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Maurice and Guy Meet a Poltergeist

Morris, a skilled Fleet Street freelancer with years of experience of multiple brutal street protests, had consistently succeeded to evade flying stones whilst doing the job. Not this time.

As he stood in the front room entrance, with everybody in sight thru his wide angle lens, a sharp-cornered toy block struck him hard on the temple at the second he clicked the shutter. (A week later, he still had a large bruise.) Leading press reporter George Fallows was sufficiently inspired with his workmate’s expertise to pursue the account himself.

It was he whom made plain to the family that what exactly was occurring was a situation called poltergeist phenomena, and he recommended contacting the SPR. He additionally asked Mrs Hodgson if she desired to move house, knowing that some council tenants have, actually, fabricated haunted houses’ in the expectation of jumping the rehousing queue. Her answer was ‘absolutely not!’ The SPR ended up being engaged in the situation as the consequence of a sequence of eventualities.

Maurice Grosse, a business owner and innovator, had been a registered member for scarcely a year in spite of a life-long enthusiasm in the paranormal. He had registered shortly after what felt to him an extraordinary chain of mysterious developments which followed the passing away of his youngest daughter Janet shortly after a road crash in nineteen seventy six, and he had often asked the SPR secretary to allow him a case of his own to investigate, if at all possible within reach of his north London home.

When George Fallows telephoned from Enfield, secretary Eleanor O’Keeffe lost no time in contacting Grosse, who consequently proceeded at once to the location, getting there within a couple of hours of Fallows’ s call.

He experienced nothing at all paranormal on his opening visit. He was positive about one point, however: the feeling of fright in the Hodgson’s’ house was without a doubt tangible. This, he conjectured, could not be feigned.

It was on 8 September when he had his very first close encounter with a poltergeist. On that particular day, the SPR convened to take a lecture, organized a number of months prior, by its curator Mr. Nicholas Clark-Lowes. His subject matter – poltergeists. At discussion time, Grosse jumped to his feet to report that he was investigating one presently, and would definitely appreciate some assistance.

There was not a single offer. Guy Lyon Playfair happened to be sitting next to Grosse, but did not volunteer, (but said to let him know if Maurice got really stuck) he had seen plenty of poltergeist activity during the years He lived in South America, but had written up and published all of his cases and moved on to other interests.

Grosse went straight to Enfield, and between and that evening he witnessed more paranormal activity than most SPR members have seen in a lifetime. It was just three days after his debut as an investigator of such matters.

A marble whizzed through the air towards him; it was definitely not thrown by any of the children. Next, the chimes on the living-room wall began to sway to and fro, which, he found, they did not normally do even when the doorbell connected to them was rung. He then saw a door open and close by itself multiple times with nobody anywhere near it.

This was followed by an incident identical to one later witnessed by Guy Lyon Playfair, in which a shirt hopped off a pile of clothing on the kitchen table and fell to the floor.

Grosse experienced one of the most frequently reported of poltergeist phenomena: a sudden cold breeze that seemed to move up from his feet to his head. Janet Hodgson always seemed to be near the site of the action – although she was not always near enough to have caused the incidents by normal means – Maurice therefore kept a close eye on her at all times. She had certainly not opened or closed the door, levitated the shirt, moved the chimes or, presumably, produced the cold breeze. She certainly played a few tricks of her own later in the case, as any experienced psychical researcher would expect since children are, after all, accustomed to imitating what they observe.

In nineteen eighty two during a French radio interview, Janet readily admitted to having done this. She wanted to see, she said, if the investigators would catch her out, and she added: ‘And they always did.’

On the tenth of September nineteen seventy seven, the Enfield case made the front page of the Daily Mirror. The story was picked up by LBC radio (a London based station), and that evening Grosse, Mrs Hodgson and Mrs Nottingham took part in a two-and-a-half-hour Night Line programme devoted to it.

The following day, there was a detailed account in BBC Radio Four’s lunchtime news broadcast by reporter Rosalind Morris, who gave her own first-hand impressions of a night in what the Daily Mirror had justifiably called ‘The House of Strange Happenings’.

It became clear to Guy Lyon Playfair that the Enfield case could prove to be an exceptional one. It was already one of the very few to have been witnessed by an SPR member on the spot and within days of its inception. He contacted Maurice Grosse and offered his help, which was readily accepted. We agreed that since poltergeist cases seldom lasted more than a few weeks, we should take this opportunity to see a case through to its end. Had we known it would last for fourteen months, we might have thought otherwise.

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