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The Haunting of Borley Rectory

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Author Topic: The Haunting of Borley Rectory  (Read 280 times)
Jennifer Janusiak
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2009, 12:24:17 am »

Again, on pp. 46 and 47 it is said:

One night Miss Ethel awoke suddenly and found an old man in dark, old-fashioned clothes, wearing a tall hat, standing by her bed.  On another occasion, the same figure was seen sitting on the edge of the bed.  This figure was seen many times.

These several alleged occurrences appear to have been manufactured from a single experience of Miss Bull's, some 60 odd years ago, which she described in a letter to THH dated 2 April 1953 in these words:

The man I saw once standing beside my bed was tall and dressed in dark clothes, it was twilight, and once or twice I felt someone sitting on the side of my bed.

A further example of apparent exaggeration in Price's reporting of Miss Bull's testimony is contained on p. 45 of MHH in which the description of the alleged apparition of the 'nun' on the rectory lawn includes the following sentence: 'She had an expression of intense grief on her face.' On 11 August 1950 Mr W. H. Salter, Hon. Secretary of the Society for Psychical Research, accompanied by KMG and the Rev. S. Austin, had tea with Miss Ethel Bull at Sudbury, and recorded in his notes Miss Bull's description of the apparition:

She could only see a woman bent over in a flowing black robe such as nuns wear.  She could not see the face, nor whether she wore anything white, nor whether she carried a rosary or wore a crucifix or medal.  In November 1900, when she saw the nun again, the figure was bowed right over and no face visible.

Perhaps the most striking example of exaggeration, however, is demonstrated by an incident where we have been able to compare Price's published account with his own contemporary notes.  On p. 48 of MHH Price says:

One day Harry [Bull] was in the garden with his retriever' Juvenal', when the dog suddenly started howling and cowering with fright.  Looking in the direction at which the dog was 'pointing', the Rector saw the legs of a figure, the upper part of which was apparently hidden by some fruit trees.  The legs moved, and when they had cleared the bushes, Harry Bull saw that they belonged to a man who was headless.  The figure went towards the postern gate - which plays a big part in the Borley drama - through which it passed.  This gate was always kept locked.  The figure disappeared in the vegetable garden, where it was lost to sight.

This story is substantially repeated in EBR, p. 30, with a curious variation (which may be simply carelessness) in that Price says

p.19 

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