The Thornton Heath poltergeist case study

Location: Thornton Heath, South London, England

Date: 1972 - 1975

The Thornton Heath poltergeist case is not to be confused with the 1938 case of the same name, which was investigated by Dr Nandor Fodor!

Nearly 40 years ago, in Thornton Heath, England, a family was tormented by poltergeist phenomena that started one night in late August 1972, when they were woken in the middle of the night by a blaring bedside radio that had somehow turned itself on – tuned to a foreign-language station. This was the beginning of a string of events that lasted nearly four years. A lampshade repeatedly was knocked to the floor by unaided hands. During the Christmas season of 1972, an ornament was hurled across the room, smashing into the husband’s forehead. Apparantly as he flopped into an armchair, the Christmas tree began to shake violently. As Christmas became New Years there were footsteps in the bedroom when there was no one there, and one night the couple's son awoke to find a man in old fashioned dress staring threateningly at him. The poor boy lay frozen with fear and confusion, until he managed to duck under his cover and close his eyes - for quite a long time I'd guess! The family's fear grew when, as they entertained friends one night, there was a loud knocking at the front door, the living room door was then flung open and all the houses lights came on.

Having the house blessed sadly failed to rid the house of the poltergeist phenomena. Objects flew through the air, loud noises were heard and the family would sometimes hear a noise which suggested a large piece of furniture had crashed to floor. When they went to investigate, nothing would be found.

A medium who was consulted told the family that the house was haunted by a farmer of the name Chatterton, who considered the family trespassers on his property. An investigation bore out the fact that had indeed lived in the house in the mid-18th century. The medium sensed that Chatterton's wife now joined in in causing mayhem, and often the tenant's wife would be followed up the stairs at night by an elderly gray-haired woman wearing a pinafore and with her hair tied back in a bun. If looked at, she would disappear back into the shadows. The family even reported seeing the farmer appear on their television screens, wearing a black jacket with wide, pointed lapels, high-necked shirt and black cravat.

After the family moved out of the house, the poltergeist activity ceased, and none have been reported by subsequent residents.

Overall, a chilling, unexplained and famous case. If you have any thoughts to share, please get in touch via the contact section!

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