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The Enfield Poltergeist Tapes: One of the most disturbing cases in history. What really happened?   The Enfield Poltergeist Tapes: One of the most disturbing cases in history. What really happened?
Dr Melvyn J. Willin

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Do not buy this book if you want to read a biased account of the famous Enfield poltergeist case from 1977 through to 1978. There are many other choices you could make which will either try to convince you of the genuineness of the phenomena produced or its fraudulent origins according to the interpretation of the authors concerned. I do not mind whether you have a wide-open mind or a totally shut one, since I shall not be trying to convince you one way or the other.

Do buy this book if you want to know what really happened!

I have listened and transcribed all of the several hundred audio tapes that were made by Maurice Grosse and Guy Playfair during their investigation of the alleged poltergeist case that took place in Enfield some 40 years ago and I shall present, in chronological order, what occurred. It will then be your decision as to whether you believe the phenomena came from spirit entities; psychic forces; mistaken interpretations; hallucinations; naughty children or any other source you might wish to present. I shall strive very hard not to be influenced by what I have read, however intelligent it might be, and instead rely on my ears to describe what was happening via the tapes.

I shall leave out the many hours of general conversation that took place between the parties concerned since I do not believe that the reader will be particularly interested in the weather; special offers in the local supermarket; or what happened in Coronation Street…except, of course, when any of these discussions may have been pertinent to the phenomena. I shall include some of the more humorous occurrences since the events occasionally demanded this. Perhaps some light relief from the sometimes all-pervading chaos. Because of their age some of the audio tapes were corrupted beyond recognition and at other times the sound quality was poor. I have therefore had to listen very carefully to unravel the indistinct voices especially when people were often talking at the same time or were not specifically identified by name. There is substantial screaming at times which was difficult to distinguish between the children concerned, so I may have attributed the wrong name to a ‘screamer’ at times … sorry, but I’ve tried to get it right! The language used is extremely crude, abusive and explicit at times, so the reader should be aware that parts of the book should be ‘X’ rated, as films used to be in bygone days.

If all this hasn’t put you off then read on and prepare to possibly find out what happened in Enfield from August 31st 1977 onwards.


CHAPTER ONE: The Grosse/Playfair Tapes
CHAPTER TWO: The Report of the Enfield Poltergeist Investigation Committee (EPIC)
CHAPTER THREE: The personal thoughts of Maurice Grosse
CHAPTER FOUR: Comparisons and Contrasts between the ‘Enfield Poltergeist Case’ and the ‘Mount Rainier’ Case
CHAPTER FIVE: Forty years on
CHAPTER SIX: Discussion


“The Enfield poltergeist became and has remained one of the best-known cases of its kind, not least perhaps because its somewhat dramatic nature and its human interest have sustained several television programmes and assorted publications.  It has, however, been eyed in less friendly fashion by various of the more austere members of the psychical research community and certain other persons of a sceptical disposition. The result has been a good deal of sometimes acrimonious dispute. In this situation Dr.Willin’s new volume is particularly welcome. It contains a considerable amount of hitherto unpublished information – indeed quite possibly more first-hand information about the case than has ever appeared before in one volume. And its approach to the numerous clashes of opinion is commendably balanced. It is one of the rare books to which one can truthfully apply the hackneyed claim that within its designated area it is essential reading”.

~ Dr Alan Gauld, author of Poltergeists.

“The Enfield poltergeist Case, a much-publicised set of events, needs occasional fresh scrutiny and analysis. This study by Dr Willin fulfils this need admirably; there is a fresh and close examination of the audio records, and interviews with witnesses, which re-evaluate and enrich the amount of available data. This is a painstaking investigation that will become an essential part of the literature”.

~ Professor John Poynton, Vice-President, Society for Psychical Research.

“Dr Willin has performed a valuable service in transcribing and presenting Maurice Grosse’s Enfield poltergeist tapes so that readers can judge for themselves how far the material supports the positive views expressed by Guy Lyon Playfair in This house is haunted”.

~ Mary Rose Barrington, chairman of the Enfield Poltergeist Investigation Committee, author, Talking About Psychical Research: Thoughts on Life, Death and the Nature of Reality.

“The Enfield poltergeist is one of the most famous psychical research investigations of the twentieth century. But between the sensationalised accounts in the media and the more sceptical (unpublished) report of the Society for Psychical Research, where lies the truth? As the archive liaison officer for the Society, custodian of the tape recordings from the case, and a friend of the primary investigators, Dr Willin is in a unique position to present the evidence, so that readers can decide for themselves. We may never know for sure but the result is an engrossing perspective on this unique case”.

~ Professor Bernard Carr, professor of mathematics and astronomy at Queen Mary University of London.

About the author

Dr Willin has researched alleged paranormal phenomena for over twenty-five years and has two doctorates in related aspects of the subject. He is the Honorary Archives Liaison Officer and a Council member of the Society for Psychical Research and a consultant to the Ghost Club. He has published many articles and several books on the theme of psychical research. He has been the custodian of the ‘Enfield poltergeist’ tapes since the deaths of Maurice Grosse and Guy Lyon Playfair and he has transcribed and digitalized the complete collection. He knew both men personally and shared many hours of conversation with them about the case.

Publisher: White Crow Books
Published June 2019
206 pages
Size: 5 x 8 inches / 203 x 127 mm
ISBN 978-1-78677-074-5
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also see
This House is Haunted   This House is Haunted
Guy Lyon Playfair
Poltergeists   Poltergeists
Alan Gauld and A. D. Cornell
Talking about Psychical Research: Thoughts on Life, Death and the Nature of Reality   Talking about Psychical Research: Thoughts on Life, Death and the Nature of Reality
Mary Rose Barrington
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