(Illustrated by Unknown Artist)
The recording above is part of the 1977 interview of 11 year old Janet Hodgson, by paranormal researcher Maurice Grosse. The odd gruff voice coming from the 11 year old girl, claimed to be that of deceased 72 year old man, Bill Wilkins.
August 1977, 284, Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield, London, England. “It started in a back bedroom, the chest of drawers moved, and you could hear shuffling,” Janet Hodgson would recollect, some years after the incident in an interview. Upon hearing the sound of somewhat heavy furniture being moved about, Peggy (Margaret) Hodgson (mother of four) naturally assumed her children, were out of bed. The children insisted that the drawers were moving by themselves, Peggy Hodgson claimed she observed the chest of drawers moving along the floor, seemingly by its own accord. When Peggy attempted to push against the drawers, she discovered more resistance than the usual weight of the object, and was unable to move it from where it had traveled to.
Some of the children also claimed on the night of this primary incident, that they heard knocking coming from inside the walls of their shared bedroom. In a frantic and terrified state, Peggy Hodgson and four children, Margaret (13), Janet (11), Johnny (10) and Billy (7) fled from their home and went to their next-door neighbor’s home, that of Victor and Peggy (Margaret) Nottingham. Vic stated in numerous interviews afterward, he went over to the Hodgson’s home to investigate, “I went in there and I couldn’t make out these noises, there was a knocking on the wall, in the bedroom, on the ceiling, I was beginning to get a bit frightened.”
Following this first incident, the police were notified to investigate the Hodgson’s council home. It was during this home visit that Police Constable Carolyn Heeps witnessed a chair wobble and then slide, unable to determine the cause for its movement. Constable Heeps went on to signing an affidavit that she had assuredly witnessed an armchair levitate about one half of an inch off of the ground and move approximately four feet along the floor.
“I heard four distinct taps on the wall and then silence. Then about two minutes later I heard more tapping from a different wall, another PC checked the walls, the attic and the pipes but could find nothing to explain the knocking. Then the eldest son of the family pointed to a chair near the sofa. I then saw the chair slide across the floor. It moved approximately three to four feet and then came to rest. I checked the chair and I could find nothing to explain how it moved.”
—Police Constable Carolyn Heeps
Interest in the Enfield Poltergeist began to increase, the family made contact with the Society for Psychical Research. Led by paranormal investigator, Maurice Grosse, investigations were underway, attempting to assess and record the seemingly paranormal nature of the events.
In early November, 1977, Grosse confronted the presence in the living room: “As I asked the question, ‘Are you having a game with me?’ it threw the cardboard box and the pillow right in my face. I have actually seen, myself, marbles being thrown about. I have seen the door moving without any help. I have also experienced the reduction of temperature.”
—Maurice Grosse, Society for Psychical Research
Over 18 months following the night the Hodgson family first fled from their home, there were approximately 30 people who witnessed something perceived as a paranormal (or inexplicable) incident at the Enfield residence. Individuals consisting of police, journalists, researchers, even several claims made by people on the street passing by the home witnessed unusual sights through the windows. These experiences ranged from peculiar knocks, loud noises, tapping banging on the walls of the home. Toys, small objects being thrown around the house, particularly the living room. Furniture moving about the home by itself, usually relatively short distances. Disembodied voices, inaudible speech from different areas of the home. Unusual and often drastic changes in perceivable temperature. Lastly, the sighting (and experience) of Janet Hodgson levitating.
Eventually the strangeness of the Enfield Poltergeist Incident came to its crescendo with 11 year old Janet Hodgson, acting as a vessel for the being(s) responsible for the ‘unusual activity’. A distorted, gruff voice barked from the young girl’s mouth claiming to be the spirit of Bill Wilkins. Bill Wilkins, through Janet, claims to be 72 years old, from Durant Graveyard. It goes on to explain that Bill lost the use of his eyes and eventually died in the home of 284, Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield. Even going as far as stating that he passed away in a chair that was in the home when the Hodgson’s moved in.
“I felt used by a force that nobody understands. I really don’t like to think about it too much. I’m not sure the poltergeist was truly ‘evil’. It was almost as if it wanted to be part of our family. It didn’t want to hurt us. It had died there and wanted to be at rest. The only way it could communicate was through me and my sister.”
It was eventually confirmed that there was in fact a man named William (Bill) Charles Louis Wilkins residing in the Enfield home, until he passed away in 1963. However, he was 61 years old when he died, not 72 as claimed in the recording. Also, Janet/the spirit claim that he came from ‘Durants Graveyard’ in the interview, when Bill Wilkins was actually buried in Lavender Hill Cemetery a little further away from the Enfield home, than the nearby cemetery.
It’s these inconsistencies, along with some researchers believing the children, primarily Janet, were willfully deceiving everyone. Some investigators reported seeing Janet knocking on walls herself, bending spoons and behaving in a way that suggested she were attempting to sway the beliefs of those researching the event (some of this was caught on film). Janet essentially admitted in various interviews in the years afterwards, that she would play games during the long periods of testing to see if Maurice Grosse could be deceived, stating that he always caught her in her attempts. Claiming that her deception would have accounted for less than 2% of the paranormal events in their entirety. But 2% of an admission to willful deception is grounds for many people to disregard the entire incident.
“There were many bystanders who thought the family invented it all, using basic conjuring tricks, in order to get a new and better council house. But although Mrs Hodgson was a single mother with four children, Roz Morris disputes this possible motivation: “She had a good house, as far as she was concerned, and in fact she stayed in it – that’s where she died in 2003.” The journalist admits that at the beginning she herself was extremely skeptical and looking out for any ways in which “trickery” could be involved, but she found Mrs Hodgson to be sincere and undoubtedly “very frightened”. Richard Crosse rules out a financial motive: “They never made any money out of it.” Graham Morris backs this up, maintaining that “cheque book journalism” simply didn’t exist in those days.”
With the media circus dispersing, by 1978 a priest is said to have visited the home, after which, according to Janet Hodgson, the events settled down. But they didn’t end entirely, Peggy and Janet’s youngest brother Billy lived in the home until Peggy (Janet’s mother) passed away, allegedly in the same chair that Bill Wilkins passed away in. Billy and Peggy claimed that you always felt as though you were being watched inside that house.
So the last of the Hodgson’s left the home, Janet Hodgson claiming to this day that the events were not only legitimate, but all began after she and her sister Margaret had played with a Ouija board.
Strangely, after the home was momentarily uninhabited, the next inhabitants learned the story might not have been entirely over. One family in particular, Clare Bennett and her children, found they too felt as though they were constantly being watched inside the Enfield home. Voices and knocking would consistently awake the family during the night. When Clare’s son Shaka (15) began to awake to an apparition of a man entering his bedroom, and unusual experiences seemed to escalate once more. The Bennett’s left the home two months after moving in.
Whose to say if the current inhabitants have experienced anything unusual, when looking at the property on google maps, the words ‘JESUS HOUSE’ appear on one of the windows. Whether legitimately haunted, or an elaborate ruse, strange events have unfolded within the walls of 284, Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield.
5 thoughts on “ᵀᴴᴱ ENFIELD POLTERGEIST INCIDENT ᴏғ 1977”
Were Ed and Lorraine Warren involved in this? I seem to recall that they were, but I could be mistaken. I might be thinking of a different case.
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They were, but their involvement in the investigation was very brief, I remember coming across this when I was researching this post:
“Guy Lyon Playfair, one of the original paranormal investigators on the Enfield Poltergeist case, came forward prior to the movie’s release [The Conjuring 2] and said that the Warrens had showed up “uninvited” and only stayed for a day. He also said that Ed Warren told him he could make him a lot of money off the case (Darkness Radio).” — https://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/conjuring-2-enfield-poltergeist/
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Yes, I thought it was the basis for Conjuring 2. I read about the case in one of the Warrens’ books. I personally don’t know what to think about the Warrens, but they make for an interesting story. Thanks!
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I’m not entirely sure what to think of them either. Even the fact that it’s mentioned Ed Warren once said there was money to be made off of the case, to Guy Lyon Playfair, as if that is some scrutiny to his character. There would often have to be some motivation or desire for fame and/or wealth to go public with paranormal events or even the involvement with them (in some instances career suicide). He wasn’t actually wrong with his claim either, Guy’s involvement in this case did lead to fame and the selling of many books. Which is how the Warrens made their money as well, they never took money from the individuals involved with any of the cases, just sold books and TV/movie rights. I’ve wanted to write something specifically about the Warrens for awhile, because they are affiliated with so many paranormal accounts. It’s overwhelming though, the 70’s in the US were a very unusual time. A changing society, Drugs, Satanic Cults, Serial Killers, Cattle Mutilations, just to name a few elements. Were the Warrens a fraudulent product of their environment, capitalising on the chaos and fear? Or is their version of events legitimate? Either way, you’re right, it all makes for an interesting story.
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And now their daughter is cashing in from her parents!