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News: Plato's Atlantis: Fact, Fiction or Prophecy?
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The Haunting of Borley Rectory

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Jennifer Janusiak
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2009, 12:13:13 am »

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books will find little mention of the farmyard in Price's writings but traces are discernible here and there.  Price reported, for example, that the phantom coach seen by Mr Edward Cooper 'swept into the farmyard and disappeared' (MHH, p. 55).  Mr H. F. Russell told Price that the spot where he was unaccountably thrown to the ground was 'to the right of the plan you sent me and more in the entrance to the farm' (EBR, p. 67).

 

There are two principal legends connected with Borley Rectory which play their part in the story of the alleged hauntings.  The first of these was the one published, apparently for the first time, in the Daily Mirror and other papers in June 1929, and was based on the assumption that the rectory was built on the site of a 13th-century monastery.  This story was presumably current in the district for some time before its publication, and it has been suggested that it was established prior to the building of the rectory in 1863 and that the dining room fireplace with its monk's head effigies was installed by the Rev. Henry Bull to perpetuate a legend in which he may have believed.  There are several variants of this first story, which we may loosely describe as the 'Monastery, Monk and Nun Legend', but in general terms the story is that some 700 years ago a monk from Borley Monastery eloped by coach with a novice from Bures Nunnery, some eight miles away.  The legend says that the result of this ill-fated expedition was that the elopers were caught, the would-be bridegroom hanged or beheaded, and the novice bricked up alive in her own convent, which presumably accounts for the story of the phantom coach, the headless man, and the ghostly nun.  Price points out on p. 22 of EBR that there is no evidence that a monastery ever existed at Borley and little evidence that there was ever a nunnery at Bures, but this view expressed by Price in 1946 was not always held by him, as we shall show in this report.  There seems little doubt, in fact, from Price's early accounts of the Borley hauntings in the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research in August 1929 and in his Confessions of a Ghost Hunter (London, 1936), that he accepted the legend of the previous existence of a large monastery at Borley until 3 November 1938 when this theory was exploded by Mr S. H. Glanville's patient correspondence with the Essex Archaeological Society, an official of which said that no ecclesiastical building other than the twelfth-century church had existed at Borley.  That Price was at first reluctant to abandon this initial story of Borley, even in the face of the facts, is suggested by his letter to Captain W. H. Gregson some days later on 15 November 1938 in which he said:

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