Secret Agent 666

The mention of the Aliester Crowley/Conspiracy theorist NPC in Malham Tarn reminds of a book that I’ve read in part … Secret agent 666 : Aleister Crowley, British intelligence and the occult by Richard Spence (ISBN 9781932595338).

The thesis is that Crowley was in fact a spy for British Intelligence thorough WWI and after. Spence finds a lot of plausible coincidences and clues that lead him to conclude Crowley worked to undermine or expose convoluted German plots (frequently involving Irish dissidents in the US, Masonic organizations that had subversive aims, and so on).

I was not 100% convinced of the theory but it is one of those ideas that really ought to be true. for one thing it makes Crowley’s life a bit more understandable. Why would a highly educated, highly intelligent man get so deep into the occult, and associate with so many strange and disreputable characters? Was it, at least in part, a cover? Of course Crowley was, by design, a very disreputable character himself. The truth may well be he was not deluded OR a charlatan OR a spy OR a genius, but maybe all of these.

I have to admit I did not finish this book, as it began to get a little too involved with spies and espionage I knew little or nothing about, and the connections all seemed very thin… perhaps this is par for the course when writing about spies that have never been officially acknowledged,* but it began to read a bit like a conspiracy theory itself.




*Spence did in fact find something in American files that unambiguously confirms Crowley was a spy for British intelligence, though!

Published in: on September 12, 2010 at 10:00 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Though I have never read this particular book I have read this conspiracy theory before. As well as the one where Crowley worked for the Nazis and a separate one saying he was US intelligence. I am sure there is another theory out there somewhere stating he was a double agent working for both sides of the war. But that is the true Magick about Alister Crowley. He purposely lived his life all the while creating a shroud of ambiguity around himself. As any true magician would. Crowley was a person who lived an amazing life, and is a source of never ending fascination for many people, like myself. I will try to track down a copy of this book and give it a read.

    • But that is the true Magick about Alister Crowley. He purposely lived his life all the while creating a shroud of ambiguity around himself.

      That’s a great way to put it. I find him fascinating — an accomplished mountaineer, chess player, and linguist, very good writer for the most part (can’t vouch for his poetry though, never read any of that) and then there’s the wierd stuff. 🙂

  2. Happy Beast Day!…

    It’s that time of year again when Black Metal bands think its really kewl to release new albums – yes it is 6/6 day, or Great Beast Day as I have “antichristened” it. No doubt at around 6pm local time wherever you are, expect to…

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