Here in the United States, we might think we have the market cornered on famous haunted houses. After all, we lay claim to what's probably the most famous haunted house story, The Amityville Horror, which took place in New York and became the template from which all haunted-house clichés were based. But even beyond Amityville, we've got the basis for The Shining's Overlook Hotel, and even the house from The Conjuring was in Rhode Island. Starting Oct. 9, A&E is going to bring us a poltergeist/haunted house story from across the pond — but will it be as spooky? Is The Enfield Haunting based on a true story?
"True" is tricky, in that it's always hard to say for certain whether something is real when you're dealing with the supernatural. But, yes, The Enfield Haunting is based on a real account of goings-on that were witnessed in a Northern London home back in the 1970s. The miniseries is adapted from the book This House is Haunted: The True Story of the Enfield Poltergeist , by Guy Lyon Playfair, one of the paranormal researchers on the case. Here's what we know about the real-life case.
What Happened In The House?
Are we talking blood on the walls, demon possession, stuff flying around, or what? What kind of poltergeist are we dealing with, here? According to the miniseries, it's your typical (but, you know, terrifying) poltergeist kind of stuff: objects moving on their own, strange knocking sounds with no discernible source, people levitating. Most of the activity seems centered around the family's 11-year-old daughter, Janet, who also seemed to channel the voice of Bill Wilkins, who had died in the house earlier. If it were me, I'd move out the first time I saw something move on its own, but the family stayed long enough for there to be an investigation between 1977 and 1979.
I know we all love the Warrens from The Conjuring, who were based on a real-life Connecticut couple. Who is Enfield's version of the Warrens? In addition to Playfair, Maurice Grosse came and took stock of the haunting. Both were from the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) — and, man, do they have some pedigree. "Founded in 1882, the SPR counts two prime ministers—Balfour and Gladstone—as well as Freud, Jung and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle among its alumni," The Telegraph reports. OK, they sound legit. The Brits clearly take ghost-hunting very seriously.
What Makes This Case Different?
Because Grosse and Playfair were on the case, there's an incredible amount of documentation. You can even find some of the recordings online. I don't know if it counts as real evidence of the supernatural, but I wouldn't listen to them when I was alone if I were you.
The Ghost Was Busted, Right?
Maybe, maybe not. There were reportedly some weird occurrences during the making of the miniseries. "Every time our photographer came on set," Executive Producer Jamie Campbell told The Mirror, "his camera broke. It annoyed him, but terrified the rest of us." Cue the Twilight Zone intro music.
Is It A Hoax?
One skeptic, Deborah Hyde, told The Guardian she thinks so, but, if it is, it hasn't been proven. "No explanation other than the paranormal has ever been convincingly put forward," The Daily Mail reported. Of course, that doesn't mean it's 100 percent true, either. According to the Mail, Janet once told a reporter that sometimes she and her siblings would embellish the proceedings. "Oh yeah, once or twice [we faked phenomena], just to see if Mr. Grosse and Mr. Playfair would catch us," she said. "They always did." Did you feel that breeze just now, or was it just me?
Images: Sky UK Limited Copyright 2015 (4)