5 The Curse- Statues of Gold
‘In the introduction we discussed the legend of the Led Zeppelin Curse potentially being the result of Jimmy Page’s occult interest leading to the band’s (alleged) pact with the Devil. We also referenced the curse put upon Page by experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger. In the previous two chapters we went over the occult symbolism and (possible) rituals Page injected Led Zeppelin’s recorded music and performances with. In this chapter we will discuss who Kenneth Anger is, how he met Jimmy Page and what led Anger to curse the rock star.
Kenneth Anger- the name says it all, doesn’t it? Like Page, Anger is an occultist and devotee of Aleister Crowley. He is also an underground filmmaker and author. I’ll give you a sense of this guy’s vibe. He’s got a large tattoo across his chest that reads ‘Lucifer’. Look him up online; he’s a scary looking dude and I know Anger would just love hearing that description of him. But to be fair, Lucifer means different things to different people. Anger began making short films at ten years old and has produced almost forty since 1937 with the predominant themes being homoeroticism and the occult. His imagery is surreal and Anger himself has called his films invocations and rituals.
He was born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer in California in 1927. Curiously enough, the words angel and angle are connected. The word Angle of the Anglo-Saxons means divine messenger and Anger was born with the name Anglemyer and then his life became defined by the original angel, Lucifer. This is a neat synchronicity and synchronistic events play a big part in all things magick.
Anger claimed to have been a child actor notably appearing in the film A Midsummer Night’s Dream and would later write the gossip book Hollywood Babylon which contained many juicy stories of scandal among old school film stars. He would later be described as one of America’s first openly gay filmmakers whose work unflinchingly addressed homosexuality and gay culture. Being an adherent of Thelema, the religion that Aleister Crowley founded, his films focus on occult themes with notable titles such as Invocation of My Demon Brother and Lucifer Rising; the latter being pivotal in this story.
During his life Anger mixed with the rich and famous; among them counterculture figures, writers and rock stars such as Tennessee Williams, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull and Anton Lavey (no surprise there). He also struck up a friendship with pioneering (and some would say notorious) ‘sexologist’ Alfred Kinsey who was one of the first people to buy a copy of Anger’s film, Fireworks. This movie was a shocker for its time and would get Anger arrested on obscenity charges. Fireworks explored themes such as homosexuality and sadomasochism and had some pretty bizarre and violent imagery.
In 1955 Anger and sexologist Kinsey travelled to the derelict Abbey of Thelema in Sicily which, as discussed earlier, was used as a commune of debauchery by Aleister Crowley in the 1920’s. They made the trip to film a documentary titled Thelema Abbey for the British television series Omnibus. While there, Anger restored many of the villa’s sexually themed wall paintings and also performed Crowleyan rituals. And of course, years later Jimmy Page would visit the Abbey, so it seems this creepy place, along with Boleskine House, has a strange pull for those who follow Crowley.
Anger met Jimmy Page in 1971 at a Sotheby’s auction of Aleister Crowley artifacts and they struck up a friendship based on their mutual interests. Around 1973 Page would invite Anger to Boleskine House to perform an exorcism as he was experiencing some ghostly disturbances. Curiously enough, Anger had rented Boleskine House for a brief period in 1969 before JP had purchased it in 1970.
Understanding the significance of Boleskine House and the occult rituals performed there by Aleister Crowley, it’s almost certain that Kenneth Anger conducted rituals of his own which would anchor his energy to the property and give him remote access via the astral plane long after he left the haunted manor. Trust me; this is definitely something an occultist like Anger would do as it would amplify his magickal power and allow him to affect the place itself and those in it from a distance. I’m not saying that Anger marked his territory specifically because he knew Page was going to buy the house, but it all worked out rather conveniently as so often happens with magick.
In any event, Anger and Page then agreed to collaborate on Anger’s film Lucifer Rising. Page was to compose the soundtrack and come up with some unique music to go along with Anger’s surreal imagery. Page worked on the soundtrack intermittently while touring the world with Led Zeppelin. In 1976 JP allowed Anger to edit his raw footage in the basement of the musician’s London home which was originally fitted out to edit the concert film The Song Remains the Same. Page gave Anger free reign to use his subterranean film laboratory to trim the initial seventeen hours of raw footage down to roughly one and a half hours.
The first reports were that JP's live-in girlfriend Charlotte had discovered Anger giving unauthorized tours of their home and demanded that he leave. The filmmaker supposedly returned the next morning to collect his belongings and found the door bolted. The movie footage as well as his prized 'Crown of Lucifer', which was supposedly made with rhinestones from a dress once worn by Mae West, were all still inside. Anger then informed the folks at Zeppelin’s record label Swansong that the collaboration was off, and Page was officially fired from the project. He was eventually able to collect his things (including the movie footage) over the next couple of days. JP claimed that a housekeeper, not Charlotte, had asked Anger to leave.
Anger later stated that he'd been unable to reach Page for months and that the rock star’s dedication to the project had obviously waned. Additional griping from the filmmaker included that JP was behaving contradictory to the teachings of their mutual hero Aleister Crowley and that his demeanor was akin to a ‘lunar landscape’. He said that communicating with Page was like trying to speak through thick plate glass. Anger went on to say that JP was dried up as a musician and didn’t have anything left creatively, etc. You know; the usual stuff you say to someone when you're pissed at them. He also alluded to Page's heroin addiction by referencing his 'affair with the white lady' and saying his behavior was very Jekyll and Hyde.
Either way, Page had the upper hand as he didn't need this pet project with a tempestuous character like Anger. It is important to note that Page did indeed produce over twenty minutes of music for the soundtrack, but Anger said it wasn’t enough and that what was presented was unusable. The filmmaker was so upset that he threw a curse and let everyone know about it. Curiously enough, this is when the majority (but not all) of Led Zeppelin’s bad luck started.’
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