Borley Rectory - The ParaPod Series 1, Episode 8 Review
Borley Rectory in Essex was once believed to be the most haunted place in the UK and as this was Ray Peacock's favourite ghost story as a kid, could Barry Dodds finally swoop in and convince him that this was a real case of paranormal activity?
Barry, the firm believer in the paranormal, started telling us about Borley Rectory, a former rectory in Borley, Essex. The house was said to be one of the most haunted places in the UK, until it burnt down in 1939.
It turns out that this it skeptical Ray's favourite ghost story, he explains how it seeping into his psyche as a kid, "I'd say this is the most famous haunting in the UK."
First off Barry tells us that a previous building that stood on the site was also a victim of fire, it too burnt down in 1841.
The rectory was then rebuilt in 1862, and a year later the haunting started. The family living in the rectory saw a nun in the grounds at twilight, when they approacher her, she vanished. According to Barry, it's said that there was once a benedictine monastery on the site of the rectory and a monk had an affair with a nun from a nearby convent. The story goes that he was executed and she was buried alive in the wall of the convent.
The family also heard disembodied footsteps and, according to Barry, they also saw "a phantom coach with headless men on it."
When the Smith family moved in to the rectory in 1928, they found a skull in a bag. And Barry says at this point, "the phenomenon really started kicking off," they had bells ringing, and more sightings of the coach.
In 1929 they contacted the Daily Mirror who sent a report to the house along with famous paranormal investigator Harry Price. As soon as he entered the house activity increase, "stones started getting thrown, tapping on a mirror." But as soon as Harry left these extra occurrences stopped.
Barry continued with his fairy story, telling us that the Foyster moved in during the 1930s, they continued to log the supernatural occurrences for Price. They experienced broken windows, and stones being thrown.
Their daughter, Marianne witnessed strange writing on the wall, she was locked in a room which the family didn't have a key for, and she even claims to have been thrown form her bed.
According to Barry, Marianne admitted that she faked some of the events, which Ray says discredits the whole story. When the Foysters moved left the rectory in 1935, the parish couldn't find anyone to take it over due to their reputation.
So, Harry Price moved in for a year-long residency in 1937. Barry says that Price recruited 48 people who stayed there and reported on paranormal happenings. They also performed many ouija board session. During one of these sessions, a researcher is said to have made contact with a French nun who said she was murdered and thrown down a well on the site of the rectory.
They also made contact a spirit who told them that the house would burn down and bones would be revealed in the rectory. This came true just a few years later when they new owner of the rectory knocked over an oil lamp in 1939 and burnt it to the ground. One local said she saw a nun in the upstairs window during the blaze.
In 1943 Price returned to the former site of the rectory and excavated part of the cellar and found bones.
It's hard to say who's won again this week, you've probably noticed that Barry's account of Borely Rectory is actually quite well researched as it contains full names and dates.
Ray, of course, sums up by saying "I don't believe Borley Rectory was haunted at all, love the story of it" and Barry pretty much agrees with him, he doesn't really believe most of the stories from the house and he thinks Harry Price is a massive fraud.
So, is it a draw? Well, not quite. Although Barry has been quite rational, he still wasn't able to pick out the whole truth from the story, "there probably is a little nugget of truth in there about some stuff that was going on, but it's been overshadowed by the huge amount of bullshit."
Ray 8 - Barry 0
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