1991 March 24 – The Sunday Mail

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Malcolm’s chilling nights of terror in Beast’s Lair. By Nick Hunter.

As the setting sun slips behind the hills of Loch Ness, lights from the crofts and the village of Foyers are a warming sight. But there’s one house locals shun during the dark hours and few will pass on foot. It’s the manor of Boleskine, the former home of satanist Aleister Crowley – a house said to be full of spirits, that’s been the centre for the occult and black magic.

Few know the secrets of the “house of evil” and what Crowley did there.

Now it’s being sold and it’s custodian for the past 20 years, Malcolm Dent, has agreed to share it’s mysteries.

Malcolm, a 6ft 3in Londoner, was entrusted with it’s care by the present owner, pop millionaire Jimmy Page, his great friend from boyhood.

When Malcolm arrived, he discovered that the couple who were meant to be looking after the house were into black magic and had let the place become run down. Sitting in his study, he said : “I found a magic circle, a pentagram and an altar in the dining room. “It wasn’t until later I learned that the dining room had been used by Crowley as his temple. “The last straw came when it became clear that the couple had carried out a black magic baptism on their child. “They left – and Boleskine has been my home ever since.”

Malcolm, a former hard-nosed salesman, doesn’t give the impression of being afraid of anything. He wasn’t – until he went there. As we looked down the impressive 70ft hall, Malcolm said: “I’d only been here a few weeks and one night, when I was sitting in the lounge, I heard something rumbling along the hallway. “It was one of those things that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck! “When I opened the door and looked, the noise stopped. There was nothing. I shut the door and it started again. It was pretty hairy. “That’s when I decided to find out what I could about the house and Crowley. “The “thing” in the hall was easy. I was told it’s been rolling around the house since shortly after the Battle of Culloden – IT’S LORD LOVAT’S HEAD!”

Malcolm’s research showed Lord Lovat was beheaded in the Tower of London. At that very moment, so it’s said, his thoughts were in the Highlands. So how did his head end up being in the house, which wasn’t even built?

Said Malcolm: “Above Boleskine there’s a place called Errogie, which is supposed to be the geographical centre of the Highlands. Boleskine was then the nearest consecrated ground to Errogieand it’s thought his soul, or part of it, ended here. “Boleskine was built on glebe land in exchange for a new church. “Crowley mentions it in his autobiography. He says when he put a billiard table in one of the rooms the head took to rolling about it!” As we walked down the hall, Malcolm stopped at an old oak door and added: “That’s the bedroom where I had the most TERRIFYING night of my life. “I was wakened in the early hours and knew something was wrong. I was petrified.


“Whatever was outside the door was Snorting, Snuffling and Banging. I thought it was something huge. “I had a knife on the bedside table and I opened the blade and sat there. The blade was small and wouldn’t have done any good but I was so frightened I had to have something to hang onto. “The noise went on for some time but even when it stopped I couldn’t move. I sat on the bed for hours and, even when daylight came, it took lots of courage to open that door.

“Whatever was there was pure Evil.”

He added: “There’s something bad about that room. Seemingly, a man committed suicide in it after the war. “We once had a friend who spent the night there. She awoke in a hell of a state, claiming she’d been attacked by some kind of devil.”

Then we were off again, down the long hall to “look at the chairs that switch places!” The seven chairs came from the Cafe Royal, in London, and it belonged to a famous person with a name-plate on both back and front. The collection consists of the chairs of Crowley, Marie Lloyd, Rudolph Valentino, art critic James Agate, Sir Billy Butlin, artist William Orpen and sculptor Jacob Epstein.

Malcolm said: “Crowley’s chair always sat at the top of the table with three down both side. When we had the chairs repaired and upholstered they were put back in the same places. “That’s when the switching about started. Every so often we’d find Marie Lloyd’s chair at the top of the table. “We’d put them back and it would happen again. “The chairs are almost identical, apart from the name plates, and we found that the upholsterer had innocently switched the Lloyd and Crowley ones. Now we let the Lloyd one sit at the top because we know it’s Crowley’s.”


Malcolm then took me to see the cellar. As we walked down steep stone stairs, the chilling air attacked our faces. He said : “When my daughter was about three , we kept finding her down in this cellar. She said she went to see the sad lady who was wet with crying.

“This happened SEVERAL times and she always described the lady in the same way – and that she wore a long dress”

“This was a another piece of history we had to research and the answer seems to be a lady of some standing who was drowned while crossing the Loch to meet her betrothed who owned Boleskine at the time.”

Back in the kitchen, Malcolm added: “Any time there’s construction work or major redecoration going on, the house doesn’t like it. “Carpets and rugs roll up and heavy doors bang night and day all over the place. “We’ve found the answer is to get on with the work quickly. once the job is finished, the house settles down.”

Then Malcolm grinned as he said: “If your lucky, you might see house’s party piece. The back door, inside double doors and kitchen doors suddenly whoosh open. It’s as if someone was racing through them – only it all happens in seconds. When it happens you should see the visitor’s faces!”

As much as local folk avoid Boleskine, the place is like a magnet for others worldwide. We made a short detour to look at Boleskine burial ground, below the house and across the single-track road.

Malcolm said: “In the old days, this was a pretty lawless place. “The kirk inside the grounds was supposed to have been burned down with the congregation still inside and there’s still the little watch-house where relatives of the newly buried spent weeks incase the dearly departed was dug up by grave robbers.

“Nowadays, the burial ground is used for occult rituals. People dance about at night with candles and that sort of thing. Every year scores of unwelcome callers make their way along the road on the south side of Loch Ness to Boleskine, midway between Inverness and Fort Augustus. Most make a “pilgramage” for sinister reasons.

They come in small groups, mainly at the times of the solstice and the full moon. Their “hero” is Crowley, self-styled “The Beast 666”. Perhaps the most famous black magician of modern times, Crowley has become a cult figure since his death in Hastings in 1947. The small groups sneak past the massive iron gates that gaurd the driveway. There they find geese and peacocks have the run of the grounds… And, in a field beside the gardens, a herd of GOATS graze!


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