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The Haunting of Borley Rectory

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Author Topic: The Haunting of Borley Rectory  (Read 276 times)
Jennifer Janusiak
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« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2009, 12:25:18 am »

in 1942 describing events of 57 years previously.  In 1950 EJD wrote to Mr Jeffrey asking if he would assist the investigation by discussing with us his experiences at Borley.  In his reply dated 20 February 1950 Mr Jeffrey said: 'I am afraid I shall be no use to you.  I am 88 in a few days' time; my memory is quite untrustworthy and the events at Borley now 65 years ago are so remote that they now seem quite unreal and I should not be prepared to swear to them.'  Mr Jeffrey concluded his letter by saying, 'No amount of discussion would elicit any further facts from the dried-up reservoir of my memory.'

In any case, the physical 'phenomena' of 1885 were not very impressive.  Mr Jeffrey had 'lots of small adventures at the Rectory.  Stones falling about, my boots found on top of the wardrobe, etc.'  On the other hand, it must be recorded that Mr Jeffrey stated that he had seen the nun several times and had often heard the coach go clattering by. (1) In his view, however, the most striking phenomenon was the loss of a French dictionary which later was thrown on the floor of his bedroom in the night.  As an example of the ingenuity which has probably helped to give Borley some of its wide appeal, we quote the explanation offered for this incident by Dr W. J. Phythian-Adams, Canon of Carlisle, one of the principal believers in the paranormality of the rectory happenings.  He says in 'Plague of Darkness' (Church Quarterly Review, January-March 1946, p. 214):

Am I seriously contending that a French girl (the 'Nun' [2]) was haunting Borley all those years and that she collected English words out of a dictionary in the 80s for an appeal [the wall-writings] which had to wait another half-century?  I am contending nothing.  I simply ask whether any other explanation will fit the facts.

We prefer the explanation of Mr W. H. Salter who, in his review of EBR in the S.P.R. Journal for December 1946, said of Mr Jeffrey's experiences:

It is obvious that a large house in the depths of the country, inhabited by a crowd of young people divided into cliques only dimly aware of the other cliques' doings, [he is quoting Mr Jeffrey's precise description

1 But see p. 21 where it is pointed out that Miss Ethel Bull said that she knew nothing of any appearance of the nun prior to 1900, a statement confirmed in her letter to Mr S. H. Glanville of 25 March 1942 written after reading Mr Shaw Jeffrey's letter.  In the same letter in further contradiction of Mr Jeffrey's story she said that she had never heard anything about Pentlow Rectory being haunted, a mild but perhaps significant comment upon Mr Shaw Jeffrey's graphic account of how he and Harry Bull witnessed striking physical phenomena there at the home of the Rev. Felix Bull, four miles from Borley (EBR, p. 100).  The same remark was made to EJD and THH on 4 April 1953.

2 By this time the nationality and name of the legendary nun had been elicited from a planchette board.

p.23

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