The Enfield Poltergeist
Poltergeist Phenomena – A Brief Description
Poltergeist activity is a coming together of different events to form one collective phenomenon. We have not yet recognized all the signs, but this syndrome has been with us for a very long time. In the first century AD, Suetonius related an account of an occupant of a previous house of the Emperor Augustus as being thrown clean out of bed, clothing and all, by ‘a sudden occult force’. Precisely the same thing occurred numerous times almost Two thousand years later to Janet Hodgson in Enfield mattress and all!
The Enfield case consisted of examples of every significant kind of poltergeist sign formerly recorded. The most frequently observed or reported were: knocking sounds, movement of items big or small, disturbance with bedclothes, appearance of water on floors, outbreaks of fire, followed by their mysterious extinguishing, human levitation, disturbance with electrical systems, and a range of transformed states of awareness suggestive of hypnotic trance or ‘possession’. A complete account of this activity would fill several books, even if it were limited to statement from trustworthy witnesses. The events of one day; the fifteenth of December nineteen seventy seven – stand out from the rest.
The Enfield case included examples of every major form of poltergeist symptom previously recorded. The most frequently observed or reported were: knocking sounds, movement of objects large or small, interference with bedclothes, appearance of water on floors, outbreaks of fire ( followed by their inexplicable extinguishing), human levitation, interference with electrical systems, and a variety of altered states of consciousness suggestive of trance or ’possession’. A full account of this activity would fill several books, even if it were limited to testimony from reliable witnesses. But the events of one day – The fifteenth of December nineteen seventy seven – stand out from the rest.
It is often suggested that poltergeist activity is associated with young children close to the age of puberty. This is not always true; cases are on record in which no children were involved. But it was certainly true of the Enfield case, for 15 December was the day of Janet’s first menstruation.
For some days prior to this, an extraordinary raucous male voice had been making itself heard, apparently emitting from her throat, over which Janet herself repeatedly stated she had no conscious control. The voice claimed several identities, all of them male and none of them verifiable, with two notable exceptions. Whether it was a manifestation of a secondary personality or an independent entity cannot be established.
At times, its conversation closely resembled that of Janet in her normal state. But occasionally it provided true information not known to her. It gave an account of the manner and place of death of the former occupant of the house, who had died before Janet was born, the details subsequently being verified. Whatever the true origin of the information provided by Janet’s bass voice, it gave the investigators the chance to address the presumed source of the poltergeist disturbances directly.