The tale of the Enfield Poltergeist had the nation spellbound in the 1970s after photographs emerged of a girl ‘levitating’ in her North London home.
Fast forward almost 50 years later and the speculation continues, with reports emerging last week that the story behind infamous photo was not what it seemed.
Graham Morris, who took the photo for the Daily Mirror at the time, was reported as saying 11-year-old Janet Hodgson ‘just jumped’ before he captured the snap.
But just days later, Morris denied ever saying this – and added that, while he doesn’t believe there was a ghost at 284 Green Street, Janet may have had telekinetic powers akin to Stephen King’s Carrie.
As supernatural believers continue to be mystified by the true story behind the photo, FEMAIL reveals some of the other freaky happenings caught on camera over the years, which continue to spook people to this day.
The Enfield Poltergeist saga continued this week as Graham Morris, who captured the ‘levitating’ girl image retracted a stament that the girl just jumped
The Enfield Poltergeist
A series of eerie happenings allegedly took place in a council house at 284 Green Street, Enfield, North London in the 1970s.
Perhaps most horrifying of all, however, was the voice of a dead man said to be coming from an 11-year-old girl, Janet Hodgson, who appeared to be possessed as she levitated in her bedroom.
The rasping male voice coming from Janet’s suspended body supposedly delivered a message from beyond the grave, describing in graphic detail the moment of death.
‘Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had an ‘aemorrhage and I fell asleep, and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs,’ she was heard saying.
The eerie voice — which can still be heard on audio tapes today — is purportedly that of Bill Wilkins. The recording was made several years after his death.
The series of paranormal events allegedly took place at a house on Green Street in Enfield, North London (pictured above in 2011)
The young girl at the centre of the events appeared to act as the mouthpiece for Bill Wilkins, a foul-mouthed, grumpy old man who had died in the house. His son contacted investigators to confirm the details of his story.
Naturally, many questioned whether it was all a hoax — but no explanation other than the paranormal had ever been convincingly put forward.
It was the evening of August 30, 1977, and Janet’s mother Penny was keen to get her children into bed. She heard Janet complaining from upstairs that her and her brothers’ beds were wobbling.
Penny told her daughter to stop mucking around. The following evening, however, there was an altogether more bizarre disturbance. Mrs Hodgson heard a crash from upstairs. Cross, she went to tell her children to settle down.
Entering their bedroom, with Janet’s Starsky & Hutch posters on the wall, Mrs Hodgson saw the chest of drawers move. She pushed it back, but found that it was being propelled towards the door by an invisible force. It seemed as if some supernatural presence was trying to trap the family in the room with the heavy oak chest.
The Enfield Poltergeist: Sisters haunted by a ghost
Janet Hodgson, who was 11 at the time, was convinced she was possessed by a former resident of the house in Green Street, Enfield, a man called Bill Wilkins who had died there many years before.
The case of the Enfield Poltergeist also involved levitation, furniture being moved through the air, and flying objects swirling towards witnesses.
There were cold breezes, physical assaults, graffiti, water appearing on the floor, and even claims of matches spontaneously bursting into flame.
It became the centre of a media storm, however, many reports of poltergeist activity have ultimately proved to be hoaxes.
While believers say that adolescents are more ‘susceptible’ to hauntings, even psychical researchers have put forward the ‘naughty little girl’ theory, saying that the activity impacts teenagers because they’re acting out for attention.
According to research in anomalistic psychology, activity can be explained by psychological factors such as illusion and memory lapses.
Attempts have also been made to scientifically explain poltergeist disturbances that are not apparently fraudulent.
Skeptic and magician Milbourne Christopher found that some cases of can be attributed to unusual air currents, such as a 1957 case on Cape Cod where downdrafts from an uncovered chimney became strong enough to blow a mirror off a wall, overturn chairs and knock over objects.
The family appealed for help from their neighbours, Vic and Peggy Nottingham. Vic, a burly builder, went to investigate.
He says: ‘I went in there and I couldn’t make out these noises — there was a knocking on the wall, in the bedroom, on the ceiling. I was beginning to get a bit frightened.’
Margaret added: ‘He said: “I don’t know what to do.” I’d never seen a big man like that looking scared.’
The Hodgsons called the police, who proved to be similarly mystified. WPC Carolyn Heeps reported that she saw a chair move.
She said at the time: ‘A large armchair moved, unassisted, 4ft across the floor.’
She inspected the chair for hidden wires, but could find no explanation for what she had seen.
Eventually, the officers left, telling the family that the incidents were not a police matter, as they couldn’t find anyone breaking the law.
Next, the Hodgsons contacted the press, which is when Daily Mirror photographer Graham Morris visited the house.
The BBC also went to the house, but the crew found the metal components in their tape equipment had been twisted, and recordings erased.
The family also sought help from the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). It sent investigators Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair, a poltergeist expert who subsequently wrote a book, This House Is Haunted, about the affair.
The investigators found themselves caught in a maelstrom of apparently psychic activity, with every poltergeist trick thrown at them.
Most of the activity centred on 11-year-old Janet. She went into violent trances, which were awful to behold. On one occasion, the iron fireplace in her bedroom was wrenched from the wall by unseen forces.
Family members also claim to have seen her levitating — floating clean across the room.
She told Channel 4: ‘I felt used by a force that nobody understands. I really don’t like to think about it too much. I’m not sure the poltergeist was truly “evil”. It was almost as if it wanted to be part of our family.
‘It didn’t want to hurt us. It had died there and wanted to be at rest. The only way it could communicate was through me and my sister.
Speaking to MailOnline previously, Janet recalled: ‘It was hard, I had a short spell in the Maudsley Psychiatric Hospital in London, where they stuck electrodes on my head, but the tests proved normal.
‘The levitation was scary, because you didn’t know where you were going to land. I remember a curtain being wound around my neck, I was screaming, I thought I was going to die.
‘My mum had to use all her strength to rip it away. The man who spoke through me, Bill, seemed angry, because we were in his house.’
‘Ghost woman’ caught on camera standing in ruins at historic cliffside graveyard
In the eerie picture, a woman appears to be stood near the cliffside in the graveyard wearing a long coat and hat
It was not until later when the 45-year-old returned home and looked at her pictures of the site (pictured) that she said she spotted a ghostly figure of a woman in old-fashioned clothing standing behind a family
Mandy Steel, a cleaner from Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, had travelled with her two adult children on Saturday, August 13 to Tynemouth Priory in North Tyneside, where she decided to take photos of the ruins (pictured)
A mother-of-two had the fright of her life when she caught an eerie ghost-like figure on camera.
Mandy Steel, a cleaner from Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, had travelled with her two adult children to Tynemouth Priory in North Tyneside last year.
The mother-of-two innocently decided to snap some pictures of the ruins.
But when Mandy, 45, returned home she noticed a ghostly figure of a woman in old-fashioned clothing standing behind her family.
Thought to be the ghost of a woman, the spooky picture showed a figure standing near the cliffside in the graveyard wearing a long coat and hat.
Shocked at her findings, Mandy told reporters that when she took the photographs, there was no woman in sight.
She added that the photographs were taken at 1pm, when the visibility was good.
To her confusion, Mandy’s daughter was also taking photos of the same place at the same time, but her phone failed to capture any such phantom.
Ms Steel tried to contact the priory and the National Trust for information on her strange sighting, but her attempts were to no avail.
However, Mandy is not alone in her findings. In February 2020, Newcastle paranormal investigator Kayleigh Woods similarly claimed to have photographed a ghoul at the Benedictine priory.
She also took her picture with a camera, rather than a mobile phone. And in the corner of the shot, close to the ruins, appeared to be a black shadow in the shape of a person.
Just as Mandy contended, Woods also insisted that no one was in the area at the time of the picture and returned 15 minutes later to take the same image in the same spot – but she said the shadow had vanished.
Ghostly ‘lost boy’ of York
Paranormal fans are convinced CCTV footage captures a ‘ghost’ riding a bike across York’s ‘haunted’ Shambles (pictured)
Ghost busters hint that the unsolved spooky sighting in the Shambles could be the infamous ‘lost boy’ of York
The spooky video took place in the Shambles market (pictured). It shows a small bike appear from an alley and ride across one of York’s oldest streets
One of the most recent documented ‘ghost’ sightings in he UK took place just one month ago, with viewers convinced that it showed paranormal activity.
Set in an empty street in York, an unsettling video showed a bike appearing to ride itself before stopping and falling. The unusual incident was caught on CCTV, allowing hundreds to catch a glimpse at the possible ghost sighting.
Locals have scrambled to explain the mystery in York, which has been dubbed Europe’s most haunted city.
One ghost expert put forward the idea that occurrence could be the work of York’s ‘lost boy’ – who has allegedly been spotted in the area before, and is known for running away in shock when passers-by spot him.
Posting the video on social media, the Shambles Market said: ‘Yesterday, something very strange was spotted on CCTV… and this clip gives us the chills.
‘Theories welcome… Has anyone else noticed peculiar paranormal activity around town?’
The scene, which took place near the historic city’s world-famous Shambles, showed an adult’s bike rolling itself out of a sideroad and onto a cobbled street.
The bike then reached the pavement and pauses for more than two seconds, before steadily falling over onto its side.
The incident has invited speculation from viewers, and many long to get to the bottom of the video.
Mark Graham, who leads the Original Ghost Walk of York, said: ‘There’s quite a few stories around the Shambles area – doors that open and close into a different time, houses that disappear.
‘I’ll never forget that bicycle. York is a whole pastiche of strange goings on – a tapestry of unusual events.
‘One of the stories is of a boy that appears and disappears. He looks shocked to see you and you’re shocked to see him.
‘And he haunts in the same sort of way five or six places in the city as if he’s stepped into our world or we’ve pushed into his.
‘He’s called the Lost Boy – he’s a mystery. Whether he rides a bicycle I do not know!’
However, Clare Bryant, from ghost hunting team Paranormal Research York was more sceptical about the incident.
She explained: ‘It’s a tricky one. The fact that you can’t see where the bike is coming from you can’t rule out it’s a bit of a prank.
‘With the paranormal you can’t say anything is 100 per cent paranormal. So, we wouldn’t like to say it is paranormal and we wouldn’t like to say it is not because we don’t have enough evidence.
The Cannock Chase ghost
Cannock Chase is renowned for spooky sightings, but that doesn’t make the latest spotting of a unusual figure (pictured) any less terrifying
Many acquainted with the story claim that the sightings relate to the actions of the killer Raymond Leslie (pictured) in the 1960s. Morris murdered seven-year-old Christine Darby in 1967 and was also the prime suspect in the disappearance of two other young girls in the area.
Woodland in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire, has long been rumoured to be haunted with an infamous ‘black-eyed-girl’ – a phantom in the shape of a little girl.
Earlier this year, a potential sighting by a drone fuelled the spooky saga. Drone footage shows a strange yet large blotch in the middle of woodland in Cannock Chase.
Many locals suppose that the sighting relates to the actions of the infamous 1960s killer Raymond Leslie.
Morris murdered seven-year-old Christine Darby in 1967 and was also the prime suspect in the disappearance of two other young girls in the area.
Ever since, it has been speculated by locals that their souls haunt the woods.
The Mirror previously reported that the new image has led ghost hunters to declare the area officially haunted.
Speaking to the publication, phantom watcher Robert Pulme said sightings in the area are not uncommon.
He explained: ‘We have had lots of reports of a ‘black-eyed girl’ seen walking around. At first, she appears like a normal girl and walkers are worried a little girl is lost in the woods.
‘Then they see her eyes and she just disappears. It is terrifying.’
Aside from Morris’s grisly crimes, there is an alternative view belief that the black-eyed children that haunt the area are the ghosts of those killed by a diphtheria outbreak in the 1800s, which claimed the lives of many young children.
A side effect of the disease is that sufferers’ eyes become dark and withdrawn.
The ‘Ghost Bride’
A couple were stunned after catching a blonde ‘ghost bride’ on their motion-activated CCTV cameras in Aintree, Merseyside
Mr Pallister has since been contacted by a paranormal investigator who was fascinated by the image and hailed it ‘the best of its kind he’s ever seen’
A young couple in Merseyside made a terrifying discovery when they checked their CCTV cameras one evening.
Darren Pallister, 27, checked his motion-activated cameras at around three in the morning and found footage of a spooky silhouette moving around his house earlier that evening.
Dubbed the ‘ghost bride’, the video showed an eerie blonde girl dressed in white moving around the house.
The couple were fast asleep when the cameras – set up to keep an eye on their French Bulldogs – captured the ghoulish figure at 12.34am on January 2, 2021.
But Darren and his fiancée Jessica Mason, 27, had always suspected a ghostly presence in their home in Aintree.
The couple claimed that their house has had multiple ghostly visitors – though they don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing.
Darren and Jessica said they’ve felt a calming presence of another person while living in their pre-war semi-detached property and claim that it’s even accompanied by the sweet smell of perfume.
Darren – a carpet and upholstery cleaner – shared images of the CCTV footage to Facebook, prompting terrified friends to order him to ‘burn the house down’.
He said: ‘I was scrolling down through the motion notifications, and I nearly fell off the bed when I saw it.
He has since been contacted by a paranormal investigator who was fascinated by the image and hailed it as ‘the best of its kind he’s ever seen’.
He said: ‘Ever since we moved into this house, we’ve said you can feel like there’s something there. I find it hard to say because I’ve never believed in anything like that.
‘Jess will go to bed and I’ll be playing on the PlayStation, and I’ll feel like there’s somebody sitting in the living room with me.
‘You can get a dead sweet smell as well. No sooner as you breathe in and out, it’s gone.
‘It’s like a perfume. Sometimes I’ve thought it’s a wax melt, but then none of them are turned on.
While the couple remain fearless in the face of potential ghouls – but many would not be as brave.
The Phantom Feline
On July 13, 2020, a couple in Essex received a notification from their security camera outside their home of their neighbour’s cat walking past the house – but it appeared to be followed by a ghostly version of the same animal
As the saying goes cat’s have nine lives, but this seemingly supernatural sighting adds a new dimension to the phrase.
CCTV footage left a pair of homeowners in a state of confusion after they spotted a feline ‘phantom’ on their security camera.
For cat-lovers, Juliette Bird, 53, and her housemate Deanna Crawte’s, 28, discoveries might be more heartwarming than terrifying.
On July 13, 2020, the pair received a notification from their security camera outside their home in Essex.
The pair found their neighbour’s cat, Topsy, strolling across their front drive. But after further observation, they revealed a more sinister aspect.
The footage revealed a phantom-like figure strolling behind Topsy – past the cars and across the security camera’s view.
The bizarre footage left the pair dumfounded, which is why they took it to their neighbour’s house.
After chatting with Topsy’s owner, more spooky facts were unveiled as the pair learned that the neighbour’s first cat, Liquorice, had recently died.
The neighbour added that Topsy’s sister Tilly had also disappeared six weeks before the spooky video had surfaced.
Baffled by the incident, Juliette and Deanna shared the clip to YouTube. Hundreds of viewers speculated over the clip, with most unable decided whether it was eerie or emotional.