From the micarbe to the down right strange
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Paranormal Events & Urban Legends
Enfield Poltergeist 1977-1979
The Enfield Poltergeist is the name given to claimed supernatural activity at 284 Green Street, a council house in Brimsdown, Enfield, England between 1977 and 1979 involving two sisters, aged 11 and 13. Some members of the Society for Pyschical Research such as inventor Maurice Grosse and writer Guy Lyon Playfair believed the haunting to be genuine, while others such as Anita Gregory and John Beloff were unconvinced and found evidence the girls had faked incidents for the benefit of reporters.
Members of the Committee for Skepticial Inquiry, including stage magicians such as and Bob Couttie, Milbourne Christopher reviewed the case and criticised paranormal investigators for being overly credulous whilst also identifying features of the case as being indicative of a hoax
The story attracted considerable press coverage in British tabloid newspapers and has been the subject of books, featured in television documentaries, and dramatised in horror movies.
In August 1977 single parent Peggy Hodgson called police to her rented home in Enfield after two of her four children said that furniture was moving and knocking sounds were heard on walls.
The children included Margaret, age 14, and Janet, 11.
A police constable said that she saw a chair "wobble and slide".
Later claims included disembodied voices, loud noises, thrown rocks and toys, overturned chairs, and children levitating. Over a period of 18 months, more than 30 people, including neighbours, psychic researchers and journalists, said they saw heavy furniture moving of its own accord, objects being thrown across a room and the daughters seeming to levitate several feet off the ground. Many also hear, and recorded, unexplained knocking noises and a gruff voice.
The activity in the house attracted considerable press attention and the story was covered in British newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror until reports came to an end in 1979.
Society for Psychical Research members Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair reported the following
"Curious whistling and barking noises coming from Janet's general direction."
Although Playfair maintained the haunting was genuine and wrote in his later book
This House Is Haunted: The True Story of a Poltergeist (1980) that an "entity" was to blame for the disturbances, he often doubted the children's veracity and wondered if they were playing tricks and exaggerating.
Still, Grosse and Playfair believed that even though some of the alleged poltergeist activity was faked by the girls, other incidents were genuine.
Janet was detected in trickery; a video camera in the room next door caught her bending spoons and attempting to bend an iron bar.
Grosse had observed Janet banging a broom handle on the ceiling and hiding his tape-recorder.
According to Playfair, one of Janet's voices she called "Bill" displayed a "habit of suddenly changing the topic, it was a habit Janet also had".
When Janet and Margaret admitted "pranking" to reporters, Grosse and Playfair compelled the girls to retract their confession.
They were mocked by other researchers for being easily duped.
The psychical researcher Renée Haynes had noted that doubts were raised about the alleged poltergeist voice at the Second International SPR Conference at Cambridge in 1978, where video cassettes from the case were examined.
The SPR investigator Anita Gregory stated the Enfield poltergeist case had been "overrated", characterising several episodes of the girls' behaviour as "suspicious" and speculated that the girls had "staged" some incidents for the benefit of reporters seeking a sensational story.
John Beloff, a former president of the SPR, investigated and suggested Janet was practicing ventriloquism. Both Beloff and Gregory came to the conclusion that Janet and Margaret were playing tricks on the investigators.
Poltergeist Activity In Enfield
American magician Milbourne Christopher briefly investigated, failed to observe anything that could be called paranormal and was dismayed by what he felt was suspicious activity on the part of Janet. Christopher would later conclude that "the poltergeist was nothing more than the antics of a little girl who wanted to cause trouble and who was very, very, clever.
Ventriloquist Ray Alan visited the house and concluded that Janet's male voices were simply vocal tricks.
Sceptic Joe Nickell examined the findings of paranormal investigators and criticised them for being overly credulous; when a supposedly disembodied demonic voice was heard, Playfair noted that, "as always Janet's lips hardly seemed to be moving."
Nickell states that a remote-controlled still camera—the photographer was not present in the room with the girls—timed to take a picture every fifteen seconds was shown by investigator Melvin Harris to reveal "pranking" by the girls. He argues that a photo allegedly depicting Janet levitating actually shows her bouncing off the bed as if it were a trampoline. Harris called the photos examples of common "gymnastics", and said "It's worth remembering that Janet was a school sports champion!"
Nickell asserted that a tape recorder malfunction that Grosse attributed to supernatural activity and Society for Psychical Research president David Fontana described as an occurrence "which appeared to defy the laws of mechanics" was a peculiar threading jam capable of occurring with older model reel to reel tape recorders.
Nickell also claimed that demonologist Ed Warren was "notorious for exaggerating and even making up incidents in such cases, often transforming a "haunting" case into one of "demonic possession".
In 2015, Deborah Hyde commented that there was no solid evidence for the Enfield poltergeist: "... the first thing to note is that the occurrences didn't happen under controlled circumstances.
People frequently see what they expect to see, their senses being organised and shaped by their prior experiences and beliefs.
Sceptics have argued that the alleged poltergeist voice that originated from Janet was produced by false vocal cords above the larynx and had the phraseology and vocabulary of a child.
In a television interview for BBC Scotland, Janet was observed to gain attention by waving her hand, and then putting her hand in front of her mouth while a claimed "disembodied" voice was heard. During the interview both girls were asked the question "How does it feel to be haunted by a poltergeist?" Janet replied "It's not haunted" and Margaret, in a hushed tone, interrupted "Shut up". These factors have been regarded by sceptics as evidence against the case.
As "a magician experienced in the dynamics of trickery", Nickell examined Playfair's account as well as contemporary press clippings. He noted that the supposed poltergeist "tended to act only when it was not being watched" and concluded that the incidents were best explained as children's pranks.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, the adult Janet admitted that she and her sister had faked "2 percent" of the phenomena. This prompted Nickell to comment in another publication, "the evidence suggests that this figure is closer to 100 percent".
Although Maurice Grosse made tape recordings of Janet and believed no trickery was involved, the magician Bob Couttie said, "he made some of the recordings available to me and, having listened to them very carefully, I came to the conclusion that there was nothing in what I had heard that was beyond the capabilities of an imaginative teenager." An article by psychology professor Chris French in 2016 described five reasons why he believed the case to have been a hoax.
Poltergeist Activity In Enfield
Fictional Films Based on the Events.
The Conjuring 2 is a 2016 American supernatural horror film, directed by James Wan. The screenplay is by Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes, Wan, and David Leslie Johnson. It is the sequel to 2013's The Conjuring and the third installment in The Conjuring Universe. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprise their roles as paranormal investigators and authors Ed and Lorraine Warren from the first film. The film follows the Warrens as they travel to Britain to assist the Hodgson family, who are experiencing poltergeist activity at their Enfield council house in 1977 which later became referred to as the Enfield Poltergeist.
The Conjuring 2 was released in the United States on June 10, 2016. The film received positive reviews from critics and grossed over $320 million worldwide. A spin-off prequel, The Nun, was released on September 7, 2018, and a third Conjuring film is in development.
Based On Accounts Documented By
Society for Psychical Research in 1884.
The Worspop case occurred in 1883 in a household in Worksop, a town in the industrial north of England, among the earliest of the kind to be investigated by the Society for Psychical research.
It involved a sudden onset of shocking and violent disturbances that continued for several days. Several witnesses, including a police officer, insisted that no living person was responsible. As in many other cases of the type, it also seemed that a single individual, a girl (of unknown age), was in some way the cause of it.
At the beginning of March, 1883, the Retford and Gainsborough Times and other local papers gave accounts of some remarkable disturbances which had occurred in the first two or three days of the month, at the house of a small horse dealer in Worksop, named Joe White.
One or two members of the Society for Psychical Research entered into communication with the principal persons named in the newspaper reports, and with a friend in the neighbourhood, who very kindly took some trouble in inquiring into the matter for the Society.
But it soon became obvious that as nearly all the witnesses of the occurrences related were of the humbler class, and unable, therefore, to write a connected account of what had happened, the best way to arrive at the truth of the matter was for one of the society to go in person to make inquiries.
Accordingly, at the request of the Haunted House Committee, Mr. Frank Podmore travelled to Worksop on the afternoon of Saturday, the 7th April, with the intention of inspecting the actual scene of the occurrences, and of personally interrogating the principal witnesses; in order, if possible, to arrive at some rational explanation of the business. He spent the Saturday evening and the whole of the following day making inquiries, and had at that time obtained an intelligible and trustworthy history of the matter within the lapse of time, the nature of the phenomena themselves, and the character of the witnesses permitted.
He derived information from seven principal eye-witnesses of the disturbances, whom he interrogated, with the single exception of White himself, separately. He wrote out the statement of each witness in full immediately after the interview; and the three most important witnesses, Higgs, Currass, and White, subsequently read through his notes and signed them. The depositions of these three persons are printed in full below.
His time was too short to allow a second interview with the four other principal witnesses, and he was unable, therefore, to obtain their signature to the depositions; but he incorporated the statements of all the principal witnesses in his report.
Besides the seven chiefly concerned, he questioned, in presence of White and his wife, three or four other witnesses of the disturbances, White's brother Tom, a bright looking lad of 18 or 20 years, Solomon Wass and his wife, next door neighbours of the Whites, the former an ordinary North countryman of the lower class, the latter a pleasant looking, intelligent woman; and George Ford (also known as Buck Ford), a man of about 28.
From these he obtained general confirmation of the various incidents, as described by White, Higgs, etc, at which they had themselves been present; but time did not permit of much cross-questioning, nor of taking down their evidence in full.
White's house has been built, according to his own statement, about eleven years. He has only resided in it three years. the author was unable to discover anything about the former occupants. The house stands at the end of a piece of waste land, called the New Building Ground, with another house or cottage attached; the nearest separate building being a public-house, about 100 yards off. With that exception there are no other buildings within about 200 yards.
There is no entrance to the house by the front, the front door being locked, and the joints secured with paper from the inside. Entrance is obtained by a covered passage, open at either end, which separates the two houses, and gives access immediately to a yard, surrounded on one side by high palings, and on the other three by piggeries, stables, and the two houses. The plan of the ground-floor of White's house is apparent from the accompanying sketch. The kitchen is about 15ft. square. The upper floor is divided into two rooms, the back one, corresponding to the kitchen, being used as a bedroom for Tom and the children; the front one as a store-house for bacon, horse-furniture, and various odds and ends. There is also a garret above this, into which the author did not enter, it being at the time full of bacon in salt. The whole house, not excepting the bedrooms, was hung with bacon, the very staircase being lined with it, so that the author stated that he had to draw his coat close to him in going up. A large part of the bacon, as I was told by White, had gone bad during the period of the disturbances.
The front or inner room on the ground-floor was an ordinary room, like all the rest of the house, half filled with bacon, and containing, besides bedroom furniture, a large beer-barrel on trestles; everything in it filthily dirty.
He looked all over the house in daylight, but could discern no holes in the walls, ceilings, nor any trace of the extensive and elaborate machinery, which would have been required to produce the movements by ordinary mechanical means.
The history of the disturbances, as gathered from the various witnesses whom the author interrogated, appears to be briefly as follows:
Nothing remarkable had been seen or heard in the house until about the 20th or 21st February 1883, when, as Mrs. White was alone with, two of the children in the kitchen one evening, washing up the tea-things, at the table, the table tilted up at a considerable angle; the candle was upset, and the washtub only saved by Mrs. W. holding it. She positively assured me that she exerted no pressure whatever upon, the table, and the whole incident struck her as very extraordinary. Her husband made light of it at the time.
On Monday, February 26th, White was absent from home until the Wednesday afternoon. On the Monday his wife allowed a girl, Eliza Rose, the child of an imbecile mother, and herself regarded as half-witted, to come into the house and share her bed at night. White returned on Wednesday night, but left on the following morning until Friday; afternoon. During that one night the girl slept on the squab. On Thursday night, 1st March, at about 11 p.m., Tom White went up to bed-the children having gone up some hours before. At about 11.30, Mrs. White and Eliza Rose being then alone in the kitchen, various things, such as a corkscrew, clothes pegs, a salt cellar, etc, which had been in the kitchen only a few minutes before, came tumbling; step by step down the kitchen stairs. Tom positively and solemnly denied having thrown the articles, and the mystery was increased when, at least 20 minutes after he had gone upstairs, no one having left the room in the interval, some hot coals were thrown down.
On the following night, the 2nd March, at about the same hour – White, Mrs. White, and Rose being in the kitchen – a noise was heard as of some one coming down the passage between the two houses, and stopping just outside the outer door. White told Rose to open the door, but she was too frightened to do so. Then they heard a surcingle [a strap used in a horse's harness] and immediately afterwards some pieces of carpet thrown down the stairs. Then followed some knives and forks and other things. The girl picked them up, but they followed still faster. White then left the room to go up to Tom. During his absence one of the ornaments flew off the mantelpiece into the corner of the room near the door. Nothing was seen by the two women, but they heard it fall, and found it there. Their screams summoned White down; as he entered the room his candle went out, and something struck him on the forehead. The girl picked up the candle-which appears to have left the candlestick, and two new ones which had not been in the house previously- from the ground: and as soon as a candle was lit, a little china woman left the mantelpiece and fell into the corner, where it was seen by White. As soon as it was replaced it flew across the room again, and was broken. Other things followed, and the women being very-frightened, and White thinking that the disturbances presaged the death of his child, who was very ill with an abscess in the back, sent Tom (who was afraid to go alone) with Ford to fetch the doctor. Mrs. White meanwhile took one of the children next door. Rose approached the inner room to fetch another, when things immediately began to fly about and smash themselves in that room. After this all appear to have been absent from the house for a short time. White then returned, with Higgs, a policeman, and, whilst they were alone in the kitchen, standing near the door, a glass jar flew out of the cupboard into the yard; a tumbler also fell from the chest of drawers in the kitchen, when only Higgs was near it. Both then went into the inner room, and found the chest of drawers there turned up on end and smashed. On their return they found Rose, Wass, and Tom White in the kitchen (? and Mrs. Wass), and all saw a cream jug, which Rose had just placed on the bin, fly four feet tip in the air and smash on the floor. Dr. Lloyd and Mrs White then entered, and in the presence of all these witnesses, a basin was seen to rise slowly from the bin-no person being near it except Dr. Lloyd and Higgs. It touched the ceiling, and then fell suddenly to the floor, and was smashed. This was at 12 p.m. All then left except Tom White and his brother. The disturbances continued until about 2 a.m. r when all grew quiet, and the Whites slept. At about 8 a.m. on Saturday the 3rd, the disturbances began again.
White left the kitchen to attend to some pigs, and, in his absence, Mrs. White and Rose were left alone in the kitchen. A nearly empty port wine bottle leaped up from the table about four feet into the air, and fell into a bucket of milk, standing on the table, from which Mrs. White* was filling some jugs.
Then Currass appears to have been attracted to the scene. He entered with White, young Wass, and others, and viewed the inner-room. They had but just returned to the kitchen, leaving- the inner room empty, and the door of communication open, when the American clock*, which hung over the bed, was heard to strike. (It had not done so for 18 months previously.) A crash was then heard, and Currass who was nearest the door, looked in, and found that the clock had fallen over the bed-about four feet broad-and was lying, on the floor. Shortly afterwards-no one being near it-a china dog flew off the mantelpiece, and smashed itself in the corner near the door. Currass and some others then left.
Some plates, a cream-jug, and other things, then flew up in the air, and smashed themselves in view of all who were in the kitchen-Rose, the Whites, and Mrs. Wass.
White then lay down on the sofa, but disturbances continued during his siesta. In particular, some pictures on the wall next the pantry began to move, but were taken down at once by his brother. At about 2 p.m. a Salvation Army woman came in, and talked to White. Rose only was with them in the kitchen. A candlestick flew from the bin, and fell behind the Salvation Army woman, as she stood near the pantry door. She left the room in terror.
Other things then followed at intervals. A full medicine bottle fell without breaking. An empty medicine bottle and a lamp-glass fell and broke themselves. It was then about 4 p.m., and White could stand it no longer. He told the girl she must go; she did in fact leave before 5 p.m. After her departure nothing whatever of an abnormal character took place, and the house has remained undisturbed up to the present time.
With regard to the positions of the persons present, in relation to the objects moved, it may be stated generally that there was no possibility in most cases of the objects having been thrown by hand. It will be seen, on reference to the depositions of the witnesses which are appended, that the objects were frequently moved in a remote corner of the room, or even in an adjoining room. Moreover, the character of the movements, in many cases, was such as to preclude the possibility of the objects having been thrown.
[It will be noted that there is a discrepancy between White's and Currass' version of this incident. Mrs. White, however, confirmed her husband's account; and when told the author had little doubt that the statement in the text is substantially accurate. Curras is more likely than White to have been mistaken in his recollection of White's position at the time, and Currass' account of his own position does not differ greatly from that given by White. The material point, and one on which both witnesses are agreed, is that no one saw the clock fall. Currass' written statement is not clear on this point, but he told the author vivâ voce that his attention was drawn to what had taken place by hearing the crash. He only then turned round and saw the clock lying on the floor.
Of course the obvious explanation of these occurrences is trickery on the part of some of the persons present. In regard to this, it seems to F.P. (the author) a matter of very little significance that most of the educated people in Worksop believe White himself to have caused the disturbance. For most educated persons, as we know, would not be ready to admit any other than a mechanical explanation, and if such an explanation be adopted, White, the owner of the house, a man of considerable intelligence, whose record was not entirely clean, and who was himself present on the occasion of nearly all the disturbances, must obviously be the agent. But whilst believing White to be at the bottom of the matter, none of the persons with whom the author conversed with were prepared with any explanation of his modus operandi. That he should have thrown the things was universally admitted to be impossible. And beyond this, F.P. could discover little more than an unquestioning faith in the omnipotence of electricity. No one professed to have any idea of what mechanical means could have been employed, or how they could have been adapted to the end in view. Still less did anyone pretend to have discovered any indications in the house itself of any machinery having been used. Moreover, there was a total absence of any apparent motive on White's part, supposing him to have been capable of effecting the movements himself. Whilst he was unquestionably a considerable loser-to the extent of nearly £9 as estimated by himself, though this estimate is probably exaggerated-by the articles broken, he appears to have reaped no corresponding advantage. The one motive which F. P. heard suggested, if the reader disregards a report published in one newspaper, which was subsequently contradicted in another, to the effect that White was anxious to buy the house, and to buy it cheap-was that he produced the disturbances in fulfilment of a sporting bet. There is no reason to regard this explanation as anything but a scholium evolved by some ingenious commentator from the facts themselves.
Again, had White himself been the principal agent in the matter, it is clear that he must have had at least two confederates, for he was not himself present during the disturbances on the Thursday night- which might, indeed, have been caused by his brother Tom-nor was either he or his brother present during some of the occurrences on the following day. Moreover, these confederates must not only have been extremely skilful, but they must have been capable of more than ordinary reticence and self-control. For it is remarkable that, with the single exception of the statements made by the girl Rose, no one professed to have heard even a hint from White himself, from his brother, or from any other, of any trickery in the matter.
Moreover, it is hard to conceive by what mechanical appliance under the circumstances described, the movements could have been effected. The clock, for instance-a heavy American one-was thrust out from the wall in a horizontal direction, so as apparently to clear a 4ft. bedstead which lay immediately beneath it, and the nail from which it depended remained in situ on the wall. The objects thrown about in the kitchen moved generally, but by no means always, in the direction of the outer door. And it is noticeable that, in most cases, they do not appear to have been thrown, but in some manner borne or wafted across the room, for, though they fell on a stone floor 15ft. or 16ft. distant, they were often unbroken, and were rarely shivered. And it is impossible to reconcile the account given of the movement of some other objects, variously described as "jerky," "twirling," and "turning over and over," with the supposition that the objects depended on any fixed support, or were in any way suspended.
Lastly, to suppose that these various objects were all moved by mechanical contrivances argues incredible stupidity, amounting almost to imbecility, on the part of all the persons present who were not in the plot. That the movement of the arms necessary to set the machinery in motion should have passed unobserved on each and every occasion by all the witnesses, is almost impossible. Not only so, but Currass, Higgs, and Dr. Lloyd, all independent observers, assured F.P. that they examined some of the objects which had been moved, immediately after the occurrence, with the express intention of discovering, if possible, any clue to an explanation of the matter, but entirely failed to do so. These men were not over-credulous ; they certainly were not wanting in intelligence ; and they were not, any of them, prepossessed in favour of White. But they each admitted that they could discover no possible explanation of the disturbances, and were fairly bewildered by the whole matter.
The Statement of Joe White:
A fair witness. I think that he always intended to speak the truth, but that occasionally his memory proved treacherous. In all important points, however, he was corroborated by his wife (an excellent witness), Higgs, and Currass. FP.
I returned home about 7 on the Friday night (March 12th). I had been absent from home on Monday and Tuesday nights: and it was during my absence that my wife took in the girl Rose, who shared her bed in the front inner room. I slept at home on Wednesday, and the girl then slept on the squab in the kitchen. I left again on Thursday morning, and returned as mentioned on the Friday.
When told by my wife and Tom what had happened on Thursday night I said some one must have been tricking, and didn't think much more about it. But I chaffed the lass (Rose) a good deal, for she was much frightened. About 11.30 on Friday evening, when my wife, the girl, and I were alone in the kitchen, just going up to bed, I heard a noise as if some one had come down the passage between the two houses, and were standing just outside our door. They didn't knock; but I said to Rose, "Go and see who's there." But she was frightened and didn't go. Then presently, a lot of things came rattling down the stairs. I don't know what came first: but a lot of things came-a surcingle, bits of carpet, knives and forks, a corkscrew, etc. The girl went to pick them up, and put them on the table, and just as fast as she put them on more things came down. Then my wife said to me, "The salt cellar came down last night, but you won't have it down to-night, for here it is on the table." She was using it at the time for salting Tom's dinner for next day. She had hardly said this, when the salt-cellar flew off from the table, and into the corner near the outer door. Rose was in that corner, and not near the table: my wife was at the table but certainly didn't touch the cellar. I saw the thing go, though 1 couldn't believe my eyes. My wife didn't see it go, but we both saw it as it struck the wall in the corner. All the salt was spilled out of it. I fairly couldn't believe my own eyes; but I couldn't help thinking it must be Tom. So I went upstairs to him, and told him to leave off. "Thou'lt frighten our Liz to death." He said, "It's not me, Joe. I'll take my oath it isn't. I've never, thrown nowt down." Whilst I was still talking to him, I heard a crash downstairs, and the women screamed, and my wife cried, " Come down, Joe." As I was just coming into the room the candle which I held in my hand went out-I don't know how at all-and we were left in darkness, except for the firelight. Then something hit me on the forehead, and I cried out, "Who threw that?" Then there was a crash in the corner. I found out when we had a light again, that the salt cellar had fallen again into the corner, and broken itself. Then I found out that the candle was not in the candlestick, and asked where it was. I told the girl to look for it, and then she felt among the things at the bottom of the stairs and picked up three candles, two of them quite new. We had only had two candles in the house [Mrs. White expressly confirmed this. FP] which had been bought just before, and both had been partly burnt. I lit the old ones, and left the new ones on the table; but they disappeared afterwards, and I have never seen them since.
When the candle was lit again, I saw the little china woman jump off from the mantelpiece, and go into the same corner. It fell on its side, and then righted itself, and stood upright, unbroken. I distinctly saw it go through the air; it passed near me as I stood about the middle of the room. None of us were near the mantelpiece. I picked it up, and presently it fell into the corner again, and broke itself.
Then the tea-caddy and the candlestick, all from the mantelpiece, followed. Then I went out and found George Ford ("Buck" Ford), and asked him to fetch Dr. Lloyd for the child-for they had told me that all this disturbance meant the death of the child, who was very ill with an abscess in its back.
Then I got my wife to take the little lad out, and lay him next door, he lying on the squab in the kitchen at the time. [Mrs. W. denied this, and said he was in the inner room.-F. P.] Rose went with her, and they took all the children with them. Before going, Rose had to go into the inner room, and then things began to fly about there and make a disturbance. All had been quiet there before.
I went after the others into the next house and stayed there some little time. When I came back, I found the Police-constable Higgs in the kitchen. He and I went alone there. (Rose all this time was next door.) We heard a crash in the inner room, and we went in-Solomon Wass and Tom, who had just entered with us, and Higgs with his lantern, and we found the chest of drawers turned up on end, and the lustres and looking-glass, and everything else that had been on it, in pieces on the floor. Then we came back into the kitchen, and we saw the cupboard door open, and a big glass jar flew out, and flew into the yard and broke itself. Also some things flew off the bin at the side of the door, from the end near the fire; and they pitched in the corner, and then went out in the yard. Things often pitched on the floor by the door first, and then got up again and flew out into the yard.
Then Dr. Lloyd came in with my wife, and Higgs showed him what had happened in the inner room. Then when we had got into the kitchen again, and were all standing near the door of the inner room-Higgs, my wife, and Tom, and Wass, and Lloyd-who was about six feet from the bin, and the nearest to it of our party-we all saw a basin which was lying on the bin near the door, get up two or three times in the air, rising slowly a few inches or perhaps a foot, and then falling plump. [Mrs. W. corroborated this, and so did Mr. Wass, the next-door neighbour, who was also present. FP.] Then it got up higher, and went slowly, wobbling as it went, up to the ceiling, and when it reached the ceiling, it fell down all at once, and broke itself. (During this scene the room was lighted by one candle, Higgs' lantern, and a blazing fire ; so that the light was pretty good.) Dr. Lloyd then looked in the bin, saying the devil must be in the house, and then left. All the others shortly afterwards left, Mrs. W., Rose and the children stopping in the next house Tom and I sat in the chair on either side of the fire until the next morning at 8 a.m. Things kept on moving every now and then until about 2 a.m., and then was all quiet, and we got to sleep a bit. At about 8 a.m. I had to go out to see after a pig, which had been pigging, and then things began again; and a lot of folks came in to see about it. Currass came in, and I went with him into the inner room and showed him the chest of drawers, he and I alone; we came out leaving the door open-I am quite sure it was open-and I was sitting near the fire, and Currass was just inside the kitchen, not far from the open door, when Wass's little lad, who was sitting at the table, said, "There's the clock striking," meaning the big clock which hung over our bed. I couldn't hear it, and I said it was a lie. Just then we heard a crash, and I asked what it was, and Currass looked round, and said it was the American clock had fallen right across the bed, and lay on the floor at the foot, with its bottom knocked out. Then I took it into the yard. I don't think-indeed, I am sure that Coulter was not here when all this happened. The other clock fell and was broken, but whether before or after I cannot remember; and he may have seen that. I don't remember where the girl Rose was when the American clock fell. She may have been in the kitchen, but she certainly wasn't in the inner room ; no one was in that room, I am sure. I don't remember saying just at that time, though I often did say, that wherever she went the things smashed.
After that, Currass and I and one or two others were standing near to the outer door talking, when the china dogs, or one of them, flew off the mantelpiece and smashed ; and lot of things kept on flying into the corner and smashing. I saw one of the dogs leave the mantelpiece and go through the air. I don't remember exactly when Coulter came; he may have been here when the china dog was smashed, but I don't remember that he was. Then a cream jug fell off the table ; it had done so four or five times without smashing. At last I filled it with milk, and had placed it on the bin, when it suddenly fell off and smashed, and the milk was all spilt.
Then I was tired, and lay down on the squab; but things kept moving. I was told some pictures on the wall began to move, but I didn't see them. At about 2 p.m., a Salvation Army woman came in and was talking to me as I lay on the squab; she stood near the inner door; Rose was near the outer door having brought in some carpet. There were two candlesticks on the bin, at the end near the fireplace. Suddenly something dropped behind the Salvation Army woman. No one saw it going through the air; but we turned round and found that it was one of the brass candlesticks. It was half balanced on the small end where the candle goes, and was wobbling about on the end. Then the Salvation woman said, “I must go”; and she went.
Then a little after, when Rose was going to lay down the carpet, and no one else in the room, a medicine bottle, full, fell from the bin on to roll of carpet, about three or four yards off, and was broken. A lamp-glass had fallen several times without breaking; but at last that fell and broke. Then an empty bottle flew off from the mantelpiece. That was one of the last things that happened. Well then, I couldn't stand it any longer. Wherever the lass seemed to go, things seemed to fly about. So G said to her, "You'll have to go." She began to roar. But my wife gave her some tea, and she went. That was between 4 and 5 p.m., very soon after the last disturbance. Nothing happened after she left. We sat up in the kitchen that evening, a lot of us, as the newspapers tell; but nothing happened at all.
I have been in the house three years. I think the house had been built four or five years before that. Nothing of the kind had ever happened in it before, as far as I know, except that once I thought I heard some one moving in the yard, and fancied it might be some one after the fowls ; but there was no one there ; and there was that strange tilting of the table when my wife was washing up the things about a week before.
The Wasses and the Willises [Mrs. Willis is Wass's sister - FP] had lived together in the next house ; but since all these disturbances, the Willises have left the house; but Mr. and Mrs. Wass are still there.
The Statement Was Signed By JOSEPH WHITE.
New Building Ground, Worksop, April 8th, 1884
Statement of Police Constable Higgs:
A man of good intelligence, and believed to be entirely honest. Fully alive, as becomes his official position, to White's indifferent reputation, but unable to account for what he saw.
On the night of Friday, March 2nd, I heard of the disturbances at Joe White's house from his young brother, Tom. I went round to the house at 11.55 p.m., as near as I can judge, and found Joe White in the kitchen of his house. There was one candle lighted in the room, and a good fire burning, so that one could see things pretty clearly. The cupboard doors were open, and White went and shut them, and then came and stood against the chest of drawers. I stood near the outer door. No one else was in the room at the time. White had hardly shut the cupboard doors when they flew open, and a large glass jar came out past me, and pitched in the yard outside, smashing itself. I didn't see the jar leave the cupboard, or fly through the air; it went too quick. But I am quite sure that it wasn't thrown by White or anyone else. White couldn't have done it without my seeing him. The jar couldn't go in a straight line from the cupboard out of the door; but it certainly did go.
Then White asked me to come and see the things which had been smashed in the inner room. He led the way and I followed. As I passed the chest of drawers in the kitchen I noticed a tumbler standing on it. Just after I passed I heard a crash, and looking round, I saw that the tumbler had fallen on the ground in the direction of the fireplace, and was broken. I don't know how it happened. There was no one else in the room.
I went into the inner room, and saw the bits of pots and things on the floor, and then I came back with White into the kitchen. The girl Rose had come into the kitchen during our absence. She was standing with her back against the bin near the fire. There was a cup standing on the bin, rather nearer the door. She said to me, "Cup'll go soon ; it has been down, three times already." She then pushed it a little farther on the bin, and turned round and stood talking to me by the fire. She had hardly done so, when the cup jumped up suddenly about four or five feet into the air, and then fell on the floor and smashed itself. White was sitting on the other side of the fire.
Then Mrs. White came in with Dr. Lloyd ; also Tom White and Solomon Wass. After they had been in two or three minutes, something else happened. Tom White and Wass were standing with their backs to the fire, just in front of it. Eliza Rose and Dr. Lloyd were near them, with their backs turned towards the bin, the Doctor nearer to the door. I stood by the drawers, and Mrs. White was by me near the inner door. Then suddenly a basin, which stood on the end of the bin near the door, got up into the air, turning over and over as it went. It went up not very quickly, not as quickly as if it had been thrown. When it reached the ceiling it fell plump and smashed. I called Dr. Lloyd's attention to it, and we all saw it. No one was near it, and I don't know how it happened. I stayed about ten minutes more, but saw nothing else. I don't know what to make of it all. I don't think White or the girl could possibly have done the things which I saw.
Statement Was Signed By: WILLIAM HIGGS, G.E. 30. , April 10, 1883
Statement of Arthur Ourrass:
A coal-miner; a Methodist, and apparently a very steady, respectable man. Believed that White did it, but couldn't guess how it was done.
I had to go out on the Saturday morning (March 3rd) to get some swill for the pig, about 8.15 a.m. I passed by White's house, and hearing a disturbance, I looked over the railings, and White said to me, "There's something in the house that's breaking all afore it." I asked him what it were, and he told me to come and see. I got over the railings, and I followed White into his own house. He took me into the front place where the clock was hanging over the bed's head, and was showing me a nest of drawers, where his suit of clothes came out of the bottom drawer into the top one but one. While I was looking at the drawer, and the broken pots there was lying there, the clock by some means came from the wall, slanting wise about seven feet, and dropped clear of the bed's foot onto the floor. It had been fastened up on the wall, near the bed's head, and it fell between the bed's foot and the door. I said, "What is that ? " White said, " It's something else smashed." I turned round and saw that it was the clock. The nail still remained in the wall. The girl Rose was coming out of the kitchen towards the inner door, but had not got quite up to it. She seemed to be much frightened. White said to me, "It doesn't matter a damn where that lass goes, there's something smashes." The clock was taken right away into the yard and placed on an empty cask, and there it stayed. White and I were alone in the front room when the clock fell. White and I then went into the back kitchen, and I remained about four feet from the outer door, with my face towards the fireplace. I then saw a pot dog leap from the mantelpiece, and come within about five feet of the pantry door and break, passing close to me. There was nothing attached to it, and there was no one near it. I then began to move away, and just then Coulter appeared. This would be between 8.30 and 8.45 a.m. Coulter had not come before whilst I was there, and certainly had not been present when the clock and the dog were broken. The clock was in the yard when he came, and I showed it him there.
Statement Signed By ARTHUR CURRASS.
John Street, Worksop, 8th April, 1883.