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Loch Ness, Magic and a Pair of Legendary Characters: Edward Kelly and John Dee

Today’s article is focused on two men. Their names? Dee and Kelly. And, in a very odd – almost sinister – fashion they have a connection to the home of the Loch Ness Monster. They were John Dee and Edward Kelly. In my Final Events book of 2010, I described Dee as an “Elizabethan magician,” which he was. He was also someone who devised a Cabalistic language called the “Enochian Call.” As for Kelly, who was a good friend to Dee, he was an occultist and a medium, and someone who reputedly knew the secrets of ancient alchemy. Interestingly, none other than the legendary occultist and magician (and let’s not forget he was a poet and a mountain-climber, too) Aleister Crowley believed he was nothing less than the incarnation of Kelly. Interestingly, Crowley lived for a number of years at Boleskine House near the shores of Loch Ness, Scotland. Now, let’s get to the even greater weirdness.

Edward Kelly

Born Edward Talbot in 1555, Edward Kelly and his family originated in Ui Maine, Connacht, Ireland. As someone convicted of the crime of counterfeiting, Kelly had his ears violently sliced off as punishment. Although, few would ever know, since his hearing remained intact, he barely ever removed the black cap that was pulled down tight on his head, and he wore his hair long. Edward Kelly had intriguing associations: he spent much of his time digging into the worlds of the occult and alchemy, along with a man named Dr. John Dee. He, Dee, was a shadowy, Machiavellian character born in London in 1527 and someone who played a major role in the early years of the British Secret Service, which had been created by “spymaster” Sir Francis Walsingham. Dee was a student of both astrology and magic and possessed one of England’s largest libraries on the dark arts. He was a person one crossed at one’s peril.

John Dee

Now, we get to the matter of Ted Holiday, a devoted Nessie seeker of the 1960s and the 1970s, and someone who found himself immersed in the weirdness of Loch Ness, something that he addressed deeply in his book The Goblin Universe. As an example of the downright eerie strangeness that soon practically dominated Holiday’s every move, on one particular night in 1970 Holiday dined with an underwater engineer named Robert E. Love. He was a man deeply interested in the Nessie enigma. Also along for the dinner was an American friend of Love’s, a Dr. M. Dee. Holiday was deeply aware of the Dr. John Dee/Edward Kelly connection to the teachings of one-time Loch Ness resident Aleister Crowley. As a result, Holiday viewed this game of the name as some strange form of surreal, supernatural trickery. And, if trickery it was, it was far from over.

The American doctor came across as entirely normal and down to earth. That is, until the night came to a close. As the atmosphere took on a menacing nature, Dee leaned forward and whispered to Holiday that he had an ancestor of that same name, one who lived during the period when Queen Elizabeth I reigned. This was clearly a reference to John Dee, colleague of the occultist, Edward Kelly. The doctor knew this, he added, as he had spent much of his time in England researching his family-tree. Whether or not the words of the doctor were meant as a warning for Holiday to keep his nose out of things that didn’t concern him was never made clear, but Holiday most certainly took it that way. And the Dee connections didn’t end there.

One day, in 1971, Holiday was scouring the loch in the Achnahannet area when he suddenly noticed the yellowy form of three letters in the water. They were a “D,” an “E,” and one more “E”: Dee. They were caused by yellow sub-soil that had fallen into the loch, as a bulldozing crew worked to widen the stretch of road on which Holiday was standing. For Holiday this simply could not have been down to chance, even though he tried to convince himself that was exactly the truth of the matter. Holiday, hardly surprisingly, was plunged into ever-deepening paranoia. He died young in 1979. To say the Dee-Kelly situation is both weird and sinister is not an exaggeration!

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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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