The Haunted Rectory at Borley

Perhaps one of the most famous haunted places ever recorded is also one of the strangest.  The Borley Rectory was built originally to be a place of worship and solitude where monks could make contact with the divine and transcribe the great works of previous generations.  But what it eventually became was so vastly different that the Borley Rectory soon became a place famous not for its spiritual enlightenment, but its enlightening spirits.  And a series of seances that would be held there would prove to be some of the all time strangest.

Built originally in 1863, the Borley Rectory would soon become famous for its ability to manifest paranormal happenings at the request of investigators.  As they continued to look deeper into the strange happenings there, a team of spiritualists and paranormal investigators at the dawn of the field of parapsychology would be led by Henry Price – and what they would find would stagger all of them.  The ghost of a monk and another belonging to a nun soon made their presence known and told their tragic tale.

The monk had come to the rectory to find a deeper spiritual understanding of the world around him and commit himself to his craft, but soon found something else.  He found a young nun with whom he fell in love.  The two started with the simplest glances and whispered conversations, but soon came to fall deeply in love with one another.  Unfortunately, many people who found themselves in monasteries were not their by their own choice.  Historical records abound of nuns who would become “possessed by the devil” and attempt to scale the walls of older monasteries in an attempt to escape the often difficult way of life there.  Unfortunately it often ended badly if they were caught.  And so their plan had to be carefully crafted for escape.  Unfortunately, before they were able to escape their love was discovered by the unforgiving authority of the rectory.  The monk was hanged and the nun was walled up in a fashion similar to Edgar Allen Poe’s “A Cask of Amontillado.”  The horrifying story was related to investigators during a seance.  And then afterward the nun who had made contact with them made a terrifying announcement saying, “On this very night the rectory will be burned to the ground.”  Clearly troubled, the investigators doused all flames and shut off the power in the place to ensure it would continue to stand.  They huddled together that night in the pitch black haunted rectory with the walled up nun somewhere undisclosed to them.  They survived the night, and the rectory stood as the morning broke over the horizon.

But she was not entirely wrong.  A year later the rectory did indeed burn down.  Accounts do not tell if it was exactly one year to the day or not after the ghost made its terrifying announcement.  And so the Borley Rectory story finally concluded in a tragic fire that consumed it.  Or did it?

Today the grounds on which the mansion stood still remain as they always will.  And it’s difficult to tell how much of its tragic past does as well.