Did you know one of Aleister Crowley’s daughters was alive and living in Oakland California until as recently as November 2014, when she died of natural causes. She was born in Cefalu, Sicily, where Crowley had set up his Abbey of Thelema, exactly one hundred years ago to the day on 26th November 1920. Her mother was a recently widowed American – Ninette Shumway, also known as Isabella Fraux – and the daughter’s name was Louise Shumway – although Crowley actually christened her Astarte Lulu Panthea.
Being Aleister Crowley there were inevitably complications because not only was Ninette Crowley’s lover but he also had another mistress – Leah Hirsig – living with him. In fact the two women met while they were both crossing the Atlantic from the US to Europe on the same ship. Anyway fast forward a few months to Sicily – Leah Hirsig already had one child by Crowley and was pregnant with another. Sadly the child died and Leah subsequently miscarried – this led Crowley to conclude that Ninette, now in her 8th month of pregnancy, had worked some kind of witchcraft or spell, so they exorcised her and cast her out of the Abbey for the duration of her pregnancy.
This is the exorcism ritual they used…
NINETTE FRAUX. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Initiation purges. There is excreted a stench and a pestilence. In your case two have been killed outright, and the rest made ill. There are signs that the process may lead to purification and things made safe within a short time. But we cannot risk further damage; if the hate is still in course, it had better coil back on its source. Keep your diary going carefully. Go and live in Cefalu alone; go to the hospital alone; the day before you come out send up your diary, and I will reconsider things. I shall hope to see the ulcers healing. Do not answer this; simply do as I say. Love is the law, love under will.
Ninette’s daughter – Louise – was born a healthy child and returned to United States in 1930 where she was brought up by her mother’s older sister Helene Fraux. Despite her bizarre childhood, Louise lived a conventional life. She graduated from the University of California, she became a school teacher, she married (becoming Louise Muhler), she had children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and for 50 years was a member of her local presbyterian church. Clearly the triumph of nurture over nature.
Curated by English barrister and Reuters correspondent turned editor, author, award-winning tech journalist, storyteller, and sometime werewolf hunter Charles Christian. He writes, he drinks tea, he knows things. This site also has links to Charles' books and the Weird Tales Show videos and podcasts.
Descended from a motley crew of smugglers and witches, Christian was born a chime-child with a caul and grew up in a haunted medieval house by the harbourside in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough.
According to folklore a caul-shrouded chime-child can't drown at sea but can see and talk to faerie folk and also has protection against spells cast by malevolent sorcerers. And yes, he was once commissioned to go on a werewolf hunt on the night of a full moon by a newspaper. Spoiler alert: he didn't find one. (Or it didn't find him.)
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