Enfield, England, 1977.
Real poltergeist cases have been few and far between in recent times, but one of the most disputed and most famous cases of poltergeist activity comes from a small council house in the London Borough of Enfield in the late 1970s.
Peggy Hodgson was a single parent of four children, two girls and two boys. The activity originated in August of 1977 and centred mostly around the two girls, Margaret aged 14 and Janet aged 11. Modern research suggests that Poltergeist activity is more common amongst pubescent teenagers, whether it is attracted to this age range or caused by it, and these girls certainly hit that benchmark. The claim began with a phone call to the local police department after daughter Janet complained that her bed was shaking and both girls had heard knocking on or in the walls. When the police arrived, they bore witness to a chair sliding across the room but ‘could not determine the cause of the movement’.
During the months directly after the first incidents, the Society for Psychical Research became involved in intense investigations on the house and eventually the children themselves.
Janet, the younger girl, became increasingly troubled by the activity and in essence, began to Channel a spirit called ‘Bill’, unknown to the family, who claimed he had died of a hemmorrhage in the living room of that very house (which was later confirmed by Bill’s son!).
There have been a lot of further investigations as to whether or not Janet was indeed a Poltergeist Catalyst or in fact hoaxing the nation for some well-needed, Middle-Child attention. There are those who believe she was able to throw her voice, or create the voices that were documented as separate entities, as it has been said that the voice of Bill contained a lot of conversational traits in common with Janet herself. Whether you believe she was skilled at ventriloquism or not, the voice on the Original recordings of ‘Bill’ as Janet channelled him for the investigators is still unnerving.
The initial investigators Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair held the belief that most of the activity surrounding the Enfield Poltergeist was genuine, save a few instances where Janet may have exaggerated for more attention. She had also been caught hiding a voice recorder and bending spoons.
The difficulty in this case lies with Janet. She absolutely was the age range that correlates with a vast majority of Poltergeist cases, and the activity being produced by herself or the spirit of Bill, if genuine, was hands-down, an impressive feat. For all we know, the practise of telekinesis in her spoon bending could have been requested or actively encouraged by the spirit of Bill.
If this was an elaborate hoax, and let’s face it, the family were working class and single parented, so it’s quite likely that they saw an opportunity to make money and seized it, it was a damn good hoax! The photographs, Janet levitating, voice recordings, the furniture moving throughout the house, growls and snarls around them, and fooling investigators, even those of high acclaim such as the Warrens! Even if this was an elaborate hoax….
How did Janet know the details of Bill’s death?