Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Review - the Enfield haunting - Part three
Part three marks the final episode in the series which has been documenting (and dramatising) the events that took place in a home in Enfield England during 1977 - 1979.
The haunting of Janet Hodgson began one night when knocking was heard on the walls of her bedroom, This quickly escalated to furniture moving and later voices coming from Janet herself. It was a widely publicised case at the time, and is still hotly contended among the parapsychology circles as to whether it was a genuine case of a poltergeist haunting or not.
We have seen as this case wore on how splintered the relationships became for Maurice and his wife, Janet and Maurice and the rest of the family. This episode deals with the relationships and gets to the heart of the haunting itself, not before things escalate for Janet to the point of being hospitalised.
This occurs when she encounters a small light in her room that burns her upon touching it; she describes it as being 'like Tinkerbell'. Unfortunately the head of the SPR (society for parapsychological research) is not convinced, which prompts Janet to tell the media that the whole thing was a hoax. However, Janet and sister Margret turn up to Maurice's house to beg him to come back, saying that they only went to the papers to get him and Guy back into the house.
Re-entering the home, Guy and Maurice decide to perform a 'disposession' on Janet, using the entity Joe's ashes in the ritual. Janet is tied to a chair as Guy begins. Instantly Joe comes through the little girl and causes her to shake violently and spit obscenities in his raspy voice. Not long after, the voices address Maurice in the guise of his own daughter Janet, who has passed; she tells him she doesn't forgive him. Then Joe's ashes fly across the room.
As the activity stops afterwards, it is believed that this is the end of the ordeal. Guy and Maurice decide it's time to leave the house, which Janet takes badly.
Being told to dispose of Joe's remaining ashes by his wife, Maurice takes them to a football field at night and spreads them on the ground. At that moment Janet is woken in her house and discovers her goldfish is dead. The family gets up for some hot cocoa and the doorbell rings, Janet goes to check and gets locked out of the house. She enters the backyard and sees herself sitting at the kitchen table with her family. The Janet inside begins to channel different voices and then shakes violently.
Home life for Maurice and his wife takes a turn for the worst when he races off to the hospital. Janet has been taken in after breaking her thumb in the last violent attack. Whilst strapped to the bed, she is burnt by the 'Tinkerbell' and then medicated heavily. When the doctors want to perform an ECT on her, Janet's mother calls it off by telling them that the whole thing was a joke that had gone too far, to the protestations of both Maurice and Guy.
However it is clear when they return home that things are getting worse - an incident in the bathroom has Janet cowering from flying tiles.
It dawns on Maurice that both he and Janet are both frustrated at events, so he takes her for a drive to the local air strip and encourages her to scream out her anger. They both scream: he for his daughter, she for her father abandoning her. Janet unlocks the puzzle while they are visiting Maurice's daughter in the graveyard. When she enters the house she seeks out Guy to let him know that Maurice is the one keeping the poltergeist here.
The original medium is reluctantly called back in and gets straight to work. Many voices begin to emanate from both her and Janet simultaneously, then Maurice gets the contact he wants. His daughter comes through and through conversation they get the closure they both need, She passes over and takes the rest of the spirits with her,
This episode dealt with Maurice and his daughter, but didn't really approach why it began in the first place. In the end it was more about Maurice than it was about Janet and although that tied this story up nicely, did not parallel what happened to the real Janet afterwards. Also, in real events, Janet and her sister were caught faking evidence on a number of occasions and this too was not covered in the story. The makers of the Enfield haunting can perhaps be forgiven though as although the show was covering the poltergeist activity, it understudied human relationships and grief. Perhaps the reality of the activity was slightly irrelevant in the end, and by not studying the grey areas of believability allowed the story to unfold as it did. A very interesting watch and a delve into the world of the psyche.