Weird History Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City  

Christine Aprile
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Los Angeles is a city filled with dreams and fantasies. The magic of Hollywood movie stars permeates the air, the sun always seems to be shining, and young, beautiful hopefuls come to the city from near and far hoping to make it "big." Yet, below the sun drenched surface of LA sits a hidden occult history steeped in rumors, magic rituals, death, sex, drugs, and even rocketry.

The streets and suburbs of Los Angeles are brimming with a creepy, supernatural history just waiting to be discovered.

Sex Magic At The Devil’s Gate Dam In Altadena

Sex Magic At The Devil’s Gate ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City
Photo:  Christine Aprile

Tucked away behind the Arroyo Seco parkway near Altadena is the infamous Devil’s Gate Dam, named for an outcropping of granite that resembles the profile of a particular horned man. Legends abound about the area; in fact, the Tongva tribe believed that this narrow portion of the river was cursed, and that it was taboo to linger too long in the vicinity of the rock.

The unusual formation even piqued the interest of rocket engineer and occultist Jack Parsons, who was told that the dam was a portal to hell by Aleister Crowley, the founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis cult that Parsons had grown increasingly involved with. Parsons is said to have performed portions of Crowley’s cult rituals at the gate of the dam, including an attempt to conjure a Moonchild using sex magic with his mistress.

David Bowie is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City
Photo:  Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Back in 1975, David Bowie moved to Hollywood hoping to break into the world of acting and film directing. Things didn't go quite as he had planned, and his escalating cocaine use sent the artist into a delusional occult-filled nightmare.

Rumor has it that Bowie became increasingly paranoid, fearing he was under the influence of dark occult forces and refusing to leave his rented mansion at 1349 Stone Canyon Rd. in Bel-Air. With his mania reaching epic proportions, he called on a friend to find him a white witch to exorcise his personal demons, an episode which ended (allegedly) with a New York Wiccan, lots of chanting, and a demonically bubbling swimming pool.

Apparently the ritual worked, and once his album Station to Station was complete, Bowie packed his things and moved to Switzerland to sober up.

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Griffith Park is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City
Photo: Freebase/CC-BY

Griffith Park has a plethora of ghost stories, sightings, and mysterious legends attached to it, making it one of the most haunted places in Los Angeles.

In the mid 19th century, the area was owned by a rich bachelor named Don Antonio Feliz, who was coerced on his deathbed into leaving his entire estate to a scheming politician. The disinherited niece of Feliz reportedly cursed the land in 1863, stating that the wrath of heaven and vengeance of hell would befall all subsequent owners of the property.

The curse seemed to hold true for years: the area was plagued by drought, wildfires, tragedy, and ruin, eventually leading its final owner Colonel Griffith J. Griffith to bequeath the land to the City of Los Angeles.

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Jack Parson's Agape Lodge

Jack Parson's Agape Lodge is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Los Angeles Has A History With The Occult Unlike Any Other U.S. City
Photo: Anonymous/Wikimedia

Jack Parsons, the infamous occultist and rocket engineer of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Altadena, was once a fixture in the occult community of Los Angeles, holding magical lodges in his South Pasadena home.

During the 1930s, Parsons became obsessed with Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic teachings, organizing wild and risqué occult rituals in the basement of his home, which he called the Agape Lodge or the Parsonage. The orgiastic parties and soirees aroused suspicion from the community, and eventually led to an FBI investigation and his dismissal from the JPL.

Always the maverick alchemist, Jack Parsons met his untimely death at age 37 during a botched rocket fuel experiment that took his life and destroyed his home.