Ghost Stories

Thornton Heath, London 1970s haunting terror, still puzzling to this day


RICK HALE explores a 1970s South London haunting that had all the hallmarks of a poltergeist, but it wasn’t… it was something worse!

It has become popular in recent years to use the term ‘poltergeist’ when describing any unpleasant spirit.

Although human spirits may use psycho-kinesis to move objects, that still doesn’t make them a poltergeist. This can be somewhat disconcerting when trying to investigate a haunting.

Such was the case with an aggressive haunting that occurred in Thornton Heath, South London from 1970-1974.

This case is often referred to as a poltergeist, however, angry spirits were said to be involved at the center of the activity. Spirits who were hell-bent on making the lives of a young family a living hell.

In August 1970, a family in Thornton Heath were enjoying a much needed rest when the inexplicable tore them from their slumber.

A radio turned itself on and proceeded to blare a foreign language station.Thinking this was nothing more than a strange occurrence, the man of the house unplugged the radio and went back to bed. Little did they know this was only the beginning of many sleepless nights and terror filled days.

As the days gave way to months, other strange, even violent activity began happening. Pictures fell from walls, glasses and plates flew out of the cupboards and a lamp lept from a table and shattered over the head of the man of the house.

A few days before Christmas, the family watches in terror as the Christmas tree violently shook and the ornaments flew off in all directions shattering against the walls.

To the student of anomalous phenomena, this sounds like the family had fallen victim to a poltergeist.

This, however, was not the case when the sound of heavy footsteps and voices were heard on the second floor. And as in most cases, the family diligently investigated and found nothing.

Family and friends were not spared the wrath of the vengeful spirit.

In an attempt to alleviate the terror infesting their home, the family invited friends for a night of food and drink.

As everyone sat at the table enjoying themselves a loud bang issued from the front door. When a member of the family went to open the door it blew open with a violent force. All the lights in the house switched on then off, bathing the house in an eerie, silent darkness. That night, the family came to the conclusion they needed help, and quickly.

The next day they contacted a local church and a priest was immediately dispatched to the home.  A blessing of the property was performed, unfortunately it didn’t seem to work. The entity stepped up its onslaught of terror on the family.

It banged furiously on the walls, loud crashes came from the upstairs rooms and a terrifying apparition appeared bringing with it a feeling of cruel malevolence.

Following the failed blessing, the family was put in touch with a spiritualist medium. When the medium arrived she immediately sensed the presence of two spirits in the home.  The medium explained the spirits were a farmer and his wife named Chatterton.

The Chattertons, considered the family to be trespassers and attempted to make them leave using any method at their disposal.  The medium tried to get the spectral couple to leave, but they flatly refused.  This was their house and no one was going to make them leave. Even if they were dead.

Finally, after four long years the family could endure no more.  They packed up all their worldly possessions and abandoned the home they worked so hard for. The ghosts that relentlessly terrified them got what they wanted, their house back.

Rick Hale




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