Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Enfield Poltergeist And Skepticism

Here's a link to each part in my original series on the Enfield case, followed by a description of some of what's contained in each part. After the links to that series, there are links to later posts I wrote about Enfield. You can use the Ctrl F feature on your keyboard to find posts on topics that interest you. Since the posts are in chronological order, the later ones reflect a more mature understanding of the case, after doing more research (e.g., listening to Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair's tapes). Some of the evidence I had access to later wasn't available to me earlier, and my thinking on the issues developed over time. For recommendations on how to begin studying the case, go here. Go here for a discussion of the best arguments for the case's authenticity.

What The Enfield Poltergeist Tells Us About Skeptics
(Introduction. Recommended resources. The origins of the poltergeist. How long it lasted.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: General Skepticism (Part 1)
(Analysis of the fraud hypothesis. Whether paranormal phenomena only occurred when the Hodgson girls were around. How credulous or skeptical the witnesses were.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: General Skepticism (Part 2)
(Explanatory options for a poltergeist. Objections to the voice phenomena. Evidence for the voice. Objections to the concealment of some of the phenomena. Potential reasons for concealment.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: General Skepticism (Part 3)
(Why the family stayed in the house after the poltergeist began. Whether the phenomena developed in a suspicious way. Lack of video evidence. Janet Hodgson's alleged "It's not haunted." confession. Janet's alleged confession under hypnosis. Objections that the Hodgson girls weren't as upset as they should have been if a poltergeist was occurring. Objections to the alleged throwing of Janet while she was on Valium.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: Chris French's Skepticism
(The witnesses may have misled each other. The power of suggestion. Eyewitness testimony can be unreliable. The events of December 15, 1977.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: Deborah Hyde's Skepticism
(Hyde's appearance on a television program with Janet Hodgson and Guy Playfair in 2012. Hyde's follow-up piece in her magazine. Responses to Hyde by Playfair and Mary Rose Barrington. Whether the phenomena didn't occur around skeptics. Whether skeptics weren't allowed back in the house. Hyde's attempts to explain some of the phenomena. Milbourne Christopher's involvement in the Enfield case.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: Joe Nickell's Skepticism
(Nickell's attempts to explain some of the phenomena. The significance of events happening outside the presence of witnesses. Ray Alan's involvement in the Enfield case. Margaret Hodgson's alleged confession to Alan and the Daily Mirror. Whether we can accept some of the phenomena while rejecting others. The alleged photographic evidence for paranormal phenomena. Melvin Harris' objections to the photos.)

The Enfield Poltergeist: Anita Gregory's Skepticism
(The Hodgson girls' involvement in joking and faking phenomena. The videos of their trickery. How long video cameras were being used in the house and the implications that follow. Gregory's review of Playfair's book. Gregory's discussions with some of the Enfield witnesses. The testimony of Carolyn Heeps. The significance of the police officer who was with Heeps. Gregory's doctoral thesis. John Beloff's objections. Maurice Grosse's claims about Gregory's character and behavior. Conclusion.)

After the series linked above, I wrote a post about a March 29, 1978 presentation on the Enfield Poltergeist by Grosse and Playfair. It was delivered during a meeting of the Society for Psychical Research. The post discusses the skeptical response to the presentation.

I also wrote a post about Ed and Lorraine Warren's involvement in the Enfield case.

Here's something I wrote about skeptics' use of humor to dismiss the Enfield case.

And here's a post on some scientific testing that was done on Janet's paranormal capabilities.

I had an email exchange with Stewart Lamont, who covered the Enfield case for the BBC and got the only video footage we have of the poltergeist's activities. Here's a post that quotes some of Lamont's comments to me and discusses the contents of his video and the history of Enfield videos more broadly.

Here's something I wrote about how Enfield and other such cases fit within a Christian view of the afterlife and related issues.

BBC Radio 4 aired a new program on the Enfield case on April 8, 2018. Here's my response to the program.

Here's something I wrote about the death of Guy Playfair.

Anita Gregory's doctoral thesis, which discusses the Enfield case, is now available to download for free online. I discussed that development here.

I also posted some comments David Robertson made to me in an email exchange. The discussion addresses the Enfield videos he took, Anita Gregory's claims about those videos, some paranormal events Robertson witnessed, and many other subjects.

And here's my response to Gregory's doctoral thesis.

In 2018, I worked with the Society for Psychical Research to produce a digital version of Maurice Grosse's Enfield tapes. You can read about that project here.

I later wrote an analysis of the December 3, 1977 tape, in which Janet is pulled out of bed by the poltergeist a couple of times.

I also posted about a November 7, 1977 tape made by Grosse that offers some evidence for the iconic photos of Janet allegedly levitating.

In another post, I discussed some choking incidents in the case and some related issues (what the entity behind the poltergeist seems to be, why the poltergeist didn't kill anybody, etc.).

After the digitizing of Guy Playfair's tapes was completed, I wrote a post about it.

I later posted about a 1978 interview with John Rainbow, found in Maurice Grosse's tapes. Much of what Rainbow said in the interview hasn't been discussed publicly before, as far as I know.

And here's a post about a new book on Enfield by Melvyn Willin.

Shortly after Lorraine Warren's death, I wrote a reassessment of the Warrens' involvement in the Enfield case. The post addresses the material about the Warrens on Grosse and Playfair's tapes.

After Willin's book on Enfield came out, I posted some brief comments on it and linked to its Amazon page, where I reviewed the book.

I later wrote about the number of witnesses to the Enfield phenomena.

In another post, I wrote about the involvement of animals in the Enfield case.

Here's one about the ripping out of the fireplace.

Then I addressed what the tapes tell us about the involvement of police officers in the Enfield case.

Another post addressed the altered states of consciousness involved in the case, often referred to as dreams and trances.

I also wrote a reevaluation of the voice phenomena, in light of the evidence provided by Grosse and Playfair's Enfield tapes.

I began a series of posts discussing miscellaneous topics related to the Enfield case.

After that, I wrote about levitations.

Skeptics typically argue that two or more of the Hodgson children faked the case. Here's a post that discusses paranormal events that happened when none of the children were around.

I later wrote an article that goes into more depth about the knocking phenomena.

I also wrote a post on apparitions.

Another post addressed paranormal fires.

I then posted the second part in my Enfield Miscellany series, covering apports and teleportation, other Enfield tapes, and some other topics.

A later post featured some Enfield photographs that had rarely been seen.

I then addressed the poltergeist's activities that involved writing.

Here's the third part in my Enfield Miscellany series.

And here's an article that addresses the credibility of the Enfield witnesses.

I wrote a post about video evidence for miracles, which includes a discussion of Enfield.

I then addressed the quality of the original investigation of the case.

I decided that it would be good to revisit the fraud issue after having listened to the tapes and coming across other evidence of relevance to the subject.

I another article, I discussed what Anita Gregory, Milbourne Christopher, and other skeptics actually experienced at the house when they visited. Their experiences are often misrepresented.

Here's a tribute I wrote to Peggy Hodgson, the most important witness in the case.

I also wrote a tribute to Maurice Grosse.

Here's a tribute to Guy Playfair.

And I wrote a tribute to John Burcombe.

After that, I posted the fourth part in my Enfield Miscellany series.

I then wrote another response to Anita Gregory's doctoral thesis on the basis of the contents of Grosse and Playfair's tapes and other information I'd learned since my initial response to her thesis.

I discussed two new videos related to the Warrens' involvement in the Enfield case. The videos include some Enfield photographs I hadn't seen before and some testimony from Lorraine Warren and John Kenyhercz about what they experienced at the Hodgsons' house.

I later wrote a post about incidents involving the operation of machinery. Those events are important as evidence against fraud and as evidence that poltergeist activity has differed to some extent over time.

A portion of a recording of Janet being dragged out of bed by the poltergeist on December 3, 1977 was posted on YouTube in 2020. I linked the audio and commented on it.

Here's the fifth part of my Enfield Miscellany series, which discusses the logistics of fraud hypotheses, a presentation Maurice Grosse gave on the Enfield case shortly before his death, and premonitory headaches.

I addressed some differences between the personality of the poltergeist and the personalities of the people around it. The post includes some discussion of the explanatory options for the poltergeist and some of the implications for those explanatory options that follow from the personality issues addressed.

I posted some recommendations for how to start the process of studying the Enfield case.

My next post addressed religious and occultic aspects of the case.

In anticipation of the upcoming release of The Conjuring 3, I wrote more about the Warrens' involvement in Enfield, and I discussed some evidence against the authenticity of the case The Conjuring 3 is based on.

During the opening months of 2021, there was a podcast series on the BBC about the Battersea Poltergeist. The series got a lot of attention, and Enfield was often discussed, including how it relates to Battersea. I wrote a post on the subject.

A later post addressed the unlikeliness that the Enfield case was faked in an attempt to get money.

In 2006, Will Storr published a book that made some significant claims about some evidence for the Enfield voice. I hadn't seen anybody follow up on those claims. I posted an article on the subject.

I then discussed some further testing that could be done on the knocking phenomena in the Enfield case.

I wanted to say more about the events of May 30, 1978, one of the most significant days in the case and one that gets much less attention than it should. Here's a post about that day.

And I posted a sixth part in the Enfield Miscellany series.

Here's a post about some Enfield material that can be accessed at a University of Cambridge web site hosting an archive for the Society for Psychical Research.

And here's my seventh Enfield Miscellany post.

After that, I wrote about how the case concluded.

My next post discussed issues related to temperature changes.

That was followed by a post about the best arguments for the authenticity of the case.

Here's the eighth of my Enfield Miscellany posts.

The post after that one discussed incidents in the case that involved music in some way.

I then posted the ninth installment in my Enfield Miscellany series.

The next post addressed the cleverness of the poltergeist.

Here's a post I put up in September of 2022 about a couple of upcoming Enfield documentaries.

In a later article, I reexamined the poltergeist voice, after listening to the tapes again and reconsidering the issues involved.

And here's the tenth post in my Enfield Miscellany series.

The evidence for the events of December 15, 1977 is often underestimated. I wrote a post discussing that evidence, including some that I've seldom or never seen addressed before.

In December of 2022, Howard Hughes interviewed Paul Burcombe, the son of John Burcombe, about the Enfield case. I discussed that interview.

I then wrote a post about where Enfield research should go from here.

Here's a response to Wikipedia's highly misleading article on Enfield.

And here's an article responding to some common skeptical objections to the case, especially the objection that there isn't enough video footage of the poltergeist's activities.

In late 2023, a really good documentary on Enfield came out. Here's my review of it.

I wrote an article about how evasive skeptics have been about the Enfield case. It includes a response to some comments Deborah Hyde made in a YouTube video that came out in early 2024.

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