Enfield Poltergeist: Wikis


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The Enfield Poltergeist was a period of apparent poltergeist activity in England between August 1977 and September 1978, with an added outburst in August 1980.



The said activity occurred at Enfield in North London, in a council house rented to Peggy Hodgson, a single parent with four children.[1]

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.[2] A police officer signed an affidavit to affirm that she saw a chair move.[3] 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.[4] 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.


The incidents were duly investigated by Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair, both members of SPR, who were convinced by the evidence which they encountered during their thirteen month investigation. They reported witnessing various phenomena, including moving furniture, flying marbles, cold breezes, shallow pools of water appearing on the floor, and fires which spontaneously ignited and extinguished themselves.

The family in the Enfield case consisted of a mother, two daughters, and two sons; Margaret aged 12, a younger sister Janet aged 11, Johnny aged 10 and Billy aged 7. Billy had a speech impediment. Johnny featured only marginally in the inexplicable events, at least 26 of which the investigators considered could not be accounted for by fraud. These included movement of small and large objects, interference with bedclothes, pools of water on the floor, apparitions, physical assaults, graffiti, equipment malfunction and failure, spontaneous combustion, disappearance and reappearance of objects, and apparent levitations.

Among other alleged phenomena they witnessed was Janet speaking using her false vocal folds for hours on end (which is believed to be medically impossible), while she was apparently possessed by another entity. When speaking with the false cords Janet said she was "Bill" who had died in the house of a brain haemorrhage. The "Bill" persona habitually made jokes and exhibited a very nasty temper, swearing at Maurice, once calling him "A fucking old sod." A man contacted Grosse, claiming to be Bill's son. Recordings were made of these occurrences. After the BBC went to the house the recording crew found the metal inside of the recording machines bent, and recordings erased.[5]

Further investigations by Anita Gregory and John Beloff, also from the SPR, were less positive. They spent a few days with the family and came to the conclusion that the children had faked the poltergeist activity after they found them bending spoons themselves.[6] One of the children (Janet) admitted to Gregory that they had fabricated some of the occurrences. This admission was repeated on the ITV News (12 June 1980) when she stated: "Oh yeah, once or twice [we faked phenomena], just to see if Mr Grosse and Mr Playfair would catch us. And they always did."

After writing a feature on supernatural activity for Loaded magazine, journalist Will Storr included a retrospective investigation of the events and conflicting personalities involved in the Enfield case in his book Will Storr Versus the Supernatural. The book comes to no positive conclusions regarding the truth of the haunting but throws considerable light on the personalities involved, particularly those of Maurice Grosse and Anita Gregory.


Margaret has publicly stated that although she did fake a few phenomena to catch the investigators in action, they were not responsible for all the phenomena. She has stated that "It is ridiculous to suggest that either my sister or I could have been responsible for the strange activity that went on in our house."[7]

Peggy Hodgson remained in the house until her death in 2003. Grosse died in 2006.

Further media coverage

Guy Lyon Playfair wrote a book about his investigation entitled This House is Haunted.

In March 2007 Channel 4 aired a documentary about the events of the Enfield Case, titled Interview with a Poltergeist.[8]


On Halloween night, 1992, the BBC aired a fictional mockumentary entitled Ghostwatch, written by Steven Volk and based on the Enfield Poltergeist investigation. Like the Enfield Poltergeist, Ghostwatch supposedly took place in a North London house, and featured a possessed adolescent girl speaking with false cords. The programme, which was only aired once on television, created a brief period of War of the Worlds-style panic due to many viewers believing the events that they had just witnessed were real.[9]


  1. ^ Considine, Dave. "Enfield, North London (1977-1980)". Poltergeists Fact and Fiction. http://www.phantasmpsiresearch.com/poltergeist.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-26. "The Enfield Poltergeist. This was a period of supposed poltergeist activity between August 1977 and September 1978, with one additional outburst in August 1980." 
  2. ^ "The Enfield Poltergeist Story". TomCat Production Studios, Inc. & VisualTHUNDER. http://www.zurichmansion.org/ghosts/video3.html. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  3. ^ Robins, Joyce (1989). The world's greatest mysteries. Gallery Books. p. 189. ISBN 978-0831796747.
  4. ^ Wilson, Colin (2009). Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings. Llewellyn Worldwide. pp. 94. ISBN 978-0738718675. 
  5. ^ Playfair, G.L. (1980). This House is Haunted: The True Story of a Poltergeist. Stein & Day.
  6. ^ Karl, Jason (2007). An Illustrated History of the Haunted World. New Holland Publishers. pp. 48. ISBN 978-1845376871. 
  7. ^ Society for Psychical Research (1988). Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, Volume 55. Society for Psychical Research. p. 216. 
  8. ^ Penman, Danny (March 5, 2007). "Suburban poltergeist: A 30-year silence is broken". Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-440048/Suburban-poltergeist-A-30-year-silence-broken.html. 
  9. ^ Jagodzinski, Jan (2004). Youth fantasies: the perverse landscape of the media. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 145. ISBN 978-1403961648. 

Further reading

  • Playfair, G.L. (1980). This House is Haunted: The True Story of a Poltergeist. Stein & Day. ISBN 9780750948364
  • Playfair, G.L. & Grosse, M. (1988). "Enfield revisited: The evaporation of positive evidence". Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 55: 208-219.
  • Storr, Will Will Storr versus The Supernatural, Random House/Harper Collins ISBN 0091901731

External links

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