Thursday, 10 January 2013
Preliminary séance at Borley Rectory
Transcript from The Daily Mirror, Saturday, June 15th 1929.
SÉANCE HELD IN HAUNTED HOUSE
Mysterious rappings in the Rectory of Borley
How Questions Were Asked and Answered
FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
LONG MELFORD, FRIDAY.
An informal séance at the “haunted” Borley rectory as a preliminary to an orthodox one with a medium produced astonishing results.
This took place with the rector and his wife, Mr. Harry Price*, and Miss Lucy Kaye, director and secretary of the National Laboratory of Psychical Research, respectively, and myself.
Mysterious replies to our questions were given by means of one, two or three raps on the back of a mirror in the room.
Light in the room made no difference.
The replies came clearly and distinctly. At times we lit the lamp and sat around the mirror with everybody in the room in full sight, but there was no hesitation about the answers.
The only unsatisfactory feature was our inability to get a complete message by spelling out the alphabet; the “spirit” was either a bad scholar or was speaking Hindustani.
Our first attempts were naturally to ascertain the identity of the rapper. We asked if it were the nun in the old legend or one of the grooms, and a single rap denoting “no” was the reply.
Then I suggested to Mr. Price that he should ask whether it were the Rev. H. Bull, the late rector. I had hardly finished the name when three hurried raps came on the mirror, which meant an emphatic “yes.”
The following dialogue then took place, sometimes with the lamp lit, sometimes in darkness: “Is it your footsteps one heard in this house?” – “Yes.”
“Do you wish to worry or annoy anybody here?” – “No.”
“Do you object to anybody now living in the house?” – “No.”
SMOKING DURING SÉANCE
“Do you merely wish to attract attention?” – “Yes.”
“Are you worrying about something you should have done when you were alive?” – “No.”
“If we had a medium here, do you think you could tell us what is the matter?” – “Yes.”
Here followed a series of questions dealing with the late Mr. Bull’s private affairs, to which no answer at all was received.
The whole proceeding was entirely informal, and we even smoked and chatted as if we were in the rectory drawing-room instead of the room that is supposed to be haunted.
The worst part about these “manifestations”, from the rector’s point of view, is that Borley is fast becoming a show place for the whole of Suffolk and Essex.
Crowds of visitors arrive on foot and by motor-car to see the alleged haunted house.
*Harry Price features in Conversation with Spirits.