A Spooky Start
The Enfield Haunted House began as a normal semi-detached council house at 234 Green Street in Brimsdown, North London. But, it has become famous for the strange happenings in the late 1970s.
The eerie, sadistic phenomenon began out of nowhere and was largely centred around two sisters, Janet (aged 11) and Margaret (aged 13). Strange voices, objects moving, weird sounds, and Janet levitating are just a few of the scary things that happened in the Enfield house. At one point, it was known as one of the most haunted places in the UK!
“Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had a haemorrhage and I fell asleep, and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs,” said a deep voice. The terrifying voice sounded like a man but came out of Janet.
Bill Wilkins, a supposed poltergeist, took a keen interest in Janet and often used her to communicate. His supernatural presence was felt throughout the Enfield home, eventually attracting the attention of ghost hunters, the police, and the media!
The Hodgson Family: Background
Peggy Hodgson, a divorced mother, lived in the council house with her four children. It wasn’t a happy time for the family. The children’s father abandoned them, and Peggy was left struggling in poverty. Billy, the youngest son, was sent away to boarding school for ‘behavioural problems’.
One night in August 1977, after hearing loud noises, Peggy went into the young girls’ room to tell them to settle down and be quiet. But the kids protested that it wasn’t them and the beds were moving independently. Brushing it off, she closed the door and went back to bed.
A few nights later: the same thing happened. This time, Janet said the chest of drawers was moving.
“We [told our mom] the chest of drawers was moving toward the bedroom door,” Janet recalled while speaking on ITV in 2012, “She said, ‘Oh don’t be silly!’”.
Peggy, now a little annoyed, pushed the drawers back into place but was horrified when it moved again!
In a panic, Mrs Hodgson rushed across to the neighbours and asked them to accompany her back into the house. When they arrived, they too, noticed the paranormal phenomena. Finally, the police were called and – you guessed it – also witnessed the paranormal events. This led many to believe they were telling a true story; a real horror story.
The Enfield Poltergeist
Poltergeists are believed to inhabit homes (or people!) who are deeply troubled. And the Hodgson’s house sets the tone of a sad story.
The unexplained supernatural activity first began with odd occurrences, such as furniture moving, loud noises, cold spots, flickering lights and objects seemingly levitating on their own.
As the hauntings continued, the Hodgson family said more bone-chilling events began to unfold, including, the appearance of graffiti, unexplained pools of water, matches igniting, and physical attacks on family members.
There was also a time when a Lego brick hit Graham Morris, a photographer from The Daily Mirror. “He still had the mark a few days later,” Janet recalls.
These macabre events progressed, with Janet levitating and speaking in a disembodied voice. This led Mrs Hodgson to believe her daughter was possessed.
One September the family were ‘chased out of the house’ and spent a few days with Peggy’s brother up the road. Here, a Lego brick appeared in front of Peggy, and her blood ran cold. She realised the ghostly entity could follow the family outside the property!
This is when paranormal investigators were called in.
Maurice Grosse, a ghost hunter from the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), set up thermal cameras and other ghost-catching equipment inside Janet’s bedroom and around the home. What he witnessed was horrifying!
One particular event caught on film was when Janet was ‘leaping’ across the room in an unnatural position. Grosse concluded that the Enfield poltergeist was real. His supernatural presence was rife in the home! He saw “flying marbles, bending spoons, and a sofa lifting and crashing down on the floor,“ among other bizarre occurrences.
Anita Gregory, another member of the SPR group, contested with the ghoulish entity. Sometime later, a gruff voice began to emerge over the EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) tape recorder. The spirit called himself Joe Watson.
A policewoman, who signed an affidavit, reported witnessing seeing a chair move. There were over 30 other witnesses – over the 19 months – reporting different kinds of paranormal activity at 234 Green Street.
Guy Playfair later wrote a book, This House is Haunted: The True Story of the Enfield Poltergeist, in 1980.
Aftermath And Legacy
Somewhere between 1978 and 1979, Janet was sent to Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital in South London.
Dr Peter Fenwick performed intense psychological assessments on Janet. All of which proved there was nothing wrong with her – including brain damage and epilepsy!
During her six weeks away from home, the eerie activity was notably reduced, but within half an hour of her return, she started seeing the ghost of a small boy.
Janet left home at the age of 16, but Peggy continued living in the house until she died in 2003. Janet and Margaret both said that each time they visited their mum, there were still strange happenings, but they weren’t as severe as they used to be.
The Enfield poltergeist has captivated public interest, being subject to many docuseries and films over the years.
- Spielberg’s 1982 film Poltergeist is loosely based on this London legend.
- In 2016, The Conjuring 2 was released. It portrays American paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren visiting the house in May 1978.
Janet, now an adult some 40 years later, has reflected on the Enfield haunting. She is deeply traumatised by the events inflicted on her by the poltergeist, saying it just “stays with you”.
She believed Bill was trying to communicate, or be part of the Hodgson family, rather than intending them any harm. But the Enfield poltergeist has left a lasting impression on her life.
Is It Real Or Is It Fake?
Some believe this is all a hoax.
Janet even admitted to faking one or two accounts back in the day.
In her defence, she said the Hodgson family did this to test if investigators would ‘catch her out’. Only about 2% of the young girl’s claims were assumed to be fake.
Other sceptics questioned why no one was allowed in Janet’s room when she was channelling the Enfield poltergeist, Bill.
Who lives in the Enfield House today?
According to The Daily Mail, a mother of four from Lagos, Nigeria lives in the Enfield House. The building looks completely different to what it did in the 70s, taking on a more modern feel. The woman, who remains unnamed, has said she has not encountered any paranormal activity but has said many tourists gather outside your home, trying to catch a glimpse of its macabre history!
The Enfield Haunted House is a tragic story about a little girl overcome by a ghostly entity. Whether you choose to believe it or not, Janet claims the happenings are true and the eerie evidence on Grosse’s tape recorder could convince any sceptic!