Monday, January 04, 2021

Listen To A Poltergeist Dragging Somebody Out Of Bed

The large majority of the Enfield tapes recorded by Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair haven't been made available to the public, but some of the audio has occasionally surfaced in one context or another. Grosse gave people copies of some of his tapes, and he sometimes played portions of the audio during public events, for example, so there have been opportunities for people to get the material in contexts like those. Sometimes a portion of the audio will make its way onto YouTube, by whatever means.

Last year, a video was posted there that strings together some audio from several incidents in the Enfield case. One of those is an occasion when the poltergeist dragged Janet Hodgson out of bed. The most significant part of the original tape involves two draggings, not just the one that's now on YouTube, and it lasts about eight minutes. The segment I'll be linking below is only about one and a half minutes long in its original version, but the form on the YouTube video is a little longer, since the audio is being played at a slower speed. That slower speed makes it easier to hear what people are saying, but it also distorts their voices. A lot of YouTube recordings of the Enfield audio run at a slow speed, maybe in part because that slower speed makes the poltergeist's voice sound more dramatic. Whatever the reasons for the distorted audio, a large percentage of the Enfield tapes you find on YouTube are of much worse quality than the digitized version of the tapes, and the clip I'll be linking below has that sort of lower quality. It's better than nothing, though, and it adequately conveys some of what occurred and the evidence for it.

Before I link the clip, I want to provide some background. These dragging incidents are highly evidential and are rarely even mentioned by skeptics. An exception is Deborah Hyde, who suggests that the dragging episodes were instances of sleep paralysis. (More recently, in a 2018 presentation on poltergeists, she discussed Enfield again, and her analysis of the case hasn't improved much.) As you listen to the clip linked below, ask yourself if sleep paralysis is a good explanation of what's going on.

You'll hear four people speaking. The woman is Peggy Hodgson, the mother of the children and the head of the household. The girl is Janet, Peggy's twelve-year-old daughter. There are two men on the tape. The one who speaks more is Grosse. The other is John Burcombe, and he doesn't say much in this clip. (He's the one who comments, "The door was closed when I got up here.")

Here's a floor plan of the house. The incident in the recording linked below occurred in the main (largest) bedroom upstairs at about 1:20 A.M. on December 3, 1977. Peggy and her three children who were home at the time (Janet, Margaret, and Billy) were in the bedroom with Peggy. She hadn't gotten to sleep yet, but it seems that all of the children had. Janet seems to have been woken up by the poltergeist pulling her out of her bed. Peggy saw the whole event, with the lights on. You can hear her scream before Janet's body even hits the floor, which corroborates their claim that she was removed from the bed in a paranormal manner. Grosse and Burcombe were downstairs at the time, apparently in the living room. Janet was pulled partway down the stairs, where Grosse and Burcombe found her as they were headed up the stairway.

A lot of the evidence relevant to the paranormality of these draggings isn't included in the audio linked below. To read more about these events and the evidence for them, see my article on the subject here. But some of the evidence is included in the audio below. You can hear Janet gasping, Peggy screaming before Janet's body hits the floor, the door opening just afterward, Peggy repeatedly saying that she saw the door open by itself, etc. Because the audio below is running at a slow speed, the event seems to take longer than it actually did. One of the characteristics of poltergeist activity is its high speed. Poltergeists often operate faster than we would. On the original tape, there's about two seconds between the sound of Janet's body hitting the floor and when you hear the door open.

This tape (a longer segment of it, not the one-and-a-half-minute portion linked below) was played during a discussion of the Enfield case at a March 1978 symposium of the Society for Psychical Research. You can read more about that symposium here. The tape seems to have upset some of the more skeptical individuals attending the symposium, and skeptics still don't have a good explanation for the recording a few decades later.

Since Peggy is the primary witness on this tape, I should say something about her credibility. Regarding her character in general, see here. For further discussion of her credibility and that of the other Enfield witnesses, see this post. I don't know how anybody could study the Enfield case much without thinking highly of Peggy. I agree with Playfair's comment that "She is 100% honest, very, very honest and simple, sincere." (7:06 on his tape 39B) When she comments, during the clip below, that she thought she heard footsteps before the dragging incident, that's characteristic of her honesty and carefulness. She would regularly acknowledge when she hadn't witnessed something, didn't remember some detail, was hesitant about something, or whatever, including when it was against her interests to say so. I give some examples in my articles linked above.

You can listen to the audio I've been discussing here. It ends at 6:40 with Peggy's comment "Well, that's the biggest trick of the lot, I think." What follows is a clip from a week later, December 10, when the poltergeist's embodied voice originated.

1 comment:

  1. The British called the 1960's to 1990's in Northern Ireland The Troubles and Peggy calls a poltergeist pulling someone out of bed the biggest trick. Ferociously British.

    Sleep paralysis? Can't you not move when you have sleep paralysis? Talk about a Procrustean bed.