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Borley Rectory

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Author Topic: Borley Rectory  (Read 166 times)
Sandra
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« on: July 11, 2007, 01:17:07 pm »

Hauntings


The first known reports of paranormal events date from about 1863. At this time, a few locals reported hearing unexplained footsteps within the house. On 28 July 1900, four of the daughters of the rector reported seeing what they thought was the ghost of a nun from 40 yards' distance near the house in twilight: they tried to talk to it, but it disappeared as they got nearer.[5] Various people would witness a variety of puzzling incidents, such as a phantom coach driven by two headless horsemen, through the next four decades. Henry Dawson Ellis Bull died in 1892 and his son, the Reverend Harry Bull, took over the living.[6] In 1911, he married a younger divorcee, Ivy, and the couple moved with her daughter to nearby Borley Place until 1920 (when he took over the rectory), while his unmarried sisters moved to Chilton Lodge a few miles away.

On 9 June 1927, the rector, Harry Bull, died and the rectory again became vacant.[7] In the following year, on 2 October,[8] the Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved into the home. One day, soon after moving in, Mrs Smith was cleaning out a cupboard when she came across a brown paper package, inside which was the skull of a young woman.[9] Shortly after, the family would report a variety of incidents including the sounds of bells ringing, lights appearing in windows, windows shattering, unexplained footsteps, and their daughter was locked in a room with no key. In addition, Mrs Smith saw a horse-drawn carriage at night. The Smiths contacted The Daily Mirror to ask them to put them in touch with the Society for Psychical Research. On 10 June 1929, the newspaper sent a reporter who promptly wrote the first of a series of articles detailing the mysteries of Borley. The paper also arranged for Harry Price, a paranormal researcher, to make his first visit to the place that would ultimately make his name famous. He arrived on 12 June.[10] Immediately, objective "phenomena" of a new kind appeared, such as the throwing of stones, a vase and other objects. "Spirit messages" were tapped out from the frame of a mirror.

Finally driven from their home by the poor state of the house, the Smiths left Borley on 14 July 1929 and, after some difficulty in finding a replacement, the Reverend Lionel Foyster, a first cousin of the Bulls, and his wife Marianne moved into the rectory[11] with their adopted daughter Adelaide on 16 October 1930. Lionel Foyster wrote an account of the various strange incidents that happened, which he sent to Harry Price. Price estimated that, between the Foyster's moving in and October 1935, some two 2,000 incidents took place there, including bell-ringing, stones, bottle-throwing and wall-writing. Marianne Foyster reported to her husband a whole range of poltergeist phenomena which included her being thrown from her bed.[12] On one occasion, Adelaide was attacked by "something horrible". Twice, Foyster tried to conduct an exorcism, but his efforts were futile. In the middle of the first, Foyster was struck in the shoulder by a fist-size stone. Because of the publicity in The Daily Mirror, these incidents attracted much attention at the time from several psychic researchers who investigated, and were unanimous in suspecting that they were caused, consciously or unconsciously, by Marianne Foyster. Mrs Foyster later stated that she felt that some of the incidents were caused by her husband in collaboration with one of the psychic researchers, but other events appeared to her to be genuine paranormal phenomena.

The Foysters left Borley as a result of Lionel's ill health, and Harry Price, after a gap of more than five years, renewed his interest in the house, renting the building for a year from May 1937 to May 1938.[13] Through an advertisement in The Times on 25 May 1937,[14] and subsequent personal interviews, he recruited a corp of 48 "official observers", mostly students, who spent periods, mainly at weekends, at the Rectory with instructions to report any phenomena which occurred. In March 1938, Helen Glanville conducted a Planchette sťance in Streatham in south London.[15] Price reported that Glanville made contact with two spirits. The first was that of a young nun who identified herself as Marie Lairre.[16] She said she had been murdered on the site of Borley Rectory. Her answers were consistent with the local legend (see above). Her French name, though, was a puzzle. She was a French nun who left her religious order, married, and came to live in England. The groom was supposedly none other than Henry Waldengrave, the owner of the 17th-century manor house. Price was convinced that the ghostly nun who had been seen for generations was Marie Lairre, condemned to wander restlessly as her spirit searched for a holy burial ground. The wall writings were her pleas for help.

The second spirit to be contacted identified himself by the name of "Sunex Amures".[17] He claimed that he would set fire to the rectory at nine o'clock that night. He also said that, at that time, the bones of a murdered person would be revealed. The predictions of Sunex Amures came to pass, in a way, but not that night (27 March 1938). In February 1939, the new owner of the rectory reported that he was unpacking boxes when an oil lamp in the hallway overturned.[18] The fire quickly spread, and Borley Rectory was severely damaged. An onlooker said she saw the figure of the ghostly nun in the upstairs window. The burning of the rectory was investigated by the insurance company and determined to be fraudulent. Harry Price conducted a brief dig in the cellars of the ruined house and, almost immediately, two bones of a young woman were discovered. A subsequent meticulous excavation of the cellars over three years revealed nothing further.


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