On 3 July, 1915, at 4:23 a.m., the dark magician Aleister Crowley and nine of his followers – including his current Scarlet Woman, Leila Waddell – disembarked from their hired boat and set foot on Liberty Island, which in those days was known as Bedloe’s Island. There, beneath the towering figure of Lady Liberty, the group raised the Irish flag and Leila played “The Wearing of the Green” on her violin. Crowley pulled an envelope out of his pocket, which was purported to contain his British passport. He then proceeded to tear this to shreds, before tossing the pieces into the Hudson River. Following this, Crowley read from a pastiche of the American Declaration of Independence, that he had written specially for the occasion. Having made, he believed, his point, Crowley gathered his acolytes, and they returned to Manhattan, where they enjoyed a huge celebration breakfast. At the time Crowley was writing anti-British articles for a pro-German magazine, The Fatherland. Crowley later claimed that his German propaganda writings were really aimed at undermining the Kaiser’s war effort, by writing such ridiculous and absurd material that no one would take it seriously. He also claimed that at the time he was working undercover for British Intelligence, and also that his aim was to bring America – which was still neutral – into the war. There is little support for any of these claims, and what is more likely is that, as he would be often, the Great Beast was low on cash and took whatever work he could find. That he could pay his bills while cocking a snook at John Bull would have only been a delightful perq of the job.