The Enfield House

One of the most famous haunted houses in Great Britain is in Enfield, England. At the time of the haunting, in 1977, the house belonged to the Harper family. One evening the Harpers began hearing unexplained knocking and scratching noises. They called the police, and the officers heard the noises too, but after a thorough search of the house no cause could be found. The next day the family saw small objects, such as marbles and building blocks, rise through the air all on their own. The Harper family which consisted of a mother, two daughters, and two sons; Margaret aged 12, a younger sister Janet aged 11, Johnny aged 10 and Billy aged 7. They reported witnessing various phenomena, including moving furniture, flying marbles, cold breezes, shallow pools of water appearing on the floor, and fires which spontaneously ignited and extinguished themselves. Deciding that evil spirits were at work, the Harpers asked a priest to bless the house. When that failed to end the activity, they asked a medium to contact the spirit and ask that it stop haunting them, but the medium was unable to communicate with the entity.

Shortly thereafter, a neighbor called a newspaper reporter and told him about the house, whereupon he and a photographer visited the Harpers and were pelted with flying objects. The resulting news story made the house famous. At this point, the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) decided to investigate the case. The first SPR investigator to arrive on the scene was an inexperienced trainee, Maurice Grosse, but after he too was pelted with objects, SPR sent investigator Guy Playfair to help him, along with photographer Graham Morris. Together these three men spent a year working on the case, during which they documented more than two thousand unusual incidents, including flying marbles that landed on the floor but did not roll, books that appeared to change direction 90 degrees while flying through the air, and heavy furniture that moved while they were watching it.

Grosse and Playfair tried to further document these incidents with photographic equipment and tape recorders but failed, either because the phenomena only took place when their equipment was turned off or because the equipment would malfunction at inopportune times. Playfair also devised experiments to test various theories regarding the origin of the activities.

Their first assumption was that the Harper children were simply playing a prank on them, so they watched the youngsters carefully, and at certain times during the investigation sent them out of the house. Still the strange events occurred, and the investigators could find no evidence that the children were involved in any mischief. Their next assumption was that the activity was somehow created by eleven-year old Janet, who seemed to be the focus of much of the activity. She was usually present whenever a particularly strange incident occurred, and as the research project continued she seemed to be tormented by unseen hands that pinched and hit her. To test whether Janet was manipulating her environment through sleight of hand, the researchers tried restraining her, but the incidents still occurred.

The investigators also made careful note of events that did not seem connected to Janet. On one such occasion, Playfair and Grosse were experimenting with spirit communication while Janet was absent from the house. They had just gotten the spirit to knock once for “yes” and twice for “no” when Playfair asked, “Do you realize that you are dead?” Immediately objects began violently flying about the room, and elsewhere in the house as well; in fact, the activity was so frenzied that in the mayhem Grosse was struck on the head by a box.

Eventually, however, he got the ghost to answer other questions, and learned that the entity had once lived in the house, though the answers regarding when this happened made no sense. After this incident, the haunting activity became more dramatic and more harmful to Janet. She was often struck by objects and discovered obscene words written on walls by an unseen hand. Eventually the ghost seemed at times to possess her, because she would lose control of her body and speak with a man’s voice, though only when she was alone behind a closed door rather than in the room with someone else. The voice’s claims regarding who was speaking varied or sometimes made no sense.

Again the investigators suspected that Janet was the cause of the haunting, perhaps through some psychic phenomenon produced by her own mind, but when they sent her to the hospital for tests, the ghost began focusing on one of her two younger brothers, pinching and hitting him repeatedly. This convinced the investigators that the spirit was a separate entity.

After a year of in-depth study, the investigators could not come up with an indisputable explanation for the Harpers’ troubles and abandoned the project. Nonetheless, in late 1978 the activity lessened and then stopped. Two years later Playfair produced a best-selling book on the case, This House Is Haunted!

Source :
The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of Paranormal Phenomena by Patricia D. Netzley;

Pic Source :

1 comment

John Metcalf said...

The Harpers must've been crazy to stay. I'd move straight out at the first sign of hostile paranormal activity :-(

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