Drawing Ghosts
Borley Rectory
2007
Mixed Media
8 x 10, framed
Private Collection

The Ghost of Borley Rectory - Framed 8 x 10 inch mixed media on canvas, framed in wood that has been painted black and attached directly to the painting itself.

This piece was created from vintage photographs, antique papers, decorative papers, acrylic paints, oil crayons, pencil, pen and ink, and various other ephemera. The painting has been sealed with a heavy acrylic varnish, and is read to hang or display on a table as soon as it arrives.

The painting itself is based on the story of the ghosts of Borley Rectory. This home, which has since burned to the ground, was built on the site of an old monastery. According to the legend, sometime in the thirteenth century, a young monk and a novice fell in love there, and attempted to run away to elope. They were caught, however, and punished for this mortal sin. While the monk was hanged, the novice was bricked up alive in the walls of the monastery, and left to die. For 500 years, she remained lost and forgotten.

In the late 1800's, however, a family acquired the property, and built the Borley Rectory on the spot where the monastery had allegedly stood. Soon thereafter, the sightings began. Objects moved, and rapping noises and the sounds of horses hooves were often heard. Most frightening, however, was the image if a young woman, who could be seen walking, her head bent low, through the garden. It was believed, of course, that this was the young nun who had died so horribly, so many years before.

While a number of individuals lived in the house, the activity ultimately reached its apex when a Reverend moved into the property with his wife in the 1920's.

For some reason, Mrs. Marianne Foyster would become the center focus of the Borley haunting. Marianne was slapped, kicked, grabbed, and pushed by the ghost. Objects were thrown in her direction, and she reported that an unseen force tried to smother her with a mattress. Even spookier, however, was the writing that began appearing on the walls of the Rectory, with messages directed toward Marianne. Although much of the scratches were scrawled and illegible, one could clearly read the plaintive requests for help, and the cryptic messages that referred to lighting candles for mass.

In 1929, paranormal investigator Harry Price was called in by a local newspaper to help make sense of the phenomena. Price would ultimately live at the Rectory for a year, during which he reported hundreds of occurrences. Although his findings and reports were called into question in later years, Price has the distinction of being one of the first "ghost hunters" in the field.

The Rectory burned to the ground in 1939, after a new resident accidentally overturned an oil lamp. And, while it was later determined that no monastery had ever stood on the site, several ancient, small bones from a young woman were found in the ruins of the house. Still, nobody knows the identity of the young woman, or whether she was the sorrowful figure in the garden; Borley Rectory is gone, taking most of its secrets with it.
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