Probing the Underworld of Occult Crime

by Larry Kahaner

A Review by G.M.Kelly

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Warner Books, Inc.
666 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10103

Copyright 1988 E.V., paperback

Perhaps I should begin this review and commentary by repeating, as briefly as I can, my position on the subject.  I am opposed to satanism primarily because it steals ideas and terms from various esoteric philosophies, perverts them and in turn misrepresents those philosophies.  Satanism is the bastard child of Christianity and is not nor has it ever been a legitimate esoteric or occult philosophy.  "The Devil" is the sole property of some Jews and all Christians and satanists.  "The Devil", "Satan", is not and never has been a part of the teachings of Aleister Crowley, who only employed the terms occasionally in a figurative or poetic sense or when describing Christian or Jewish beliefs and such.  As usual, the propagandists who say otherwise are lying and with just a little study their lies are painfully obvioius.

While I do not approve of satanism in any way, shape or form, partly because it is just as much an irrational extreme as is fundamentalist pseudo-christianity, I seriously doubt [and the evidence we have certainly agrees] that there is a highly organized nationwide satanic cult bent upon world domination.  The very nature of the individuals who are attracted to satanism make this impossible.  Furthermore, while I am sure there are some satanists who are guilty of kidnapping, child molestation, whether or not in the context of ritual, as well as human sacrifice, evidence proves that the vast majority of these "satanists" are actually self-styled satanists, not affiliated to any satanic organizations, except perhaps as a subscriber to a satanic publication, and these individuals are more failed Christians and Jews than satanists.  In fact, despite claims to the contrary made by formal satanists, satanists themselves are merely Christians and Jews gone bad, rebelling in the only way that seems effective to them, rebelling against the restrictiveness of the Judeo-Christian culture and religions, rebelling according to the patterns and the modes that the modern debased forms of the teachings of Jesus and the Prophets have provided.  Satanism has always been confused with the occult traditions of the west, but it is in fact born of Judaism and Christianity and not those ancient occult traditions and esoteric philsophies.  Those satanists who claim that they are not rebellious Jews and Christians and claim to be atheists are either fooling themselves or very shallow thinkers because atheism is a rebellion against one's own inmost feelings and beliefs regarding divinity - atheism is an act of rebellion against religion.  The atheist says "I don't believe in God", while I say, "I don't believe in atheists".  Agnosticism is another matter entirely.

While certainly there are some formal satanists, a few more self-styled satanists than that, guilty of various crimes against humanity, it should also be pointed out that within any group of people you will find the criminal element and there are no doubt a far greater percentage of criminals who are, were, believe themselves to be, Christians and Jews, and a great many of the crimes that have been committed in the world have been "inspired by" the Judeo-Christian Bible, the criminals convinced that it was GOD, not THE DEVIL, who commanded them to commit what they usually perceive as a righteous act while others view it as a criminal act.  In fact, one may even legitimately claim that the Judeo-Christian Bible inspired not only satanism, but also so-called satanic crime!

As usual, the Judeo-Christian society, founded upon the scapegoat ritual, if I may call it that, refuses to face the facts, refuses to face itself, and instead of rooting out the source of "evil" to be found at the heart of their systems and make the necessary corrections, it consistantly lays the blame upon others who are not, or whom they claim are not, a part of their society.  For instance, the root of satanism is not in ancient Egypt or anywhere else but the Judeo-Christian culture, the Judeo-Christian religions and teachings with their emphasis upon guilt [e.g. "original sin"] and the repression and suppression of natural and essentially harmless human appetites such as sexual desire, which really has its roots in the desire for oneness with others or another and so with the divine.

Certainly, child molesters, murderers, thieves and the like, whatever they claim to be religiously, MUST be severely dealt with - rehabilitated if possible; removed from the rest of society of necessary.  And God help the child molester, rapist, or murderer, for instance, who claims to be a Thelemite, a follower of the teachings of Aleister Crowley, if I get my hands on him, or her, for it would be far better for that person to turn him- or herself over to the authorities and confess!  I have always been a servant of Justice, a warrior in the cause of Justice, and I am also a servant and warrior of Thelema, sworn to defend it and its prophet, therefore I would be doubly aggressive with criminals who misrepresent Thelema.

And finally, to close this "brief" preface, I live by reason and logic, although feeling and emotion are equally important to me, and I am strongly opposed to the irrational and illogical, thus hysteria which is unreasonable fear, and those who would create, increase, use and feed off of hysteria for their own petty personal reasons at the expense of others as well as the intellectual, emotional and social development of humanity.

Shortly before dealing with The Ultimate Evil by Maury Terry in The Newaeon Newsletter, Volume VI, Number5, the book came out in a paperback version - unfortunately not before an associate purchased a hardback copy for me.  I was pleased to discover before this that the book could not be found in the Pittsburgh libraries.  Likewise, copies of Cults That Kill were difficult to come by, but now that book too has been published in paperback form.  My opinion of the former book you know.  I expected the latter volume to be just as poorly and absurdly done.  However, while I have a particular bone to pick with Mr. Kahaner, its author, and I think the book itself to be very superficial, I am not entirely dissatisfied with it as Cults That Kill avoids the overly sensational aspects of Terry's book and not only does it present balancing points of view, it also presents information, not dogmatically, but simply as the personal and professional opinions of various people on both sides and in the middle of the issue of satanism, the occult and crime.  I referred to another book that helped create the satanic hysteria when reviewing Terry's literary trash, the product primarily of his gross obsession with satanism and the desire for celebrity status, and Mr. Kahaner's book is the other volume I was referring to.  I think, however, the negative results of Mr. Kahaner's book stem more from an unobjective and prejudicial reading of it, his own television interviews, and the talk show appearances of the less objective individuals given space in the book, rather than the book itself.  Still, I am not exactly enchanted with the work, as you will discover ... eventually!

Before I begin, for those of you interested - references to Crowley can be found on pages 18-19, 56-57, 58-59, 68, 87, 92, 98, 104, 224 and 254; 666:  7, 10, 23, 58, 151, 158, 185, 193 and 195; and the O.T.O. [Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o. primarily]:  18-19, 58, 82-83, 87 and 98.

Quoting a bit from the introduction:

I found a hidden society, much larger and more disquieting than the world of Satanism alone, a place few people know exists.  It is the underworld of "occult crime" ... I discovered a small clique of police officers - "cult cops" or "ghostbusters" as they're affectionately known by their peers - who have specialized in this field. ... the purpose of this book is to show the far-reaching breadth of this type of crime. ... Because of the controversy surrounding these crimes, I have chosen to let police officers describe their own experiences. ... Because the field is so new, a consensus of many issues has not been reached by the law enforcement community.

And this is important, for where a similar statement made by Maury Terry proved to be merely an attempt to appear objective, probably for legal reasons, as a form of legal protection, one gets the feeling that Larry Kahaner may have been sincere.

Keep in mind that few who engage in occult activities are criminals ... The majority are law-abiding citizens; their activities are considered religions - and are thereby protected under the Constitution.  In fact, police find that some of their best sources about occult crimes are those involved in the occult who are eager to rid their own closed communities of the criminal elements.

My only bone of contention here being that (a) the occult community is not "closed", but perhaps seems to be so to someone "investigating" and naturally putting people off, and (b) unfortunately most occultists are dabblers and more likely than not inclined to give incorrect information to the police out of ignorance and prejudice, further misleading them in their investigations and the formation of their conclusions.

The overall feeling I got from this 280-page paperback book is that the majority of police officers looking into "occult crime" are fairly down to earth and realistic, although there are those, and notably these are the ones Rivera has had on his program, who are less than realistic, less than objective and who are certainly either very ignorant about the "occult" or who cannot distinguish between occult mumbo jumbo and the genuine esoteric philosophies.

Skipping through the book for a few specifics, Det. Pat Metoyer said

You begin to see that in some of those organizations there's a certain amount of brainwashing that must necessarily take place in order for a person to believe.  A good example of that is Jim Jones and the People's Temple.

In point of fact, Jones was not an occultist or student of the occult, but believed himself to be a Christian and his "cult" was based upon the Judeo-Christian Bible.  Furthermore, while I do not disagree that "brainwashing techniques" are employed in various off-the-wall organizations, satanism, and so forth, it should be recognized that it is also very common within the so-called "orthodox" and "normal" religious sects of Judaism and Christianity.  I was raised Roman Catholic and while it neither inspired me to be a Christian nor did it inspire me to rebel against Christianity [I, in fact, did not develop an appreciation for the Nazarene and his teachings until after I began my esoteric studies in earnest!], I can tell you from personal experience that there was and probably still is "a certain amount of brainwashing" within Catholic schools, Sunday School classes, and the like, "in order for a person to believe".  I went to school.  Prayers first thing, before and after lunch and at the end of the day.  Church on Sunday of course, but also, before classes were begun, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, plus more on special holy days, holy weeks, etc., with a large portion of each day taken up by catechism classes when I could have been better educated in English and other subjects you have no doubt found me lacking in over the years.  And we will not even get into the cruelty of the sexually frustrated, slapping, spanking nuns!  [No.  I have no personal axe to grind.  I was punished once in first or second grade and quickly learned how to play the game to avoid such humiliation for the rest of those eight years of my childhood.]  The point is:  there is a lot of talk about the perceived "perversions" of the occult, the "mind control" and "brainwashing", but careful examination of, investigation into, and objective reporting on the "mind control" within the sects of the Judeo-Christian religions is hardly ever done and quickly terminated when someone has the guts to give it a shot.  Kind of makes a person wonder what one should be more frightened of - the robed occultist, generally keeping to himself his beliefs, harming none lest he automatically suffer from his actions at the hands of God and Nature, that is even if he were inclined, or the smiling priest or minister who is among you, who has access to your sons and daughters, who is not permitted the healthy sexual outlets that the occultist is allowed, and who, as the few news reports that have slipped through and scratched the surface revealed, may just be sexually repressed enough to become a child molester.  Think about it.

No.  I am not accusing all priests, ministers and rabbis of child molestation.  Such are probably in the minority, yet there are certainly more guilty ones than the public will ever know about.  Good Lord!  I could never imagine the old German priest of my childhood church of St. Mary's, Father Peter Gross, to be a child molester!  But I have learned of others who were guilty of such ungodly and unchristlike violence against a child's body and psyche - and violence it is, whether physical pain is inflicted or not.

Det. Bill Wickersham [one of Rivera's frequent guest "experts"]:

I said to Cleo, "This son of a bitch is evil."  I know what "666" means ... I knew the "666" from the Bible, and I knew from catechism that the inverted cross was the symbol of the Antichrist. ... "This is Exorcist shit."  That movie scared the living piss out of me.  Being a Catholic it scared me.

(A) Since the Antichrist and the Beast 666 are one and the same, and since I accept Crowley's claim that he was the Beast, to put it simply, I am therefore a follower of the Antichrist [and remember, "anti" not only means "opposed to", but also "in behalf of", "in place of" and "like" - antitheos in the Bible translated as "godlike"] and I can state without hesitation that the upside down Christian cross or cross of suffering is not a symbol of the Antichrist nor is it called such anywhere in the Judeo-Christian Bible.  It is employed by satanists [who have also reversed the sacred pentagram and thus misrepresent it for all time as Hitler perverted the original sacred meaning of the ancient and universal symbol of the swastika], but that is something altogether different.

(B) I seriously doubt that Wickersham really knows the meaning of 666 which I have amply explained in previous newsletters and encyclical letters and which is not "evil" and which Revelation itself calls simply the "number of a man" [or "mankind" in general].

(C) You can see the problem with this "expert" right off:  he was "brainwashed", ignorant of the genuine meaning of the symbols he is certain he understands, and he is way too strongly influenced by Hollywood films because of the superstitious and barbaric fears his religion has instilled in him.

Det. Cleo Wilson [also one of Rivera's "experts"]:

I had been brought up in a strict Catholic background.  I knew about the devil and demonic possession, so I was aware of the symbolism.

Aware, yes.  However, also ignorant of, having been "brainwashed" by her "strict Catholic" upbringing.  Ignorance.  Misinformation.  Religious prejudice and bigotry.  Little or not true objectivity.

Santeria is given a bad rap in this book - but I'll let their priests and advocates handle that.

Then there is the big O.T.O. stakeout on pages 18-19 from Det. Sandi Gallant.

We did what I see a lot of other cops doing.  We hear about something occult and we automatically think Satanic.  As it turns out, a group we were getting information about was called OTO [...], a pagan group that followers the teachings of Aleister Crowley, who some look upon as the Beast himself.  They're probably a very Satanically oriented group but not Satanic in the true sense if you were to ask contemporary Satanic groups.  OTO is looked down upon by many Satanic groups who don't want much to do with them.

Since this group was "in Berkeley" she is no doubt referring to the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o., which, as you know, I consider [and quite rightly!] to be misrepresenting both Aleister Crowley and his teachings, and not the legitimate Ordo Templi Orientis which probably died entirely with A.C. in 1947 E.V..  At any rate, the above is silly.  The original O.T.O. was not in the least satanic, and in fact derives from Christianity in its origins and was later brought in line with Thelema.  Anyway, they were told that "everything the OTO does is 'skyclad'", i.e. naked, which is not true of the genuine O.T.O. and since it was later in the account said that members of the group were seen in robes, I doubt if it was true of this pseudo-o.t.o. at this time, but because of this, although they were having "an open ritual", the detective and her associate did not go in but preferred to just hang around outside to see what the "bunch of witches" were doing.  Misinformation and misplaced modesty kept the police investigators from learning anything [and incidentally, learning how banal the pseudo-o.t.o. rituals are], and what confusion!  Thelemites, satanists or Witches - which are they?  They cannot be all three!  Reminds me of a headline I saw today with the phrase "Voodoo Witch" in it.  That is like saying "Christian Rabbi". 

Det. Gallant continued:

Well, we didn't see much.  ...  We sat there all night long in the pouring rain for nothing, absolutely nothing.

And that is so common Sandi should not feel too stupid about it.  She is not the only one to have so wasted her time, victimized by the sensationalistic nonsense promoted by the media, especially television.

Det. Bill Wickersham:

... a sixteen-year-old boy committed suicide.  He was into Satanism and drugs.  There's always drugs.

According to Wickersham I would be a satanist, despite my very obvious opposition to satanism, but how does he explain the fact that I do not use drugs, even avoid relying too heavily upon aspirine for headaches, and that I am a strong rational opponent of drug abuse?  Maybe there is always - well, almost always - drug use among young pseudo- or self-styled satanists, but that is something different.

Det. Cleo Wilson:

I think our superiors think we're prima donnas...

and their superiors may just be right, folks!

Det. Bill Wickersham

We decided that you have to set aside your religious beliefs when you investigate occult crimes. ... Unfortunately, there are many religious officers out there who see Satanism everywhere, under every rock and behind every tree. ...

Amusing as it is painfully obvious that very often Wickersham seems to be one of these cops whose religious beliefs, whose religious programming, gets in the way of objective investigation!

Det. Mike Barnett:

There are police officers out there who are looking at this subject because it interests them from a religious point of view.  Many are born-again Christians who believe it's their mission in life to stamp out Satanism and anything else that they believe is anti-Christian.  They are on a religious crusade.  There's no room in police work for that kind of attitude.

Chapter Four's prologue by the author

Like all religions, Satanism borrows beliefs from religions that came before it. ...the organized act of worshiping an entirely evil entity known as Satan or the Devil didn't appear until the establishment of the Christian church.

Dr. Jeffrey Russell:

Magick is as old as humanity.  Magick is simply a manner of technology. ... The Yule season, Easter time, and All Hallow's Eve or Halloween [...] were all pagan holidays that Christianity absorbed.  The term Paganism is a catchall word invented primarily by Christians, but to some extent by Jews, in the Roman Empire to designate people who were neither Christians nor Jews.  Pagan literally means someone who lives in the countryside, a hick. ... Horned gods are found in a lot of religions.  It's a symbol of fertility and power.  It's not clear why, when the Christians started the process of considering other religions to be demonic, they chose someone with horns as the symbol.

Dr. Russell does a great job throughout the book, and Mr. Kahaner was wise to give him so much space in Cults That Kill.  I would suggest, however, that one of the reasons the Judeo-Christian Devil was made to be horned is that the ancient horned gods were fertility gods, that denotes sex, and the sexually repressed and restricted Christians and Jews more or less equated sex with evil, just as some Gnostics sects considered sex evil because it led to a propagation of the species in material form and the material world was considered evil, making materiality something to be avoided at all costs if possible.  Tortured and perverse reasoning to be sure, but such reasoning, and I use that term loosely here, is often to be found at the heart of religious doctrines.

Dr. Duane Osheim:

The Black Mass is an inversion of the Christian Mass, and initially it was not Satanic.  You can trace the Black Mass back to the invention of the Antichrist around the eighth century.  There was no mention of an Antichrist in the Bible, but once you invent it, it sets up a host of activities like the Black Mass.  Once it gets codified by Catholic writers, you have a body of knowledge, and it doesn't even matter if it was true or not.  Also, you have people practicing it, because they were told about it by the church.

There is a bit of confusion here about the Antichrist, whom I have shown in previous writings was not originally perceived of as an "evil" entity, but otherwise there is a good deal of validity to what Dr. Osheim said.

Dr. Carl Raschke:

Public Satanism, people who proclaim themselves to practice Satanism, is really a twentieth century phenomenon.  It has to do with the decline of the power and influence of the Catholic church.

Of course what Dr. Raschke misses is that it also has to do with the power and influence the Catholic church has had, forcing unnatural and unhealthy religious laws upon people until they naturally feel the compulsion to rebel.

Among the many others whose opinions are expressed in this book and which I wish I had the space to quote, Margot Adler did a fine job of representing the "occult community", as I often call it, including the minority of serious, sincere students of the esoteric along with the majority of silly dabblers and occultists who are, nonetheless, usually harmless and decent folk.  Dr. Michael Aquino is quoted - but who cares ...?  A lot of intelligent things are said - a lot of idiocy is also well represented in Cults That Kill.  The distinction between Witchcraft and satanism is made, etc..  All in all the book is not as bad as a student of the esoteric might think, and I am not inclined to advise people not to read it.  In fact, if read objectively, without religious prejudice and bigotry, it might not be a bad book to read for various reasons.  However, I have a bone to pick with the author, who, himself, is no "expert" in these matters and often proves it when he has something himself to add.  Aside from the somewhat misleading and certainly overly sensational title of the book, my major complain with it is Mr. Kahaner's rude and ignorant treatment of Aleister Crowley.  I could nitpick, but I will leave the minor fine points slide here due to a lack of space and concentrate upon the grosser errors Mr. Kahaner has made - whether they be errors in knowledge or errors in judgment.

On page 58 Kahaner wrote

Aleister Crowley ... was refused a higher tier [in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn] because of his moral perversions which included homosexual acts with minors, cocaine and either addictions, and allegedly murder.

In point of fact, Crowley never performed sexual acts with minors and to call him, especially him, a child molester, which is basically what is being done, is rude beyond belief.  Crowley was a man who very much wanted to be a father, who loved children in a fatherly way, and who was more than once cheated out of that joy in life.  Certainly he experimented with homosexuality, more men and women than most realize do at least once in their lives, but the vast majority of his relationships were with women.  [And doesn't the attention Mr. Kahaner gives homosexuality seem just a wee bit homophobic and intolerant to you?]  Furthermore, this and the rest were either outright lies or gross exaggerations spread about for political reasons as the various members of the Golden Dawn were warring, in the midst of breaking up, A.C. got caught in the middle of it, was an easy target because of his honesty and outspoken nature, and he was, in fact, taking the side of the head of that order, MacGregor Mathers, who advanced him to the next grade despite the objections of the rather prissy and sexually inhibited rebels in the order.  Also one must take into consideration that Crowley was a man well "ahead of his time" and he was being judged by (a) the extremely restrictive and repressed Christians of the Victorian Era in stodgy old England, and (b) by the tabloid journalism of his day which was far worse than it is today, hardly restrained by legal considerations by today's standards - and Crowley made good copy - especially when stories about him were "elaborated" upon.  And Aleister Crowley never murdered anyone.  In fact, he tells an amusing tale in his autobiography about being accosted by ruffians in a dark Egyptian street, during the wilder times of the turn of the century, remember.  Somewhat panicked, he pulled out the pistol he was carrying for protection and fired it wildly, frightening off the would-be muggars, perhaps murderers, but the whole thing scared the hell out of him.  Hardly what one would expect from a "murderer".  Here Mr. Kahaner is merely spreading lies and unfounded rumours that have no basis in fact and which can be proven to be lies by the complete lack of legal documentation to back up those lies.

He placed ads in newspapers for deformed people with whom he would have sex.  He believed that the more deformed a person, the more sexual energy they would unleash.

Absurd beyond belief.  Crowley never believed such a thing and the ad was for art models.  Crowley loved to paint and sketch, numerous examples of his primitive work survives, and he merely wished to sketch individuals with physical abnormalities, not have sex with them.  I cannot even imagine where Mr. Kahaner picked this bit of idiocy up because I thought I had heard it all and this is the first time I have heard this new perverse twisting of the facts!

Crowley's writings stressed the theme:  "Do what thou wilt, [sic] shall be the whole of the Law," the opposite of the Bible's golden rule.  Because of his actions, Crowley found himself deported from many different countries throughout his life.

"Do what thou wilt..." is not the opposite of the Bible's golden rule and it does not mean "do as you please", as Crowley explained more than once in his writings - which Kahaner should have studied carefully, rather than to rely upon secondhand information or worse.  "Do what thou wit" simply means to discover and accomplish your True Will, your purpose for existing, which is the Universal Will or God's Will, and this very often means ignoring the petty personal desires of the ego that the satanists live to gratify.  And if by "the Bible's golden rule"* Kahaner means, "Not my will, Lord, but thine be done", the fact is that is precisely what "Do what thou wilt" means!  It is not the will of the persona, the petty ego, that the Thelemite concentrates upon, but rather the True Will or purpose of "the Lord", Adonai, i.e. the True Self, Genius, Daemon, Holy Guardian Angel, et al, the Creator of the persona through which that "god/goddess" manifests and expresses Itself.  Furthermore, Crowley was not "deported from many different countries".  That is a lie that again the lack of documentation proves.  Crowley was told to leave Sicily - by the dictator Benito Mussolini who later allied himself to Adolph Hitler, because it is standard policy for a totalitarian regime to disband all secret socieities, which Crowley was considered to be a leader of, as they could be or become politically subversive.  Also, the tabloid journals of Crowley's day were at that time telling so many lurid and untrue tales about him that it was focussing too much of the world's attention upon Sicily and Italy, and dictators cannot afford to have too much attention turned in their direction.  Other than this, there was the Refus de Sejours, the expulsion order from France about five years later because the Surete Generale was told Crowley was a wicked man, a coffee-brewing gadget was at first thought to be a device used for the production of drugs, the Surete Generale learned that "Mussolini had expelled Crowley from Italy on grounds of purely political expedience" [page 12, The Eye in the Triangle by the late Israel Regardie, Llewellyn Publications], he'd discovered that Crowley had worked for a pro-German propaganda magazine between late 1916 to early 1918 E.V. [and remember these were not the Nazis of Hitler and World War II; A.C. was also trying to undermine the propaganda, although he did admire many things about the German people and they were being unfairly treated at the time, plus he was slowly taking over The International, trying to use it to promote Thelema, and it was a job and he simply needed the little bit of money it supplied while struggling in New York], and he had also been brainwashed by the yellow journalistic slanders, and finally

It was further found that Crowley was, at least nominally, the British head of the Ordo Templi Orientis - a German Rosicrucian society.  Possibly the Surete Generale did not recognize the difference between an occult and a political organization, and so it came to the idiotic conclusion that Crowley was a paid German spy. [Ibid.]

Period.  A.C. was hardly "deported from many different countries".  In fact, considering the times, his mostly undeserved reputation, given him by his enemies and the tabloids, and the fact that during his lifetime [1875-1947 E.V.] he had travelled the world at least twice over, Crowley experienced surprisingly few difficulties, being either accepted without a thought or well received by the countries he visited!

Mr. Kahaner also wrote, showing further ignorance and perhaps prejudice

a German named Karl Keller founded the Ordo Templi Orientis or OTO, which practiced perverse sex magick...

Of course the qualifying word "perverse" indicates that there must be a "good" form of sex magick, although I doubt if this is what Kahaner had intended to imply.  In point of fact, true sex magick, so-called, is a very sacred although not sanctimonious thing between two people, best practiced between individuals who love one another deeply as the greater force comes from the emotional energy rather than simply the physical energy generated, and it also tends to have a side effect of bringing the couple even closer together, deepening and enriching their love.  Genuine "sex magick" has nothing to do with rape, child molestation, "orgies", "perversions", and so forth.  Also, the name of the O.T.O.'s founder was Karl KELLNER.  If one cannot get such simple information, easily verified, correct, how much more incorrect must the information regarding more complex matters be?

And we find on page 59

What Crowley was doing with Satanism in England in the 1920s and 1930s, is somewhat like what Anton LaVey was doing in the 1960s in San Francisco.

Absurd.  In the first place, Crowley was in New York, the United States, and then Italy and Sicily in the 1920s.  In the second place




If you read Crowley's writing there's a lot of black magick but there's a good deal of Hermeticism, Gnosticism and so forth.

It should be pointed out that this quote and the one directly preceding this were not from the author but from Dr. Carl Raschke.  The only "black magick" [sic] in the writings of Aleister Crowley is that material he is either intellectually discussing, expressing opposition to, or scoffing at as absurd perversion.  Of course it is easy for an uninitiated person, undereducated in "occult" matters, relying heavily upon misinformation from self-proclaimed "experts" and "authorities" who write books and are at most "armchair occultists", to misinterpret the complex, highly symbolic and humour-laden writings of Aleister Crowley.

Larry Kahaner's incorrect information regarding and poor treatment of Aleister Crowley is the one very bad thing about his book, Cults That Kill.  Otherwise, while I did find it superficial, I was pleasantly surprised and mildly interested in the various points of view expressed in the book.  Of course, some people like Det. Bill Wickersham, remind me of an axiom Climt Eastwood employed in one of his Dirty Harry movies:  "Opinions are like assholes.  Everybody has one."  Take page 104 for example.  Having seen the body of a man murdered by an obviously unbalanced woman, Wickersham said

There was a D carved on his chest with a line through it.  I don't know if it was an arrow or what.  He had little 7s all the way around the D.  I can only guess about the 7s because I didn't get to talk to her.  It may have had something to do with Crowley's book, Liber 777.

A wild leap in reasoning and an equally wild conclusion.  It is certainly not the only "guess" he could have made, and since the book in question is merely a cataloguing of ideas, god names, and the like, with a little material on the Hebrew qabalah in general, it hardly seems likely to have had anything to do with murder in the mind of an insane woman.  Yet this is how Crowley is often tied in with such things - very much like Maury Terry constantly tying the long deceased Crowley into modern crimes because his birthday, October 12th, just happened to be the date that one thing or another happened, or because it was also the birthday of one of the lunatics he was writing about.  It is this kind of absurdity that fouls everything up.  Furthermore, out of gross ignorance and religious prejudice, many religionists such as the fundamentalists, constantly slander Crowley; Crowley constantly being wrongly associated with satanism has frightened many half-baked occultists and the like who are afraid to also be called satanists, so rather than to learn more about A.C. and defend him, they quickly agree and say that they have nothing to do with Crowley and his teachings as it is the easy way out, which is always preferable to the majority of occultists.  Currently there are several groups misrepresenting Aleister Crowley and his teachings, the O.T.O. and Thelema in general; and again, Crowey's writings are admittedly difficult for most people to follow and his tremendous sense of humour and over estimation of human intelligence has worked against him.  One can easily see where someone like Larry Kahaner could go wrong when it comes to Crowley, yet that is no excuse for not properly researching a subject before writing upon it as if one were an expert, which surely most readers will assume Kahaner is - and clearly is not.

For this section of his book dealing with Aleister Crowley, I think Larry Kahaner owes his readers, all sincere students of Crowley's work and Thelemites, a very public and heartfelt apology.  If the book is ever reprinted, it should not be until he has done his homework and properly rewritten his portion of Cults That Kill.

Again, as Newaeon readers know all too well, I could go on and point out many more errors and idiocies, but I am trying oh so hard not to give into my verbosity ... too much!

*THE GOLDEN RULE:  If by this phrase "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is implied, again we do not find a conflict with Thelema.  "The word of Sin is Restriction."  The Book of the Law, technically called Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX, Chapter I, Verse 41.  In simple terms this means that one should not artifically restrict oneself, possibly interfering with the discovery and accomplishment of ones own True Will or purpose for existing, nor should one do aught to restrict another, possibly interfering with his or her Will.  Furthermore we have, "thou hast no right but to do thy will."  [CCXX, I.52]  One should focus upon ones own Will and again not interfere with another's Will, in its simplest, most basic terms.  The differences between the "Golden Rule" and Thelemic philosophy are obvious, but the effect is essentially the same.  [July 2001 E.V.]

Love is the law, love under will.

Originally appeared in The Newaeon Newsletter, Volume VI, Number 6, The Sword of Horus, in January of 1990 E.V.