Born Edward Alexander Crowley in 1875, Crowley was a pansexual, mystic, occultist, ceremonial magician, deviant, recreational drug experimenter, poet and accomplished mountaineer who was also known as Frater Perdurabo and The Great Beast 666. He founded the religious philosophy of Thelema which enforced an idealist, libertine rule of “Do what thou wilt.” The British press named him “The Wickedest Man in the World.”
Fact: He lost his virginity at 14.
Early on his life, Crowley developed an intense sexual fixation on women. He lost his virginity to one of the family’s maids on his mother’s bed. The maid was promptly fired and became a homeless drunk. It is rumored that she became one of Jack the Ripper’s victims. Three years later, Crowley contracted gonorrhea from a prostitute.
Fact: He studied at Cambridge.
In 1895 Crowley entered the Moral Science Tripos at Trinity College where he studied Philosophy. However he later switched to English literature. While at university he partook in one of his favorite pass-times, poetry. In 1898 he published a 100 page compilation of his poems, Aceldama, and in the same year published his erotic poems, White Stains.
Fact: At the age of 23 he joined the clandestine organization, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
He joined in 1898 thus beginning his long love affair with mysticism and the occult. However, his affiliation didn’t last long as he never failed to offend the elder members of the group, famously aggravating well known poet William Butler Yeats and Arthur Edward Waite.
Fact: He was expelled from The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn because of his deviant and homosexual behavior.
Although many of the organization’s members were homosexual they felt the need to keep it hidden so Crowley’s blatant promiscuity with men and women, some being prostitutes and rent boys, greatly offended and angered them.
Fact: He believed he had a guardian angel.
Crowley believed that he was being guided by his guardian angel, Aiwass. Shortly after being expelled from the HOGD he traveled across Mexico, India and France then Egypt in 1904 where, along with his wife, he saw a vision where he made contact with Aiwass.
Fact: It is rumored that Crowley had an illegitimate child.
Amado Crowley has written a vast amount of work on his father claiming that he was intensely tutored by Crowley. He still teaches his work. It is strongly disputed that Amado really is related to Crowley in any way and he is, most likely, using his name to garner fame for himself.
Fact: He died penniless and alone.
Although the actual dates of Crowley’s death are heavily disputed (either Dec 1st or Dec 5th) it is true that he died a heroin addict in 1947 in a boarding house in Hastings, South East England.
Fact: Crowley was depicted on the cover of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Crowley bore a heavy influence on many musicians including Jimmy Page, who bought his former residence in Scotland, Boleskine House. The Beatles were no exception in finding inspiration from him. On the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover he is situated in between Mae West and Sri Yukteswar.
Fact: He was also an accomplished mountaineer.
As well as poetry and taking drugs, Crowley also enjoyed mountaineering. He rather exuberantly scaled K2, the 2nd highest mountain in the world and Kanchenjunga, the 3rd highest.
Fact: Crowley put a curse on his doctor.
Having prescribed Crowley with morphine for his asthma and bronchitis, his last doctor died within 24 hours of his patient. It is rumored that shortly before Crowley’s death he had refused to refill his prescription thus making his patient place a curse on him.