Boleskine House

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Boleskine House (boll-ESS-kin; Scottish Gaelic: Both Fhleisginn) is a manor on the south-east side of Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. It is notable for having been the home of author and occultist Aleister Crowley, and Led Zeppelin guitarist and producer Jimmy Page. It suffered significant fire damage in December 2015.


Boleskine House is 21 miles (34 km) south of Inverness, on the opposite side of Loch Ness from the Meall Fuar-mhonaidh,[1] and halfway between the villages of Foyers[2] and Inverfarigaig.

The current house was constructed in the 1760s by Colonel Archibald Fraser as a hunting lodge.[1][3][4] Page claimed the house was on the site of a 10th-century Scottish kirk.[5] The house is situated on a hillside above a graveyard, which had acquired a reputation for unusual activities.[6] Allegedly the kirk on the site caught fire during congregation, killing all inside.[1] This fueled local legend even before Crowley moved into the house.

Aleister Crowley[edit]

Crowley in ceremonial garb, 1912

Crowley purchased Boleskine House from the Fraser family in 1899. The House at that time was known as the Manor of Boleskine and Abertarff after the name of the local parish.[7] Crowley believed the location was ideal to sequester himself to perform a series of operations known as the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, taken from a grimoire called The Book of Abramelin.[8][9] According to Crowley, in his book The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, in order to perform the operations "the first essential is a house in a more or less secluded situation. There should be 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."[10] The purpose of this ritual is to invoke one's Guardian Angel.[11] It requires at least 6 months of preparation, celibacy and abstinence from alcohol. However, it also includes the summoning of the 12 Kings and Dukes of Hell, to bind them and remove their negative influences from the magician's life.[11][12] According to legend, whilst Crowley was in the process of performing the lengthy ritual, he was called to Paris by the leader of the Golden Dawn. He hastily left the house and never banished the demons he had summoned, leading to strange happenings occurring in and around Boleskine House.[12]

Crowley became infamous for stories of conducting black magic and various other rituals while residing at the house;[2] one of his pseudonyms was "Lord Boleskine".[13][14] His lodge keeper, Hugh Gillies, suffered a number of personal tragedies, including the loss of two children.[2] Crowley later claimed that his experiments with black magic had simply got out of hand.[6] Crowley described the house as a "long low building. I set apart the south-western half for my work. The largest room has a bow window and here I made my door and constructed the terrace and lodge. Inside the room I set up my oratory proper. This was a wooden structure, lined in part with the big mirrors which I brought from London."[10]

He left the property in 1913, moving to a modest cottage for sometime in Dennyloanhead near Falkirk.

In 1965, the then owner, Major Edward Grant, committed suicide at the house.[2]

Jimmy Page[edit]

Page, a collector of Crowley memorabilia[15] who "had read a lot of Crowley and ... was fascinated by his ideas",[16] purchased the property in 1970.[17] At the time it was in a state of decay, but he felt it would be a good atmosphere in which to write songs.[5] However, after arranging for the house to be restored he spent little time at Boleskine, leaving things in the care of his friend Malcolm Dent, who lived there with his family. Page sold the house in 1992, having spent less than six weeks at the property.


Since Page sold Boleskine it has since been run as either a private residence or a guest house.[1] In 2009, a 1.9-acre plot on the former estate was put on the market for £176,000 with plans to build a three-bedroom log house. The sale also included 140 ft of foreshore on Loch Ness.[2]

On 23 December 2015 a large part of the house was destroyed by fire.The house was considered to be unoccupied at the time of the fire.[18]

Boleskine House is a Category B listed building,[19] as is the adjacent stables and gate lodge.

In literature[edit]

Boleskine House is described and recognisable in The Magician (Maugham novel) where it is called "Skene". Crowley considered Maugham's book to be plagiarism and wrote an article under the name of Oliver Haddo (the name of a character taken from Maugham's book) for Vanity Fair (magazine) as a witty riposte. (For details, see Crowley's autobiography, Confessions, listed above.)


  1. ^ a b c d "House of the unholy". The Scotsman. 22 November 2007. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Kelbie, Paul (19 April 2009). "For sale on Loch Ness: Aleister Crowley's centre of dark sorcery". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Redfern 2013, p. 120.
  4. ^ Macleod, Calum (3 November 2006). "FA rock legend and black arts figured in Malcolm's life". Inverness Courier. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Hoskyns 2012, p. 167.
  6. ^ a b Redfern 2004, p. 205.
  7. ^ Confessions. ibidem.
  8. ^ Symonds J, Grant K (eds), The Confessions of Aleister Crowley Penguin 1979:184
  9. ^ The Book of Abramelin
  10. ^ a b Crowley, Aleister (1969). The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Hill and Wang. ISBN 0-80903-591-X. 
  11. ^ a b Macgregor Mathers, S.L (1975). The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-85030-255-2. 
  12. ^ a b "Terrified BBC Call Exorcist To House Of Satan". Retrieved 17 November 2015. 
  13. ^ Brown, J. F. (1978). "Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis'". The Drama Review 22 (2): 3–26. doi:10.2307/1145199. 
  14. ^ Owen, Alex (1997). "The Sorcerer and His Apprentice: Aleister Crowley and the Magical Exploration of Edwardian Subjectivity". Journal of British Studies 36 (1): 99–133. doi:10.1086/386129. 
  15. ^ Paglia, Camille (2003). "Cults and Cosmic Consciousness: Religious Vision in the American 1960s". Arion. 3 10 (3): 57–111. 
  16. ^ Case 2007, p. 98.
  17. ^ Hoskyns 2012, p. xxvi.
  18. ^ "Firefighters called to historic Boleskine House on Loch Ness". BBC. 2015-12-23. Retrieved 2015-12-24. 
  19. ^ "Boleskine House (Ref:1849)". Listed building report. Historic Scotland. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 


  • Case, George (2007). Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man: an Unauthorized Biography. Hal Leonard. ISBN 978-1-4234-0407-1. 
  • Hoskyns, Barney (2012). Led Zeppelin: The Oral History of the World's Greatest Rock Band. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-22111-2. 
  • Redfern, Nick (2013). The Most Mysterious Places on Earth. Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 978-1-4777-0685-5. 
  • Redfern, Nick (2004). Three Men Seeking Monsters: Six Weeks in Pursuit of Werewolves, Lake Monsters, Giant Cats, Ghostly Devil Dogs, and Ape-Men. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4165-0057-5. 
  • Macgregor Mathers, S.L (1975). The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. Dover Publications. ISBN 0-85030-255-2. 
  • Crowley, Aleister (1969). The Confessions of Aleister Crowley. Hill and Wang. ISBN 0-80903-591-X. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 57°15′55″N 4°28′29″W / 57.2653°N 4.4747°W / 57.2653; -4.4747