This House is Haunted

4 out of 5 stars
This House is Haunted: The Amazing Inside Story of the Enfield Poltergeist
Guy Lyon Playfair (Guildford: White Crow, 2011).

This House is HauntedThis book has become – for better or worse – the standard template for what people regard as ‘a poltergeist infestation’. But what took me by surprise is the extent to which it was also a ‘high strangeness’ case. Because there wasn’t just the ‘usual’ poltergeist stuff, but apparitions, weird synchronicities, demonic possession, and even – at one point – a whiff of UFO-related stuff. A delightful mess of weirdness!

I got a bit pissed off by the investigators’ assumption that the case had anything to do with spirits of dead people, but after a certain point they seemed to disabuse themselves of that unwarranted hypothesis. I was also annoyed by the constant arguments for authenticity along the lines of, ‘X didn’t strike me as the sort of person who would do Y; therefore X didn’t do Y’. You just can’t make that argument, because anyone can do anything! Why not? And if weird stuff is going on, this is quite likely a possible cause for it.

Overall, some of the evidence collected seemed to me pretty strong. But what was it evidence for?

Loved it more than The South Shields Poltergeist, which reads as a kind of homage to Enfield in many respects. If This House is Haunted has its own, secret inspiration, my guess would be The Exorcist (the film appeared just a few years before it was written).

This book is a paranormal classic. Loved it. Recommended!

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