Borley Rectory is located in the village of Borley, Essex, in Great Britain, and has the reputation of being one of the most haunted places in England and maybe even the world. Borley Rectory was built in 1863, but a fire destroyed the house in 1939. But, even to this day, it remains a creepy place, and there are still reports of poltergeist and ghostly activity.
The Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull constructed Borley Rectory near Borley Church in 1862, and he moved in a year after he was named as rector of the parish. The large brick building was built in a different style than the rather earlier Georgian-style house built for a prior rector named Reverend Herringham. Henry Bull demolished the old one.
The old church itself was built in the twelfth century and is still in use today, serving the rural community that makes up the parish. There are several very large farmhouses, and the remains of Borley Hall, once the home of the Waldengrave family.
The first reports of poltergeist and ghostly activity seems to have started around 1863. A few of the local people told of hearing mysterious footsteps in the house. In July of 1900, four of the rector’s daughters told their father that they saw what looked like the ghost of a nun near the house in early dusk of the evening. The girls said they tried to talk to the nun, but she disappeared the closer they got to her. Many people would witness a myriad of strange and frightening things, such as a ghostly coach being driven by two headless coachmen. This incident and other more poltergeist like activities kept happening throughout the next 40 years. Henry Bull died in 1892 and his son, Reverend Harry Bull, took over the parish. In 1911, he married a young woman named Ivy, and the couple moved with her daughter from a previous marriage to Borley Place until 1920 when he took over the rectory. Harry Bull died on June 9th in 1927, and the rectory once again stood empty.
In October of the next year, Reverend Guy Eric Smith and his wife moved into the rectory. Mrs. Smith was cleaning out a cupboard one day, just after they had moved in, when she came across the skull of a young woman, which had been wrapped in brown paper. Shortly after that the poltergeist activity really began in earnest. The family reported the sounds of ringing bells, lights showing up in the windows, window glass shattering, sounds of footsteps, and their daughter became locked into a room that had no key. Mrs. Smith said she saw a horse-drawn carriage at night.
The Smiths got in touch with a newspaper called The Daily Mirror to have them put them in touch with the Society for Psychical Research. In June 1929, the newspaper sent a reporter who wrote the first of many articles that told of the strange happenings at Borley. The paper also set up a visit for a paranormal researcher named Harry Price to the place that would make his name famous. He arrived June 12th. Suddenly, new poltergeist activity started. Stones were hurled with force, as well as a vase and several other objects. There were also some strange rapping noises that seemed to be messages of some sort.
The Smiths fled their home in July of 1929. Reverend Lionel Foyster, his wife Marianne, and their adopted daughter Adelaide, moved into the rectory on October 16th, 1930. Lionel Foyster kept a diary of the poltergeist activity that happened, which he sent to a friend named Harry Price. Price figured that between the time that the Foyster's moved in and from the accounts given since October 1935, over 2,000 strange phenomenon had happened there, including the bell-ringing, stone and bottle-throwing and the strange writings that would show up on the walls. Marianne Foyster told her husband about a slew of poltergeist phenomena, and one of these times included her being forcibly thrown from her bed. Once, some unseen thing attacked even little Adelaide. Foyster tried on two occasions to conduct an exorcism, but to no avail. During the first exorcism attempt Foyster was hit on the shoulder by a large stone.
The Foysters left the house. After more than five years had past, Harry Price managed to rent the building for about a year. He recruited a group of 48 students to observe and report any unusual phenomenon. In March of 1938, Helen Glanville did a Planchette seance. Price said that Ms.Glanville had made contact with two spirits. The first spirit was a rather young nun who said her name was Marie Lairre. She said she had been murdered on the site of Borley Rectory. Her answers were very consistent with the local legend that had been around for years. She had been a French nun who had decided to leave her order, and get married. She apparently then came to live in England. The groom was reported to be none other than Henry Waldengrave, the owner of the original 17th-century manor house. Price became sure that this nun who had been seen for several generations was none other than Marie Lairre, forced to wander restlessly looking for a holy burial ground. He believed that the writings that would show up on the walls were her cries for help.
It was the second spirit that seemed to be the one conducting most of the poltergeist activity. This second entity said it’s name was Sunex Amures.
This poltergeist spirit that the rectory would be burned and the bones of a murdered person would be found.
The predictions of this Sunex Amures eventually happened. In February of 1939, the new owner of the rectory said he was unpacking boxes when an oil lamp in the hallway was turned over. The fire spread very quickly and Borley Rectory was very badly damaged. One of the witnesses to the fire said she saw the figure a nun in an upstairs window. Harry Price did a short investigative dig in the basement cellars of the ruined house and immediately found two bones of a young woman. A thorough excavation of the cellars over a three-year period came up otherwise empty.
Reports of paranormal phenomenon and poltergeist activity are still reported in the ruined rectory site, including at the Borley Church.
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