Unexplained History of Borley Rectory - England’s Most Haunted
The derelict building in the first photo above has an ominous reputation because it is the site of the infamous Borley Rectory, reportedly the ‘Most Haunted House in England.’
Built in 1862 for the Reverend Henry Bull (picture 3) and his family of 14 children, the Borley Rectory is located in the small village of Borley, near Sudbury in the United Kingdom. The large Gothic-style rectory has been the scene of alleged hauntings ever since it was built.
The first paranormal events occurred in 1863 when locals heard unexplained footsteps within the house. In 1900, four daughters of Reverend Bull (picture 4) reported seeing the ghost of a nun at twilight. They claimed that they tried to talk to it, but it disappeared as they got closer. This particular ghost is the story of the mournful nun who supposedly patrols the so-called ‘Nun’s Walk’ and has been seen there often. Picture 9 is reportedly showing the ghost of the Nun who haunts that area. Picture 10 is another supposed ghost caught on the rectory grounds.
An old story claimed that she had fallen in love with a monk from the Borley Monastery, to much outrage, and the two had tried to elope together but had been quickly tracked down. The monk was executed and the nun bricked up in the cellars of the monastic buildings.
These reports continued to multiply after the Daily Mirror published an account of a visit by a paranormal researcher named Harry Price (picture 7). Price wrote two books supporting the dramatic claims of the hauntings and included all of the detailed accounts of the paranormal activity at the Borley Rectory.
Various people continued to claim they had witnessed a variety of puzzling incidents, such as a phantom coach driven by two headless horsemen. After Reverand Bull died in 1892, his son the Reverend Harry Bull, took over the rectory and when he passed in 1928, the rectory again became vacant.
In the following year of 1929, the Reverend Guy Smith and his wife moved into the home. Mrs. Smith came across a brown paper package containing the skull of a young woman. The Smith family also reported several incidents of hauntings including the sounds of servant bells ringing despite their being disconnected, lights appearing in windows and unexplained footsteps. Mrs. Smith also believed she saw the ghost of a horse-drawn carriage at night.
In October 1930 when Smith was replaced by the Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife, Marianne (picture 7), the haunting supposedly escalated dramatically. People were locked out of rooms, household items vanished, windows were broken, furniture was moved, and odd sounds were heard.
The worst of the incidents seemed to involve Mrs. Foyster: she was thrown from her bed at night; slapped by invisible hands; forced to dodge heavy objects thrown at her; and was once almost suffocated with a mattress.
There began to appear a series of scrawled messages on the walls of the house, written by an unknown hand (picture 8). They seemed to be pleading with Mrs. Foyster, using phrases like “Marianne, please help get” and “Marianne light mass prayers.”
Price’s reports prompted a formal study by the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) headed by Trevor Hall (picture 8), which rejected most of the sightings as either imagined or fabricated and cast doubt on Price’s credibility. Despite the negative report from the SPR, the public’s interest in the ghost stories and other mysterious paranormal activity at the Borley Rectory continues unabated to this day.