magic books.

I'd be interested in finding more about the accounts of Rollo's rituals in the 1950's - any easily available sources?

...and Doreen Valiente mentions him in one or two of her books, as a fellow Sussex occcultist whom she knew - or knew of.


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michaelclarke18
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Thanks - I'm not a twitter user, so don't have an account. Looks pretty interesting.

I do recall, seeing a copy of Rollo's The Black Art, though the impression it left me with was not good....I seem to remember thinking it rather derivative. For those who wish to explore further, I see that The Black Art is available, second hand from Amazon for the glorious price of 1p (plus 2.80 P+P).


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
I'm quite interested in Rollo Ahmed, particularly with regards to the Dennis Wheatley connection. (If I remember correctly...) in Gunman, Gallants & Ghosts, Wheatley introduces Rollo as his teacher, and the source of much of the occult material that found it's way into Wheatley's black magic books.

There's a thinly-disguised portrait of Rollo Ahmed in To The Devil - A Daughter, as Canon Copely-Syle's manservant. But Wheatley's and Ahmed's relationship was far from being one of colonial servant and English gentleman. As you say, Wheatley (to his credit) acknowledged Ahmed as his teacher, and did so again in the introduction to The Black Art in a "he taught me all I know" sort of way. Not that I think Ahmed taught Wheatley any ceremonial magic (as far as I know, Wheatley wasn't a practitioner, although I stand to be corrected there). But he certainly did teach Wheatley (and his missus) some practical Yoga techniques. There's some more detail on this in Phil Baker's excellent Wheatley biography, The Devil Is A Gentleman.


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 Anonymous
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"michaelclarke18" wrote:
Thanks - I'm not a twitter user, so don't have an account. Looks pretty interesting.

I do recall, seeing a copy of Rollo's The Black Art, though the impression it left me with was not good....I seem to remember thinking it rather derivative. For those who wish to explore further, I see that The Black Art is available, second hand from Amazon for the glorious price of 1p (plus 2.80 P+P).

I would tend to agree, Michael. I suspect he was writing for a certain type of audience, perhaps Wheatley's readership, and not a more academic one. There are some odd inaccuracies, and its overall view of occultism as leaning towards Satanism is somewhat reminiscent of Montague Summers.

His take on Voodoo and related African-diasporic religions is quite a negative one, and rather surprising, considering his background.

It is, though, an interesting period piece IMHO. Worth £2.81 anyway! There were lots of different paperback editions with eyecatching and lurid covers - I am thinking of collecting the lot (particularly if they are all priced at 0.01p plus postage)  😉


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