Because nearly all of the poltergeist-like activity occurred when Mrs. Foyster was present, Price was inclined to attribute it to her unknowing manipulations. However, he did believe in the possibility of the ghostly nun and some of the other reported phenomena.
He believed the writings had come from another young woman, one who seemed to be from her references, a Catholic. These clues would later fit well into Price’s theory that the Borley mystery was a terrible tale of murder and betrayal in which the central character was a young nun, although not the one of legend.
The Foysters moved out of the house in 1935 and with the place now empty, Price leased the house for an extended, round-the-clock, one year investigation. He ran an advertisement in the personal column of the Times on May 25, 1937 looking for open-minded researchers to literally “camp out” at the rectory and record any phenomena which took place in their presence.
The advertisement read:
“HAUNTED HOUSE: Responsible persons of leisure and intelligence, intrepid, critical, and unbiased, are invited to join rota of observers in a years night and day investigation of alleged haunted house in Home counties. Printed Instructions supplied. Scientific training or ability to operate simple instruments an advantage. House situated in lonely hamlet, so own car is essential. Write Box H.989, The Times, E.C.4”
During the year that Price leased the rectory, breakthroughs were made in the communications with the spirits. One séance would later give Price the material that he needed to solve (he believed) the mystery of the haunting.
During a sitting with a planchette, an alleged spirit named Marie Lairre related that she had been a nun in France but had left her convent to marry Henry Waldegrave, a member of a wealthy family whose manor home once stood on the site of Borley Rectory. There, her husband had strangled her and had buried her remains in the cellar.
The story went well with the most interesting of the Borley phenomena, namely the reported phantom nun and the written messages. Price theorized that the former nun had been buried in unconsecrated ground and was now doomed to haunt the property seeking rest.
In March of 1938, five months after Marie’s first appearance, another spirit promised that the rectory would burn down that night and that the proof of the nun’s murder would be found in the ruins. Borley Rectory did not burn that night, but exactly 11 months later, a new owner, Captain WH Gregson was unpacking books in the library when an oil lamp overturned and started a fire. The blaze quickly spread and the rectory was gutted.
Price took this opportunity to excavate in the cellar of the house and discovered a few fragile bones which turned out to be that of a young woman…. evidence, Price concluded, there was something to the story of the murdered nun. A Christian burial for the bones appeared to provide the ghost with the rest she had long sought and a service was later conducted by the Rev. AC Henning in the small village of Liston, less than two miles from the rectory.
The building itself was finally demolished in 1944. However, its legacy still continues today and it retains its reputation as one of the world’s most famous haunted houses!
Price wrote about Borley Rectory in two books entitled Most Haunted House in England: Ten Years’ Investigation of Borley Rectory (1940) and The End Of Borley Rectory (1946).
Now, in 2013, awesome artist Ashley Thorpe and Carrion Films are producing an animated documentary about the Borley Rectory, and they need your help!
Mr. Thorpe and his team have recruited Julian Sands (Warlock himself!) for the narration, and original Banshee Steve Severin for the score!
Check out their indiegogo campaign for tons of incentives for your participation, including a guided tour of Borley (!) and even a special thank you call from Julian Sands!
This film should prove to be stylish and interesting, and the subject is a great creepy story!
Ashley Thorpe’s artwork is impressive, some of it can be seen here along with his award-winning short animated films that will make you want to see what he does with this story!
Learn more about their fundraiser here.
And check out Carrion Films on Facebook and Twitter, and the official site here, and let’s help them get this thing made!