David Bowie is cool. He wrote a lot of cool songs, hung out with cool people like John Lennon, and acted in a bunch of movies. Being a rockstar who made it in the 70s had its perks, I guess. And one of those perks is being able to afford a home that has its own indoor swimming pool. Another one of those perks is all the cocaine. The rocker was known for his recreational activities. But there was one last thing he was a little less known for, at least at the time. I’m talking about David Bowie’s obsession with the occult. All of these things tie together, trust me.
David Bowie’s Obsession with the Occult
If you know anything about occultism you may know that much of its popularity is due to a man named Aleister Crowley. David Bowie was a huge fan of Crowley’s work. In particular his membership with the 19th century organization the Golden Dawn. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, actually.
You could say that the Golden Dawn was the first organization dedicated to magick in the modern age, with its spiritual development, tarot divination, alchemy, astral travel, and other beliefs becoming centerpieces in occult study, as well as Wicca and Thelema, the religion developed by Aleister Crowley.
Bowie was fascinated by this sort of thing. There was a book he would keep on his coffee table titled “Psychic Self Defense”, which the author promised would help deter malevolent paranormal forces. While much of his occult study is shrouded in mystery, we know that he had an affinity for books on white magic over black magic.
White magic is the use of spiritual energy and ritual for selfless purposes, as opposed to the selfish black magic. So, classic Jedi/Sith, Gryffindor/Slytherin, Good Stuff/Bad Stuff dichotomy. Bowie was intent on using magic for good.
Two Kinds of White Magic
The other kind of white magic was also Bowie’s friend: cocaine. In the mid 70s he was hopped up practically all the time. It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to be up in the middle of the night doing lines and reading about the classical elements and sacred geometry.
Do a line, read a book, close the cover, do a line, read a book, close the cover. David Bowie had the rockstar life down. That was until he and his then-wife Angie Bowie moved to 637 North Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, California. It was rather small for a rockstar’s home. It wasn’t their first choice. Their first choice was a six acre plot of land with a chic Art Deco style home.
Bowie made a fuss because he noticed that there was a circular room in the home that had a hexagram painted on the floor. So they settled on North Doheny Drive. One of the features was the indoor swimming pool, which his wife had anticipated would be a problem. Little did she know it wouldn’t have a thing to do with the plumbing.
Plumbing Wasn’t David Bowie’s Only Problem
Plumbing would have been a breeze compared to what actually happened. Bowie started feeling a bit strange about the pool. He was starting to tell his wife, but she thought he was just Bowie being Bowie. An eccentric musician is all, it couldn’t possibly be true.
It couldn’t be true that Satan himself was living in, or had at least temporarily taken occupancy of their indoor swimming pool. But that is exactly what David Bowie insisted was true. He told his wife that one night he actually saw Satan rise out of the pool, suspended in the air, right before his very eyes.
This was not cool. I mean, it’s not cool to have Satan in your swimming pool, that’s a given, but imagine your husband is waking you up at night saying “Honey, I think I saw Satan in the pool again”, I don’t think you’d be very thankful. You’d want him to shut up and get back to bed. But he can’t.
Demonic Pool of David Bowie
Do a line, read a book, close the cover, do a line, see Satan rising out of your pool…
Eventually, David Bowie needed to do something about it. And what do you do when you need to get rid of a demon? You get an exorcist. His wife did some poking around, trying to find an exorcist, as you do, and discovered that the local Greek Orthodox Church had someone who would be willing to do it. That didn’t happen, though because David Bowie made this a strict no-strangers-involved rule.
He contacted his friend, Walli Elmlark. Elmlark was relatively well-known throughout the scene at the time as a sort of spiritual guru. It’s said that she had personally performed a ritual on Bowie when he was in the middle of a particularly dark part of his life. She was his white witch. Unfortunately, she could not be there personally, but gave Bowie instructions on what to do.
A Different David Bowie Performance
One night, Bowie, with his wife watching, performed an exorcism with only the transcribed instructions of a rock-and-roll witch and a smattering of occult artifacts from Bowie’s personal collection propped up on an old-fashioned lecturn.
His wife said, “I had no idea what was being said or what language it was being said in, I couldn’t stop a weird cold feeling rising up in me as David droned on and on,’ and as the exorcism pressed on she said something happened: “There’s no easy or elegant way to say this, so I’ll just say it straight.
At a certain point in the ritual, the pool began to bubble. It bubbled vigorously (perhaps “thrashed” is a better term) in a manner inconsistent with any explanation involving air filters or the like.”
Shortly thereafter, after Bowie’s insistence, the couple moved out of the home. His wife, Angie, has gone on to say that there’s nothing that can explain what she saw that night, and that she never shared her husband’s affinity with ritual magick. But she saw it, and it seems that Bowie never spoke of it again.