Thursday, October 10, 2019

Enfield Events With None Of The Children Around

Richard Wiseman commented in 1999 that most criticism of the Enfield case amounts to accusing the Hodgson girls of faking it. (To hear Wiseman's comments, go to 11:26 in the audio here.) And Enfield skepticism hasn't changed much since then. Some critics would accuse the Hodgson children in general, not just the girls, of faking the case. So, events that occurred when none of the children were nearby are especially significant. Even if one or more of the children were in a room when something happened there, it could be unlikely that the incident was faked for whatever reasons. But it's helpful to focus on events that occurred when none of the children were around in order to simplify the issue.

Some events of that nature have been discussed publicly, such as in Guy Playfair's book (This House Is Haunted [United States: White Crow Books, 2011], 121, 237, 246). To listen to John Burcombe describe some paranormal experiences he had in the Hodgsons' house while he was there alone, go here. I've given other examples in previous posts. And none of the Hodgson children were around when the next family that moved in reported paranormal experiences.

What I want to do in the remainder of this post is provide more examples from Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair's tapes. My citations of the tapes will refer to Grosse's with "MG" and Playfair's with "GP". So, MG91B is tape 91B in Grosse's collection, and GP53A is tape 53A in Playfair's.

When the children were at school, Peggy Hodgson often spent the day at the Burcombes' house, since she didn't like being home by herself while the poltergeist was active. She was sometimes home alone, though, and she provided many accounts of poltergeist activity on those occasions. In early November of 1977, she recounted some events that happened while she was home alone one day: footsteps were heard upstairs, followed by footsteps coming down the stairs, then an "ice cold" gust, as if somebody was walking by her, accompanied by something brushing against her arm (MG14A, 0:30). In another context, she refers to hearing knocking (GP33B, 29:27). Another day, she heard some knocking and saw a light swinging (MG63B, 7:57). John Burcombe was in the house alone doing some remodeling, and his cigarettes, lighter, and ashtray moved on their own at least a few times (MG95B, 14:08).

Phenomena also occurred while nobody was in the house. Vic Nottingham saw an apparition of an old woman at one of the Hodgsons' windows, and Peggy Nottingham heard some noises in the house, when nobody was home at the time (MG6A, 11:07). The noises Peggy heard were significant enough that she went to the Hodgsons' door and knocked. Nobody answered, but she found them at the Burcombes' house and told them what was going on. An insurance agent who visited the Hodgsons' house when they weren't home reported feeling a cold blast of air at their front door (MG30A, 1:24), which is reminiscent of what multiple other witnesses reported regarding cold blasts. She explained that she'd never had that sort of experience before, including when she'd visited the Hodgsons' house on previous occasions. Playfair referred to "repeated testimony" from the Nottinghams that they heard knocking within the Hodgsons' house on occasions when the Hodgsons weren't home (MG83B, 54:58). Peggy Hodgson referred to a time when the family returned home and found that a piece of furniture in their house had moved while they were away (GP53A, 1:01). She goes on to note that none of the children had a key to the house at the time (1:19). The Burcombes had a series of experiences while the entire Hodgson family was about fifty miles away on vacation in August of 1978 (page 237 in Playfair's book). Starting at 19:02 on tape MG92A, there's a recording of Grosse interviewing John Burcombe about some events that happened in that context. He was watching their house while they were away, and he had some paranormal experiences on those occasions, like the one involving an apparition discussed in the documentary I linked above. That same day, his daughter, Denise, walked by the Hodgsons' house and saw a shadow walking through their living room. When John went to the house to check on it on other days, he felt a presence there, had a door open on its own before him and saw the knob turn by itself in the process, and saw that one of the beds had been moved.

Grosse had some significant experiences with cars, with none of the Hodgson children around. On one occasion, he saw a car running with nobody in it (MG86A, 15:40). The doors were locked, and no key was in the ignition. He also noted that the sound the car was making was "very peculiar". After looking at the car for a while, he made a comment (apparently to a neighbor who had walked by) about contacting the police, and the car shut off when he made the comment. In another context, Grosse told the Hodgsons that he'd had a problem with his car, and the poltergeist voice said, "It went too fast." (MG87B, 18:30) His car's engine had been running too fast. It was a highly unusual problem, apparently, one he'd never had before and one the mechanic he went to couldn't explain. Nothing he'd told the Hodgsons would suggest a car problem involving the car's running too fast, so the poltergeist and the Hodgsons apparently didn't have any normal means of knowing what had been wrong with the car. Given the other car incident referred to above, there's precedent for the poltergeist's interest in interfering with cars in connection with Grosse. That makes sense inasmuch as Grosse was known for having a lot of interest in cars and sometimes drove his Jaguar to the Hodgsons' house. It seems likely that both the problem with his car and the poltergeist's knowledge of the problem were paranormal.

Events sometimes happened at neighbors' houses when none of the Hodgson children were around. John Burcombe refers to a tea cup and a lamp moving on their own and some thumping noises at his house with none of the Hodgson children present (MG6A, 11:50). Peggy Nottingham returned to her bedroom one night, after having been away from her house for a while, to find a lot of items displaced within the room (GP51A, 1:03). She reported similar incidents on other occasions (GP53B, 27:02). They found an ornament on their mantle turned upside-down. Vic heard knocking on a wall that wasn't attached to the Hodgsons' house. Peggy Nottingham referred to items appearing and disappearing in their house (GP85A, 5:59). A lot of apports occurred on May 30, 1978, sometimes with none of the children having been in a position to have faked what happened. For example, Jack Richardson, Peggy Nottingham's brother, reported seeing large clumps of dirt moving around outside the Nottinghams' house, with nobody touching the clumps or anywhere near them (MG89A, 0:11). One of the clumps was moving with so much power that it forced the door to the Nottinghams' kitchen open, then kept moving and hit the bathroom door. Richardson was in the kitchen at the time, and he witnessed the event. He refers to the movement of the clump as "impossible". A few people were in or near the house at the time, and they all looked for any children nearby and didn't see any. There are too many other such incidents for me to discuss all of them here. In the opening minutes of tape MG57A, for example, there's a discussion of paranormal events experienced by neighbors, including neighbors other than the Burcombes and Nottinghams, and it doesn't seem that any of the Hodgson children were around when the large majority of the events occurred.


  1. Has anyone ever suggested that people outside the family were involved?

    1. Yes, among less knowledgeable skeptics, like the ones you typically come across in YouTube threads. I've never seen anybody even come close to providing an adequate argument for even one individual outside the Hodgson family, much less the many individuals who would be required to make that sort of hypothesis work.

    2. Oh I meant, has anyone suggested that someone helped the girls. That could explain why stuff happened when the girls were together and watched.

    3. I was addressing the notion that people outside the Hodgson family were involved in faking the case. Have you had something else in mind?