Although Boleskine House was only Aleister Crowley's for a relatively short time, it may forever be considered his house and the Mecca for Thelemites as well as aspirants and students of the works of the Beast 666.
At one time Boleskine House was owned by Jimmy Page, lead guitarist of the rock band Led Zeppelin. Last Yule a good friend, true brother andassociate of mine visited Boleskine House in Scotland, spoke with Mr. Malcolm Dent, who had lived there and taken care of the house and property for Page, and he had had a cozy chat with the newest owner who purchased it for private residence at a cost of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds.
This Encyclical letter is devoted to Boleskine House. A photograph of the house, circa 1912 E.V., was presented in Vol. VI, No. 1 of the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o.'s The Magical Link, November An III16, as they dated it -i.e. 22 x 3 + 16, or Anno LXXXII . The appearance of the photograph of Boleskine House is welcomed even though it is no clearer than the copies originally presented in the printed edition of this EL as the residence was a year ago and probably still is today.* Comparing the Link photograph with the more current pictures, it can be seen that there is very little difference between the way it was and the way it appears now since Page restored the house to a close approximation of its original appearance.
The only difference I can see between the way Boleskine House appears today and the way it appeared c. 1912 E.V. is that the shrubbery around the house is somewhat differently arranged, there were once two more chimneys behind the one on your right in the drawing here presented, as well as a window projecting from the roof between the remaining chimney and the two which were once behind this, and of course in Crowley's day one would not have been likely to have found a television antenna!
Presented here for the first time are reproductions of the orginal colour photographs of Boleskine House taken by my Brother-in-Thelema, Frater Paulos 247. My fraternal brother is an extremely polite gentleman and his manners so impressed the current owner of Boleskine House that he was cordially invited to photograph the house and grounds, although he was asked not to photograph the interior of the house, and naturally Frater Paulos respected this request.
Boleskine House has a slate grey roof and it is a pale pink stucco. Whether or not the colour was Page's idea or that was actually the original colour I cannot say for sure, but it is quite possibly the original colour.
We are presenting here one drawing [above], photographs, information and a map, not only to give students of Crowley a more complete picture of Boleskine House, but also it is hoped that this will satisfy ardent admirers so that they will not make a pilgrimage that would disturb the privacy of the current resident.* Boleskine House is, after all, a private residence and to interfere with the privacy of another may very well be considered an interference with that person's Will, and that would be not only unthelemic, but downright impolite.
In a Highland paper, while Page still owned Boleskine House, Mr. Malcolm Dent was interviewed. The author of the article, "Why A Mansion Was Barred For The Witches' Sabbath", John Beattie [who, by the way, seemed to have a typically inaccurate view of Crowley and the occult in general, partly based, no doubt, upon the multitude of charlatan and crackpot occultists who misrepresent the sincere students of the esoteric philosophies] said that
"The intruders he [Mr. Dent] fears are far more sinsister [than burglars] - followers of the occult, who constantly make pilgrimages to Boleskine House which they see as a shrine to the evil memory of a previous owner, the infamous Aleister Crowley, black magician and Satanist."
Well of course "evil" is an unnecessary and inaccurate adjective here, a very relative, subjective evaluation, and of course Crowley was neither a "black magician" nor a "Satanist".
"'There's a constant procession of these sick-minded people at the best of times,' Mr. Dent ... told me... 'On a special occasions like Walpurgis Night they are even worse, so I get everything bolted and barred from nightfall onwards to try to keep them out of the grounds.'"
Mr. Dent and his family were, at the time, apparently living in the house, so one can understand how disconcerting all of this must have been for him.
"'They are a damned nuisance, a real pain,' said Malcolm Dent. 'Often we get as many as six or eight callers a day, asking to look round and wanting to ask questions about the house's history.
"'A lot are from America, but they come from Japan, Europe and all over Britain, too.
"'I tell them to clear off - that this is a family home where I live with my children. I explain that we want to be left in peace and ask them how they would like it if people kept turning up on their doorstep at all times of the night or day, asking to be shown around.
"'Some get the message, but others keep sniffing round for hours.'"
"A favourite spot for the explorers is the tumbledown Gothic burial ground with its broken, lichen-covered gravestones and vaults that sits on the lochside, just across a single track road from Boleskine House's front fence."
"'Some of the people who come here are sick in the head ... one look and your flesh begins to creep,' said a middle-aged housewife who lives nearby and who asked not to be identified."
While this housewife's and Mr. Dent's observations and comments are no doubt subjective and based upon an ignorance of "occult" matters and perhaps at least a mild fear of all things "occult" related, I have myself developed a great dislike for the majority of "occultists", finding them to be, indeed, rather unstable crackpots and unsavory charlatans. However, this is not a state of affairs unique to the "occult" community. In every religious or secular group there is always a small core minority of sincere, stable, dedicated individuals, often surrounded and misrepresented by a large group of, in this case, crackpots, charlatans and faddists. Doing my best to keep these types of individuals out of my personal universe, having encountered many of them, I can easily understand and sympathize with both Mr. Dent and the housewife quoted by John Beattie. And, can we identify some of these weirdos who have harassed residents of Boleskine House and others in the area, misrepresenting Thelema, genuine Thelemites and in general the memory of Our Father Aleister Crowley? I think so. Remember that Mr. Dent said that "A lot are from America". Further on in the article John Beattie wrote
"In an attempt to put a stop to the constant disruption caused by unwelcome visitors, Malcolm Dent has contacted the American occult magazine The Magical Link and persuaded them to print a plea for privacy."
So there you go. Since the Link is only distributed to "members" of the Caliphate gang [subscription to the publication automatically makes one at least an "Associate Member" to their way of thinking - a means of inflating their misleading membership numbers] it is an obvious conclusion that a large percentage of these bothersome and rude people are "members" of the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o.. The Caliphate gang seems to always find new ways to misrepresent genuine Thelemites as well as to misrepresent what Thelema is all about. And to the best of my knowledge, the gang has never published Mr. Dent's plea in The Magical Link, so let this serve that purpose for the new owner and resident of Boleskine House. Certainly I can understand the desire to visit the house, to walk where Crowley once walked, find oneself embraced by the same walls that once contained our dear old Beast, but so long as Boleskine House is a private residence the privacy and wishes of the current resident must always be respected. It is the gentlemanly, the ladylike, the polite thing to do. It is also the Thelemic thing to do.
"'I just hope that will put an end to all the harassment we have had to suffer,'" Malcolm Dent is quoted as saying.
And so do I.
My good friend and Brother-in-Thelema, Frater Paulos, was a very respectful visitor, cordially welcomed, and he respected every request the current resident made, and at least in some small way, when also speaking with Mr. Malcolm Dent, repaired some of the damage that had been done by pseudo-thelemites.
Mr. John Beattie's article also described Boleskine House just a bit:
"The mansion stands on the east of Loch Ness, across the water from the 2,000 ft snow-capped bulk of Meall Fuarvounie, 21 miles south of Inverness. Its mock Greek columns, stone dogs and stone eagles standing guard on each side of the main door give it a slightly sinister air."
This main door actually seems to be in the back of the house, the front [pictured at the head of this article] facing Loch Ness.
A bit of the history of Boleskine House [along with some typical slanders against Aleister Crowley] can be found in a book entitled A Historical Portrait of a Highland District by Alan B. Lawson, copyright 1987 E.V., printed by John G. Eccles Printers Ltd., Inverness, the chapter here referred to being, interestingly enough, Chapter 11, "Stones from the Cairns". I will probably review this chapter at a later date, briefly, due to the slanders made against Aleister Crowley in it.
Let me now give the relevant information from the real estate company's brochure to give you a better idea as to the size and structure of Boleskine House. No attempt at great literature is intended.
BOLESKINE HOUSE Foyers, Inverness-shire. Foyers 1.5 miles, Fort Agustus 14 miles, Inverness 18 miles, Edinburg (Airport) 140 miles, Dalcross (Inverness) Airport 28 miles. Entrance Hall, Drawing Room, Dining Room, Playroom, Kitchen, Utility Room, 5 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, Cellars. [Crowley, of course, used some of these rooms for quite a different purpose, especially when he was engaged in the Abra-Melin Operation.]
GATE LODGE Living Room, Kitchen, Bedroom, Bathroom.
Traditional stone built former Coach House. Well maintained lawns and gardens with fish pond, fruit garden and orchard. About 18 acres fenced and railed Paddocks. Mature Woodlands, 250 yards of Loch Frontage. About 47 acres with vacant possession.
SITUATION Boleskine House occupies a spectacular position overlooking Loch Ness and yet is only 18 miles from the centre of Inverness from where the mainline British Rail service links to the rest of the UK. Dalcross Airport is about 10 miles further East via the A96 (T) Nairn road.
The A9 (T) road is the main North South route for the East of Scotland and from Inverness, Perth (90 miles) is 1.5 hours and Edinburg (140 miles) is 2 hours by car.
Excellent salmon fishing can be rented on Loch Ness and evidence of this can be seen in the Foyers Hotel who keep a pictorial record of all fish caught over 15 lbs. The owners of Boleskine House have the right to fish for trout on Loch Ness from the bank and there are numerous hill lochs and several rivers nearby which provide excellent sport.
Loch Ness, being part of the Caldonian Waterway, is a very popular boating area and Boleskine House has a Boathouse on the edge of the Loch allowing the owners to keep a boat.
DESCRIPTION Boleskine House enjoys one of the best situations in the Highlands with unrivalled views over, and frontage to, Loch Ness. The property benefits from beautiful mature gardens and grounds extending in all to about 47.5 acres.
In front of the House are terraced lawns and flowering borders and to the rear of the House the garden is laid to lawns and flowering shrubs with box hedge borders and a large pond. There is also a soft fruit garden and orchard.
Boleskine House and gardens are further enhanced by the natural backdrop of a steep hillside dominated by a mass of rhododendrons, mature Larch, Birch, Scots Pine, Noble and Douglas Fir trees.
RIGHTS OF ACCESS A tarmacadam track passes through the land below the B852 minor County Road as marked A-B on the enclosed plan. The owner of Boleskine House has a vehicular right of access over this track in order to reach the land running down to Loch Ness.
ENVIRONMENTAL STIPULATIONS Boleskine House, the Gate Lodge and Coach-house are listed Category 'B' as buildings of architectural or historic interest. NOTE: There is an informal agreement between the owners of Boleskine House and the Local Authority allowing the free use of the hardcore area above the burial ground as car parking on the rare occasions when a burial is taking place in the Boleskine Burial Yard.
HISTORY Boleskine House was built in the late Eighteenth Century on land acquired from the Church by the Honourable Archibald Fraser, a relative of Lieutenant General Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat at the time. The Honourable Archibald Fraser reputedly chose this site for a house in order to irritate Lord Lovat, whose lands surrounded the property, in retribution for Lord Lovat's support of the English during the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745.
The associations with the Fraser family can also be seen in the Boleskine Burial Ground situated below the B852. Recognised as a site of historic interest the burial ground holds several of the family graves and is notable for the remains of the original Chapel and Grave Watcher's Hut. The Grave Watcher was employed to prevent body snatchers from defiling the graves.
Boleskine House remained in Fraser family ownership until the late Nineteenth or early Twentieth Century. Since then there have been several owners.
BOLESKINE HOUSE A pair of iron gates beside the attractive Gate Lodge give access to a tarmacadam drive ending in a large gravel sweep behind Boleskine House. Entry to Boleskine House is achieved via a handsome sandstone porch. Double storm doors give access to:
ENTRANCE HALL. With a pair of display alcoves and two walk-in cupboards, one of which is fitted with coat hooks. The roof above this section of the house has been completely rebuilt by the present owners using steel beams to replace the old roof timbers. Doors lead off to:
DRAWING ROOM (W). 26' 5" x 18' 2":. Large bay window with wonderful views over Loch Ness to the South, West and North, moulded ceiling cornice, open fireplace housing a solid fuel stove, with tiled hearth and carved wooden surround and mantle featuring fruit, flowers and gargoyles. A pair of recessed book shelves.
PLAYROOM/FAMILY ROOM (N). 21' 3" x 18' 1". Tiled floor, steps down to cellar, door to:
KITCHEN (W). 29' 7" (max) x 18' 1". Tiled floor, double drainer stainless steel sink unit with mixer tap and cupboards below, plumbing for dishwasher, electric cooker control point, Oil fiered 2 oven Aga, island table unit, built in airing cupboard with hot water cylinder, built in double storage cupboard, access to extensive attic space, door to:
REAR PORCH. With coat hooks, separate w.c.
UTILITY ROOM (W). With fitted shelves, earthenware sink, plumbing for washing machine, overhead pulley rail. Back door to parking area and gardens.
DINING ROOM (W). 26' 6" x 18' 1". French window to garden, bay window with views over Loch Ness to the South, West and North, shelved recess, and recess with built in drawers.
BEDROOM 1 (W). 18' 1" x 11' 6". Built in drawers and wardrobe with hanging rail, night storage heater.
BATHROOM 1 (W). Bath, pedestal wash basin, w.c., electric wall heater.
BEDROOM 2 (W). 18' 1" x 11' 1". Built in cupboards with hanging rail.
BEDROOM 2 (S&W). 19' 11" x 17' 11". Shelved recess, built in cupboard, full working shutters.
EN SUITE BATHROOM 2. Bath with fitted shower, pedestal wash basis, w.c., heated towel rail, electric wall heater, "Xpelair" ventilation unit.
BEDROOM 4 (S). 21' 2" x 12' 9". 2 shelved recesses.
BEDROOM 5 (N&E). 18' 1" x 16'. Built in cupboard with shelves above.
EN SUITE BATHROOM 3 (S). Bath, illuminated pedestal wash basin, w.c.
OUTSIDE A second cellar, housing the oil tanks and a "Potterton" oil fired boiler is reached via a door on the North gable of Boleskine House.
THE GARDENS Boleskine House is sheltered from the North by a screen of mature Douglas Fir and Cyprus trees and several handsome Cedar trees. In front of the House are well maintained terraced lawns with flowering borders and shrubs running down to a curved Ha-Ha.
To the rear of Boleskine House is a gravelled turning and parking area with a central roundabout containing several Eucalyptus trees. Stone steps lead up to a lovely sheltered garden principally laid to lawns but with several flowering borders and shrubs as well as specimen trees and box hedging. At the top of the garden there is a large pond (measuring approximately 100' x 40') which is reputedly a rare breeding habitat for the Great Crested Newt. From the pond a small burn runs down through the garden. Also in the garden is a timber built workshop/garden store with power laid to it and a green house with power and water laid to it containing a productive Black Hamburg vine. Below the greenhouse is a small duck pond.
The steep slopes of Taman Tarsuinn Hill run down to the pond and provide a dramatic backdrop to Boleskine House and gardens. The hillside is covered in a mass of rhododendrons providing a spectacular show of colour inthe Spring and many mature Larch, Birch, Scots Pine, Douglas and Noble Firs add to the landscape.
Next to the garden is an extensive soft fruit garden and an orchard. The soft fruit garden contains Raspberries, Logan Berries, Blueberries, Redcurrants, Blackcurrants, White Currants, and Apple and Pear trees. This is complemented by the orchard containing Apple, Pear and Plum trees as well as a single Cherry tree.
THE GATE LODGE The Category 'B' listed Gate Lodge lies at the entrance of the tarmadacam drive to Boleskine House and is a most attractive small property with lovely views over Loch Ness. The Lodge is constructed of stone under a slate roof and the accomodation briefly comprise: Large covered porch to substantial double storm doors opening into the Entrance Hall containing the meter cupboard and fuse box, access to the attic housing the cold water tank and doors off to:
KITCHEN, LIVING ROOM (W). 14' 6" x 10'. Single drainer stainless steel sink unit, electric cooker control point, built in shelved cupboard containing hot water cylinder, open fireplace with back boiler, electric wall heater.
BATHROOM (E). Bath with shower, pedestal wash basin, w.c., electric wall heater, plumbing for washing machine.
BEDROOM (S&W). 14' 6" x 10'. Built in shelved and hanging cupboard.
OUTSIDE In front of the Gate Lodge is a small rockery garden planted with numerous flowering and evergreen shrubs. To the South of the Lodge is a garden area planted with daffodils and flowering Cherry Trees. Behind the Lodge and next to the burn are two productive gooseberry bushes.
OUTBUILDINGS About 200 yards to the north east of Boleskine House, approached over a hardcore track, is a Category 'B' listed stone built former Coach House. This is a substantial building and benefits from both mains and private water and mains electricity. If the necessary Planning Consent was obtained, this building could be converted into an attractive Cottage with superb views over Loch Ness.
The building briefly comprises: Stables with 4 stalls, Large Hay Store, Useful Large Store with steps to feed loft above, Storeroom.
Below the Coach House is a substantial former piggery.
At the edge of Loch Ness, on the Western boundary of the property, is a timber built BOATHOUSE capable of taking a 16' boat.
THE LAND The land lies mainly to the south and west of Boleskine House, although the House occupies a reasonably central position on the property. The land is mainly pasture but the hill ground behind the House and garden, and the land running down to Loch Ness below the access road to the west of the graveyard are wooded.
Below the Coach House is a most useful pony paddock extending to about 2 acres. This paddock is partly railed and partly fenced with stock proof fencing. A second paddock lies to the south of the House and extends to about 3 acres.
Beyond a burn a further paddock extends to about 10 acres and has the benefit of separate access off the B852. Below the country road, there are 2 further paddocks extending to about 3 acres in total.
For the above information and the "plan" mentioned under "RIGHTS OF ACCESS" which follows, I would like to thank Strutt & Parker.
We also owe a debt of gratitude to the current resident of Boleskine House, a cordial gentleman whose privacy should be respected, as well as to my long-time friend and Brother-in-Thelema, Frater Paulos 247, whose visit to Boleskine House in the winter of 1990 E.V. made this Encyclical Letter possible.
For colour photographs of Boleskine House, please click on the link at the end of this article. If you are interested in receiving all of the photographs that Frater Paulos obtained, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. From time to time, some of the photographs not presented here may appear on the Castle's art page, changed about once a month.
G.M.Kelly [Frater Keallach 93/676]
Written in October of 1991 E.V.
"Heading westwards we arrive at Loch Ness where the house of Boleskine stands on the eastern shores, near to the village of Foyers. Situated on an afforested hillside, the house was built in the late eighteenth century by the Hon. Archibald Fraser, a kinsman of Lord Lovat. The house was sold by the Frasers at the beginning of the twentieth Century to Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), self-styled as 'the wickedest man in the world'. It was purchased in the 1970s by Jimmy Page, guitarist with the rock group Led Zeppelin, but was sold by him in 1990.
"Boleskine houses a number of evil spirits, including a poltergeist - various objects have been noticed to vanish and reappear later. Crowley has been blamed for these occurrences, although he himself experienced ghostly happenings. He was notorious for performing Satanic rites and sacrifices at Boleskine, and tradition states that a tunnel extended from the house to the nearby kirkyard, which contains the ruins of the old parish kirk. This place is said to be haunted by witches. Crowley had been interested in evil spirits since childhood and rumours abound in the district of his weird behaviour. He is said to have had a mistress who lived on the opposite shore of Loch Ness, at Grotaig."
Pages 52 and 53 of the Barnes & Noble Books edition, copyright 1995 E.V., hardbound, $5.98.
1. Crowley did not style himself "the wickedest man in the world". It was a label attached to his name by one of the sensationalistic tabloids of his day.
2. Crowley did not perform "Satanic rites" because he was not a satanist, did not worship Satan, and thought the very concepts of The Devil and satanism absurd in the extreme, and naturally the stories of sacrifices and the like are "rumours".
3. Crowley was also not "interested in evil spirits since childhood". He was raised in a fundamentalist Christian Plymouth Brethren household and community and his interest was in the fabulous names and events in the Judeo-Christian Bible, which is a very different thing indeed. As for his "weird behaviour", matters of opinions mixed with apocryphal stories and rumours, and, of course, he did have a sense of humour and loved to put people on, so some of the stories of his "weird behaviour" might actually be true. Some people simply do not have a sense of humour.
By the way, it is worth noting that there are several individuals who would love to present on the Internet such material as I am presenting here, but they hesitate to share it because, in the words of one such individual, "I'd hate the thought of doing all that work so that some Caliphate dork can steal it to make his own site look good." Indeed, I have been made aware of at least two Calphate pseudo-o.t.o. sites which have made direct links to the Simon Iff stories on the Newaeon site, bypassing everything else, in an effort to make their otherwise worthless web sites seem more worthwhile, without having the courtesy to ask if I would mind such a link, and while naturally trying to prevent others from knowing that the Castle of the Silver Star even exists, without acknowledgeing the source. This is just another way the Caliphate gang restricts information and interferes with the True Will of others, less direct than their normal means of restriction, but just as effective.
*It seems that the nature of Boleskine House has changed again, at the time of this writing, in the hands of Milford Associates Limited. Information regarding Boleskine House and it's current status can be found at http://www.milford.co.uk