Mysterious Handwriting on the Wall

The haunted ruins of the Borley Rectory after the great fire.
The haunted ruins of the Borley Rectory after the great fire.

KEN AND ADAM HAD DECIDED to go on a big adventure. They had saved up for two years to make the trip, and were going to have to put the balance of what they lacked on credit cards. They would be paying, with interest, for awhile but they decided it was well worth it. They were headed for Essex, England and the site of Borley Rectory. This rectory was built during Victorian times and was often proclaimed as the most haunted house in England. Many families had lived in the rectory over the years and a goodly number of them reported scores of paranormal activities.

Ken and Adam were very interested in such events and had recently joined a paranormal investigation group in Kansas City. They were so new at it themselves, that they didn’t have any of the special equipment used by the group, but they hoped they could learn something from their venture anyway, interview some nearby residents, or at least get a spooky vibe for their efforts. As they cruised over the Atlantic, they discussed notes they had made, almost like they were studying for a test. They wanted all of the pertinent facts in mind before they actually viewed the site.

“Reverend Henry Dawson Ellis Bull was the first resident. Borley Rectory was built for him in 1863,” Ken started.

“And they think it was built on the land where a medieval monastery once stood!” Adam exclaimed.

“During their time there, the family heard bells, whistles, voices, music, raps and taps. They were visited by an old man in a tall hat and a nun made frequent appearances, but the apparitions did no harm to the inhabitants,” Ken continued. “When Bull’s son Harry took over the residence, his family was visited by a headless man, a phantom coach, and a nun appeared again. Doors that were locked opened themselves.”

“That family stayed in the house from 1892 to 1927, believe it or not. In 1929—I don’t know who was living there at the time—objects tossed themselves about in the house: pebbles, rocks, keys and medals,” Adam added.

“Then the really good stuff started happening!” Ken laughed at his own words. “The Foysters moved in: Reverend Lionel Algernon Foyster, wife Marianne, and daughter Adelaide. This Marianne lady must have been live-wire, electric or something. She attracted a lot of paranormal activity.”

The mysteries handwritten scribbles of a ghost.
The mysteries handwritten scribbles of a ghost.

Adam and Ken stared, once again, at the pictures in the books they were reading—pictures of messages Marianne Foyster got from an entity and the messages she wrote back when she was trying to communicate with same.

“Marianne was first alerted when she heard her own name, ‘Marianne’ being called out at odd times in an unknown and eerie voice. Then scribbling started appearing on a wall.   When she overcame her shock, Marianne started writing questions back to the otherworldly scribbler.” Adam summarized.

“But wait! Shortly after they moved in, she first found a message scribbled on an envelope she had laying around. It first just said, ‘Marianne,” Ken reminded his friend. “I don’t know why she would even write a question back, unless she was so aware of paranormal activity all about that she was sure the message was from a ghost. So, she wrote back, ‘What do you want?’ The entity wrote back, ‘rest.”

“Wow. I have always thought this was so spooky—even poignant. And if you look at all of the messages the entity scribbles, a lot of the scribbles are hard to decipher. It is very un-coordinated writing—like a first grader—but the ghost always writes ‘Marianne’ the same way. It is very easy to read her name and it is always written by the same person or whatever it is.”

Adam ran his finger over one of the messages as if trying to absorb a vibe.

Ken pointed to the photograph one of the messages written on a wall. It said, “Marianne, get help. To die unrepentant bothers me.” Marianne wrote back, “I cannot understand, tell me more.” It is hard to make out any words in the ghost’s reply.   Marianne writes again, “I still cannot understand. Please tell me more.”

“At the time of the wall messages, there seemed to be the pervading aroma of lavender in the air. Often other strange smells floated through the rectory when there was no reason for them. They appeared spontaneously,” Ken added.

“On top of all that, when a Benedictine monk was visiting in 1931 a fire started in a baseboard. As the fire was extinguished a piece of flint fell out of the charred remains. The same monk, Edwin Whitehouse was hit by stones falling from above when an exorcism was being conducted in another part of the rectory. Adam then went on to explain some more creepiness. “A larger fire damaged the rectory in 1939. Ghostly figures were seen hovering in the flames. During the fire period, an unknown girl was seen in upstairs windows. Other ethereal figures were seen coming and going from the rectory. During the War, when there were mandatory blackouts, blackout wardens were summoned because there were lights in the windows of the rectory going off and on. A chauffeur was alarmed to hear the thundering of horses’ hooves behind him and pulled to the side. The noise of the hooves passed him on the left but there was nothing there at all.”

“I am sorry we can’t see the actual building anymore, Adam,” Ken lamented.

“I am too. It was demolished in 1944. But I am convinced there will still be strong vibes all about, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, you can’t get rid of ghosts that easily. They will still be there. We can scout out some people who may have interesting stories.”

*     *     *

     After Ken and Adam were thoroughly thrilled and chilled at the Borley Rectory site—in one instance their camera flashes, flashlights and the headlights of their leased vehicle all went dark and would not work, they saw ghostly images hovering in trees nearby and heard strange noises and smelled sweet perfume-y smells—they decided to take a short trip to a cemetery, to view a grave.

There had been detractors of the hauntings—rumors of tricks, practical jokes and chicanery. It seems that years before, Harry Price, an early paranormal investigator, rented the rectory for a year, and his team of paranormal observers could find no new information. They decided to hold a séance as a last resort. An alleged spirit that appeared at the séance and through means of a pencil-planchette spelled out messages to the group. The spirit, Marie Lairre’s message explained that a young nun living in the seventeenth century had left the order to marry Henry Waldegrave. His wealthy family’s home had once stood at the site of Borley Rectory. Who knows what happened, but for some reason the young nun was strangled by her intended. In another cryptic pencil message Marie Lairre beseeched, “Look under the brick floor in the cellar.”

It was not until 1943 that the floor could be excavated—much red tape. They found a few fragile bones of a young woman, including a skull. The remains were put in a small cedar casket and buried in consecrated ground, finally.

As Adam and Ken stood at the young woman’s grave in Liston, one and a half miles distant from the original Borley Rectory, the sweet aroma of incense passed right beneath their noses, teased them for a moment, then was gone.

Please click the book cover images to read more about Sara Marie Hogg and her books.


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