In terms of poltergeist effects, a visitation that began in 1977 in the north London suburb of Enfield remains one of the most spectacular on record.
The household affected belonged to the Harper family, which at the time consisted of Mrs Harper, who was divorced, with her four children: Rose aged 13, Janet aged 11, Pete aged ten and Jimmy who was seven. Mrs Harper’s brother, John Burcome, lived in the next street. The family got on well with their immediate neighbours, Vic and Peggy Nottingham and their son Gary. The case would prove to be enormously newsworthy, would attract leading researchers and would see accusations of trickery as well as evidence of genuine phenomena.
The visitation began as the children went to bed on the evening of 30 August. Pete and Janet shared a bedroom, and only minutes after Mrs Harper had switched the light off the pair came downstairs. They said that both their beds had been shaking and shuddering. Mrs Harper went up with them, found nothing amiss and ordered them back to bed. The next evening the same two called down to their mother that they could hear a funny noise. Mrs Harper went up, switched the light on and listened. She could hear nothing and assumed the children were playing a trick on her. She switched the light off and at once heard a sound that she later likened to a man shuffling over a wooden floor when wearing slippers. Then there came four distinct knocks as if a person were rapping their knuckles on a wooden board. She switched the light back on and was astonished to see the chest of drawers sliding across the floor. It moved about 18 inches before it stopped. Mrs Harper went over to push it back into position, but it would not move. It was as if some invisible being was pushing it from the other side.
“Right,” Mrs Harper announced. “Everybody downstairs”.
Mrs Harper shepherded the children next door and explained to the Nottingham family what had happened. At this stage they all assumed that there was some intruder in the house. Vic and Gary went back to the Harper household. They searched the place thoroughly and found nothing. As the pair were preparing to leave, the knocking noises began again. They seemed to be coming from inside the walls. Vic searched the gardens, while Gary stayed indoors, following the noises from room to room.
from POLTERGEISTS by Rupert Matthews
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