November 7, 2008
"The Most Haunted House in England".
The English village of Borley is the site of the "Most Haunted House in England".
Borley Rectory offered every type of phenomena associated with hauntings. It had poltergeists, voices, footsteps, singing choirs, a sad little nun and a rare exhibit of wall writings.
Borley Rectory was built in 1863 for the Reverend Henry Bull. It was erected on the site of an ancient monastery. The sorrowful ghost of a nun who strolled the grounds was well known to the villagers at that time.
The Bull family encountered unusual spirits. Throughout the years, Bull’s servants and his daughters were repeatedly unnerved by phantom rappings, unexplained footsteps and ghostly appearances. Regarding these apparitions as great after-dinner entertainment, Reverend Bull and his son constructed a summer-house on the property where they could observe the ghostly nun who walked nearby.
Becoming something of a nuisance, the little nun often startled guests by peering at them through the windows. She was even seen gliding across the lawn in broad daylight. Other apparitions included a ghostly coach and horses seen racing up the rectory drive.
Over the years, different residents endured whispers and moans, footsteps, the incessant ringing of bells and flickering lights.
Harry Price, a psychic investigator, first visited the Rectory in 1929. Studying the ghostly activities throughout the years, Price estimated "that at least 2.000 Poltergeist phenomena were experienced at the Rectory between October 1930 and October 1935."
Marianne, the lady of the house who lived at Borley during this time, was forced to dodge objects which flew at her day and night. More strange were the messages addressed to Marianne which were scrawled on the walls of the house, even while witnesses watched. Most remained unintelligible, though one certainly read, "Marianne, please help get" and another, "Pleas for help and prayers".
When no one could be found to live in the Rectory any longer, Harry Price had a further opportunity to study the hauntings. After renting the empty building for a year, he advertised in the newspaper for unscientific investigators willing to spend several nights in the abandoned building.
“HAUNTED HOUSE: Responsible persons of leisure and intelligence, intrepid, critical, and unbiased, are invited to join rota of observers in a years night and day investigation of alleged haunted house in Home counties. Printed Instructions supplied. Scientific training or ability to operate simple instruments an advantage. House situated in lonely hamlet, so own car is essential. Write Box H.989, The Times, E.C.4”
The forty-eight observers on his team logged an extraordinary number of psychic phenomena over the course of a year.
After Price's study group left, the house was eventually purchased, but caught fire in 1939 when the new tenant was stocking some bookcases and overturned a lamp. Witnesses to the blaze claim to have spotted ghosts in the windows.
Harry Price returned to the ruins of Borley in 1943. Digging in the cellars, he discovered a few fragile bones which turned out to be that of a young woman. Convinced that it was part of the body of the ghostly little nun, he attempted to end the hauntings by giving the bones a Christian burial.
It does not seem to have worked. Unusual happenings are still reported from the site of the rectory and the nearby churchyard. Borley has an eerie atmosphere that visitors cannot help but remark upon. BOO!!
Rectory: the house that a rector or minister lives in, provided by the church
phenomena: things that are out of the ordinary and excite people’s interest and curiosity
Reverend: a title for some leaders of the church in many Christian religions
psychic: somebody who claims to be sensitive to supernatural forces or something outside the sphere of scientific knowledge.
supernatural: not of the natural world -relating to phenomena that cannot be explained by science or nature