|Panic in Detroit. The Magician and the Motor City. Aleister Crowley. Ordo Templi Orientis. OTO. Richard Kaczynski|
I just finished "Perdurabo", Richard Kaczynski's definitive biography of Aleister Crowley. I'm now moving on to his "Panic in Detroit", which focuses on the drama and scandal that surrounded Crowley's efforts to bring Ordo Templi Orientis to Detroit in the early 20th Century.
“Is Detroit heaven?” Aleister Crowley asked his field organizer, Charles Stansfeld Jones. It certainly seemed so at the time: Bookman Albert W. Ryerson was selling Crowley’s books and publishing the latest installment of The Equinox. Several prominent Masons were interested in establishing the Lakes Region of Ordo Templi Orientis. Jones was in high demand teaching classes on magick and Thelema. But things turned suddenly sour. When slow sales dragged the Universal Book Stores into bankruptcy, the activities of the O.T.O. were luridly thrust onto the front pages of the daily news. The Equinox was declared obscene and all copies impounded. The O.T.O. love cult was blamed for everything from broken homes and Hollywood’s wild parties to the mysterious murder of film director William Desmond Taylor. The revised and significantly expanded blue Equinox centennial edition of Panic in Detroit chronicles this chapter of Thelemic history through an original historical essay by Aleister Crowely biographer Richard Kaczynski; over forty previously-unpublished letters from Crowley and his circle; never-before-seen transcripts of the Universal Book Stores' bankruptcy trial, in which Crowley, The Equinox, and O.T.O. figure prominently; fifty newspaper article transcripts documenting what was later dubbed the "mess in the press"; a street guide to Aleister Crowley's Detroit; an essay on the unlikely disappearance, recovery, and preservation of Crowley's "rariora" in years after his death; and much, much more.