Oct 06, 2020 I Nick Redfern

A Mysterious “Carved Wooden Box,” Loch Ness and Aleister Crowley: Part 1

You may have seen the article I wrote a few days ago on the subject of a strange tapestry found at Loch Ness, Scotland in 1969 that had a connection to Aleister Crowley's Boleskine's house. Coincidentally, and just a day after I wrote the article, the  Inverness Courier newspaper ran an article titled "Mystery of wooden box at notorious Loch Ness home." The article states: "A carved wooden box may contain the secrets which unlock some of the mysteries of a notorious Highland home. A man from Grimsby is appealing for information on the box which it is claimed was found under the floorboards of Boleskine House. The site, previously owned by the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, overlooks Loch Ness. It caught fire in 2015 and the previous owner of the carved wooden artefact said it was found under the floorboards of the building after the blaze. Rik Spencer bought the item from a seller on eBay. He said: 'I do collect oddities and the strange and weird – I have studied the paranormal for most of my life, but not so much witchcraft. The more I find out the more points to it being real." The box bears a hexagram, a six-pointed star, as well as the initials AC, is covered in melted, red wax, and has intricate carvings on the lid. The 41-year-old said: 'I feel it’s too much hard work to go to to be a fake – it’s too simplistic in the way it is.'"

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Boleskine House

It will be interesting to see how this all develops. In the meantime - and in light of the connections - I thought I would share with you the story of how Crowley, Boleksine, the monster, and the legendary loch came together. It’s important to note that it was not random chance that, in 1899, took Aleister Crowley to Loch Ness. The location was as important as the purpose he had in mind. In some respects, it was even more important. Crowley’s goal was to perform what he termed the great Operation of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage. And to successfully perform it meant finding an abode that perfectly fitted the requirements of the ritual, one that had to be specifically situated in an isolated spot. Since Crowley had specific 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, however, a brief bit of background on the old manor-house is 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 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 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 1922 book, The Confessions of Aleister Crowley:

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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 connection to it – and a full-blown supernatural connection, no less. He was of the feeling that Boleskine House operated, in effect, as a portal or 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 kelpies in Loch Ness. It should be noted, however, that he had at least some knowledge of the controversy. For example, he had certainly 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.

In part-2 of this article, you'll learn even more about the fascinating connections between Aleister Crowley and Boleskine House.

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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