The Russian audience was only able to get some more or less detailed information on Crowley’s life when very poor translations of the books The Occult by Colin Wilson and The Black Arts by Richard Cavendish were published in 1994. Wilson’s funny stories and really stupid things concerning Crowley became a real treasure for Russian authors whence everyone could generously scoop out everything he took into his head even not giving himself trouble of making reference to the source. (Professor W. F. Ryan “The Great Beast in Russia”)
To get 666, Aleister E. Crowley wrote his name in Hebrew (Alef-Lamed-Heh-Yod-Samekh-Tete-Heh-Resh-Heh-Kaf-Resh-Ayn-Vav-Lamed-Heh-Yod). Meanwhile, he did not throw out “e”, as Tolstoy has proposed.
Turning out the words l’empereur Napoléon into ciphers on this system, it happens that the sum of these numbers equals 666, and Napoleon is thereby seen to be the beast prophesied in the Apocalypse. Moreover, working out in the same way the words quarante-deux, that is, the term for which the beast was permitted to continue, the sum of these numbers again equals 666, from which it is deduced that the terms of Napoleon’s power had come in 1812, when the French Emperor reached his forty-second year. This prophecy made a great impression on Pierre. He frequently asked himself what would put an end to the power of the beast, that is, of Napoleon; and he tried by the same system of turning letters into figures, and reckoning them up to find an answer to this question. He wrote down as an answer, l’empereur Alexandre? La nation russe? He reckoned out the figures, but their sum was far more or less than 666. Once he wrote down his own name “Comte Pierre Bezuhov,” but the sum of the figure was far from being right. He changed the spelling, putting s for z, added “de,” added the article “le,” and still could not obtain the desired result. Then it occurred to him that if the answer sought for were to be found in his name, his nationality ought surely to find a place in it too. He tried Le russe Besuhof, and adding up the figure made the sum 671. This was only five too much; the 5 was denoted by the letter “e,” the letter dropped in the article in the expression l’empereur Napoléon. Dropping the “e” in a similar way, though of course incorrectly, Pierre obtained the answer he sought in L’russe Besuhof, the letters of which on that system added up to 666. This discovery greatly excited him. How, by what connection, he was associated with the great event, foretold in the Apocalypse, he could not tell. But he did not for a moment doubt of that connection. His love for Natasha, Antichrist, Napoleon’s invasion, the comet, the number 666, l’empereur Napoléon, and l’russe Besuhof—all he thought were to develop, and come to some crisis together to extricate him from that spellbound, trivial round of Moscow habits, to which he felt himself in bondage, and to lead him to some great achievement and great happiness.
In a recent paper, Witztum, Rips and Rosenberg found a surprising correlation between famous rabbis and their dates of birth and death, as they appear as equidistant letter sequences in the Book of Genesis. We make a smaller or equal number of mistakes, and find the same phenomenon in Tolstoy’s eternal creation “War and Peace”.