21 May, 2015
The Enfield Haunting from an Eyewitness
The Enfield Haunting from an Eyewitness
Doug Bence was a local reporter playing a late night game of dominoes with a coworker when the call came in….
The caller told them about some strange goings on at a house nearby in Enfield. Well that peeked the reporters interest, and he was soon on his way to the home along with his photographer Graham Morris.
Arriving at the house, he meet the resident Hodgson family who explained that their furniture had been moving around of its own accord.
They told Doug that they had called the police and, although a female police officer had seen a chair move, they left saying it wasn’t a police matter.
So, not knowing what else to do, the family called the local newspaper, The Mirror.
At first Doug Bence, now 76, thought it was a hoax, but then as they started to leave, a neighbor ran out and stopped them.
Doug said: “He was shouting ‘it’s happening again'”.
“Inside the house the children’s Lego bricks were flying all over the place, going so fast you almost couldn’t see them.
“It was like when you are in the Grandstand at Lord’s cricket ground and you watch a fast ball coming down.”
“The kids were screaming and one of the bricks hit the photographer in the face.”
Graham the Photographer was left with a bruised face and the two men knew they had a story, a story that ended up on the front page of the Mirror and is still regarded today as one of the most well-documented examples of poltergeist activity.
The Hodgson family consisted of, single mother Peggy, and her daughters Margaret, 13, Janet, 11, and Billy, 7, who had witnessed the unexplained knocking and moving furniture.
And in the following 10 months of their lives they would be rocked by events which today still defy belief, including the daughters producing demonic voices, levitating and inanimate objects appearing to come to life.
Talking about the events Doug says he never solved the mystery but said, “I do believe that science isn’t capable of measuring every force in the universe, and this was unexplained.”
Doug went on to say that he called in the Society for Psychical Research, a group founded in 1882 to investigate extraordinary unexplained human experiences, and a man named Guy Lyon Playfair and his colleague the late Maurice Grosse arrived.
They monitored the family over many months and made lots of recordings of the voices. Aided by time-lapse pictures taken by the Mirror photographer, they added weight to the idea a Poltergeist had taken up residency in the north London.
Today Guy, 80, who has devoted much of his life to the study of the paranormal after becoming interested in the unexplained while in South America, delights in playing the tapes to visitors to his London apartment.
He said, “Janet in particular was affected the worst and she produced this deep-voiced growl which said it was a man called Bill and said ‘Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had an hemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs.’”
“It turned out there had been someone who had died in the same circumstance, how could a child know that?”
“I thought ‘bloody hell, what’s this?’
“There was a chair which fell backwards in broad daylight and a curtain wrapped itself around Janet’s neck.”
“One incident I recall very clearly involved a marble apparently appearing from nowhere and dropping dead at my feet, no bounce, marbles just don’t do that.
“There was book which apparently travelled through a brick wall to next door.”
“Lots of people saw examples, not just Maurice and I, and I have no explanation, it was just a very, very rare event.”
Many have claimed that the whole thing was a hoax made up by the those involved, but Guy has no time for those skeptics.
Doug admits that times the children tried to make up incidents but puts that down to the pressure on them for stuff to happen while the investigators were watching.
After about 10 months the incidents petered out and people lost interest except for the hardcore enthusiasts who have helped Guy’s book of the story This House is Haunted sell more than 100,000 copies.
Today, Peggy Hodgson is dead, and the children are grown up and moved away.
Janet is married and lives in Essex with her family and declined to contribute to this article, although in the handful of interviews she has given as an adult she resolutely sticks to her story.
She previously said: “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.”
“I was bullied at school. They called me Ghost Girl.”
“I’d dread going home. The front door would be open, there’d be people in and out, you didn’t know what to expect.”
“I’m not one for living in the past. I want to move on. But it does come to me now and again. I dream about it, and then it affects me. I think why did it happen to us?”
It’s likely no-one will ever know exactly what went on in 1977 in Enfield but there is no doubt something out of the ordinary occurred.
Doug is hedging his bets and said, “Although I didn’t see doors opening and people floating in the air I did see the family’s reaction.”
“They were scared witless, absolutely terrified, you can’t fake fear like that.”
The Enfield Haunting staring Matthew MacFadden as Guy and Timothy Spall as Maurice is on Sky Living on May 6.
Spall said that he initially turned down his part because it terrified him.
“It frightened me to death. I said ‘no’ and was astounded when they weren’t really having it,” he said.”
To this day there have been no further reports of odd goings-on in the house.
The Enfield Haunting
Next on (S1/E3): Sky Living HD Sat 23 May, 2:00pm
Posted in Ghost Tales and tagged Doug Bence, Graham Morris, Guy Lyon Playfair, Janet Hodgson, Margaret Hodgson, Matthew MacFadden as Guy, Maurice Grosse, Peggy Hodgson, The Enfield Haunting, Timothy Spall as Maurice by cnkguy with no comments yet.