The first words that come to mind when considering Esopus Island are isolation, beauty, and sorcery. The uninhabited island is in the middle of the Hudson River in Upstate New York. The nearest prominent town is Hyde Park, and the nearest attraction is the Vanderbilt Mansion. The proximity to immense American wealth is a potential clue to the mystery of Esopus Island, especially because past residents of the island included esoteric figures such as Aleister Crowley.


A History Of Esopus Island

The name of the island means "small river" and likely came from the indigenous tribe that originally inhabited the shores of the Hudson. The Lenape Indians may have used the island for religious ceremonies. On the eastern shore of Esopus Island, there is a manmade stone structure that resembles a megalith. What's more, it is said that a Jesuit missionary was murdered on the island. This would make sense if Esopus was considered to be some sort of spiritually significant landmass.

In the past, the unique shape of Esopus Island has been compared to a stranded and petrified whale. Just south of the island is Bolles Island, a private residence belonging to an anonymous member of the elite. This is typical of the area, as elites from all over the United States and the world have a preference for purchasing highly secluded mansions in Upstate New York.

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Occultism On Esopus Island

In 1918, Aleister Crowley, also known as "The wickedest man in the world", infamously spent 40 days and 40 nights on Esopus Island. His choice of spending 40 days on the island was directly inspired by the Bible, which states that Jesus Christ spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting in the desert and resisting temptation from Satan. At the end of the ordeal, Jesus was tended to by angels. The period of fasting in the desert acted as an initiation into sainthood.

Crowley, provocative and misunderstood as he was, claimed that he too would partake in this initiation ritual. The stunt raised a lot of eyebrows but also garnered plenty of attention and support. Esopus Island, which he spelled "Oesopus", is notoriously barren and rocky, which begged the question of how Crowley would survive for 40 days?

He claimed, displaying unwavering faith in the esoteric, that ravens would feed him. To occupy his mind, the self-proclaimed prophet translated the Tao Te Ching, a classic Chinese text that was written sometime before 400 BC. When not engaged in pioneering academic work, Crowley spent his time meditating, praying, and conducting rituals. After consuming many things that would today be frowned upon, he painted mantras and pictograms on the rocks of Esopus Island.

Interestingly, and in line with the native traditions of ancestor worship and reincarnation, Crowley claimed to have experienced past life regressions while on Esopus Island. According to his visions, Crowley is an incarnation of notable historical figures like Ge Xuan, Pope Alexander VI, Alessandro Cagliostro, and Eliphas Levi. For those unfamiliar, these are all individuals associated with religion, spiritualism, alchemy, and magick.

So, what is it about the island that impelled indigenous tribes to conduct spiritual ceremonies on it, and why did Crowley, who claimed to have regularly communed with supernatural entities, choose Esopus Island as the setting for his Biblical ritual? It's almost as if the island has the right frequency of hidden vibrations that make it a conducive environment for breaking down dimensional barriers.

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Upstate New York is no stranger to this kind of magick. Of course, the indigenous tribes have always had their rituals, but even after European settlement, highly deviant individuals like Aleister Crowley, Anton S. Lavey, and L. Ron Hubbard used the vastness of upstate NY, which is highly conducive to privacy, to explore the farthest reaches of free will.

Before being incorporated into the New York State parks system, Esopus Island was off-limits to the public. Only elites like the Vanderbilts et al. could access the island with their private boats. There are unfounded and unsourceable rumors suggesting that members of the elite, including politicians, celebrities, and oligarchs, use their proximity and access to Esopus Island to conduct highly secretive occult ceremonies.

How To Visit Esopus Island

All that aside, it is theoretically possible for members of the public to camp on Esopus Island. However, it can be difficult or even impossible to get there, as prospective visitors will need to have their own boat, camping resources, and spiritual protection kits.

While the pilgrimage may sound like a hassle, supernaturally-inclined individuals may very well achieve a spiritual breakthrough or two while camping on Esopus Island.

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