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Caithness filmmaker aims to smash the 'fake news' surrounding Boleskine House with The Beast of Loch Ness documentary


By David G Scott

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A Wick-born filmmaker is working on a documentary which plans to demystify the "pop-cultural moss" that surrounds one of the Highland’s most misinterpreted historic buildings.

Ashley Cowie aims to tell the lesser-known story of occult magician Aleister Crowley’s time in Scotland, and the modern restoration that has saved Boleskine House from ruin after two fires.

Boleskine House has suffered from two fires, in 2015 and 2019, and is now being restored. Picture: Gair Fraser.
Boleskine House has suffered from two fires, in 2015 and 2019, and is now being restored. Picture: Gair Fraser.
Wick-born historian, adventurer and filmmaker Ashley Cowie.
Wick-born historian, adventurer and filmmaker Ashley Cowie.

Ashley said he is about to smash the "fake news" he believes blights the legacy of the famous Loch Ness location that was home to, not only Crowley but also Led Zeppelin musician Jimmy Page.

"Built in the late eighteenth–century as a hunting lodge on the south bank of Loch Ness, the house holds much mystery and intrigue," said Ashley. He adds that legends say the house stands on the site of an ancient kirk and that some sources claim that at night the decapitated head of Jacobite rebel Simon Fraser 11th Lord Lovat, known as The Fox, can be heard rolling throughout the halls.

Kyra and Keith Readdy have been renovating Boleskine House. This room was Aleister Crowley's oratory. Picture: Gary Anthony
Kyra and Keith Readdy have been renovating Boleskine House. This room was Aleister Crowley's oratory. Picture: Gary Anthony

A mysterious tunnel supposedly links the house to the nearby war grave burial ground, and it was the site of curious magical ceremonies being performed by the infamous English occultist, author and artist Aleister Crowley (1875-1947).

Ashley, who recently presented STV’s The People’s History Show, currently runs the HistoryFuzz.com platform and regularly features on Discovery Channel adventure documentaries. Best known for separating mythology from history, in this new film Ashley shines his torch on the shadow of Aleister Crowley, who bought and renovated Boleskine House for a "magical operation".

Occult magician Aleister Crowley in his Golden Dawn robes. He purchased the house for a special 'magical operation'.
Occult magician Aleister Crowley in his Golden Dawn robes. He purchased the house for a special 'magical operation'.

The filmmaker says he is "determined to shatter the pop-cultural moss that has grown around Boleskine House" and to "separate the self-styled beast from the legacy of the house". To do this he is bringing together a dynamic team of academics, writers, authors and podcasters to explore the newly renovated house.

The storyteller will highlight the restoration efforts of The Boleskine House Foundation who have saved this historic building from ruin following two devastating fires in 2015 and 2019, in which the Category B-listed building was almost completely destroyed.

Kyra and Keith Readdy start work on Boleskine House. Picture: Gary Anthony..
Kyra and Keith Readdy start work on Boleskine House. Picture: Gary Anthony..

Ashley has teamed up with Aberdeen based independent television production company B4Films, who create factual and entertainment programming for broadcasters all over the world, and The Boleskine House Foundation, a registered Scottish charity that aims to restore and preserve the historical legacy and heritage of the Boleskine House estate.

Once restoration is completed the site will educate the public on the heritage of the house and lands, facilitating learning, growth and well being.

For more information, please visit: www.boleskinehouse.org and www.thebeastoflochness.com/


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