Because of L. Ron Hubbard’s connection to the rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons, as detailed in part one of this article, rumors abound that Scientology is in truth a “black magic cult,” with those occupying the top echelons of the organization engaging in Crowleyian sex magick and other nefarious activities.
At least some of these rumors stem from Scientology’s heavy reliance on hypnosis—or, if not hypnosis itself, a state of consciousness very similar to hypnosis—as part of an allegedly therapeutic technique called “auditing,” whereby “engrams” (recordings of experiences containing pain) are cleared from the “reactive mind” (the unconscious) of the patient in order to liberate them from the influence of those engrams. (To be free of all engrams is to be considered “clear.”)
Hypnosis has, rather unfairly, a negative reputation, owing in part to its association with mind control and brainwashing. Interestingly, Hubbard is said to have been a very talented hypnotist and to have possessed other “mental powers.”
But back to Hubbard’s association with Parsons. According to a statement made by the Church of Scientology in 1969 (though actually written by Hubbard), Hubbard befriended Parsons not because he shared his interest in “black magic,” but rather as part of a clandestine “mission” to investigate the “black magic rites” being performed at Parsons’s mansion and put a stop to the sordid situation.
Apparently, thanks to Hubbard’s saintly intervention, “The house was torn down. Hubbard rescued a girl they were using. The black magic group was dispersed and never recovered.” Indeed, adds the statement, “Hubbard broke up black magic in America.”
Contradicting the above is a peculiar interview with Hubbard’s eldest and estranged son, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr., commonly known as “Nibs,” that appeared as the cover story in the June 1983 edition of Penthouse magazine. Nibs was a devoted member of the Church of Scientology during its early years, at one point working as a Scientology instructor, before choosing to “flee” the organization in 1959 and change his name to Ronald DeWolf, much to the wrath of his father and his father’s followers.
In the above mentioned interview, Nibs alleges that his father considered himself “the Antichrist,” choosing to don “the cloak of the beast and become the most powerful being in the universe” upon Aleister Crowley’s death in 1947; that his father was also “a double agent for the KGB and for the British intelligence agency”; that Scientology “is a power-and-money-and-intelligence-gathering game”; and, further, that “black magic is the inner core of Scientology.”
Commenting on the use of drugs to induce trance states as a necessary precursor to the practice of black magic, Nibs abandons subtlety altogether:
“Hitler was involved in the same black magic and the same occult practices that my father was. The identical ones. Which, as I have said, stem clear back to before Egyptian times. It’s a very secret thing. Very powerful and very workable and very dangerous. Brainwashing is nothing compared to it. The proper term would be ‘soul cracking.’ It’s like cracking open the soul, which then opens various doors to the power that exists, the satanic and demonic powers. Simply put, it’s like a tunnel or an avenue or a doorway. Pulling that power into yourself through another person—and using women, especially—is incredibly insidious…It is the ultimate vampirism, the ultimate mind-fuck, instead of going for blood, you’re going for their soul. And you take drugs in order to reach that state where you can, quite literally, like a psychic hammer, break their soul, and pull the power through.”
The interview in its entirety can be found here. As enthralling as Nibs’s claims are, it would be wise to take them with a bucket load of salt. Nibs, who was working as a security guard at the time of his death in 1991 from diabetes complications, appears to have inherited his father’s lively imagination and talent for concocting elaborate stories. Not surprisingly, few took the interview seriously when it came out.
In conclusion, the depth of Hubbard’s involvement or interest in black magic—and to what extent, if at all, this shaped the religion he founded—remains largely a matter of speculation.