Occult Detective Countdown 11/20: Aleister Crowley’s Simon Iff

Today we celebrate Crowleymas, the 145th reckoning of the Nativity of the Beast.

Aleister Crowley (October 12, 1875 – December 1, 1947) is a man who should need no introduction. An infamous occultist, whose name has been spoken of in hushed whispers since he first stepped onto the world stage, has been both heralded and reviled. Dubbed the “wickedest man in the world” by the British Press, Crowley was a man ahead of his time. A magician of renown, to be sure, but Crowley was also a philosopher, a poet, an accomplished mountaineer, a painter, a masterful chess player, and much more.

Crowley is best known for his esoteric writings, with the body of his work viewed as the definitive examinations of modern magic, beautifully bridging the ancient mystery traditions with the brave new world of  scientific methodology.

But there is one key aspect to this man that has been unfairly overlooked, in my opinion — that of the occult detective storyteller. Crowley’s Simon Iff tales are wondrous explorations of human psychology, served by the protagonists sharp wit, keen observational skills, and expert knowledge of the mystic arts. Having been the subject of one exceptional novel, Moonchild, and more than a dozen shorter works, Crowley’s Simon Iff deserves a place of reverence held for him by the connoisseurs of weird fiction.

From The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (Chapter 78)

“My principal invention was the detective “Simon Iff” whose method of discovering the solution of a problem was calculation of the mental and moral energies of the people concerned.

I wrote a series of six stories about his exploits and followed it by The Butterfly Net or the Net, a novel in which he is a secondary character. In this novel I have given an elaborate description of modern magical theories and practices. Most of the characters are real people whom I have known and many of the incidents taken from experience.”

Not read any of Aleister Crowley’s Simon Iff tales? You should really rectify that at your earliest convenience.  To help you along in this endeavor, might I offer you the following portal through which one might journey forth into cyberspace and submerge oneself in these intriguing occult detective tales.

One Response to “Occult Detective Countdown 11/20: Aleister Crowley’s Simon Iff”

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