Aleister Crowley’s Boleskine House

Aleister Crowley's Boleskine House

About Aleister Crowley

Once described as “the wickedest man on earth” is an magician and occultist who inspired a generation of rock stars and became a fascanating character for millions more, myself included.

Whilst I am not into the dark arts at all, and it is not something I will ever dabble with myself, I really wanted to make this video and to visit the notorious house that this man once lived in. It is regarded as being one of the most dangerously haunted buildings on earth, and the hauntings that have occured there are extreme.

Aleister Crowley

Aleister (born Edward Alexander Crowley) was brought up into a religious and wealthy family, but he would lose both parents at an early age, and after inheriting their fortune, he would rebel against his strict christian upbringings.

He became skeptical with the church and the bible, and he would meet people in life that would inspire him to take an interest in Magik and in particular, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Having so much money at a young age, Aleister didn’t spend it wisely, a lot of it going to prostitutes. But he had his eye on developing himself as a magician and wanted to live in a remote area where he could find his inner spirit.

He searched across the UK for suitable houses. His first choice was Yorkshire in the Dales, but soon found a former hunting lodge on the banks of Loch Ness close to the small village of Foyers, and he fell in love with it. He wanted it so badly, he even offered the previous owner twice the value of the house to persuade them to sell, in which they did. He paid a total of £2,000 in 1899 for a house that was valued at around £1,000.

Aleister would use this to practice his rituals, which involved summoning spirits to the house. And this is where it starts to get really dark.

About Boleskine House

The building already had a dark history before Aleister even set foot inside it.

The land that Boleskine is built on was once part of a 13th century Kirk, a Scottish word for church. It was small, as it only catered for the remote local area. But as Catholisism spread across the Scottish Highlands in the middle ages, it was felt that one would be needed here.

The Kirk had its own graveyard, just a few meters away, close to the shore of Loch Ness, and this is where paranormal activity would begin.

The small building, with blocked up window, used to store dwad bodies at Boleskine burial ground

Minister Thomas Houston (1648–1705) is said to have had the task of reburying corpses back into their graves after an evil wizard would raise them during the night. Raising the dead is quite an extreme claim, but it was also a time when grave robbing and body snatching was popular, so I personally believe graves were probably being targeted in this remote area under the cover of darkness. This is backed up by the fact there is a building located at the bottom of the graveyard with a small narrow window where bodies could be stored until they were decomposed enough to be buried, and also for someone to watch for robbers from.

At some point, there was a fire at the Kirk one Sunday morning and the place burned to the ground, killing people inside. This is not historically documented and some versions of the story vary. Some say it was carried out by arsonists who were banished from the local area by the church for being suspected devil worshippers. They would take their revenge by blocking the door out of the church and setting it on fire while people were inside.

During my time in the area, I researched this story, and found that there may be a lot of truth in it. During the building works on Boleskine House, nails were found here pre-dating the current structure and there is evidence that a church manse existed nearby. Why would there be a manse and a graveyard if there was no church?

Boleskine House was built as a hunting lodge in the 1760s by Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat. They were a wealthy family who were known to have many servants working for them at Boleskine. They lived in the house until the 1830s.

The first ghost story involves that of Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat, the father of Archibald Campbell Fraser. He was among the Highlanders defeated by the crown at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, and was captured and beheaded at the following year at the Tower of London. It is said that as he was being placed on the block, an overcrowded timber stand collapsed nearby crushing nine people to death. Fraser laughed just as the blade sliced through his neck, and coined the term “laughing his head off.”

Whilst he never visted Boleskine House, his ghost is said to haunt it. Even Aleister Crowley is reported to have seen it in the Billiards room of the house during his years. In a humerous version, it is also said to be seen in the form of a bouncing head coming along the main hallway.

The other ghost story of this era comes from a small stable block at the rear of the property. It is said to be haunted by a young stable boy. It is unclear who exactly he is, or how he died, but he has been heard walking around in the stable block and mediums have also been drawn to his spirit.

The haunted stable block from outside
The top floor of the stable block

About 30 years before Crowley lived in the house, a lady called Margaret Smythe lived there. She died after falling from a bedroom window whilst her husband was away on a hunting trip. However, I have heard a story that the husband confessed to a priest on his deathbed to killing her after an argument involving an accusation of adultry. He also confessed to raping a servant and forcing her to abort the unborn child. This is a story I have not read anywhere else, so I cannot verify if it is true.

During Crowley’s years, as mentioned before, he is known to have created a temple space at the front of the property, but there was a problem – in order to perform the ritual correctly, he needed a north facing entrance. As you will see on the map, that while Boleskine House faces Loch Ness, the Loch itself runs at a 45 degree angle across Scotland, so the property actually faces more of a north western direction. Aleister had a small doorway extension built, which was angled north. It is a myth that he bought Boleskine because it faces north, because it doesn’t. This was a modification he needed to make. Crowley also lay fine river sand across the patio, which many in the occult believe allows spirit footprints to become visible. Crowley is believed to have travelled to Inverness to get this sand from a shallow part of the River Ness.

An image from the side of the property. Notice the extension sticking out from the front, this is Crowley’s north extension with a north facing door.

These rituals are said to have worked. The purpose of them was to envoke his Guardian Angel by summoning the 12 Kings and Dukes of Hell, to bind them and remove their negative influences from the magician’s life. Every morning, Crawley would wake at 4am and perform in his temple space beside the north facing door. He would also claim that at the crack of dawn, he would observe footprints in the sand to see that spirit had in fact entered via this door. As a part of these rituals, Crawley would also abstain from eating many types of foods, which meant he only ate bread, was not allowe alcohol and also abstain from sex.

Crowley also claims to have summoned three demons into the property, but was protected from posession. These entities are said to have existed within the temple space room on the ground floor.

As these rituals are said to be extreme and very dangerous, I won’t disclose fine details of what they entail.

These rituals are meant to last for six months, however, Crowley broke the cycle by leaving Boleskine House to go to visit a friend in Paris. In doing so, the circle was not comlete, and whatever he had brought into the property, remained.

When he returned, he is said to have noticed the building was different. Dark shadows were seen moving around the place, and he decided he could no longer live there.

His own lodge keeper, Hugh Gillies whom had remained on site during Crowley’s trip to Paris is said to have become posessed and tried to murder his own wife and children. The effort failed, but within weeks, both of his children would die under mysterious circumstances.

A local butcher in Foyers would end up slicing his finger (or fingers, or thumb or even hand depending on which version of the story you read) whilst preparing a meat order sent to him from Boleskine House. Crowley had written to order down on a piece of scrap paper that he had scribbled some strange text onto, beleieved to be part of a verse used to envoke a demon.

One incident I found in my local research involved a fishing boat called The Pansy, which vanished one night in Loch Ness, killing those onboard. Boats had been using the Loch since the opening of the Caledonian canal to get from one side of Scotland to the other. For years, its sinking was a mystery. It was recently discovered by a team of divers directly in front of the shore by Boleskine Burial Ground…literally. If you see its sinking point, it is directly a straight line out from the shore. It is believed to have gone down in the night. Could this have coincided with Crowley’s night time rituals?

He would soon sell up and leave, as he had realised that what he had done was out of his control.

Boleskine after Crowley

The house has since past through several owners, and stories of a curse has been told around the local area, and later turned the house into an internet talking point that has seen it broken into many times by urban explorers.

Boleskine became the heart of a scandal, called The Great Sausage scandal. It involved a businessman claiming to have a pig farm on the site under the company name “Loch Ness Foods”, but debates still carry on about whether it really did exist. I was told by historian Elin Morgan at Boleskine that there were in fact pigs here, and they were left abandoned to die. In this case, when pigs have no food, they eat the dead or vulnerable pigs until only one is left.

In the 1960s, a retired Army Colonel called Edward Grant was living in the building. He had heard the stories but thought it was all a load of rubbish. However, he would soon start telling people that something dark was following him. He was found dead in the house shortly after. He’d blown his head off with a shotgun.

His servant had arrived at the house and seen the family dog playing with a bone. She took if off the dog and threw it in the bin, believing it to be from a piece of meat. When the police searched the house following Grant’s death, they realised that the bone was actually the top part of his head.

A couple would shortly live in the house afterwards, but within a month, the woman had gone completely blind and her husband walked out on her.

In 1969, the rock star and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page bought the house. He was drawn to it by the stories of Aleister Crowley. It is known that Page did not spend a lot of his time there, but he is knwon to have had sessions with his band mates inside the property. One band member, John Paul Jones is said to have refused to set foot in the place.

It was Malcom Dent that Page put in charge of keeping the property going, and he is the one who encountered most of the paranormal activity. He regularly heard growling coming from outside of his bedroom door, but when he opened it to have a look, nothing would be there other than an icy blast of coldness. He also describes poltergeist activity where furniture would be found in different places as if dragged across the floor, and the carpets pulled up.

Many people believe the curse of Boleskine passed on to Led Zeppelin. John Bonham died of an overdose at the young age of 32, and Robert Plant was involved in a near fatal car accident in Greece. Yet mysteriously, at the same time that Plant had his car accident, it is rumoured that Jimmy Page was in Sicile visiting the Abbey of Thelema, a small house near Palermo that Aleister Crowley had setup as a magik school. The site is now abandoned after Crowley was banned from Italy by Mussolini and the Catholic Church after a 23 year old man called Raoul Loveday died during one of Crowley’s rituals.

Jimmy Page, during his time living in Boleskine House, seen here with his dog by the burial ground.

Jimmy Page put the house on the market in 1991 for £250,000, and it was bought by Ronald and Annette MacGillivray in 1992, in what they described as a “very bad state.”

The couple later ran the building as a small hotel until Ronald MacGillivray died in 2002, and claimed they never experienced any hauntings whilst they were there.

A Dutch millionaire called Trudy Piekaar-Bakker who made her wealth from selling Japanese car parts in Amsterdam would buy the house. She was very secretive and rarely talked to anyone other than a few local friends. She did however tell The Express that she didn’t believe in ghosts.

On 23rd December 2015,  broke out at Boleskine House destroying 60% of the building. It is believed that the blaze started in the kitchen area.

In July 2019, another fire tore through the remainder of the property almost completely shelling it. The police suspected arson, but nobody was ever charged. The fire started directly below Crowley’s former bedroom.

Yet mysteriously, when I was shown around the building by historian Elin Morgan, she pointed at all of the doorways which have wooden frames around them. They were all completely charred and black with fire damage….except one. Crowley’s north facing door, which was completely untouched.

The first fire at Boleskine in 2015, coming from the kitchen area.

Boleskine is now being restored by a group of volunteers, but not without controversey. There are many in the area that want it to be pulled down and never talked about again.

Yet strange goings on continue. Three contractors working on the roof have refused to go back after experiencing strange activity. Nearly all of the volunteers there have seen a black dog walking around the property which just vanishes.

My night in Boleskine was extreme. My main aim for the video was to debunk some of the internet claims, which I have done to some extent. At some point in the night, I received three bloody marks on my foot which I didn’t notice until I got back to my hotel at 3am. Was this a claw mark? It is claimed that demonic scratches come in threes which is a mockery of the holy trinity.

The marks on my foot after the night at Boleskine.

I also tried to get a drone shot of the building for the video, but the drone started drifting away from the building, and an error message displayed as “Magnetic intererance”. Could this be paranormal? I used the drone the next day to get some shots of Loch Ness without any bother.

Other content creators have broken into Boleskine ilegally and have experienced bad luck since doing so. I do not believe I have experienced anything like this so far, but I had permission to film inside and I also thanked the house verbally on video, and treated it with respect.

I did however catch unusual voices, and strange shadow movement in the building, as well as white whisps in the graveyard.

A white mist appears on camera in Boleskine burial ground. I was videoing whilst this photo was taken and you can see that nothing moved when the flash went off.

Watch the video to see my most extreme investigation I’ve ever done.

Visit Boleskine

Address: Boleskine House, Foyers, Inverness, IV2 6XT

Website: https://www.boleskinehouse.org

The house is located just off Military Rd, the road that runs along the south side of Loch Ness, and is about 19 miles by road from Inverness, and 15 miles from Fort Augustus in the other direction. Drive on the south side of the loch and you will find it. The house is gated so can be easily missed, easpecially if coming from the Fort Augustus end of the loch. If you are coming from that end, you will pass through the village of Foyers first, and then a minute or so later you will see the grave yard on your left a few seconds before you pass the gates to Boleskine house on your right.

If coming from Inverness, you will see a power station on your right a few seconds before you pass the gates of Boleskine on your left. If you see the burial ground, you’ve passed it.

There is a bus (#16) from Inverness that goes to Foyers and will pass directly past the property, but it doesn’t run often.

Boleskine House is available for guided tours, and they can be arranged online and via their Facebook page. In fact, I was filming there for a full day and two cars pulled up within an hour of each other and it was both people wanting tours. They had no idea that the house was a building site, and believed they were going to break in and explore illegally!

At the time of writing, Boleskine House is a building site, with hopes of it being fully restored by 2023. They are raising money by donations and also from selling items sich as original materials of the house that are too damaged to be used again such as wood, granite and stones. You can own a piece of Crowley’s house!

Boleskine Shop

 

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