The activity is said to have occurred at , Enfield, North London; a council house rented to Margaret Harper, a lone parent with four children.
During this time furniture is said to have moved by itself, knockings on the walls were heard, and children's' toys were said to have been thrown around and to have been too hot to the touch when picked up. A police officer signed an affidavit to affirm that she saw a chair moving. Reports of the activity attracted various visitors including mediums and members of the press. After visiting the house George Fallows, a senior reporter for the Daily Mirror at the time, suggested that the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) be called in to investigate.
The incidents were duly investigated by Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair, both members of SPR, who were convinced by the evidence which they encountered during their five month investigation. They reported witnessing various phenomena, including moving furniture, flying marbles, cold breezes, shallow pools of water appearing on the floor, and fires which spontaneously ignited and extinguished themselves.
The family in the Enfield case consisted of a mother, two daughters, and two sons; Margaret aged 12, a younger sister Janet 11, Johnny aged 10 and Billy aged 7. Billy had a speech impediment. Johnny featured only marginally in the inexplicable events, at least 26 of which the investigators considered could not be accounted for by fraud. These included movement of small and large objects, interference with bedclothes, pools of water on the floor, apparitions, physical assaults, graffiti, equipment malfunction and failure, spontaneous combustion, disappearance and reappearance of objects, and apparent levitations.
Among other alleged phenomena they witnessed was one of the children speaking using her false cords for hours on end (which is believed to be medically impossible), while she was apparently possessed by another entity. When speaking with the false cords she said she was "Bill" who had died in the house. Recordings were made of these occurrences. After the BBC went to the house the recording crew found the metal inside recording machines bent, and recordings erased.
However, further investigations by Anita Gregory and John Beloff, also from the SPR were not so positive. They spent a few days with the family and came to the conclusion that the children had faked the poltergeist activity after they found them bending spoons themselves. One of the children (Janet) admitted to Gregory that they had fabricated some of the occurrences. This admission was repeated on the ITV News (12 June 1980) when she stated: "Oh yeah, once or twice [we faked phenomena], just to see if Mr Grosse and Mr Playfair would catch us. And they always did."
After writing a feature on supernatural activity for The Face magazine, journalist Will Storr included a retrospective investigation of the events and conflicting personalities involved in the Enfield case in his book Will Storr Versus the Supernatural. The book comes to no positive conclusions regarding the truth of the haunting but throws considerable light on the personalities involved, particularly those of Mauice Grosse and Anita Gregory.
Enfield Poltergeist Case
Enfield Poltergeist Case