Many writers have posted lately about Grant’s passing, but Donald Michael Kraig’s obituary is one of the most touching and biographically complete.
The last living student of Aleister Crowley has died at the age of 86.
Kenneth Grant served as Crowley’s secretary during the last years of the master’s life, fetching him heroin while Crowley scribbled insults in his diary. Grant also famously befriended Austin Osman Spare, another great 20th-century occult genius, who drew the portrait of Grant reproduced above.
Grant went on to write over twenty books, including biographies of Crowley and Spare, but he will be best remembered for his later collection of nine visionary and startlingly original occult tomes, known collectively as the Typhonian Trilogies. These strange and often unintentionally silly books are not traditional grimoires, but dark and wildly speculative explorations into Lovecraftian entities and the reverse side of the Tree of Life, known as “the Tunnels of Set.”
Due to a caustic split with the OTO, Grant never received the attention from modern magicians and Thelemites that he probably deserved. Now that he’s passed, it’s likely that his work will be re-examined and finally integrated into the occult mainstream.
Today CNN published a new interview with Damien Echols, “ringleader” of the so-called West Memphis Three. Judging from what CNN has published, Echols sounds down in the dumps. Eighteen years on death row will do that to an innocent man.
In the early 1990s, Damien Echols and two of his friends were framed for the gruesome murder of three local children. An HBO documentary called Paradise Lost followed the Arkansas trial and conviction of the misfit teenagers, none of whom seemed guilty of anything more sinister than studying Wicca, reading Stephen King novels, and wearing lots of black.
Knowing how the next twenty years would unfold, it is particularly painful to watch Paradise Lost today. As Echols testifies in his own defense, he seems to expect that someone reasonable will step in any minute and stop the Kafkaesque charade.
But of course, no one did stop it, and in the ensuing decades, despite widespread publicity and celebrity support, no one has been able to get Echols and his friends out of prison. Tonight at 11 PM, CNN runs a new documentary about the case.
For those interested in knowing more or trying to help: Free The West Memphis Three.