Borley Rectory was a Victorian house that gained fame as “the most haunted house in England” after being described as such by Harry Price. Built in 1862 to house the rector of the parish of Borley and his family, it was badly damaged by fire in 1939 and demolished in 1944.
The first paranormal events reportedly occurred in about 1863, since a few locals later remembered having heard unexplained footsteps within the house at about that time. On 28 July 1900, four daughters of the rector, Henry Dawson Ellis Bull, saw what they thought was the ghost of a nun at twilight, about 40 yards (37 m) from the house; they tried to talk to it, but it disappeared as they got closer. The local organist, Ernest Ambrose later said that the family at the rectory were “very convinced that they had seen an apparition on several occasions”. Various people claimed to have witnessed a variety of puzzling incidents, such as a phantom coach driven by two headless horsemen, during the next four decades. Bull died in 1892 and his son, the Reverend Henry (“Harry”) Foyster Bull, took over the living.
Lionel Foyster wrote an account of various strange incidents that occurred between the time the Foysters moved in and October 1935, which was sent to Harry Price. These included bell-ringing, windows shattering, throwing of stones and bottles, wall-writing and the locking of their daughter in a room with no key. Marianne Foyster reported to her husband a whole range of poltergeist phenomena that included her being thrown from her bed. On one occasion, Adelaide was attacked by “something horrible”. Foyster tried twice to conduct an exorcism, but his efforts were fruitless; in the middle of the first exorcism, he was struck in the shoulder by a fist-size stone. Because of the publicity in the Daily Mirror, these incidents attracted the attention of several psychic researchers, who after investigation were unanimous in suspecting that they were caused, consciously or unconsciously, by Marianne Foyster. She later said that she felt that some of the incidents were caused by her husband in concert with one of the psychic researchers, but other events appeared to her to be genuine paranormal phenomena. She later admitted that she was having a sexual relationship with the lodger, Frank Pearless, and that she used paranormal explanations to cover up her liaisons. The Foysters left Borley in October 1935 as a result of Lionel Foyster’s ill health
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