Grady Mcmurtry

Grady Mcmurtry Cover During the Second World War, two Californian O.T.O. members, Grady Louis McMurtry (Oct. 18, 1918 - July 12, 1985) and Frederick Mellinger (Merlinus, 1890-1970) (Mellinger was originally a refugee from Nazi Germany), traveled to Europe on military assignments. McMurtry went earlier and visited Crowley on several occasions while on leave. Mellinger visited Crowley after McMurtry was rotated back to the United States.

There was a good rapport Between Crowley and McMurtry, and Crowley respected McMurtry's military experience. In 1943, Crowley personally conferred the IX° of O.T.O. upon McMurtry and made him a Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Order, and gave him the Magical Name he was to use from then on, Hymenaeus Alpha, 777.

In 1944, Crowley began discussing with McMurtry the possibility of assuming the "Caliphate." Crowley wrote to McMurtry on Sept. 28, 1944: "I hope you will prefer my plan for your career as my Fides Achates, alter ego, Caliph, & so on." On November 21, 1944, he wrote to McMurtry again:

`The Caliphate.' You must realize that no matter how closely we see eye-to-eye on any objective subject, I have to think on totally different premises where the Order is concerned. One of the (startling few) commands given to me was this: `Trust not a stranger: fail not of an heir.' This has been the very devil for me. Fr? [Saturnus] is, of course, the natural Caliph; but there are many details concerning the actual policy or working which hit his blind spots. In any case, he can only be a stopgap, because of his age; I have to look for _his_ successor. It has been Hell; so many have come up with amazing promise, only to go on the rocks. ... But — now here is where you have missed my point altogether — I do not think of you as lying on a grassy hillside with a lot of dear sweet lovely woolly lambs, capering to your flute! On the contrary. Your actual life, or `blooding,' is the sort of Initiation which I regard as the first essential for a Caliph. For — say 20 years hence the Outer Head of the Order must, among other things, have had the Experience of war as it is in actual fact to-day.

The title "Caliph," while perhaps appealing somewhat to the sense of humor of both men as a pun on the abbreviation for California (the State of McMurtry's residence and the location of Agape Lodge), is from the Arabic word Khalifa, meaning "deputy." It was historically used in early Islam to designate the successor to the Prophet, the worldwide Commander of the Islamic Faithful. Crowley's use of the term as applied to Germer and McMurtry was parallel for O.T.O.

In 1946, Crowley entrusted McMurtry with documents of emergency authorization to take charge of the entire work of the Order in California, which included the only functional O.T.O. Body at the time. Crowley additionally appointed McMurtry his personal representative in the U.S.A., whose authority was to be considered as Crowley's own. These two charters, dated respectively March 22, 1946 and April 11, 1946, were subject only to Karl Germer's approval, veto or revision. Germer was well informed of McMurtry's charters from Crowley, as he had attended the Agape Lodge meeting at which McMurtry had presented them. In addition, in a letter to Germer dated June 19, 1946, Crowley informed Germer that "The only limitation on his [McMurtry's] power in California is that any decision which he takes is subject to revision or veto by yourself," thus removing the requirement for prior approval by Germer.

On June 6, 1947, Crowley wrote to Germer:

You seem in doubt too about the succession. There has never been any question about this. Since your re-appearance you are the only successor of whom I have ever thought since that moment. I have, however, had the idea that in view of the dispersion of so many members, you might find it useful to appoint a triumvirate to work under you. My idea was Mellinger, McMurtry, and, I suppose, Roy [Leffingwell], though I have always been a little doubtful about the trustworthiness of the last.

On June 17, 1947, six months before his death, Crowley wrote to McMurtry and informed him that while Germer was to be Crowley's successor as Head of O.T.O., McMurtry should hold himself prepared to succeed Germer.

Crowley, while trusting in Karl Germer's ability to govern the Order as his successor, evidently did not trust in Germer's ability to find and designate an appropriate successor for himself. In what appears to have been an additional contingency measure in the event that McMurtry died or became incapacitated, Crowley also advised Mellinger to hold himself ready as a possible successor to Germer, in a letter dated July 15, 1947. However, Mellinger did not receive any assignments of the kind given to McMurtry, and Crowley never used the term "Caliph" in reference to Mellinger.

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