The myths of a country travel better than its truths. Once, in a bar in Downtown Los Angeles, I got into a conversation with a man whose teeth were all gold caps. He asked me where I was from.
‘Shit. You’re from Scotland. You ever see that Loch Ness monster?’
‘But you know about it, right?’
‘Yeah? You know all about it, hm?’
‘No? Then you don’t know who made it?’
‘Yeah, that’s what I said.’
I thought for a moment.
‘You mean Crowley? Aleister Crowley?’
‘Yeah, that’s the man, that’s him. That’s the evil motherfucker that made it.’
Crowley allegedly “made” the Loch Ness monster when he failed to complete a complex Magick ritual at Boleskine House. His failure was said to have unleashed a demon.
Crowley had purchased Boleskine House, on the south-east shore of Loch Ness, in order to carry out a series of rituals from The Book of the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage. He had chosen Boleskine because he required:
...a house where proper precautions against disturbance can be taken; this being arranged, there is really nothing to do but to aspire with increasing fervor and concentration, for six months, towards the obtaining of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
Boleskine suited Crowley’s needs, and he later described the place in Confessions:
The house is a long low building. I set apart the south-western half for my work. The largest room has a bow window and here I made my door and constructed the terrace and lodge. Inside the room I set up my oratory proper. This was a wooden structure, lined in part with the big mirrors which I brought from London.
For Crowley, Boleskine House was a “Thelemic Kiblah”, a “Magical East”, where he could practice the Black Mass and summon demons. It is these demons which are believed by many to have caused the strange, monstrous disruption to the loch. Crowley later stated in his autobiography:
...the spirits he summoned got out of hand, causing one housemaid to leave, and a workman to go mad. He also insinuates he was indirectly responsible for a local butcher accidentally severing an artery and bleeding to death. Crowley had written the names of some demons on a bill from the butcher’s shop.
Aleister Crowley and the Other Loch Ness Monster is an engaging short documentary, directed by Garry S. Grant. It contains fine interviews with Kenneth Anger, Colin Wilson, Neil Oram, Head of the UK OTO, John Bonner and Mogg Morgan. And the commentary is read by former Jesus of Nazareth, Robert Powell.
Back to my American friend. As we headed off into the night, in search of another bar, he said, ‘You ever think that monster was maybe Cthulhu?’