A haunting at a synagogue in Enfield in 2009 sparked intrigue, rather than fear, among the local Jewish community. CHRISTINE MILLER investigates
The Mysterious Haunting Above Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue
When you hear the words ‘Enfield’ and the ‘Paranormal’ in the same sentence, you’d be forgiven for letting your mind wonder to the strange series of events taking place in 1977 that would become known the world over as The Enfield Poltergeist.
However, not being limited to the terrifying events of 284 Green Street, the North London borough has witnessed many more unusual hauntings.
One such story comes from 2009, when a peculiar tale of the supernatural emerged from the heart of Middlesex, England, where an esteemed Rabbi, Yitzchok Sufrin, began to experience inexplicable phenomena in the apartment situated above the Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue.
A Haunting Presence
The unsettling events first started when the part-time Rabbi Sufrin began to spend time in a small apartment above the synagogue on the weekends.
Initially, all seemed well.
However, Rabbi Sufrin was soon made aware that he wasn’t the only one to take advantage of the quaint apartment. One day, he began to hear knocking, which on its own might not be cause for much concern. But, this was quickly accompanied by windows seemingly opening of their own accord. Windows that he was positive he left firmly shut.
Yet the most distressing incident was still to come: the Rabbi then witnessed what he could only describe as a ‘foreign presence’ lurking in the apartment.
He wasn’t the only one to have borne witness to the unusual noises, unpredictable windows and indeed the strange spectre.
In fact, Rabbi Sufrin’s congregants informed him that the series of strange phenomena he had been experiencing was nothing new, having been reported before.
But who, or what was the cause of the upset in the little apartment?
Speaking to members of the Enfield and Winchmore Hill Synagogue, it soon became apparent who they believed was the culprit. The working hypothesis was that these manifestations and general mischief could be attributed to the lingering spirit of Reverend A.I. Lewin.
A Guardian Of The Synagogue?
Reverend A.I. Lewin’s connection to the Enfield synagogue ran deep. He had been an instrumental figure in the community when the spiritual centre first opened its doors in Enfield in 1949. Could it be that his spirit, having played a pivotal role in the establishment of the synagogue, still lingered, watching over the congregation even in the afterlife?
The idea of a former spiritual leader returning as a guardian or observer is, of course, nothing new. Perhaps, the Reverend has some unfinished business to attend to. Perhaps it was his strong emotional connection to the building that kept him earthbound. Or maybe he wanted to preserve the sanctity of his former religious residence.
Whatever the reason behind the Reverend’s appearances, the Rabbinic Centre of Europe took the whole situation seriously. They advised the Enfield synagogue, saying two special prayers called Tikkun should be said to help heal the situation – one for the place itself and one for the soul of the late man.
They also asked Israel’s chief Sephardi Rabbi, Shlomo Amar, and Rabbi Yitzchak Batzri, an expert in Kabbalah, for their opinions, and they both suggested using these Tikkun prayers. (It’s important to note that the London Beit Din, the local religious court, does not have a set rule or policy for dealing with hauntings or exorcism.)
Perhaps these prayers worked, as there’s been little mention of the spirit of the Reverend since. But as with everything paranormal, we know all too well that nothing is that straightforward. Could the Reverend now be taking a more covert stance when it comes to his overseeing of the synagogue?
Perhaps the only way to tell is to spend a night in the apartment alone and see for yourself.
Read More About Haunted Enfield
There’s lots more to the ghosts and legends of Enfield than you first might think. Why not check out our website for lots more spooky London lore, as well as true tales from up and down the UK and Ireland?
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