Enfield Poltergeist - The ParaPod Series 1, Episode 4 Review

September 23, 2015 1:00 AM ‐ GhostsParanormalThe ParaPod

This article is more than eight years old and was last updated in March 2018.

In this week's The ParaPod, firm believer Barry Dodds and hardcore skeptic Ray Peacock debate one of the world's most famous hauntings. Barry tries to convince Ray that the paranormal activity which took place in a North London council house in the late-70s was real a real poltergeist case and not just the overactive imaginations of two teenaged girls that got out of hand.

The Enfield Haunting
Episode four of The ParaPod and so far Barry hasn't had much luck so far convincing Ray in the existence of the paranormal, but this week he was confident that the story of the Hodgson family of Green Street in Enfield would have even the most adamant skeptic, like Ray, convinced.

Barry started off by telling us about the case which he described as "probably the most famous haunting we've had in this country." He went through all the background of the case but it wasn't long before Ray interrupted after Barry said that the case occurred in a council house. Ray said, "let me just tick the requirements... so it was council house, tick. As always. Did it involve teenagers?" Barry had to admit, a "couple of teenaged girls". To which Ray replied, "tick".

Barry went on to say that the case was very similar to the Pontefract haunting which he'd covered off in the first episode of The ParaPod. The poltergeist activity in Pontefract took place before Enfield. Ray asked whether the Enfield family could have known about the earlier case, but according to Barry, they probably wouldn't have known about the case, he said "Pontefract wasn't widely reported".

Ray wasn't having that and tried to get Barry to admit that there's a chance that the Hodgsons saw the Pontefract case in The Mirror, Ray concedes and says "there is the tiniest of possibilities" but Ray was still sure that it was "likely".

Ray might have actually been wrong about this one, the Pontefract case was reported in papers in 1968, at which time Janet and Margaret Hodgson, the girls at the centre of the Enfield case would have been just two and four-years-old. Although, their mother Peggy could have remembered the story and put the idea into the girls' heads.

The two girls lived in the house with their two younger brothers, as Barry goes on to explain, but he says that there is a bit of a troubled background to the house, to which Ray jumped in to say, "tick". Barry explains that Peggy was recently divorced, which had caused a bit of tension and financial difficulty.

With the scene set, Barry then went on to recount the story of the hauntings, which he says started on night when the kids went up to bed. He goes on, "they could hear something shuffling in the room and they thought 'this is quite weird' and then there was some banging, banging on the wall. Then the mother, Peggy came upstairs and was like 'what's going on in here?' and they were like 'we don't know, we don't know'. And then in front of her there was a chest of drawers and it started moving across the room and she was like 'right, get out!' so they legged it."

On that first night the family left the house and sought refuge in their neighbour's house, Vic Nottingham was a builder and went into the Hodgsons' house along to check it over, he heard a few bangs and came back and according to Barry said, "right, get the police."

Ray had heard enough, "right, put yourself in that situation, your neighbours come and knock you up tonight say 'something weirds happening in our house', you go round to their house and all you see is a wardrobe in the middle of the room and they say 'that moved on its own' they just tell you that. Would you then phone the police?"

Ray wasn't expecting Barry's response, "no because bizarrely next door to me there's a funeral parlour and my neighbour lives above that." Barry continued with his story, apparently next the family called the police, who came over and according to Barry said "well, we can only deal with the living" but then they saw a chair move and they were like "what's going on here."

Barry told Ray how the police are considered to be a highly credible witness and says they got a signed statement, to which Ray reminded Barry, "yeah, there's no such thing as a bent copper." The police left and for the next few weeks "there were bangs and all sorts going on."

Then, Barry says, "some how the press got involved, I'm not entirely sure how they got involved." Ray had the answer to this, "shall I tell you how they got involved? Someone involved in this went to the press." But Barry refused to believe that the family would have gone to the press just for attention and moved on to when "really weird stuff started happening," like toys including Lego and marbles going through walls and even one of Janet's books being found next door.

Ray had to jump in at this point, recapping some of the key information how the family were having financial difficulties, the newspapers probably offered rewards, and as more people got involved their story was expanded.

Then Barry retells one of the most famous day's of the whole case, Barry tells us how one of the paranormal investigators involved, Guy Lyon Playfair, told the ghost to move a cushion through the walls to downstairs. According to Barry, Janet was in the bedroom on her own with the cushion and lollypop lady who was working outside the house saw something odd, Barry says, "she looked up to the room and saw Janet levitating, just floating in the air."
The Enfield Poltergeist

At this point Barry showed Ray the famous photo of Janet appearing to levitate over a bed in the bedroom, Ray said "no, that's Janet jumping off the bed", but Barry says it couldn't have been because there were people in the room who witnessed it. Sorry Barry, but there actually wasn't, the photos were taken using a remote controlled camera which when activated took multiple shots.

The next photo Barry shows Ray was one of Janet apparently asleep on top of a radio, the photo was said to be taken after Janet was given valium to help her sleep and according to Barry, no one can explain how Janet ended up on top of the radio but Ray wasn't so sure, "Barry, we could do these photos in my house now, there's nothing unexplained about these photos."

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Enfield Janet On Radio

Clearly the photos didn't work, so Barry continued with his story, going back to the day of the levitation when a baker was walking past with some bread and he saw the cushion on the roof of the house, he knocked on the door and said "why's there a cushion on your house?"

Ray again was having none of this, "you wouldn't do that! Put yourself in that position, if you're driving home tonight and there's cushion on top of a house, are you gonna knock on the door and say 'do you know there's a cushion on top of your house?'."

But Barry says "this was in the 70s though, people were friendlier."

Then things escalated, Barry says that the paranormal investigators in the house started to hear growling and whistling noises, so one of the investigators Maurice Grosse said, according to Barry, "come on, if you can make those noises you can talk" and then voices started coming through Janet.

Ray seemed to think this was a perfect example of "upping the auntie, the story's flagging" but Barry insisted it was real and played Ray the audio to prove it.

Ray found that the audio, which featured a spirit called Bill, disproved the case more than it reenforced it, after hearing the gruff, cockney voice he said, "I was not aware that Dick Van Dyke had even died, people don't talk like that in real life, that's a character voice."

Barry had more impressive facts up his sleeve, "well, one of the things that Maurice has said to the ghost was 'what's my name?' and it went 'Grosse'." Ray jumped in, "no! The girl knows his name! It's almost unbelievable that you're believing this."

Next Barry reveals that the girls did fake some things, like the time they hid Guy Lyon Playfair's tape recorded without pressing stop, thus giving the game away. Ray, clarifies, "so there is documented evidence of them faking things? That's the end of the story, they're discredit. If they were in court, that would be the moment where they say 'no further questions'."

Barry plays a bit more of the audio, off the back of it Ray says "right, in YouTube can you now put in 'That's Life sausages dog' because that's all that sounded like, it's a kid putting a voice on." 

Barry tries to prove the voice is real to Ray, "it's coming out with very specific things there," but those specific things Ray says are "I was buried. Where? In a cemetery?" Barry said, "she named the cemetery" but of course she would, because as Ray points out "she lives near it!"

Barry then mentioned an interview with the girls involved in the place, now grown up but to this today they maintain their story is true.

The Conclusion

Barry attempts to sum up the case, "a family who were having a hard time moved into a house that had something in it, they fuelled what was in the house, what was in the house made itself known and started talking through the girls, turns out they'd disturbed the spirit of Bill. Lots of witnesses including the press, eventually a psychic medium moved the spirit on and that is the story of the most famous haunting that this country's ever had."

Ray's opinion was much different, "they just made it all up, everyone was in on it because they everyone reaps financial reward from it, everyone got either attention or money for it."

Ray 4 - Barry 0

Listen Now

You can listen to The Parapod on SoundCloud, iTunes or visit theparapod.com for more from the show.

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