British psychical researcher and author, Harry Price (1881-1949), gained notoriety as an investigator and debunker of séance mediums during the Spiritualist heyday of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is best known for his connections to Essex’s haunted Borley Rectory, which he rented for a period of a year to conduct a logitudinal research study of the allegedly haunted location, and later purchased the Rectory outright to promote it as a paranormal attraction.
In 1920, Price joined the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), kickstarting a decades-long career exposing charlatan psychics, fraudulent hauntings, spirit photography, and other paranormal sundries such as ectoplasm and automatic writing. Some of his most notable cases include spirit photographer William Hope, mediums Jan Guzyk and Eva Carrière, and the mystical box alleged to have belonged to eighteenth century prophetess, Joanna Southcott.
Following a contentious relationship with SPR in 1926, Price started the rival National Laboratory of Psychical Research (which later became the University of London Council for Psychical Investigation) and served as president of the Ghost Club, founded in London in 1862 and widely considered to be the oldest paranormal investigation and research group in the world. During his distinguished career, Harry Price worked with and befriended dozens of other debunkers, including Harry Houdini. He is also among the first to use scientific controls to test and expose fraudulent psychic abilities and other paranormal feats—a methodology made famous again half a century later in the United States by James Randi.
Harry Price’s investigation of Borley Rectory, “the most haunted house in England,” not only continues to be his most defining case, its use of the scientific method and its reliance on strict investigative protocols are the foundation for modern-day paranormal investigating, and Price’s exhaustive reports and notes from the Borley research study have served as a model for hundreds of skeptical, science-motivated paranormal groups, including PPI.
For these reasons, Harry Price has received the moniker, “Father of Popular Ghost Hunting,” and we are gratified to honor our skeptical progenitor with our “Jaded Light” Award.
To learn more about Harry Price, including a detailed biography, visit the UK’s official “Harry Price” website: http://www.harrypricewebsite.co.uk.