The Enfield Poltergeist Story - Part 1 - Knock Knock
The true story of the Enfield Poltergeist. A haunting in a British family during the 1970s, still today Britains most famous haunting. This story would become the inspiration for several TV shows and also the film The Conjuring 2.
In part one, we are introduced to the Hodgson family and after some disruption in the house, including knocking on walls and items being thrown about, investigators are called in.
In 1977, a family living in a small semi detached house in Enfield, a quiet suburb of London, was subject to a series of violent paranormal disturbances which lasted for an entire year. Levitations, moving objects, overturned furniture and channeled voices were all witnessed by more than 30 people, including residents, journalists, neighbors and Police officers. Today we look at the story of the Enfield Poltergeist. This is Dark Histories, where the facts are worse than fiction.
1977 284 Green Street, Enfield, London
47 year old Peggy Hodgson lived at 284 Green Street, Enfield, with her four children, Margaret aged 13, Janet aged 12, Billy aged 7 and John aged 11, who was rarely at home, as he boarded at school and returned only for holidays and some weekends. Peggy was a divorcee, a quiet but strong woman, she was working hard to keep her family afloat during difficult financial times.
31st August, 1977
On the 31st of August at around 9:30PM, Janet and John were in bed when they heard a shuffling sound. Mrs Hodgson came in to their room to tell them to quiet down, the night before the children had complained that their beds were shaking up and down and Peggy was a little tired of them playing around at night, rather than sleeping. Janet complained that the chair in their bedroom was making the noise, slightly irritated, she removed the chair from the room and took it downstairs. Upon returning to the childrens room, she turned out the light and the shuffling sound started again. She turned the light back on and it stopped immediately. The children were in their beds, apparently not moving. She turned the lights off once again, and once again, the shuffling sound could be heard. Mrs Hodgson explained the sound as if “some one was walking across the room wearing slippers”. Then came the knocking. As they listened, a chest of drawers by the bedroom door slid out into the room, around 18 inches from its usual position against the wall. They stood in the quiet room, all staring at the chest. Mrs Hodgson pushed it back against the wall and once again, it slid back out, into the room. She tried to push it back again, but this time, it would not budge. Panicked, she took the kids out of the house and over to their neighbours. Vic, ‘Peggy next door’ and their 20 year old son Gary Nottingham were close friends of the Hodgsons. They explained their predicament and the Nottinghams naturally dismissed the story, but agreed to come and have a listen to see if they could hear anything. The knocking continued, and this time, the Nottinghams heard it too. Vic stated that he thought it sounded as if the knocks were following him around the house. At a loss, they called the police. WPC Heeps and PC Hyams arrived around 1am. WPC Heeps testified to the investigation later, detailing their visit to the house as follows:
“On Thursday 1st September 1977 at approximately 1am, I was on duty in my capacity as a policewoman, when I received a radio message to 284, Green St, Enfield. I went to this address where I found a number of people standing in the living room. I was told by the occupier of this house that strange things had been happening during the last few nights and that they believed that the house was haunted. Myself and another PC entered the living room of the house and the occupier switched off the lights. Almost immediately I heard the sound of knocking on the wall that backs onto the next door neighbour’s house. There were four distinct taps on the wall and then silence. About two minutes later I heard more tapping, but this time it was coming from a different wall, again it was a distinctive peal of four taps. The PC and the neighbours checked the walls, attic and pipes, but could find nothing to explain the knockings. The PC and the neighbours all went into the kitchen to check the refrigerator pipes, etc., leaving the family and myself in the living room. The lights in the living room were switched off again and within a few minutes the eldest son pointed to a chair which was standing next to the sofa. I looked at the chair and noticed that it was wobbling slightly from side to side, I then saw the chair slide across the floor towards the kitchen wall. It moved approximately 3-4 feet and then came to rest.
At no time did it appear to leave the floor. I checked the chair but could find nothing to explain how it had moved. The lights were switched back on. Nothing else happened that night although we have later reports of disturbances at this address.”
With nothing more that they could do, the police left the house, leaving the Hodgson family to make camp in their lounge, where they would all sleep for the next several days.
Over the next few days, lego and glass marbles begun being thrown around the house. This was witnessed by both the Hodgson and Nottingham family. Vic Nottinghams father, upon picking up one of the thrown marbles from the floor noted that it was burning hot. On the 4th September, feeling unsure of who to contact next, Mrs Nottingham called the Daily Mirror, a national newspaper, hoping to gain some help through the press.
Journalist Douglas Bence and photographer Graham Morris visited the house the following day and witnessed the Lego blocks flying around the room, one hit Graham Morris in the forehead, which apparently caused bruising that lasted for several days. They returned to the newspaper convinced there was a story in the house and senior reporter George Fallows and photographer David Thorpe visited on September 7th. Fallows sympathised with Mrs Hodgson and upon hearing the knocking for himself, contacted the Society for Psychical Research on behalf of the family.
Society for Psychical Research
The society for Psychical research is one of the oldest paranormal investigative bodies in the world. Set up in London in 1882, by a group of scientists, philosophers and other academics, it was the first scientific organisation to ever to examine claims of psychic and paranormal phenomena. Its mission statement was to “to approach these varied problems without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned enquiry which has enabled science to solve so many problems, once not less obscure nor less hotly debated.” Although not without its critics, it has remained until today as one of the most legitimate research bodies into such activity and still funds various research papers around the world. In 1977, the society had a new member, Maurice Grosse. Grosse was keen to embark on his first investigation and soon got his chance at Enfield.
Come back for the next episode where we see the investigation unfold and the events of the Enfield Poltergeist escalate to include levitating the residents and a strange voice that gives them a possible name for the trouble maker. Please like subscribe and sleep tight…