The Borley Ghost Society was an organization once devoted to the examination and study of records and research related to the alleged haunting of Borley Rectory and church in Essex, England. The Borley Ghost Society ceased operation in 2004. The society was formed on October 31, 1998, by Vincent O’Neil, of Ogden, Utah, adopted son of Marianne Foyster, who lived in the rectory from 1930–1935.
Marianne and her husband, Reverend Lionel Foyster, were residents when more than 2,000 alleged paranormal events took place. Reverend Foyster died on April 18, 1945. Marianne married an American soldier, Robert O’Neil, on August 11, 1945, in Ipswich.
The couple adopted a baby boy born October 9, 1945, in Ipswich and renamed him Robert Vincent. The O’Neil family moved to America in 1946. Marianne was secretive about her past and never spoke about Borley to Vincent, who pursued a media and acting career, working as a television and radio personality, actor, public affairs specialist, and author.
After Marianne died in 1992, O’Neil researched his genealogy. In 1994, he learned about Borley Rectory. Because of his family ties, O’Neil—who retired in 1992—dedicated himself to researching and investigating it. He earned the nickname “son of Borley.”
He believed that strange events took place at Borley, but said the final truth about the case remained a mystery. He visited the former site of the rectory in 1997. O’Neil compiled an archive of books, photographs, articles, letters, an impressive annotated bibliography, and other materials related to Borley, its witnesses and its investigators, and posted the material on the society’s Web site.
He also created a “Haunted Borley Rectory” board game, privately published in a limited edition. Among the society’s members were author Colin Wilson; Peter Underwood, ghost investigator; author Richard Senate; LOYD AUERBACH, author and director of the Office of Paranormal Investigations; Bob Rickard, founder and editor of Fortean Times; parapsychologist John Beloff; radio host Art Bell; and author and paranormal investigator Rosemary Ellen Guiley.
O’Neil is the author of The Most Haunted Woman in England, about his mother; Borley Rectory—The Ghosts That Will Not Die; Things My Mother Tried to Teach Me, a compilation of Marianne’s philosophy and poems; and Things I’ve Tried to Teach My Children. The books were self-published on the Internet.
In 2004, O’Neil sent out an announcement of the end of the society: In honor of my mother, who would never have approved of the publicity, and in respect for the people of Borley, the Borley Ghost Society is hereby dissolved. Thank you for your enthusiasm and hard work. Please respect these concerns and stop all further activity, publishing, etc.
The society’s Web site was removed from the Internet.
- “The Demise of the Borley Ghost Society.” Available online. URL: https://www.foxearth.org.uk/blog/2004/12/demise-ofborley- ghost-society.html. Downloaded April 18, 2006.
The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits – Written by Rosemary Ellen Guiley – September 1, 2007