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.
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.”
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.”