Statement 7 November 2020
The Boleskine House Foundation SCIO is a registered charity with the OSCR with number SC049568. Its aims are educational and according to its constitution include:
(a) The restoration and preservation of the Boleskine House estate; and
(b) To advance the education of the public in the subject of local Scottish history, with particular emphasis on the Boleskine House estate.
It has come to our attention from recent press that an organisation based outside of the local area has claimed that we intend to reinstate Boleskine House as a “pilgrimage site for satanists.”
The trustees of the Boleskine House Foundation would like the public to know that these reported allegations are false and grotesquely unfounded. Those advancing these comments have never contacted us, visited the site, nor have they made any attempt at communication with us whatsoever. They appear to base these allegations on the fact that one of Boleskine House’s former owners (more than a hundred years ago) was Aleister Crowley, who they allege is (or was) a “satanist.”
As historians and bastions of heritage conservation, our take on Aleister Crowley is not one of sensationalism or alarmist conjecture as many will find in the popular press, but rather academic in nature, seeing Crowley as a historical and cultural figure of his time. Like that of King Henry VIII, Sigmund Freud, or the Beatles, Crowley’s works and activities should be seen in light of the historical context in which he lived, as a commentary on the human experience. We have outlined a historical overview of the Boleskine House estate and all of its owners on our website: https://www.boleskinehouse.org/history.
As we stated to the Highland Council in September:
“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, whilst 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. Indeed, such matters are strictly prohibited by the Foundation’s constitution, and it could not undertake such actions in any event as it would be a breach of Scottish charities law.”
The Boleskine House Foundation has encouraged and continues to encourage engagement from communities, local and far and wide about our project. We are also encouraged by the substantial number supporters to our project and we consider the recent press articles to have been a gross misrepresentation of the situation regarding our planning application, which among other things seeks to roof the listed building. The trustees are seeking legal advice on the redress available to the registered charity in light of recent inaccurate reports in the media.