Plans to turn fire-ravaged Loch Ness house of Aleister Crowley into holiday lodges

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Plans to turn the former home of the ‘wickedest man in the world’ Aleister Crowley into holiday lodges have sparked fears it could become a Satanist pilgrimage site.

Plans have been submitted to turn Boleskine House, on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, into 10 holiday ‘twin units’ with guided tours of the grounds.    

But objectors to the development say they are worried for children and vulnerable adults in the area and fear it will ‘become a major Satanic temple.’  

The fire-damaged mansion, dubbed ‘the most notorious home in the Highlands’, was once home to the infamous occultist, philosopher and ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley, who died in 1947. 

Plans have been submitted to turn Boleskine House, on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, into 10 holiday 'twin units'

Plans have been submitted to turn Boleskine House, on the shores of Loch Ness in Scotland, into 10 holiday ‘twin units’

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page

Satanist and real life 'Wicker Man' Aleister Crowley

Satanist and real life ‘Wicker Man’ Aleister Crowley (right) lived in the house until his death in 1947. 23 years later the house was bought by Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page (left)

The 18th century Highlands haunt went up in flames in 2015, destroying the roof and destroying most of the interior. The house was unoccupied and there were no casualties

The 18th century Highlands haunt went up in flames in 2015, destroying the roof and destroying most of the interior. The house was unoccupied and there were no casualties

Jimmy Page pictured visiting Boleskine House, which he purchased in the 1970s during the height of band Led Zeppelin's success

Jimmy Page pictured visiting Boleskine House, which he purchased in the 1970s during the height of band Led Zeppelin’s success

Keith Readdy purchased Boleskine House on the banks of Loch Ness with wife Kyra (pictured together) in July 2019 before placing it into the care of a charitable foundation

Keith Readdy purchased Boleskine House on the banks of Loch Ness with wife Kyra (pictured together) in July 2019 before placing it into the care of a charitable foundation

A portrait of the occultist Aleister Crowley in ceremonial clothing in 1912

A portrait of the occultist Aleister Crowley in ceremonial clothing in 1912

Crowley, who was born into an upper-class British family, styled himself as 'the Great Beast 666'

Crowley is shown as Fo Hi, the Chinese God of laughter and money

Crowley, who was born into an upper-class British family, styled himself as ‘the Great Beast 666’. He was an unabashed occultist who, prior to his death in 1947, revelled in his infamy as ‘the wickedest man in the world’. Right, Crowley is shown as Fo Hi, the Chinese God of laughter and money

Who was the ‘wickedest man in the world’ Aleister Crowley? 

Born in Royal Leamingston Spa, Warwickshire in 1875, Crowley was an occultist, writer and mountaineer who rejected Christian doctrine and established Thelema.

Calling himself a prophet, he said he would be the one to guide humanity into the so-called ‘Aeon of Horus’ – an age of spiritual interest and self-realisation. 

Crowley, who was born into an upper-class British family, styled himself as ‘the Great Beast 666’. 

He was an unabashed occultist who, prior to his death in 1947, revelled in his infamy as ‘the wickedest man in the world’.

His form of worship involved sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, spells which he claimed could raise malevolent gods and the use of hard drugs, including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescaline.

He was said to have mutilated women by carving signs on their breasts with red-hot daggers, and was accused of eating babies in magic rituals.

He was widely criticised for being ‘in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time’.

Crowley’s motto — perpetuated by OTO — was ‘do what thou wilt’. 

And it is this individualistic approach that has led to a lasting fascination among artists and celebrities. 

He died at the age of 72 in Hastings, East Sussex in 1947. 

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He founded an occult religious movement named Thelema and styled himself as a prophet.

Crowley was also one of the founding ‘prophets’ of the Ordo Templi Orientis, also known as OTO or ‘Order of the Temple of the East’, which has been linked to celebrities including Jay-Z and Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page. 

The Beatles including Crowley on their iconic album artwork for their eight studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Crowley, who called himself The Beast 666 and had his teeth filed into fangs, was known to drink blood and stage huge orgies fuelled by heroin and cocaine. 

Some 23 year after Crowley’s death, the home was bought by Jimmy Page, who infrequently lived between it and London until 1992. 

In 2015, a major fire devastated the B-listed Georgian building, stripping out the interior and collapsing the roof. 

Keith Readdy purchased Boleskine House on the banks of Loch Ness with wife Kyra in July 2019 before placing it into the care of a charitable foundation. 

Objector Naomi King said she is worried that if the development goes ahead ‘the place will become a major Satanic temple and a hub for Satanist abusers from across the world to visit’.

She claims her comments on the council’s planning portal had been ‘sanitised’ – with all references to Satanism removed. 

The planning application, lodged under the mansion house’s Gaelic name of Baile Os Ceann, includes a proposal to create 10 holiday ‘twin units’ on the site with a reception area, storage and car parking as well as reinstatement and alterations to the main house and the installation of a sewage treatment plant.

Guided tours of parts of the main building and grounds are planned.

Trustees of the Boleskine House Foundation have vehemently denied the claims that it will attract Satanists. 

Objections have prompted Boleskine House Foundation to issue a robust defence of its planning application.

It states: ‘The charity has been formed to safeguard the future of the Boleskine House Estate so that it is secured for the local, national and international communities that value it as a place of historical significance.

‘The Boleskine House Foundation’s ambition for Boleskine House is to conserve and to sympathetically rebuild the Category B Listed structure back to residential use, while also allowing limited guided tours of the impressive public rooms and external grounds. 

‘The purpose of the guided tours being to answer the present public interest in the fascinating history of the site as well as to promote the ethos of historic building conservation.

‘The house’s previous proprietors (most notably, parliamentary diplomat Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat, mountaineer and esoteric author Aleister Crowley and rock and roll musician Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame) are all a part of the story of the place but they do not directly influence its future use.

‘There is no intention for the house to become a place of pilgrimage or ritual, nefarious or otherwise.’ 

The Beatles including Crowley (at the top left-hand corner in the back row, right next to Mae West) on their iconic album artwork for their eight studio album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

In 2015, a major fire devastated the B-listed Georgian building, stripping out the interior and collapsing the roof.

In 2015, a major fire devastated the B-listed Georgian building, stripping out the interior and collapsing the roof.

What is the Order of Oriental Templars?

Ordo Templi Orientis, also known as O.T.O or ‘Order of the Temple of the East’ and ‘Order of Oriental Templars’, is an international fraternal and religious organisation that was founded in the early 20th century and loosely modelled on Freemasonry. 

It was founded by  Carl Kellner and Theodor Reuss as well as English author and occultist Aleister Crowley, who is the best-known and most influential member of the order and was widely believed to be a satanist in his lifetime.   

Crowley, who called himself The Beast 666 and reportedly had his teeth filed into fangs, was known to drink blood and stage huge orgies fuelled by heroin and cocaine.

A portrait of occultist Aleister Crowley in ceremonial clothing in 1912. Crowley founded the Order of Oriental Templars, a meeting of which Anya stumbled across

A portrait of occultist Aleister Crowley in ceremonial clothing in 1912. Crowley founded the Order of Oriental Templars, a meeting of which Anya stumbled across

Peaches Geldolf, pictured in 2012, had a tattoo on her arm with OTO and a heart shape

Peaches Geldolf, pictured in 2012, had a tattoo on her arm with OTO and a heart shape

He was said to have mutilated women by carving signs on their breasts with red-hot daggers, and was accused of eating babies in magic rituals.

Crowley also founded the controversial Thelema religion in the early 20th century. Its key message is: ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.’

Despite Crowley’s death as an impoverished heroin addict at the age of 72 in 1947, he became an icon for anti-establishment figures in the 1960s.

Peaches Geldolf was believed to be a member of the society before her death in 2014, as she often tweeted about the group and its teachings and even had an OTO tattoo on her arm.

Both Jay-Z and Kanye West are among other famous faces that have been linked to the group. Kanye has worn jewellery of the Egyptian god Horus and pyramids, the symbol of Thelema, while Jay-Z sparked speculation he was a follower when he was seen wearing a T-shirt sporting Crowley’s motto ‘do what thou wilt’.

In 2013, the then head of OTO in Britain, John Bonner told the Mail that the cult was ‘misunderstood’.

He said: ‘We are used to being misunderstood. Many stories about Crowley, like people saying he filed his teeth down into fangs, are nonsense.

‘You could call us a sex cult in a way, because we recognise, accept and adore the whole process which goes towards making tangible the previously intangible.’

Peaches Geldolf was believed to be a member of the society before her death in 2014, as she often tweeted about the group and its teachings and even had an OTO tattoo on her arm. Pictured is an Instagram post she shared of her bookshelf with Crowley's bokos

Peaches Geldolf was believed to be a member of the society before her death in 2014, as she often tweeted about the group and its teachings and even had an OTO tattoo on her arm. Pictured is an Instagram post she shared of her bookshelf with Crowley’s bokos

Devotees of OTO say it can take years of study to understand the religion – something Mr Bonner acknowledged.

He said: ‘You’re not supposed to just jump straight in to it. It takes time and study, but our rituals are not for public consumption. You need to join us and go through the initiation process before you can begin to understand.

‘But according to our beliefs we can’t turn anyone away. So if you are over 18, are passably sane and are free to attend initiations, then you have an undeniable right of membership.’ 

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Crowley's form of worship involved sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, spells which he claimed could raise malevolent gods and the use of hard drugs, including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescaline

Crowley's form of worship involved sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, spells which he claimed could raise malevolent gods and the use of hard drugs, including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescaline

Crowley’s form of worship involved sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, spells which he claimed could raise malevolent gods and the use of hard drugs, including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescaline

Born in Royal Leamingston Spa, Warwickshire in 1875, Aleister Crowley was an occultist, writer and mountaineer who rejected Christian doctrine and established Thelema

Born in Royal Leamingston Spa, Warwickshire in 1875, Aleister Crowley was an occultist, writer and mountaineer who rejected Christian doctrine and established Thelema

In 2015, a major fire devastated the B-listed Georgian building, stripping out the interior and collapsing the roof

In 2015, a major fire devastated the B-listed Georgian building, stripping out the interior and collapsing the roof

The home as it looked before it was ravaged by a fire in 2015

The home as it looked before it was ravaged by a fire in 2015

The eerily abandoned Coach House set away from the main building. Satanist Aleister Crowleyis said to have practiced black magic at the property between 1899 and 1933

The eerily abandoned Coach House set away from the main building. Satanist Aleister Crowleyis said to have practiced black magic at the property between 1899 and 1933

The historic property also benefits from stunning view over the nearby Loch Ness

The historic property also benefits from stunning view over the nearby Loch Ness

Some 23 year after Crowley's death, the home was bought by Jimmy Page, who infrequently lived between it and London until 1992

Some 23 year after Crowley’s death, the home was bought by Jimmy Page, who infrequently lived between it and London until 1992

Mr Readdy, who published the book One Truth and One Spirit: Aleister Crowley’s Spiritual Legacy, said he was a property developer with an academic interest in the history of the house.

He added: ‘It is strange that we are never accused of giving guitar lessons or recruiting people to fight in a Jacobite uprising, yet these unfounded allegations about Satanism continue to be made about our work.’

It is understood Highland councillors will discuss the plans next month.

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