Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Borley Rectory

Reportedly the most haunted house in England, The Borley Rectory was built in 1863 for the Reverend Henry Bull. It was built on top of an ancient monastery said to be visited by a nun who could be seen walking along a path on the grounds.

Aware of the ghost, the villagers of Borley told stories that she was the ghost of a nun who had fallen in love with a monk from the Borley Monastery. The two had planned to elope but they were tracked down and caught. The monk was executed while the nun was bricked up inside the cellar walls of the monastery.

Reverend Bull’s home had been erected beside the so-called “nun’s walk” so that he could view the manifestations. The nun, however, became more of a nuisance than an amusement. She would startle guests by looking at them through the new Rectory’s windows. Servants would not stay late in the night and the Reverend’s four daughters began to see the nun gliding across the lawn in broad daylight. The hauntings increased when the Reverend’s son, Harry, took over the Rectory. A new apparition of a ghostly horse-drawn coach began to appear, racing up the Rectory’s driveway.

As the last of the Bull’s passed away, Reverend Eric Smith and his wife moved into the Rectory in 1927. Hearing of the house’s reputation, they invited famed psychic researcher, Harry Price to the house to investigate. His appearance brought forth an increase in poltergeist activity. Now items were being smashed and large stones thrown at the investigator. The Smith’s could only endure two years in the house before moving out.

Communicating beyond the grave?

The hauntings grew worse still when the Reverend Lionel Foyster and his family moved into the home. The ghost seemed to take a liking to the Reverend’s wife, Marianne. Going so far as to throw things at her and write her messages on the walls of the home, even as people watched. Attempts were made to try and communicate with the ghosts but the messages remained mainly intelligible. However there were a few that seemed to make out “Marianne, please help get.” And “Pleas for help and prayers”

Finally, the Reverend Foyster had the Borley Rectory exorcised. The apparitions stopped for a while but soon returned in different ways. Music could be heard from the nearby church, communion wine mysteriously turned to ink, the servant’s bells rang on their own, and the Foyster’s child was attacked by some unseen terror. Finally becoming fed up, the Reverend and his family left the home. No other incumbents would inhabit the house.

Harry Price, intrigued by the continuing reports of paranormal activity, returned to Borley Rectory in 1937, renting it himself. He took out an ad, searching for assistents and attempted to investigate the reasons behind the hauntings. He managed to gather a team of 48 witnesses who witnessed a surprising amount of paranormal phenomena while staying at the Rectory. During a séance held at the house on March 27th of 1938, they were told by a spirit that the house would catch fire in the hallway and burn to the ground, revealing the body of a nun. Nothing happened that night. Harry Price’s lease was up in that year and a new occupant moved in.

While in possession of the Borley Rectory, Captain Gregson lost his two dogs and then exactly eleven months to the day, an oil lamp fell over in the hall and the Borley Rectory burned to the ground. Witnesses claimed to see spirits wandering through the flames as the house burned and the nun’s face peering out through a window.

Once again, Harry returned to the Borley Rectory in 1943, determined to put an end to the hauntings. He dug up the cellar and reportedly found the jawbone of a young woman. Convinced that it was the jawbone of the ghostly nun, he gave the bone a proper burial in an attempt to appease her spirit. His efforts seem to have been in vain as there are still reported supernatural occurrences near the site of the Borley Rectory and in the nearby churchyard.

The spirits are perhaps doomed to roam the grounds for all eternity or perhaps until someone manages to finally break their curse.

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