Adventures with Crowley

Why did the Beatles make so many references within their work to include famous doubles and doppelgangers? Next in the “Doubles and Doppelgangers” series we have some interesting historical information about one of Aleister Crowley’s ancestors.


While researching some of the family lineage of Aleister Crowley, I came upon this interesting story about an ancestor on his maternal side:


“During the latter part of the 14th century a certain Henry George de Curteys, found himself in a very uncomfortable position at the Bohemian Court. The King of Bohemia, Wencelas IV, every now and then, suffered from mental breakdowns and while he was indisposed he could not attend any court functions or deal with any business matters. And at such times Henry George de Curteys, who was in the English Embassy, and who looked exactly like the King and even spoke like him, took his place.

There came an occasion when the King was taken ill for a longer period then usual and his country was in very precarious position. A regency was formed and a substitute had to be found to attend the country’s needs. War suddenly broke out with the Duke of Burgundy and the King’s ministers persuaded Henry de Curteys to take over the throne for the timing being at least. This he agreed to do and he ruled Bohemia for two years. As soon as the King recovered de Curteys was rewarded with a large sum of money and permission to bear the crown of Bohemia on his coat of arms.”…/crowley/mary-history/aleister/

King Wencelas IV of Bohemia
De Curtis Family Crest

“While he was acting for the King, the King’s mistress, to say the least of it, expecting some attention from her lover and receiving only a cold shoulder, attempted the kill de Curteys. Standing behind his chair of state, and with a little dagger in her hand, she tried to stab him, but the cuff of her long sleeve caught the arm of the chair, thus impending her thrust.

If one looks carefully at the Curtis crest it is possible to decipher the cuff and the small golden- handled dagger: obviously a lady’s weapon.
For any one who has read Anthony Hope’s Prisoner of Zenda it would appear that he had taken the basic theme of his wonderful story from some such event which took place somewhere in Central Europe.”

Anthony Hope’s Prisoner of Zenda is described as follows by Wikipedia:

On the eve of the coronation of King Rudolf of Ruritania, his brother, Prince Michael, has him drugged. In a desperate attempt to deny Michael the excuse to claim the throne, Colonel Sapt and Fritz von Tarlenheim, attendants of the King, persuade his distant cousin Rudolf Rassendyll, an English visitor, to impersonate the King at the coronation.

The unconscious king is abducted and imprisoned in a castle in the small town of Zenda. There are complications, plots, and counter-plots, among them the schemes of Michael’s mistress, Antoinette de Mauban, and those of his dashing but villainous henchman Count Rupert of Hentzau.

Rassendyll falls in love with Princess Flavia, the King’s betrothed, but cannot tell her the truth. He determines to rescue the king and leads an attempt to enter the castle of Zenda. The King is rescued and is restored to his throne, but the lovers, in duty bound, must part.


So basically here- we are seeing the effect of a relative of Crowley- serving as a look-alike (body double) for the Bohemian Monarchy? Really?

And a book inspired by the story that premises on the fact that the “double” replacement for the king is none other than a “distant cousin” from England??

So many doubles- so little time.

Continuing on-

King Wenceslaus IV had a very interesting Nickname as well.  Wenceslas; Czech: Václav; German: Wenzel, nicknamed der Faule (“the Idle”).

Ancestor of Crowley impersonating a Faul(e)?  Oh that is all too much.

To be continued…..


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