Edwin and the High Water Mark

by Andrew Clarke
copyright 2003

The arrival of Edwin in the Borley story was the high water mark of bizarre events at Borley Rectory. Who could fail to be impressed by the account by Edwin Whitehouse of the events of November 13th 1931, in the kitchen of Borley Rectory with the rector's wife, Marianne and the maid?

" We were standing in a row with our backs to the fire, talking and looking out towards the windows. Suddenly before our very eyes, a bottle poised itself in mid-air within a foot or so of the kitchen ceiling. It remained there for a second or two and then fell with a crash on the floor before us. I repeat that all three of us witnessed this incident"

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England p 98

Edwin Whitehouse's contribution to Harry Price's first book was spine-chilling stuff, However, Price could not resist gingering it up for the second book to make it appear more supernatural.

"They all saw another bottle materialize in the air above them. First it was a mushroom shape, then its form changed to that of a bottle. It hovered in the air for a few seconds and crashed to the floor at their feet."

Harry Price The End of Borley Rectory p 37

Harry Price had simply made this up. None of the participants actually saw anything of the kind.

He invented that! Evidently he was losing his critical faculty by then and writing over dramatically

Edwin Whitehouse, in Proceedings of the SPR Vol 55 Pr 201 p170

It was not even entirely true to say that all three (Marianne, Edwin and the maid) had witnessed the bottle throwing. Marianne was preoccupied elsewhere at the time

I heard the crash. I was cooking something. I believe I was frying pancakes - it was something that required concentration - and I heard the crash, and I thought it was probably (the) children at first that pushed something, but I saw it was one of the ubiquitous bottles, and the bottle must have - oh, I was about to say exploded - because the glass went all over. We had quite a time sweeping up the glass. It just sort of disintegrated very much in minute particles - went all over. Oh, I should say it was a stone floor in the kitchen, which probably accounted for its disintegration.

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

There were five people there, in fact, as the two children were in the kitchen.

"..the children were there and Edwin was expounding doctrines, and then I think it thundered. I believe it thundered because I know Adelaide was always very terrified of thunder, and I don't like thunder myself very much, and then I think first of all there were stones or something - there were a lot of that - were thrown and I believe it was stones, and then there was a bottle thrown, but I don't know. I know that I saw it crash but I didn't see it start or anything about it, and I know that the little girl that was there, she was very perturbed and so Edwin was saying that we should all fly, and I was very much annoyed with him because it was raining and two children and he was in a highly emotional state"

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

So it was a rather creepy evening, with thunder, a terrified child and an emotional man spouting theology. There seem to have been bells rung, and both stones and bottles being thrown . However, whatever bottle-antics there happened to be, were seen by Edwin alone.

Afterwards, Marianne reported to Lionel the day's events. Foyster commented…

"I hear that Maggie [the maid] behaved splendidly.",
"I think she was too much amused at [Edwin] to be scared. She was startled at first, but I laughed and she laughed"

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p151

Marianne's references to Edwin's highly emotional state, and comical reactions, require some sort of explanation. Edwin Whitehouse was the nephew of the Churchwardens, Sir George and Lady Whitehouse. Sir George and Lady Whitehouse lived on the edge of Sudbury in a large house, Arthur House, overlooking the water meadows. They were outside the parish of Borley but nonetheless became churchwardens, and a regular part of the congregation. Borley church served a considerable part of the scattered community that lived on the edge of the Stour Valley between Long Melford and Sudbury

The couple had a strong interest in Spiritualism, and took a keen interest in what was said to be happening at the Rectory. When the occurrences were at their height, they twice let the Foysters stay with them at Arthur Hall, and introduced the Foysters to two teams of spiritualists who then held sessions at the rectory. They had taken their nephew, Edwin, under their wing after he had begun to suffer from what we would now recognise as post-traumatic-stress disorder, brought in by some horrendous experiences as a midshipman at the battle of Jutland. In his own words...

... I was invalided out from the Navy in 1917. A few years were spent in England and with my family in Lausanne in Switzerland, until 1919 when I returned to Istanbul and joined the family business of J. W. Whittall and Co. Ltd. I returned to England during the Wembley Exhibition of 1924-5 when I spent about three months in a Harrow nursing home being treated far anxiety neurosis from which I made a very good recovery.

An Examination of the 'Borley Report' by Robert J. Hastings (The Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research, Vol. 55, Pt. 201, March 1969) Appendix C

He did not return to Instanbul, but drifted into teaching. Poor Edwin then became engrossed in spiritualism and his religious beliefs developed strongly towards a brand of Anglo-Catholicism that finally led to him becoming a Benedictine monk, long after the end of the Foyster incumbency. Sadly, he never completely shrugged off his mental illness.

In May 1931, The Whitehouses wrote to him and invited him to Arthur hall to see what was happening for himself. Marianne remembered …

"Edwin was a guest at Arthur Hall. He seemed to be at loose ends, having given up a teaching position, and was attempting to discover if he had a vocation. Edwin had been in World War I as a midshipman and this had apparently taken toll of his nerves"

Owen, Iris; Mitchell, Pauline. Marianne's Story. Toronto: New Horizons Research Foundation, 1979.


He was soon up at the rectory with his aunt. Lionel recounted…

'On Saturday June 6th we had a visit from Lady [Whitehouse].She brought with her a [nephew] of Sir [George]'s who was staying just then at Arthur Hall. This [gentleman], [Edwin Whitehouse], was particularly interested in Poltergeistism and was most anxious to hear first hand all that was to be heard, and to see anything that was to be shown.

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p95

According to Lionel, Edwin and Lady Whitehouse were shown the wall-writings; Marianne recalled the first meeting as well.

"He was, at the time I first made his acquaintance, recovering from a love affair. He was seriously thinking of becoming a monk. He was tall after the fashion of the upper middle-class Englander, and pleasant enough at first sight"

(Marianne Foyster Autobiographical notes)

Edwin made a good initial impression on the Foysters.

"Lion liked him very much; so did I, for we found it pleasant to have someone friendly and uncritical to talk with."

Owen, Iris; Mitchell, Pauline. Marianne's Story. Toronto: New Horizons Research Foundation, 1979.

The couple were very pleased with Edwin's uncritical belief in poltergeist. It is not obvious from the Harry Price Books that several psychic investigators had visited the couple at the rectory and concluded that Marianne caused the manifestations. Here at last was a sympathetic ear.

As far as we can see, the conclusions of the investigators were a little harsh. At first, as far as one can make out, the events were happenstance. Any odd thing that occurred, whatever its cause, was attributed by Lionel to ghosts.

Asked to describe one of the recent occurrences, he said a dreadful thing had happened only the last week-end. His sermon, which he had left on the study table on Saturday night, had disappeared when he went to pick it up on Sunday morning. He spoke of this as if it were obviously the work of the powers of evil, a view I was unable to accept. 

W M Salter, Letter 1932

 Lionel shared the Bulls' fascination with the supernatural, If anything inexplicable happened to Marianne, He would be gratified, excited and attentive toward Marianne. Marianne loved her 'Lion' deeply, and responded by offering more haunting incidents. From Lionel's arrival at the rectory, he had been engrossed in the ghostly tales of his cousins, the Bulls, and the fascination started to consume his other interests. The more incidents that Marianne came up with, the happier he was. If things had continued like this, then all would have been well. They didn't and it wasn't.

Edwin was about to cause the phenomena to scale up in intensity, and take on a peculiar high-church flavour. However, on this initial meeting, nothing odd happened.

'There was no disturbance of any kind that evening, so I returned to Sudbury'

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England page 90

According to Lionel he left no doubt, before he left, that any manifestations would bring his rapid return.

"I do hope …that if anything happens at all while I am staying down here you'll let me know. I should love to come and witness it if I might"

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p 95

What an invitation. We will never be certain of the strange cause and effect, but there would soon follow .…

"…the high water mark of Poltergeist activity during our sojourn in the house and a day I shall never forget…"

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p102

The following day, Marianne was taken ill and was prescribed 'absolute rest'. The doctor (Dr Richie from Cavendish) had mistakenly diagnosed a weak heart. A 'sickroom' was set up in the room next to their bedroom (room 7, the 'Schoolroom). Another visitor came to hear all about the poltergeist and was entertained by Lionel in the library, but Marianne spent the day in peace upstairs. Later on, a stone hit Frank Peerless as he and Lionel walked up the stairs together. The next morning, Marianne told Lionel that, throughout the following night, there had been the sound of footsteps, Taps, bangs and creaks in and around the sickroom, and the two chairs had been tipped over. Finally, next morning, there were bangs and 'pats' in the house, which Lionel investigated, and he discovered a pair of slippers and a washing basket full of clothes in places he wasn't expecting. This was enough for him to rush out of the house to send a messenger off with a note to Edwin. When he returned, their bedroom was in a state of havoc with things lying about all over the place. Whilst Marianne related what had happened (she said that she heard, from her sickroom, bumps and crashes), Dr Richie suddenly called to check on his patient, Marianne. Whilst he and Lionel were discussing the confusion, a couple of stones were thrown at the doctor. Dr Richie had misheard Lionel's explanation and had thought it was the painters that had caused the confusion, but the stone put him right.

A bit later Edwin appeared on the doorstep, eager to see the poltergeist. Eight years later, he recalled…

"On Monday Morning, June 8th, a boy brought a note down from Borley, asking me to go up to the rectory at once. I hurried off and was met by Mr Foyster at the front door. He invited me in, waving his hand in the direction of the hall in a way that suggested that this was not the first time that such things had happened.
The scene that confronted me was one of extreme disorder. Almost the entire contents of a bedroom, adjoining the Blue Room and overlooking the lawn, were scattered on the main staircase and lower floor. Shoes, bedclothes, brushes, clothes of all kinds and other odds and ends were lying about the place higgledy-piggledy. I was made to understand that there had been a loud noise and in a very short space of time the things before me had been precipitated from the bedroom in an unaccountable manner."

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England p 90

Lionel and Edwin stood on the landing of the front stairs talking. As Lionel recounted the morning's events, and Marianne's account of how it had happened, a couple more items from the bedroom were propelled down the stairs. Mr. Foyster then took Edwin upstairs to see the pale and anxious Marianne

"She was lying on her back, her hands under the bed- clothes, which were drawn up near her neck. Her voice was rather weak and in order to hear her speak I sat at the end of the bed on the side nearest the door. Mr. Foyster then asked me if I would mind remaining with her for a short time while he slipped across the road to the Church."

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England p 91

Lionel left the pair together in the bedroom. Curiously, he often absented himself when Edwin was around, and the only other times he ever records Edwin in his book was on Harry Price's visit to the rectory and when he relates the aftermath of the thunderstorm quoted at the beginning of this sidelight.

"I changed over to the opposite end of the bed, keeping my eyes on Mrs. Foyster, who was still lying on her back with her hands well under the bed-clothes. We had been talking for perhaps ten minutes when I suddenly saw her start. At the same time, I felt something land lightly on my lap, coming apparently from behind me. I took hold of the object. It was a brass stiletto about eight or nine inches in length and weighing, I should imagine, not much less than eight ounces. I was told that it was a paper knife belonging to Mr. Foyster and was always kept in the study below.
Mrs. Foyster was still lying in the same position, her hands under the bed-clothes, a point I particularly noticed. I felt certain that by no possible means could she have got the object on to my lap without my detecting it. When I asked her why she started, she said that she saw the stiletto rise up from the floor behind me and then do one or two curious convolutions in the air before settling on my lap".

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England p 91

Marianne later claimed that she couldn't remember this incident at all

"I certainly don't remember any stiletto incident. I would like to say that I have never, to the best of my beliefs, even seen a stiletto. we had a flat ivory paper knife, I recall, but I don't remember any brass stiletto that weighed about 8 ounces…
… the incident of the stiletto, I don't recall at all, and I'm quite sure that I would have had it happened."

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

Edwin's phrase when I suddenly saw her start'  could be significant. He was obviously puzzled and asked her why she did it. Marianne's reply seems to show her inventiveness when under pressure. Lionel does not mention the incident at all, so it seems that either she chose not to relay the incident to him or Lionel dismissed the story as he also did with the tale of the 'monstrosity'.

Lionel returned,

'I heard the front door open, and guessing it was Mr. Foyster, I moved out to the landing to greet him. I had only just begun to descend the staircase when I heard a piercing shriek…'

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England p 92

Lionel recounted that they heard a cry and returned to the sickroom to see that Marianne…

'…was now lying prone on the floor, -the mattress on top of her. She had just been 'turfed' as we called it at school; That is to say, the mattress, blanket, etc. had been turned over wholesale. She was in the same position in relation to them as she had been, but they were all lying on the floor and Marianne was face-downwards.'

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p 104

There was a prosaic explanation for this incident. The bed had been made up in the room next to their bedroom, on a rather flimsy 'occasional' bed.

I'd like to explain that some of the furniture we had in Borley Rectory was good stuff - old - that we had purchased from Mr. Foyster's brother who had got it from the old home in All Saint's Rectory, Hastings, and some new stuff that we bought ourselves
In the spare room there were two very "jerry" beds - "jerry" wooden beds. They were the light beds … and on more than one occasion the bed collapsed but that was because they were badly built, and it was just as if somebody - well, you know how it is when a bed goes, it's just as if everything hits you all at once… they weren't very expensive beds and they were apt to do that.

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

Edwin had just sat on the bed and with his extra weight it had not collapsed. So what had caused it to do so? It is not weight but sudden jerky movement that causes a 'jerry' bed to collapse. Typically, it is when one tries to leap in or out of the bed very quickly. Curiously, the bed was turned, with Marianne ending up under the mattress. This would imply that one side gave way first, as would be the case if the occupant of the bed rolled to one side rapidly in order to leap out. (such beds were much taller than nowadays.) It would seem that the invalid was not so ill as they thought.

'. She looked very shaken and when able to get her breath, said in reply to my question, that she had felt the bed tilted and herself pushed out by something which, at the same time, gave her a blow in the body.'

Edwin Whitehouse, in The Most Haunted House is England p 92

More likely, she had been caught out whilst trying to leap quickly and silently out of bed. As when Edwin noticed her 'start' when propelling the paperknife onto Edwin's lap, she was able to quickly give a lurid supernatural explanation.

The reader will notice that the accounts of Lionel Foyster and Edwin tally very closely. Edwin is most unlikely to have read Lionel's account before he wrote his own, eight years later, as relations between Edwin and the Foysters were firmly broken off later. Edwin always insisted that he took notes at the time, though these have never been found. In his account he described the bedroom with the two windows. It was the sickroom, complete with its flimsy temporary bed. Later, he began to suspect that he'd got it wrong as the Foysters' bedroom had one window and very solid beds. Trevor Hall and his investigator leapt on this inconsistency, and tried to cast doubt on Edwin's testimony as a result; Even Marianne became confused in her later memory. Edwin's notes were right, however, and agreed with Lionel Foysters' testimony. The events happened in the sickroom, not the bedroom. And they both seem to be giving gullible accounts of Marianne up to mischief.

Later on, after Edwin had left, the same thing happened.

"After a time, though everything seemed quiet and the invalid herself asleep.
"I'll just creep down," I thought, "and see if the kitchen fire is all right." But I had not gone far, when again I heard a cry and rushing back once more found her pinned under the mattress on the floor"

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p104

Now, it could be that the 'figgis' or 'goblins' had invented a new manifestation that once more defied the known laws of science, or it could be that Marianne had again leapt out of bed as soon as Lionel's back was turned, in order to shy some more personal effects out of the door and down the stairwell, without realising that the bed suffered a design fault rather than merely faulty assembly.

Edwin was, however, now on a mission. He reported back to his Aunt and Uncle about the havoc at the Rectory and, that evening, they called in, and invited the Foysters to, once more, stay at Arthur Hall whilst things settled down. (They had stayed there in May)


"Things began to get desperate; "Bang" here, "Bang" there, every few seconds it seemed something was thrown. The clothes basket, which I had carried upstairs, had already gone over the banisters again."

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster)

They made preparations to leave, whilst Marianne lay on her flimsy sickbed.

While preparations were hastily going on, poor Marianne was left alone for a few minutes again and -was 'turfed' a third time.

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) 106

So the day ended with Marianne tucked up in the much more comfortable quarters of Arthur Hall with Edwin close at hand, being ministered to by Lady Whitehouse. So ended the 'High Water Mark' day.

Lionel got on well with Edwin, and they spent many happy hours together at Arthur Hall.

He and Foyster played a lot of chess together, and spent much time in each other's company. [Leading some to question their sexual preferences.]
She gives the picture of the three of them playing dice and word games for hours in the evenings, when Lionel and Edwin would discuss the poltergeist events and religion, and she observes, "Often I did not agree with either of them."

Owen, Iris; Mitchell, Pauline. Marianne's Story. Toronto: New Horizons Research Foundation, 1979.

Marianne made a speedy recovery from her illness. As soon as she was fit, she accompanied Edwin on many trips to the Rectory to look at the Wall Writings, spread incense, say prayers and so on. She then arranged for the two children to be looked after and was able to go away by herself for a fortnight's holiday, returning at the beginning of July. Poor Lionel, meanwhile, spent an uncomfortable time camping out in the rectory whenever Frank Peerless was around to keep him company, or scrounging a bed in the cottage.

The Foysters then moved back to the rectory. Edwin became a regular visitor, though he gets only two other mentions in Foyster's account. Lionel was very taken with young Edwin.

They were very close friends and Edwin was continually at the rectory. Marianne says the meals at Sir George Whitehouse's home were light, and Edwin had a healthy appetite - she fed him at the rectory on most days.

Owen, Iris; Mitchell, Pauline. Marianne's Story. Toronto: New Horizons Research Foundation, 1979.

The friendship between the two of them became very close for a period of time.

'[Marianne] rather intimated that [Whitehouse] and Foyster were exceedingly intimate, which suggested a spot of homosexuality in the relationship although she did not say so outright'

Letter from Mrs Garrett to Trevor Hall after interviewing Marianne, May 10th 1958

It is most curious that, in Lionel Foyster's Book, Edwin was transformed into a maiden niece, Miss Edith Greycastle. Even more oddly, she appeared only three times in the book, compared with the thirty or so visits to the rectory he actually made.

Later on, friendship turned to antipathy

He tried to convert Lion. Lion was very naughty about him. Whenever he saw Edwin coming, or heard him, Lion used to fly out of the house - anywhere - mostly he took refuge in the church. I was stuck.

(Marianne Foyster Autobiographical notes)

…and there were then some rows. Lionel began to resent Edwin's familiarity with his wife, and the free and easy access to his home.

At first, Marianne seemed enchanted by her new friend, and never entirely lost the religious influence he had over her. It never evolved into a physical relationship, according to Marianne's later testimony.

She denied emphatically any relationship with Whitehouse

Letter from Mrs Garrett to Trevor Hall after interviewing Marianne, May 10th 1958

Edwin evidently preferred Marianne in the role of a religious acolyte. Edwin's attention was focussed on the curious events of the rectory rather than his charming companion.

'Marianne says Edwin was at a loss initially as to what to believe about the "hauntings." …Marianne says he became totally confused about the reality of the subject.'

Owen, Iris; Mitchell, Pauline. Marianne's Story. Toronto: New Horizons Research Foundation, 1979.

The relationship soon lost its gloss. Edwin had a rather different aims and preoccupations to Marianne.

'Later he became a nuisance. He was forever wanting to analyse his feelings, the reactions of others to his feelings, and religion was his chief topic. Sin was his preoccupation.

However, it soon became clear that his self-engrossment was part of a more serious mental problem

'Well, he was squiffy. He talked religion constantly, not as a private affair, but just to discuss the "isms" of it. He seemed to believe - oh I don't know what he believed, but he was different from what the average person would be. '
' he was emotional and gave people rather a rough trip.'

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

Edwin's many trips to the rectory began to get tiresome...

I do know that Edwin was in a highly emotional state when he came to Borley and he used to turn up at the rectory very often. Sometimes it was quite inconvenient,

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

Lionel goes some way to conceal the enormous influence that Edwin had on the later hauntings. The Novenas, relics of the Cure D'Ars, Scapula, catholic medals and other such curious high-church apparati were all Edwin's idea. The 'Figgis', having mastered the art of writing, picked up the mood by writing 'Light Mass Prayer' on the wall in a 'Romish' way.

The Relic of Jean-Babtiste Vianney, the saintly Cure D'Ars is one of the more entertaining parts of the narrative. Edwin had given them one each along with two scapula for them to wear.

'The relic had been given a short time before to [Marianne], and it was a relic of no less a person than the Cure D'ars, - a saintly French priest, who was reported to have had a great deal of trouble in his life from Poltergeist. Later, another relic was donated.

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) P121

They were much appreciated

'I feel that we owe a great debt of gratitude to the kindly donor of these relics. They meant more than I can say -perhaps more even than I'm aware -during these last months. When the whole thing was getting rather badly on our nerves .

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p121

Edwin's scapulas were also received gratefully, and attached to their underwear

We both wore scapula for months, pinning them on our underclothes and changing them when we undressed to our night clothes.

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) p122

Lionel Foyster believed Edwin was psychic

'[he's] psychic and you're psychic and the two together without my steadying influence gave the goblins such a chance",
"Yes, [he] says [he] feels quite exhausted after it; as if something had been taken from [him]."

Typescript- 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' Rev Lionel Foyster) 'P151

Marianne's friendship with Edwin began to cause alarm.

"To my chagrin I realized that Lady W. fancied that I encouraged Edwin. I openly told Edwin this and he appeared delighted. I mentioned this to Lion and he though the whole thing a joke. He said, "You should not be so pleasant to him," and caught me in my own trap. I was constantly telling Lion to be pleasant to people. Even when he did not like them. "

(Marianne Foyster Autobiographical notes)

Lady Whitehouse began to suspect that this was beginning to exacerbate Edwin's mental state, so she, and Sir George, eventually banned him from going to the rectory and he ceased to be invited to Arthur Hall. Later on, she referred to Marianne as being 'man mad', and felt that Borley Rectory 'did Edwin no good at all'. Unfortunately, Edwin went into an emotional tailspin and eventually had to be re-admitted to mental hospital. By 1937, he was in a very confused state.

There can be no doubt as to Edwin's integrity. His account was written eight years later, but was evidently backed up by notes taken within eight days of his arrival. Marianne later told interviewers that she suspected that he might have had something to do with the wall-writings but they had mostly happened before he arrived. He was a vigorous defender of Marianne and even located the previous rector, Rev G E Smith, to try to get corroborating detail from him. He had argued with Harry Price on his famous 'second visit', ferociously defending Marianne against their accusations that she had caused all the 'phenomena'. He had rushed round the area trying to persuade catholic priests to say a mass, or do an exorcism.

He said that a prayer should be offered to ward of the happenings, so he asked Father Moran to say a Mass in the house, but Father Moran had too much sense for this kind of foolishness and ignored it in a diplomatic way, probably realizing that Edwin was not exactly himself.

Marianne: Robert Swanson Interview Gladstone Hotel - February, 1958

If a Mass by an R.C. priest had been offered at Borley, which it never was, I felt 'light', that is guidance, might have been vouchsafed....a Mass could have been offered at Borley and perhaps should have been

Edwin Whitehouse, in Proceedings of the SPR Vol 55 Pr 201 p170

We'll never know how intense was Edwin's relationship with either Lionel or Marianne, but, despite the rumours, it would seem unlikely that it never really got beyond the stage of emotional dependence. However, it seems that it had effected the dynamics of the relationship between the Foysters. Soon afterwards, Marianne began to live in London with Frank Peerless as man and wife, and subsequently began her relationship with Fisher. Lionel was left at the rectory, a poor shuffling figure doing his best to look after two demanding four-year-olds, and run the parish at the same time, and living for the weekends when Marianne returned to the rectory. In the evening the gardener would call in to help the poor chap get into bed.

Edwin continued to write, and proffer his support as a loyal friend; a dignified but, I believe, sadly crushed by walking into a landmine of emotional dynamics.

Harry Price contacted Edwin on Feb 20th 1937, for an account of what went on at Borley Rectory, to go in his book. After having seen Edwin, the poor chap was taken ill and wrote Harry Price  a strange note 

Manor House Nursing Home,
St Johns Wood Park,

26 Feb 1937


HOW ARE THE TWO APPLES? Getting ripe! One was good and the one was bad- penny plain and 2d. coloured. Choose always the penny plain.

Dear H.P.

I am ill, and have been ordered to the country for a complete rest. Doctors orders. Consequentially, everything's off -for the time being. You are, of course, at liberty to write to the Bulls, say you have seen me tec. and investigate until you're blue in the face. I shan't mind, You won't solve the mystery. Anyway, good luck, and if you've ever prayed in your life, which anyhow of recent years I rather doubt, to it now -FOR ME. I have been very unwell. Cheerio, and god bless you and all the best to Miss Beeman.

Richard Whitehouse O.S.B.

On the little available evidence we have, it looks as if the long talk with Harry Price had caused a relapse. Later, Edwin explained 'I was ill in 1937, of course, but I recovered, for I did 2/3 years hard study between then and ordination in May 1940.  I was a deacon when I wrote Chap. XV . (This is a reference to Chapter fifteen of 'The Most Haunted House in England which seems to have been written in 1939.). He did not explain the exact nature of the illness, but it is pretty obvious from the preceding letter and the next.

Mount Olivet
3:42 by the WATCH

26 Feb 1937

Dear H.P.

I was VERY touched by your kind enquiries at my aunt's in HARRINGTON ROAD.

I thought you might probably have been ANNOYED at my letter.

I've been THROUGH HELL, but I'm PULLING ROUND, and when I'm well -we'll solve the By [Borley] MYSTERY together I HOPE.

Richard Whitehouse O.S.B.

ps A visit from you would be VERY welcome but give me GOOD NOTICE, on account of the folks here. Don't do it if it is INCONVENIENT. Say nice things to the little secretary for me. She's all right, I'm not SURE about you YET!

Edwin's testimony, written after his recovery, does not seem to be particularly erratic in regard of facts that can be corroborated. It is just that, like his twin-soul Lionel Foyster, everything he experienced at Borley Rectory, whether prank, natural event or  coincidence was incorporated into a nutty world of poltergeist and spirits, subjects in which he, like those around him, was obsessed. It was his conception of reality that was  at fault. It is impossible to read of poor Edwin without feeling considerable sympathy with his predicament, mixed at resentment for the cynical way that those around him manipulated his vulnerability for their own ends.

Manuscript 'Fifteen Months in a Haunted House' by Lionel foyster quoted from FIFTEEN MONTHS IN THE MOST HAUNTED HOUSE IN ENGLAND by Vincent O'Neil

Material from THE GHOSTS THAT WILL NOT DIE by Vincent O'Neil. 2001. ISBN 0-9644938-4-5.

THE MOST HAUNTED HOUSE IN ENGLAND by Harry Price. Longmans, 1940

Marianne Foysters Autobiographical note quoted from THE MOST HAUNTED WOMAN IN ENGLAND by Vincent O'Neil. . BGS-004. ISBN 0-9644938-5-3.