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TERRIFIED BBC CALL EXORCIST TO HOUSE OF SATAN; Horror after insect attack on film crew.

A FILM producer making a film about devil worshipper Aleister Crowley called in an exorcist after a series of horror incidents.

Garry Grant asked a priest and a minister to bless his project as he filmed at Boleskine House, beside Loch Ness, where Crowley, dubbed the wickedest man in the world, practised black magic.

The film crew working on the BBC documentary were attacked by a plague of beetles, suffered repeated equipment failures and experienced strangely similar nightmares about Crowley.

Garry's film, The Other Loch Ness Monster, tells how Crowley allegedly summoned 115 evil spirits to the house - including the Devil - during a bizarre ritual.

Occultists claim Crowley put a curse on anyone who dared to pry into his private life, even after his death.

Garry called in the clerics to safeguard his crew. He said: "Even though I'm not superstitious, I thought it was worth doing.

"It was a bit of added insurance to say that we respect any evil forces which might be there, while not admitting that they are."

When filming began, Garry and documentary writer Charles Preece began to experience dreams about the notorious warlock. Then a series of photographs taken at Boleskine House, near the village of Foyers, were ruined by a ghostly fog.

During one late-night shoot in the graveyard opposite the house, the crew were showered with glass when lights exploded, fuses burned out and camera stands fell over.

Three other members of the team suffered nightmares about Crowley, who practised his twisted devil worship 100 years ago.

One crew member's mobile phone kept ringing intermittently without warning and another's alarm clock kept going off at exactly the same time.

Garry said: "I've got a healthy scepticism about all this stuff." Nonetheless, he cannot deny what happened, or explain it.

Midway through the shoot in the graveyard, the crew was attacked by an infestation of insects.

Garry added: "It's said Crowley and another guy in Paris were sending magical spells to each other.

"In one spell, Crowley's dogs died and they were besieged by a strange kind of beetle that could not be identified by the Natural History Museum.

"As we were interviewing a man about that incident, the crew were overrun by beetles.

"They were swarming around the cameras, crawling over the lenses and banging off the lights.

"They also made a weird shrieking noise - you could hear it on our soundtrack. What should have been a straightforward shoot took 14 hours."

Garry cannot explain why a series of still photographs taken at the graveyard were ruined. He said: "They all had a strange circular halo of fog on them.

"It wasn't lens flare or a fault in the camera. I'd never seen anything like it before."

There have been numerous attempts to make a film about Crowley. Three years ago, Garry approached the late Oliver Reed and asked him to narrate the EX:S documentary.

But the actor refused point blank. Garry said: "It seems Oliver was too superstitious. He got a bit spooked and would not take part."

Villagers in Foyers are reluctant to talk about the legacy of Crowley, although they will happily discuss the Loch Ness monster.

They prefer to ignore the monster who lived on their doorstep. His memory brings with it stories of devil-worship, human sacrifice and black magic rituals.

Crowley was born on October 12, 1875, in Leamington Spa, England. At 23, he was initiated into the Golden Dawn, an occult society, and rose rapidly through its ranks.

He bought Boleskine House in 1899. With its large terrace space and doors which opened out on to Loch Ness, it was perfect for his black magic.

It was also far removed from neighbours and the prying eyes of the public.

At Boleskine, Crowley was said to have summoned 115 spirits, including Lucifer. The occultist also embarked on a complicated, six-month "power- giving" black magic ceremony called Abra Melin.

But he was interrupted in the middle of the ritual by his grand master, the head of the Golden Dawn, who called him to Paris. It is claimed Crowley didn't have time to banish the spirits he brought to Boleskine.

And some people believe they remain there to this day.

He became a cult figure among rock musicians. The Beatles used Crowley's image on the sleeve of their classic 1967 Sergeant Pepper album.

The Rolling Stones hit, Sympathy For The Devil, is said to have been influenced by the Crowley myth.

Led Zeppelin lead guitarist Jimmy Page bought Boleskine House in 1971 in homage to the occultist and filled it with Crowley memorabilia.

In Foyers today, Crowley is regarded as an anti-hero.

"If the Loch Ness monster washed up on these shores it would be a damn sight more welcome than Crowley," said Alan Donald, resident of Boleskine Lodge and the closest neighbour to the infamous house.

"If this man is haunting us, it's through rumour and gossip. I've been to the house many times and neither myself nor the people who live there have experienced any weird happenings."

His feelings, it seems, are echoed by the current owners of the house, retired hoteliers Ronald and Annette MacGillvary, who refuse to talk about Crowley. They declined to take part in the BBC film which focuses on their beloved home. Villagers claim the couple have tried to eradicate Crowley's presence. They bought the house a decade ago from Page and went to great lengths to wipe out all hint of the warlock's presence.

They whitewashed the interior of the vast mansion and placed carpet over a stone floor painted with black magic symbols.

According to locals, their efforts to paint over the symbols failed several times. As the paint dried, the eerie markings appeared again.

There is evidence to support the theory the house is cursed. British film star George Sanders started a piggery business at the mansion with Scots MP Dennis Lorraine.

It subsequently went bust, and, in one of the major scandals of the 1950s, Lorraine was imprisoned for fraud.

Major Edward Grant took over the vast estate with his wife, Mary, and committed suicide in Crowley's bedroom in the 1960s.

Anna MacLaren, 78, was his housekeeper at the time, and had an eerie premonition of the tragedy.

She was alone, picking vegetables from the garden, when she heard a single gunshot from the house.

When she went to investigate, there was no one there. Anna put the incident to the back of her mind.

But seven days later, at around the same time of day, her boss shot himself in the head.

She recalled: "I went in and found him with most of his head blown off. The family dog was playing with a bone. Police told me later the bone was part of the major's skull."

Rock legend Page bought the property, but never lived there before he sold it to the MacGillvarys.

A local, who asked not to be named, told of her unease after she visited the house recently for a party.

She told the Sunday Mail: "I am a psychic, and I sensed a presence there, definitely.

"In some rooms, it was comfortable, but in one particular room I had this enormous sense of pure evil. It was almost intolerable.

"My husband and I have been invited to return, but you'll never get me back."

Crowley died in Hastings on December 1, 1947. But his weird religious cult - the Law Of Thelema - lives on, with disciples around the world.

EX:S - The Other Loch Ness Monster will be screened on BBC Scotland on Wednesday.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Sloan, Billy; White, Donna
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 26, 2000
Words:1262
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