The Enfield Poltergeist Story - Part 2 - Bill
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 two, the investigation ramps up and the strange occurrences escalate in kind, with levitations and eventually channeled voices, giving us a possible identity to who was creating the disturbances. One day however, as sudden as it begun, it ends, leaving the Hodgson family in peace.
By this point, the events at 284 Green street, Enfield in London had been continuing at quite a low key level for just over a month. With the introduction of two full time investigators from the Society of Psychical Research, Guy Lyon Playfair and Maurice Grosse however, documented disturbances were about to take a turn for the worse. This is Dark Histories, where the facts are worse than fiction.
By October, the moving and throwing of objects had now been continuing for some weeks. Soft furnishings, cutlery and any household object that wasn’t nailed down had become the focus of the disturbances and were routinely disrupting various rooms in the house. On one night, the investigators cleared all objects that could be moved from Janets room as a sort of experiment. Guy Lyon Playfair reported that after some time, they heard ‘a tremendous vibrating noise’ coming from the now empty room. ‘It was as if someone was drilling a great big hole,’ he said. He went in to the room to find the fireplace torn out from the wall. ‘It was one of those old Victorian cast iron fires that must have weighed 60lb. The children couldn’t have ripped it out of the wall, but in any case they weren’t there.’ The pipes to supply the fireplace had been ripped clean in half.
Although Morris Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair were convinced by this point, many members of the Society for Psychical Research were not so quick to believe. Many thought it was simply the girls playing tricks to gain attention. In latter years Janet admitted to sometimes “messing about” but claims that they only played small tricks and none of the major events were hoaxes. Indeed Morris Grosse has said the same, explaining that at times the girls would play up to the events, but were always simple tricks and always caught out quickly.
By November, Maurice Grosse had noted that the knocking sounds around the house had seemed to become intelligent and decided to ask it questions. They started simply, requesting the perpetrator to knock once for no, twice for yes. Upon asking if if it was dead, it replied by knocking 53 times.
As November passed, Janets behavior was getting more and more erratic and at times she had become very unsettled. The words possession were not used, but Maurice Grosse went as far as to say that “She seemed to be taken over”. On the night of November 26th a doctor had to be called to the house due to Janets wild behavior and injected her with 10 mg of Valium. This was enough to put Janet to sleep, however half an hour later, the investigators heard a loud crash coming from upstairs and upon checking on the girls, found Janet on top of a dresser, still asleep, kneeling on a wide clock radio. Apparently having been thrown 14 feet across the room.
As part of the investigation, cameras were set up in the girls room which could be remotely operated and take bursts of photos at every 4 seconds. The images documented from these cameras showed several strange happenings in the room. The first was a pillow, appearing to twist around in mid air, thrown by no one. The second was a curtain, appearing to twist around by itself, though no windows were open. The most extreme photos however, were apparently images of Janet herself, levitating in the air, being thrown from her bed. Janet described the events as such:
“The levitation was scary, because you didn’t know where you were going to land. I remember a curtain being wound around my neck, I was screaming, I thought I was going to die.”
on December 10th of 1977, the intelligence of the disturbance progressed further, this time going as far as manifesting a voice. Janet began emitting a gravelly, growling and barking sound along with whistles. The investigators theorised that if it could bark and whistle, could it perhaps talk?Through questioning, it gradually formed a voice, a low guttural growl with which the investigators would hold many conversations over the coming months. Janet described it as “Like someone standing behind me putting their hand on my neck”.
The investigators recorded the interviews with this voice and one crucial recording, during an interview by both investigators, the voice refers to itself as a man by the name of Bill.
Months later, Grosse was contacted by a man by the name of Terry Wilkins. Terry’s father had lived in the Hodgson’s home prior to the family. He had, Terry confirmed, died of a hemorrhage in his favorite chair on the first floor. His fathers name was Bill.
The investigators claim to have later put water in Janets mouth and covered it with a strip of tape, though the voice still spoke. John Hasted, a physicist at London’s Birbeck College, carried out an experiment together with Adrian Fourcin, a phonetics expert at University College, London. Tests with a laryngograph indicated that the voice was using Janets false vocal folds, not by the larynx as in usual speech. If a person was to talk using their false vocal folds for any period of time, they would usually suffer from a sore throat at best, with the danger of long term injury very real. Janet however, would talk to investigators in this voice for hours on end, and later, upon returning to her normal voice would suffer no adverse effect at all.
The disturbances continued in much the same vein until in July 1978, Janet was admitted to Maudsly Hospital for extensive psychiatric testing. Two months later she was given a clean bill of heath, with no signs of tourettes or epilepsy or any other illness which could partially explain some of the events from the past months. Upon her return home, the disturbances seemed to calm down. Almost as quickly as they had begun, the strange happenings of the Hodgson home had finally ceased. Today, 40 years on, The Enfield case remains as Britains most famous haunting and though has had extensive criticism, has never been fully debunked.
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