The Abbey of Thelema - WARNING, there are some disturing images and PG is required.

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TeeJF

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Before we kick off I wasn't messing about when I said some people may find some of the following images disturbing. This report deals with an abandoned villa in Sicily which was used as a satanic temple by the infamous black magician Aleister Crowley. If you do find any part of the report offensive I apologise in advance but we have tried to double check everything we found during our research, and many of the more shocking facts seem to be corroborated across many sources. Personally I like to keep an open mind where things supernatural are involved and until I see definite proof myself that these things are real i will remain a sceptic.

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On Sicily's northern coast in a vast bay sits the small town of Cefalù. Some distance inshore away from the sandy, tourist beaches, a steep hill topped by a cell phone mast rises into the hinterland. Beyond the mast and almost as high as you can go before the road ends a sports stadium with parched brown grass is where the local football team play. There are a few houses dotted around the ground's perimeter but hidden away amongst dense undergrowth a small dilapidated building is slowly collapsing in upon itself. Upon casual inspection no one could begin to suspect what dark secrets this tiny, single story villa hides.It is black magician Aleister Crowley's Satanic Abbey of Thelema, abandoned now for 89 years...

Not everybody reading this will know who Crowley was so first of all I would like to tell the story of this warped, perverted individual.



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Edward Alexander Crowley, better known as Aleister Crowley, was born on October the 12th. 1875, and raised in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Both of his parents were members of the Strict Brethren, a fundamentalist Christian sect, and it is perhaps because of his highly religious upbringing that Crowley rebelled against the teachings of the bible at an early age and began to identify with the enemies of God in the stories that were read to him. He particularly identified with the antichrist predicted in the book of Revelation.

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Although Crowley is justly infamous for his occultist beliefs, he was in his time a published writer, a painter, a poet, an astrologer, a yogi, a mountaineer AND quite possibly a spy who worked for the British Secret Service! To his credit this enigmatic man actually led an attempt upon the then unconquered peak of K2 in 1902 but it is for his Satanic worship and studies that he is best remembered, indeed by the age of 24 he had already become a prominent member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a magical society. He also became a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a society which studied and possibly practised the black arts, and it is for his magical writings on the topic that he is best known today, not least for "The Book of the Law," supposedly dictated to him in 1904 by an Egyptian deity Aiwass, and which forms the central sacred text of Thelema, the cult for which he created his temple.

Crowley gained much notoriety during his lifetime, living a hugely debauched and hedonistic life style. Openly bisexual, a compulsive drug experimenter, and an acute social critic, he once said, "I was not content to just believe in Satan, I wanted to be his chief of staff". He was regularly denounced in the popular press of the day as "the wickedest man in the world," and he was deported from almost every country in which he tried to make his home, including of course Sicily.


The following overview of Crowley’s life is from Hungry for Heaven by Steve Turner:

Most of Crowley’s adult life was dedicated to indulging in everything he believed God would hate: performing sex magic, taking heroin, opium, hashish, peyote and cocaine, invoking spirits, and even once offering himself to the Russian authorities to help destroy Christianity. He wrote volumes of books that he believed were dictated to him by a spirit from ancient Egypt called Aiwass. “To worship me take wine and strange drugs,” the spirit conveniently told him. “Lust, enjoy all things of sense and rapture. Fear not that any God shall deny thee for this".​

Crowley’s father Edward had inherited a considerable fortune from his own father and when he died when Crowley was eleven the fortune passed on to the grandson. With his financial future thus secured by his inheritance Crowley was free to live as he chose and he soon began his journey of perverted Satanic excess with a will, already torturing and killing animals by the age twelve. In his teens he became a heroin addict and displayed such sexual perversion that his mother openly referred to him as “The Great Beast of Revelation whose number is 666,” a title which greatly pleased him. Perhaps occasioned by drug induced hallucinations or possibly symptomatic of underlying mental problems - hearing voices would tend to indicate Schizophrenia - he became convinced that he was the reincarnation of the magician Eliphas Levi, who had died the year Crowley was born. He was a firm believer in reincarnation claiming that he had also lived previously as Pope Alexander VI. His first wife Rose Edith Kelly - BELOW - died in a mental asylum, his second wife also went insane, five mistresses committed suicide, and scores of his concubines ended up as alcoholics, drug addicts, or in mental institutions.

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Crowley firmly believed in human sacrifice, though nothing more than anecdotal evidence exists to suggest that he actually ever indulged this vile belief. He is however quoted as saying, "A made child of perfect innocense (sic) is the most suitable victim." On December the 1st. 1947, Crowley died, pitifully wasted by his heroin addiction. His last words were “I am perplexed…” Crowley had worshipped Pan - the demon god of sexuality and lust, as his principal deity for most of his life, and his own work, “Hymn to Pan” was read at his funeral:

“I rave and I rape and I rip and I rend, everlasting world without end”.​

At risk now of straying into the bizarre world of conspiracy theories et all, there is also fairly reasonable evidence to suggest that Barbara Bush, the mother of lunatic former US President George "Dubbyah" Bush, - seen BELOW held by his grandmother - was the illegitimate daughter of Aleister Crowley, and lets face it, the loopy gene Dubyah has displayed so often and so comprehensively has to have come from somewhere! It is a strange story and perhaps a little hard to accept at first however many of the facts of the story ARE irrefutable and it does not take a mathematical genius to add all the individual ones together and arrive at much the same conclusion.

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There were many women in Crowley's life at this time and inevitably he fathered several illegitimate children. One of these women was an American socialite named Pauline Pierce - holding Dubyah in the photograph. She was the wife of Marvin Pierce, the president of a large and successful publishing company, the McCall Corporation. He married Pauline in 1919 and they soon had two children Martha (born in 1920) and James (born in 1921). Around this time Crowley bought a small villa in Sicily with the intention of turning it into an temple dedicated to the worship of Thelema - the very subject of this exploration report of which more in a moment. In brief, by 1924 the debauched behaviour of Crowley and his followers at the villa created such a firestorm of outrage in conservative Catholic Sicily that the Italian government headed by the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini decided enough was enough and they threw Crowley out. Having nowhere else left to go and having already squandered a vast amount of his fortune, he ended up in France where he was taken in by a follower called James Thomas Harris, known to almost everyone as Frank. Harris was a successful publisher, playwright and author from the USA , and a friend to many influential figures of that time including H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, but he was also in many ways as outspoken and contentious a figure as Crowley himself. The first volume of his book My Life and Loves published in 1922, was burnt by customs officials and the second volume resulted in him being charged with corrupting public morals. He had already been married twice but his second wife would not grant him a divorce, so he and an ex-pat American adventurer called Nellie O'Hara - BELOW - lived together as man and wife.

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...and Nellie's closest friend was Pauline Pierce.​

Now knowing full well as we do how Crowley's licentious mind worked, together with his powerful animal magnetism; and given that Frank (and presumably Nellie too) were disciples of Crowley's Thelemite mantra, "Do what though wilt shall be the whole of the law", then it is not just likely but nigh on inevitable that Crowley slept with one or both of the women, and probably Frank too just for good measure! Pauline returned to America in early October 1924 and then on June the 8th. 1925, she gave birth to a girl named Barbara. Barbara went on to marry decorated WW2 dive bomber pilot George H.W. Bush, who later became the 41st. President of the United States. And their son of course is Dubyah.

So is Crowley the father of Barbara Bush? No one in the know is likely to give up their secret any time soon and I doubt even she knows for sure herself but one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for me is the striking likeness so clear to see in the photographs!


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The Abbey of Thelema...


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The Abbey of Thelema is the name given to the small, single story house which was used as a temple and spiritual centre by Aleister Crowley and was run together with his disciple Leah Hirsig. Leah, seen BELOW - was Crowley's Babalon or, Scarlet Woman, taking the name Alostrael - , "the womb (or grail) of God."

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She wrote in her 1921 diary: "I dedicate myself wholly to The Great Work. I will work for wickedness, I will kill my heart, I will be shameless before all men, I will freely prostitute my body to all creatures".

The Abbey they created is situated in Cefalù in Sicily and Crowley bought it with his rapidly dwindling fortune in 1920. As can be seen from the floor plan - LEFT - it was not a very big building at all. The name for the villa came from a satire penned by François Rabelais where an Abbaye de Thélème is described as an "anti-monastery" where the lives of the inhabitants were "spent not in laws, statutes, or rules, but according to their own free will and pleasure." This idealistic utopia was the inspiration for Crowley's commune, which also functioned as a school of black magic. A typical day of study at Crowley's Satanic college included daily worship of the sun similar in many ways to the mono-theistic worship of the Aten by the heretic Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, studying Crowley's own writings on Satanic magic theory, regular yogic and ritual practices, and general domestic chores. The stated object was for students to devote themselves to the Great Work of discovering and manifesting their True Will.


Leah Hirsig and another woman disciple called Ninette Shumway, both became pregnant by Crowley whilst living at the villa. Leah had a miscarriage, but Ninette gave birth to a daughter on the 11th. of December, 1920, who they named Astarte Lulu Panthea. In 1931 Astarte moved to America and began a new life with Ninette's sister, Helene Fraux. She would grow up to have four children of her own, including the renowned jazz pianist Eric Muhler. On arrival in Sicily, Leah already had a two-year old son named Hansi and Ninette had a three-year old son named Howard; they were not Crowley's sons but he nicknamed them Dionysus and Hermes respectively. At some point, Leah suspected Ninette of magical foul play, and Crowley found supporting evidence of it in Ninette's magical diary (it was a rule that everybody had to keep one whilst resident at the abbey). Appalled by their apparent perfidy Crowley banished Ninette from the abbey, however, she soon returned to take care of her children.

In 1923, a 23-year-old Oxford undergraduate by the name of Raoul Loveday (or possibly Frederick Charles Loveday) died at the Abbey after taking part in one of the Satanic rituals. His wife, Betty May, variously blamed the death on the consumption of the blood of a sacrificed cat then upon the more probable diagnosis of acute enteric fever contracted by drinking from a mountain spring which Crowley had already warned the couple about. When Betty returned to London, she gave an interview to The Sunday Express, which included her story in its ongoing attacks upon Crowley. With these and numerous other rumours about the dark activities going on at the Abbey in mind, Benito Mussolini's government demanded that Crowley leave the country in 1923. After Crowley's departure, the Abbey of Thelema was eventually abandoned and local residents whitewashed over Crowley's murals.


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ABOVE - the only known photograph of a Satanic ritual being performed in the Temple.

The villa is still just about standing today, but it is in extremely poor condition. American filmmaker Kenneth Anger, himself a devotee of Crowley, uncovered and filmed some of the murals in his 1955 BBC Omnibus documentary Thelema Abbey, now considered lost. He did not visit the Abbey alone but went in the company of Alfred Kinsey who was an American biologist and professor of entomology and zoology, and who founded the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. He is also famous for the production of the highly controversial Kinsey Reports. They can both be seen - RIGHT .

Recently some of the other murals were uncovered, and pictures of them were posted on the internet. "Abbey of Thelema" remains a popular name for various magical societies, Witchcraft covens, and Satanist grottoes and it is also the name of a fan club for controversial rock star Marilyn Manson, who included the line "We're gonna ride to the Abbey of Thelema, to the Abbey of Thelema..." in his song "Misery Machine". Experimental musicians Coil, known to be fascinated by mysticism, went a step further in "The Sea Priestess" on Astral Disaster, whose lyrics are a bizarre interpretation of the murals in the Abbey The German/Swiss painter and conceptual artist René Luckhardt, after a visit to the Abbey, built a replica of the interior complete with paintings and showed them on various occasions.

Sadly today the Abbey is collapsing fast and the highly superstitious locals shun it for fear of the evil eye, however with its dark history and connections to the man who was perhaps the personification of Satanism incarnate the house attracts more than its fair share of weirdoes and psychological misfits, some of whom have erected a bizarre shrine in the last room with any remains of the infamous murals. But you know, all that kind of undesirable stuff could all be stopped if someone would just buy the place. It is on the market right now and it's a snip at 1.2 million Euros....




The photos...





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This exterior shot we took of the villa from the garden compares favourably with the period photograph shown earlier.
All the research we did shows the Abbey as being unoccupied from the time Mussolini threw Crowley out of Sicily. It's a little odd then to see what
looks like UHF TV aerials on the wall :exclaim: Perhaps Astoroth enjoys watching Via Incoronazione :p






Abbey_of_Thelema-03.jpg


We thought that the assorted junk left in the hallway was fly-tipped waste dumped there by the locals however upon inspection of some
photographs taken shortly after The Abbey was abandoned it would appear that this stuff is what remains of the original furnishings from the 1920s.






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I'm not sure how this gas cooker migrated from the kitchen.
Perhaps Aiwass fancied a fry up when he was gardening.






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All that remains of the kitchen.





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I wonder if Beelzebub kept his beer chilled in here.





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All mod cons for the discerning demonic guest.





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Undoubtedly this is modern graf.





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The Sanskrit symbol on the left is Om, a mystical mantra of Hindu origin chanted in various Dharmic religious ceremonies.





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In "The Chamber of Nightmares" - Crowley's name for the main room of the temple. If you compare this photograph with the old monochrome
photograph further up the page you can clearly see where the alter stood, which is on the left of our photo where the guitar is now leaning against the wall.






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M takes a close up of an inscription on the wall...





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This inscription and decoration are in all likelihood a modern intrusive piece of graffiti rendered by some fruit-loop Crowley obsessive.





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Again this is almost certainly modern "art", presumably a representation
of Crowley, rendered by someone who really needs to lay off the 'shrooms.






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The faces beneath the poem inscribed above are known as "The Four Degenerates".





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The original poem written by Crowley for Leah Hirsig said,
"Stab your demoniac smile to my brain! Soak me in cognac, c*nt and cocaine".






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Degenere numero uno...





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This is known as "The Mural of Heaven".





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It's hard to read now but the inscription reads, "Aiwass gave Will as a law to mankind through the mind of The Beast 666".





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Part of "The Serpent of Heaven" mural. The serpent is to the right of the photograph. The bound person represents the earth. Originally there was an inscription
by the snake which read, "The Serpent may find itself utterly neglected by all creation, unable to communicate the knowledge which would make man as Gods."





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TJ takes a close up of "The Blond Lady"...





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This part of "The Serpent of Heaven" mural shows "Blonde Lady and Her Negro Lover: ease and delight are obtained by blending opposites".





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This mural is known as "The Dragon Serpent" and represents "the Dragon Serpent devouring the Seven Hanged Wives in
Bluebeard's Closet being watched by the Toad." The Toad is very faded now but it used to look like a very smiley frog, a sort of Kermit on uppers!






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A shot of the Alter taken side on.





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A welcome breath of fresh air from the real world outside :exclaim:



:) And that, as they say in Mongolia, is your lot :exclaim: :)

 
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vanburen

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Well that was a cracking read and nice to see some recent pics of a place I had read quite a bit about ! Certainly was quite a character was Mr Crowley. Did you go with intention to see the place being a fan of his or were you trecking through the area ? I once called by at the house he owned to the south shore of Loch Ness called Bolskine House. Good report well done !
 

TeeJF

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Did you go with intention to see the place being a fan of his or were you trecking through the area ?

Thanks for your kind comments.

No I am most definitely NOT a fan of Crowley. I think the guy was a gross, perverted sexual deviant, an addled alcoholic and drug addict, and almost certainly schizophrenic. Mind you I shudder to think what it must have been like for him being brought up by two bible bashing nut jobs. Religion has a lot to answer for!

We had gone to Sicily for a break - we are Italian-o-philes (if such a definition exists) but we asked around before going across to see if there were any urbex opportunities worth a look and we were told about Thelema and a mock castle mansion down on the south east tip. We managed to do both but we also spotted an abandoned hotel and an abandoned hospital near Erice. Sadly though we didn't get into either of those but the mansion was pretty damned impressive and will appear in here shortly.

Is there much left of the Loch Ness gaff then?
 

chris

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Excellent report about a very disturbing personality.

and Dubya's great grandfather was pretty weird too :lol:
 

vanburen

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Oh yes ! Someone lives there ! It was once owned by Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin
 

night crawler

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Reading that give me the creeps but I know of a place in our Village that was used for demonic worship. One of the pubs in fact. one wall has a mural on it and the ceiling a pentigon. It was uncovered while being decorated really gave me the shivers when I went in the romm to see it. The place is a childrens nursery now. Great report.
 

LittleOz

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Great report, fascinating and scary at the same time. Probably the only good thing Crowley did was inspire the Black Sabbath track named after him.
 

sonyes

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Fabulous report, and some great pics to go with it. Really interesting one that ;)
 

gingrove

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Wow! that is an outstanding epic report with an amazing amount of chilling detail and some great shots. Thanks for bringing it to us.
 

Walrus75

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Great story, and interesting images.

Great report, fascinating and scary at the same time. Probably the only good thing Crowley did was inspire the Black Sabbath track named after him.
Well, to be properly factual, it was just Ozzy Osborne (or arguably The Blizzard of Ozz) on the album Blizzard of Ozz, after he left Sabbath. ;) Anyhow, it's good to add some background to the song.
 
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woodland pixie

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Wow I really enjoyed this report thank you! The symbol near the Om and Pentacle is a rune for protection. And that is clearly a cock and balls in the centre of the 'with love from sinister' diagram hahaha. Good history also, nice one :)
 

TeeJF

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Wow! Thanks folks!

Hmmmm.... Mizzy Pixie is an occult student I see! I couldn't pin down what that third symbol was. I wondered if it was an attempt at a Unicursal Hexagram painted by someone with the shakes! And if my memory serves me correctly a pentacle must be absolutely geometrically accurate to afford any protection or it is worse than useless... whoever painted it must have been drunk! ;)

Yes indeedy to Blizzard of Oz Walrus. Most of our reports in here are stripped down versions of our own urbex webpage articles and I was toying with the idea of making that song play when you open the page but I decided "Who Are You?" from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was better. Sadly my cr*ppy web creation software wouldn't work properly so we still have a silent page. Perhaps it's for the best though 'cos it gets a tad irritating if you don't actually like the artist in question!

Thanks again folks, we are well chuffed with your comments!
 

woodland pixie

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Hahahaha no not a student I just know stuff I don't know I know sometimes....like in the witchcraft museum in Cornwall I was singing along to all the witch songs I had never heard before, properly freaked my son out. Probably burnt at the stake or drowned for witchery in at least one of me past lives I reckon. And I'm not sure about the geometric precision, it's mainly intent which manifests the desire/wish/spell I thought...
 

Mars Lander

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What a literally wicked report, fascinating with ace illustrative images.

One shudders to think what kind of people would go here in homage and reverence to Crowley :(

Led Zeppelin's guitarist, Jimmy Page had great interest in him too and bought his Loch side house
 

TeeJF

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And I'm not sure about the geometric precision, it's mainly intent which manifests the desire/wish/spell I thought...

You do yourself a disservice Mizzy P :exclaim: :)

According to Dennis Wheatley (a student of Crowley apparently) in one of his books (fictional - though arguably all this twaddle is fictional or at best the product of impressionable minds :p ) the pentacle should be absolutely geometrically accurate. As a symbol it has little use other than, as you say, a statement of intent and in that sense it is literally "gang" tagging so to speak. However when painted or even chalked on to a scrupulously clean floor, and with the proper spells written in the right places, and the correct items placed in the vales - asafoetida, dishes of Holy water, mercury and salt if my memory serves me correctly, and the person who will be standing in the centre must be bathed, dressed in squeaky clean clothes and have had the nine openings to their body sealed with Holy water, (ten if it's a woman of course), then the person will be safe against all forms of manifestation except Saite.

:p

Seems like a lot of fuss to protect yourself from the heeby jeebys and why it doesn't work against attack with an Indonesian peanut butter flavoured kebab beats me :exclaim: ;)

By the way, it isn't actually a pentagram - it''s got six points, a pentagram, or a pentaCLE if it is on the floor and serving as a safe haven, has five. I only just realised when I looked back at the pic again. It is actually a very poorly drawn Unicursal Hexagram, the purpose of which I don't know as it's a new one on me! See below...

Unicursal_hexagram.jpg


Crowley has this symbol liberally splattered throughout his books so it clearly meant a lot to him. Perhaps his pentagrams always turned out wonky :exclaim:

So the question is, what the Devil (pun intended) is the scrappy third symbol! That's the one I thought was the bad Unicursal Hexagram.

You're not from Sabden then I take it? ;)
 

Mardy Bum

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I really want to say he wasn't a satanist, but that's a whole other can of worms.
Great to see the place tho, a friend visited in the 80s and has some strange tales to go with. I'll try and get a shot of his photos(I don't think he'll let me borrow them to scan :(

There's a really good doc on Boleskin Manor, the name escapes me right now.
 

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