That Time Aleister Crowley Tried to Summon a Demon With ‘Sex Magick’ (Podcast)

…And what it has to do with Timothée Chalamet

Last Updated: June 21, 2018 @ 3:52 PM

Aleister Crowley, an occultist, poet, and self-appointed magician, was known a century ago as “the wickedest man in the world.” But he did at least one good thing: Contributed to the sexual awakening of poet Victor Benjamin Neuburg.

Each week on “Shoot This Now,” we talk about stories that should be made into movies, and we think Crowley’s relationship with the younger Neuburg could be a kind of “Call Me by Your Name” with demons. You can listen on Apple or here:

Actually, there weren’t any demons. But not for lack of trying: Crowley enlisted Neuburg in a “sex magick” ritual designed to bring a demon into the world. You can learn more about it from Dan Cummins’ excellent “Timesuck” podcast, where we first learned about Crowley and Neuburg’s relationship.

In our discussion of the relationship, we posit that perhaps Crowley and Neuburg (who we think should be played by Timothée Chalamet) were only using the “sex magick” as an excuse to do what they really wanted to do: have sex. Both were coming out of the repressive Victorian era, where practicing magic was apparently more acceptable than a same-sex relationship.

Crowley’s reputation as a terrible person is well-founded, for reasons we get into in the podcast. But in our fictionalized film version of this story, we imagine that Neuburg’s character might end up OK.

We also explain why we see many parallels between his character and Chalamet’s in “Call Me by Your Name.”