I love a good paranormal story, and here is one I had not heard before today. The Enfield haunting was not known much in the US, began in August of 1977. 284 Greenstreet in North London was the location that spawned all the activity. Interestingly enough and not commented much by press, much of this began with a homemade Ouija board and the death of an old man in the living room.
Janet Hodgson was divorced and living in a flat with her 4 children; Peggy 13, Janet 11, Johnny 10 and Billy 7. On the summer evening of August 30, 1977 Janet and Billy reported to their mother their beds were shaking. Peggy disgruntled by what she thought were rambunctious children told them to go to bed. The following night she heard sounds and went in to her daughters’ bedroom to be greeted by a chest of drawers racing toward the door by some invisible hand.
Famous British psychic investigator Maurice Grosse, along with colleague Guy Lyon Playfair investigated and recorded many of the events that happened in the Hodgson house. One of the most profound is that the young girl Janet channeled Bill Wilkins an old man, with a rasping male voice that sent a chill through the room. Hauntingly, it delivered a message from beyond the grave, describing in graphic detail the moment of death. “Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had a hemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs.” (1) After research it turned out the family that owned the home before Hodgson took in their father who indeed was named Bill Wilkins and who died exactly the way the ghost said in a chair in the living room.
The disturbances increased, one being witnessed by a female constable, who saw a chair move across the floor, and had no way to explain it. She did sign an affidavit as to her experience. Legos began flying through the air. Many people accused the young girl Janet of being the cause, including at times her mother, as she seemed to be the epicenter of the chaos. The family shaken up by the disturbances were taken in by a neighbor because it was so disruptive.
Though most of the events centered around Janet. Her older sister Peggy had phenomena that occurred around her by what is now called the ‘Enfield Poltergeist’. Even when sisters were separated, like when Peggy and the boys stayed at their neighbors, the events continued. Though as the spirit actually began to speak, the voice was determined not to be the voice of Janet, and the ghost only spoke when the girls were in a room of their own, except on occasions it was called out.
It also appeared at times to frame the young girl, using known paranormal tricks. Playfair said, “It almost seemed that the poltergeist was out to incriminate her, by producing third-rate phenomena in the presence of a first-rate observer” (2) Many even years later state they believed much of activity was pranking. When I have read their documentation, they leave out the constables signed affidavit that stated she saw the chair move without any interference or the 30 plus witnesses that were present when the events occurred. Even ventriloquists say the voice could have not been faked to that degree by the girls. It became fodder for the press and skeptics. Like most paranormal experiences unless it happens to you, it is hard to prove, and skeptics will just leave out what they cannot explain.
Shortly after the press left Johnny developed cancer and died at 14. The mother Peggy is now deceased also. A woman named Clair Bennett and her 4 sons moved in. Ms. Bennett said she always felt like she was being watched. The boys would wake up hearing voices talking downstairs. Finally, when she learned of the history of the home she moved out after only 2 months. One of her sons, Shaka, 15, says: ‘The night before we moved out, I woke up and saw a man come into the room. I ran into Mum’s room and said: “We’ve got to move,” and we did the next day.’ Janet said she continues to believe in the poltergeist, saying: ‘It lived off me, off my energy. Call me mad if you like. Those events did happen. (3)
Famous Paranormal demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren investigated the house briefly, and books have been written. A & E did a series called the Enfield Haunting. There is now a Hollywood movie, The Conjuring 2 that is loosely based on the events that occurred. Whether you believe or not I am going to use an anonymous quote from some responding to the Daily Mail article in 2015 listed in my footnotes, they call themselves simply Canada 1975, “I know that this all sounds completely insane but I personally lived in a haunted house with a poltergeist as a teenager. I would tell the details but I know that I will be ridiculed and not believed so there is no point. I never even talk about it – only my very close friends and of course my family know about it. I am really not crazy and am not making it up. I understand not believing – to be honest I don’t think you really can understand unless it has happened to you. This stuff does happen though. It really does – and when it does it is as real as the nose on your face.”
As someone who has experienced the “unexplained” I can tell you before it happened to me, I did not believe in any paranormal, spiritual, or psychic happenings. After they happened to me, I could not deny it the experience….
- Brennan, Zoe, What is the Truth about the Enfield Haunting? The Amazing Story of an 11-Year Old Girl Who “Levitated” Above her Bed, The Daily Mail, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2054842/Enfield-Poltergeist-The-amazing-story-11-year-old-North-London-girl-levitated-bed.html
- Guy Lyon Playfair, This House is Haunted; The True Story of the Enfield Poltergeist, White Crow Books, 2011
- Ibid., 1