Top Ten Insane People: A “Colder” countdown: #2: Jack Parsons
Of COURSE there’s a rocket scientist involved in this list of insane people. Of course. Sometimes you need to reach for your medicines before you start reaching for the stars. And… welcome to the penultimate post of my daily dish-of-insanity list. Insanity is the theme because Colder, my creator-owned series in tandem with the not-exactly-a-rocket-scientist Juan Ferreyra will be released on November 7th from the fine people at Dark Horse Comics.
And Colder is both about insanity, and also a bit insane.
So… yes. I’ve been thinking about insanity. Because of that, I’m running a countdown of my current top ten favorite insane people. This list focuses on the “wacky eccentric” type of crazy, rather than the much less amusing Ed Gein / Hitler / subhuman folks. I started with Pythagoras and am moving down to NUMBER ONE. Who will number one be? Oh, the suspense! The drama! Can you guess? (hint: it’s Declan… the main character from Colder, because this is my blog)
And now… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… 1… let’s lift off into insanity!
So… who was Jack Parsons? Well, on one side, Jack Parsons (Oct 2nd, 1914 – June 17th, 1952) was a brilliant scientist, a man with an uncanny knack for explosives. The man sure did love blowing shit up. And while many boys (myself, for one) are satisfied in their youth by simply just watching things go BOOM and calling it good… Jack Parsons wanted MORE. He wanted the explosions to DO something. And so he turned to rockets. Rockets, you see, don’t have flight as much as they have controlled explosions blowing them the hell in one direction. But it’s ONGOING explosions… propelling the rocket in one direction.
It was the early days of rocket research, and definitely of rocket fuel. The race was on to find THE fuel for rockets, and it was a race being run by both scientists, and “scientists.” Jack, as you’ll come to see, was both of those categories.
Jack’s work with both solid and liquid fuels was ahead of his time. His breakthroughs were many, and the man’s development of solid fuel and his invention of “JATO” (Jet Assisted Take Offs) were two steps… two HUGE steps… that took American into both the jet age, and the space age. It was Jack’s research and balls-out experiments that led to such rockets as the Polaris and the Minuteman… the rockets that took us to space.
How important was Jack to the space age? Well, he’s the co-founder of JPL… Jet Propulsion Laboratories. You might have heard them in the news recently; they’re the ones responsible for putting that dang ol’ Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars. That amazing accomplishment, and others achieved by the JPL and the world’s space efforts as a whole, owe their start to a boy born as Marvel Whiteside Parsons, later John Whiteside Parson… known as Jack Parsons, just to confuse the issue. Hat’s off to you, Jack! You were brilliant! You were always crazy, crazy, crazy.
Sex and magic; that’s where Jack’s true heart sang. He was closely aligned with Aleister Crowley, joining and eventually leading an American lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO)… the Order of the Temple of the East, or the Order of the Oriental Templars. Jack is a man, who… before each of his rocket test launches… would recite a hymn to the Greek god, Pan. I mean, sure, right? I do that before and after writing every script, so I shouldn’t judge.
Oh… let’s get sordid, shall we? Parsons had an eleven room house that became known as the Parsonage. Jack lived there with his wife, Helen. Then Helen’s sister, 16-year old Sara, moved in. Jack soon started an affair with her because, uhh… sex magic! This caused a bit of family strife, even in a sex magic home (the place was basically a sex club free-for-all) and everything went to hell, with some of the OTO members claiming that Sara was an ordeal sent by the gods. Things came to a head when L. Ron Hubbard moved in (yeah… him… seriously) and began sleeping with Sara. It all culminated with L. Ron and Sara heading off to Florida in rather a jolting fashion, sort-of stealing a boat and sort-of stealing Sara. What really happened is a mess that will probably never be sorted out, but Jack was more or less alone, and L. Ron sailed off to create Scientology.
Enough of all this! Let’s get to the MOONCHILD… basically an occult messiah. You see, for all of us Jack’s space research, his real ultimate goal was Babalon Working… a ritual designed to summon the divine feminine called Babalon. Jack performed the first of the Babalon Working rituals and then almost immediately met Marjorie Cameron, a woman that Jack forever believed he had magically summoned because, sure, why not. Then, he began trying to conceive a child with Marjorie, which involved a lot of sex. If I haven’t made this clear, the OTO rituals began with sex, ended with sex, were sex, and had a lot to do with sex. Also… sex.
Jack and Marjorie did not conceive a child, which is of course why a new age of free love has not been heralded and Jack failed to tear down the walls of space and time, as he hoped he would be able (I’m not joking, here) but he nonetheless declared the rituals to be a success. Probably because… sex. What failures there were, Jack blamed on L. Ron Hubbard and the sort-of theft of the boat, Sara, and a good deal of money.
Because of this, a bit peeved, Jack decided to become the anti-christ. I think we’ve all had bad times in our lives where we decided to be the anti-christ, or at least huge assholes, but Jack was serious. And… successful.
Parsons “swore the Oath of the Abyss, having only the choice between madness, suicide, and that oath. (then) I took the oath of a Magister Templi, even the Oath of Antichrist before Frater 132, the Unknown God. And thus was I Antichrist loosed in the world; and to this I am pledged, that the work of the Beast 666 shall be fulfilled.”
So… there. Yeah. He was the Antichrist. I believe that gets you free buffet at Olive Garden, or something. One thing it does NOT do, apparently, is protect you from accidentally mixing / jostling the wrong volatile chemicals, which Jack did. It… did not go well. See following image.
You can read more about Jack in a very strange online comic… The Marvel.
And now… a bit more preview art from Colder, my creator-owned series in tandem with probably-not-a-sex-magician Juan Ferreyra. The first issue of Colder is released TOMORROW from the fine people at Dark Horse Comics.