Straight as the Crow-ley Flies

Straight as the Crow-ley Flies

by Carol Maltby

Words have power, names have power. There is a connecting web that unites all things, and our task is to find the pattern that connects, find the resonances. These are basic magickal concepts, not hard to swallow. Keep them in mind, you’ll need them.

I read Gary Alexander’s "Crowley in the Valley" article in Paradigm Shift (vol. 1, no. 1, July '98) with considerable interest, as I live in the area described in the article. While I am not overly fond of Thelemic magick, I am a Wiccan with a healthy curiosity about what is going on around me. Since I was not familiar with the island, I began to pore over local maps in an attempt to locate it. I noticed a curious coincidence, which might have escaped those who rarely venture out of their usual Balkanized mind-sets. Esopus Island was due east of High Falls, where Whitley Strieber originally had his alien encounters. I have noticed over the years that for the most part, people in the UFO, witchcraft, ceremonial magick, and Earth Mysteries fields do not like to see cross-fertilization in their meme-pools. I didn’t expect many people to see the connection. I certainly didn’t expect to find myself spending the rest of the next month obsessively poring over maps and geographical databases, finding more connections that kept on repeating and resonating meaningfully with each other.

While not all the connections fell on ley lines in the strict formal sense, names I found on the maps began to form a collection of inter-related concepts that all fell on or near the lines of latitude and longitude centered on Esopus Island. I began to see it as a symbolic landscape, one which was grounded on the earth but enveloped in a web of words that held meaning. They swirled giddily, forming knots that coalesced around interconnected subjects: Crowley and his circle, HP Lovecraft, Egyptology, classical mythology, Mars, Whitley Strieber. Names repeated over and over, and when I checked a gazetteer to find out their distribution, in many cases they were clustered in these corridors with a frequency much higher than chance.

The modern concept of ley lines was developed by Alfred Watkins in the 1920s. He saw various prehistoric features in the British landscape as a network of straight tracks that linked ancient sacred sites with significant geographical markers. For much of his life he saw these as trade routes, though some modern researchers such as Paul Devereux have theorized that they function as the straight paths for spirit flight in shamanic practice. The idea of leys as energy lines has flourished and mutated in recent years, fostering heady and unverifiable speculations about a planetary energy grid.

In the Esopus Island case, we have two main corridors, with a subsidiary line of longitude coming down from Madeline, California that links a surprisingly creepy set of locations. I have set the corridor dimensions as being approximately 20 minutes of a degree wide, have made the assumption that a line passing through a town qualifies as a direct hit on the line. There are some towns which, because of their borders, could probably be considered closer to the lines, and thus this would narrow the corridor, but I was not able to document this for certain with the maps I had available.


Sink deeper into the words, see their structure, trace their lines. Whit-ley the white ley, path of the salt traders, according to Watkins. Crow-ley, the black ley. Crow, an old term for a grappling hook, echoed in the Red Hooks. Crow-line, the straight line of a crow's flight, echoing the straight lines of shamanic flight. Cole-black, crow-black, the ancient association of the name "Cole "with British ley lines. "Cole-prophet," the Oxford English Dictionary tells us, is "one who pretends by magic or occult means, to predict the future, tell fortunes, etc., a wizard, sorcerer, divine,necromancer, fortune-teller. "The cole-man," said Alfred Watkins in 1922, "who was the magician of the ley." The Crow-ley passes through Cole Street in Rhinecliff. The third line is the Madeline, named after the woman who stayed with Crowley on Esopus, introduced to him by Tony Sarg, the puppeteer. Made-line, the mad line? Topsell said in 1607, "There is a prettie comparison of a harlottes loue to a fisherman which putteth vpon im a goats skin with the horns, to deceive the Sargus fish." Which strings held by the puppetmaster, which ones held by the angler, who dances to the pull of the threads of destiny?

Listen to which words call attention to themselves, by dint of their repetition. Red Hook, Red Hook, 50 gallons of red paint to paint MADELINE on the cliffs of Esopus Island, along with other slogans. Hyde Park, Hyde Park, High Falls, High Falls. Red…red… Hyde…hide… red hide… Red Mars, where the death of the planet comes in falls of rock from on high. The film of Madeleine plays at the cinema at Red Hook just after "Crowley in the Valley" is published on the Web. Madeline Drive, the street intersecting South Orange Grove in Pasadena, just down the block from where Jack Parsons lived. The hook, one of the pieces of sacred regalia of the Egyptian kings. Red hide, the flanks of the Sphinx in her youth. A geoglyph of Hathor in her cow aspect on the ruddy plains of Mars. Red "heid" , the red heathen in German, the Scarlet Woman? References to Soma: "A common metaphor for Soma is the bull, the Rig-veda's symbol of strength. `He [Soma] bellows, terrifying bull… the hide is of bull, the dress of sheep.' (Mandala IX 0). In Mandala IX 97 we find a reference to the `red bull.' Might we assume that the skin of the [amanita] represents the red hide of the bull, while the woolley spots represent the 'dress of sheep'?" The russet hide of the red heifer, born of a black and white mother in 1997, which was hoped by many fundamentalists to be the flawless red heifer whose ashes could begin the purification process needed before the Temple could be rebuilt in Jerusalem. The Qur'an, Surah 55 says: "And when the heavens splitteth asunder and becometh rosy like red hide, which is it, of the favours of your lord, that ye deny? On that day neither man nor jinni will be questioned of his sin."

Ah, those mysterious jinni. Is it they who Whitley still encounters? Igerna was tricked at Tintagel by the cole-man Merlin, son of a jinn and a human woman, who helped Uther Pendragon shape-shift into the guise of her husband. From this magical seduction came Arthur, named as one of the revered Saints by Crowley. Demon-spawn Merlin, pimping Igerna so that he might snatch the magically-conceived baby afterward. Merlin the falcon, sharing that bird with Horus. Whore-us Igerna, be our Scarlet Woman in this magic, anchor the bloodline of the Dragon. The banner of the Dragon flies at the conquering of Cornwall by his white-lie lay, while later Arthur is said to be buried on the line of the dragon ley running through Glastonbury. Centuries later an old Cornish woman passes on the oral lore of her family, regarding a disaster on Mars and evacuation to Earth of pregnant women, using circular space ships. Anchor the bloodline of Igerna, who also produced Morgan le Fay, Morgan whose fairy blood ran hot.

One tale says that Arthur was star-born, maybe from those samples the jinni so carefully collect at night when their victims lie frozen in dream. A character in Tennyson's Idylls of the King attributes the tale to Bleys, a companion of Merlin. Merlin and Bleys walk outside, having just seen Uther die childless.

"… from the castle gateway by the chasm

Descending thro' the dismal night - a night

In which the bounds of heaven and earth were lost --

Beheld, so high upon the dreary deeps

It seem'd in heaven, a ship, the shape thereof

A dragon wing'd, and all from stem to stern

Bright with a shining people on the decks,

And gone as soon as seen. And then the two

Dropt to the cove, and watch'd the great sea fall,

Wave after wave, each mightier than the last,

Till last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep

And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged

Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame:

And down the wave and in the flame was borne

A naked babe, and rode to Merlin's feet,

Who stoopt and caught the babe, and cried "The King!

Here is an heir for Uther! And the fringe

Of that great breaker, sweeping up the strand,

Lash'd at the wizard as he spake the word,

And all at once all round him rose in fire,

So that the child and he were clothed in fire.

And presently thereafter follow'd calm,

Free sky and stars…"

These star-people, who are reputed to meddle in the bloodlines of the kings like we breed showdogs. These star-people, who think that Earth Girls (and Boys) are Easy. Was it they who spoke with Crowley almost daily on Esopus Island? Little LAM who made thee, dost thou know who made thee? Was LAM, whose portrait Crowley exhibited months after his sojourn on the island, a birthing metaphor? Or was the Big-headed One with the strange eyes later to visit Whitley eight miles west of the island? The Catskills are so lovely at any time of year, who can blame the star-people for coming back from whatever dimensions they frequent?

Follow the path of the star-people a little further west in our mythic corridor, to the Pine Bush area where they have appeared frequently. Note the towns of Goshen here, and in Pennsylvania, and in the corridor where it runs through Connecticut. Goshen, the area in the Nile delta where the Israelites lived while in Egypt. The place where you live while in exile. Osiris Lake Colony is in the vicinity too. Who were the first colonizers, in this area which lies at the same latitude of Cydonia, on long-dead Mars? Right on the Esopus Island latitude line is Ararat, Pennsylvania. Did the arks come here and to Cornwall, and to wherever their crippled engines could let them land, filled with the babies who would grow up to continue their lines of fairy blood with whichever humans they could glamour into coupling with them?

The Old Ones have been here a very long time, and the earth holds the memory of this. But are they poor wee Cydonian widows and orphans, or more sinister wretched refuse? Mark how HP Lovecraft lived at 5 addresses that are right on the Esopus Island latitude and longitude, and that a sixth home of his is just off one line. He wrote a short story called "The Horror at Red Hook," which features a Kabalistic theme. Is this just chance, or is there an energy flowing through the line that stirs up a fevered imagination, which plants the idea that one is speaking with the Old Ones? Who is the Elder God who eats souls in the corridor running down from Madeline and Ravendale in California?

The Boreal Ridge is on the line. Boreas, the North Wind, north the direction of Nuit, protector of the souls of the dead. There is much need of protection down this cursed line. Near the ridge is the Donner Pass, may the gods have mercy on their souls. Then on either side of the Mad-line is Tragedy Springs (I know not what eponymous tragedy struck here) and Wilseyville, site of the tortures and murders of somewhere between 19 and 25 people in 1985, may the gods have mercy on their souls. We move down to Chowchilla, where a bus-load of children ages 5-14 were hijacked in 1976. They were herded into a truck, which was buried in a gravel pit. May the gods have mercy on their traumatized souls. From there we encounter Coalinga, site of California's second greatest earthquake in living memory. May the gods have mercy on their shaken souls.

In this corridor too are names which are connected with the mysteries of our time, the eldritch lights in the sky and the mysterious visitors. Tranquility, also reknowned as the site where the Eagle first landed on the moon. Tranquility Base, (there goes the neighborhood), linked with strange Egyptian religious connections to the Apollo mission's timing and placement. Surely it could not be that Crowley's magician friend Jack Parsons, a founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, had a hand in the shaping of this, could it? Just because Jack styled himself the Anti-Christ and did sex magick for the glory of Babalon, aided by L. Ron Hubbard the master puppeteer, surely this would not reflect on NASA's penchant for the use of magickally significant actions, even at the present day? To fix the otherworldly theme in this corridor, we have Whitley Gardens, and at the end the Vandenberg Air Force Base, named after a general reputedly on the mysterious Majestic 12 UFO committee, which may or may not be a hoax, or dsinformation.

 The lines are there on the map, the towns and features are there on the map. Was there a voice that whispered in the right ears, "Name this town thusly, fit it into the pattern…" ? Are they just a meaningless constellation of significant coincidences, and my interpretation of the connections devoid of meaning too? I look to the synchronicities that happened in the researching of this piece. As I pulled into the Rhinebeck library to research William Seabrook, who financed the Esopus Island expedition, I noticed that my odometer figure ended with 666. I attended a John Anthony West lecture on ancient Egypt and the anomalies he has found there, and was startled by his frequent repetition of the phrase "white crow," as a signifier that one cannot prove all crows are black if a single white crow is found. Whit-ley, Crow-ley , the connections murmured. I looked on the map to see if my friend who lives north of California was on the line. He was not, but the first word that caught my eye when his map came up was the King Lam Lounge. A Web search for "red hide" that brought up "Erik the Red: `Hide…" had a character in the conversation named Pater Illuminati. All through this process I kept finding more order and the characteristic redundancies of deep synchronicity, not more randomness. I began to feel like I was researching an out-take of a Robert Anton Wilson conspiracy theory.

I present no Big Meaning, no unified field theory. I spread this information out before you, you must draw your own conclusions. Take it as you wish, whether with awestruck space-cadet wonder, or with the appropriate level of ironic detachment that allows you to turn it into a parlor game of "Six Degrees of Esopus Island." Perhaps its only message is that of the act of making deeper connections. Perhaps, as Ben Rowe has suggested, the verbal part doesn't matter, but is merely useful to keep your mind occupied while the discarnate teachers work on you on subtler levels. May the patterns you form from this be part of an intricate dance that takes you where you need to go.


The mapping information here was assembled from Microsoft Automap StreetsPlus, Jimapco's local NY county maps, and the Hagstrom New York State Road Atlas. The online Getty Thesaurus of Geographic names was particularly useful for showing the way that many of the place names seem to cluster in these corridors in numbers quite out of proportion to their frequency in the rest of the country.

Some notes on the significance of the various sites:

 Ararat, PA: Named after the alleged site where Noah's Ark landed. Bible does not precisely say whether the Ark contained squabbling Cydonian toddlers or not.

Athens, NY: Home of unorthodox Egyptologist John Anthony West, who has upset quite a few assumptions with his theory that the Sphinx is actually thousands of years older than commonly thought.

Babylon Hill, PA: Articles on the infamous magickal ``Babalon Working" of 1946 which Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard performed can be found at It has been thought by some that this working opened a door through which Things have been pouring ever since. Crowley wrote to his deputy in NY, ``Apparently he [Parsons] or Ron or somebody is producing a Moonchild. I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these louts." Parsons was a founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and lately has come up in the thick of theories that are trying to establish why NASA seems to be using occult signifiers in its choice of landing times and locations, as well as using symbols on mission insignia that have peculiar significance.

 Beacon Hills, NY: A feature of classic British ley lines, the beacon hills were situated so that a line of hilltop fires could be seen from one sighting point to the next. The area in NY is now home to Paul Devereux, Earth Mysteries researcher and former editor of The Ley Hunter.

Boreal Ridge, CA/Boreas River, NY: Boreas was the North Wind in Greek mythology. The Getty Thesaurus lists only 8 place names in all with Boreas as part of the name, thus 25% of them are in our little Crow-ley corridors.

Cairo, NY: Named after the Egyptian city. Pronounced "KAY -ro " by the locals, one of many foreign names which they adopt and then customarily butcher.

Camel Rock, CA: Roddie Minor, Crowley's lover and occasional weekend visitor to Esopus Island, was referred to by him as the Camel.

Catskill, NY: You really do not want to hear the details of Crowley's boyhood experiment to find out whether a cat has nine lives.

Chowchilla, CA: Site of a 1976 schoolbus hijacking. Twenty-six students were sealed in a truck and buried in a gravel pit.

Coalinga, CA: The 1983 earthquake centered on Coalinga was California's second largest earthquake in recorded history.

Cole Street, Rhinecliff, NY: Cole is a common name on English ley lines.

Cornwall, CT: The tale told by the Cornish woman regarding the evacuation of Mars was found at (click on ``strange oral traditions")

Crowley's Corner (Hartford County) CT, CrowleyCorner (Middlesex County) CT: Of the small group of Crowleys found as place names, the two in the Crow-ley corridor are the only ones that are `` Corners," thus emphasizing their geometric connection.

Crum Elbow Creek, NY: Crom Cruach, Irish pagan idol allegedly toppled by St. Patrick.

Cydonia: Region of Mars reknowned for anomalous features which exhibit patterns that strongly indicate artificiality, and which have stylistic or mathematical links to Giza. It has been theorized that Mars lost most of its water and atmosphere when bombarded by the explosion of the fifth planet, which formed the asteroid belt. It is not known whether survivors remain. See ml#links.

Donner Pass, CA: Site of the 1846 Donner party tragedy, which carried Social Darwinism to its logical extreme when snowbound without sufficient refreshments.

N. Elba, NY: Napolean Bonaparte, said by some to be the Anti-Christ, was exiled to Elba. In a world littered with claimants to the Anti-Christ throne, can't we exile more of them?

Goshen, CT/Goshen, NY/Goshen, PA: Goshen was originally the area in the Nile delta where the Israelites lived while in exile in Egypt.

High Falls (Ulster County) NY/High Falls (Greene County) NY: The southern hemisphere of Mars is brutally cratered and battered, compared to the northern hemisphere. Think of the bombardment falling from on high, the great floods sweeping the land as chunks of planet descended. Was great Atlantis on Earth, or elsewhere? Chicken Little was right: ``The sky is falling, the sky is falling…"

Hubbard Pond, CT/ Hubbard, Ohio: Do you really trust this fellow channelling in your ritual?

Hyde Park, NY/Hyde Park, UT: For differing perspectives on the significance of the birth of the red heifer (who has recently been disqualified due to several non-red hairs appearing on her tail) see:, .html, pics/Fall-of-Jerusalem/heifer.htm,

Igerna, NY/Igerna,CA: Igerna/Ygraine was King Arthur's mother, raped by Uther Pendragon who shapeshifted into the guise of her husband Gorlois. Those pesky Reptilians up to their usual tricks? The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names gives only two towns named Igerna out of the 900,000 names listed. Both were county seats in 1895.

Jinni: In Moslem theology, a class of spirits that can influence human actions. For some interesting speculation regarding their place in modern Western affairs, see

469 La Guardia Place , NY: Whitley Strieber's contact address during the writing of Transformation.

Lamb's Corners, NY: LAM was an entity contacted by Crowley. The portrait Crowley did of the bulbous-headed LAM is surprisingly reminiscent of some descriptions of the aliens known as Greys. See

Lithgow, NY: Surname of an actor who plays an alien on a popular TV show. Taken apart, the name splits into "lith" (the Greek lithos means "stone"), and `` gow," Chinese slang for opium. The Camel was stoned on opium when she began channelling the entity Amalantrah.

HP Lovecraft addresses: 169 Clinton Street, Brooklyn, NY; 259 Parkside, Brooklyn, NY; 10 Barnes St., Providence, RI; 66 College Street, Providence, RI; 454 Angell Street; 598 Angell Street. Those cosmic conspiracy buffs with an excess of time to fritter away and a graphics program that measures angles might wish to explore the Providence addresses and see if the King Tut restaurant there actually forms a triangle with a 19.5 angle with two of Lovecraft's addresses.

Madeline, CA: ``[Madeleine] stood out like a strawberry among a heap of hips and haws; a short sturdy figure trimly tailored, with a round smiling face, and an ivory complexion framed in that pyrotechnic display of hair." -- Aleister Crowley. Aleister's blind date on Esopus Island.

Merlin, PA/Merlin, CA: Famed enchanter, with dubious ethics and possible Otherworld agenda.

Minerva, NY. Roman goddess sharing some attributes of Mars.

Minor Pond, CT: See Roddie Minor, the Camel.

Mount Marcy, NY: Mount ``Mars-y."

Lake Osiris Colony, NY: Another gem in our necklace of Egyptian references. Hook and flail were symbols of Osiris. There are only three town with the Osiris name in the US.

Pine Bush, NY: Center of Hudson River Valley UFO sightings for many years. The area is thought by Dr. Bruce Cornet to be a replica of Cydonia. Similar claims have been made for Avebury. No claims have as yet been filed with the proper authorities concerning Bayonne, New Jersey's relationship with Cydonia.

Ravendale, CA: Under the Laws of Similarity, all the members of the Corvidae may be considered to be congruent , and thus part of the Crow-ley theory.

Red Hook (Dutchess County), NY/Red Hook (Brooklyn), NY: Only one Red Hook listed in the Getty database, and here we've got two in our collection. My, my. Lovecraft lived in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn and set one of his stories there. The movie Madeline played at the Red Hook theatre (Dutchess County) just after ``Crowley in the Valley" was released on the Web. However, Miss Clavel was neither one of Crowley's Scarlet Women nor the nun who gave birth to Merlin after an episode with an incubus. Shame on you for even thinking it.

Tranquility, CA: The Californian Tranquility is situated in the middle of a curious triangle of roads that cartographical aficionados might want to contemplate with pleasure. Thirty-three minutes after touchdown at Tranquility on the moon, Buzz Aldrin broke out a vial of wine and a small chalice, and made a small "religious offering" (as he later described it) while Sirius/Isis shone above the lunar horizon at 19.5 degrees. There is, of course, no fnord occult significance in this.

Tragedy Springs, CA: Just seeing the name is like driving past a car wreck on the highway. Avert your gaze, if you can.

Vandenberg, CA: "By the way it was also Hoyt S. Vandenberg who ordered the destruction of a report, the Estimate of the Situation, which was produced by the first known governmental UFO investigation Project Sign which had concluded that the best evidence indicated a extraterrestrial origin for UFOs. Certainly he was entitled to his opinion, rejecting it on the grounds that the authors had not proven their case. Yet months after the report was declassified, all copies of it were ordered burned. Burning classified materials is the norm but it is not the norm for materials to be ordered to be burned after they have been declassified for several months as this report was. No authenticated copy of this document has been located to date." -- Gary Alevy.

Whitley Gardens, CA/ South Whitley, IN: More Strieber references.

Wilseyville,CA/Wilseyville, OH/Willseyville, NY: It's all about Will, see? All three Wil[l]seyvilles in the country are in our corridors, as well as Wilsey Square in Ridgewood, NJ.

Carol Maltby is a soccer mom and witch, who is finding it increasingly hard to talk coherently with Normals since researching this piece. Visit her page on the Martian Anomalies at

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