It was a gorgeous Scottish morning, the start of a day that held the promise of adventure and discovery. Mr. C and I were out early, cruising along the B852 (General Wade’s Military Road), on the south side of Loch Ness, when true to the promise, we happened upon Boleskine Cemetery, a lovely burial ground nestled in between the road and the loch. You know us. We just had to pull over and take a closer look.
We spent some time wandering around, reading gravestones, and snapping photos, awed by the beautiful setting.
I later did some research to try to glean some information about the history of the cemetery, but unfortunately, there just wasn’t a whole lot to be found. What I do know is that the roofless building in the corner of the yard is what remains of a medieval church – Old Boleskine Parish Church…
…and that the roofed building is an old mort house. Mort houses were used to keep a coffined body under guard until it was no longer valuable to body snatchers. Think that wasn’t a real thing? Oh, it most certainly was. In fact, stay tuned for an upcoming post about that very subject!
Although Boleskine Cemetery has reportedly been the subject of strange happenings, it turns out that the real point of interest is the house across the street from the cemetery. Just up an embankment, directly across from the graveyard, lies Boleskine House, a now burned-out home with a very dark history. Honestly, it must have been hidden by overgrown foliage because we didn’t even notice it was there!
Legend says that the house is built upon the site of an ancient church that burned with its entire congregation trapped inside. The home has been the subject of all manner of horrific tales – murder, suicide, disappearances, hauntings, and even one story involving a butcher, his cleaver, and his hand! Without a doubt, though, the home’s real claim to fame is because of two of its previous owners.
In 1899, Aleister Crowley, a prolific English writer, painter, mountaineer, and occultist, purchased Boleskine House. Labeled as ‘The Beast,’ ‘The Wickedest Man in the World,’ ‘The Other Loch Ness Monster’, and a Satanist, Crowley was widely known for his ritualistic spiritual ceremonies, drug and sexual experimentation, and his use of black magic. His purchase of the remote Boleskine House was for the primary purpose of carrying out his acts of witchcraft. Crowley, who died in 1947, was the subject of much intrigue and speculation and was a prominent figure in British counterculture. Even today, he remains influential over certain sects.
Jimmy Page, founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin, was one of those individuals whom Crowley influenced. Also interested in the occult, Page purchased Boleskine House in the early ’70s. Though he reportedly spent little time there, he did film a disturbing fantasy sequence for the band’s movie, “The Song Remains the Same,” on the grounds near the house.
Page no longer owns the home. Today the house (what little remains of it) is owned by the Boleskine House Foundation. Restoration efforts are underway, and I understand that the group hopes to open the house to the public in the future. You can count me out.
You know, I have to say, I’m kind of glad I didn’t know about any of these things the day Mr. C and I stopped. Sometimes ignorance is bliss!
Well, that’s it for today. Take care, friends. See you next time.
16 thoughts on “Boleskine Cemetery and a Side of Witchcraft”
Lovely scenery! Boleskine House certainly has a disturbing history.
Very much so. Creepy!
Fascinating – I had no idea about the Aleister Crowley connection. He certainly has a reputation…
Yeah, he was a pretty freaky guy.
Spreading joy where ever he went.
Haha,when I visited Loch Ness 2 years ago, I had no idea about what was going on there in the past!!!
Yes, I imagine there are more tales from the Highlands than we can ever imagine.
A fab cemetery. I would gave stopped as well. Love the pictures.
Thank you, Darlene!
I know, right?!
I used to really love that side of Loch Ness (the quiet side) and spent a lot of time along there. I used to camp along the roadside in various places (well, sleep in my car).
I spent a lot of time around Boleskine House peeping at it through the fence and so on as I was ‘in love’ with Jimmy Page when I was younger (he was never there, don’t worry). I also used to go up ‘his hill’ above the house where he filmed the sequence in ‘The Song Remains the Same’. I actually find that sequence really beautiful and spiritual myself and not at all disturbing.
I heard the house had burnt down a few years ago and was really sad – I’m glad a group are trying to restore it – it was a beautiful house.
Aleister Crowley actually summoned some demons (the Abramelin Demons) in that house and it was supposed to be a difficult place to enter without feeling spooked. Obviously, as Jimmy P was into the same stuff, it wouldn’t have bothered him.
The whole Boleskine House situation is so fascinating. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I think I read somewhere that it sustained yet another fire more recently. Regardless, the place definitely seems to have some bad juju!
I know what you mean about that being the quieter side of the loch. I couldn’t believe the number of massive coach buses packed full of tourists. We only made the mistake of driving on the north side one time. Too many people for us!
I went to this cemetery after dark last Halloween and I can tell you it is one spooky place after dark !
I bet! I would absolutely love that!