Borley Rectory may not be a place that you are familiar with. The older generation are probably more au fait with it, if for no other reason than its reputation. The place was dubbed England’s most haunted house. Let’s be brutally honest here even the name of it was creepy. What the hell is a rectory anyway?
Well let’s cover that question straight off the bat! A rectory may be in your vernacular if you are a regular church goer. It is the name attributed to any place of residence designed for a priest or a vicar. These are usually next to the church where they serve. This particular rectory was built on the site of an old monastery. It sounds like something from a bad horror movie, doesn’t it? Well, Borley rectory is the place bad movies are based on.
The building has reports of strange goings on dating way back to the 18th century but it wasn’t until 1928 there was anything concrete. At that point the current owner, Guy Smith contacted The Daily Mirror to report the eerie goings on.
Who you gonna call?
In the case of Guy Smith he got in contact with a paranormal investigator by the name of Harry Price. Price stayed with Smith for more than a year and was privy to many strange occurrences. In particular poltergeist activity. Price claims while he was there he was able to contact the deceased Rev. Harry Bull who died in the house. There were several attempts to exorcise the building but none of them proved successful by 1930 Smith and his wife left the property for good.
The next people to take on the property were Rev. Foyster and his wife. The strange occurrences continued and the poltergeist activity became increasingly aggressive. There were reports of some serious horror movie-level stuff going on. Smashed glasses and windows and Marianne, the reverend’s wife being thrown from her bed. They also reported seeing strange messages/symbols appearing on their walls without explanation.
Price’s mission continues
The Foysters toughed it out for 5 years before eventually leaving. This left Price free to continue his research. He did this but his research team were underwhelmed by the levels of activity. Price later documented his findings in a book entitled “The Most Haunted House In Britain.”
The rectory was badly damaged in 1939 when new owner Captain W Gregson claimed he accidentally started a fire. The Police ruled it as arson. Price returned to the site and amidst the ruins found two human bones which he buried. However locals refused to let the bones be buried on the site as they claimed they were merely animal bones.
The rectory was demolished in 1944 as it was beyond repair. It is still reported that unusual occurrences happen around the area, but these reports are anecdotal.
Who haunts it?
Oddly most people believe that it was haunted by a nun. This may seem a little odd consider it was built on the site of monastery. However there is a rich and interesting backstory. The nun allegedly used to visit the monastery and had an illicit love affair with one of the monks. When the pair were discovered the monk was executed but the nun was locked up and left to starve to death.
So what is the deal?
A lot of the phenomena can be explained by common banalities. The reported poltergeist activity is interesting as it was reported by men of the cloth. The odd reverend telling fibs seems feasible, but more than one is questionable. However there is the fact that Price’s research team were less than convinced of the stories. Either way Britain’s most haunted house still remains a mystery.