Tourism vision for infamous manor once owned by occultist Aleister Crowley

STV News – Iain Ramage

A piece of Highland history with an infamous past is rising from the ashes to become a potential hot ticket for tourists.

Boleskine House on the southeast side of Loch Ness has a long history of beheadings, hauntings and occult-inspired incidents.

The former hunting lodge of the Fraser clan made news in recent years for the two fires which reignited tales of other previous owners – occultist Aleister Crowley, a self-professed “wickedest man in the world” and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page who apparently collected Crowley memorabilia.

But a charity which bought the ruins of Boleskine House promises to breathe new life into the estate.

The latest focus of the community-funded project is nature restoration, which includes transforming a freshwater pond within the grounds into a haven for local plant and wildlife – and opened to the public.

The foundation’s assistant site manager Steven O’Donnell said: “We intend to incorporate an organic veg box scheme, growing our own vegetables on-site, primarily to hand them out to the local community to facilitate their foodbank initiatives.

“We are also going to be having more management in our wildflower meadows and come up with a fully state-wide educational programme.”

First built around 1760 by a member of the Fraser clan, local legend says Boleskine House replaced a church that burnt down while a congregation was inside, killing them all.

It’s also said that a local wizard would sometimes raise the dead who’d been buried in the nearby Clan Fraser Cemetery.

The house was bought by Crowley in 1899. He used the manor for multiple rituals, including the infamously lengthy and intense Abramelin ritual.

As legend has it, Crowley completed the early part of the ritual that involved summoning the 12 dukes and kings of Hell – but was then called to Paris before dispelling the demons, leaving the house haunted and invoking a number of unpleasant happenings.

It was then purchased by Page in 1971, five years after a previous owner shot himself in what had been Crowley’s bedroom.

An educational offering from the new owners will reference Crowley and Page but will offer a far broader package for visitors.

Boleskine House Foundation trustee chairman Keith Readdy said: “We also have people that are touring Scotland interested in seeing all the different types of historical places that this bucolic setting has to offer.

“That really gives us an opportunity to be able to show somebody a unique part of history.

“We have been listed in the new draft of the Inner Moray Firth local development plan.

“We also have a local Stratherrick local place plan where this area’s been designated as a cultural hub and a place of heritage to preserve for future generations.”

The Foundation aims to open Boleskine House to visitors by 2026.