Abbey of Thelema, Cefalu, Sicily, Italy
One-story house with tiled roof; abbey is rather an ironic epithet than an exact description. This house was a place for satanic rituals and debaucheries. The main hall where the rites were held was called Sanctum Sanctorum. In the middle of the room a big circle with a pentagram was outlined. In the center there was an altar with an edition of "The Book of the Law" (Philosophy of Thelema, author Aleister Crowley) and other satanic accessories.
The founder of the abbey was the famous occultist Aleister Crowley (born Edward Alexander Crowley) who claimed himself the modern Messiah who was to protect the world from the darkness spread by Christianity. He revived the tradition of using drugs for bewitching purposes. During the initiation rite the newcomers had to use heroin and marijuana, and spend the night in the "Horror Room" decorated with frescoes of heaven, hell and the earth. After Crowley's disciple Raoul Loveday death in the abbey (presumably he drank cat's blood), his wife Betty May started a real "campaign" against Crowley. In the end the abbey was closed, and Crowley left Italy and started wandering around the world - Germany, France, North America. He died in 1947 in England from heroin overdose.
Crowley is famous also for two facts: Marilyn Manson was among his followers, and he has appeared on the cover of the Beatle's album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club". In 1945 avant-garde director Kenneth Anger shot a film about the abbey but it wasn't accepted by the critics.
By Sona Gasparian, www.building.am
Photos by: www.atlasobscura.com