Aleister Crowley, the man who called himself “The Great Beast 666” and became known in the British press as “the wickedest man in the world,” was an infamous cult leader who founded his own religion dedicated to the mantra, “Do what thou wilt.” After finding the Hermetic Organization of the Golden Dawn lacking in its dedication to the occult (and himself unpopular due to his bisexuality and sexual libertinism), he set out to outdo it, and wrote the first of many texts while in Egypt. His practice turned to a focus on sexual magic (part of his overall philosophy of Magick) and he opened up a house for his disciples that was later seized upon by tabloid journalists. He was also a poet and a skilled (though callous) mountaineer. His popularity spiked in the 1960s after his death, and he even appears on the Beatles’ album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hears Club Band.
A full-length documentary on Crowley, complete with spooky music and handheld camera footage, is available here.