The Enfield Poltergeist case is one of the best documented case of a haunting ever, but while researching the topic ahead of the 40th anniversary of the event I uncovered six interesting facts that aren't widely know about the events that took place in Enfield, North London in 1977.
1. Maurice Grosse Invented Rolling Bus Stop Advertising
You probably know that Maurice Grosse was the first paranormal investigator sent to Green Street by the Society for Psychical Research and that he became the lead investigator on the case, sticking with the family throughout the whole duration of the poltergeist activity, but did you know Maurice was also a pretty successful inventor?
After a career in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War, Mauric put his art and design skills to use and became an inventor. His most successful invention is still seen around the world today, often on the side of bus stops. Maurice invented the rotating advertising billboard, the kind that have several posters inside and a mechanism which was dreamed up by Maurice cycles through the adverts.
2. Gozer Originates From The Enfield Case
The classic paranormal comedy movie 'Ghostbuster' introduced us to an array of spirits and demons, including Gozer the Destructor but this wasn't the first place Gozer was mentioned, in fact it was six years early at the haunted house in Enfield.
In Guy Lyon Playfair's book, 'This House Is Haunted' which documents the case at Enfield, he talks about the time a medium visited the house with her husband. Guy describes how the medium performed a seance in one of the bedrooms of the council house with two of the family members.
Her husband started the session by saying a prayer, before turning to his wife and saying "now! can you see me?" She suddenly let out a cry, "go away!" He tried to tell the spirit to leave and before long she started to moan "Gozer, Gozer, help me."
The Enfield case was so well publicised around the world that it didn't take long for Dan Aykroyd to hear about Gozer at around the time he was writing 'Ghostbusters' with his co-star Harold Ramis. He went on to incorporated the dark demon's name into the script, giving the Destructor its second coming.
3. Ed & Lorraine Warren Only Visited The House Twice
The 2016 movie, 'The Conjuring 2' was loosely based on the Enfield case and would have you believing that the American husband and wife team, Ed and Lorraine Warren crossed the Atlantic to save the family in North London. The reality is that the Warrens role in the case was much less important.
In fact, the couple only visited the house twice, possibly three times, and all of their visits were towards then end of the case when paranormal activity was already dying down.
Lorraine first made contact with Maurice Grosse in a letter dated May 1978, ten months after the first reported happenings at the house and it wasn't until the following month that they finally arrived. The Warrens spent a day at the house where they interviewed the family and took part in a live transatlantic linkup with the WVAM, a radio station in Pennsylvania via the phone.
Ed and Lorraine returned to the house in August the following year when they spent four days in the house between and recorded over 13 hours of audio and captured phenomenon such as levitation of objects on camera. They also reported witnessing rocks appear from nowhere and even what they described as the "spontaneous removal of the wallpaper" in the kitchen.
Ed Warren later said that "this Enfield case makes Amityville look like a playhouse."
4. Bill Wilkins Wasn't The Only Voice To Speak Through Janet
The poltergeist of Enfield famously made contact with researchers through the youngest daughter, Janet. The voice emerges from Janet as a gruff male voice. The spirit most memorably identified itself as Bill Wilkins and said "I went blind, and I had a haemorrhage, and I fell asleep and I died on a chair in the corner downstairs".
However, Bill wasn't the only spirit who made contact, in total around ten voices came through including Joe Watson, Fred, Dirty Dick, Andrew Gardner and Stuart Certain.
5. There Were Several Deaths During The Case
You may not know that during the case there were three deaths in the house, thankfully not any of the family or the researchers but the family's pets. Two days before Christmas in 1978 the family woke up to find their two pet goldfish had both mysteriously died during the night. When talking to the spirit of Bill through Janet later in the day, the voice said "I done that," adding that he electrocuted the fish with "spirit energy."
The on Christmas Day the family woke up to a loss, this time it was their pet budgie that had passed during the night, but Bill didn't take responsibility this time.
This occurrence is very similar to an event which happens in Steven Spielberg's 1982 horror movie 'Poltergeist', which is loosely based on the Enfield story and in the movie the family are sadden by the death of their pet budgerigar.
6. It Started With A Ouija Board
In 'The Conjuring 2' the two girls at the centre of the haunting are seen playing with a ouija board and this is singled out to be the event which started the haunting, I thought this was just a bit of Hollywood creative license but it turns out to be true.
Years after the haunting came to an end, the sisters confessed to having played with a ouija board in a friend's shed fours years before the incident began. They said they saw the face of a demon appear in the shed's window and that they themselves believed that this could have been the event which started the paranormal outbreak.
More On The Enfield Poltergeist Case
This month one of the world's most famous real-life ghost stories turns 40 and to celebrate I've been digging through the Enfield poltergeist case files and re-examining the best documented poltergeist haunting of all time.
Whether you believe the Enfield Poltergeist was evidence of a real haunting or not, there's no doubt that the story had an enormous impact at the time. After all, the media relies on public interest to sustain a story. The Enfield Poltergeist was widely covered in newspapers, books, radio and TV at the time and continues to fascinate. So how could this seemingly simple haunting have had such a large impact over such a timespan?
40 years ago this month, the Hodgson family of Enfield in north London reported strange goings on in their house at 284 Green Street, it became one of the most famous poltergeist cases ever, but 40 years on, how much do you remember about this iconic case?
The classic paranormal comedy movie 'Ghostbuster' introduced us to an array of spirits and demons including Gozer the Gozerian but it turns out that the demon deity first made its presence known at a haunted house in Enfield in the 1970s.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Enfield Poltergeist case, which centred on the Hodgson family of Enfield. To celebrate, here's a list of every milestone, major event and significant visit to the house. The timeline covers the house's most active period from August 1977 to October 1978.