Interview with a Poltergeist

The Enfield Poltergeist was a period of apparent poltergeist activity which occurred in the village of Brimsdown, in the borough of Enfield, England. The activity began when single parent, Peggy Hodgson moved into the small townhouse with her four children in August 1977 and continued until September 1978, with an added outburst in August 1980.

The activity occurred at Brimsdown, a village near Enfield, in a council house rented to Peggy Hodgson, a single parent with four children.

During this time furniture is said to have moved by itself, knockings on the walls were heard, and children’s toys were said to have been thrown around and to have been too hot to touch when picked up. A police officer signed an affidavit to affirm that she saw a chair move. Reports of the activity attracted various visitors including mediums and members of the press. One photographer reported being hit on the forehead with a Lego brick. After visiting the house, George Fallows, a senior reporter for the Daily Mirror, suggested that the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) be called in to investigate.

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  1. Society for Psychical Research members Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair reported “curious whistling and barking noises coming from Janet’s general direction.” Although Playfair maintained the haunting was genuine and wrote in his later book This House is Haunted: The True Story of a Poltergeist (1980) that an “entity” was to blame for the disturbances, he often doubted the children’s veracity and wondered if they were playing tricks and exaggerating. Still, Grosse and Playfair believed that even though some of the alleged poltergeist activity was faked by the girls, other incidents were genuine. Janet was detected in trickery. A video camera in the room next door caught her bending spoons and attempting to bend an iron bar. Grosse had observed Janet banging a broom handle on the ceiling and hiding his tape-recorder.
    When Janet and Margaret admitted their pranking to reporters, Grosse and Playfair compelled the girls to retract their confession.They were mocked by other researchers for being easily duped.

    The psychical researcher Renée Haynes had noted that doubts were raised about the alleged poltergeist voice at the Second International SPR Conference at Cambridge in 1978, where video cassettes from the case were examined. The SPR investigatorAnita Gregory stated the Enfield poltergeist case had been “overrated”, characterizing several episodes of the girls’ behaviour as “suspicious” and speculated that the girls had “staged” some incidents for the benefit of reporters seeking a sensational story. John Beloff a former president of the SPR investigated and suggested Janet was practicing ventriloquism. Both Beloff and Gregory came to the conclusion that Janet and Margaret were playing tricks on the investigators.

    American paranormal investigator Ed Warren claimed that Janet was once “sound asleep, levitating in midair” and concluded that the children were the subject of demonic possession.

  2. What people will do to conform to so-called, accepted standards, is amazing. Even if they see, hear or touch something out of the norm they will next say their senses were lying if they must. just to avoid having the image of being perceived as “strange.” And, of course, when keep the norm “experts” suddenly pop into view (they ALL have their reputations as experts, academicians, etc., to protect), most people will fall in line in acceptance of the alleged authority speaking to them.

    And we wonder why we progress at such a slow rate…