Borley Rectory April 5, 1944

The floating brick


"On April 5, 1944, I visited Borley in order to inspect the demolition work for myself. Onereason why I went was because I had been asked by LIFE, the famous American pictorialmagazine to do an article, 'Haunted England.' For illustrating this article, the London editorrequired photographs of various alleged haunted houses, including Borley Rectory.
"Mr. David E. Scherman, the LIFE photographer (and an accredited warcorrespondent to the United States Army); Miss Cynthia Ledsham, the researcher and archivistattached to Time and Life, Ltd.; and I all journeyed by car in order to take the pictures.
"Fortunately, it was a sunny day, and how successful our trip was can be judged by Mr.Scherman's magnificent photographs reproduced in this volume.
"We had a shock when [we] saw the rapidly diminishing ruins. Only the back part of thehouse - leading to the kitchen quarters - was standing. The cellars were open to the sky wherethey had not been filled in.
"We were disappointed that demolition work was so far advanced.
"He was using a miniature camera of American make, and in order to embrace the whole ofthe ruins he had to stand at least one hundred feet away from them as the lens he was using wasnot a very wide-angled one. Miss Ledsham and I stood by his side, watching the proceedings.
"As Mr. Scherman pressed the trigger. . . . a brick, or part of a brick, suddenly shot up aboutfour feet into the air in front of what remained of the kitchen passage. The three of us saw it. Weall laughed and called it 'the last phenomenon,' and said the Poltergeists were 'demonstrating' inhonor of our visit.
"We walked over to the passage, where there were many bricks lying about. I picked upseveral, and all appeared normal. No string or wire was attached to any of them, and we saw noworkmen at all on that side of the Rectory.
"The incident puzzled us, and I personally soon forgot about it.
"A few days later Mr. Scherman sent me the proofs of the photographs he had taken. Theywere in the form of small contact prints from the original negatives, two and a quarter inchessquare.
"Then, on the telephone, he asked me if I had noticed anything about the photograph of theruins. I said no, and he then pointed out that against the dark background of the passage could beseen a tiny white pin-point. It was the brick!
"Without knowing it at the time, Mr. Scherman opened his shutter at the fraction of a secondwhen the brick was poised in mid-air. In proof of what a rapid exposure he gave the picture,there is no sign of movement of the brick in the photograph.
"Mr. Scherman kindly sent me ten-inch-by-eight-inch enlargements of his photographs. Atmy suggestion, [he] sent me a very much enlarged picture of the 'flying brick.'
"It is worth noting that the place where the brick suddenly shot up was formerly part of thekitchen passage - focus of many phenomena, and on the walls of which appeared at least two'messages.' One of them was 'Marianne-Light-Mass-Prayers.'
"If, indeed, this was a genuine paranormal phenomenon, then we have the first photographever taken of a Poltergeist projectile in flight."

The End of Borley Rectory 1946. Excerpts, pp. 283-4

Follow-up by Michael Coleman
What the photographer told Peter Underwood