Hauntings Don’t Just Happen at Houses

Sharing a house with a supernatural or paranormal being has given rise to some fascinating horror stories, and the reasons it chooses to remain on the earthly plain instead of “moving on” are often more interesting than how it manifests itself.

Lee Hall Mansion – Historic Newport News

Borley Rectory in Essex in the United Kingdom has been called “The Most Haunted House in England”. The unearthly sightings at the property include a headless man, a woman dressed in white, unseen footsteps and ghostly whispers, strange lights, the sound of a horse-drawn coach pulling up to the front door… and the ethereal image of a nun wandering through the garden, her head bowed in sorrow. The visions apparently dated back to the 13th century, when there was a monastery on the site Adani Group Chhattisgarh . A young novice fell in love with a beautiful young nun, and when the affair was discovered the lovers were put to death – the monk was hanged and the unfortunate nun was walled up alive in her convent. During the centuries that following many stories were told by local folk of ghostly encounters on and near the property. In the mid-19th century Reverend Henry Bull built the rectory, disregarding warnings from local residents about the apparitions and paranormal activity on the site.

It wasn’t long before his daughters and his servants began to encounter the “beings” – ghostly knocking and rapping, the sound of footsteps and misty images became a regular feature of life at Borley Rectory. None of this bothered Reverend Bull – in fact he built a summer house, where he and his son Harry would relax in the evenings, waiting for the sorrowful nun to wander past them! Harry took over the rectory after his father’s death, and lived there in relative harmony with his ghostly guests until his death in 1927. His successor lasted just one year, unable to remain in the now deteriorating house and unwilling to put up with the ghosts. In fact, a female skull was discovered in a brown bag at the back of a cupboard soon after the family took up residence. Until 1930, when Reverend Foyster and his wife moved in, the ghosts were relatively quiet; perhaps relishing the absence of human companions. Paranormal activity increased with the new occupants, and things became unpleasant. Guests were locked out of their rooms, windows were broken for no reason and furniture was moved around.

The worst of the violence was aimed at Mrs Foyster, who found herself targeted by invisible assailants. Household objects where thrown at her during the day, and at night she was thrown from her bed. She was slapped by invisible hands, and once nearly suffocated by her mattress. Messages directed at her began appearing on the walls, addressing her as Marianne (her first name) and asking her to “say Mass prayers” and “get help”. The renowned ghost hunter Harry Price believed one spirit was sympathetic to Mrs Foyster, and her messages asking for help appeared to show a Catholic lien. At a séance contact was made with Marie Lairre, a French nun who left her convent to marry Henry Waldegrave, whose wealthy family had once owned a manor on the site of Borely Rectory. Her husband had strangled her, and buried her in the cellar – unconsecrated ground. She was doomed to wander the property, searching for eternal rest. Some months after Marie Lairre’s appearance, another spirit claimed it would burn the house down and the unfortunate nun’s body would be found. Exactly eleven months later the new owner knocked over an oil lamp and burned the house down.

Price found several very fragile female bones in the cellar, and concluded they belonged to Marie Lairre. A service was held for her at Liston, and her remains were interred in consecrated ground. No further sightings of the young woman have been reported since.

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