Crowley, Aleister (1875 -1947)
Aleister Crowley, self proclaimed “number of the beast”, was born Edward Alexander Crowley, son of Edward Crowley, a brewer, of Coriena Reach, Rutford Road, Streatham, London, and Emily Bertha Bishop. His parents were Plymouth Brethren, and he was very strictly brought up. He was educated at Malvern College, Tonbridge, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a pensioner 1 October 1895, and completed his three years without taking a degree. While at Cambridge, he earned a reputation as a respectable mountain climber, and published a volume of verse in the style of Swinburne under the title Aceldema 1898, the first of a number. He also began to interest himself in magic. He climbed in South America and was a member of the first expedition to attempt K2. His magical interests eventually led him to Cefalu in Sicily, where his villa was known as the Abbey of Thelema, and he claimed to practice white magic.