The expansive story of the Hodgson family began on a late August night in 1977. Peggy Hodgson, a single mother of four, claimed to witness what would be the first of many strange and seemingly unexplainable occurrences. Occurences that seemed to center around her two oldest daughters, and more specifically her middle child, Janet Hodgson. What Peggy later told investigators, is that she witnessed a chest of drawers in the girls’ small bedroom slide, on its own accord, across the room and come to a stop in front of the pair of girls.
After moving the dresser back to its original position, Mrs. Hodgson was shocked when yet again, the chest slid across the room. Only this time, due to the force of some invisible weight, she was unable to move it. This incident was then accompanied by a disembodied knocking sound that would continue nearly the length of the entire fourteen months.
Two journalists fro m:The Daily Mirror” are dispatched to the house. They witness, but are unable to capture any tangible evidence of small objects floating in mid-air and being thrown around the living room.
Shortly after the floating object incident, the Society for Paranormal Research, or SPR, are contacted and two members by the name of Morris Grosse and Guy Lion Playfair are first to jump at the opportunity to investigate. After a short time of investigating in the home, both men are convinced that something genuinely paranormal is taking place. Loud noises of knocking, banging, and scratching in addition to the erratic movement of furniture, the major activity presented in the case, continue to escalate. SPR come to the conclusion that they are dealing with a particular kind of entity, one that they believe either manifests or feeds off of psychokinetic energy: a poltergeist.
One of the more shocking accounts, as retold by Grosse, details the destruction of the girls’ 300-pound fireplace in October of 1977. He explains having heard a loud banging, followed by the feeling of shaking. By the time he reached the girls’ bedroom, the fireplace had wrenched itself out of the wall, ripping a solid metal pipe in half. The only two witnesses present at the time were Margaret and Janet Hodgson, who claimed to have been sleeping.
London University is contacted and a student of experimental physics is sent to the house to test the girls’ ability to influence metal. Within a short period of time Janet managed to bend a spoon completely in half without ever coming into contact with the object itself. The investigators now believed most of the activity to be centered around Janet, who appears to be less and less frightened of the strange events as they continue to occur.
In late November, three months into the investigation, the now familiar disembodied knocking became persistent to the point of being categorized as intelligent. Grosse attempts to communicate with it, asking it to answer questions by rapping once or twice on the wall. The response that follows is a succession of 53 distinct knocks, all recorded on nearby tape recorder. It is around this time that Janet begins to fall into what Grosse describes as a trance-like state. She is said to have developed phenomenal strength while acting out violently towards herself and others. In order to prevent injuries, Janet is restrained.
On November 26th a doctor visits the house and injects Janet with 10 mg of Valium, sedating her. Half an hour later she’s found in her bedroom, on top of a dresser, kneeling on a wide clock radio with her head hanging towards the ground, legs in the air.
Graham Morris, photographer for The Daily Mirror, sets up a remote control camera in the girls’ bedroom that can be activated from anywhere in the house. Once activated, the camera would proceed to take a photograph every 4 seconds. He captures what appears to be a series of photographs of Janet being forcefully pulled out of her bed and thrown across the room to the foot of her sister’s bed.
In an even more controversial turn of events, Janet then begins to speak in a deep voice, like that of a man. Grosse begins asking Janet a series of questions, all of which are answered by “the voice”. Doubting that the voice is anything but a clever ventriloquism act, Janet’s mouth is filled with water and taped over. Grosse challenges the voice to continue. It does.
During an interview done by both investigators, the voice refers to itself as a man by the name of Bill, a previous resident of the home who had died of a hemorrhage in a chair on the first floor. Months later, Grosse is contacted by a man by the name of Terry Wilkins. Terry’s father had lived in the Hodgson’s home prior to the family, and had died of a hemorrhage in his favorite chair on the first floor. His name was Bill.
In July 1978, Janet is admitted to Maudsly Hospital for extensive psychiatric testing. Two months later she is given a clean bill of heath and returns home to a seemingly quiet house. Almost as quickly as they had begun, the strange happenings of the Hodgson home had finally ceased.