Supernatural Loch Ness Monster Expialidocious [Part Three]

For a recap, do visit Part One and  Part Two.

Another beautiful Sunrise at the Loch. Photo Courtesy - Mark
Another beautiful Sunrise at the Loch. Photo Courtesy – Mark

Aleister Crowley later sold Boleskine House and it subsequently had a series of private owners including, in the 1970s, Led Zeppelin guitarist and Crowley fanatic Jimmy Page. Visitors to the estate have reported seeing lights flashing on and off by themselves, windows shattering and a chair which belonged to Crowley moving on its own. In 1960 the then owner of the house, Major Edward Grant, shot himself in the bedroom which had been used by Crowley for some of his satanic rituals. Even today the property retains a slightly sinister atmosphere. To many modern occultists the geographical and spiritual significance of Boleskine remains extremely important. In fact, practitioners of Thelema, Crowley’s religious philosophy, are still instructed to ‘turn and face Boleskine’ when conducting certain magical ceremonies.

Locally I have heard many stories from many people. I know people who have actually been to the house to attend parties that were held there and many of them have spoke of an oppressive atmosphere, strange haunting sounds and the feeling of being followed and watched. One story that I have heard locally from a few different sources is of some strange monkey type beast with red eyes that hangs around the vicinity of Boleskine House and follows people. Apart from it being a somewhat disturbing experience I have also heard that the people who experienced being followed in this way had a definite feeling that the creature was unable to harm them. This story it seems is only a local story as I have found no mention of it anywhere on the internet. However there may be some kind of possible truth in it. When Crowley eventually left Boleskine he put a sign up outside that said something along the lines of “Don’t be afraid of the beast, it can’t bite”, the locals at the time were rumoured to have said that although it may not be able to bite it is able to scare the living daylights out of you.

Another local story involves two divers who were diving in Loch Ness. The story goes that two perfectly sane and accomplished divers went under the water and came up several minutes later not so sane. Allegedly they had looks of sheer terror, were unable to speak anything comprehensible and spent the rest of their days in a mental asylum.

A lot of these stories may be taken with a pinch of salt depending upon your views, but there is no doubt in the fact that Loch Ness itself has attracted a lot of attention over the years mostly concerning the Loch Ness Monster. We even built a whole tourism industry from such attention, but there are many Lochs in Scotland that don’t have such attention but for some reason Loch Ness does.

One day when my friend and I were talking about Boleskine House he turned to me and said “You know how ghosts and spirits sometimes are only seen by certain kind of people who are receptive to that. What if the Loch Ness Monster was not a monster but perhaps a ghost or spirit of some kind”

BINGO!!!

EUREKA!!!

Perhaps. I’ve never witnessed a ghost but I know many people who are convinced that they have. If it were true that ghosts did exist then it would seem entirely plausible that the Loch Ness Monster could fit the bill. It would certainly explain the unfortunate fate of the two divers who went mad and it would certainly explain the numerous supernatural like sightings that have occurred over the years while any proof of an actual physical monster has remained elusive. If there was some kind of entity within Loch Ness I would definitely be inclined to think that it were some kind of ghost as opposed to an actual monster. However implausible you may think that both possibilities sound; I’m sure that most would agree that the ghost theory is more plausible.

I have subsequently found many other such theories that the Loch Ness Monster may be a supernatural entity and it is true that the number of sightings started escalating around the time that Crowley inhabited Boleskine House. Crowley himself died penniless in 1947 but the years have not erased the memories of his association with the Scottish Highlands home.

Finally, I will finish with a photo. My friends son and his friends who are all 15 to 16 years old decided for some strange reason of curiosity to go and ‘play’ in the grounds of Boleskine House one night last year. Upon hearing this everyone told them that they were without doubt extremely foolish and implored them not to go there again. They themselves spoke of strange happenings such as the feeling of being followed and strange shifting of the apparent landscape every time they turned round. They also took a photo which is displayed below. A photo that sent a shiver down the spine of everyone who looked at it including myself. I’m sure that the strange apparition that appears in the photo can be explained rationally, it could possibly be that the person taking the photo was smoking a cigarette and that the apparition is actually smoke. I’d rather believe that because the alternative is a little bit too scary to comprehend.

Mark
Mark putting up his gang signs!

If you ever do visit Loch Ness you will no doubt like millions of others be hoping for a glimpse of the legendary Loch Ness Monster. If I were you I would just appreciate the immense beauty that lies there. If I were you I would be praying that the Loch Ness Monster does not show itself to you. That’s what I do whenever I go to Loch Ness, some monsters are better left alone.

Make sure to look at more of Mark’s work and his stunning photos at I’m Gonna Study the Rain and if you’re lucky, he’ll take you on a story adventure as well.  

Supernatural Loch Ness Monster Expialidocious [Part Two]

For a recap, do visit Part One.

Aleister Crowley purchased Boleskine House in 1900 at the age of 25. Crowley spent a great deal of time looking for a property to purchase with the specific purpose of conducting a magical sequence known as the ‘Abramelin Operation’, taken from ‘ The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage’, a famous grimoire (book of magical knowledge), dating back to at least the middle of the 15th century. The ritual a long elaborate affair consisting of several weeks of purification in which the magician communicates with his ‘Holy Guardian Angel’ or Higher Self. Boleskine was chosen by Crowley because it fitted a number of factors crucial to the operation.

Aleister Crowley- The Magus
Aleister Crowley- The Magus

I am unaware if Crowley actually researched the history of Boleskine House but from the information that I have found in various places it would seem that from the very start Boleskine House was built out of hate and in the subsequent years even before Crowley turned up in the Highlands the house had it’s fair share of mysterious occurrences. Even Jimmy Page acknowledges this fact and was quoted as saying, “Strange things have happened in that house which have nothing to do with Crowley. The bad vibes were already there.”

Indeed “bad vibes” is an accurate description considering that previous to the house being built, there once was a church on the very same spot that burned to the ground with the congregation inside. Boleskine House itself on the eastern shores of the spectacularly picturesque Loch Ness near to the village of Foyers is situated on a forested hillside. It 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. So the whole reason for the house existing is based on one man’s hate for another, not the kind of solid foundations that one would usually choose when building a house.

Further associations with the Fraser family can also be seen in the Boleskine Burial Ground situated directly opposite Boleskine House. 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 Burial Ground
Boleskine Burial Ground

The graveyard itself had a reputation for strangeness before Crowley’s occupation. One legend suggests that a tunnel exists linking Boleskine to the graveyard, a fact that I have heard from many various people as well as reading in many places; but it is also a fact that no one seems to be a hundred percent sure of. The graveyard is said to be the haunt of witches as are many burial places within the Highlands and most of them have superstitions attached to them, perhaps denoting ancient corpse ways and spirit tracks, along which the soul was believed to travel, thus giving the rumours of a connecting tunnel more credence.

It seems that Crowley caused quite a stir while he was there. If his writings are to be believed, his experiments in magic were not completely successful and resulted in some disturbing phenomena that was to send one of his housemaids mad, and lead to the house becoming haunted by strange entities. In his autobiography he describes how the spirits he summoned got out of hand, causing one housemaid to leave, and a workman to go mad. He also insinuates he was indirectly responsible for a local butcher accidentally severing an artery and bleeding to death. Crowley had written the names of some demons on a bill from the butcher’s shop. Whatever the truth Crowley revelled in controversy all his life and was not above fuelling dark rumours about his activities.

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

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. Such is the reputation of the white-stoned home of sorcery that during his three years in residence, at the beginning of the 20th century, the villagers of Foyers avoided the estate at all costs.

Crowley in popular media - On the TV Show Supernatural, he's portrayed as a Scottish Demon who becomes the King of Hell
Crowley in popular media – On the TV Show Supernatural, he’s portrayed as a Scottish Demon who becomes the King of Hell

As regards the ‘Abramelin Operation’ that Crowley was conducting it has been called by some people the most important magic operation that it is possible to conduct. In laymans term the operation involves summoning up evil spirits then summoning up good spirits and then basically asking them to have a fight in the hope that the good spirits would win and a new world order would be established. Now I am no expert and I am also not one of the elite intellectuals of my time but if it were me who was conducting such a spell logic would dictate that I summoned up the good spirits first and ensured they were comfortable. Perhaps I would offer them tea and biscuits and comfortable seats so that when I summoned up the evil spirits they would be feeling refreshed and ready for the impending battle. Crowley however summoned up the evil spirits first, he even had purchased fine sand and had it laid down so he could be sure that he had successfully achieved the summoning by witnessing footprints in the sand. I can only assume that the magic operation insists that the evil spirits are the first to be summoned a fact that I view as a major flaw in said operation. Unfortunately for Crowley and those around him the Abramelin rites seem to have succeeded mainly in summoning ‘demons’ or  ‘the Abramelin devils’ as Crowley calls them. During Crowley’s occupancy there were reports of a heavy, oppressive atmosphere at Boleskine, dark eerie shadows filled the house, fierce winds blew through the rooms despite calm weather outside, and strange figures were seen in the area.

After about a month or so of conducting the ‘Abramelin Operation’ Crowley was himself summoned to Paris by MacGregor Mathers his superior in the ‘Golden Dawn’ after Mathers had managed to get himself into a spot of trouble concerning others in the ‘Golden Dawn’. Foolishly Crowley decided that it was his duty to help out Mathers and decided that his cause was more important than the extremely important magic operation that he had been conducting. He subsequently ceased the magic operation and went to Paris. He however failed to do what must be done when ceasing any kind of operation that involves summoning any kind of spirits and that is to banish them back to from where they came. Many years later Crowley admitted that he regretted leaving the ritual unfinished.

Read more of Mark’s stories at I’m Gonna Study the Rain and if you’re good, you might even get to hear him play the blues! 

Supernatural Loch Ness Monster Expialidocious [Part One]

The Boleskine House - PIcture from Jimmy Page's Website
The Boleskine House – PIcture from Jimmy Page‘s Website

When I first moved to Inverness over 10 years ago the legend of the Loch Ness Monster was a story that was well known to me, in fact there can’t be many people worldwide that haven’t heard of the Loch Ness Monster. The far more interesting story of Boleskine House situated on the shores of Loch Ness and it’s somewhat eccentric one time owner Aleister Crowley was a story that I knew nothing about, however over time I kept on hearing the occasional tale of “The Most Evil Man In The World” and what he was alleged to have done at Boleskine House.

I must admit though that my first interest in the house was more to do with the fact that it was once owned by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page and being a big Led Zep fan I couldn’t help but be intrigued. Eventually when I started to probe deeper and look for more information I started to view the fact that Jimmy Page owned it as a distraction; because no matter where I looked on the internet it seemed that Jimmy Page’s name would grab the attention of most peoples interest and therefore a lot of the stories centred around his “occupation” of the property. I use “occupation” in the loosest sense of the word because although Mr. Page owned the house for a number of years he only ever spent one night there and when you hear the stories of what happened there many years before; then it doesn’t really come as any surprise.

The reason for Jimmy Page buying the property was due to his long time interest in the religion “Thelema” and it’s leader Mr. Aleister Crowley; whose reason for buying the house is the possible cause of the countless tales of evil spirits, mysterious happenings and ultimately what many people believe to be the “Loch Ness Monster”. I’ll come back to this but first I think it would be helpful to divulge a little background information about Aleister Crowley and his carefully chosen residence in the Scottish Highlands.

Probably the most notorious magician of his period, if not of all time, Aleister Crowley has had far more influence after his death than at any time during his over-indulged life. Many stories about Crowley have been heard over the years and most of them focus on “Black Magic”, “Satanic Rituals” and a life of drug abuse and sexual experimentation. Needless to say it would be easy to fall into the trap of viewing Mr. Crowley as a most disreputable man and one to be avoided. But human nature being what it is we are prone to elaborate upon basic facts before we pass on any heard rumours and in the case of Aleister Crowley his stories have been circulated many times with many elaborations upon elaborations. In the Inverness local press; whenever there is a mention of him it is always accompanied with the four horses of the apocalypse and wild accusations that are never based on actual fact.

In a poll conducted by the BBC in 2002 and voted for by the British public Crowley appeared 73rd on a list of “The 100 Greatest Britons”. On the cover of The Beatles 1967 album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, Crowley joins esteemed company when he appears on the back row standing next to Mae West. On the reputable website “Poemhunter” Crowley appears at number 159 on a list of the 500 greatest poets. Three facts that begin to build a picture of a man who surely can’t be the same man that has been labelled ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’.

Born Edward Alexander Crowley, on the 12th of October 1875 in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Crowley was brought up in the strict ruling of the Plymouth Brethren. His rebellion against his upbringing, and the fact that his mother identified him with the Great Beast of the Revelation, was something that would steer his life on the course of overindulgence and theatrical evil.

Crowley’s father died in 1887, and Crowley was sent to live with his mother’s brother, an alleged vicious bully called Tom Bishop, during that time he attended a school run by the Plymouth Brethren. Crowley’s childhood was a very unhappy one; he later described his experiences saying that it was only his iron will that got him through the whole experience. Crowley soon came of age, and at 21 made a final split from his family. He became an undergraduate reading moral science at Cambridge University. Crowley seemed set for life; he had inherited his father’s fortune, and was mixing with people who were soon to become high movers in society.

As a keen mountaineer Crowley had earned a great deal of respect, he was driven and courageous, undertaking ambitious adventures in the Himalayas. His reputation in these exploits led some people to say that he was possibly one of the greatest European mountaineers of his time. In 1902 his mountaineering exploits led him to attempt Chogo Ri in the Himalayas with Oscar Eckenstein. They spent 63 days surviving on the Baltero Glacier, and Crowley claimed to have climbed alone to a height of 22,000 feet, until he was driven back by severe weather conditions. In 1905 Crowley’s mountaineering pursuits involved an attempt to conquer Kangchenjunga, which is the world’s third highest peak. There was great controversy during this abortive adventure; Crowley was accused of beating porters, and leaving men to die alone in an avalanche. There was also a slight mutiny within the camp and this trip became a large black mark on his reputation within the mountaineering community and it was noted that he had a huge problem with his inability to stand weakness in others.

A hugely important aspect of Crowley’s early life was his association with the Golden Dawn, the most influential occult group in Britain. He was initiated into the Golden Dawn on November 18th 1889 and took the name Frater Perdurabo, which means I will endure. He was not well liked by the majority of the members of the Golden Dawn. W. B. Yeats, the Irish poet called him “An unspeakable mad person”. During his time in the Golden Dawn he lived with a fellow member called Allan Bennet in a London flat. Here they experimented with magic rituals in two purpose built temples, and if Crowley is to be believed they had some startling results, including the manifestation of a host of supernatural beings and poltergeist activity.

A morning at Loch Ness
A morning at Loch Ness. Photo Courtesy – Mark

I first “met” Mark when I wrote about my England trip and realised that we were at the same place at the same time, just on different sides of the Loch. It’s overwhelming, sometimes, to see just how small the world can be, with all it’s masses and water bodies. Still, he discovered my love for local legends and decided to tell me a story that I want to share with all of you. This is my first (and hopefully not the last) Guest Post Series. If you do have a story for me, write me at my blog title (the one about labyrinths) minus the ‘this’ at the famous google mail dot com. (I do know how to dodge them spammers).