The Devil’s Playthings: 5 Notorious Cases of Violent Poltergeist Hauntings
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In parapsychology, a poltergeist (which is German for “noisy ghost”) is a type of spirit or other supernatural entity which is responsible for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved or destroyed and in rare cases even physical attacks on the living. The prospect of a living with a poltergeist in your own home is a terrifying one, and for the people involved in these stories, a nightmare that soon became a startling reality.

The following five cases of poltergeist activity have been noted in history not only for the ferocity of paranormal phenomena but also the violent nature of the attacks.

1. Thornton Health Poltergeist

For almost four years, a family in Thornton Health, England were tormented by a vicious poltergeist. It began when their radio began to spontaneously turn on during the night, blasting a foreign language station. During Christmas, an ornament went flying across the room and their tree started to shake violently. When entertaining guests, there were loud knocks at the door, before the door seemingly flung itself open of its own accord and all of the lights in the house turned on. Terrified the family turned to a local medium who confirmed the haunting and told the couple that the name of the poltergeist was Chatterton.

This spirit, the medium told them, had lived in the house during its life and now considered the family as trespassers. Research confirmed that there had indeed been a farmer by the name of Chatterton that had previously lived in the house. Unwilling to share their home, the family moved away and the haunting ended. Interestingly, since then no other residents have complained of any aggressive spirits or paranormal activity.

Related: 8 Blood-Curdling English Hauntings That Will Give You The Shivers

2. The South Shields Poltergeist

5 Cases of Violent Poltergeists That Shocked The World
The South Shields Poltergeist would regularly stack chairs each night.

The South Shields Poltergeist terrorized a family in the summer of 2006. It would stack chairs, open cabinets and slam doors like many other reported poltergeist cases. This one was unique, however, in that it seemed to fixate on and possess children’s toys. The couple found such things as a rocking horse hanging from the ceiling and a stuffed animal holding a box cutter. One night, there was a barrage of flying toys and 13 scratches mysteriously appeared on the husband’s back. The poltergeist would write threatening messages on a white board and even send text messages to the couple, usually stating its plan to kill them. Paranormal researchers confirmed the haunting, and although the names of the couple were never released we can only hope that they found a new place to live.

Related: 15 Eerie True Life Ghost Photographs to Give you the Shivers

3. The Pontefract Poltergeist

5 Cases of Violent Poltergeists That Shocked The World
30 East Drive in Pontefract, home of a poltergeist that terrorized the Pritchard family.

This poltergeist is believed to be the soul of a monk who was killed during the 16th century and is thusly nicknamed the Black Monk. This poltergeist haunted a family in the 1970s and is considered to be the most violent poltergeist in European history. The family nicknamed their ghost pal Fred, and Fred would often leave puddles on the floor, throw objects and smash eggs.  Not all of his actions were so harmless, as it’s claimed he also physically assaulted some of the residents. He carried the 12-year-old daughter, Diane, up the stairs by her neck, leaving a bruise in the shape of a handprint when he was done. He also attempted to strangle her with an electric cable. The family’s neighbor, Carol, also claims to have met and spoken to Fred, saying that he detests anyone who lives in that house. It is now empty, and Carol says that Fred promised to get rid of anyone who lives in that house within 12 months of them moving in. So far he has been true to his word.

4. The Enfield Poltergeist

5 Cases of Violent Poltergeists That Shocked The World
Janet Hodgson and her sister in their bedroom where most of the paranormal activity took place

Peggy Hodgson, a single mother of four, was terrorized by the now famous ‘Enfield Poltergeist’ in her home during 1977. It began with her children complaining that their beds were moving, but Peggy thought this was only their childish imaginations at work. This changed in the following days, as she began to see chests move across the room and drawers open and close before her eyes. Marbles and toys would fly around the room and would be too hot to pick up. She got her kids out of the house and had a neighbor check the premises. There was no one there. Peggy called the police when she heard knocking on the walls, and the officer who arrived heard them too. She even wrote about them in his report after witnessing a kitchen chair move across the room.

There were multiple witnesses to these events apart from the police officer. Maurice Grosse from the Society for Psychical Research claims to have seen marbles flying at him, doors opening and closing and strange temperature changes. Perhaps most interesting of all, Grosse also claims to have spoken directly with the poltergeist who spoke through Peggy’s daughter Janet. While possessed, Janet referred to herself as Bill who said he had died of a brain hemorrhage in the house some years before. As suddenly as the haunting began, the events stopped happening in 1978 and nothing supernatural has occurred at the house since.

Related: Interview With a Poltergeist: The True Story of the Enfield Haunting

5. Esther Cox’s Poltergeist

5 Cases of Violent Poltergeists That Shocked The World
The house rented by the Cox family in Amherst, Nova Scotia in the 1870s.

Esther Cox lived with her two sisters and her sister’s husband in 1878 when she began to be tormented by a violent poltergeist. It started to disturb her in her sleep, causing her body to swell and creating loud bangs. When her family came to investigate, they found that her blankets were stuck to the walls. Efforts to try to remove them were fruitless, but eventually, the spirit let them go. One night, Esther’s physician Dr. Carritte was observing her sleep when her pillow began to move from underneath her head. He tried to stop it, but the poltergeist was too strong. On the wall, he saw an invisible hand carving the words, “Ester Cox, you are mine to kill!” It was only when the poltergeist started setting fires, Esther left the house to try to rid herself of the spirit. It was in vain, as the poltergeist followed her to the local inn and reportedly stabbed her in the back with the innkeeper’s son’s pocket knife.

Eventually, Esther met Walter Hubbell, who suggested that they make a show out of the hauntings. Unfortunately, the spirit lay dormant when in front of crowds, but continued to torture Esther offstage.  When the show failed, Esther started working for a court clerk named Arthur Davidson. That was until Davidson’s barn burned down, a crime he blamed Esther for. When she told the judge that it was only her terrorizing poltergeist, the judge laughed and convicted her of arson. It’s not clear when or why, but it seems that this ghost tired of Esther. One day, it just seemed to leave her alone and never reappeared.

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