The Bealings Bell-Ringer was an English Poltergeist case. The ghostly bell-ringer that perplexed Major Edward Moore and his family in the early 19th century took its name from the Georgian house at Great Bealings, Suffolk. The mystery began on February 2, 1834, when the bells in the kitchen, attached by wires to various rooms to summon the servants, mysteriously began to jangle, apparently without any person pulling them. The bell-ringings continued until March 27, when they stopped just as abruptly as they had begun.
Moore, a retired officer from the Indian Army, Fellow of the Royal Society and author of a book on Hindu mythology, was as fascinated as he was mystified by the ringings, and he embarked on an investigation that culminated in a book. He began his research by writing to his local newspaper, explaining the occurrences, and asking for suggestions from readers.
He recounted that he had just returned from church on that Sunday in February when he was told by the servants that the dining room bell had inexplicably rung three times between two and five o’clock. The next day, the same bell rang again three times around the same time in the afternoon. The last time it rang, it was actually heard by Moore.
The very next day, Moore returned just before five o’clock and learned that this time all the bells in the kitchen had been ringing violently. As this event was being related to him, he heard yet another bell-ringing coming from the kitchen.
He made a visit to the kitchen, where the cook told Moore that of nine bells hung in a row, the five bells on the right were the only ones ringing. These bells were attached to the dining room, the drawing room over the dining room, an adjacent bedroom and two attics over the drawing room. As Moore stared at these five bells, they began to ring so violently that Moore thought they would disengage themselves from their moorings. The ringings also were witnessed by Moore’s son, the cook and another servant. About 10 minutes later, there was another ringing, followed by another 15 minutes later.
While Moore and his son were dining in the breakfast room that evening at six o’clock, another peal was heard from the bell attached to that room. While eating, the men heard another five ringings at ten-minute intervals. While the servants were dining in the kitchen, the five bells rang but at longer intervals. At a quarter to eight, the ringing stopped.
The following day, the bells were heard at eleven o’clock in the morning when Moore and his son and grandson were having breakfast in the breakfast room. Moore went into the kitchen and five minutes later, the same five bells began to ring furiously. Four minutes later, one bell again rang so violently that it hit the ceiling. After that activity, the bells rang numerous times until March 27. Although skeptics believed the ringings to be the prank of someone in the household, no rational explanation was ever made. Moore and his family concluded that some supernatural activity was the cause.
- Cohen, Daniel. The Encyclopedia of Ghosts. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1984.
- Underwood, Peter. A Gazeteer of British Ghosts. Rev. ed. London: Pan Books, Ltd., 1973.
The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits– Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007