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Borley is notorious for the 'Borley Rectory Affair', involving the supposed haunting of a newer rectory (now destroyed). Beginning in 1929, psychical researcher Harry Price generated a story that captured the attention of the nation and convinced many of the proof of the permanence of the spirit after death. His supposed activities were reported widely by the press of that time, and Price published several popular books on the subject that brought him considerable fame. After Price's death, the story began to unravel under the scrutiny of experts from the Society for Psychical Research. The Society went through the records with great tenacity, suspecting that Price had exaggerated evidence to sensationalise events and to suggest supernatural causes for mundane phenomena. Any possible evidence of ghosts was irredeemably contaminated by Price's behaviour and the manipulation of the facts in his two books, The Most Haunted House in England and The End of Borley Rectory, produced during and immediately after the Second World War. A few reported phenomena were said to have existed before Price was called to the scene but most of these stories seem to have originated from one of the residents of the rectory, Ethel Bull. Most former residents of the rectory claimed never to have seen anything unusual whilst they lived there.

More recently, the first full-length independent biography of Harry Price appeared, Harry Price: The Psychic Detective by former national newspaper journalist Richard Morris. Locally-based Morris unearthed a mass of previously-hidden information about Price which included the fact that he was a conman who left school at 16, and lived a double-life as a paper-bag salesman and as an expert on psychic matters rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous. Before settling on the subject of spiritualism, he had unsuccessfully attempted to pose as an archaeologist and as an expert on stamps. This has led all recent investigators of Borley Rectory to treat Harry Price's book with great caution.[2]

The place still attracts 'psychic tourists' who believe that the ghost of a nun will one day re-appear, and who occasionally desecrate the graveyard during Halloween.

[edit] References

  1. , Parish cluster map (JPG). www.braintree.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2007-02-01.
  2. , Harry Price, the Psychic Detective

[edit] External links


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