Ghosts - The Enfield Poltergeist Case ...by Bill Knell
Poltergeist cases are generally defined as situations where objects and people are moved through seemingly paranormal means. Most involve children about to enter puberty and young teens, leading to speculation that they may cause or attract such activity. Unlike other ghostly activity, cold spots and specters are not normally a part of Poltergeist cases. If entities are involved, they tend to be more interactive then static ghosts that merely appear and vanish. Some can be very destructive or even dangerous.
One of the most famous and researched cases involving poltergeist occurred in Enfield, England during the 1970‘s. Peggy Harper, a divorced single parent, and her four children lived in a three bedroom home in North London. In late August of 1977, her daughter Janet (11 years old) and son Pete (ten years old) reported bed shakings, unexplained furniture movements and loud raps on the wall. At first skeptical, Peggy witnessed a heavy dresser move about eighteen inches across the floor by itself. After moving it back, the dresser returned to the previous position and defied attempts to be moved again.
Neighbors became aware of the situation when the Harper Family, dressed in their nightclothes, came next door for help. The Police were called and carefully searched the Harper home, inside and out. During the search, one police officer heard the strange knocking sound, saw a chair move by itself and later offered a signed statement verifying the incidents. Local clergy and mediums were brought in, but had no success in ending the odd happenings. Seeking further help, the Harper Family contacted the Daily Mirror newspaper. After hours in the home with nothing to show for their efforts, a reporter and photographer decided to leave. As they neared their vehicle, toy Lego bricks started moving around. Peggy called them back. Once back in the house, Reporter Douglas Bence and Photographer Graham Morris both witnessed the phenomenon. Morris was hit in the face by one of the toys while taking a photo. The picture later showed nothing but a hole where the flying toy brick should have been.
After a reporter from the Daily Mail also investigated and covered the story, he suggested that the Family contact the Society for Psychical Research. Maurice Grosse was asked by the SPR to investigate. Grosse arrived at the Harper home on September 5, 1977, a week after the strange events began. Things were quiet for a few days until September 8, 1977. Both Grosse and reporters from the Daily Mirror newspaper who happened to be in the home covering the story saw a chair thrown on it’s side, toys flying across the room and doors opening and closing by themselves. Electrical disturbances came and went. Special equipment set up for monitoring and recording the strange happenings malfunctioned. Tapes used by the news media to document the events were damaged or even erased. Metal parts inside some recording equipment were found to be inexplicably bent.
Despite supernatural attempts to foil the documentation of the strange Harper House happenings, photos of the children being levitated off of their beds and objects moving by themselves were able to be taken. Add to this statements from impartial witnesses and the eventual manifestation of an entity and you have strong evidence for a paranormal explanation.
Loud knocking on walls and floors increased along with the movement of furniture and objects. Large puddles of water and sudden fires added to the mayhem. Two of the Harper girls, Janet and Rose, became the focal point for direct attack and attempts at communication by the entity. Janet was regularly flung around her room and strangled. During these attacks a rough voice spoke through the girl with several different entities identifying themselves. ‘Bill’ was the only one anyone could verify. He had once lived and died in the Harper house, but the family had no knowledge of that fact.
Doctors and Psychiatrists who examined Janet felt she might have been able to fake the deep voice using what some call a false or second set of vocal chords that some actors are able to use for voice changes. But this is a procedure that requires a tremendous amount of training and most who are able to master the technique cannot do it for hours on end as Janet did. Although caught in the act of bending spoons and other objects with her hands on several occasions, it’s believed that Janet took her mind off the frightening experiences by ‘playing’ with the reporters and investigators. She may just have been tiring of all the attention.
Despite the Nay Sayers and Janet‘s little sideshow, it’s impossible to say that nothing strange happened in the Harper Household. The impartial photos, statements and evidence still stand and make this 1977 case one of the best for paranormal influence in a normal family’s life.
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