22 Dec A look into the occult secret services
It is surprising the number of practitioners of the magical arts and witchcraft who were involved in military and intelligence work during the Second World War. Perhaps the best known ‘occult spy’ operating in the Second World War, and in fact long before, is Aleister Crowley.
In the 1930s there is the first solid evidence that Crowley was recruited by MI6 or the SIS (Secret Intelligence Service). This was to spy on German occultists with political links to the emerging National Socialist Party and Marxists revolutionaries.
One of Crowley’s possible targets was Albert Karl Theodor Reuss, the founder of the magical group the Ordo Templi Orientis. Another prominent member of the OTO in Germany, and controversially was later to become its Grand Master based in the USA, was Karl Johannes Germer.
In 1933 Crowley met an eccentric Welsh aristocrat Viscount Tregedar. His haunted country house was near Newport in South Wales and was the site of famous wild parties to which he invited a wide mix of social types including Huxley and H.G. Wells.
One of his more unusual and notorious house guests was, perhaps significantly in the light of later dramatic events, Rudolf Hess. Lord Tregedar had also visited the German home of Ernst Rohm, the head of the SA, and they shared a male lover.
Lord Tregedar belonged to an occult secret society in London called The Black Circle, which had the traditional thirteen members of a witch coven. In it the aristocrat was known as the ‘Black Monk’ and was even painted in the hooded black robe all the members wore for their ceremonies.
Another link between Crowley and the intelligence services was his friendship with the homosexual M.P. Tom Driberg. He had been a society gossip columnist on the Daily Express and paradoxically had joined the British Communist party in 1920. With contacts in the different worlds of politics, high society and the gay scene he was an ideal informant for MI5, although it was also rumoured he was also a KGB agent …