A HAUNTING NOT FAR FROM HOME
When asked what my favourite movie genre is, without hesitation my unaltered reply has always been and always will be, Horror (with a capital H!). When a horror movie is made right, it can be a piece of pure genius (Sinister / Insidious / The Conjuring), although too often the genre is used with little respect by filmmakers when they churn out crap like Devils Due / Mama / The Quiet Ones.
Considering two of my favourites listed above are directed by the truly masterful horror-director, James Wan, I decided to delve deeper into his latest horror-franchise deal with the Warren’s paranormal investigations. I thought that this article would be an easy one to write but it would seem the further I researched, the more resources I found on the next haunting he has based a movie on which is one not so far from where I live – the Enfield haunting.
Everyone local knows the story, and many paranormal enthusiasts around the world also know or have heard of the case which was documented by the media during the seventies and has since been one of the most famously reported cases of recorded paranormal activity. The five members of the Hodgson family moved into the house in Enfield, London, in 1977. It was almost instantly that Janet, aged eleven at the time, complained of odd phenomena like shaking beds and furniture moving and it wasn’t long before others started to witness the absurd phenomena too.
Obviously I knew that the Warren’s must have been involved in the case so I downloaded their book, The Demonologists. This book isn’t really something I would usually read – it’s a little too religious and formal for my tastes and surprisingly the section on the Enfield haunting is pretty weak. Comparible to how long the haunting stretched, the Warren’s weren’t involved much at all. Ed described the Enfield case as making ‘Amityville look like a playhouse’ because the family felt trapped there because financial difficulties made it impossible for them to leave. Ed claimed that whilst inside the house he has a three hour recording of ghosts physically speaking, saying things like ‘Let’s put the lights out’ and ‘Throw the table’ etc; but what I would like to know is where are these tapes now? Perhaps they will be released with the movie in 2015. Who knows? All I know is that I was left feeling pretty deflated when I finally finished the book and I still wanted to find out more about the famous haunting and where those renowned images of the young girl being thrown through the air of her bedroom came from.
I was contacted by someone who has a connection with paranormal investigator and author Guy Lyon Playfair. I was told that in fact, he was one of the main investigators of the Enfield case and that his book, This House is Haunted is based solely on the activity that happened inside that house.
Excited, I instantly downloaded his book and ploughed my way through. As Playfair explains, This House is Haunted is based upon true events, some in real time and so it was somewhat repetitive. However, I didn’t find it too hard to read and this book had most of the answers that I was looking for. Playfair tells us how he stayed in the house with several other investigators night-after-night to catch evidence of the paranormal activity that resided in the property.
It seems that there were almost always, several witnesses of items of furniture being thrown around rooms, appliance being knocked over in the kitchen and items as large as beds being moved when no-one could have been able to do it. As well as furniture, Janet was seen and photographed, levitating in her bedroom one evening, witnesses were physically attacked and the family’s saftly was jeopardised. There are also hundreds of hours of recorded footage on tape which you can take a look at in one of the link’s at the end of this article.
The book explores the possibility and understanding that the haunting was mainly focused around the second eldest daughter of Peggy Harper, Janet. Yes some of the book becomes a little repetitive but if you are interested in true ghost stories, you really should give this one a read. I think that what stands out more than anything else is Playfair’s passion and dedication he had towards helping the young family. When I finished reading this one, I felt quite sad for the family who’d had their lives turned upside-down (quite literally) and for Janet who’d been the target of most of the activity.
I think that regardless of whether or not you’re a believer, the Enfield case is one that had a whole nation question the afterlife and the possibility of the existence of ghosts.
After researching through these books and traipsing the internet for information, I completely understand why Wan would have chosen the Enfield case to focus one of his movies on but I wonder where he is gathering his material. Obviously he will use Lorraine Warren but quite clearly she doesn’t know the bigger picture and in a case as huge as this, he would have needed to get as much of the facts and evidence as possible because to us horror fans and believers in the paranormal, it’s the evidence that makes a true ghost story even more terrifying and if there’s evidence out there then we would want to see it.
So now, after all of my research, I am obviously, like millions of others no doubt, eager for the sequel to be released but it would seem that the production is held up in a legal battle. I’m not going to get into the legalities of what Warner Bros are supposedly meant to have done or not done, but if you want to check it out, you can take a look here : http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/conjuring-keeps-spooking-up-new-698573
The release date has been put back until 2015 but I will anticipate its release nonetheless. I also await which of Warren’s investigations Wan will choose to look at next or whether he’ll bother after the hassle the first sequel has caused. I will continue to watch horror movie after movie until I find one which scares the crap out of me, and I guess until then I will continue to sleep soundly!