Sunday, April 6, 2008

Crowley's Discourse

By the way, here’s what Crowley says about the murders in Whitechapel:

"Technically, I digress; but I cannot refrain from telling her favourite story…. Mabel had … divided her career with a very strange man whose career had been extraordinary. He had been an officer in a cavalry regiment, a doctor, and I know not how many other things in his time. He was now in desperate poverty and depended entirely on Mabel Collins for his daily bread. This man claimed to be an advanced Magician, boasting of many mysterious powers and occasionally demonstrating the same. [somewhat in the ilk of Crowley himself.]

“At this time, London was agog with the exploits of Jack the Ripper. One theory of the motive of the murderer was that he was performing an Operation to obtain the Supreme Black Magical Power. The seven women had to be killed so that their seven bodies formed a ‘Calvary cross of seven points’ with its head to the west. The theory was that after killing the third or the fourth, I forget which, the murderer acquired the power of invisibility, and this was confirmed by the fact that in once case a policeman heard the shrieks of the dying woman and reached her before life was extinct, yet she lay in a cul-de-sac with no possible exit save to the street; and the policeman saw no signs of the assassin, though he was patrolling outside, expressly on the look-out.

“Miss Collins’ friend took great interest I these murders. He discussed them with her and Cremers on several occasions. He gave them imitations of how the murderer might have accomplished his task without arousing the suspicion of his victims until the last moment. Cremers objected that his escape must have been a risky matter, because of his habit of devouring certain portions of the ladies before leaving them. The lecturer demonstrated that any gentleman in evening dress had merely to turn up the collar of a light overcoat to conceal any traces of his supper.

“Time passed! Mabel tired of her friend, but did not dare to get rid of him because he had a packet of compromising letters written by her. Cremers offered to steal these from him. In the man’s bedroom was a tin uniform case which he kept under the bed to which he attached it by cords. Neither of the women had ever seen this open and Cremers suspected that he kept these letters in it. She got him out of the way for a day by a forged telegram, entered the bedroom, untied the cords and drew the box from under the bed. To her surprise it was very light, as if empty. She proceeded nevertheless to pick the lock and open it. There were no letters; there was nothing in the box, but seven white evening dress ties, all stiff and black with clotted blood!”

Now you know the story of From Hell as reconstructed by Aleister Crowley. Go out and by the graphic novel. It's huge and expensive, it's graphically sexual, and extremely gory, but it's thrilling, and intelligent.

Crowley, Aleister, et al. The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Grant, Kenneth and John Symonds, eds. Arkana Press: London, 1979. 691-692.

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