The appeal of the astral plane proved stronger [for Jack Parsons] than the pull of outer space. Parsons was even master of the Agape Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis, the Los Angeles headquarters of English occultist Aleister Crowley’s religion of Thelema—at least until Crowley “lost faith in Parsons” and had him removed as master.
With his occult fascinations, drug use, and his relationships with those who had communist connections in the 1930s, Parson’s FBI file marked him as one red hot potato. There was no chance he’d get back in the space race. His fellow “suicide squad” member Frank Malina was in fact Red-baited right out of the country. Meanwhile, former Nazi Party member Wernher von Braun became one of the leaders of the effort to put Americans on the Moon, his connections to slave labor and mass murder swept under the rocket’s red glare.