Boleskin, I Barely Knew Ye

January 6th, 2016 Comments Off on Boleskin, I Barely Knew Ye

When it comes to bucket lists, I admit mine is pretty strange. I want to see places like Sedlec Ossuary (“the bone cathedral”) in the Czech Republic and Hoia Baciu Forest in Romania. High on that list had always been Loch Ness, but not for the obvious reason. No, I wanted to see Boleskin House, the home Aleister Crowley made infamous and Jimmy Page made famous. There was always a huge obstacle I willfully overlooked (the manor house has always been a private residence), but now it appears my dream has literally gone up in flames: Jinnet informed me right before Christmas that Boleskin burned down, gutted to the walls and foundation. As she summed up in the subject of her email, which also served as message: “Oh no!”

Built in the 1760s as a hunting lodge by Archibald Fraser, Boleskin House immediately gained a reputation because it was built just uphill from a cemetery and reportedly on the site of a church that had burned down, killing the congregation. (If true, then yes, that’s two highly destructive fires in the same, secluded spot. Hmmm?) Crowley bought the house from the Fraser family in 1899 after searching for the perfect spot to perform his Great Operation. As Crowley explained in his Confessions:

It would appear the simplest thing in the world for a man with forty thousand pounds, who is ready to spend every penny of it on the achievement of his purpose, to find a suitable house in a few weeks. But a magical house is as hard to find as a magical book to publish. I scoured the country in vain. Not till the end of August 1899 did I find an estate which suited me. This was the manor of Boleskin and Abertarff…

Nevertheless, Crowley only lived in the house until 1913, during which time he supposedly summoned all manner of demons and then left before returning them to their rightful places. Additionally, in the intervening years between Crowley and Page, a Major Edward Grant shot himself in the house, increasing the violent deaths attributed to the estate. As Page was quoted when he bought the house, “Strange things have happened in that house which have nothing to do with Crowley. The bad vibes were already there.”

Jimmy Page used his earnings from Led Zeppelin to buy Boleskin House in 1970, and filmed his fantasy sequence for The Song Remains the Same at night on the hillside directly behind it. Even so, he reportedly only spent a total of six weeks in residence at the house the entire time he owned it, before finally selling it off in 1992.

In 2009, the home was again up for sale by Annette MacGillivray, who had bought it off Page. MacGillivray categorized the reputation of the home as “rubbish” and said she and her husband had loved it, and loved throwing parties there. The current owners are Dutch and used the house as a holiday retreat. They were out Christmas shopping and returned to find the blaze. [source]

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