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  • Their love was forbidden.

  • Most nights after the last bells they snuck out to see each other anyway; meeting in a

  • field halfway between his monastery and her nunnery.

  • They decided to elope and run away together.

  • But they were caught.

  • They were separated and punished for their sins.

  • She was forced to watch while he was hung.

  • She was imprisoned in a tiny room in a dark corner of the monastery.

  • Brick, by brick they sealed her in her tomb as she begged for mercy.

  • Afterwards tapping could be heard from the wall.

  • The taps slowly grew fainter and fainter until they stopped.

  • Or so goes the legend of the secret, doomed love affair between a monk and nun.

  • Allegedly, since then the spirit of the nun has roamed the land that her lover's Benedictine

  • monastery once stood on.

  • There are some that believe that the ghosts of Borley Rectory have little to do with the

  • house itself, but existed before the house was constructed.

  • In fact, a local antiquarian claims that they found old accounts of ghostly activity that

  • date back to 1819.

  • Others claim the ghosting sightings didn't start until after Borley Rectory was built.

  • The only thing that's agreed upon is that unexplainable things happened at Borley Rectory.

  • In 1862, Borley Rectory was constructed for the Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull and his

  • family after he was named rector of Borley Parish in a rural corner of Essex, England.

  • Over time the Gothic brick house continued to be enlarged, as Reverend Bull had 14 children

  • and needed space for all of them.

  • Ultimately, there were 23 rooms connected by 3 different staircases on the two main

  • floors, plus a cellar and attic space.

  • The house was the perfect setting for a horror movie: gloomy, depressing and cold.

  • Nearly from the start, the family began hearing rushing water.

  • However, the house didn't have the modern convenience of piped water; water was drawn

  • from a well outside.

  • Soon the sounds escalated to whispers, tapping and crashes.

  • Even worse, a ghost seemed to target a particular member of the family...

  • The heavy footsteps stopped in front of the door to her room.

  • Ethel lay in her bed, the sheet pulled up to her chin.

  • She hardly dared to breathe.

  • It was back.

  • She could sense it, the invisible presence lurking outside her door.

  • For the past several weeks she hadn't gotten much sleep.

  • It always began the same way--footsteps, clumping down the hall to her room, but no one was

  • there.

  • Then it whispered and knocked on her door.

  • Ethel laid stiff in bed, trying to ignore it, waiting until it went away.

  • Sometimes it stayed out there until dawn.

  • Knock, knock knock.

  • It rapped on her door.

  • Some nights Ehtel had called for her parents.

  • But of course they found nothing and scolded her for being silly.

  • Bang, bang, bang.

  • The knocks were getting louder.

  • It was angry.

  • Suddenly the locked door exploded open and a puff of air blew into the room.

  • Her limbs frozen with dread, Ethel shut her eyes tightly.

  • She wasn't going to look.

  • Crack!

  • Ethel's cheek suddenly bloomed in a burst of hot pain.

  • It had slapped her.

  • For whatever reason, a poltergeist seemed to focus on Ethel, even slapping her as she

  • lay in bed.

  • But she wasn't the only target.

  • In 1886 a new nursemaid, Elizabeth Byford, initially joked about the fact that the room

  • allotted to her was haunted.

  • However, a few weeks later she woke at midnight to the sound of slippered footsteps outside

  • her door, but no one was there.

  • She gave notice the next day.

  • No matter if locals shared rumors about seeing ghostly figures wandering the grounds of Borley

  • House, the Bull family refused to be scared off.

  • July 28th, 1900 - It was a warm evening as Ethel and her sister Freda walked home after

  • a summer party.

  • They giggled as they traded tidbits of gossip about the event.

  • Suddenly Freda stopped in her tracks.

  • Lookshe whispered.

  • Emerging from the trees onto the rectory yard was a female figure, her head bowed.

  • She was dressed head to toe in a black habit.

  • She seemed to glide over the grass rather than walk.

  • Elise!” whispered Ethel and took off running towards the rectory.

  • Freda followed.

  • Elise had recently complained that she never saw the ghostly nun and wanted to see her.

  • They found Elisa and quickly dragged her outside.

  • Surprisingly the nun was still there, floating across the edge of the lawn.

  • Elise stepped towards her, not sure whether to be scared or fascinated.

  • She was just about to call to her when the nun faded away in front of her eyes.

  • Apparently the ghostly nun was seen so frequently, the area where she roamed began to be referred

  • to as the Nun's Walk.

  • After Reverend Bull's death in 1892, his sonalso named Henrytook over his

  • duties as rector.

  • One spring afternoon Henry was pacing back and forth in the garden, working out a new

  • sermon.

  • Suddenly his retriever Juvenal, who had been napping under a bush got to his feet and growled.

  • The dog was staring at something.

  • Henry turned to look.

  • Someone was standing in the orchard; he could see a pair of legs peeking out from the leaves

  • of a tree.

  • Henry raised his hand and started to shout 'Hello!' but the sound died in his throat.

  • As the legs walked out from behind the brush, he saw that the body they belonged to was

  • headless.

  • He watched in silent horror as the headless ghost strode across the garden, and walked

  • clean through a locked gate.

  • Henry and other locals also saw a ghostly carriage drawn by two horses and driven by

  • a headless coachman on several different occasions.

  • Even more strange when the coach was seen, it was silent.

  • Other times when the clip clop of the horse hooves and the sound of the heavy wheels on

  • the road were heard, the coach itself was invisible.

  • Apparently Henry was fascinated by the idea of a ghostly nun and built a summer cottage

  • with a view of the Nun's Walk so he could look out for the nun taking a stroll.

  • Henry was the rector for Borley Parish until his death in 1927.

  • Unfortunately, there were no more members of the Bull family who wanted the parish position.

  • It was hard to find a new rector as Borley House now had a reputation for being haunted.

  • In 1928 Reverend Guy Smith accepted the position.

  • He and his wife Mabel were recently returned from India and didn't know of the local

  • legends.

  • Mabel was appalled when she first saw the house.

  • It was huge for two people, over 60 years old and ramshackle.

  • While cleaning out some cupboards as they moved in, Mabel was horrified to find a small

  • human skull wrapped in brown paper packaging.

  • Guy buried the skull in the churchyard.

  • Soon after that Guy was walking past the Blue Room in Borley House, a room known for allegedly

  • haunted activity.

  • A voice whispered at him, pleading "Don't Carlos, don't!"

  • Guy was left wondering if the ghostly whisper was about the skull.

  • Much like the previous occupants, the Smiths frequently heard eerie footsteps echo around

  • the house, knocking and whispering voices.

  • In fact footsteps were heard in the Rectory so often that one day Reverend Smith leapt

  • out from behind a wall with a hockey stick to strike the intruderonly to find himself

  • slicing thin air.

  • The rectory was fitted with old fashioned pull bells attached to ropes.

  • If a rope was pulled in various rooms, the kitchen would be alerted.

  • The bells went off frequently, even when they were disconnected.

  • Eager to put a stop to the local tales and perhaps convince themselves that there were

  • no ghosts, in 1929 the Smiths wrote to the Daily Mirror, asking the newspaper for help

  • in contacting the Society for Psychical Research (SPR).

  • The paper sent out journalist V.C.

  • Wall and a photographer to lurk in the woods behind Borley Rectory to see if they could

  • see anything.

  • Unfortunately, they didn't see any ghosts.

  • But they did spy a light in the rectory.

  • When someone went inside the house, there was no light on, yet outside, they could still

  • see it.

  • Horde of curious onlookers descended upon the area having read the newspaper.

  • On June 11, SPR sent psychical researcher Harry Price to investigate Borley Rectory.

  • Over the course of several days Harry witnessed many unexplainable things, including eerie

  • footsteps, pebbles bounced down the stairs and a red glass candlestick that whizzed past

  • his head and shattered against an iron stove.

  • Not long afterwards, the Smiths, unable to deal with their living circumstances anymore,

  • quickly moved out, having been at Borley Parish for less than a year.

  • The house stood empty for about 6 months before the Reverend Lionel Foyster, his much younger

  • wife Marianne and toddler daughter Adelaide arrived in 1930.

  • From the beginning the family was besieged by whispers, mysterious footsteps and ringing

  • bells.

  • But the poltergeist activity seemed to get stronger.

  • There were sudden smells of perfume, furniture was shifted, household items vanished, random

  • items appeared.

  • The ghosts liked to move things, including making bottles fall and throwing pebbles.

  • Windows were broken and Adelaide was mysteriously locked in a room to which there was no key.

  • The regular ghosts were also seen including the nun and the headless man.

  • Again the poltergeist focused on one person -- Marianne.

  • Allegedly, she was thrown out of bed several times.

  • Once a flying item struck her so hard she was left with a black eye and cut face.

  • Beginning in 1931 mysterious messages began to appear on scrap of paper and the walls

  • of the house, some targeting her.

  • One particular message addressed to Marianne pleaded for 'rest' and 'mass prayers'.

  • Many of the messages were scrawled in a manic fashion and were ineligible.

  • Harry Price visited Borley Rectory a few times while the Foysters were there to follow up

  • on his paranormal investigations.

  • Reverend Foyster kept a diary of unexplained happenings at Borley.

  • He didn't seem phased by the paranormal activity.

  • He only left his position after 5 years in 1935 because of his advanced arthritis.

  • By this time the Church had had enough of Borley Rectory, they gave up trying to find

  • someone to take over.

  • They merged the parish with a nearby one and put Borley Rectory up for sale.

  • In 1937, Harry Price rented the house for one year.

  • He wanted to study the ghosts.

  • On May 2nd 1937, he placed an advertisement in The Times: “Haunted House.

  • Responsible persons of leisure and intelligence, intrepid, critical and unbiased are invited

  • to join rota of observers in a year's day and night investigation of alleged house…”

  • He ended up hiring 50 employeespredominantly students working weekendsas official

  • observers.

  • Harry and his team conducted a variety of experiments within the house, recording instances

  • of perceived paranormal phenomena such as knocking, bell ringing and movement of objects.

  • He also brought in several mediums and conducted seances.

  • The most notable seance occurred on March 27th, 1938.

  • Medium Helen Glanville allegedly made successful contact with a nun and an unidentified male

  • spirit.

  • The male spirit predicted that the rectory would be destroyed by fire in exactly one

  • year and that a nun's body would be found amongst the ruins.

  • In the autumn of 1938 Borley was purchased by Captain William Hart Gregson at a steal

  • for £500, or around £33,524 or $47,500 USD in today's money.

  • Gregson had insured it for £10,000, or about £665,831 or $943,610 USD in today's money.

  • He renamed the house 'The Priory' and planned to cash in on the rectory's spooky

  • history and turn the house into a tourist stop.

  • However on February 27th, 1939, exactly 9 months after the eerie prediction, Captain

  • Gregson was moving into the property.

  • Allegedly while sorting through some books at the house he saw a stack of them fall,

  • despite being firmly placed on a table.

  • The books knocked over a paraffin lamp, spilling oil across the floor, which then ignited.

  • By the time the fire brigade arrived the house was well ablaze.

  • The firemen extinguished the flames but not before they had destroyed the upper storey

  • and damaged most rooms on the ground floor.

  • A policeman who had attended the fire later questioned Captain Gregson about the identity

  • of thelady and gentlemen, in cloakshe had seen leaving the house as it was burning.

  • However, he assured the policeman he was the only person at the rectory.

  • Upon investigation, the insurance company decided Gregson deliberately set the house

  • on fire and refused to pay out.

  • The house was left as a ruin, never to be rebuilt.

  • After the fire, Harry Price searched the ruins for the body of the nun.

  • While digging in the cellar he found part of a jawbone and skull which he claimed belonged

  • to the nun.

  • However, others claimed the bones belonged to a pig.

  • Although the local vicar of Borley refused to allow the Christian burial of the bones,

  • the church at nearby Liston did.

  • The ruins of the gutted rectory were finally demolished in 1944.

  • However, that didn't end the supernatural phenomena.

  • During World War II, army officers using the grounds of Borley Rectory had stones thrown

  • at them, but when they investigated, there was no one there.

  • They also felt incredibly uneasy, like they were being watched by some eerie unseen presence.

  • Their feelings of discomfort were so great, they abandoned the site early.

  • From 1947 to 1950, James and Alice Turner lived in the summer cottage which hadn't

  • been affected by the fire.

  • Though there were no children around, they would hear the shrieks and laughter of children

  • playing in the orchard.

  • On one occasion they heard the sound of heavy footsteps on the wooden floor of their cottage.

  • During a 1961 paranormal investigation, all the flashlights as well as the car headlights

  • belonging to the investigators all failed without obvious cause.

  • Harry Price died in 1948, having written 2 books about Borley House, one borrowing extensively

  • from Reverend Foyster's diary of paranormal activity in the house.

  • Over the years accusations of fraud have arisen from skeptics, investigators and associates

  • of Price's.

  • It's thought he fabricated much of the paranormal phenomena that occurred.

  • Later in life, Marianne Foyster would publicly admit that she had never experienced anything

  • supernatural within the house, she faked the hauntings to cover up an affair she was having

  • with a lodger.

  • The house was old and creaky, so it was easy to play on people's fears.

  • An alleged friend of the Bull family, Louis Mayerling published a book in 2000 discussing

  • how as a child he helped them fake hauntings.

  • Apparently Reverend Bull found it funny to stoke rumors of ghosts.

  • It worked.

  • According to Louis at one point the London papers reported daily on Borley House.

  • Tourists came from as far away as America to drive past the house.

  • Louis also helped the Foysters fake hauntings.

  • He claimed that they struggled to make ends meet and decided that boosting the ghostly