John Whiteside Parsons

John Whiteside Parsons

American inventor of the jet engine, occultist
Date of Birth: 02.10.1914
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Jack Parsons
  2. Early Life and Education
  3. Career and Contributions
  4. Occultism and Personal Life
  5. Death and Legacy
  6. Beliefs and Political Views

Biography of Jack Parsons

John Whiteside Parsons, also known as Jack Parsons, was an American inventor of the jet propulsion engine and an occultist. He was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the company Aerojet. Parsons was also one of the first Americans to be interested in the ideas of the founder of the religious movement Thelema - Aleister Crowley.

Early Life and Education

Parsons was born as Marvel Whiteside Parsons, the only child in a wealthy but troubled family. His father left when he was a teenager. Parsons worked at Hercules Powder company while still in high school. He then attended Pasadena Junior College and spent two years at the University of Southern California, although he did not graduate. In April 1935, Parsons married Helen Northrup.

Career and Contributions

In 1936, Parsons joined the Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory, where he worked under Frank Malina and Theodore von Kármán. Parsons demonstrated great scientific abilities and genius, particularly in the field of chemistry. His rocket developments were among the first in the United States, and his contributions to solid rocket fuel and the invention of the JATO (Jet-Assisted Take Off) played a significant role in the early days of human space exploration. Parsons was a co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. According to von Kármán, Parsons' research in solid fuel "made possible the launching of such rockets as the Polaris and the Minuteman."

Occultism and Personal Life

Parsons had a strong interest in occultism and was elected the head of the Agape Lodge of the Ordo Templi Orientis in 1942. His 11-room house became a gathering place for various creative and eccentric personalities, including journalist Nieson Himmel, psychologist Robert Cornog, and writer L. Ron Hubbard. Fritz Zwicky, a member of the Aerojet team, did not like Parsons and considered him a "dangerous man."

Death and Legacy

On June 17, 1952, Parsons died in an explosion of fulminate of mercury in his home laboratory. Despite extensive injuries, he survived the blast but passed away a few hours later. Upon learning of her son's death, Parsons' mother took her own life. There were rumors surrounding Parsons' death, including suicide, murder, and the tragic result of a magical ritual. However, in reality, Parsons had a considerable amount of explosive materials and components in his laboratory.

Beliefs and Political Views

Parsons adhered to the religious movement of Thelema, which was founded by occultist Aleister Crowley in 1904. He was a staunch supporter of libertarian socialism, which aligned with his religious beliefs and affiliation with Thelema. In his article, "Freedom is a Lonely Star," Parsons criticized various aspects of American society, including the police, whom he saw as agents of a corrupt political machine. He believed that the consciousness of police officers was "sadistic and prone to violence" and that they targeted "prostitutes, the homeless, African Americans, radicals, and other helpless and insignificant people, whom they cruelly punish" under the guise of "freedom and justice for all." Parsons was interested in communism and socialism but was skeptical of Marxist ideas.