Was The Enfield Poltergeist Mother The Focus Of The Haunting?

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RICK HALE looks for a new angle to explain the notorious Enfield Poltergeist case.

Guy Lyon Playfair
Guy Lyon Playfair

A few years ago, when I was the co-host of Paranormal Underground Radio, I had the great pleasure to interview one of the greatest parapsychologists, Guy Lyon Playfair.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve respected The Society For Psychical Research and admired the work of Mr Playfair.

An author of several books concerning psychic phenomena, Playfair was the investigator of some of the most important poltergeist cases, including the infamous Enfield poltergeist.

For those who might not be familiar, in 1977 in the North London neighbourhood of Enfield, a single mother and her four children endured the terrifying violence of a poltergeist for several months. 

It is a classic case that is considered by many, including myself, on how we view the poltergeist, it’s activity and it’s cause. And it’s the cause that got me thinking, perhaps we need to rethink this famous case.

A demonic entity or vengeful spirit?

For centuries up to that point, the poltergeist was regarded as either a demonic entity or a vengeful spirit. 

However, with the advent of organized psychical research it is now believed that a poltergeist may be Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis, RSPK. 

Basically, RSPK is a psychic temper tantrum projected outwards from a focus (person) causing chaos in the physical environment. 

The Enfield Poltergeist Case was turned into a mini-series, called The Enfield Haunting.
The Enfield Poltergeist Case was turned into a mini-series, called The Enfield Haunting.

As far as parapsychologists were concerned, gone were the days of superstition concerning the poltergeist.

It is commonly believed that RSPK is caused by a young person, usually a girl, experiencing the trials and tribulations of puberty. 

And the Enfield case had just that.  Janet, one of the daughters, appeared to be the unwitting focus of the poltergeist. Although, I wasn’t there at the time, I was three, I do have a theory of who the real focus may have been.

As I mentioned, RSPK is widely believed to be caused by a young person. 

Similar Poltergeist Cases

However, there are a couple cases that come to mind where the focus was anything but a child. The poltergeist focus were very much adults.

The first case came out of Rosenheim, Germany in 1967. A 19 year old woman was hired as an office clerk in a local law office, and almost immediately strange activity began. Lights flickered, clocks and office furniture moved.

And strangely enough a time and date service was called several hundred times in a day. When the case was investigated by Dr Hans Bender, he determined this 19 year old woman was the RSPK focus. When she quit, the activity ceased.

In the same year, in Miami, Florida William Roll investigated a poltergeist breaking souvenirs in a warehouse. It was determined a 23 year old Cuban worker was the focus. And like the Rosenheim case, when he left, the activity abruptly ceased.

Enfield Poltergeist Children
The children of the Enfield Poltergeist case.

In these two famous cases the suspected RSPK agents were anything but pubescent girls.  Both people allegedly hated their jobs and their less then thrilling existences, which caused the psychic unrest. This brings us back to the Enfield case. If the daughter wasn’t the cause, then who?

Let’s consider the lesser known facts of the Enfield Poltergeist mother, Peggy Hodgeson.  A couple years prior, Peggy found herself divorced, penniless and the sole provider of four children. Two girls, a son with a speech problem and another son who had severe behavioural problems.

If anyone in this famous case had the required stress for an RSPK outburst, it was the mom. Peggy may have been the unwitting focus and not Janet , who has been suspected for 40 years.

Theorising that the mother was the RSPK focus is just speculation on a supernatural who done it.  And it could have been the daughter.

And lastly maybe the whole unpleasant episode was faked as some believe. I suppose we may never really know.

What do you think of the Enfield Poltergeist mother? Tell us in the comments below!


  1. Well, firstly..it is good to see someone who’s prepared to think ‘outside the box,’ as it were. For that, Richard Hale deserves credit.
    I believe that it is true that, many people who came to visit the house during the disturbances, came with a preformed opinion as to the cause. It is very disappointing to see how even those from the SPR, were quick to deign events as nothing more than the antics of schoolgirls having a joke. (I do not include Maurice Grosse or Guy Playfair in this analogy.) They had their reasons, of course.
    Protecting their own vested interests, seemed to play big in their judgments.
    The SPR is a strange beast, in that it takes no corporate viewpoint about paranormal matters. Many within its ranks make quite a good income from these matters and are eager to protect their reputation. Yet, none seemed to approach the situation with an attitude that the events could be genuine.
    Despite their self-proclaimed ‘expertise,’ none were able to think ‘outside the box.’
    Yet, it should have been understood (if their ‘expertise’ were to mean anything) that paranormal matters are inter-dimensional by nature. It is no good investigating these reported occurrences with an attitude of scepticism. Indeed, it is not enough to state that one has an ‘open mind.’ All that will happen, in those circumstances, is that our dominant dimension will reaffirm itself. Therefore; skeptics will find the things that reaffirm their viewpoints. ‘Agnostics’ will be led to a conclusion that there is not enough proof. That is the way of it. One must believe, and keep believing, if one is to get to the truth of these matters. By doing this, Maurice Grosse came close (I believe) to solving this case. Guy Playfair himself had an idea as to what the cause was. Both of those investigators, thought ‘outside the box.’
    Of course, the psychodynamics of the situation at Green Street provided an opening for inter-dimensional events to occur.
    The suggestion that Peggy Hodgson (the Matriarch of the family) was the focus; is an interesting suggestion. It has been mostly overlooked that she did, in fact, have psychic abilities. It was her that saw the ghostly hands that wrenched the cast iron fire-surround from the fire-place. Less well observed is the fact that she caught a glimpse of the entity, which cast marbles and lego around the living-room. In doing so, she was able to take evasive action. There is a photograph of her doing just that. In fact, she ducked as a projectile flew past her and hit the door at the end of the short passageway, which led from the kitchen to the bathroom. Nobody else in that place, journalists and photographer alike had any idea where the objects were coming from. One was hit upon the head by a lego brick; at speed and force. ‘Peggy’ could only have taken that evasive action, if she had seen the ‘entity.’
    For my part, I knew that she had seen me.

  2. Thank you Stuart. It’s just Rick by the way. But the idea that Peggy was the actual focus came to me after watching the documentary, “Interview With A Poltergeist.” I thought Mrs Hodgeson was present for just about every instance of the poltergeist’s activity. And she really was the most troubled.

  3. Hello Rick, and thanks for the reply.
    Most troubled, yes. Having the responsibility of the children, in conjunction with the activity, would indeed have made her the most troubled. She was to suffer a nervous-breakdown, because of this.
    There is another aspect to this case which has not been told. The ability of Peggy Hodgson to communicate telepathically. I have refrained from telling of this, because people may come to the wrong conclusion. Because of its delicate matter, I decided against relating the details of such upon the blog: ‘POLTERWOTSIT.’ In fact, I was in two minds about whether or not to tell of it at all. However, your astute observation has convinced me that this is something which should be told, and I intend to tell of it at a later date.
    I can tell you that: I was the first to hear the voice of ‘Bill.’
    I can also say that the issue of ‘Bill Wilkins’ is a red herring. It was not he, that spoke.

  4. First off, who is this? You’re greatly intriguing me. And in your opinion is the energy of RSPK so great that it could potentially draw in spirits or give life to spirits existing in a location?

  5. I’ve had a rethink since my last comment, and have decided that it would not be appropriate to relate the sensitive nature of Peggy’s telepathic communication.
    I am sure that some people would draw the wrong conclusion, and I am mindful of the sensibilities of the Hodgson family.
    So I apologise for suggesting that I would do so, earlier.

  6. I think the they were not faking it sure the girls were caught faking some but most of it was real I mean the couch was flipped a book of matches lit on there own the fireplace was ripped from the wall


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