- Travel and Places
Boleskine House at Loch Ness
Loch Ness and the Beast of Boleskine
Deep in the Scottish Highlands lies Loch Ness, famous for the Loch Ness Monster, attracting over a million visitors a year; all hoping to catch a glimpse of the prehistoric beast. Just yards from the edge of the loch however lies a far more sinister place, the notorious Boleskine House, once the home of Aliester Crowley, occultist and geomancer and more recently Jimmy Page of the legendary band Led Zeppelin. Boleskine House has many sinister tales to tell, as dark as the murky depths of Loch Ness itself.
The Sinister House of Boleskine
Boleskine Burial Ground
Boleskine House, or as it was originally named Boleskine Lodge was built as a hunting lodge in the late 18th Century by the Honorable Archibald Fraser. The land was originally owned by the church, and local legend has it that the lodge was built on the sight of a former church which was destroyed by fire; the flames taking hold so quickly during a service that the entire congregation perished in the blaze. Church archives also tell us that shortly afterwards a local wizard was caught performing black arts to conjure up the souls of the dead in Boleskine Graveyard. The minister of the time, a Reverend Thomas Houston had to banish the wizard and lay the souls to rest.
The Frasers sold Boleskine House to Aliester Crowley in 1899, Crowley would be called the beast of Boleskine and dubbed the most evil man in the world.
Dark Secrets of Loch Ness
Crowley was born in 1875 to a wealthy brewing family in Warwickshire, England, his father was a member of the religious brethren, but died when Crowley was 11 years old.
As a young man Crowley studied philosophy and literature at Cambridge University, he was a gifted painter and writer, an adventurous Alpine climber, and an man with deep spiritual interests.
He moved to Switzerland where he joined the Hermetic order of the Golden Dawn, a magical order which underpinned much of modern western occultism. Crowley set up an allegiance with the leader of the Sect, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers. While studying there he became interested in The Book of Abramelin which reveals ancient Egyptian and Kabbalistic secrets. Crowley felt that the rituals described in this book were very significant.
Crowley decided to carry out a complicated magical ritual described in the ancient text which would take many months to perform. By now Crowley was back living in London, but the requirements of this ritual meant it would be difficult to perform in a busy city. He needed complete isolation, away from crowds, visitors and interruptions. The ritual also required a building with a South facing door and an outside terrace to lay a bed of fine river sand.
Crowley found the perfect place at Boleskine house, purchased the property, and set about his endeavors. Calling himself the Laird of Boleskine, he attempted to perform the sacred ritual of Abramelin the Mage, which would summon dark spirits and force them to do his beckoning. He believed this would allow him direct contact with his guardian angel, Lucifer, the bringer of light. Locals called him the Beast of Boleskine.
The work was painstaking and complicated, summoning the powers of darkness and harnessing them with his will. The terrace covered with river sand was a place where the forces were summoned and footprints in the sand would be evidence of their manifestation. Crowley documents his work: on one occasion whilst he was mid ritual he was irritated and disturbed by the local butcher calling to take his weekly meat order.
In his haste Crowley scribbled his meat order on the back of a piece of paper on which was written a spell. Later, back at the butcher's shop while preparing Crowley's order the butcher accidentally severed several fingers off with a meat cleaver.
Crowley felt he was making significant progress over the months; witnessing dark spirits being invoked and witnessing the manifestations of the of the demons rising. However his work was cut short as he was summoned to Paris by McGregor Mathers, Head of the golden Dawn, who was in some crisis and needed Crowley’s help urgently. Crowley had no option but to interrupt his work and attend to business in Paris.
Some say this was a huge mistake. The ritual was left unfinished, Crowley never did return, finding business in Egypt and further afield.
The spirits were invoked at the house, and never banished, they were left unleashed.
It was around this time that many sightings of the Loch Ness monster increased, villagers sure that the beast was a supernatural manifestation of the demons that had been invoked at the house.
Strange happenings began in the surrounding areas too, and locals believed that Crowley had opened a portal at the house and took long detours to avoid walking past it.
Jimmy page and the later Years
In the years that followed, Boleskine House changed hands many times, many of the owners stayed little time, and those that did, suffered hardship and personal grief. A retired army major, Edward Grant, committed suicide in the room that Crowley used for his rituals, shooting himself in the head with a shotgun.
Jimmy Page from the band Led Zeppelin bought Boleskine House in the 1970s. Page had a deep interest in Crowley and the house, and inspired the song "Stairway to Heaven". Page felt that Crowley was a misunderstood genius, and talks of the ghostly happenings at Boleskine. Shortly after the purchase Jimmy Page’s son and John Bonham, drummer with Led Zeppelin both died. Page hired a friend to care take the house, Malcolm Dent, who also experience dark forces, including a rolling head, and savage beasts snuffling under doors during the night.
Page eventually sold Boleskine in 1991 and the house is under private ownership. The new owners shun publicity and visitors are not welcome.
The question remains as to whether the grisly past of Boleskine house can ever be erased.