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Ruins of Aleister Crowley’s Cursed House on Loch Ness for Sale

You can buy the ruins of Boleskine House, where “the wickedest man in the world” carried out black magic rituals for years.

Aleister Crowley's Boleskine House is for sale
The ruins of Boleskine House. Photo by Mark Wallbank

The BBC reports that Boleskine House, former home of occultist Aleister Crowley, and later owned by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, is for sale. After a fire tore through the manor in 2015, though, there isn’t much left.

“The selling agent Galbraiths said echoes of its former splendour are all that remain of Boleskine House,” the BBC article says, “but added that there is an opportunity to restore it into an outstanding property.”

Aleister Crowley purchased Boleskine for the purpose of conducting a ritual that required very specific architecture. “The first essential is a house in a more or less secluded situation,” Crowley explained. “There should be a door opening to the north from the room of which you make your oratory. Outside this door, you construct a terrace covered with fine river sand. This ends in a ‘lodge’ where the spirits may congregate.”

Boleskine was the perfect location.

“The demons and evil forces had congregated round me so thickly that they were shutting off the light,” Crowley wrote of his experiments there. “It was a comforting situation. There could be no more doubt of the efficiency of the operation.”

Some believe those evil forces still linger.

Aleister Crowley in ceremonial dress
Aleister Crowley in ceremonial dress

“At Boleskine, Crowley was said to have summoned 115 spirits, including Lucifer,” the BBC wrote in an article about a film crew who experienced unexplained phenomena there while filming a documentary about Crowley. “The occultist also embarked on a complicated, six-month ‘power-giving’ black magic ceremony called Abra Melin. But he was interrupted in the middle of the ritual by his grand master, the head of the Golden Dawn, who called him to Paris. It is claimed Crowley didn’t have time to banish the spirits he brought to Boleskine.”

“The Rites of Abramelin the Mage require prior months of preparation, celibacy and abstinence from alcohol and include, among much else, ‘the summoning of the 12 Kings and Dukes of Hell,’ the Scottish Daily Mail wrote. “Crowley’s subsequent orgiastic ceremonies and ‘sacraments’ are too disgusting to detail in a family newspaper. But, fatefully, he was interrupted. Amidst all his chanting, sodomy and the sacrifice of terrified cats and goats, the sorcerer was called away to Paris – and Boleskine folk believe he never got round to banishing the dreadful forces he had summoned to the house.”

While Crowley’s activities certainly didn’t help, Boleskine already had a bizarre reputation long before the “Great Beast” conducted his rituals there.

The Boleskine Kirk once stood on the shady shore of Scotland’s Loch Ness where the manor is now. If the land is cursed, it may have begun with the church.

According to historical writings, an early minister of the parish had to fend off a pesky wizard who was reanimating the dead.

Boleskine cemetery overlooking Loch Ness
Boleskine cemetery overlooking Loch Ness

In An Account of the Kirk of Boleskine, Alan Dawson wrote that “Thomas Houston (1648 -1705)
was noted as having to contend with a notorious wizard – AN CRUINAIR FRISEAL (the Fraser Crowner or maker of circles, as wizards do) who had raised the bodies in the churchyard and Thomas had to make haste to lay them to rest again.”

Sometime later the church is said to have burned to the ground during a sermon, killing everyone inside.

When a bishop visited the old kirk in 1762, he wrote that it was “the poorest edifice of any kind I ever
looked upon as is also the Manse. The Church-yard is quite open without any walls where you see plenty of human bones above ground and the Floor of the Kirk is overspread with them…..Dogs are seen carrying away the human bones in their teeth.

Soon after, Colonel Archibald Fraser built Boleskine House on the charred remains of the church.

“Colonel Fraser was a firm Jacobite,” The Scottish Daily Mail wrote, “but all the land surrounding his pocket had belonged to Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat, who flip-flopped once too often on the Stuart cause and (after the failure of the ’45) was the last person in Britain to be executed by beheading. Boleskine House, then, was the equivalent of two jabbed fingers at the lake Lovat.”

The house remained in the Fraser family until 1899 when they sold it to then 23-year-old Aleister Crowley. Several tragedies took place during his time there.

“The black magician also took pleasure in the suffering that his sinister practices apparently brought to local villagers,” The Guardian wrote when a piece of the land was put up for sale in 2009. “He bragged about how an employee of the Boleskine estate got drunk one night – after 20 years of abstinence – and attempted to kill his wife and children. The family of Crowley’s lodge keeper, Hugh Gillies, also suffered a series of tragedies. First his 10-year-old daughter died suddenly at her school desk and a year later his 15-month-old son died of convulsions on his mother’s knee.”

Crowley sold Boleskine House in 1913.

Boleskine House in 1912
Boleskine House in 1912

In 1960, then owner Major Edward Grant killed himself with a shotgun in Crowley’s former bedroom. The housekeeper, 78-year-old Anna MacLaren, had a premonition of the suicide. She had been alone picking vegetables in the garden when she heard a gunshot from the house. She went into the house, but there was no one there. Seven days later, though, at about the same time of day, she found her boss dead.

“I went in and found him with most of his head blown off,” she recalled. “The family dog was playing with a bone. Police told me later the bone was part of the major’s skull.”

A young couple later moved in. The wife was blind, and within a few months her husband abandoned her there.

Filmmaker Kenneth Anger spent the summer of 1969 in the house. During that time he witnessed a heavy painting float off the wall and come to rest on the floor.

Jimmy Page bought the house the following year.

Jimmy Page at Boleskine House in 1973
Jimmy Page at Boleskine House in 1973

In a January 1975 Rolling Stone interview, the interviewer said, “You live in Aleister Crowley’s home. Crowley was a poet and magician at the turn of the century and was notorious for his black magic rites.”

Page was fascinated by Crowley, but he was interested in the house for the rest of its history, as well.

“Strange things have happened in that house that had nothing to do with Crowley,” Page responded in the interview. “The bad vibes were already there.”

Page, who spent no more than 6 weeks at Boleskine in the 20 years he owned it, asked his childhood friend Malcolm Dent to move in and restore it.

“Jimmy Page caught me at a time in my life when I wasn’t doing a great deal and asked me to come up and run the place,” Dent told the Inverness Courier in 2006. “I never did establish why he fixed on me.”

Dent lived at Boleskine for a long time and raised his family there.

“All the main rooms look out across the loch and you’re 300 feet up so you have some dramatic views,” he said. “We loved living there. It was a great house to raise children in and they loved it there, in spite of its history and in spite of the peculiar happenings that went on there.”

Dent knew nothing of Boleskine’s history or Crowley when he moved in.

“I arrived a total skeptic, to a degree I still am, but there are things at the house you can’t explain,” he said.

Mortuary house in the Boleskine cemetery
Mortuary house in the Boleskine cemetery

“A girl who stayed for the night awoke screaming that she had been attacked ‘by some kind of devil,’” the Scottish Daily Mail writes. “Another night, Dent was roused by what sounded like a wild animal clawing and snorting by his bedroom door: he dared not open it till daybreak. There was nothing there, ‘but whatever was there was pure evil.’”

Doors would suddenly spring open as if someone was running through them, and slam in the middle of the night, and rugs would be found piled up the following morning.

“We just used to say that was Aleister doing his thing,” Dent said.

“One of the most famous stories is that the head of Simon Lord Lovat, beheaded for treason following the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, can be heard rolling around the floor at Boleskine,” the Inverness Courier wrote, “even though the house dates only from the 1760s.”

“At the time of his death, he was supposedly casting his mind back to the heart of the Highlands,” Dent explained. “Just above us is Errogie, which is the geographical centre of the Highlands, and the nearest consecrated ground is Boleskine.”

Another story that Dent says everyone loves involves seven chairs Page bought from the Cafe Royal in London.

“Jimmy got those chairs specifically because one of them had Aleister Crowley’s name on it,” Dent said. “Each of the chairs belonged to a famous person and had a nameplate on the back and front – Marie Lloyd, Billy Butlin, James Agate, Ruldolph Valentino, William Orpen and Jacob Epstein.”

Dent says Crowley’s chair was always placed at the head of the table. But, after the chairs underwent repairs, they kept finding Crowley’s chair switched with Marie Lloyd’s.

“The kids couldn’t have done it and we didn’t know why this was happening,” Dent said. “Then I realized the guy who did the repairs didn’t know which plaque went with which chair and hadn’t put them back on the right ones.”

But, according to Dent, the strangest thing about the house may have been its visitors.

“I had them from every corner of the world,” he said. “A lot of them were nutters. A lot of them were downright dangerous lunatics. They will still be turning up today. The house is on the map as an occult centre and you’re not going to get rid of Crowley’s legacy that easily.”

Jimmy Page sold Boleskine to Ronald and Annette MacGillivray in 1992. The couple turned it into a guest house. They despised any mention of Crowley, and insisted nothing unusual ever happened there. Locals say the MacGillivrays tried to erase Crowley’s presence, whitewashing the interior and covering the stone floor with carpet to hide the magical symbols painted there. Their efforts failed several times, villagers claimed, alleging the symbols would reappear as the paint dried.

While filming a 2000 BBC documentary called The Other Loch Ness Monster, a priest and minister blessed the project, and clerics were called in to keep the crew safe…just in case. Still, they experienced their share of unexplained happenings.

“The film crew working on the BBC documentary were attacked by a plague of beetles, suffered repeated equipment failures and experienced strangely similar nightmares about Crowley,” the Sunday Mail wrote.

Photos taken at the graveyard just down the hill (where a rumored tunnel from the house was said to lead) were ruined by “a strange circular halo of fog” according to producer Garry Grant. “It wasn’t lens flare or a fault in the camera,” he said. “I’d never seen anything like it before.”

In another incident, lights exploded, fuses burned out and camera stands fell over during a late-night shoot in the graveyard, showering the crew in glass. One crew member’s phone kept ringing intermittently, while another’s alarm clock would go off at the same time every day.

The MacGillivrays sold Boleskine in 2002 to new Dutch owners who used it as a vacation home. They were not there on December 23, 2015 when a fire scorched Boleskine, leaving nothing but the external walls by the time firefighters arrived. They determined the fire began in the kitchen, but the cause was never identified.

Ruins of Boleskine House

Today, the burned out ruins are all that remain of Boleskine House. The shell of Aleister Crowley’s unholy home and nearly 23 acres of cursed land on Loch Ness can be yours for £510,000.

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The Dreaded House of Boleskine

Near Loch Ness stands the dreaded Boleskine House of infamous Occultists and Rock Stars alike. Within lies a harrowing history of demonic madness.

One thing is for sure. The old country is a spooky place. Something that will always separate Europe from America is the difference of having thousands of years of relatively well-known and documented history.

Not all of it may sit well with the faint of heart either. Through bloodshed and misery the castles and streets have become havens for ghostly apparitions of the restless undead.

However, it is the mystery of the countryside, especially the cryptic and beautifully bleak countryside of Great Britain that can share histories of unparalleled horror. With its old names and enigmatic backgrounds these haunts are breeding places for untold terrors.

The southern bank of Loch Ness in Scotland is no different. In fact, it has a tale to fill the stoutest heart with ice that is less than one hundred years old.

The House of Demons and Sorcery

It is like any other Scottish country mansion. Beautiful and old, a mysteriously majestic quality the same of which cannot truly be found anywhere else in the world. Yet inside the salmon stucco walls of Boleskine House a horrible secret is kept.

For starters across the courtyard on the other side of a rural road rests a graveyard that is over a century old. It was built in the late nineteenth century by a man named Archibald Fraser. Its neighbor, macabre resting place, predates the house by decades. This is because before there was a house at Boleskine there was an old church. One that burnt to the ground– with everyone inside it.

Not a happy place to put up a lot. Rumor has it that a tunnel was built to connect the graveyard to the house, but that is only the beginning of the tragedies that would soon fill this place with dread.

In 1899, the house was acquired by the infamous magician Aleistor Crowley for a very specific purpose. It was Crowley’s intention to use the house’s remote location to summon the hordes of demonic spirits as listed in the grimoire The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage.

This sort of hocus pocus may sound like nothing more than a standard game of Dungeons and Dragons, but Crowley was more than deadly serious. To quote him:

“The first essential is a house in a more or less secluded situation. There should be a door opening to the North from the room of which you make your oratory. Outside this door, you construct a terrace covered in fine river sand. This ends in a ‘lodge’ where the spirits may congregate.”

With the proper house obtained Crowley set about the task of completing a complex six-month ritual that would end in disaster.

Aleister Crowley

Throughout his life, Crowley mentions a continuous personal goal to make contact with his holy guardian angel. To do this he would first have to summon the forces of darkness. Strange occurrences began happening in the area, hushed whispers of it being bad luck to go near the house began to circulate. The terrified locals stayed as far away from Crowley and his house as they could. Some even stated that the impression of the cloven goat hoofs of Lucifer himself could be seen on Crowley’s river sand terrace. A couple people even went mad.

Then it happened. The crumbling leadership of the Occult order of the Golden Dawn requested the help of Crowley to bring stability to their lodge. Despite his qualms of what was surely going to happen, Crowley left Boleskine house with the ritual unfinished.

By the time he would return a canopy of perpetually dark clouds hung over the house. The man Crowley had left in charge of the house had fled and no one in the local village dared come within sight. Crowley himself soon fled too.

Madness at the Lake of Loch Ness

It has been pointed out by a few that the early sightings of the fabled Loch Ness Monster ironically coincide with the fleeing of Crowley from the house. Yet what would happen inside the house near its southern bank in the subsequent years to come would, shall it be said, blow the odd little creature out of the water.

It is recorded knowledge that most who took up residence at Boleskine either went insane or left quickly. Like the house in Amityville, there were many who could only take the oppressive and frightening strangeness for a month.

A young man left his blind wife calling out and groping through the halls as he wandered out into the hills. A military officer with no determined history of mental illness committed suicide.

The bad vibes and bad luck of the place would continue until it came into the hands of the perfect owner. The guitar god and life long Occult practitioner, Jimmy Page of the band Led Zepellin.

The Nightmarish Account of Malcolm Dent

In the early 1970s, Boleskine house came into the possession of Jimmy Page the rock star whose life is quite chronicled. What some don’t know about Page is that he really was and still is into the practice of Crowleyen magick.

Any fan of the music need not look too far to discover that throughout his life Page has spent countless hours and dime in the search of Occult relics primarily having to do with Crowley. Accompanying this hobby, despite his admittance to it, is the absolute silence Page has kept over the years regarding the matter or anything similar in nature.

Though Page admitted to encountering the spirits within Boleskine himself, it is not he who the stories come from. These events were handed down by his childhood friend, Malcolm Dent, who Page made caretaker of the property.

Dent was the perfect choice for the job. He was not to be found in the rock music scene or any scene for that matter. A down to earth man with no vice for substance Jimmy placed him in charge of the grounds while he was away.

While the master of the house was gone Dent spent most of his time trying to ignore the bumps in the night as well as fight off the not-so-peace loving Crowley hippies who would stalk the house grounds.

Did Dent know what he was getting himself into when he first came to the house and found a Pentagram, sword, and ritual room floor covered in river sand? Probably not too the extent that he would soon find out. One night he woke up to the sound of rolling crashes outside in the hall.

A thumping, thudding sound that went back and forth down the hallway. He expected the cats, but later found out he was not the first to hear these sounds. They dated back to a beheading that had taken place there some time ago. The rolling sound was the man’s head scuttling about on the floor.

Another time Dent woke up in the clutches of fear. A thing sat outside his bedroom door. It sniffed and scratched, pulling at the lock. Dent sat upright with his pocketknife and did not venture out of his room until noon the next day.

He later stated that it was the most horrifying experience of his life and that he knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that whatever hunted him that night was pure evil.

Dent would go on to marry and raise a family in Boleskine house till 1991 when Jimmy Page sold the property. This brave soul passed away just last year.

Boleskine House Today

The house still stands and is open for visitation by all. For a while it was a reputable bed and breakfast where according to the new owners nothing out of the ordinary seemed to happen. It is a peaceful place now surrounded by the beautiful Scottish countryside.

Ever so often throughout the years the house does come back on the market. Keep an ear open for its listing.

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Salem Unveils World’s Largest Ouija Board This October

The Talking Board Historical Society will be revealing Ouijazilla this October is Salem, MA.

Ouijazilla the world's largest ouija board to be unveiled in Salem this Halloween

Rick Ormortis Schreck, the Vice President of the Talking Board Historical Society whose family has been dubbed the “real-life Addams Family,” has been hard at work preparing to crush the current world record holder for the world’s largest Ouija board.

The massive board, which has been named Ouijazilla, was constructed out of wood and hand-painted by Schreck in the classic Ouija style.

“So I finally am able to talk about the Top Secret project that I have been working on since last Summer,” Schreck posted on Instagram. “It has been a Hell of a journey and. It ain’t over yet. Stay tuned for sneak peeks at the Monster!”

Ouijazilla will be unveiled in Salem this October. More info here.

World’s Largest Ouija Board

World's largest Ouija board

The Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania currently holds the Guinness World Record for the Ouija board they painted on their roof in 2016 along with the accompanying ten-foot planchette on wheels.

I’m thrilled to see what kind of monster Ouija Schreck has created.

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DNA and Genealogy Tests Reveal the Identity of a 19th Century Vampire

Imagine taking one of those genealogy tests which are so popular these days and finding out you’re a descendant of a vampire. You would undoubtedly deny it (or perhaps be proud of it) and seek to prove your point either way with a DNA test … only to find that your DNA matches up to the vampire. If your name is Barber and you have ancestors in New England, you may want to take notes and wear some extra sunblock at the beach this summer because researchers have identified a man buried as a vampire in 19th century Connecticut.

In 1990, an abandoned cemetery was found in Griswold, Connecticut. Researchers determined it to be the private cemetery of the Walton family, which owned and farmed the land from 1690 into at least the 1800s. The remains of 29 individuals were found – men, women and children – and most showed evidence of lives of hard labor. However, one stone-lined grave caught the attention of Paul S. Sledzik and Nicholas Bellantoni, who were doing research for their paper “Bioarcheological and Biocultural Evidence for the New England Vampire Folk Belief,” which was eventually published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Why?

“Upon opening the grave, the skull and femora were found in a “skull and crossbones” orientation on top of the ribs and vertabrae, which were also found in disarray. On the coffin lid, an arrangement of tacks spelled the initials “JB-55”, presumably the initials and age at death of this individual.”

In their study of New England vampire beliefs, Sledzik and Bellantoni found that the descriptions of alleged vampires generally say that the person was wasting away and losing flesh despite leading an active and otherwise normal life. This led to the belief that vampires craved food and ultimately human flesh, which is why relatives of vampires seemed to eventually suffer from the same wasting away. These are also the symptoms of tuberculosis, which was called consumption in those days and ran rampant throughout the unsanitary farms of 18th and 19th century New England. While most cemeteries of that era showed many people suffering from and dying from consumption, only JB-55 had it in the Walton cemetery.

“Several years after the burial, one or more of his family members contracted tuberculosis. They attributed their disease to the fact that J.B. had returned from the dead to “feed” upon them. To stop the progress of their disease, the body of the consumptive J.B. was exhumed so that the heart could be burned. Upon opening the grave, the family saw that the heart had decomposed. With no heart to burn, the bones of the chest were disrupted and the skull femora placed in a “skull and crossbones” position.”

According to the paper, the New England way of dealing with suspected vampires was to burn their heart, especially if blood was found in it. In this case, the heart had decomposed, so instead the family rearranged the bones into a skull-and-crossbones formation – the next best thing since decapitation was also a way of keeping a vampire in its grave.

The case of JB-55 intrigued Charla Marshall, a forensic scientist with SNA International in Alexandria, Virginia, who participated in the DNA and geneaology analyses to identify JB-55. In a presentation given recently at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland, the findings of Marshall and experts at the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System’s DNA laboratory in Dover, Delaware, were revealed.

“When modern tools were used – Y-chromosomal DNA profiling and surname prediction via genealogy data available on the Internet – the experts said they came up with a match for the last name: Barber.”

Barber! That made it easy for the forensic experts to check old cemetery and newspaper records. As the Washington Post reports:

“They discovered a newspaper notice mentioning the death there in 1826 of a 12-year-old boy named Nathan Barber, whose father was a John Barber. Researchers had found a grave near JB’s containing a coffin with the notation NB 13 similarly tacked on the lid.”

SO, JB-55 was not a vampire but a poor farmer and father named John Barber who lost his 12-year-old son and eventually wasted away from tuberculosis, only to be later suspected of vampirically rising from the grave and attacking his own relatives before they dispatched him forever by detaching his skull and rearranging his bones.

All you New England Barbers out there — you don’t do things like that anymore, right? RIGHT?

Source: Mysterious Universe

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