Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page always showed his interest in the occult when talking about the work of Alesteir Crowley. The musician even bought the occultist’s manor in the Loch Ness in 1973, selling it only in 1992. In an interview with Rolling Stone back in 2012 the musician talked about how he got interested in Crowley’s work.
How Jimmy Page got interested in the work of the occultist Aleister Crowley
“What attracted me to [the Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter] Dante Gabriel Rossetti? You won’t be asking me questions on that. But you would ask me about Crowley. And everyone is going to prick up their ears and wait for great revelations. The essence of this is I read a book called The Great Beast: The Life of Aleister Crowley, by John Symonds [first published in 1951].”
“I could have been 14, 15. It was intended as a defamatory book. But there was a bibliography, and I was curious enough to read some of the books Crowley had written. It wasn’t the only thing that I was tracking down as source material.”
But Crowley became more than a casual interest.
“It’s taken out of all proportion. There was a balance to it. I wouldn’t be here now if there hadn’t been.”
You’ve used the word “magic” to describe Led Zeppelin. Were you trying to create something in the music that was stronger than notes and chords?
“That is open to ridicule or to be misinterpreted. I know what it means to me. There is no doubt that the music was evocative. That isn’t just with me and Led Zeppelin. That can be true with classical music. Whatever interest I had, still have, in anything I do — it seems as though people will be hanging on it, trying to make something out of it that it wasn’t. I don’t feel, at this point, I need to spell it out.”
“The reason why Led Zeppelin still has an audience — and a new audience coming to it — is not the written word. It’s music. it’s not, “Did they wreck a hotel room here or throw a television out the window there?” It’s the music that keeps the band buoyant, rather than the myth. When the myth fades, the music will still be there.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine back in 1975 the musician talked about the bad energy the place had and the spirits that supposedly haunted the manor.
“Yes, it was owned by Aleister Crowley. But there were two or three owners before Crowley moved into it. It was also a church that was burned to the ground with the congregation in it. That’s the site of the house. So strange things have happened in that house that had nothing to do with Crowley.”
“The bad vibes were already there. A man was beheaded there and sometimes you can hear his head rolling down. I haven’t actually heard it, but a friend of mine, who is extremely straight and doesn’t know anything about anything like that at all, heard it, he thought it was the cats bungling about. I wasn’t there at the time, but he told the help, “Why don’t you let the cats out at night?”
“They make a terrible racket, rolling about in the halls.” And they said, “The cats are locked in a room every night.” Then they told him the story of the house. So that sort of thing was there before Crowley got there. Of course, after Crowley there have been suicides, people carted off to mental hospitals. …”
And you have no contact with any of the spirits?
“I didn’t say that. I just said I didn’t hear the head roll.”
What’s your attraction to the place?
“The unknown. I’m attracted by the unknown, but I take precautions. I don’t go walking into things blind.”
Do you feel safe in the house?
“Yeah. Well, all my houses are isolated. Many is the time I just stay home alone. So I spend a lot of time near water. Crowley’s house is in Loch Ness, Scotland. I have another house in Sussex, where I spend most of my time. It’s quite near London. It’s moated and terraces off into lakes. I mean, I could tell you things, but it might give people ideas. A few things have happened that would freak some people out. But I was surprised actually at how composed I was.”
“I don’t really want to go on about my personal beliefs or my involvement in magic. I’m not trying to do a Harrison or a Townshend. I’m not interested in turning anybody on to anybody that I’m turned on to. So if people want to find things, they find them themselves. I’m a firm believer in that,” Jimmy Page said.