Sunday, 19 August 2012

Boleskine House

Built in the late 18th century by Archibald Fraser, Boleskine House would have likely remained a pleasant but unremarkable property on the banks of Loch Ness had it not been chosen by The Great Beast as a haunt from which to summon demons. The resident in question is, of course, Aliester Crowley. He occupied the pile from 1899 - 1913.

He claimed to have chosen the building for several reasons, though it's not clear how many of them are a product of Crowley's overactive imagination. He considered its architecture and layout to be favourable to the summoning of spirits. It fulfilled the need for a building with "...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." Thus Crowley felt that the building occupied some special place in the cosmic order; he considered the "Magical East" of certain systems to be somewhere around Boleskine. There are even rumours of a secret tunnel linking Boleskin house to a nearby graveyard close to the waters of Loch Ness which was an ideal location for sacred rites. Certainly the secluded site must have offered practical benefits.

Regardless of how many of the colourful myths about Boleskine are true, what is certain is that the building now occupies a special place in our folklore. It was owned from the early 1970s until 1991 by Led Zeppelin guitarist and Aleister Crowley enthusiast, Jimmy Page. In this interview he claims some of the spirits raised by his predecessor still walked the corridors (or, in the case of the severed head, rolled down them).

I was especially excited to discover the floorplan shown below. I find such schematics endlessly fascinating - they are at one abstracted representations of 3D space and a product of how the human mind conceptualises enclosed volumes.

Photos from here, here


  1. Pretty sure I lived in a flat that was ideal for demon summoning. Or at least I think the demon was summoned before I moved in. It was a mould demon (I'm guessing that's a cousin to Nurgle). Think it lived in foundations (ground floor flat) and appeared as a tree growing out from under the building. It's main purpose seemed to be to turn the sides and backs of cupboards and drawers in the bedroom a sickly green colour and to turn the bathroom black...

  2. More fascinating stuff ... I know what you mean about floorplans - when I began playing D&D (at the age of 12), my imagination could go wild just studying a castle or manorhouse floorplan (particularly exotic places for a kid growing up in Australia). Now that I think of it, I was interested in them even before D&D; at one stage as a young kid even trying to build a model out of papier mache of an ancient Egyptian house from a floorplan in a book!

    Thanks for continually firing the imagination on this blog Tam Tam.

  3. I just watched a documentary about Crowley, and while they mentioned this house and the demon summoning, which they said he never finished, there was no visuals of the actual estate. Thanks for this, that second picture looks far more cheery than I imagined it.

  4. Thanks Skeller. Was the documentary online and, if so, do you have a link?

  5. I do. Enjoy.