The Mysterious “Ghost Writings” at England’s Borley Rectory—An Investigation…

No Hand Was Visible: The Mysterious “Wall Writings” at Borley Rectory— An Investigation

Andrew Clarke, 2003

The wall-writings at England’s infamously haunted Borley Rectory have proven to be of enduring interest. Although they may not be unique, they are memorable, with the repeated calling of the name ‘Marianne’, their chilling pleas for ‘Rest’, exhortations for ‘Light’ the ‘Mass Prayers’, and childlike scribbling, redolent of a tortured soul desperate to communicate.

C253F663-8733-4C92-9E96-ECB7932F5A0DWho can fail to be stirred by the account of their arrival as remembered by a visitor, the professional medium, Guy L’Estrange?:

“Later, being entertained by the rector and his wife, he heard for the first time of mysterious forms, male and female, being seen inside and outside the house; of lights in unoccupied rooms; of articles appearing and being thrown; of fires breaking out; of mysterious whisperings and unexplained writings on walls and scraps of paper. Once, the rector told him, he was working alone in his study when he saw a pencil rise from the desk and scrawl words on the wall in front of him -no hand was visible!’

Guy L’Estrange, quoted in Borley Postscript by Peter Underwood, p.114

It is an image that we all kept when we first read the Harry Price books about Borley Rectory: the pencil rising from the desk and scrawling the words ‘Get light, mass, prayers.’

This account was introduced by the professional medium, Guy L’Estrange. Unfortunately Guy seems to have made it up. Lionel Foyster, the rector would never have said it. He was meticulous in his care for the truth and was always keen to point out that he never saw anything of a paranormal nature whilst at Borley Rectory. The story of the pencil rising from the desk does not appear in any other account.

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This and all other images: Borleyrectory.com.

The ‘paranormal’ writings first appeared in the spring of 1931 when the Foysters were living at the Rectory.

The diary of occurrences, written soon after the event, records the first manifestations of this strange phenomenon, and then, in instalments describes how it evolved:

“Another strange occurrence is that Marianne’s name was at one time continually being written on little odd pieces of paper in a rather shaky childish hand (Adelaide, needless to say, cannot write yet) That has stopped now as far as I know (March 23rd).”

Lionel Foyster Diary of Occurences, p.17

In Lionel’s final account which was written seven years later, some detail was added that gave this a much more ‘paranormal’ air:

‘MF sees paper in the air; it at once falls to the ground; discovered to huave some hardly decipherable writing on it. Next day, when we come up, it has disappeared.”

Lionel Foyster, Summary of experiences, p.4

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Ghost Stories: A Great Introduction to the Art—by Michael Newton, (Penguin Classics, 2010)

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It’s always a delight to discover scholarship on the ghost story, such as the following essay by Michael Newton. It is my favorite subject—ghosts in literature that is—hands down. I read them—new ones, old ones. I dread them (and dream them). I love both short stories and novella-length ones; novels, too, but real good ones are rare. I also like true stories of specters and spirits, haints and hauntings—they scare the bejeezus outta me, but they also fill me with a ferocious glee! I suppose it’s the idea that we may never know for sure—right?—whether they’re real or a figment of the global imagination. Either way, I love my ghost stories. I trust you do, too. So, here’s Newton’s Introduction from the Penguin Book of Ghost Stories, published in 2010. (I highly recommend every story in this collection. I recently finished Elizabeth Gaskell’s creeper “The Old Nurse’s Story.” It was superb.)

Leave a light on!

💡SW

Note: Any photographs or images that follow—along with accompanying captions—are additions of mine, and are not part of the Introduction as it originally appeared in The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories.  —Sanguine Woods

Introduction to The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories

Michael Newton, 2010

“The ghost is the most enduring figure in supernatural fiction. He is absolutely indestructible … He changes with the styles in fiction but he never goes out of fashion. He is the really permanent citizen of the earth, for mortals, at best, are but transients.”

Dr. Dorothy Scarborough*, The Supernatural in Modern English Fiction

GHOST, n. The outward and visible sign of an inward fear.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

“It is the haunted who haunt.”

Elizabeth Bowen, ‘The Happy Autumn Fields’

*****

“GHOST WORDS”

Above (click to enlarge): The famous “writing on the wall”** at England’s Borley Rectory is one of the most interesting manifestations of ghost writing ever encountered. The events and investigations at the rectory were among the very first cases of “ghost hunting” in the history of the modern world. Investigators, including Ed and Lorraine Warren, demonologists for the Church, believed the writings had come from the spirit of a young Catholic woman who wanted her body to be discovered and to be given a proper Christian burial. “Marianne” and her husband, Reverend Lionel Foyster, lived in the rectory during October 1930–her writing is in printed script and attempts to get clarification from the spirit as to the meaning of her scribbles, which include: “Marianne… please help get” and “Marianne light mass prayers”. Click here (and see other “Links” following this post) to learn more about The Borley Rectory Hauntings.

Someone is afraid. In a dark house or on an empty railway platform, at the foot of the staircase or there on a lonely beach. When critics discuss the ghost story, they often pay no more than lip-service to the intended impact of the tale itself. The critics’ words remove us from the place where the story’s words first took us. In the ghost story, through the representation of another’s fear, we become afraid. We take on the sensation of terror, the alert uneasiness that translates random sounds into intentions, a room’s chill into watchfulness, and leaves us with the anxious apprehension of an other’s presence. The stories fix images of profound uneasiness in our minds. These images remain and act afterwards, when the story is over, as paths to renewed anxiety. From the stories in this collection, memories rise up of Thrawn Janet’s crooked walk, like a rag doll that has been hanged; the bereaved mother desperately reaching for the bolt to the door in ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, with the visitor outside; or in M. R. James’s tale, on a sunless day, in a dream, a man running along the sands, breathless, worn out, pursued inexorably by a blind, muffled figure.

The ghost story aims at the retention of such pictures; it intends the production of such fears. It wants sympathetic shudders.

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My Current Read: Small Ghosts, a Horrifying Novella of a Serial Killer & the Ghosts of His Victims by Paul Lewis, 2017, Info+Links

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Cover art by Daniele Serra.

When his grandfather, a former policeman, is hospitalized after suffering a stroke, recently-widowed journalist Tom Maitland returns to his home town to support his mother, despite their strained relationship. Tom ends up staying at his grandfather’s (a former police officer) now-empty cottage, where he becomes intrigued by a disturbing murder case the old man had once investigated and failed to solve. The more Tom looks into the case, the more unsettling it all becomes, as events start to take a decidedly supernatural turn…

Blurbs by Two Authors I Highly Recommend!

“Small Ghosts is a compelling novella that tackles one of society’s greatest fears in a refreshing and original way. Lewis gives us a story that spans more than the bounds such a short form should allow, with characters that convince and intrigue and a plot that refuses to take you where you might expect. Engaging, entertaining, and expertly told.”

Ray Cluley, author (Ray Cluley’s Website)…Some Books by Ray Clulely:

“Small Ghosts is a dark surprise. A story of misgiven detection and dreadful revelations, elegantly crafted against a background of supernatural dread.”

Paul Meloy, author (Check Paul out on Wiki)…Some books by Paul Meloy:

A Short Review from the Graveyard…

Ex-journalist Tom Maitland is still trying to get his life in order after the unexpected loss of his beloved wife, when he learns that his grandfather is in hospital near death from a stroke. He has no love for the man, but agrees to meet his mother (the sick man’s daughter) at a café. She persuades him to check that his grandfather’s bungalow is secure. Once there he catches a glimpse of a boy who simply vanishes. But this is just the start of a bigger mystery. News clippings are discovered dating back to when his grandfather led the police investigation into the deaths of two young boys and a third who was still missing. Curiosity piqued, Tom’s journalistic instincts take over to the point it begins to take over his life…

This is an 108-page novelette written by Paul Lewis (comedy sketch writer and author of The Savage Knight) and published on good quality paper by Telos. The prose makes for comfortable reading, and the story avoids convoluted plot strands. Thankfully, it keeps to the point and concentrates on characterisation; namely, the protagonist and his mother. I would say that the witnesses and the all the answers he seeks fall comfortably into Maitland’s hands, without the requirement to venture very much out of the local area of his grandfather’s bungalow. Additionally, certain elements of the tale are somewhat predictable. However, I did get drawn in by the human element, and was only half right when predicting the ending.

It’s an enjoyable but regrettably short book, which may well cause people to balk at the £9.99 RRP. A nice saving grace is that my copy is one of a limited number of signed copies by the author.

(http://www.reviewgraveyard.com/00_revs/r2017/book/17-04-02_small-ghosts.html)

Get the novella, in collectible paperback format, from the publisher, here…

https://telos.co.uk/shop/horror-dark-fantasy-and-science-fiction/small-ghosts/

Get the ebook from Amazon, here…

“The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor”–This Early-70s Epic Mod-Gothic Publication Was My First Comic Book Collection! Here Is Issue #1 in Its Entirety…

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor, Issue 1: Cult of the Vampire! (Gold Key Comics 1973)

Remember The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor? It had a very short run, sadly. But I was an eager 12 year old and this was my cup of brew. In fact, the 1970s publication, which ran for about 20 issues, was my very first comic book collection! And…it was my initiation into the world of the Occult. I’m bringing it to you, now, Dear Reader, every month–an issue at a time…Guess you could say I’m “resurrecting a personal monster”…

Long May He Live!!!

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What’s on the Tube? The Lodgers—A Haunting Irish Gothic Story You Won’t Soon Forget…☠️☠️☠️☠️

Girl child, boy child, listen well.
Be in bed by midnight’s bell.
N’er let a stranger through your door.
N’er leave each other all alone.

Good sister, good brother be
Follow well these cautions three.
Long as your blood be ours alone.
We’ll see you ever from below.

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—poem sung during the opening credits (Poster: IMDb)

What an awesome film. The Irish setting is just so cool. There’s mystery here. There’s fairy tale wonder…and fear. And moving through the woods softly alongside mist and shadow—is a heartache long forgotten, an insidious presence, something wet stirring in the lake…

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Loftus Hall—The setting for The Lodgers has a true history of mysterious hauntings. The hall is a large country house on the Hook peninsula, County Wexford, Ireland. Built on the site of the original Redmond Hall, Loftus is said by locals to be haunted by the devil and the ghost of a young woman. Learn more here: Loftus Hall (Wikipedia)


A family curse confines orphaned twins Rachel and Edwards to their home. Bound to the rules of a haunting childhood lullaby, the twins must never let any outsiders inside the house, must be in their rooms by the chime of midnight, and must never be separated from one another. Breaking any of these rules will incur the wrath of a sinister presence that inhabits the house and the grounds after dark.

Reviews…

Some reviews I read were just ridiculous. You know how I feel about silly, attention-grabbing critics who over assert their limited knowledge of what it means to be entertained by a genre film like The Lodgers. In all fairness I will gladly share reviews from both sides if I feel they are intelligent and seeking to promote the art rather than a mere point of view.

I liked these and agree wholeheartedly…

Jonathan Barken from Dread Central wrote:

“Delicately crafted, The Lodgers is a richly woven tapestry of classically inspired gothic horror. Smart, scary, and undeniably beautiful, it will no doubt be considered one of the pinnacles of its genre.”

Chris Alexander from ComingSoon.net wrote:

“There hasn’t been a more effective, disturbing and sensorially pleasing film of this kind since Alejandro Amenabar’s The Others and, like that masterpiece, O’Malley’s artful, lurid and meticulously orchestrated exercise in atmosphere, pretty misery, and dread seeps deep under your skin. And it stays there. For keeps.”

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And Justin Lowe from The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “[The Lodgers is ] finely attuned, atmospheric filmmaking more likely to catch the attention of art house aficionados than… horror fans.”

I would add to Lowe’s words “art house aficionados” above “and lovers of the gothic, ghost stories, atmospheric dread, and ‘slow-building horror’”—none of which are negative in nature, but rather a bit more positive than being typed a mere “horror fan”—which implies we horror fans don’t care for the above and are rather only lovers of babysitter slasher flicks, the grotesque, boorish decapitations, and other body horrors (all of which we like as well, but still…).

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More info on cast, plot, etc….

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lodgers_(film)

Images, unless otherwise noted, are from Pinterest.

 

What’s on the Tube? The Vault—A Great Ghost Story Set in an Old Bank ☠️☠️☠️.5

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Two estranged sisters are forced to rob a bank in order to save their brother. The heist begins smoothly, but dread ensues when the defiant bank manager sends them to a basement-level vault in the old part of the bank…down there something real bad happened once. Now, something truly evil lives there. 

Oh man. This is my kinda movie. The cast is great. The suspense is killer. And the supernatural element? Wicked.

And Franco in that 70s burns and stache? 🔥

But I digress.

I don’t care what critics say—or those whiny movie viewers that go to every single movie with their own quasi-“this-is-how-a-film-should-be-made” expectations, and always come away disappointed, because it’s part of who they are as whiny movie viewers. Don’t listen to them. They’ve forgotten what it means to be entertained.

The Vault rocks. I loved it. It’s scary. Watch it. ‘Nuff said.

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You know I usually love foreign posters of American films better than American ones, so…

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