It is very important to note that it was not random chance that, in 1899, took Aleister Crowley – most famously known as “The Great Beast” – to the heart of Loch Ness, Scotland. The fact is that the location was just as important as was the purpose that he had in mind. In some respects, it was even more important. Crowley’s grand goal was to perform what he termed the great Operation of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage. And to successfully perform it meant that Crowley had to find an abode that perfectly fitted the requirements of the ritual, one that had to be specifically situated in an isolated spot. Since Crowley had particular and highly complex needs, I have presented for you, below, his very own words on this matter. They demonstrate exactly how much work went into finding what ultimately turned out to be a place called Boleskine House. Just before we get to Crowley and his words, however, a brief bit of background on the old manor-house is certainly required.
Built on the south-east side of Loch Ness, in the late 1700s by Archibald Fraser, Boleskine House was originally intended to be a hunting lodge. And, for many years that is exactly what it was. It stands over both the B852 loch-side road and an old graveyard, one which, ever since the house was built, has had a reputation for being a place of evil and of supernatural malignancy. The house, not far from the villages of Foyers and Inverfarigaig, is even connected to the graveyard by an old tunnel, one which is rumored to have been used by witches and warlocks in centuries long gone. Not only that, although the house was not constructed until the 18th century, the locals maintain that it stood upon the site of an old church, one that caught fire and which led to the death of the entire congregation that were deep in prayer when the fire broke out. Reportedly trapped, they were all roasted alive. All of which brings us back to Crowley. Of his ideal place to conduct those grand rituals, he said, in his 1920s book, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley:
“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. 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 very few weeks. But a magical house is as hard to find as a magical book to publish. I scoured the county in vain.”
That is until he found a certain old house at a certain, creepy, Scottish loch. Interestingly, on coming across Boleskine House, Crowley felt an instant, deep connection to it – and a full-blown supernatural connection, no less, too. He was firmly of the feeling that Boleskine House operated, in effect, as a portal or as a doorway, through which supernatural entities and secrets could be channeled. It is unclear to what extent Crowley, while in residence, had an awareness of the long tradition of supernatural, shape-shifting kelpies in the deep and dark waters of Loch Ness. It should be noted, however, that he almost certainly had at least some knowledge of the controversy. For example, he had definitely heard of – and even wrote about – magical water nymphs in Loch Ness. And, when all is said and done, a water nymph is a perfect title for a shape-shifting beast of the deep.