This week we have added 48,988 pages to The Archive, with new pages covering both England and Scotland. We’re delighted to have updated four of our Scottish titles, with additions spanning the years between 1879 to 1981. We’ve also updated the Newcastle Journal, the Manchester Evening News, the Lichfield Mercury, the Wells Journal, and finally the Reading Evening Post.
One of our Scottish titles to be updated this week is the Aberdeen Evening Express, to which we have added the years 1939-1945 and 1980-1981.
Eighty years ago marks the destruction of the ‘most haunted house in England, the Rectory at Borley,’ which was destroyed by fire in February 1939. Using the Aberdeen Evening Express and other titles in our Archive, we take a look at the fascinating story of the Suffolk rectory and its paranormal goings on.
An article in the Aberdeen Evening Express, 12 June 1939, demands ‘Have you seen any ghosts?’ For an example, it cites the ‘startling things’ occurring at Borley Rectory. The newspaper goes into further detail in its September 1945 review of supernatural investigator Harry Price’s book Poltergeist Over England.
Mr Harry Price, who has done more than any living man to put research into the supernatural on a scientific basis, has written a complete history of the Poltergeist, examining 500 cases, dating from ancient times to last year.
One of the most modern cases that Harry Prince investigated was that of Borley Rectory. He went so far as to rent the building for a year, with a ‘team of skilled observers,’ who apparently proved ‘beyond all reasonable argument that the place was abnormal.’
Some of the supernatural happenings included: one investigator getting locked in a room with a key on the inside, prompting Harry Price to suggest that ‘whatever locked him in must have been in the room with him;’ old bills being moved about a room ‘by an unseen hand,’ and a young woman dressed in pale blue being spotted in the moonlight.
In 1940 The Tatler describes further interesting occurrences – ‘black shadows gliding along the Nun’s Walk, lights shining in windows where no light was lit, and terrific crashes and bangs heard in empty rooms.’ Also reported were the appearances of a nun and a ghostly coach and horses.
The haunting of Borley Rectory was so bad that its inhabitants were forced to move out in 1930. This enabled Harry Price to lease the building, and his investigators were later in receipt of a chilling prediction, received via planchette: ‘the rectory would be burned down and the fire would start over the hall.’
And strangely enough, this prediction came true. As the Coventry Evening Telegraph reports on the 28 February 1939, ‘the most haunted house in England was badly damaged by fire to-day. An oil lamp was upset in the main hall, and before the fire brigade arrived the ground floor and upper stories were involved.’
Since the destruction of Borley Rectory, many of its so-called paranormal happenings have been debunked, with previous occupants admitting that they had never actually seen any ghosts, and that the unusual noises were nothing but the wind. However, whether true or not, it certainly forms an intriguing story, which can be traced through the pages of our Archive.
This week we have updated nine of our existing titles.
You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.
|Aberdeen Press and Journal||1980-1981|
|Aberdeen Evening Express||1939-1945, 1980-1981|
|Dumfries and Galloway Standard||1879-1880, 1883, 1886-1887, 1889, 1891, 1894|
|Hamilton Advertiser||1893, 1895-1896, 1900, 1902, 1905, 1909|
|Newcastle Journal||1876, 1879|
|Manchester Evening News||1888|
|Lichfield Mercury||1987, 1990|
|Wells Journal||1986-1988, 1990|
|Reading Evening Post||1988|