One of the most spectacular poltergeist hauntings took place in Enfield, north London in August 1977. Peggy Hodgson and her four children had just moved into their new home. Strange things began to happen – beds shook, furniture moved by itself and loud knockings were heard.
The activity seemed to be centred around Janet Hodgson, then aged eleven. Her mother of course, thought that Janet was playing pranks. However, things began to get worse and it soon became evident that none of the children, or anybody else for that matter, could be responsible for the strange events that were beginning to unfold.
Toys and ornaments flew through the air, beds levitated, heavy furniture moved, objects became hot to touch. Many people, including police officers, witnessed this bizarre activity. A journalist was hit on the head with a frying pan, wielded by an invisible hand. Janet Hodgson was even flung across her bedroom by some unknown energy.
The highly respected researchers, Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair recorded over 2000 unexplained events. One of the most frightening was of an old man’s voice emanating from Janet, who continued to be the focus of this unwanted attention. Psychic mediums were brought in to try and communicate with the angry spirit. Some of these mediums believed that the house was haunted by the ghost of an old man, who was able to feed off Janet’s energy.
Eventually this poltergeist gradually calmed down and left the poor Hodgson family in peace. Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair wrote a fascinating book called This House is Haunted, about the strange events in an ordinary suburban home.
Another famous case that focused on a young female is the Rosenheim poltergeist that occurred in Germany in the late 1960’s. The young lady in question was a teenage secretary Anne-Marie Schneider, who worked in a lawyer’s office. Soon after she started work, her colleagues began to notice strange phenomena. Lights would turn themselves on and off and telephones would ring without anybody at the other end. Doors could be seen to open and close by themselves, likewise desk drawers which were prone to spill their contents on the floor.
The speaking clock was called hundreds of times at a rate physically impossible for a person to manually dial. This strange activity always happened in the vicinity of Miss Schneider, who of course was accused of attention seeking. However, two scientists who investigated the case and kept a close eye on Miss Schneider could find no evidence that she was physically responsible for these events. The poor girl was still sacked.
A bit closer to home is the Thornton Road poltergeist that began to seriously annoy the residents of a Ward End street in 1981. Almost every night a group of five houses were subject to a barrage of stone throwing that caused significant damage to roof tiles and windows. Local yobs were suspected and the police were called in.
Officers camped out in the gardens feeling certain that they would apprehend the culprits. However, even with the houses under close observation, no one was ever seen, even through the number and frequency of the stones thrown meant that a sizeable gang must be responsible. It would be interesting to know if the stones are still being thrown today.
The most recent case we have heard of is the South Shields poltergeist which looks set to become one of the most famous hauntings ever. This particular polt is in a different league to a relatively harmless stone thrower.
Some truly terrifying events happened to a young family living in an ordinary house in the small town of South Shields. Apart from the usual loud knocks and flying objects, this poltergeist liked to arrange children’s toys in sinister displays of violence. A fluffy rabbit was poised holding a knife to the throat of a toy duck. A teddy bear was hanged by its neck from a shelf.
The young couple received obscene text messages from phones that were not in working order. Other messages were scrawled on a child’s doodle board. One said ‘just go now’; another message introduced their tormentor as ‘Sammy’. The couple were physically attacked, large red scratches appearing on their bodies.
Their three year old son would suddenly disappear, only to be found seconds later locked in a closet, tightly bound in a blanket. Many of these strange events were witnessed by other people including experienced investigators Michael Hallowell and Darren Ritson. They have thoroughly researched and documented this disturbing case and their investigation and conclusions can be read in their book The South Shields Poltergeist.