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Monday, 27 October 2014

Ghosthunting at Borley Rectory

How was your weekend? Mine was an exciting one: not only did I get to meet up with one of my favourite indie authors and all-round top bird L.K. Jay, I also had the pleasure of meeting Cat and Lynx Raven, of Calamityville Horror fame, and going on a ghost hunt!

Our destination was the infamous Borley Rectory, or what remains of it, and our objective to see if we could locate the ruins and get anything spooky recorded. Borley Rectory, for those who don't know, was built in 1862 by Henry Dawson Ellis Bull and gained fame in the late 1920's as "the most haunted house in England". The root of this may be a monk from the Benedictine monastery built in the 1300's who was getting up to unholy things with a nun from a nearby convent. After their affair was discovered, the monk was executed and the nun bricked up alive in the convent walls. The nun reportedly still took a stroll every now and then past Borley Rectory, and was seen often enough to be considered a nuisance. Paranormal researcher Harry Price was called in to investigate and wrote two books supporting claims of paranormal activity. After an escalation of stone-throwing, raps and messages written on the walls through the 1930's, the rectory was badly damaged by fire in 1939 (which had been predicted by a spirit) and finally demolished in 1944.
Despite its fame, the tiny village of Borley wasn't prepared for a quartet of slightly hyper ghosthunters, if the locals' reaction to us was anything to go by. We ignored the blatant (and suspicious) stares as we pulled up by the church and got straight down to making friends with a cat. We asked him if he knew anything about the hauntings, but he wasn't very forthcoming. He did, however, helpfully lead us over to the graves of the Bull family. Apparently this was his favourite sunbathing spot, as he hopped up onto one of the headstones and watched us from there as we got all excited over Henry and his family's final resting places.

Now to hunt down the Rectory ruins! Using my dog-walking know-how, we found a legal route round the back of the houses opposite the church which, according to the old map, were built on top of the original rectory. We saw nothing, but did get a name- "Harry"- on Cat and Lynx's magic ghost gadget. A spooky coincidence? Harry was Henry Bull's son, who apparently swore to come back if he was disturbed in the afterlife.

Further up the lane, we came across the driveway for an abandoned building which, based on the old map, we thought may have been the ruins of the Rectory or the summerhouse that was next to it. We had a good old nosey over the barbed wire and the ghost gadget reported lots of blobs which could have been spirits. How exciting! I was having great fun on this ghosthunt, and I can see why Cat and Lynx do it so much.

Back at the church, we studied the map once more to see if we could pinpoint the Rectory more accurately, but we were interrupted by a knocking on the window of the house opposite. An irate old lady, probably terrified by the sight of strangers, came out to tell me that we were invading her privacy by filming her house- despite the fact we weren't actually filming her house, nor did we have the cameras pointing anywhere in her direction. I felt sorry for her though, despite her being so rude, because she was probably freaked out by people with unnatural hair colours and piercings, so I just smiled and assured her that we had no interest in filming her house and, just because we had cameras, it didn't mean we were filming her house. I honestly couldn't have stated it more clearly, but I don't think I convinced her. I don't know what she thought we were up to!

We were pretty much done by that point anyway, so we hopped back in the car and went for lunch in a conveniently local haunted pub, The Bull (which, despite the name, pre-dates Borley Rectory and the Bull family) before heading back to Lesley's for drinks, chilli, more drinks and a cracking game of Cards Against Humanity. A perfect end to a great day!

Find out more:
Borley Rectory
C.L. Raven: Recce at the Rectory

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