In 1966, the Pritchard family, of 30 East Drive, Chequerfield Estate, Pontefract, became the helpless victims of a terrifying chain of events that was to develop into the most unique and violent case of poltergeist activity in the documented history of the paranormal world.
It all began on the evening of 1st September, 1966; this was the time when Joe and Jean Pritchard had recently moved into the house and had decided to take a long – awaited holiday, taking their twelve-year-old daughter, Diane with them.
After much discussion and long heated debates, Joe and Jean reluctantly decided that, due to unresolved, long standing family issues, it would be better for all concerned if their fifteen-year-old son, Phillip, was to stay at home under the watchful supervision of his grandmother, Mrs Sarah Scholes.
After the Pritchards had loaded the car and departed on holiday Sarah Scholes and her grandson settled down for the evening in the living room. Mrs. Scholes occupied herself with her usual past-time of knitting, while Phillip turned on the TV for a night of viewing; although it wasn’t long before he had convinced his grandmother to allow him to go visit his friend who lived a few doors away on the same street.
At 9pm. Phillip returned home, as had been stipulated by his grandmother. No sooner had the fifteen-year-old entered the house than a gust of wind blasted through the house and the back door slammed shut. Immediately the living room felt icy cold. Understandably the two of them looked at each other in shock; each of them believing that the back door had mistakenly been left open and when Phillip entered the house through the front door it had resulted in a ‘through draft’ rushing through the downstairs rooms of the house and quickly dissipating the heat from the gas fire, making the living room instantly feel cold.
The first in a series of articles examining the strange phenomena that plagued the occupants of Borley Rectory, earning it the infamous title of ‘The Most Haunted House in England’.
Many people, from all over the world are quite happy to view and judge the controversial history of Borley Rectory, on evidence compiled and presented by the famous, and it has to be said, equally controversial Harry Price. However, in reality the saga of the once famously named ‘most haunted house in England began several centuries before the former stage magician and renowned paranormal researcher entered the arena.
There is no denying that Harry Price was ultimately responsible for bringing an often unwelcomed storm of public interest down on the quiet, rural Suffolk/Essex border village of Borley. It is also worth noting that other reputable individuals investigated this location during the time of Price’s eventful investigation period of 1926 – 1939. And countless other researchers subsequently followed on after Borley Rectory burned to the ground in 1939, and Prices death on March 29th 1948. All research following these dates have either been on examination of public historical records, personal testament from contemporary witnesses, or retrospective analysis of the limited experiences and documents Harry Price deemed to make public.
While I have made every possible effort to ensure that the facts in this article are obtained from credible and reliable sources, I make no attempt to change the reader’s opinions or influence anyone one way or the other. My main goal is to briefly set out available information to help the reader form their own subsequent course of research and verification, and of course to make interesting reading about an intriguing chain of events that has permanently etched itself into the annals of paranormal research.
TRACING THE ORIGINS
Before we can consider the credibility of any reported, or experienced phenomena in any investigation it is essential to pay particular attention to their possible cause or origins. As an example of this, let me highlight one of, if not the most famous incidents of the Borley Rectory nun. By carrying out meticulous research of historical records, and considering local folklore, strong evidence emerged that the apparition of the nun reported to have walk forlornly around Borley Rectory grounds, could in fact be linked to a 13th century nun, who it is said was discovered while attempt to elope with a young monk from the monastery that once stood on the Rectory site. As a consequence of this strictly forbidden affair, the monk was quickly executed and the nun, (documented in historical records as one ‘Marie Lairre’), was bricked up alive in an undisclosed wall of the former monastery. Although at first glance this tragic event sounds conveniently plausible, further detailed research was to show that the nearby convent that the nun is alleged to have been a resident, never existed