An urban legend has cropped up that infamous occultist Aleister Crowley is depicted on the cover of Michael Jacksons album Dangerous (he's allegedly the Old Man on the bottom right):
Is this true? Did Michael Jackson, much like The Beatles before him, include an image of Crowley on his album cover?
P.T. Barnum and the "Old Man" on the Dangerous album cover
I'm all up for sinister conspiracy theories, but it seems far more likely that the image is that of P.T. Barnum. The reasons are as follows:
- Michael Jackson idolized P.T. Barnum and his sense of spectacle.
- The album cover has a circus theme.
- Tom Thumb is standing on the old man's head. Tom Thumb worked with P.T. Barnum
- The image of the old man looks more like Barnum than Crowley, though I will admit the hair resembles more the latter.
The mysterious Old Man with Tom Thumb on his head
That said, there is more than enough occult imagery on the Dangerous album cover to keep conspiratologists buzzing, such as the Masonic pillars, the nude girl standing on the hand holding an animal skull, MJ's all-seeing eye, and the (brrr) clowns.
The Dangerous album cover was painted by Mark Ryden, by the way. no stranger to incorporating outré & occult symbols in his work.
* "Meaning of the Michael Jackson's Dangerous Album"
* "The Illuminati (NWO) Killed Michael Jackson"
* "Dangerous Cover" at The Michael Jackson Code
* "A Cultural Autopsy of Michael Jackson"