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Tuesday, April 06, 2010
of visitors to the house
excluding friends and relatives of the Hodgsons
Enfield Visitors S.P.R Members:
M.Grosse, G.L.Playfair, L.Berger, Prof.Hasted, D.Robertson, A.Gregory, J.BeloffA.Gauld, .Cornell, B.Carr, I.Fletcher, C.Sargent, P.Dear, P.Thomas, J.Stiles, P.Hallson, H.Pincott, M.R.Barrington, G.Guinness (?), J.Friedman, E.O'Keaffe,
Non-Members of Interest:
Daily Mirror: George Fallows, Douglas Bence, David Thorpe, Graham Morris, Bryan Rimmer, National Enquirer, John Cooke, Paul Bannister et al., BBC TV, Sally Doganis, BBC Scotland TV, David Martin, BBC Radio 4, Rosalind Morris, The Observer, Pearson Phillips, Jane Bown,
Luiz A. Gasparetto, Elsie Dubugras, Matthew Manning, Gerry Sherrick, Elizabeth Fuller, "E.M"
John G. Fuller, Milbourne Christopher, Francis Huxley, Prof. Playfair, Charles Moses (SCSPR), R. Grosse (Solicitor), E.L. Warren (USA)
Letter written by Grosse to the Society for Psychical Research Journal in 1979
The Editor, S.P.R. Journal, Society for Psychical
1 Adam and Eve Mews
Kensington, London W8
It has been brought to my notice recently, that in the opinion of some parapsychologists, the 'Voice' in the Enfield Poltergeist Case could have been produced deliberately by the children involved.
As the 'Voice' manifested itself from the person of Janet, a normal eleven year old girl, I am now more than willing to repeat a public challenge made more than a year ago. I will pay £500 to any nominated charity if anyone can present a normal voiced eleven year old girl who can produce "the voice of an old man, together with the gruff tone and personality in that voice", in the manner as manifested and tape recorded in this case. The challenge is also open to Janet and the other children involved in this case to produce the 'Voice' under the following conditions.
I make two conditions. First, the voice is not produced in a similar 'poltergeist situation', the second, the judgement should be made by an independent panel who have no vested interest in the result.
written by the children's grandmother
following a visit to their home
Dear Mr. Grosse
I'd like to tell you what happened on one occasion when I visited my daughter-in law & grandchildren.
I was standing in front of Margaret & I distinctly heard a mail (sic) voice came from her, & then it happened again with Janet. Shortly afterwards, Janet John & Billy who were seated on the settee all went up in the air, it wasn't possible for them to have done this on their own.
G Hodgson (Mrs)
letter sent to the Hodgson family
by the residents of Beachcroft Way on February 11th
Get off this estate we dont want to live with witches and devils like you, you made your flat catch fire, and when you let your cat and dos (sic) out because we will get them you had better watch where they are, we smashed your car light in the other night next time we will smash you in.
From the tenents (sic) at Beachcroft Way
taken by Maurice Grosse during the case
April 20th 1979
At midnight on the 19th I was 'phoned by Peggy Nottingham. P.K. had actually started again in 284. I immediately went there arriving at 12.20 AM. Mrs. Hodgson and the two boys had been in the back bedroom, and the two girls in the front bedroom. The wardrobe in the back bedroom had moved and had eventually turned over. Mr. Nottingham was in the back bedroom on his own when a book flew across the room. 'Voices' came from the front bedroom and there was a lot of knocking. On the first tape I heard rapid knocking upstairs which was picked up very clearly and loudly by the tape recorder downstairs, but it was not heard by the people in the room. An 'unidentified voice' said "what you say". Left at 1.40 AM
Taped short interview with Denise at 272 and arrived at 8.45 pm. at 284. There was P.K. activity again last night and this afternoon. Mrs. Hodgson and Johnnie were in the house on their own. The settee and chair went over. The consensus of opinion is that the voice on tape "what you say" is Mr. Nottingham's. Mrs. Elms did not associate the voice with Mr. Nottingham, and she knows him well. Left at 12.
Arrived at 284 at lunch time. Interviewed Mrs. Hodgson about P.K. and teleportation of articles through bedroom wall. Thunderstorms and various P.K. activity taking place while I am in house and in front of me. Two stones appear to have teleported into the living room while I was in the toilet. Left at 1.50pm.
The episode at lunch time included the following: The washing up brush from the draining board flew straight at me and hit the kitchen door, moving very fast indeed. An apple flew across the kitchen along the wall and hit me on the shoulder. The Voice was in evidence, both from Janet and Billy, and the settee moved out from the wall in front of me as Johnnie was sitting on the side of it and Mrs. Hodgson the other. It moved out from Johnnie's side again. When I was in the toilet, two stones flew into the living room from the direction of the street, and Mrs. Hodgson said that they were all in the kitchen when this happened. The large stone was warm when I picked it up.
Two more stones appeared in the living room this evening before I arrived and they matched one of the stones that fell in the room at lunch time. The three parts made up one stone. At 6.30, twice the knife fell out of the kitchen, the second time in full view of Mrs. Burcombe.
There is a broken window in the back bedroom, it was caused by a piece of metal belonging to Johnnie. At 10 pm we appeared to have a teleportation of a bicycle pump from the outside through the back bedroom to the front bedroom, and a bottle of perfume came from the front bedroom and broke on the floor. A box of Bran Flakes went across the front bedroom, flakes all over the bed. Put tape recorder in the front bedroom with 2 girls at 10.10 pm. Voices again and some more 'teleportations', front and back bedroom, and a lot of P.K. activity.
Removed tape recorder from front bedroom at 11pm. Immediately knocking started.
Notes of Richard
Grosse on the Enfield Poltergeist Case
Richard Benjamin Grosse M.A. (Cantab)
Age 26 yrs
Profession Solicitor Education University College School, Hampstead Jesus College, Cambridge
Previous Experience of Psychic Phenomena - None
1. Background -
My father had been investigating the Enfield Poltergeist Case for some months, and so I was well aware of the past events at the house in Enfield. I had always been sceptical of the findings and observations he related to me. In the early stages of the case, I told my father that I would not visit the house at Enfield until the phenomena was able to address me by name.
Basically, I did not wish to interfere in what I considered to be a personal pursuit of my father, and I also anticipated that in the early stages of the case a visit might prove fruitless. My father had emphasised to me, as was evidenced by the experiences of many other casual visitors, that in the main, psychic phenomena should be observed in the long term, and not by one or two visits.
However, when my father produced to me a tape of a voice without physical explanation, and after lengthy cross examination of him as to the source and authenticity of the voice, I asked if I could visit the house one evening. I believed that the time had now come to form an opinion, either way, upon the nature of the events that appeared to be taking up so much of my father's time.
2. The House-
Upon entering the house, I was impressed by its warm and friendly atmosphere. The living room was decorated for Christmas, and the Hodgson family (Mrs. Hodgson, Janet, Margaret and Billy) were watching television with John Burcombe and his daughter Denise. The room was well lit and warm. The kitchen was adjacent to the living room, and I sat next to Mr. Burcombe, both of us facing the kitchen door. I sensed that the family had been looking forward to my visit, for no doubt my father had spoken of me. I remember remarking to Mr. Burcombe that I could not envisage any abnormal or paranormal activity in such an atmosphere. In retrospect, I assume that this comment was indicative to my conditioned approach to proceedings, by associating paranormal phenomena with evil.
3. The Characters -
a) Mrs. Hodgson - A small, plumpish woman with sharp features and small rather intense eyes. She was of a friendly disposition and appeared unconcerned with both past events, and events that may proceed this evening. She was attentive but firm with her children and seemed tolerant of their antics in my presence.
b) Janet - I found her features somewhat similar to her mother, although of course, being younger, she was far more open in disposition. She appeared to take a fancy to me, and I noticed that she was not afraid to approach me, or even to challenge me in a physical way, whereas I might have expected a girl of that age to remain coy and distant.
c) Margaret - Again of similar appearance, although more solemn and closed in disposition, giving the impression of being more thoughtful and sensible than her sister. Ostensibly, although Janet and Margaret appeared in contrast to one another, it was equally clear that they related closely to one another.
d) Billy - harmless enough little boy, who remained in my mind mainly due to his speech defect. When attempting to talk to him, I felt embarrassed as I was unable to understand a word he said.
e) Mr. Burcombe - he was extremely friendly towards me and his general approach was one of responsibility and reason. He talked to me as though he was confiding in a fellow expert. He oversaw operations, and advised me of matters as they proceeded. He appeared to have adopted the role of observer and investigator of psychic phenomena. He struck me more than anything as being an honest and trustworthy man motivated by concern for his family, and also by genuine interest in what was happening. He spoke briefly of how unique this case was and that it was probably a once in a lifetime experience to have an opportunity to take part in the investigation. His enthusiasm suggested to me, that in face of the onslaught of experts and academics concerned with the investigation, he wished to prove to all and sundry that he was as good and capable in such an unknown field as the rest of them having the benefit of day to day first hand experience.
f) Denise Burcombe - She was older and more sophisticated than Janet or Margaret, and appeared to have much of the attributes and qualities of her father.
g) Paul Burcombe - Another 'Burcombe' in so much as he seemed to have taken the role of investigator with gusto and enthusiasm. He arrived during the course of the evening armedwith his own portable tape recorder and wished to get involved in the matter of the investigation without delay. He recounted to me some of the observations he had made, although I admit that his enthusiasm and the speed with which he told his tales have made me forget them.
4. The Events -
Whilst sitting in the living room watching television Janet went into the kitchen, and I heard a barking sound. I immediately turned to Mr. Burcombe and suggested that Janet was playing. Mr. Burcombe merely said that this was not the case and I should wait and see what would happen. Janet's frivolous approach to the whole affair and the nonchalance of the entire family did throw me at first. I was utterly convinced that the barking sounds had been made by Janet.
At about 9 O'clock, Janet, Margaret and Billy went to bed. Mrs. Hodgson remained downstairs in the living room. This seemed to herald the commencement of the investigatory proceedings, and Mr. Burcombe, Denise and myself went upstairs and stood outside the door of the children's bedroom having first set up the tape recording equipment inside the children's room. The door to the children's room was closed and it seemed that the voice would not speak whilst any attempt was made to watch Janet.
During the course of the evening, I attempted to peer around the door at Janet with all the speed and guile that I could muster, but without success. Each time I tried to look or even thought of looking, the voice ceased and in some circumstances even advised me not to look.
The voice appeared to start almost immediately the children were alone in the bedroom.
The voice, whom I shall call 'Bill', as he told us that this was his name, was loud and very low. The children spoke with him like a friend, despite Bill's language, which comprised mostly of swear words. I was anxious to ask Bill some questions, although I felt somewhat shy and for the first part of the evening, I used Denise and Mr. Burcombe as my questions.
Bill was asked about his life, and I asked Denise and Mr. Burcombe to ask questions to which I believed Janet would not know the answers. I was impressed more than anything with the clarity and continuity of Bill's voice, for he spoke for a considerable length of time, although the contents left much to be desired.
Although Bill's conversation had some degree of charm, he was certainly no intellectual. During the course of the evening I began to realise that whoever Bill might be, there was a distinct possibility that the words and thoughts of the phenomena were being confused with those of Janet.
For some considerable time during the evening the conversation between Bill and myself were of a sexual nature, and Janet appeared to be relishing the encounter. Bill even invited me to sit on Janet's bed, when he promised that he would touch me. Of course, when I sat on the bed I felt nothing, except perhaps that Janet, and not Bill, had achieved the objective.
During the period of these question and answer sessions, the family remained absolutely silent. The questions would be asked by opening the door, and then closing the door, after which Bill would answer. As the evening progressed, we were able to leave the door open slightly, and at this time, I made an attempt to enter the room and speak with Bill. I stood facing the wall in the corner by the door and asked Bill to speak to me whilst I remained in this position. Bill did speak, although when I began to think only of turning around, the voice would either stop, or tell me not to move.
By this time, I had begun asking Bill questions myself, and I felt obliged to try and raise the intellectual tone of conversation by asking him questions about God and religion. The answers are recorded on tape, but in short, they were entirely unsatisfactory and further cemented my view that Bill was a stupid and ignorant person, or that he was bound to Janet's own mind as a medium. There are of course other permutations available, although to me, these two seem the most likely.
Bill then proceeded to sing, which was amusing to say the least, I also recall that some time during the evening, an attempt to record on tape Janet's voice concurrently with Bill's. I cannot be sure whether this was done, although I believe that about that time Bill was serenading, this may have been achieved. I do not intend to relate in detail all the events of the evening, for they are recorded on tape and this is surely the best and most efficient way of recalling what happened that evening. However, two further incidents are worthy of note.
Denise asked Bill what had happened to 30 pence she had lost sometime previously. Bill said the money was to be found underneath the radio in the living room. I was sceptical, but when I looked under the radio, I found 30p.
at about 11 O'clock, when I decided to terminate the proceedings and go downstairs, whilst sitting downstairs in the living room, various thumping and banging noises were heard from upstairs. Mr. Burcombe and I rushed up the stairs as soon after the noises as possible to see what was happening. I remember my father telling me of such events, and that he had some success in seeing Janet flying through the air as a result of paranormal activity. Each time we arrived in the room, Janet was in a different part of the room in a dishevelled state. She did not appear too happy at these events, although, as I did not witness them with my own eyes, I could not verify them as paranormal. Janet assured me most firmly that this was none of her doing. Of course, at the time, Mrs. Hodgson and Billy were in the room, and any fraud would have to have been perpetrated by the entire family.
I left the house shortly after 11.30pm, and have not returned there since.
A) Paranormal Phenomena
i) The voice: in my opinion, the voice could not have been produced by Janet under normal circumstances. I was also satisfied that the voice was not being produced by any electrical or other apparatus concealed in or near the room. Whilst I admit that Janet may be able for an interval of a few seconds only to produce something similar to the voice by herself, I am absolutely certain that it was not possible for her to produce such sounds for approximately two hours. At the end of proceedings Janet's voice was sweet and clear as at the beginning, and if anyone were to hypothesize that she alone could produce such a noise, then if nothing else, she would have had at the very least a sore throat. More likely still, she would have severely damaged her vocal cords.
Since my first visit, other investigators, so my father informs, have been able to sit in the room and watch Janet whilst also listening to the voice. At the time of my visit, I was not able to identify the physical source of the voice.
In any event, in my humble opinion, there is no physical explanation for such a voice being produced by an eleven year old girl.
ii) Mind reading: At a number of times during the event my mind was read, and proof of such mind reading was evidenced by Bill's voice. The voice would anticipate my wish to watch Janet whilst at the same time listening to the voice. Moreover when Denise and Mr. Burcombe were asking questions, the voice was able to identify the source of questions as myself. This latter incident is of course less conclusive, as Janet may have heard whispering. However, I am absolutely convinced that my thoughts were anticipated by the phenomena. I would, of course, not discount any telepathic powers either Janet, or myself may have.
iii) The 30p incident: Without being aware of the correct phrases to describe the creation and/or transference of matter, if there was no collusion between Denise and Janet with regard to the 30p, or to that matter with any other persons present, then this incident remains unexplained. My views of this incident are twofold. Firstly, at the time it took place, my initial and instinctive reaction was that it was genuine. Denise's questions were spontaneous, and of course the line of questioning could not have been anticipated. The answer was certainly given by the voice without intermediary communications between Denise and Janet. Secondly, my reason dictates that to me that after the event, that the incident should not be genuine. Nevertheless instinct, and reason also I would suggest, indicate that it was.
iv) Were any questions answered by Bill not within the knowledge of Janet? I appreciate there is an explanation of such answers, (if they exist), for they could be as a result of any telepathic powers Janet may have. I suggest that the tape be examined to determine whether anything has been proved in this respect.
B) Janet as a Medium
Subsequent to my visit, this has been shown, so I understand, that Janet was acting as a medium vis-a-vis the voice. My opinion is that the voice was not only using her vocal cords as a means of communication but was also communicating through the medium of her mind/brain. A great deal of what was said to me that evening by the voice seemed bound up with the thoughts and aspirations of Janet herself. In many ways, I think it unfortunate that in this case, the medium was lacking in sophistication, and somewhat raw in intellect. It would be interesting to consider Bill's answers to questions of philosophy and science whilst communicating through an older and more educated medium. Of course, this presupposes that the voice had anything particular to say.
C) The family
seemed to enjoy the attention that was foist upon them as a result of the phenomena. The honesty and integrity of Mrs. Hodgson, I believe is open to little doubt. I consider that certain incidents that occurred the evening I visited the house are without normal or physical explanation. All things considered, I felt privileged to have visited the house at that time and to have witnessed the audible manifestations of a psychic phenomena.
Signed by Richard
Grosse, 24th October, 1978.
following are inexplicable events personally experienced
by me (Maurice Grosse).
All experiences have taken place in good lighting conditions.
1) I have clearly seen glass marbles and plastic pieces in high speed transit with unusual trajectory. These objects appear to emanate from walls and windows at heights varying from five to seven feet. They always fell to the floor without bouncing.
2) While I was sitting in the kitchen one evening writing up my notes, an aluminium teapot standing on the kitchen top near the gas stove started to vibrate violently and jump up and down on the kitchen top. I was alone in the room at the time.
3) A table lamp placed on the floor at the foot of a bed completely out of reach of any person and clearly in my sight tilted its shade at an angle of 45 degrees and a few seconds later moved back again to the vertical position.
4) The toilet door opened and closed on its own a number of times. Each time nobody else has been in the vicinity and no draughts have been apparent.
5) A cardboard box 2 ft x 1 ft x 1 ft 6" with cushions and a soft toy inside it was thrown at me whilst I was communicating with the 'entity' by knocking. This happened in the bedroom and the family were in bed at the time and under observation.
6) I was standing in the bedroom, holding the door open and facing in to the room. A slipper flew at me from the far side of the room and hit the door by my head.
7) A certificate in a plastic frame was pulled off the wall directly behind my head. The family were in bed at the time, and the nearest member of the family was eight feet away from the wall. There was nobody else in the room at the time.
8) The carpet in the bedroom was continuously pulled up at the edge to form an identical shape each time. I have been unable to repeat this pattern myself.
9) I was standing in the living room in front of the settee about one foot away from it. There were eight or nine people in the room at the time, most of them standing. Nobody was sitting on the settee. Suddenly the settee flew up vertically to a height of about four feet and turned over backwards falling to the floor upside down.
10) I saw Janet levitated out of an armchair and deposited in the middle of the room complete with the cushion she was sitting on. She levitated up in a sitting position and moved forward in that position approximately four feet. I was sitting facing her across the room at the time, and was just about to talk to her when it happened.
11) I saw Mr. Burcombe - the uncle - pulled out of his chair and whirled around 180 degrees before falling to the floor. The whirling motion was remarkably fast and this episode happened in the house.
12) The doors on the kitchen wall units have been seen to slide back and forth on their own.
13) Tubular door chimes fixed on the living room wall were seen to swing from side to side. This happened many times.
14) A paper handkerchief settled on top of my head when I was standing in the bedroom. It settled very slowly and gently on my head.
15) Many times while sitting either in the kitchen or the living room I have heard distinct sounds resembling footsteps walking across the bedroom floors. Nobody was upstairs at the time.
16) Mrs. Nottingham and myself were unable to pull Margaret down the stairs while she claimed she was being held fast by the ankle with one leg in the air. She was standing on one leg at the time and she was not holding on to anything. Only after we twisted her around was she released.
17) Penny and twopenny pieces have dropped on to the floor next to me, both in Mrs. Hodgson's house and in Mr. Burcombe's house. They appeared to drop straight down. There was no bounce. They were not thrown.
In addition to these events, I have experienced a considerable amount of 'knocking phenomena' which has been accompanied by very strong vibrations on the walls and floors. I have also heard very loud bangs coming from the radiators not explicable in terms of the usual water system noises.
I have been present when a number of events have happened behind my back or not directly in my view that in my opinion were not physically caused by anyperson present. This includes water and fire episodes.
The Enfield case presented me with many personal problems during the time I was associated with the phenomena.
After my first visit to the house, I had to make the decision as to how much time I was going to devote to the investigation. It was obvious to me when I met the Hodgsons that I had a genuine case on my hands, but I knew that if the case was to be investigated properly it would need constant and vigilant attention. In common with all psychic investigators, I had no idea when I walked into the house how long I would be involved, but I did have a strong feeling that because of the circumstances, and the obvious sincerity of the people, that we were in for a pretty difficult session.
However, it did have the advantage of being within easy driving distance from my home, and since I was in the fortunate position to control my own time, I made up my mind there and then that if I was going to investigate I would do it to the best of my ability, and to devote as much effort to it as possible. In hindsight this proved to be a wise decision. Not only did the case turn out to be one of the most prolific of all time, but eventually, because of this decision and the unstinting co-operation of Guy Playfair and the other investigators, it became, we believe, the most thoroughly investigated case on record.
Thanks to the tape recorder, and other instruments, we were able to review events immediately after they had taken place. Without this capacity to recall, the phenomena could have been called into question and possibly held up to ridicule, like so much phenomena in previous cases. Now, because of this available technology, we were able to analyse events again and again in the cold light of day. We now had less time to rely on our instantaneous reactions to make a judgement. One of the hazards of psychic experience is the inability to believe the very thing that one has experienced, and to dismiss incidents as the product of ones own imagination. Due to this psychological quirk, I think that many cases in the past that bore the stamp of being genuine, were dismissed by investigators simply because they refused to believe the evidence of their own senses, and the dreaded threat of ridicule prevented them from seeing the case through. With present electronic aids we are in a much more secure position, and able to present our evidence with less fear of being labelled as cheats, frauds and charlatans. With this case we had the added advantage of having reliable independent witnesses who have given great weight to our evidence.
Many times during the course of this encounter with the inexplicable, I have wondered how many cases have failed to be recognized, not only because of this dread of ridicule, but because the investigator saw a childish prank, or a bit of play acting, and consequently failed to recognize the genuine activity. Perhaps this failure to recognize the real phenomena is a kind of defence mechanism that is thrown up by the subconscious to protect the ingrained beliefs of our materialistic society.
Whatever it is, I must admit that many times I was tempted to dismiss some of the more bizarre activity simply because it was easier to accuse the children of cheating rather than face the necessity of accepting the 'impossible'. When I look back now, I realize how transparent most of their tricks and play acting were compared to the real phenomena.
In parapsychology, theories tend to be a trap for the unwary, and in this category I include many parapsychologists who try to fit the phenomena into existing physical and psychological thinking. On of the best examples of this trap is, I believe, the so-called Freudian explanation of poltergeist activity. It can be summed up as follows:-
"The events are the exteriorization of the subconscious mind making itself apparent by actively effecting its physical surroundings." In simpler terms, it is the subconscious jumping out of the brain (or wherever it is located) and throwing things about.
"Well", you may say, "that is fine as far as it goes, but how is it capable of physically affecting its surroundings?"
At this point, the theory comes up against the proverbial brick wall. Not only does it come to a dead stop, but it fails to account for all the allied phenomena that surrounds the physical activity. How does all that fit into the picture? I am afraid that many theories of the paranormal are a result of experts in a particular field of science bringing their expertise to bear on psychic experiences, and the result is that facts that apply to one discipline do not necessarily to another. Unfortunately, when we apply disciplines to the inexplicable, things tend to get a little undisciplined, hence the confusion. I think I have listened to, and studied, practically every theory that has been put forward over the last century. I do not find any of them very convincing. The up turning of furniture may be explicable in terms of some sort of mysterious kinetic energy at work, but how does that fit into the experiences of glowing lights, apparitions, teleportation, levitation, , copycat fires and telepathic dreams, to say nothing of automatic writing and deep male voices emanating from young girls for hours at a time? Sometimes, the so-called experts explanations for the activity would be more appropriate between the covers of Alice In Wonderland, for the statements they make are more intricate and complicated than the phenomena itself.
To those who would shout cheat, fraud and other endearing terms, I would direct attention to the enormous amount of evidence that has accumulated over the centuries for the existence of inexplicable activity. Much of it has been absorbed into religious belief, folk lore and plain superstition, but it is none the less real for all that. The archives of the Society for Psychical Research are bursting at the seams with documented cases that are beyond reproach. What is more, if such quality of evidence was presented in support of other sciences, it would be accepted almost without comment.
I would like for one moment to contemplate the word 'truth' in relation to the experienced phenomena. Do not think of the word in the context of just 'telling the truth', but rather its use as an assumption of the quality of the evidence produced. Where does the truth lie? Is it in the philosophical contemplation of the private thoughts of the mind, or does it lie solely in the everyday interpretation of our surroundings as deciphered by our five senses? Is the truth in one or the other, or both, or perhaps some of each? Is it possible that it rests in the depth of an unknown dimension that is beyond our comprehension?
Early theories taught us that the universe was made up of small physical particles that could not necessarily be seen, but nevertheless existed in their myriads to make up the substance we call matter. Hopefully the early scientists believed that in time everything would be analysed and explained, and cosy pigeon holes would be allocated to all the wonders of creation. Well, it just didn't happen that way. Along came the quantum theory, and a few others besides, that challenged the conceptions of the scientific establishments and all was thrown into confusion. "From now on", said the new scientists, "the universe is composed of wave motions and energy forms", and from these new theories we were eventually able to obtain mastery over atomic energy. Everything looked rosy in the scientific world.
However, the inquisitive ones started to ask some awkward questions. "What", they said, "are these energy forms and wave motions, please give us the physical analysis". The scientist pondered, but not for very long. "Don't you worry your little layman's head over such problems, they are of very little consequence. We know our theories are right and they do work out in practice". "But", persisted the inquisitive ones, "how do you explain things that do not appear to conform to your proven theories?" "A-ha" the scientists replied, "such things are only in the eye of the beholder and they really do not happen at all." So the inquisitive ones went away, wondering all the time why it was that millions of people over thousands of years said that these things really happen.
The belief that what is not understood does not exist seems to be peculiar to the study of psychic activity. It may stem from a very deep rooted fear of the unknown or just a refusal to recognize the existence of anything that cannot be appreciated by our senses. This type of refusal might at first glance appear to be a sensible and logical way to approach any subject, but in practice how does this logic apply to other sciences? Does it apply to the study of psychology, where the acceptance of theories have often little to recommend them when applied in practice, or the science of astronomy where accepted theories on the construction of the universe are tumbled almost every day. Even the most knowledgeable neurologist will admit that he knows very little of the mechanics of the brain, but brain surgeons with equally restricted knowledge are still prepared to do experimental surgery despite the fact that they are completely ignorant of the mind brain relationship. And what of the geneticist, who is at great pains to describe to us exactly how genes operate in their wondrous physical way, but knows absolutely nothing about the 'inexplicable control' that makes it all work. In fact, like all our scientific thinking, everybody is busy working on the mechanics of a situation , but few appear to be interested in the great 'thought, order and rule' that behaves everything to conform. I believe it is this lack of interest that leads to unwarranted scepticism, and although philosophical contemplation may be slightly out of fashion these days, without it the materialistic becomes the sceptic and eventually scepticism reigns supreme.
And so we are faced with the big problem of psychic research. How do we convince the sceptic? The answer to that is, "I'm afraid we don't." Sadly it seems that the more positive the evidence that is produced for the existence of the 'inexplicable', the more likely the sceptic is to reject that evidence. The answer may be that the only way people can be thoroughly convinced of the existence of such phenomena is to experience the activity for themselves. This of course is beyond our control at present. Despite the efforts of many serious and dedicated scientists, we have been unable to do repeatable experiments in the laboratory. Psychic phenomena, because of its very nature, is illusive, and does not conform to the dictates of our very limited knowledge of the universe. We have, however, very many excellent examples of spontaneous phenomena and semi-repeatable experiments, but they are unacceptable to the scientist who wants what he considers 'indisputable proof'. Whether it is possible to supply so called physical proof to non-physical phenomena is a question as yet without an answer, but at least let the establishment not act like the three wise monkeys and say when they are asked about psychic investigation, "I see nothing, I hear nothing, I say nothing".
from 'Research in Parapsychology', 1982.
Miscellaneous Research Reports
RECORDING OF SUDDEN PARANORMAL CHANGES OF BODY WEIGHT (RB)
John B. Hasted, David Robertson (Birkbeck College, University of London), and Ernesto Spinelli (Richmond College)
Experiments have been conducted on the changes of body weight that might be recorded by psychic subjects and meditators. A metal bed 200 cm x 77 cm, of 37 cm in height has been designed by Geoffrey Blundell, operating a follows. Each corner is suspended by a tensioned wire; the wires pass round pulley wheels and are all attached to a single load cell. Lateral movement is minimized by pivoted horizontal constraint ties.
A metal frame chair is placed on one end of the leveled couch and the subject invited to sit upright thereon. The couch is positioned so that fixed objects, such as the walls of the room, are out of his or her reach. The subject's feet normally rest on the couch, and it would not be possible for them to touch the floor. By reaching sideways with one foot it would be just possible for the subject to touch the screen covering the load cell, but observation is maintained in case he or she should ever attempt this manoeuvre. We are confident that no subject has ever attempted it; thus there is no normal method by which he or she can produce an apparent change of body weight, other than by expelling material objects, for example from his or her pockets.
In two of the sessions, with subjects G.H. and G, four sharply-peaked weight increase signals were recorded in otherwise quiet sessions with apparent body tranquillity. The longest of these corresponded to a weight of 0.8 kg. Although we can find no physiological or physical reasons for these signals, and therefore consider them to be paranormal in origin, we do not regard them as essentially due to levitation or anti-levitation phenomenon because of the short time durations (less than one second).
In the only session with erstwhile (Enfield) poltergeist subject, J.H, in the presence of Maurice Grosse and the authors, more interesting data was recorded. Instructions had just been given to the subject to rock the body slowly forwards and backwards, but the normal signals obtained when this manoeuvre is carried out do not depart from the mean value for any appreciable time.
The J.H. data show two sudden five-second weight-increase signals of about one kg and a minute gradual weight increase which eventually returns to normal. We can find no explanation of these data in physical terms.
produced by Janet in her sleep,
2nd December, 1977
Doctor's report dated 28th November 1977
The doctor concerned describes Janet as hysterical and violent. Medication was prescribed.
Statement by Policewoman
Society for Psychical Research
1, Adam and Eve Mews
On Thursday 1st September 1977 at approximately 1 am, I was on duty in my capacity as a policewoman, when I received a radio message to XXX, Green St, Enfield.
I went to this address where I found a number of people standing in the living room. I was told by the occupier of this house that strange things had been happening during the last few nights and that they believed that the house was haunted. Myself and another PC entered the living room of the house and the occupier switched off the lights.
Almost immediately I heard the sound of knocking on the wall that backs onto the next door neighbour's house. There were four distinct taps on the wall and then silence. About two minutes later I heard more tapping, but this time it was coming from a different wall, again it was a distinctive peal of four taps. The PC and the neighbours checked the walls, attic and pipes, but could find nothing to explain the knockings.
The PC and the neighbours all went into the kitchen to check the refrigerator pipes, etc., leaving the family and myself in the living room. The lights in the living room were switched off again and within a few minutes the eldest son pointed to a chair which was standing next to the sofa. I looked at the chair and noticed that it was wobbling slightly from side to side, I then saw the chair slide across the floor towards the kitchen wall. It moved approximately 3-4 feet and then came to rest.
At no time did it appear to leave the floor. I checked the chair but could find nothing to explain how it had moved. The lights were switched back on. Nothing else happened that night although we have later reports of disturbances at this address.
handwritten to Grosse
Mr Maurice Grosse,
When we were in the living room we heard something drop on the unit, so we all went out the garden including mum. When we got outside to look we saw nothing until suddenly a stone came over from James unit and over our unit and it broke into peaces (sic) in the air before it droped (sic). But no-one was out their (sic) at this time. But the stone drop and could not be seen. Just as if it disappeared from the ground. I looked for it but I couldn't see it anywhere or its peaces (sic).
by Mr. Nottingham
on events Thursday Sept 1st 1977
I saw the chair move. I consider it moved about nine inches. I heard the knocking quite clearly that evening and together with my son and a policeman we examined all the pipes and interior and exterior thoroughly. I could find nothing to account for the noises. I heard the noises on different walls and also on the living room ceiling and floor.
by Dominico Martin (aged 19)
on events at 9.30 pm Tuesday 6th Sept.
John and Janet were in bed and the adults were downstairs. I heard abang and I rushed upstairs. Three books had been left on the mantelpiece of the bedroom and now there was only one there. The two missing books were lying on the floor between the beds and as I stood in the doorway to the bedroom the books flew one at a time at high speed and hit the door where I was standing.
by David Thorpe and Douglas Bence
(Newspaper photographer and reporter)
on the events at 2.10 am Wednesday 7 Sept.
Statement taken at 2.55 am.
We were standing back from the door on the landing and were looking into the bedroom at the books on the mantelpiece. There were three books and the middle book had been found twice before on the floor. The girl Janet became restless in bed and the restlessness seemed to preface the manifestation we were trying to witness. While looking at the book we heard a bang and David saw the chair in a toppling movement and it moved about 4 feet from its original position. Mrs. Hodgson in the next room was also restless at this time. Mr. Grosse immediately examined the girl and said he found her in a deep sleep. We then all went downstairs.
by Graham Morris
I saw the 'Leggo' pieces flying about, and I was hit on the head by a piece while I was attempting to photograph it in flight. I had a bump on my forehead after the incident.
Statement by Douglas Bence
I was hit by a 'flying piece of Leggo'.
Statement by George Fallows
I heard knocking on the wall by the side of Janet's bed while Janet was lying in bed. I do not consider it was possible for Janet to be responsible for the knocking.
by Mr. Richardson
(Age 72 - Mrs. Nottingham's father)
on the events of Sunday 4th Sept.
Taken on Tuesday 6th September.
I was in the kitchen when two marbles flew passed me at a terrific speed and hit the bathroom door. When I picked them up they were very hot.
Sept. 1 statements by Gary Nottingham etc.
Statement Thurs Sept 1st Episode
Mr.G. and Gary went upstairs together to investigate the rapping. They went into the front bedroom, switched on the lights and examined the room. They switched off light, came out and closed the door and immediately heard knocking on the wall of the bedroom. Gary said the position of the knocking was quite clear to him, and in his opinion could not possibly have been caused by anyone downstairs. He placed his hand on the wall and could feel the knocking.
Mr. Richardson (72) (Mrs. Nottingham's
Mr. R said that on Sunday Sept 4th he was in the kitchen when two marbles flew past him at a terrific speed and hit the bathroom door. When he picked them up they were very hot. On Saturday afternoon Sept 10th, Mr.. R came into the Hodgson house with the children and Janet went upstairs. She immediately called for Mr.. R to go upstairs. When he went up he saw the metal chair on top of the door of Janet's bedroom. He told her to stop "playing about" (which she hotly denied) and they went downstairs. Janet went over to the fish tank to put in some rocks that Mr.. R had brought them, replaced the cover and walked into the kitchen. A second or so later the plastic top of the fish tank landed on the living room floor about four feet away. Mr. Grosse has tried to repeat this by putting the top on the tank so that it will fall off on its own but has been unable to do so. If the top is put on the edge of the tank it immediately falls off.
Incident Thursday 8th September (Wednesday night)
Janet was sleeping in room on her own. Myself (M. Grosse), G. Fallows, D. Bence, D. Thorpe were downstairs in the living room. I had been keeping watch in Janet's room for about an hour with no results and we had all withdrawn downstairs. There was a bang and I quickly ran upstairs followed by the others. Janet was in bed distressed and crying. She had used the pail at the end of the bed and as she got back in bed the book flew off the mantelpiece and landed on the floor by the door. The book was replaced, and Mr. Grosse sat with her until she went to sleep and went downstairs.
There was another bang- I rushed upstairs immediately and found the same book in approximately the same position- about four feet from the mantelpiece. I examined Janet and considered her to be fast asleep. She was securely tucked up in bed. As at that time I considered that I may be inhibiting the phenomena by staying in the room, I told Douglas Bence and David Thorpe to stay at the door of the bedroom and try to get a photograph of any action. I went downstairs and sat with G. Fallows.
There was a loud bang and I rushed upstairs followed by Fallows. Messrs Bence and Thorpe were standing at the door of Janet's bedroom. Mr. Thorpe had just managed to photograph the movement of a chair. The chair between the beds had been thrown forwards 4 feet onto its face. Messrs Bence and Thorpe reported that before the incident both Mrs.. Hodgson in the next room and Janet had been restless. (Mrs. Hodgson said that the next day that she had heard the bang. At the time she had a very bad headache, and this went almost immediately after the bang). I again examined Janet and considered her to be in a deep sleep. I replaced the chair. The reporters went downstairs and I stayed in the room for about another 15 minutes and then went downstairs.
There was another loud bang. I again rushed up the stairs and found the chair again about four feet from where I had placed it. This time I noticed that the front right leg had been bent. I called Mr. Fallows who went over to examine Janet whilst I watched them. He found her to be in deep sleep (he used the word 'unconscious'). He lifted her hand, then let it go (it appeared to 'flop' - his words), and he gently pushed her head to one side and found no resistance whatsoever. From her sleeping position and posture I felt that she could have been in a trance-like state (her mouth was open and her breathing very shallow). She was securely tucked up in bed.
by Graham Morris, photographer
On the night of September 13th, 1977, while setting up my camera equipment in XXX Green Street, Enfield, in the hope of recording the movement of objects in the back bedroom, three of my electronic flashguns developed faults simultaneously, after being switched on and charging in the normal manner elsewhere in the house. As soon as they were set up in the bedroom, they started to drain themselves of power, thus deadening the cells and rendering them unserviceable.
The equipment, two VIVITAR 292 and one ROLLEI E 36 RE units had been in my possession for more than two years and none had ever given trouble. They are generally considered to be foolproof, the Rollei (costing £130) being one of finest flashguns available. After leaving the house, all three resumed normal functioning. I am unable to explain this episode.
Signed: Graham Morris
Saturday 24 Sept 11pm
Mr. Ron Denney and Mr. David Annett of Pye, Cambridge
The video taperecorder was tested with both tapes to be used prior to our visit to XXX Green St that evening. When set up on arrival the recorder would not operate. We kept the recorder warm on our trip here as cold is generally a notorious form of trouble.
When we attempted to turn the machine on it would not load and therefore we could not unload it. We tried numerous times without success. We had to dismantle the machine from the outside to get to the mechanism and finally found that the tape itself had dropped underneath a guide pulley and had jammed that pulley on to a pin on which it only normally rests. It needed considerable force to separate the two parts. It is not impossible for it to happen normally but it is extremely unlikely for it to happen. Neither of us has ever come across this fault before.
Ron Denney has been a demonstrator for 15 years (1962).David Annett (Product Manager of Pye) has been working on television equipment for 12 years.
(1965) Statement by Mrs Sylvia Bircombe
by Mrs. Sylvia Burcombe- Sister-In-Law to Mrs. Hodgson.
Taken on Monday 26th September
Events at approx. 5.30 pm. Sunday 25th Sept
People present at 272:
Mrs. Hodgson, Margaret, Janet, Billy Hodgson. Mr. and Mrs. Burcombe Denise and Paul Burcombe Mr. David Hyde (Mrs. Burcombe's brother), Mrs. Dianne Hyde Two other children
1) All the children were in the front room and all the adults were in the kitchen with the exception of Mr. Burcombe and Paul who were upstairs and Mrs. Hodgson who was in the toilet. Mrs. Burcombe was making the tea and talking with the adults. Mrs. B was just pouring the water from the kettle when a plastic rod (a piece from an existing toy in the house) appeared in front of her face (her words). She screamed and dropped the kettle and the plastic fell on to the kitchen top. Mrs. Hyde and Denise saw the plastic clearly when this happened. During this episode, Mr. Hyde was sitting in a chair at the kitchen door watching the children.
2) Mr. Burcombe says that during the afternoon a considerable amount of phenomena was going on upstairs such as drawers opening and chairs moving. The only person upstairs with him was his daughter Denise. He states that they put two skirts flat on the bed and moved across the room. When they turned round the skirts were crumpled as though they had been gathered together. In the front bedroom which he said nobody had entered, he found the television set which is usually placed on the table against the wall, twisted round at an angle of 45 degrees. This is an old black and white 22 inch set and very heavy, probably too heavy for a child to move.
The Hodgson family is now in a bad nervous state. Denise saw a shadowy figure in the window of 284 and Mrs. Hodgson saw a face at the window of 284. Denise thought the figure was her mother. There was nobody in the house.
Janet has been thrown off her chair four times. Janet has been staying away from school. She is now to be picked up and taken to school.
Tape switched off at 12.10 am. Left 12.15.Graham (photographer) had arrived earlier in the evening. His camera and flash were left behind.
Oct. 23rd events sworn by 10 witnesses
This statement was prepared by Mr. Maurice Grosse, investigator in charge of enquiries into the events taking place at 284 Green St, Enfield. The enquiry has been designated 'The Green Street Poltergeist Investigation'.
We, the undersigned, declare that the following statement on the events that took place at 284 Green Street, Enfield on the night of Sunday October 23rd 1977 are true, and if required to do so are prepared to swear to this statement under oath.
The family Hodgson retired to bed at approximately 9.30 pm in the front bedroom. Mrs. M. Hodgson, Margaret and Janet were together in the double bed, with Mrs. Hodgson on the right, Janet on the left, and Margaret in the middle. Billy was in the single camp bed on the right of the double bed.
After a series of events involving the throwing of plimsolls, a slipper and the front of a dolls house, together with the pulling of a plug attached to the bedside lamp from the power socket, knocking was heard coming from the front bedroom. It appeared to come from the floor.
Mr. Grosse said he would try and communicate with 'whatever was causing the knocking' by a code, one knock for 'No' and two for 'Yes'. He knelt on the floor by the top of the camp bed, and in answer to his verbal questions distinct knocks, both loud and soft, were heard in this code, although some knocks exceeded two in number. We were unable to give any physical explanation whatsoever to the knocking. A strong vibration in the floor and walls could be distinctly felt during the knocking.
Mr. Nottingham and Mr. Burcombe examined the house thoroughly while some of the knocking was taking place but they could find no agency to serve as an explanation. Most of the knocking could be distinctly heard in the vicinity of the double bed although it often came form different positions on the floor.
Mr. J. Burcombe - Mr. V. Nottingham - Mrs. S. Burcombe - Mrs. P. Nottingham - Denise Burcombe - Mrs. M. Hodgson - Paul Burcombe - Margaret Hodgson - Mr. M. Grosse - Janet Hodgson
24th October 1977 Statement by Mrs Nottingham concerning News of the World bribe
The News Of the World offered Mrs. Nottingham the sum of one thousand pounds to say that what went on in that house was a pack of lies.
(Signed Mrs. P. Nottingham)
Signed statements by members of the Hodgson family taken ten years after the case began
November 26th 1987
I would like to state here and now at no time during the disturbances we had in our house during 1977 to 1978 commononly (sic) know as the Enfield Poltergeist did I delibrutally (sic) fake any of the Magor (sic) Phenomena that took place.
When ever we did play around we were always caught by Mr. Grosse or Mr. Playfair.
It is redicoulious (sic) to suggest that either my sister or I could have been responsible for the strange activity that went on in our house.
This is my honest
Miss Margaret Hodgson
November 26 1987
I Mrs Hodgson would like to say that every thing that happened in the pologist (sic) case was perfectly true nothing was faked.
This is an honest
Mrs. M. Hodgson
November 26th 1987