A tumbledown building in the Italian countryside is to sell for €1.5 million (£1.2 million) because it once belonged to a British hedonist, writer and occultist who was dubbed "the wickedest man in the world"
The dilapidated, whitewashed Italian villa, set amid the hills of Sicily, was owned in the 1920s by Aleister Crowley, whose outrageous drug-taking, keen sexual appetite and interest in mysticism later made him a cult figure for the Beatles, David Bowie, Ozzie Osbourne and Iron Maiden.[imgl=red]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/blog_attachment.php?attachmentid=44&d=1283391386[/imgl]
The cottage, near the town of Cefalu in Sicily, contains explicit, erotic frescoes of men and women entwined together, painted by Cambridge-educated Crowley when he lived there in the early 1920s.
The frescoes, inspired by the work of Gauguin, also include naked devils, satyrs and serpents.
The estate agents that are selling the property, which has been abandoned for years and is overrun with bushes and long grass, have suggested that it should be turned into a museum devoted to Crowley's extraordinary life.
He called the house the Abbey of Thelema and turned it into a kind of commune, where daily life revolved around yoga, adoration of the Sun and the study of his own mystical philosophical writings.
Eventually his libertine tastes so offended Mussolini's fascists that they expelled him and his lovers from the country in April 1923.
Local people believe that the villa, which hosted orgies and experiments in free love that predated the hippy movement by decades, is cursed and refuse to go near it.
Crowley, who called himself The Great Beast, created a religious philosophy known as Thelema and is known for his mystical writings, including The Book of the Law, in which he set out the main tenets of Thelema.
He was also a keen chess player and mountaineer, taking part in the first British attempt to climb K2 in the Himalaya, in 1902.
He travelled widely in Europe, Asia and the Americas and was thought to have been a spy for British intelligence.
He died in a Sussex boarding house in 1947 at the age of 72.
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