The reputedly haunted Scottish manor house once owned by Jimmy Page will soon open its gates to tourists.
Boleskine House, on the south-east shore of Loch Ness, was first built around 1760 by a member of the Fraser clan. Local legend says it replaced a church that burnt down while a congregation was inside, killing them all. It’s also said that a local wizard would sometimes raise the dead who’d been buried in the nearby Clan Fraser Cemetery.
Boleskine was bought by the controversial occultist Aleister Crowley in 1899. He’s rumored to have spent many months trying to summon angels and demons – and didn’t send them all away when he’d finished. Inspired by the building’s myths, Led Zeppelin‘s guitarist purchased it in 1971, five years after a previous owner shot himself in what had been Crowley’s bedroom.
“Page encountered Crowley’s work during his teenage years after chancing upon a copy of Crowley’s monograph, Magick,” the Boleskine House Foundation website reads. “Crowley was already regaining popularity as a counter-culture icon with his inclusion on the Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, and other musicians and artists were now lifting his legacy from its previous obscurity. Led Zeppelin’s third album…would include the iconic Crowley phrase ‘Do what thou wilt’ written on the inner ring of the record.”
The story continued: “Page’s life as a musician touring heavily abroad kept him from spending a great deal of time at Boleskine, but he did invite other artistic luminaries of the time such as Richie Blackmore… He would also remodel the interior to match his own esoteric flair in keeping with the Crowley mystique.”
“The bad vibes were already there,” Page told Rolling Stone in 1975. “A man was beheaded there and sometimes you can hear his head rolling down. I haven’t actually heard it, but a friend of mine, who is extremely straight and doesn’t know anything about anything like that at all, heard it. He thought it was the cats bungling about. I wasn’t there at the time, but he told the help, ‘Why don’t you let the cats out at night?’ They make a terrible racket, rolling about in the halls.’ And they said, ‘The cats are locked in a room every night.’ Then they told him the story of the house. So that sort of thing was there before Crowley got there. Of course, after Crowley there have been suicides, people carted off to mental hospitals.”
Asked if he meant that he’d never experienced anything strange at Boleskine, Page replied: “I didn’t say that. I just said I didn’t hear the head roll.” He said he’d decided to buy it because of his interest in the unknown, adding: “I’m attracted by the unknown, but I take precautions. I don’t go walking into things blind.”
The house was kept by Page’s friend Malcolm Dent, who said in 2006 that he and his family had enjoyed life there despite “curious” events taking place around them. “Doors would be slamming all night, you’d go into a room and carpets and rugs would be piled up. We just used to say that was Aleister doing his thing.”
Page sold the house in 1992, and it changed hands several times before it burnt down in 2015, and then was damaged by another fire in 2019. The foundation took ownership that year and renovations have continued since then, with the roof and windows recently completed. Now the foundation has announced it will open for self-guided tours on May 23. Tickets are on sale now.
Among the terms and conditions is the warning: “You assume all responsibility for you entering the site, including any risk of loss, damage or injury, and you waive, release and discharge us…from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage or injury.” While that might seem like a natural legal clause, there’s nothing to say it’s not supernatural as well. Just like Page did, it’s probably best to take precautions.
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