This House is Haunted: The Amazing Inside Story of the Enfield Poltergeist

By Playfair, Guy Lyon

From the publisher’s website: On August 31st 1977, normal life ended for Mrs Harper and her four children in their modest council house in a hitherto quiet corner of the north London suburb of Enfield.

Compared to what was to come, the initial phenomena were relatively minor – knockings on the walls, and pieces of furniture moving in ways that did not seem normal. The neighbours came in and searched the house, finding all in order, though they too heard the knocking. The police were called, and were able to witness a chair sliding along the floor. The disturbances went on, getting more intense and more frightening. They were eventually witnessed by at least thirty people.

They included examples of everything a poltergeist can do – overturning chairs and tables, flinging things about, whipping off bedclothes, levitating one of the girls in full view of passers-by, making her speak with the voice of an old man and defying the laws of physics by passing matter through solid matter.

Much of this bewildering and often terrifying activity was captured on tape and film by Maurice Grosse of the Society for Psychical Research and his colleague Guy Lyon Playfair, who were on the case within days of its outbreak stayed on it until it finally came to an end, with a twist as unexpected and surprising as in any detective story.

No other case of its kind has been so well witnessed from start to finish or so thoroughly documented. Incidents are described as they happened, without embellishment, from some six hundred pages of transcripts of live tape recordings. The Enfield poltergeist is already regarded as a classic in the annals of psychical research. It has been the subject of worldwide press coverage and several radio and television documentaries.

GUY LYON PLAYFAIR was born in India and educated in England, obtaining a degree in modern languages from Cambridge University. He then spent many years in Brazil as a freelance journalist for The Economist, Time, and the Associated Press, also working for four years in the press section of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The first of his twelve books, The Flying Cow, in which he described his experiences investigating the psychic side of Brazil, was translated into six languages and became an international best seller. His most recent book is Telepathy – the Twin Connection. He now lives in London and is a council member of the Society for Psychical Research.


This House is Haunted. White Crow Books, February 2011. ISBN 978-1-907661-78-5

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