A poltergeist infestation is one of the most disturbing types of haunting one can experience. MJ STEEL COLLINS looks at the 10 most notorious British poltergeist cases.
1. Balornock Poltergeist, Glasgow
A case dating from 1975 that ran the range of stereotypical poltergeist activity from mysterious knockings, to airborne heavy furniture, and involved the Police, housing authorities, clergy and Glasgow’s ghost hunter, Archie Roy. It was thought that the case originated from a row between two neighbours, and the activity died down when one of the teenage boys at the centre of it left school, where he had been quite frustrated. Read more about the Balornock Poltergeist here.
2. Ardachie Lodge, Inverness
A peculiar case dating back to 1952, which followed the old stereotype of the new owners of a property reputed to be haunted ignoring warnings from the locals to their peril. The dream of the McEwan family to be pig farmers went awry when their newly installed housekeeper and her husband fled less than a fortnight into the job when they encountered inexplicable wall rapping, disembodied footsteps and the apparition of an old woman crawling round the hallway, all investigated by the Society for Psychical Research.
3. Black Monk of Pontefract, Yorkshire
The basis of the horror film, “When The Lights Went Out”, the property at 30 East Drive in the Yorkshire village of Pontefract is still meant to be haunted by whatever drove the resident family out during the 1960s, after encountering phenomena so terrifying, it saw their 12-year-old daughter being dragged upstairs by an invisible force. Read more about the case here.
4. Borley Rectory, Essex
Poltergeist activity was just one aspect of England’s most famous hauntings, where disconnected servant bells were rang by the resident spirits. Read the full details of the case here.
5. Enfield Poltergeist, London
The first case that comes to mind whenever poltergeists are mentioned; the Hodgson family had their lives turned upside down and found themselves in the centre of a media frenzy thanks to the extreme activity occurring in their unassuming London council house. Activity including the levitation of 11-year-old Janet, heavy armchairs and even books seemingly melting through the wall to the neighbours next door. Read Enfield investigator Guy Lyon Playfair’s reminiscence about the case here.
6. Mackenzie Poltergeist, Edinburgh
Said to be one of the best documented, and certainly one of the longest running, poltergeist cases in history, the Mackenzie Poltergeist lurks in the Black Mausoleum within the Covenanter’s Prison in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Those visiting the Prison run the risk of being burned, scratched, or even knocked unconscious, causing the Covenanter’s Prison to be locked to the public, unless they are taking part in a City of the Dead tour. Find out more about Scotland’s grouchiest polt here.
7. South Shields Poltergeist, Tyneside
In 2005, Mike Hallowell and Darren Ritson were called in to investigate the terrifying events experienced by a young family in South Shields. As well as scratching, throwing knives, and calling mobiles, the entity also had a penchant for writing on doodle boards belonging to the anonymous family’s three-year-old son.
8. Rerrick Poltergeist, Kirkcudbrightshire
This historic case centred on the small farmstead of the Mackie family in 1695, also the tail end of the witch-hunting era. The poltergeist tied a cow to the barn rafters, beat the children and almost destroyed the farmhouse with its onslaughts, which also included setting fires. Read more here.
9. Pete the Polt, Cardiff
A widely documented case from the 1990s, in which, a small family run garage became the centre of uproar when Pete the Polt moved in. Both police and customers witnessed the spook’s antics, which included vanishing money, before shredding it and sticking it to the ceiling – and when the garage changed premises, Pete came along too! Pete the Polt as featured on Strange But True?
10. Rutherglen Poltergeist, South Lanarkshire
In August 2016, the Scottish press was agog when news broke of poltergeist activity tormented a family living in Stonelaw Road. Phenomena, which was witnessed by the Police, included clothes being thrown across a room, lights going on and off, lampshades being turned upside down, and even more bizarrely, a small dog playing in the garden being moved to the top of a seven foot tall hedge!