Ordo Templi Orientis - Lawyers, Historians and the 'Caliphate'

Fahrenheit 418 Information

Lawyers and Historians:
The 'Caliphate' versus the Truth?

Grady Louis McMurtry — Ordo Templi Orientis — Caliphate

The American Ordo Templi Orientis, 'Caliphate,' with Grady Louis McMurtry,
1985, in front of a court building.

Writing accurate historical accounts can be challenging, as the truth can differ from what is documented in legal conclusions or court decisions.

The American Ordo Templi Orientis ('Caliphate'), which was founded in 1977, has been involved in various court cases throughout its history. For instance, there have been disputes over control of the organization, publication of controversial material, and ownership of intellectual property.

Regarding Aleister Crowley's copyrights, in 1985, an uninformed American judge ruled in favor of the 'Caliphate', which was founded in 1977, allowing thousands of dollars in Crowley's copyrights to flow into the bank account of this new O.T.O. group. As a result, the 'Caliphate' declared itself the legitimate O.T.O. from 1985 and categorized historical facts into three types:
  1. legally protected historical truths, which are defined by court decisions and can result in legal action against anyone who disputes them;
  2. officially privileged historical truths, which are only accessible to a select few and rely on their interpretations;
  3. and ordinary historical truths, which encompass all other historical facts without the protection of the law or privileged access.

In essence, the victorious 'Caliphate' rewrote history to their benefit.

These categories are not based on methodical academic research of history, but rather serve to reinforce a bureaucratic hierarchy of "truths" established by legal means.


After Karl Germer passed away in 1962, a number of individuals sought to assume sole leadership of Germer's Crowley–O.T.O. According to Germer's will, the ultimate decision rested with his widow and Friedrich Mellinger. Sascha Germer initially favored Brazilian Marcelo Ramos Motta of the F.R.A., but eventually determined that Swiss national H.J. Metzger had been her husband's preferred candidate. Subsequently, the competing claims of Grady Louis McMurty and Motta for leadership of the O.T.O. were resolved through legal proceedings.

Metzger's existence was not mentioned at all by all parties in court. On the one hand, it was a discussion in America; on the other hand, everyone was aware that Metzger was the only valid candidate for leadership of the O.T.O. So why complicate everything?

Court Decisions

1) Maine 1984. To the disadvantage of the 'Caliphate': The court ruling stated that Aleister Crowley had bequeathed the copyrights of his writings to the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) through his Last Will. The court then examined whether the 'Caliphate' could legally succeed the O.T.O. as its successor. However, the court concluded that the 'Caliphate' could not be a legal successor because there was no evidence that the O.T.O. had ever existed as a legal entity during the lifetimes of Crowley or Germer: "There is no evidence that the O.T.O was ever incorporated during the lifetime of either Crowley or Germer.” The court specifically noted that the O.T.O. was never incorporated, which meant that it did not have a “legal status to own property” or possess any rights and assets. Therefore, the 'Caliphate' could only be considered a reestablishment of an order that called itself O.T.O., but not a legal successor of any previous O.T.O. entity. Consequently, there was no legal succession, and the 'Caliphate' did not acquire any rights or fortunes as a successor of an O.T.O.-body.

2) California 1985 to the favour of the 'Caliphate': In contrast to the Maine court ruling, a California court concluded that the 'Caliphate' could legally succeed the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) as its successor. As a result, the 'Caliphate' was able to take over the name, trademarks, and copyrights of the O.T.O. However, this decision was incorrect with regard to the copyrights. Aleister Crowley died bankrupt, and if the copyrights belonged to his estate, they would no longer have been the property of either Crowley or the O.T.O. Instead, with the opening of the bankruptcy proceedings, the Official Receiver would have become the owner of the copyrights. Therefore, the 'Caliphate' would not have acquired the copyrights simply by succeeding the O.T.O. entity.

3) The 'Caliphate' bought all possibly existing copyrights (so far as subsisting) from the Official Receiver in 1991 (= English Crown). In the year 2000, the 'Caliphate' (i.e., one Ordo Templi Orientis) reportedly acquired all copyrights that were still valid (so far as subsisting), for a sum of £3000 in a transaction confirmed by an English court. However, this acquisition of copyrights did not resolve the question of whether the 'Caliphate' was the legitimate successor to the O.T.O. or whether the O.T.O. had ever existed as a legally relevant entity. It is important to note that anyone could have bought the copyrights that were still valid (so far as subsisting), and the acquisition business was crucial to the 'Caliphate's claim. Furthermore, the copyrights (so far as subsisting) were reportedly bought from the official receiver by means of a contract, which does not automatically mean that the 'Caliphate' became the legitimate successor to any previous O.T.O. entity.

The 'Caliphate' maintains that it is the rightful successor to the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) and therefore the owner of the copyrights in question. However, even if another court were to reach a different conclusion than the Los Angeles court, the 'Caliphate' claims to be the owner of the copyrights because it acquired them from the official receiver. It is worth noting that the question of whether the 'Caliphate' is the legitimate successor to the O.T.O. and whether it has the legal right to the copyrights are separate issues that may require different lines of argument and evidence to resolve.

There has been a project to microfilm the so-called Warburg-Collection of Crowleyana in London, the results of which has been published as: "Yorke Collection", microfilm edition New York: Ordo Templi Orientis; London: Warburg Institute, 2002. This collection does not contain the entire unpublished material (coming to 25,000+ pages in total, including some annotated books) in the Gerald Yorke Collection (which was inspired by Ellic Howe), only the portions which are copyrighted (so far as subsisting) by the 'Caliphate’ since winning the lawsuit against Anthony Naylor [see below]. Consequently it chiefly includes material authored by Aleister Crowley.
The public can try to obtain a copy on 35mm microfilm via inter-library loan. WorldCat lists several university libraries in the United States who have copies: Syracuse University, Indiana University, the University of Texas (Ransom Center) and Northwestern University, as well as the University of Amsterdam and the Oskar Schlag Collection at the Zurich Municipal Library.
The costs of filming all that material were paid from the damages awarded to 'Caliphate' as a result of the 1999-2002 copyright suit and the profits from sales of the films over and above the costs of duplication went back to Warburg.

Warburg-Collection of Crowleyana, Aleister Crowley, Warburg Institute, Gerald Yorke, microfilm, microfiche

Kenneth Grant Aossic Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis
Kenneth Grant
John Symonds Aleister Crowley The Great Beast King of the Shadow Realm
John Symonds
Francis King
Francis King
Karl Johannes Germer
Karl Germer

Items of Historical Interest

In 1930, Karl Germer sent a description of the Aleister Crowley LTD. to Fernando Pessoa.
Aleister Crowley: This is the Last Will.
Karl Germer, Louis Wilkinson and Lady Frieda Harris.
National Grandmasters and OHOs of the O.T.O.

Some background information

Lawyers and Historians: The 'Caliphate' versus the Truth? — Introduction.

The Maine Decision 1984   [to the disfavour of the 'Caliphate']      |      The California Decision 1985   [to the favour of the 'Caliphate'].
Purchase of the copyrights on Aleister Crowley from the Official Receiver (OR).
The 1999 Particulars of Claim ['Caliphate'].
Financial Reports 1996-1999 of the 'Caliphate'.
Erraneous opinion on theInternational Copyright Situation. Text by Anthony Naylor before he lost his case against the 'Caliphate' in 2000.
What the 'Caliphate' does not want you to know. Text by Anthony Naylor before he lost his case against the 'Caliphate' in 2000.
Crowley's Probate. Text by Anthony Naylor before he lost his case against the 'Caliphate' in 2000.
'Caliphate' Capers. Text by Anthony Naylor before he lost his case against the 'Caliphate' in 2000. Based upon a draft by James Graeb.
Structure, Constitutions and Money. Partly written by Anthony Naylor before he lost his case against the 'Caliphate' in 2000.
Anonymous: Burning Down The House. 'Caliphate', Argenteum Astrum, James Wasserman, Donald Trump — Written in 2021.
Library of Congress, letter dated September 6, 2000.
2000, July: An analysis of the Bylaws of the 'Caliphate' and its Board of Directors. By James Graeb.
2000, July: Incorporation of O.T.O., Argentum Astrum and E.G.C..
2000: "Caliphate-O.T.O. Win" and the The Writing on the Wall. Text by Anthony Naylor before he lost his case against the 'Caliphate' in 2000.
Court Order of October 2000.
James T. Graeb, co-founder and IX° of the 'Caliphate', a lawyer, calls the 'Caliphate' a "Puppet Show Piece" and files suit vs William Breeze, William Heidrick, Marcus Jungkurth et alii in 2001.
The 2002 Ruling.
The Summary so far.

Ordo Templi Orientis - Trade Mark - Starfire Publishing Limited.

Some Things

Court Case Hermann Joseph Metzger vs Walter Englert in the 1970s.
1991 Opinion of a German prosecuting attorney's office on the body of the 'Caliphate'. Erfahrungsbericht eines O.T.O.-Mitglieds im Zusammenhang mit dem Gerichtsprozess 'Caliphat' gegen Hänssler-Verlag, 1990. Unsuccessfull attempt in Yugoslavia.
Censorship in the UK.
The 'Caliphate' Book Patrol: Fahrenheit 418.
Paul Joseph Rovelli versus the 'Caliphate', New York January 2000.
1998, July 17 - 2000 October Austrian situation on Copyrights     [German and English].
Trademark O.T.O.. By Leslie Anne Childress.
2007 'Caliphat' Kasino in Deutschland. English translation: 2007 'Caliphate' Casino. 2008: Honesty is the best Policy: 'Caliphate' O.T.O. / William Breeze lost in a legal case. Deutsche Version: Ehrlich währt am Längsten: Warum der O.T.O. gegen P.R. Koenig verlor.

Other Background

The 'Caliphate'.
Discussion about the instrument of succession. An introduction to the background, followed by a transcript of this discussion.
Minutes of the 11 IX°s 'Caliphate' election in 1985 where it was clearly said that the 'Caliph' is not the juro OHO.
Playgame of an O.T.O.-Fatamorgana — Statistics, Censorship, Name Dropping. 2011. Gaps in the Script of Esotericism: Hypocrisy and Hypercrisis – Oscar Wilde: Ambition is the last resort of failure.
Fetish, Self-Induction, Stigma and Rôleplay. 2011.

More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz

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