You’ll know I’ve talked about Borley before, probably the most famous haunting of all. I thought I’d covered most of the story.
But it seems there’s always a little bit more and I wanted to share this snippet with you. For those who don’t know much about Borley Rectory, you can read the earlier posts here:
Borley Rectory: the house and its ghosts – part one
Borley Rectory: the house and its ghosts – part two
Now for the postscript.
A London journalist, Montague Eleman, who’d heard of the case while a serving soldier, hoped to sell his story to the dailies, and once demobbed, set off for Borley to see it for himself. He was a little bit late. By the time he got there it was 1946, and the house by then had been demolished. After walking around the rubble for a while and chatting to any people he could find, he left for London, carrying a piece of wood with him – the wood was charred (because of the fire) and possibly from the roof or the floor. The next nine years were something of a nightmare.
Arriving back in London that evening, he left the wood on the mantelpiece, in the room he used at his sister’s house and then went down to supper, alone. He heard a noise and when he looked up his sister was there, claiming she’d seen a nun in his bedroom. It didn’t stop there.
In the nights that followed, Eleman and his family heard quite a few noises, ranging from screams to a clock chiming, all quite close to where the wood was. But eventually, the noise settled down.
When several weeks later, Eleman moved and took up lodgings in a seaside town, there were several more incidents, the doorbell rang when no-one was there, and a dark-clad person crossed the landing. Needless to say, he’d brought the wood with him.
Eleman finally sussed that whenever he moved to a new location and took the wood, the disturbance increased, but then eased off, as if whatever it was that had been disturbed had now settled down. In 1955, after nine long years he gave the piece of timber away. Nobody knows where that wood is now.
Or maybe they do…
Borley’s story is quite exceptional, it transcends time, people and the place, as we’ve just seen. But this wasn’t the first time the haunting had extended beyond the house.
In 1928, (Guy) Eric Smith and his wife Mabel moved into Borley after being abroad. They didn’t know that other vicars had refused the living, because of the house’s reputation. Like other residents before and since, the Smiths experienced some strange incidents. A mirror on Mrs Smith’s dressing table began tapping whenever she came near it, and this continued after they left Borley.
Some years later, in 1937, the Smiths were living in a village in Kent, when they were visited by Sidney Glanville. Glanville was one of Price’s researchers. He held the mirror in his hands. A week after he’d visited the Smiths and held the mirror he received a letter asking if he’d brought a ghost with him because ‘the mirror has started tapping again.’ He never went back to the house to find out.
Ghosts aren’t always tied to a house.
My latest novel, a partly historical mystery, with a time travel element, also centres around a house: there are ghosts in the story, but are the ghosts connected to the house? You’ll have to read the book to find out…
Article written by Ellie Stevenson, author.
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Adams, P. & Brazil, E. Extreme Hauntings: Britain’s most terrifying ghosts, History Press, 2013
Glanville, S. The Strange Happenings at Borley Rectory (originally in American Fate magazine, 1951)
Images (Wikimedia Commons)
Borley Rectory before the fire
Borley Rectory as a ruin