The Life and Legacy of Jack Parsons - Atlas Obscura
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Pasadena, California

The Life and Legacy of Jack Parsons

The enigmatic polymath Jack Parsons—explosives expert, co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and infamous occultist—died an untimely death caused by a mysterious explosion in his laboratory in Pasadena. 

Join Field Agents Erin Johnson and Siegfried Tieber as we trek deep into the Arroyo Seco to the Devil’s Gate and discover the fascinating history of rocket science and occultism in Pasadena.

Hidden beneath the 210 freeway is an unusual geological formation, resembling the profile of the Devil. Allegedly, Jack Parsons and other 20th century occultists believed that this was one of The Seven Portals of Hell. During this hike, we'll explore the history and mysticism surrounding this outlandish location and indulge in Parsons' life and his two passions: rocketry and magic.

Along the way, we'll discuss other intriguing locations around the area including NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the test site of Parson's first rocket experiments, and The Parsonage—Parsons' former residence and headquarters of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in California. 

Notes for this adventure:

- Meet at the picnic table near the restrooms in Hahamongna Watershed Park: 34.190892, -118.177981

- Parking is free, but limited, please carpool if possible.

- Wear comfortable shoes, i.e., sneakers or hiking boots for the hike to Devil’s Gate. It could be muddy! High heels, sandals, and flip flops are not allowed. Long pants are also recommended as the path tends to be overgrown.

- This is a two mile hike. Be prepared for steep and unsteady terrain. Bring water!

- Recommended for ages 13+ (some content that may be inappropriate for children under this age)

- Photography is encouraged! #atlasobscura

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