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The Legacy of Jack Parsons: A Short Fuse From Volatile Science To Combustible Collapse

A black and white man sits with a device in both hands. He is wearing a suit and tie. He has wavy hair and a mustache. He is looking right of the frame.
Jack Parsons used an area of the Arroyo Seco known as Devil's Gate as his rocket laboratory.
(Archival footage courtesy of M.G. Lord)
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In this episode of LA Made: Blood Sweat & Rockets, we take a closer look at the incendiary life and death of Jack Parsons — one of the original members of the "Suicide Squad," a group of pioneering figures in JPL rocket science.

What to expect in this episode

Ever since he was a teenager, Parsons has operated on the fringes of spiritual and terrestrial frontiers. His unorthodox thinking results in the breakthrough development of rocket fuel, and his sexmagick allegedly conjures up a supernatural woman.

Parsons’ fearlessness and appetite for experimentation puts him at the core of groundbreaking rocket science. Unfortunately, that explosive combination won’t allow him to stay there.

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Listen: The explosive demise of Jack Parsons and the conspiracy theories that came after

Scientist or enthusiast?

Despite having no formal education, Parsons has a remarkable career trajectory that some people would kill for. Listen in to find out if some people do just that.

Spellbound and hell bent

From occultism to rocket fuel to special effects, one question still burns: Did Parsons write his own fate?

That sounds great! How do I find the podcast?

It's available now from LAist Studios. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts! Or listen to this episode via the player above.

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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