I have been working on a book for about 10 years now which I am never satisfied with, looking to prove to readers that Crowley was a hypnotist and more importantly, that magick is hypnosis. I’ve collated hundreds of proofs and have carved a unique path in studying occultism as a result. (The book is currently known as Magick Unveiled: Hypnotism and the Occult, and I hope to release it to the world in the coming years). A major part of the book is showing that Aleister Crowley was a hypnotist, which people often seem to deny and take most issue with when I bring up the subject.
Today I was reading French newspapers in digital archives when I came across a story that has not previously been republished anywhere, or cited in regards to modern works about Crowley. It is an account from Charlotte Chabrier who wrote in L’Intransigeant, published on the 18th of April, 1929, of her encounters with the Great Beast. I am going to publish the article in full in a different project I am working on for the SATE, however I wanted to put a portion of it here below:
“In gratitude for the fact that I had introduced him to the director of a major magazine, whose English correspondent greatly admired his [Crowley’s] sonnets, he graciously wanted to initiate me into occultism, and I remember a session at my home, when I was living in this Montparnasse district which seems hideous to me today, in which he pretended to prevent those present, by the mere force of his fluid, from counting out loud further than twenty.
Alas! I went without the slightest difficulty to thirty, and only stopped because I had had enough. But other ladies, more influential or more amiable, gave him the satisfaction which, as a good mistress of the house, I should have been the first to give him… He also said that he could see through the thickest walls, with a look full of rays which pierced all obstacles. I am quite sure of the opposite. For how many times I saw him cross the courtyard which preceded my flat and come and ring tirelessly at my door, behind which I stood without moving, not being disposed to talk about occultism when my housework was not done.
He had convinced those around him that he could dislodge himself from his body at will. Perhaps this would be the moment for him to use this rare faculty.” – Charlotte Chabrier
The “force of his fluid” is of course the “lebensmagnetismus“, the magnetic fluid, and this “occult session” held by Crowley was clearly a demonstration of hypnosis – though Charlotte Chabrier was not susceptible to the induction technique applied by Crowley in the theatrical performance, delivered as if by a stage hypnotist. (Or perhaps he was still working on his act?)
Some other instances, should you wish to investigate, are that Crowley claimed to have hypnotized a newspaper-man who wrote an unfavourable article about him, as referenced by Tobias Churton in Aleister Crowley in America. Dion Fortune basing a fictional character off Crowley named Astley who has hypnotic control over women and has more knowledge about hypnosis than any other man in Europe… Bernard Bromage (as accounted in Light magazine) writing about his encounter with Crowley where Crowley tried hypnotizing him without Bromage’s awareness, which he countered, having known about the techniques Crowley was attempting to utilize. Or from the horse’s mouth: Crowley’s unpublished diary entry from March 15th, 1902 which shows that astrologer, and geomancer Elahi Bux once arrived at Crowley’s door, and how he taught Crowley to obtain a deadly hypnotic power: “Look hard at a point on the wall unwinking for many days, gradually increasing time. You will thus obtain hypnotic power even to Deadly and Hostile Current of Will.”
There’s plenty more evidence, but that is for another place and time. I hope you enjoyed Chabrier’s humorous account of her interactions with Crowley. If anything, they gave me a chuckle.
More: Over 2 years ago we put some attention on Crowley and hypnosis in a podcast, you can find it on our Youtube channel HERE.