Take a look at one of the best documented and well-known paranormal stories of all time. The haunting of Enfield came to be known as “the house of strange happenings” after the 11-year-old girl who lived in it was ‘possessed’ by the soul of the man who had lived in the house before them. In a bid to bring to you the true stories that inspired some of the most famous horror movies, here’s the truth of the haunted family, the story which inspired The Conjuring 2.
A still from the movie Conjuring 2
When did it begin?
Peggy Hodgson was a single mother living with her four children on Green Street, Brimsdown, Enfield, England. Margaret (12), Janet (11), Johnny (10) and Billy (7) lived in house no 284 for many years before they started experiencing truly terrifying events. August 31, 1977, was the night when the family’s life changed forever.
House no. 284 Green Street, Enfield, England, where Peggy lived with her children.
Source: Real Unexplained Mysteries
Little Janet woke up in the middle of the night with her bed shaking violently. She called out to her mother for help. When Peggy entered, the shaking had stopped and things seemed normal, which led her to think that her children were joking about the events which occurred that night.
Strange turn of events
The following evening, Peggy heard a huge crash upstairs and ran up, fuming, ready to tell the children off. Peggy entered the room and saw a big chest of drawers move on its own. Astounded, she tried to push the chest of drawers back, but could not as it was being blocked by an invisible force. It was almost as if the strange force wanted to trap the family in the room. There were strange noises in the house and nobody could get any sleep that night. She put on her dressing gown and slippers and rushed next door to seek help from their neighbors.
Vic and Peggy Nottingham went over to help their distressed neighbors immediately. Vic, a big burly man decided to investigate the matter. “I went in there and I couldn’t make out these noises — there was a knocking on the wall, in the bedroom, on the ceiling. I was beginning to get a bit frightened,” he said in an interview to Daily Mail. One of the Hodgson daughters, Margaret, recalls being even more frightened seeing a big, strong man like Vic get scared.
Source: Real Ghost Stories | 21Ghosts.info
A line of witnesses
The family resorted to calling the police, who experienced similar strange occurrences as Vic did. WPC Carolyn Heeps saw a chair move without any reason or cause. “A large armchair moved, unassisted, four feet across the floor,” she told Daily Mail. The helpless officers left saying that it was not a police matter as no law had been broken.
The Hodgsons then contacted the press and Daily Mail photographer Graham Norris visited the house. He said that there was total chaos in the house, with things flying around, and people screaming. He even managed to capture some of these weird events on his camera.
One picture shows Janet being thrown across the room.
Another shows her face completely distorted in pain.
BBC also paid a visit to the family’s ‘haunted’ house, but the crew discovered that the metal components in their tape equipment had been twisted and all their recordings were erased.
Society of Psychical Research (SPR)
The family turned to the SPR for help who sent over investigators Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair, a poltergeist expert who eventually wrote a book, This House Is Haunted, about the incident. Grosse told an author, Will Storr, about his experiences in the Enfield house.
“As soon as I got there, I realized that the case was real because the family was in a bad state. Everything was in chaos.”
However, Playfair initially did not witness any paranormal activity first-hand when he reached the ‘haunted’ house. “When I first got there, nothing happened for a while. Then I experienced Lego pieces flying across the room, and marbles and other things were extraordinarily hot when you picked them up,” he said in the interview.
Source: Occult Museum
“I was standing in the kitchen and a T-shirt leaped off the table and flew into the other side of the room while I was standing by it.”
The two investigators were then caught in a whirlwind of paranormal activities and were faced with every poltergeist trick in the book. Furniture spun, sofas levitated, and the family was often thrown out of their beds at night. In another incident, Grosse heard one of the children cry out for help as a poltergeist was holding onto a child’s legs. Grosse tried to pull the child from the poltergeist’s trap, but could not do so.
What was it?
Guy Playfair, told the Mirror, “Janet, in particular, was affected and produced this deep-voiced growl of voice, which belonged to a man called Bill and said, ‘Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had a hemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs’.” This was actually recorded on tape.
Janet speaking in the voice of Bill Wilkins. Source: Youtube
The house was allegedly haunted by a ghost of an old council member called Bill Wilkins, who had taken his last breath in an armchair in the house.
To test that it was not actually Janet talking in the video but the man Wilkins, Maurice Grosse tried to tape her mouth and tried to make her take a huge sip of water, but the voice still spoke out. There was no way an 11-year-old could speak like an old man and have the complete knowledge about his death.
The two sisters Janet and Margaret admitted to having played with an Ouija board a few days before the paranormal activity began to flare up. Janet told the Daily Mirror, “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.”
Janet remembers how she would be bullied in school and was labeled as ghost girl. Her whole family was shunned and ostracized by a lot of the community.
“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?”
Janet told the Daily Mirror that she continues to believe in the poltergeist, saying:
“It lived off me, off my energy. Call me mad if you like. Those events did happen. The poltergeist was with me and I feel that in a sense he always will be.”
Where is the Hodgson family now?
Janet’s younger brother Johnny died of cancer at the age of 14 and their mother, Peggy Hodgson, died of breast cancer in 2003. Janet says that even when her mum was alive, they could always feel a presence in the house. It was as if they were being watched all the time.
Here’s a video of the real voice recordings of the poltergeist and it will send chills down your spine!