Friday, January 01, 2021

Events Involving The Operation Of Machinery In The Enfield Case

(I'll be citing Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair's Enfield tapes. I'll use "MG" to refer to a tape from Grosse's collection and "GP" to refer to one from Playfair's, so that MG22B refers to tape 22B in Grosse's collection, GP50B refers to 50B in Playfair's, etc.)

Some of the paranormal events in the Enfield case involved the operation of machinery of some type. I'm distinguishing between the involvement of machinery and the involvement of the operation of machinery. If a refrigerator is moved by a poltergeist, that has some value, but it isn't significantly different than the movement of some other large object that we wouldn't normally refer to as a machine, such as a bookcase. I want to include everything from the malfunctioning of equipment often reported in poltergeist and other paranormal cases to the detection of paranormal activity by means of various types of machinery. I'm including events like the throwing of a tape recorder, whereas I'm not including something like the moving of a refrigerator, since the former has a lot more potential to be connected to the function of the machinery in question. It may just be a coincidence that a tape recorder was thrown rather than some other object nearby, such as a plate. But there's substantially more potential that the moving of a tape recorder was related to the poltergeist's interest in the operation of that recorder. The operation of tape recorders seems to be of more interest to a poltergeist than the operation of refrigerators (e.g., a poltergeist's interest in whether and how its activities are recorded on tape), so a poltergeist's activities related to the former have more potential to be related to the operation of that sort of equipment. I'm not trying to be exhaustive here, but I want to include examples of a broad variety of phenomena that can be summarized as involving the operation of machines in some manner. I'll explain some of my reasons for framing things that way at the conclusion of this article.

In her doctoral thesis, Anita Gregory wrote:

Indeed, according to a BBC broadcast, some engineers from Pye had been on the scene [in the Hodgsons' house] in September 1977, and found their instruments malfunctioning in the most bizarre manner...

There is a general, almost mythological tradition that there is something paranormal about the failures of investigators to capture paranormality by means of equipment, that there is 'paranormal instrument failure' and other evasive tactics engaged in by the ostensibly paranormal agencies. For all anyone knows, there may have been something strange about the instrument failure experienced by the engineers from Pye (100); they have not published particulars of their findings. However, as regards the rest of the videotape saga, there is clearly evidence for nothing here but the most normal and cumulative misfortunes and failings of human beings. (And why should the paranormal agency have conspired against video but not against photographs?) The problems of instrumental recording are serious enough without adding to them a smokescreen of mystification bathed in a general aura of a paranormal conspiracy theory. (182-84)

Playfair refers to how there were "countless" incidents of video and other types of equipment failing in an unusual manner, and he gives many examples in his book (This House Is Haunted [United States: White Crow Books, 2011], e.g., 34, 38-39, 153, 228, 243-44). He and Grosse obtained signed statements from equipment operators saying that the equipment failures were extremely unusual, that those failures had rarely or never happened before in their careers working with such equipment, that the failures seem impossible to explain in normal terms, etc. Listen here for Graham Morris discussing the subject in the same documentary Gregory cited regarding what happened to the individuals from Pye. Grosse and Playfair describe another incident in which "The technician was completely mystified, and refused to give a statement." (Journal Of The Society For Psychical Research, vol. 55, 1988-89, p. 214) In email correspondence, David Robertson has told me that he remembers some other equipment failures in the Enfield case that also seemed paranormal. Some of these individuals said that the equipment malfunctions they experienced when covering the Enfield case were ones they'd rarely or never experienced before or afterward. How likely is it that so many malfunctions that are so rare or unprecedented would happen to occur with Enfield? These occurrences were much more common in the Enfield case than Gregory suggests, and she didn't offer a sufficient explanation for them.

Regarding the situation with Pye, it should be noted that they experienced multiple equipment malfunctions, not just one. Here's what Ron Denney of Pye said during the BBC documentary cited by Gregory (you can listen to Denney's comments here):

And on this occasion, I went through the sequence, pressed the button, and all the lights on the recorder came on, one after the other, which is absolutely impossible. And there's no way, which we know, that this can happen at all, because the recorder had particular facilities on it for editing and sound dubbing and so on, each of which had separate buttons you had to press. And when you pressed these buttons, they lit up. And so there was no way, logically, that these buttons could, in fact, light up simply by pressing the on switch. But not only that, we found the machine wouldn't function. It jammed itself up completely. And when we eventually managed to retrieve the cassette from the machine, we found that the tape had come out of the cassette and wound itself around one of the [unintelligible], underneath the actual cassette itself. Now, we've never had this happen before, and I've never had it happen since, and I would say it's probably one chance in a million that that could actually happen.

Playfair notes in his book that the poltergeist was active before the Pye team arrived and that something paranormal had occurred "just before" the people from Pye got to the house (39). Yet, the poltergeist became inactive once the team got there, with the exception of what's described by Denney above.

Notice that there are a few independent lines of evidence that the poltergeist didn't want filmed in this context. It was active in the house until just before the Pye team arrived, then stopped. And it only became active again to make the camera equipment malfunction in multiple ways.

The audio recordings by Grosse and Playfair provide many examples of the poltergeist showing hostility toward camera equipment in one way or another. The poltergeist voice frequently made negative comments about video equipment and told them to get it out of the house. They had been keeping a video camera in the house somewhat often in January of 1978. At one point during that month, they found some of the tape from one of their video cassettes ripped out and lying on the staircase (MG65A, 0:16).

Regarding the potential reasons why a poltergeist wouldn't want filmed, or would be especially hostile to video equipment, see my article on the voice and personality of the poltergeist. Many parts of the article are relevant, but do a Ctrl F search for "The activities of poltergeists are" to find one of the relevant paragraphs. As I explain in the article, there are many possible reasons why a poltergeist would cause equipment to malfunction and would be especially uncooperative with efforts to capture its activities on video. We don't have a lack of reasonable explanations. Rather, we don't have enough evidence to determine with much confidence which of multiple reasonable explanations is the best one.

But the poltergeist in the Enfield case was captured in action on video at least a few times. Go here and read the section titled "Photographs And Videos" for a discussion of Gregory's failure to interact with any of that video evidence.

She asks "why should the paranormal agency have conspired against video but not against photographs", but it did interfere with efforts at taking photographs at times. See the comments of Graham Morris cited above, taken from the BBC documentary Gregory herself cites. And notice that the host of the documentary uses the plural "sometimes" to refer to multiple occasions when Morris had such experiences. See page 7 of Playfair's book for a discussion of something unusual that happened with a photo Morris took during his first night covering the case. Playfair explains that there was "a tiny hole in the negative, as if made by a hypodermic needle. Morris developed the film himself, and was unable to account for the hole." Go here and do a Ctrl F search for "They made a lot" to read about the efforts Grosse went through to try to get photographs of the poltergeist in action, since it was often evasive.

While it's true that many photos of the poltergeist in action were successfully taken in the Enfield case, a poltergeist wouldn't have to either always or never prevent something like taking video footage or taking photographs. It could prevent such things on some occasions, but not do so on others. And it could have multiple reasons for doing so, whether multiple reasons simultaneously or reasons that vary from one occasion to another (mischievousness; the lack of knowledge, energy, or some other resource to do what it wanted to do on some occasions; inconsistencies in its thinking, especially if it had some sort of mental problem; etc.). In everyday human interactions, people are often inconsistent like that. Two siblings fight with each other from time to time, but not on every occasion they have an opportunity to do so. An adolescent plays pranks on people, but not on every occasion with every person he comes across. He's more selective about it. Etc.

It's often difficult to see how any of the Hodgson children, individually or working together, could have faked an incident (e.g., what happened with Pye's equipment). I'll add some other examples to the ones mentioned above.

In his book, Playfair writes of an occasion when a microphone shot off of his tape recorder as he was walking by it: "Nobody else was within reach of it….The cable leads had been soldered onto the microphone and held firm by a spring clip tightly fixed to both cable and base of the microphone. I found that the spring had been bent sharply in the middle, as if the cable had been pulled very hard from one side. The force must have been considerable, for the job of the spring was to stop the cable being accidentally wrenched out. When I showed the spring later to a technician at the local hi-fi shop, he asked me how on earth I had managed to bend it." (154)

In another post, I discussed an incident on the night of December 15, 1977, in which the poltergeist threw a book at a window and broke it. As I noted there, it's highly unlikely that the children would have faked something that left them with a broken window in the room where they slept in the middle of December. After the incident, Grosse criticized the poltergeist for breaking the window rather than teleporting the book through the window, which is what he asked it to do. After criticizing the poltergeist, he left the room. You hear the children talking among themselves about various subjects. There's suddenly a snapping noise, followed by the sound of something small dropping (MG47B, 16:11). Then there are further noises of what sounds like more small objects dropping. After both incidents, the children call Grosse to come back into the room. He may not have heard them the first time, but they yell louder after the second event, and he returns to the room. He finds that a wire to the microphone on his tape recorder has been cut, and the microphone has been thrown, which is reminiscent of the incident Playfair describes above involving his tape recorder. And you don't hear the noises on the tape that you'd expect to hear if the children were getting out of bed, walking around, and moving the equipment around in order to cut the wire and throw the microphone. Furthermore, the snapping noise referred to above, which presumably was the sound of the wire being torn, doesn't sound like what you'd expect if one of the children had cut the wire with some instrument, and I doubt any of the children would have been strong enough to have torn the wire by pulling it. Rather, it sounds like something powerful, like a poltergeist, tearing the wire with a quick, forceful movement. Grosse comments that he thinks the poltergeist did it in retaliation for how he'd "told it off" about the window incident.

He often criticized the poltergeist for swearing. On one occasion, a tape starts malfunctioning just after he criticizes the poltergeist about something, then adds "Stop swearing." (MG52B, 22:09) The moment he gets done saying "Stop swearing.", there's about two minutes of distorted audio, after which it returns to normal. Maybe that's just a coincidence. But given the nature of the poltergeist, how often it interfered with equipment and tape recorders in particular on other occasions, and the nature of what Grosse said just before the start of the malfunctioning, it seems more likely that the poltergeist interfered with the recording. Grosse was in the room and speaking (or close enough to the room to be heard loudly and clearly) just before the audio starts to be distorted and when it returns to normal, so it's highly unlikely that anybody there would have interfered with his recorder twice (to start the audio distortion and to end it) without his noticing either time. And how would the children or anybody else have been able to implement the tape malfunction so soon after Grosse said "Stop swearing."? Even if they had noticed that he occasionally made such comments and expected him to make that sort of comment again at some point, it's unlikely that they would have been able to have so quickly implemented a tape malfunction after he said it. The speed of the implementation of it makes more sense under a paranormal scenario. Melvyn Willin's notes on this tape refer to an "unknown tape malfunction on original", so the distorted audio apparently was there when Willin received the tapes from Grosse rather than developing later. The audio just before the distortion and just after is of high quality.

In another context, Grosse describes an occasion when he recorded something, went to play it back, and found the tape blank (MG67B, 28:25). He apparently attributes the incident to the poltergeist.

Another event seems to have been witnessed by at least two people. The poltergeist threw a tape recorder that Paul Burcombe was using (GP7A, 4:51).

On one of his tapes, Playfair refers to how he'd been using a tape recorder without any problems for years, then suddenly began having problems with it after starting on the Enfield case (GP26B, 22:47).

John Burcombe refers to how the poltergeist pulled the plug on his tape recorder while the Hodgson girls were undergoing one of their shared dream or trance episodes (GP64A, 11:43). There were a few witnesses in the area at the time who are widely considered credible (John Burcombe, Sylvie Burcombe, Denise Burcombe, Paul Burcombe, Peggy Hodgson), so it seems unlikely that anybody went over to the wall and pulled the plug out without any of those witnesses noticing. Judging by what's on the tape, it sounds like both of the Hodgson girls are in some kind of dream or trance state in which they're being tickled while in bed. If either had gotten up to pull a plug from the wall, that should have easily been noticed by the other people in the room.

On one occasion, the poltergeist did something, unspecified, to one of Grosse's tape recorders, and Peggy Hodgson left the room to go tell Grosse about it. (He was in another part of the house at the time.) Just after Peggy left, the poltergeist removed a curtain from one of the windows and started choking Janet with it. Peggy refers to its "immaculate timing" and how it deliberately did something to Grosse's recorder in order to get Peggy out of the room, so that it could choke Janet (GP84A, 10:29).

Grosse interviewed Don Hitch, a BBC engineer, about the malfunctioning of Rosalind Morris' tape recorder when she was covering the Enfield case for the BBC (GP55A, 38:34). Hitch comments that he doesn't remember having come across such a malfunction before in the several years he's been working on such equipment, and he refers to the incident with Morris' recorder as "unexplained".

In a previous post, I discussed some events involving clocks.

Elsewhere, I've mentioned a few apparently paranormal events involving automobiles. Do a Ctrl F search for "cars" here to read about a couple of them. Peggy Hodgson recalled another incident in which a bus she and Margaret were on kept moving after it had been shut off and the brakes had been applied (MG91B, 26:05). It was a flat area, so the movement wasn't due to a slope, apparently. The movement was significant enough that Peggy and Margaret estimated it to be the length of two houses. The driver commented that he'd never seen that happen before. As Grosse was driving back to his house after attending Johnny Hodgson's funeral in 1981, "his car was seen by a neighbour to be leaking petrol in a manner which, he believed, was not possible." (Melvyn Willin, The Enfield Poltergeist Tapes [United States: White Crow Books, 2019], 98) It should be noted that these incidents involved at least three different vehicles, and none of the Hodgsons were around during three of the four events.

See here and here regarding what happened with the equipment involved in some scientific experiments done on Janet Hodgson. Note that these experiments involved different types of machinery, so that there wasn't just one piece of equipment or type of equipment.

Not only is it tremendously unlikely upfront that any of the children, or any combination of them and/or others, would have the relevant skills to fake all of these events involving the operation of machinery, but the evidence we have of their technical knowledge also suggests they weren't faking these events. During a discussion of tape recorders, Playfair refers to a recorder as a "machine". Janet comments, "They aren't machines, you know." (GP26B, 23:20) I don't know where she got the idea that tape recorders aren't machines. She apparently had some sort of faulty idea, for whatever reason, of what qualifies as a machine and what doesn't or a faulty idea of what tape recorders are. On another tape, Janet goes over to Playfair and asks him about one of the lights on his tape recorder, and he takes the occasion to show Janet and Billy how the recorder works (GP32B, 56:34). In an article I posted last year about fraud in the case, I noted how much Janet had to be ignorant of issues related to video cameras or inattentive to what was going on with a video camera in the house in order to be filmed faking some things in December of 1977. Incidents like these suggest the children didn't have much technical knowledge, as you'd expect.

If critics want to suggest that the children were feigning ignorance, then that will further complicate their fraud hypothesis. And the last example I cited above, regarding Janet's incompetence related to video cameras and getting filmed faking things, is something she'd be highly unlikely to have feigned. She could have faked technical ignorance in so many other ways. Why do it in a way that makes you look like a cheater?

Then there are all of the logistical problems with attributing these equipment failures to fraud. Not only is it highly unlikely that the Pye team would have let the children tamper with their equipment without noticing it, but it's even more unlikely that the children would have known how to pull off the sort of tampering that produced results Denney describes as "absolutely impossible" and "one chance in a million", including tampering involving the inside of the machinery. And there were other equipment operations that likewise involved accessing the inside of the equipment, not something the children could easily access on the outside. During one of the tape recorder incidents Playfair experienced, as described earlier, he refers to how "Nobody else was within reach of it." And so on. How were the children interfering with equipment or parts of equipment that they didn't even have access to?

Notice the cumulative effect of incidents like these. How likely is it that children like the ones in the Hodgson family would be so knowledgeable about how to make use of such a variety of equipment in such a variety of ways: various types of cameras, various types of audio equipment, a few different vehicles, multiple types of machinery used in scientific experiments, etc.? In addition to their alleged skills in acting, magic, ventriloquism, manipulating animals, and so on, are we supposed to believe they also were so skilled at using machinery across so many contexts?

These incidents involving the operation of machinery are also relevant to the notion that poltergeists have always behaved the same way over the centuries. Supposedly, all of them perform some percentage of the same set of activities (apports, levitation, apparitions, etc.). But poltergeists weren't operating video cameras or automobiles before those machines came into existence. So, there's been more variation and development in poltergeist activity than is often suggested.


  1. So, why do you think someone who's been doing this as a side project has spotted photos and videos while the person getting a doctorate from the research being performed did not? I clicked the link and it looked like she looked at multiple cases, so it could be that she split her effort between many cases. Though with her use of "almost mythological tradition" I have another hunch myself.

    1. Anita Gregory believed that the paranormal could occur and sometimes had. But she was unusually hostile toward the Enfield case. I think the reasons were multifaceted. I suspect she chose (early on, in the closing months of 1977) to use Enfield as an example of a largely or entirely inauthentic case. Her reputation, emotions, relationships, and such became tied up with that decision, and it became increasingly difficult to give it up. And apart from any decision to use the Enfield case in a certain way, if there was such a decision, what developed with Gregory's reputation, relationships, and other such factors would have shaped how she viewed Enfield. It's evident, from her thesis and elsewhere, that Gregory had some hostility toward Maurice Grosse. That hostility had to have influenced her work on Enfield. I discuss some of the potential reasons why some people were hostile toward Grosse in a tribute to him that I posted last year. Or see my post on fraud in the Enfield case for an example of a context where Gregory was rightly critical of Grosse, since Grosse did have a tendency to underestimate how much of the case was inauthentic. Overall, Grosse was much closer to the truth on Enfield than Gregory was, but she was sometimes right on the issues they disagreed about.

      Her second visit to the Hodgsons' house, on December 10, 1977, was with John Beloff, a highly respected paranormal researcher who supervised Gregory's doctoral work. I've discussed some problems with how they behaved that night in another post. Her notes on her visit that night, which she quotes in her thesis, are significantly negative toward the Enfield case. She had already formed such a negative view before that visit or shortly after it. And it makes sense for her to have reacted negatively to some of what she experienced. There were disreputable aspects of the embodied poltergeist voice, including in its manifestations on December 10, as I discuss in my article on the voice. But those disreputable aspects were accompanied by other characteristics of a better nature, and there was good evidence for phenomena other than the voice (on December 10 and on other occasions). Similarly, the behavior of one or more of the Hodgsons was problematic at times, but that, too, has to be judged in a larger context that includes the evidence for their credibility. So, it made sense for people like Gregory and Beloff to react negatively to some of what they experienced on December 10 and in other contexts, but their negative reaction was out of proportion. I think that's because of a large number and variety of factors (their social backgrounds, their expectations, their evidential standards, what they did and didn't want to be associated with, etc.).

    2. Regarding what evidence Gregory did and didn't find, we need to keep in mind that accessing the relevant evidence was often much more difficult a few decades ago than it is today. She couldn't listen to a digitized version of Grosse and Playfair's tapes, she couldn't access Enfield videos on YouTube, she didn't have the benefit of learning from a few decades of additional research and discussions about the case, etc. On the other hand, even when she had access to something, like the BBC documentary discussed in my original post above, she often mishandled those sources. She'd frequently misrepresent what they said, sometimes to a remarkably large degree. (See, for example, my discussion of her misrepresentations of Peggy Hodgson here.) And though she didn't have access to things like a digitized version of the Enfield tapes, it seems that she didn't make enough of an effort to access some of what she could have accessed. Many of the most important Enfield events were never discussed by her in any manner in her public comments, as far as I know, in her thesis or anywhere else.

      I don't think there's any simple or easy explanation for why she handled the Enfield case as she did. But knowing that she was wrong doesn't require knowing why she was wrong. We have some indications of why she erred, but I doubt that enough evidence remains to allow us to have much confidence about the full picture. We just have some scattered indications here and there. Maybe more will come to light later, but I see no reason to expect that to happen.

    3. Jason have you ever looked into The Skinwalker Ranch anomalies?

    4. Well, since the happenings of Enfield interest you I would imagine Skinwalker would be of similar interest were you to look into it.

    5. I've looked into Skinwalker Ranch, but only superficially.

      1. I see the following commonalities or patterns in reports, but there are probably others I'm not aware of:

      * Malfunctioning equipment. Very strange readings on devices. Drones suddenly unable to work let alone fly. And so on.
      * UFOs/UAPs. Specifically orbs. Orbs that exude white and/or red light. Orbs that float mid-air. Orbs that behave in ways which seem to defy the laws of physics. People who have encountered these orbs report the orbs seem sentient and even followed or chased them, which scared them half to death. And people report the orbs have a sinister or even evil aura about them (e.g. a white light orb changing colors to become an "angry" red light orb).
      * Skinwalkers. Reports of feral animals like wolves behaving more like humans (e.g. walking upright on hind legs, seemingly intelligent).
      * Mutilated animals. Especially cows. Mutilated with surgical precision.

      2. There's also some local legend and lore and assorted superstitions associated with the ranch and neighboring areas:

      * Locals in the the Uintah basin where the ranch is located are predominantly LDS/Mormon or Native American.
      * Native American mythology claims that skinwalkers were created to deal with the Spaniards invading and enslaving Native Americans. Yet Native Americans also fear the skinwalkers.
      * Locals avoid picking up hitchhikers and even avoid looking at hitchhikers as they drive by because they believe hitchhikers are evil.

    6. 3. My thoughts:

      * As always, we should take care to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are a lot of kooky researchers interested in paranormal phenomena, but that doesn't mean all researchers are kooky. Likewise, there's a lot of sensationalistic "documentaries" with hosts who seem like used cars salesmen or are otherwise just sketchy af, but that doesn't necessarily mean all the content is mistaken or wrong-headed. To switch up the metaphor, we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, even if there's plenty of dirty bathwater.

      * Similarly we shouldn't necessarily lump all Native Americans into the same category. For example, there may be significant differences in the Ute peoples, the Navajo, the Hopi, and so on.

      * That said, I don't really know who the more credible researchers involved are, the more credible witnesses, the more credible reports, etc. I suppose if I ever tried to study this in any depth, then I'd become familiar with who the actual experts (if any) involved are.

      * I know several researchers think it's UFOs and/or interdimensional entities. I know several researchers have said the ranch is or is near a secret military base. So they say things like malfunctioning equipment points to spacetime anomalies. Orb movements point to technology far more advanced than our own. Shapeshifting skinwalkers are lizard people from another world or dimension. And so on. To be blunt, all this sounds absurd to me.

      * Perhaps I have no idea what I'm talking about, but I suspect there's a natural explanation +/- embellishments +/- sensationalism +/- overactive imaginations. For example, how many cell towers are in the area? How reliable is the electrical grid in the area? Are there any ulterior motives like trying to drum up tourism and attract tourists to the area by creating an Area 51 vibe? How many people know what "surgical precision" would look like? Of course, there are coyotes, wolves, mountain lions, and other large animals in the area which can "mutilate" cows.

      * However, if there's something truly paranormal going on, then I suspect it's ghost/poltergeist involvement, which may or may not be demonic.

      * To be fair, some of the reports may be reminiscent of Muhammad's supposed encounter with the angel Gabriel. Muhammad first thought he saw a jinn in the caves of Arabia, that he was jinn possessed, and he even wanted to commit suicide by climbing up mountain crags and hurling himself off a cliff or something like that. If so, then this may point to demonic activity.

    7. I don't know much about it, but it came to mind when reading your Enfield post. I remembered vaguely hearing part of an interview with a journalist from Las Vegas who investigated the ranch at some point I think in the 80's or 90's.

      The journalist supposedly had government sources and claimed that there was some low level federal government investigation and his source basically said off the record that the government investigator's conclusion was *something* was going on there, but nothing that warranted federal resources.

      The journalist said he thought there was "something satanic" going on.

      Anyway, when I Googled it and read through the wiki page (real authoritative, I know) I saw the same mishmash as you generally outlined.

      One thing that stuck out to me was a vague claim of poltergeist activity which again brought the Enfield matter to mind.

      Who knows, it may be a series of weird coincidences, or hoaxes, or a mix of things. Apparently someone even investigated if the water, air, or soil in that area contained anything that might lead to hallucinations in humans thinking something like that may be happening. Nothing like this was reported to have been found.

    8. Thanks, CD. I think I'm more or less with you on Skinwalker Ranch. I haven't studied it in enough depth to really know one way or the other. But I guess my inclination is to think there's a natural explanation than to think there's something paranormal going on. However, I'm completely open to a paranormal explanation too. Given some of the things, it could be possible. Steve and I (and others) used to talk a bit about skinwalkers via email, but I don't think we reached any definitive conclusions.

    9. Hey Hawk, long time no speak. Hope you and yours are doing well on the left coast.

      I'm totally open to supernatural phenomena because as a Christian I'm a committed supernaturalist. But we know so little that it's a very opaque subject.

      Some things, even documented things like Jason writes about, simply don't make sense to me.

      For example how can a disembodied entity (e.g. a poltergeist) speak audibly? Aren't vocal chords required to disturb the air such that audible sound waves are generated for the human ear or a mechanical recording device to pick up? And again how does an intangible disembodied entity move, throw, and otherwise manipulate physical objects? No musculature, no hands, no apparent way to counter gravity and inertia.

      These may seem like mundane considerations, but they baffle me and don't make sense even though I understand there's documented evidence for such occurrences.

      It's this sort of thing that makes me think our grasp of physics must not account for certain things like poltergeist activity for example, which then leads me to conclude that other "impossible" things like the documented observations of what are often described as UFO'S / UAE's performing feats that defy known physics are perhaps plausible.

      This is not to state *what* these types of things are, it's just that it seems they're *not nothing* which means they *are something* which is a really interesting consideration, and ought to lead to interesting questions.

      Regarding skinwalkers I haven't spent much time looking into or thinking about such things, but again if there can be poltergeists and angels and demons, then why can't there be skinwalkers?

      I think the world is a much stranger place than we realize.

    10. Hey CD! Good to hear from you and hope you and yours are doing well too! Yeah, I'm not online as much these days. Just trying to re-focus on some things in my personal life. Cool, you make a lot of good points, and I agree with a lot of what you're saying as well. Regarding one of the more "baffling" things you mentioned, there's the age-old philosophical question of how disembodied minds can interact with matter or the material world. I'm sure the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy would turn up some good papers about the topic and related topics. Short of this, I completely agree "the world is a much stranger place than we realize"! :)

  2. After reading about all sorts of the paranormal for over thirty years, literally thousands of books (I watch very little television). I believe one of the problems is the way we think. For instance, for Christians, Jesus was the savior and will be back at the end. For Jews, the Messiah is yet to come. So one's right the other wrong. Incorrect, they are both true. I believe people can prove it to themselves by trying a little experiment. Come up with a hypothesis. It can be ridiculous,but must be possible. Let's say, the placement of fire hydrants in your town is politically motivated. Keep that mindset and look for evidence. It'll be there. Now do the opposite, their placement is simply a matter of convenience. The evidence will also be there. Both are true! This can also be done with coincidence/synchronicity. One example so this doesn't go on forever. Before bed I told myself I'd have a coincidence involving birds. You don't need to over think or meditate upon it. The next day, while in my garden, my experiment forgotten, certainly not thinking about it, I came upon a pile of feathers. Not world changing, I remembered then, bit of goosebumps.I have never seen a pile of feathers before or since. And I have not had success using whatever it is upon the lottery!

    1. Both are right, Jews and Christians, but not for the reasons you suggest. The Jews believe Messiah is yet to come for specific reasons, among which include:

      i.) Messiah will lead the nations to the One true God

      ii.) Messiah will put an end to evil

      iii.) Messiah will bring a golden age of peace upon the earth

      Jews think since Jesus didn't accomplish these things during His earthly ministry He cannot be Messiah. This is because Jews have no concept of Messiah having two advents, one as suffering servant and one as conquering king, they collapse the Bible's teaching about Messiah into one advent, one coming, instead of two separated by a period of time fixed by God.

      Christians simply respond, "He's not finished yet, He's coming back."

  3. Aside from poltergeist interference and sabotage of machinery, I think attention should be paid to a very peculiar aspect of the poltergeist effect - whether it be intentional or unintentional - on machinery.

    I recently finished reading the reissue of 'The South Shields Poltergeist', which is a coastal town in England. The poltergeist was able to make outgoing phone calls on the house landline to mobile phones, for example, even though the family had temporarily lost the ability to make outgoing calls from their landline. In another incident, one of the investigators received a call from a friend who was at his house at the time of the call. The only problem was that the friend's phone was switched off at the time.

    Far stranger was the nature of the auditory phenomena, and the way in which it was recorded. In one incident, a video camera and tape recorder were left in the room, and it was then sealed off. Around an hour later, the investigators retrieved their equipment and subsequently analysed the footage and recordings. A succession of weird noises can be heard long after it was locked off. These included taps, bangs, thumps and scraping noises. In contrast to the sound of the investigators’ voices downstairs, which were faint and muffled, the anomalous noises were sharp, loud and clear. But perhaps the oddest aspect of all was the fact that, although some of the sounds captured on the tape recorder were on the footage, others were curiously missing. In other cases they investigated, the authors later analysed footage and noted that certain voices could be heard - though they were not heard at the time at the locations in question. This also put me in mind of an incident experienced by the crew of the TV programme, 'Most Haunted', while they were investigating a stately home in the UK called Capesthorne Hall. The crew heard the sound of a musical instrument (an organ, I believe) being played, and this indeed can be heard by the viewer of the programme. As the phenomenon had been reported previously, the crew had set up recording equipment by the organ. Lo and behold, on listening to the recording, there was no sound of the organ . . .

    This harks back, Jason, to our discussion about artificial sounds that the poltergeist must undoubtedly create from time to time. Though why it should choose to do so considering we know that the poltergeist is capable of creating a din by hurling physical objects is a mystery.

    So if Coram Deo is baffled by how the poltergeist is able to create its usual phenomena, what must he make of this? He also raises the point as to how a disembodied energy is able to manipulate objects, and I agree that clearly our present knowledge of physics must be incomplete. But some form of kinetic energy must surely be at work here, and it would be interesting if those more knowledgeable about physics than I am could explain why it is that a marble which has been recently thrown by a poltergeist is so hot to the touch? Or why a poltergeist fire looks like a radiation burn, as I believe Maurice Grosse once mentioned in passing?

    1. Anthony, what you mention in the first part of your third paragraph reminds me of what happened on February 6, 1978 in the Enfield case. For those who are interested, you can do a Ctrl F search for "February" here to read about it.

      I appreciate your examples of phenomena in other cases. The Rosenheim case comes to mind as well.

      Some of the phenomena poltergeists produce (and the incidents in other types of paranormal cases) are hard to classify. I've often put off addressing certain Enfield events because of the difficulties involved in categorizing some of what's involved and making judgments about what to put together and what to keep apart. I may eventually do a post, or a segment in an Enfield Miscellany post, about unusual noises produced by the poltergeist (or that got on the tapes in some other way). The range of phenomena poltergeists produce is broader than people often suggest.