Clarissa Johal: Frightening Friday-Poltergeists

Friday, April 10, 2015

Frightening Friday-Poltergeists

Photo courtesy of jerik0ne via Flickr
German for "noisy ghost," a poltergeist is a supernatural being responsible for physical disturbances, loud noises and/or destruction of objects. They can haunt a particular person or location and said to be capable of pinching, biting, hitting and tripping people.

Poltergeist manifestations have been reported in many cultures with early accounts dating back to the 1st century. There are three famous cases that have taken place in the 20th century. Extensively investigated and reported, in some cases the phenomena has even been photographed and videotaped.


In the 1970s, in Thornton Heath, England, a family was tormented by poltergeist phenomena that started when they were woken in the middle of the night by a bedside radio that had somehow turned itself on. This was the beginning of a string of events that lasted nearly four years. Objects reportedly flew through the air and the family would sometimes hear a noise which suggested a large piece of furniture had crashed to floor. When they went to investigate, nothing would be disturbed.

The family consulted a medium who told them that the house was haunted by a farmer named Chatterton, who considered the family trespassers on his property. An investigation confirmed that a man named Chatterton had indeed lived in the house during the mid-18th century. The family reported seeing the farmer appear on their television screens, wearing a black jacket with wide, pointed lapels, high-necked shirt and black cravat.

After the family moved out of the house, the poltergeist activity ceased, and none have been reported by subsequent residents.


In Enfield, London, a poltergeist made headlines in 1977. The activity was centered around and 11-year-old girl by the name of Janet Harper. The child's bed moved, shuffling noises and knocks could be heard on the walls, and a heavy chest of drawers reportedly slid by itself across the floor. Lego bricks and marbles, often hot to the touch, were thrown around the house.

The case was studied for two years. Knocking on the walls and floors was almost a nightly occurrence. Furniture would slide across the floor to be thrown down the stairs, drawers were wrenched out of dressing tables, objects would fly across the room, bedding would be pulled off the beds, mysterious puddles of water were found on the floors, and sporadic outbreaks of fire were followed by their inexplicable extinguishing. The spirit finally revealed itself through Janet, speaking in a deep, gravely voice. The spirit announced that his name was Bill Wilkins, and he had died in the house-a fact that has been verified.

Now aged 45, Janet lives in Essex with her husband, a retired milkman. She describes the poltergeist activity as traumatic, and admitted being bullied in school over it. She also admitted playing with an Ouija board with her sister just before the activity flared up at the house. The family was plagued by trauma shortly after the attention over the case waned.  Janet’s younger brother died of cancer, Janet suffered the loss of her own son who died in his sleep at 18-years-old, and her mother developed breast cancer and died in 2003.

In 2003, Clare Bennett and her four sons moved into the house. Her sons would wake in the night, hearing people talking downstairs. The family moved after two months, stating that they always felt a certain presence in the house and never felt safe.

If you're interested, details on this particular case can be found in Guy Playfair's book, This House is Haunted: The True Story of the Enfield Poltergeist


In Savannah, Georgia in 1998, Al Cobb bought a late-1800's bed at an auction as a Christmas present for his 14-year-old son, Jason.

Three days later, the teenager said he felt as if someone were watching him. A few days after that, he came home from school and found his toys in a pile on the bed and several photographs of his deceased grandparents flipped over. His family began finding notes written in large block-like letters from someone called "Danny." The notes stated that in 1899, the boy had died in the bed at the age of seven. The family was curious and tried to communicate with the child. But when a terra cotta head flew off a shelf, narrowing missing Jason, they decided to sell the bed.

It soon became apparent that Danny wasn't the only spirit in the house. Jason had become receptive to several; 'Uncle Sam,' who had come to reclaim his daughter who was buried under the house, 'Gracie,' a young girl who was buried in a nearby cemetery (verified), and 'Jill,' a young woman who left a number of handwritten messages. 

Parapsychologist Andrew Nichols was called in to investigate the case. He stated that there was a strong electromagnetic field in the wall next to Jason's bed. He believed the wall had opened Jason's already present psychic abilities.

If you're interested, details on this particular case can be found in Al Cobb's book, Dannys Bed: A Tale of Ghosts and Poltergeists in Savannah, Georgia 

1 comment:

Heather R. Holden said...

Eek, these cases are all so eerie. Remind me to never cross paths with a poltergeist, haha...