The Poltergeist Case of Alma Fielding and the Scepticism of Science


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Alma Fielding was a housewife in 1930s Croydon, London, who suffered a violent poltergeist outbreak. RICK HALE looks at famed paranormal parapsychologist Nandor Fodor’s investigation into the case.

A photograph of Alma Fielding
A photograph of Alma Fielding

A long held theory in psychical research is, young people, specifically prepubescent girls, are the unwitting focus of recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis. Informally known as a poltergeist.

Apparently, it has something to do with the young person going through the turbulence of making the transition from being just mere childhood to young adulthood.

With that being said, this of course is not always the case. There have been a number of episodes where a much older person was the conduit of this violent, almost unthinking force.

In 1967, in two countries thousands of miles apart across the vastness of the Atlantic ocean baffled scientists to the point of consternation.

In a Rosenheim, Germany law office, a 19-year-old girl caused quite a stir that left the office in shambles.

In Miami, a young Cuban refugee in a warehouse that specialized in touristy chotzkies, was held responsible for breaking inventory even though he never laid a finger on them.

There is a third case that is rarely ever spoken of. A poltergeist case that plagued a 34-year old housewife and her home in 1930s London. Alma Fielding was at the centre of one of Britain’s most violent poltergeist outbreaks.

England and Spiritualism

Before exploring the poltergeist that shocked Britain, it is important to understand that at the time England was experiencing a resurgence in spiritualism.

Although World War I had ended 20 years previously, many people in Britain were still mourning those who died in the war. And those who lost their lives to the Spanish flu pandemic.

So, as you might understand, this belief system gave peace and hope that their loved ones were indeed in a better place. 

And once the details of the haunting of Alma Fielding broke loose, it only solidified in the minds of thousands that the supernatural was indeed real and could affect our lives.

The Haunting Of A Housewife

As with many reported hauntings throughout history, the haunting of Alma Fielding started simply enough.

It was little things such as objects moving of their own accord. Or books flying off shelves. Normal things most of us would never give a second thought about.

However, it wasn’t until things got really weird that prompted Alma to take her story to the London press. 

According to Alma Fielding, events went from being merely eerie to downright violent.

One day, while going about her household chores, she turned to see a bizarre sight. 

Alma was aghast as a huge, six fingered hand print formed before her eyes on a mirror. After that incident, things took a turn for the malevolent.

Alma’s son, Don narrowly dodged a pot of face cream that was whipped at his head from across the room. Surely, if it had hit him, Don would have been seriously injured.

Believe it or not, such attacks are common in poltergeist assaults. It seems that whatever this force is, times  it just right where the intended victim escapes serious injury. 

Next to attract the wrath of the ghost was Alma’s husband, Les who had glasses thrown at him in the bedroom.

And lastly, a lodger who was staying with the Fieldings at the time was being hit with coins that just seemed to manifest out of thin air.

With all the activity in the house, Alma took her story to different newspapers that basically laughed her off.

So, she took it to the Sunday Pictorial, a periodical hungry for tales of terror and the unexplained.

And with her story published, it attracted the right person to look into her claims. The eminent parapsychologist, Dr. Nandor Fodor.

Nandor Fodor Investigates

With all the talk of ghost hunters such as Peter Underwood, Harry Price and Hans Holzer not much credit is given to parapsychologist, Nandor Fodor.

At the time Fodor, was a member of the prestigious International Institute For Psychical Research.

And after hearing of Alma Fielding ‘s case from a local clergyman, he wasted no time in responding to this progressively frightening case.

Fodor Arrives

It has been speculated that Nandor Fodor was so quick to take this case because he was attempting to clear his name.

Before responding to the Fieldings, Nandor’s name got dragged through the mud a bit and he was accused of being too sceptical, even cynical. An accusation Fodor took to heart.

After investigating the claims of activity in the home, Fodor took Alma to the International Institute For Psychical Research headquarters in Kensington to test what he believed to be her unchecked abilities.

While there, Alma produced several apports, physical objects that seem to just materialise out of thin air. A phenomenon quite common during the Victorian era when spiritualist mediums were all the rage. 

Both the real mediums and those who preyed on the bereaved just looking for a little peace of mind after losing a loved one.

Among some of these objects was a brooch, an oil lamp and a white mouse. Alma further appeared to have the ability to astrally project. 

Fodor and his colleagues, did everything they could to trip up the London housewife and discover any trickery that may be involved.

Oftentimes in cases of poltergeist phenomena, trickery had been employed by a focus when the uncanny powers began to wind down.

The Enfield poltergeist bring a prime example of this. When the energy began to fade, the children took to trickery. This of course led to a great deal of doubt that the case was legitimate.

This did not appear to be the case with Mrs. Alma Fielding and Nandor Fodor began to formulate a theory why this seemingly innocent housewife was experiencing such  bizarre phenomenon.

Fodor Speculates

Fodor noticed that whenever the activity started up, Alma appeared to be detached from reality. Almost as if she really didn’t care what was going on around her.

Fodor, came to the conclusion that both repressed memories and a fear of the world descending into war and chaos may have given Alma Fielding the fuel to psychically lash out.

He further believed that Alma Fielding may have been experiencing a  dissociate  personality that only added more fuel to the fire.

With his final report released to his colleagues at the International Institute For Psychical Research they were, let’s just say, less than thrilled.

In short, they were horrified by his report and expelled him from the group. 

It was their contention that Alma Fielding, a London housewife, was nothing more than a fraud or severely mentally ill person in need of psychiatric care.

The very thought of even entertaining the notion that something supernatural was at play was completely unacceptable to them. 

They had made their minds up and the eminent parapsychologist, Nandor Fodor paid the price.

So I ask you, dear reader: Was Alma Fielding a crackpot and a liar who fooled some of the most experienced searchers of the unknown?

Was she just a bored housewife making things up to pass the time as the world went to hell?

Or, was something supernatural truly plaguing her and her family? I guess we may never know.

If you want to dive deeper into this sensational poltergeist case, I highly suggest you read, “The Haunting Of Alma Fielding,” by Kate Summerscale.

It’s an outstanding book and goes into greater detail of Alma Fielding and her experience with the bizarre.

What do you think of this case? Tell us in the comments below!

The Haunting of Alma Fielding

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Rick Hale
Rick Hale, is a native of Chicago, Illinois and first became interested in the paranormal after having a positive interaction with an apparition at a young age. Rick is the author of The Geek's Guide To The Strange and Unusual: Poltergeists, Ghosts and Demons. Behold! Shocking True Tales of Terror...and Some Other Spooky Stuff. And Bullets, Booze and Babes: The Haunted History of Chicago and Illinois. Rick is the co-host of The Shadow Initiative Paranormal Talk. Rick was featured in the documentary Ghost Tapes 2. Rick is a featured writer for Spooky Isles and Rick has also been published by Haunted Times, Paranormal Underground, The Supernatural Magazine and Legends Magazine.


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