Thursday, June 29, 2023

Rocket Man


Self-taught rocket scientist and occultist who was there when Scientology was founded.

Maybe you never heard of Jack Parsons - I know I didn't.  But he was the man - or one of the men - behind solid rocket booster, JATO assists, free-love cults in California, and even has a tangential relationship to Scientology.  Busy guy! He also blew himself up, which started a number of conspiracy theories, but I think they are hooey.  The guy had a record of blowing things up and not taking safety seriously - sort of like a certain submarine "designer" we used to know.

You have to read his Wikipedia page as it is too surreal to believe and if I told you half the things about his life, you would think I made them up.

He belonged to a cult called "Thelemite" or "Termite" or some such nonsense.  It was created by a guy in England and translated from ancient Egyptian it means, "Send all your money to me!"

It is not hard to see why people joined, though.  They lived in a communal mansion and practiced "free love" - which was a heady cocktail (pardon the pun) in the repressed era of the 1930's and 1940's.  One of the visitors was L. Ron Hubbard, who supposedly held court with Robert Heinlein among others.  That was where the supposed bet was made by Hubbard that he could turn his Science Fiction into a religion (Heinlein lost the bet, but many of his writings talk of secret societies and religions as well).

Of course, Scientology missed the boat (pun in view) by not embracing the "free love" aspect of any cult, which is a great recruitment tool.  One Christian cult actually encourages "flirty fishing" to recruit members.  Offer them the promise of sex and then withhold it.  It is how you control populations since time began.

Of course, Hubbard used to sail around in a yacht with young women in an organization he called "Sea Org" which if  you add a "y" at the end, you'll see the pun.  Apparently, Scientology took all the fun out of that as well.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and this fellow who invented (or co-invented) the solid rocket booster and JATO assist rocket had a personal life that was an utter train wreck.

Kinda weird, or is it?  Often very smart  people are a little crazy - or a whole lot.