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Links with occultism - are they significant?
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Whitehall_Bin_Men
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter
Trustworthy Freedom Fighter


Joined: 13 Jan 2007
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Location: Westminster, LONDON, SW1A 2HB.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Inside the abandoned Aleister Crowley house of West Cornwall
https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/gallery/inside-abandon ed-aleister-crowley-house-2129516

There are plenty of abandoned houses in Cornwall, but only one has tales that involve Aleister Crowley, the Dalai Lama, Virginia Woolf, famous artists and the murder of a celebrity
BY GREG MARTIN 19:01, 21 OCT 2018UPDATED17:17, 22 OCT 2018

Mention the ‘Aleister Crowley house’ in conversation with someone in West Cornwall, and you could either get a knowing look or a frosty silence. Despite being dead for more than 80 years, the English occultist who was branded a Satanist and ‘the wickedest man in the world’ is still controversial enough to stir up ill-feeling in those who would rather his links with Cornwall, however small, were forgotten.

And then there are those who will tell you in hushed tones that they have visited the house – often as a dare. The bravest will claim they have spent the night there, writing their names on the walls to document their courage, but the more honest will tell you they got too scared to hang around.


For the most part, though, it seems those who have heard about the ‘Aleister Crowley house’ in West Cornwall, know very little about it, including where it is.

Travelling from St Ives to St Just on the B3306 – once described as the most romantic road in Cornwall – you get a fleeting glimpse of a building high up on the moor just before Zennor. Out of sight from all except the occasional walker in search of Zennor Quoit, the remote Carn Cottage has been part of the wild and rugged landscape of Zennor Hill for well over 200 years, though nearby remains of other houses, mine shafts and ancient burial chambers reveal that this was not always the lonely spot that it is now.
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Travelling from St Ives to St Just on the B3306 – once described as the most romantic road in Cornwall – you get a fleeting glimpse of a building high up on the moor just before Zennor. Out of sight from all except the occasional walker in search of Zennor Quoit, the remote Carn Cottage has been part of the wild and rugged landscape of Zennor Hill for well over 200 years, though nearby remains of other houses, mine shafts and ancient burial chambers reveal that this was not always the lonely spot that it is now.
(Image: Greg Martin)
Despite the lack of hard evidence, Aleister Crowley has been associated with Carn Cottage in literature from the 1950s right up until, most recently, in David Whittaker’s ‘St Ives Allure’ published in September 2018:
“To this day it has a sinister reputation amongst the locals. The fact alone that it is rather hidden and isolated from the community has prompted stories of hauntings and witchcraft. These stories had been partially endorsed by the presence, in the 1930s, of the self-styled ‘Great Beast’, Aleister Crowley. He is supposed to have summoned up the very Devil himself in the cottage and performed a black mass down the hill in Zennor’s church.”
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Despite the lack of hard evidence, Aleister Crowley has been associated with Carn Cottage in literature from the 1950s right up until, most recently, in David Whittaker’s ‘St Ives Allure’ published in September 2018:
“To this day it has a sinister reputation amongst the locals. The fact alone that it is rather hidden and isolated from the community has prompted stories of hauntings and witchcraft. These stories had been partially endorsed by the presence, in the 1930s, of the self-styled ‘Great Beast’, Aleister Crowley. He is supposed to have summoned up the very Devil himself in the cottage and performed a black mass down the hill in Zennor’s church.”
(Image: Greg Martin)
Though Crowley’s presence at Carn Cottage is difficult to establish, the history of the house that can be established is no less interesting.
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Though Crowley’s presence at Carn Cottage is difficult to establish, the history of the house that can be established is no less interesting.
(Image: Greg Martin)
Its ‘sinister reputation’ that Whittaker writes about almost certainly stems from the evening of Saturday May 21st 1938. The following week, the West Briton reported:
“Mrs. Katherine Laird Arnold-Forster, aged 51, died early on Monday morning at Zennor, in a cottage near her residence, the Eagle’s Nest. She was taken ill there on Saturday, when she was visiting a sick friend. She was suddenly taken with a seizure, and she never regained consciousness. Her death came as a terrible blow to her many friends, because, except for a slight cold during the last few days, she seemed to be quite well.”
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Its ‘sinister reputation’ that Whittaker writes about almost certainly stems from the evening of Saturday May 21st 1938. The following week, the West Briton reported:
“Mrs. Katherine Laird Arnold-Forster, aged 51, died early on Monday morning at Zennor, in a cottage near her residence, the Eagle’s Nest. She was taken ill there on Saturday, when she was visiting a sick friend. She was suddenly taken with a seizure, and she never regained consciousness. Her death came as a terrible blow to her many friends, because, except for a slight cold during the last few days, she seemed to be quite well.”
(Image: Greg Martin)
Mrs. Arnold-Forster, known as Ka Cox, was a celebrity of her time, and her death not only featured in the local papers, but was also announced in the nationals. Once the lover of poet Rupert Brooke, close friend of Virginia Woolf and a member of the Neo-Pagans, she eventually settled in West Cornwall with her husband, former Labour politician Will Arnold-Forster, at Eagle’s Nest, below Carn Cottage.
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Mrs. Arnold-Forster, known as Ka Cox, was a celebrity of her time, and her death not only featured in the local papers, but was also announced in the nationals. Once the lover of poet Rupert Brooke, close friend of Virginia Woolf and a member of the Neo-Pagans, she eventually settled in West Cornwall with her husband, former Labour politician Will Arnold-Forster, at Eagle’s Nest, below Carn Cottage.
(Image: Greg Martin)
At the time, according to the Penwith Local History Group, Carn Cottage was being rented out by a couple, Gerald and Ellaline Vaughan. On the evening of May 21 1938, Ka Cox was asked to go up to the cottage, because, depending on what account you read, either Mrs Vaughan was very ill, the Vaughan’s were in a state of panic because the cottage was so haunted, or, the Vaughan’s were concerned about a satanic ritual taking place in the cottage involving Aleister Crowley himself. Whatever happened that evening, by the end of it Ka Cox was dead and Gerald Vaughan had gone mad, eventually ending up in an asylum.
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At the time, according to the Penwith Local History Group, Carn Cottage was being rented out by a couple, Gerald and Ellaline Vaughan. On the evening of May 21 1938, Ka Cox was asked to go up to the cottage, because, depending on what account you read, either Mrs Vaughan was very ill, the Vaughan’s were in a state of panic because the cottage was so haunted, or, the Vaughan’s were concerned about a satanic ritual taking place in the cottage involving Aleister Crowley himself. Whatever happened that evening, by the end of it Ka Cox was dead and Gerald Vaughan had gone mad, eventually ending up in an asylum.
(Image: Greg Martin)
The satanic rumours from that night at Carn Cottage were later fictionalised in Frank Baker’s ‘Talk of the Devil’ and A.L. Rowse’s ‘Night at the Carn’, before being written as fact in Denys Val Baker’s ‘View from Land’s End’ and then thoroughly investigated in Paul Newman’s ‘The Tregerthen Horror’. However, such publications seem to have only fuelled wilder sensationalist rumours about the cottage, with one ‘informant from the St Ives area’ warning Paul Newman as he researched his book:
“Deep investigation into this subject will reveal powerful, dangerous Satanists who are connected in a web that reaches up into the elite of British and world politics. This is why the files pertaining to Ka Cox’x death were destroyed. The situation runs much deeper than a woman’s death and Aleister Crowley. In fact, the truth of this matter is utterly bizarre. Open-minded research reveals an ancient reptilian extra-terrestrial race from the constellation of Draconis. Satanists conjure these reptilian beings in their rituals and my own researches suggest that Aleister Crowley was using powerful dimensional gateways around Zennor to summon and communicate with these creatures. The ruling cast of this race are 8-12 feet tall with horns and huge wings. This is what, I believe, Ka Cox saw that frightened her to death, and I am sure the same applies to the man who was with her and who ended up in Bodmin Asylum.”
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The satanic rumours from that night at Carn Cottage were later fictionalised in Frank Baker’s ‘Talk of the Devil’ and A.L. Rowse’s ‘Night at the Carn’, before being written as fact in Denys Val Baker’s ‘View from Land’s End’ and then thoroughly investigated in Paul Newman’s ‘The Tregerthen Horror’. However, such publications seem to have only fuelled wilder sensationalist rumours about the cottage, with one ‘informant from the St Ives area’ warning Paul Newman as he researched his book:
“Deep investigation into this subject will reveal powerful, dangerous Satanists who are connected in a web that reaches up into the elite of British and world politics. This is why the files pertaining to Ka Cox’x death were destroyed. The situation runs much deeper than a woman’s death and Aleister Crowley. In fact, the truth of this matter is utterly bizarre. Open-minded research reveals an ancient reptilian extra-terrestrial race from the constellation of Draconis. Satanists conjure these reptilian beings in their rituals and my own researches suggest that Aleister Crowley was using powerful dimensional gateways around Zennor to summon and communicate with these creatures. The ruling cast of this race are 8-12 feet tall with horns and huge wings. This is what, I believe, Ka Cox saw that frightened her to death, and I am sure the same applies to the man who was with her and who ended up in Bodmin Asylum.”
(Image: Greg Martin )
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Reptilian aliens aside, the Vaughan’s moved out of Carn Cottage, and the house on the hill was left abandoned during the Second World War, until, one day in 1945, an artist stumbled upon it and recognised the beauty of its surroundings.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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Bryan Wynter made the derelict cottage his home and eventually bought it. With no electricity or running water, he constructed a small windmill to generate power and collected rain water in large tanks that fed into the cottage through pipes. In Michael Bird’s comprehensive book on the artist, ‘Bryan Wynter’, he suggests that Wynter would have been aware of the dark rumours about Carn Cottage:
“According to the pub gossip that regaled him when he first moved in, his cottage was haunted. It was, moreover, rumoured to have hosted a fatal act of black magic performed in 1938 by the egomaniacal occultist, mountaineer and author Aleister Crowley.”
(Image: Greg Martin)
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Despite such rumours, Bryan Wynter embraced the cottage and its inspiring location, going on to paint some of his most important works there, placing him in the influential St Ives group of British painters. And his home soon became a social hub for other great local artists, including Patrick Heron, who moved into Ka Cox’s former home, Eagle’s Nest, in 1956.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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In 1957, Wynter built a large wooden studio behind Carn Cottage, which gave him uninterrupted views of Carn Zennor – the beguiling granite rock formations which look down upon the cottage. His wife, Monica, moved into Carn Cottage with him by the end of the fifties, and there they had two sons, Tom and Billy, before finally moving away to St Buryan in 1964.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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Bryan Wynter sold the cottage to another prominent local artist who was in love with the landscape of West Cornwall. Born in Penzance, Margo Maeckelberghe, returned to Cornwall at the end of the fifties after teaching art in London. With a young son and daughter, and her husband Willy working as a local GP, Margo immersed herself into her landscape painting, which had been influenced by the likes of Wynter.
(Image: Marcus Harrison, from the Maeckelberghe collection)
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Margo’s son, Paul, remembers his mother taking himself and his sister, Nico, up to the cottage one day before she bought it from Bryan. He recalls her asking them, rather oddly, how the house made them feel. When the young children answered positively, saying the cottage made them feel happy, Margo went ahead and bought it.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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Nico Maeckelberghe, pictured in the house above, remembers other things about the cottage that, looking back, seem a bit out of the ordinary. Like the time there was a huge gorse fire one night on the hill, and, surrounded by flames, the fire crews broke the news to the Maeckelberghe’s that there was nothing more they could do to save the house. Returning to the cottage the following day, they saw that the building was completely untouched, and surrounded by a circle of gorse that hadn’t caught alight. Or the time that Patrick Heron rang her mother to let her know that monks were visiting the cottage. This, apparently, happened several times, and Margo would happily rush up to meet the exotically dressed visitors in their robes and offer them pasties and tea.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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More bizarre still, Nico goes on to say: “Mother quite often used to be contacted by people who wanted to purchase the cottage, and Paul remembers that the Dalai Lama was one of them, which would tie in with my memories of monks. Maybe they were Tibetan monks and Carn Cottage has some sort of spiritual significance? I did recall the story, but assumed I must have imagined it, because how on Earth would the Dalai Lama know about Carn Cottage?!”
(Image: Greg Martin)
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However, by and large Nico’s memories of the cottage are not of it being eerie or peculiar. As Nico, pictured above, walks around the empty interior, pointing out where the kitchen was, the room where she and her brother slept, and the wooden extension where she spent her honeymoon in the eighties, her memories of the house are clearly fond.
“It was just a magical place to be for a young child, because you could just go out onto the moors, be away all day, and it was just a really warm, lovely cottage.”
(Image: Greg Martin)
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That is not to say that Nico discounts the rumours of Aleister Crowley visiting Carn Cottage. The occultist was a fastidious diary-keeper, and whilst his entries for May 1938 clear him of being in Cornwall when Ka Cox died, he was certainly in Cornwall later that year to visit his new born son, Ataturk, who grew up in Newlyn, and he certainly had plenty of connections in the area. Nico says that her mother always told them that Crowley had been in the cottage, even explaining that some animal skins found by her son, hidden in the attic, must have been left by him.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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Rather than living in Carn Cottage, or ‘Carne’ as she called it, Margo Maeckelberghe just used it as her studio, bringing her family up for retreats most weekends. But as she got older, she spent less and less time up on the hill, and slowly the cottage fell into disrepair. The wooden studio that Bryan Wynter had built blew down in a fierce storm. The cottage roof started to leak and was in major need of repair. The track leading up to the house – once drivable in a 4x4 – became overgrown. And people began breaking into the cottage and stealing the furniture.
(Image: Greg Martin)
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Following Margo’s death in January 2014, Carn Cottage, along with the family home near Penzance, was left to Paul and Nico. By this point, the house had looked abandoned for many years, no doubt reigniting some of the darker rumours about it. And although they were able to repair the roof, and still visit the cottage regularly, it would now take a lot of work to restore it to the ‘warm, lovely cottage’ that Nico remembers as a child.
“It needs a lot of work doing on it, but it needs someone to live here. It would be a shame if it became a holiday home. It would be really nice if an artist or an author could make it a home again.”
(Image: Greg Martin)
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But has Carn Cottage become a dammed spot? With its dark reputation that seems to eclipse the talent, creativity and fond memories of those who spent decades there, is it possible for the ‘Aleister Crowley house’ to shake off the spell of potent rumours and become a home once again?
Nico believes it can: “My mother always maintained that Crowley was here, but she always said the forces of good in Carne were too strong for him, and that’s why he never came back”
(Image: Greg Martin)
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From the outside, it is easy to see why Carn Cottage has been cast as sinister, but inside, at its heart, this Cornish home has seen more birth than death, more creativity than destruction, more light than dark, and more love than fear.
(Image: Greg Martin)

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