Why France Finally Kicked Out the High Priest of the
Ogden Standard Examiner - Ogden Utah
Sunday Morning May 19, 1929
When the Mystic Leader's Name Was Linked With Scions of Royalty Parisian Patience Gave Out and the Police Said, 'Go!"
Aleister Crowley, High Priest of the "Devil Worshipers," said by scientist to know more of the secrets of black magic than any white man today,
finally tried the patience of the Parisian police so much that they have expelled him from France.
England, Italy and America have previously taken somewhat similar action against the founder of the mysterious Oriental Love Cult, which is
reported to have secret chapters in America and Europe.
Behind the closed doors of their smart drawing rooms members of the haut monde are excitedly discussing the findings of the Surete General.
Their concern arises from the fact that certain noble names, including that of Prince Louis of Bourbon, scion of the royal house of Spain, are
mentioned in connection with the activities of Crowley, the "Purple Priest."
Just what these findings include has not been-completely revealed. It is thought by many, however, that the doctrine of Crowley's mysterious
cult, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," may have led to demonstrations which even the tolerant French could not overlook.
For years strange stories regarding his mystical seances, the peculiar influence he is said to have wielded over disciples recruited from both
sexes, have recurred with persistence. But last year when he suddenly bobbed up in Paris after one of his characteristic "disappearances"
those who had heard these tales smiled incredulously.
He had been described in former years as dark, dangerous, handsome -- the man with the celebrated "basilisk stare." Here was that same
Aleister Crowley, a rather fat, bald-headed, old man! Whatever strange adventures might have occupied him in the past, he presented anything
but a formidable picture on the occasion of his latest appearance. At least that was the opinion of the majority of the people who met him.
Apparently, however, the Surete General did not dismiss the once colorful figure so casually. It is evident now that the French Secret Service
decided to keep him under surveillance.
Some people say there is no foundation for the sensational stories involving Prince Louis of Bourbon and other notable figures, but the fact
remains that another country has shut her doors to Aleister Crowley and that fantastic stories of his past have been revived with fresh
These stories present a curious picture. He has been called by his friends and enemies everything from as "immortal genius" to an "inhuman
monster." The man who is now a virtual exile from four countries may look back upon his life and consider that he has practically run the gamut
of human experience.
He first burst into prominence as a poet when he was in his twenties. Then England considered him a promising young genius. Those who
knew him in those London days depict him as an esthetic young man endowed with a brilliant mind. Some of his poems may be found in the
Oxford Book of Mystical Verse. Numbered among his friends were the distinguished writers, artists and diplomats of the Yellow Book days of the
Then his mind turned to mysticism and he delved into the ancient religious rites of the "Devil worshipers," into Eastern occultism and
philosophy. He began developing the strange cult that was later to bring men and women from all parts of the glove under his influence. As a
result of these studies he founded the secret order of the O.T.O. on the ancient practices of the Rosicrucian Order and the Gnostics.
That was the beginning of his trouble with the authorities and of his peculiar kind of fame. Black magic it seemed was but one phase of his
astonishing cult. It was said that aristocratic English, French and American ladies were falling under the spell of the mystic ceremonies and that
one of the doctrines set forth by Crowley, "The Purple Priest," was, "Dress ye all in fine apparel and drink sweet wines that foam, also take your
fill of love." Indignant London husbands became so incensed that the supreme ruler of the order decided to leave for parts unknown.
After a time he showed up in Paris, where he found new disciples. Again news spread of the weird practices of the order, and he dropped from
sight, later to in New York's Greenwich Village.
By this time it is said that the erst-while poet had convinced himself he was the reincarnation of Eliphas Levi, the Abbe constant, an able scholar,
who made an elaborate study of magic. He also signed himself "The Beast 666." Stories were circulated regarding demoniac services held in
the very heart of New York City, and of women branded with the symbol of the order, the circle and the star. Similar stories told of women
voluntarily submitting to other cruelties as part of the ritual. This was known as mortification of the flesh.
Finally some reputable citizens determined to investigate the truth of these fantastic tales and succeeded in gaining admittance to the "Black
Mass'" and other ceremonies conducted by Crowley. In describing the scenes he had witnessed, W.B. Seabrook, famous author, wrote"
"It was difficult to believe the evidence of my own eyes. Black-hooded figures in a dimly lighted room chanting mystic phrases in lifeless voices --
strange music -- an altar resplendent with multi-colored mosaics marked with cabalistic symbols -- high priestesses fulfilling orders of "The
Beast" wearing monkish, black robes. This was but part of the unholy ritual thought to invoke the spirit of the Evil One.l"
One of the most startling developments came with the revelation of the type of women who joined the order and even became the so-called High
Priestesses. In england it was said that Miss Leila Waddell, a tall, beautiful young woman was the Lady of Mystery, or High Priestess, who
played the violin for the "Black Mass" services. In Greenwich Village a little school teacher, Lea Hersig, became a spectacular figure in the cult.
When "The Beast" first met her he is said to have called her "the dead soul," but through his influence, he declared he vitalized her into a vivid
personality. Before her metamorphosis Lea was a cool, aloof, delicate person. Later she is said to have repeated these words dictated by "The
"I am the blue-lidded daughter of the sunset. I am the brilliance of the voluptuous night sky. Sing the Rapturous love song unto me! Burn to
me perfume! Wear to me jewels! Drink to me, for I love you! I love you!"
The revelations of Crowley's activities in New York caused an outcry of indignation, and about this time he decided to find a less conspicuous
setting for his activities. In the quiet little village of Cefalu, Sicily, he renewed his mystic ceremonies. The "Abbey of Thelema," his next colony,
was founded in an obscure farmhouse of the Sicilian countryside. His disciples followed him, and before long a group of cult adherents had
But in this isolated farmhouse temple and event soon took place which resulted in downright scandal. One of the most ardent of the flock was
Raoul Loveday, a brilliant and fragile young Oxford poet. He had brought his beautiful artists' model wife to the colony. Unfortunately for
Crowley, the young wife, Betty, did not share her husband's enthusiasm for the Satanic teachings. Still more disastrous to the magician was the
fact that the young man sickened and died.
It was shortly before this that Aleister Crowley directed his talents in a slightly different channel, but produced a similar sensational effect. He
wrote and published "The Diary of a Drug Fiend." Some critics denounced it as "unspeakably wicked." Others called it a work of sheer genius
that "will rank with De Quincy's classical 'confessions of an Opium Eater.'"
During his erratic career there have been other evidences of Crowley's inherent brilliance, of his instinctive genius as a psychologist, and of the
magnetic influence he exerted over men and women alike. At times he was painter, scholar, explorer. Again he cast away the monkish garb
worn while presiding as "High Priest" and disappeared for months at a time. Here another curious characteristic is revealed.
This man so successful in dominating people would journey about the world unheralded and unaccompanied. For two years he tramped
through dangerous parts of Mexico without a guide. In 1906 he crossed China on foot. Again he became a naked Hindu yogi, begging for rice
under the Indian sun, and then a recluse on the Sahara Desert.
One man summed up his strange nature in this manner: "A tremendous egotist himself, he catered to the egotism of others."
Another, who had studied him carefully, said: "One never knew where the real mystic ended and where the charlatan began. But it is true that
he sincerely believed he was able to invoke demons and spirits, actually making them talk to him and do his bidding."
Regarding his powers, one well known scientist, after years of careful personal investigation, made the following statement:
"Whatever else Aleister Crowley may be, I am convinced that he is one of the greatest mystics the world has probably ever known."
But when black magic involves European nobility, France apparently decides that the "Devil Worshipers" will have to find another stronghold.
"The Beast" has been forced to run to cover again. The place of his retreat is not known, but Brussels has been suggested as a possibility."
Despite his age, Crowley has retained his fighting spirit and remarkable courage that have distinguished his career. "The Beast" has not
accepted the late victory of his opponents without giving battle. He has declared that his enemies who fear his power to reveal the truth about
life have again organized their forces in a drive against him. He has denied the current stories regarding the alleged findings of the Surete
General as well as the aspersions cast upon him and the scion of the royal house of Spain.
He is indignant about his expulsion from France. Crowley is said to have stated his attitude in the disdainful exclamation, "These are petty
contingencies. Eastern philosophy and magic raise the soul far above them."