Dec 21, 2018 I Nick Redfern

From One Controversial Beast to Another

When the story of the Loch Ness Monster kicked off in spectacular style in 1933, none other than Aleister Crowley (the "Great Beast") was keen to embroil himself in the controversy; very keen, in fact. Nineteen-thirty-three was years after Crowley had exited his old house at Loch Ness, Boleskine House, but this did not at all prevent him from leaving his own, unique impression on the formative years of Nessie lore. In November 1933, for example, the Empire News contacted Crowley and asked him for his own, personal views on the Loch Ness Monster issue. The result of the invitation was that Crowley penned an entire article on the subject, and which was published in the pages of the Empire News on November 12. Its title: "The Magician of Loch Ness." Its subtitle: “Uncanny Happenings at Manor of Boleskine.”

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Looking for the monster

Crowley told the readers that he was highly intrigued by the growing controversy surrounding the Loch Ness Monster, and particularly so the stories that described some kind of huge, large-eyed monster on the loose. Crowley couldn’t fail to note the fact that Loch Ness was brimming with high-strangeness: after all, he had experienced it personally at Boleskine House. He added that: “…long before I purchased the Manor it was already the place around which a score of legends had been woven. All of them of a mysterious nature. Thus the head of old Lord Lovat, who was beheaded after the ’45, was believed to roll up and down the corridors of the rambling old place. There was another legend that a lunatic had murdered his mother by smashing her brains out against the wall, and that she returned at times to pick them up again. These alone had sufficed to give Boleskine an evil reputation, and my own experiences there by no means diminished that evil reputation.”

Although Crowley played down his personal knowledge of the Loch Ness Monster, it seems that he probably knew at least something of what was going on within the black heart of those vast, expansive depths. It is, surely, no coincidence that when he lived at Boleskine House, Crowley had a large sign posted outside his house that read, Beware the Ichthyosaurus! Another practically screamed, The Deinotheriums are out today!

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For those who may not know, the ichthyosaurus was of the ichthyosaur genus; marine reptiles that surfaced in the Triassic era and which died out in the Jurassic period. They were creatures that began life on land, but then gravitated to the waters – rather than the other way around, which was the case for so many now-extinct animals tens of millions of years ago. They were very much dolphin- and fish-like in appearance and extended in length from barely one-meter to roughly seventeen. How curious, then, that Crowley should have kept people away from his home with warnings of a beast that – like the Loch Ness Monsters – had associations to both the land and the water, and that could grow to notable sizes.

As for Deinotherium, it is an ancient Greek term that translates to – wait for it – terrible beast. One could argue that this was a jokey reference to Crowley himself, since he became infamously known as the Great Beast. On the other hand, though, consider this: Deinotherium was an animal of the Miocene period that was a relative of today's elephants. It’s intriguing to note that, as Nessie witnesses have attested, the monsters of the loch have often described them as having elephant-like skin, in both color and texture. Maybe, then, Crowley knew far more of the monster than many might suspect – even if, for his own obscure reasons, he chose not to publicly over-emphasize that knowledge.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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