Harry Price at Borley


















Harry Price and 'The Most Haunted House in England'

Price in action at Borley watching for the ghost nun from the large summerhouse (Photograph - Mary Evans Picture Library)

In 1973, Peter Underwood and Dr. Paul Tabori dedicated their book The Ghosts of Borley to ‘Harry Price – the man who put Borley on the map’.  This section of the website looks in detail at Harry Price’s involvement with probably the most notorious case of haunting ever, due as the authors above recognize in the main to Price’s efforts, although it is a fact that the Rectory had a history of being a haunted house long before Price ever became involved with or heard of the place.  Price’s involvement with Borley Rectory began in 1929 when he was asked by the editor of the London Daily Mirror to assist investigations being carried out at that time by the newspaper who had been contacted by the then incumbent, the Rev. Guy Smith and his wife.  Price visited the Rectory periodically during the early 1930s and eventually rented the empty building for a year in 1937 during which time he attempted a continual on-site investigation of the house through a group of selected observers.  The events at Borley were publicized by Price through magazine articles, lantern slide lectures, radio talks and primarily with two books, the first written after the Rectory had been destroyed by fire in 1939 and the second following continued investigations by various parties, Price included, which continued into the mid 1940s.  Price was at work on a third Borley book when he died in March 1948.

Harry Price’s involvement in the Borley Rectory case was the subject of much debate and examination in the years following his death and this continues unabated to the present time.  In the mid 1950s, when the events at Borley were critically examined and reported on by the Society for Psychical Research, Price was accused of being a manipulative liar who falsified evidence in order to use the Borley story to his own advantage, namely for money and fame.  Despite attempts at various times over the years to challenge these accusations or provide support for his actions, Price’s motives in the cause of psychical research at Borley are still looked at by some modern observers as those of someone fattening up a financial and publicity-laden cash cow rather than those of a sincere seeker of the truth investigating a genuine and long established case of haunting. 

The contents of this section of the website will, it is hoped, enable a clear and unbiased appraisal of Harry Price’s role at Borley to be made, by presenting comprehensive information from a variety of sources, covering Price’s own investigations, his presentation of his own material and that of others, the theories derived about the hauntings and the criticisms of Price’s methods and findings by his contemporaries and those that took on the case following his death.  As with other areas of the site, Price’s own writings are presented together with modern essays and articles, as well as the many specific accounts and reports written about Borley down through the years, both supportive and critical. 

Click on the titles of the essays to access the pages

The Most Haunted House in England by Harry Price (1936)    The complete text of Chapter II of Price's Confessions of a Ghost Hunter which covers the first two visits that Harry Price made to Borley during the incumbencies of both the Smiths and the Foysters.

Some Recent Investigations into the Borley Rectory Case by A.J.B. Robertson (1944)    This is a summary of a paper read by Mr. Robertson at a Private Meeting of the Society for Psychical Research on 4th November 1944.  The findings of the 'Cambridge Commission' into the Borley case were used by Price as part of his second book on Borley which was published in 1946.

Borley Rectory: A Century of Poltergeists by Harry Price (1945)   Price included a narrative on the alleged poltergeist phenomena at Borley as Chapter XXV of his Poltergeist Over England monograph.  It is reproduced here including the accompanying plates and line drawing by John Hookham.

The Borley Story by Dr. Paul Tabori (1950)   This page contains the complete text of the Borley chapter from Tabori's 1950 biography Harry Price - The Biography of a Ghost Hunter.

The Haunting of Borley Rectory by Eric J. Dingwall, Kathleen M. Goldney & Trevor H. Hall (1956)   Commissioned by the Society for Psychical Research in 1951, an organisation with which Harry Price had an uneasy relationship, this is the 'Borley Report' as it has since come to be known.  The entire book is reproduced here including the accompanying diagrams, maps and plates.

Was Harry Price a Fraud by Nandor Fodor (1956)   A scathing review of The Haunting of Borley Rectory published in the American paranormal journal Tomorrow.

Comments on Mr Coleman's Paper by Dr Dingwall, Mrs Goldney & Mr Hall (1956)   The S.P.R. trio responded immediately to the initial criticisms of their investigation into the Borley hauntings by publishing a reply in the same issue of the S.P.R. Journal.  This page contains the complete article.

An Examination of the 'Borley Report' by Robert J. Hastings (1969)    The Research Advisory Committee of the Society for Psychical Research authorised a re-examination of the Borley case in 1965 and S.P.R. member Robert Hastings produced the long-awaited response to the 'Borley Report of 1956.  This is the complete contents of the 'Hastings Report'.


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All original text, photographs & graphics used throughout this website are © copyright 2004-2005 by Paul G. Adams.  All other material reproduced here is the copyright of the respective authors.