(1923/2014): Author, broadcaster, historian of the occult; investigator of the paranormal.Born in Letchworth in Hertfordshire, Underwood wrote prolifically on ghosts and haunted places within the United Kingdom, and was a leading expert on ‘the most haunted house in England’, Borley Rectory.An... show more
(1923/2014): Author, broadcaster, historian of the occult; investigator of the paranormal.Born in Letchworth in Hertfordshire, Underwood wrote prolifically on ghosts and haunted places within the United Kingdom, and was a leading expert on ‘the most haunted house in England’, Borley Rectory.An early formative experience came at the age of nine, on the day he learnt of his father’s death; that night, he awoke to see an apparition of his father at the foot of the bed.Around the same time, he was fascinated to learn of a ghost story associated the old house at Rosehall - where his maternal grandparents lived for a time; it contained a bedroom where guests claimed to see the figure of a headless man..It was at this young age that Underwood's interest in hauntings and psychic matters began to take root.On January 1942, Underwood was called up for active service with the Suffolk Regiment. After collapsing at a rifle range at Bury St Edmunds, a serious chest ailment was diagnosed. He was discharged, and returned to his employment at the publishing firm J.M. Dent & Sons.One of his early investigations was the Borley Rectory haunting, where, over a period of years, Underwood traced and personally interviewed almost every living person who had been connected with the mysterious events surrounding the place.Underwood built upon the legacy of the work of Harry Price, who had investigated Borley before him. Together with Paul Tabori (literary executor of the Price Estate), Underwood was able to publish all his findings in The Ghosts of Borley (1973).In his autobiography No Common Task (1983), Underwood remarked that ”98% of reported hauntings have a natural and mundane explanation, but it is the other 2% that have interested me for more than forty years”.Having joined The Ghost Club back in 1947 - at the personal invitation of Harry Price, Underwood was to become its President for over thirty years: from 1960 to 1993.Underwood was a long-standing member of the Society for Psychical Research and the Savage Club. In 1976, a bust of him was sculpted by Patricia Finch - winner of the Gold Medal for Sculpture in Venice.In recognition of his more than seventy years of paranormal investigations, Underwood became the Patron of The Ghost Research Foundation (founded in Oxford), which termed him the King of Ghost Hunters.