Sunday, 28 February 2010

Sssshhhh! What was that?


Apologies in advance, but this week’s post is going to be shorter than usual. The reason being that, sadly, with all that’s been going on recently I really haven’t had a chance to research anything.

The reason I haven’t had a chance to research anything is because I got engaged this week. To my girlfriend. Or fiancée now I guess. Either way “the future ex-Mrs. Davies” has now officially become the future Mrs. Davies and I’m very happy. Problem is I’ve been in party mode ever since then and so haven’t had the energy to sit down and look stuff up (Gee Note: On the other hand, I have had the energy to dance in my kitchen at the drop of the hat and create cocktails with an alcohol level that would kill a marmoset. Which isn‘t very constructive I grant you. It is however a lot of fun)

Regardless I feel a bit bad not having done anything worth blogging about this week. So in an effort to appease you good folks who read this bad boy week in week out, I sat myself down and watched Most Haunted Live last night.

Most Haunted Live was beamed across Britain from the spooky location of Golden Grove Mansion in Carmarthen. An old abandoned building inhabited by bats and with plaster crumbling all around, Golden Grove fits the bill as far as a decent haunted house goes. And so the Most Haunted team bravely did what they do best by turning the lights off and screaming when a stairwell creaks.

An argument could be made that if you’ve seen one episode of Most Haunted then you’ve seen them all, and for better or worse last nights show was no exception. Dragging a random medium around while they blatantly make things up on the spot? Check. Yvette Fielding enquiring about a supposedly evil spirit by going “So when you say “terrible things”, do you mean he wants to do terrible things to us” with a just a wee bit too much enthusiasm? Check. Karl Beattie heading out of the room, shouting that he’s seen “a figure” only for it to have amazingly disappeared (Gee Note: Like Lindsey Lohan when it’s time to pay a bar bill) at the point the camera crew arrive? Double check.

Despite all this going on, the star of the show remains Lesley Smith. Allegedly brought in to provide historical analysis on both the characters that could be haunting the building and to see how on the ball the guest psychic is, Lesley instead brings an A game of wailing melodrama to the proceedings.

Looking a bit like a school dinner lady who’s been given a shopping voucher for M&S, on the hour mark Lesley got dragged down to the basement in order to help out with the investigation. Almost immediately she became the most entertaining thing on screen, complaining about being told not to scream. “Not to scream? How can you stop yourself if you get a bit jumpy?”. This was then followed up 30 seconds later when she exclaimed “It’s all very dark, very sinister, and the whole time we’ve been down here there’s the feeling we’re being followed.” (Gee Note: Well for a start it’s very dark because you’ve turned all the lights off. Secondly, the whole time? The whole time? You’ve only been there for less than a minute for God‘s sake. It’s like watching a 100 metres sprint and complaining it takes way too long. “I mean it‘s all bang run run run. Boooorrrrring.”). It’s stuff like this that makes one believe that Lesley’s real purpose on the show is to make everyone else as anxious as possible.

This again reared it’s head only a couple of moments later when Fielding had been directed to the wine cellar by Lesley after she felt some “movement” in there.

“Of course thinking about it,” said the Smithster “There could be rats in there”.

“Oh great Les. Great. Thanks very much.” replied Fielding “What did you go and say that for?”. (Gee Note: So you’ll quite happily hunt for poltergeists, but rats terrify you? Wait… what?)

“Well it’s just a thought. We know there’s bats here. Could be rats as well.”.

The main event though was when the door to the basement mysteriously locked while the ladies where already freaking the f*** out about a knocking sound in the wall or something. Lesley scuttled off camera, screamed like a banshee (Gee Note: Obviously she got a bit jumpy), and when we next caught up with her she was pounding on the door hysterically. And then, in a moment of pure genius, she spun around and with enough venom to put a King Cobra to shame called the “ghost” a bastard.

She called the ghost… a bastard.

I don’t really know if I have the words to describe how awesome this was. I mean a middle aged woman swearing at, for all intents and purposes, thin air on national television? How do you even try to quantify that?

Suffice to say, Lesley Smith at that moment became my new favourite thing on television.

Anyway, I’m off to make more cocktails and to pack for a trip to Stratford to celebrate the whole engagement thing. I’ll see you on the flip side.

*******************Bleary 11pm EDIT********************************************

Stop the press. I just found out there's a ghost hunt held nightly in Stratford. I asked the future ex-Mrs. Davies if we were going to go on it she jokingly said "No". Except she wasn't laughing. Or smiling. In fact she looked pretty darn serious about it. So of course we're going. Whether I come back with a fiancée or not remains to be seen.

Find out what happens next week.

Same bat-time.

Same bat-channel.

(Gee Note: You know I've wanted to do that for, like, ever and never actually found a reason to until today. Seriously, I'm having the best time. Getting engaged. Doing the whole Adam West Batman routine. I only need to invent a way to make clothes you can no longer fit in to turn in to bacon sandwiches and my life will in fact be complete.)

Saturday, 20 February 2010

He told them I was valiant, and that became my name.

Wow. Tiger Woods cheated on his wife? When did this happen? You'd think it would be a bigger story.

One of the things many people enjoy doing is testing themselves on a regular basis. Like jumping off tall structures with a piece of elastic tied around their ankles, or running from one specific point to another and seeing if they did it any quicker than the last time they tried. I'm not one of those people (Gee Note: I mean why would I need to test myself? I already know what the result would be. That's right ladies. Awesome). Still this past week I decided to put my good self through it's paces by doing something that, if I'm honest, terrified me to my core. I was going to watch an entire episode of American Idol completely sober.

Now this initially presented two obvious problems. One, there's only so much of judge Kara Diag… Diogua... Deogi… Kara the song writing lady I can stomach before pitching a fit and throwing things at my television. It's the way she incessantly bobs her head from side to side when she's listening to the contestants sing, like she's being worked from underneath by Jim Henson's Creature Shop or something. That and her blatantly patronising use of the term "Honey" every 30 seconds when someone falls below her lofty expectations at the auditions. You know, the type of person who turns up wearing cymbals on their knees and murders a rendition of My Way, completely oblivious to how useless they are? "Oh honey," she'll say "I really don't think singing is for you." When what she really means is "Honey forget singing, procreating isn't for you. No really, I haven't seen anyone this pitiful since watching Jersey Shore. Your best bet is to kill yourself right now". In fact considering the ratings slump Idol is going through at the moment I'm surprised they haven't tried that already just to see if anyone would bite.

Secondly, the law of diminishing returns appears to have struck once again, as this years Idol line up is worse than ever before. Throughout the entire process not one single person has stood out. Last year we had the lunacy of Norman Gentle (Gee Note: Seriously, any guy who can scare the crap out of Paula Abdul by taking an ill advised leap from the stage to the judges table is money in my book) and the amazingly odious Tatiana Del Toro, let alone Adam Lambert and his campy shtick (Gee Note: Campy shtick? Ooo er). This year we've got… umm… well… there's a guy with a tattoo on his neck. And a big dude who had a baby recently. Oh and that woman. You know, the one with the thing. Yeah her.

See this is why it remains impossible to stay sober during this programme. Get drunk and you can have a whale of a time shouting at the vacuous masses as they're herded on to your screens, complaining that the warbling mess in front of you simply doesn't have the "stones" to carry off that tune (Gee Note: As if I would know. I mean I made a date cry by singing at them once. And not in a good way either. More in a "please stop doing that or I'm going to stick a fork in my eye" kinda way). Sadly if you don't get drunk you end up bored out of your mind, while each identikit Mariah/Justin wannabe wins over everyone in the live studio audience and leaves you at home feeling slightly empty inside.

Speaking of empty on the inside, The Sun recently caused all kinds of waves in the paranormal community. Now for our overseas readers who aren't familiar with such things (Hi…er… Jenny's mum and dad. Or should that be mom and dad? I don't know. Americans confuse me. I mean why call mathematics "math" instead of "maths"? Makes no sense. Anyway...) The Sun is pillow stuffing passing itself off as a newspaper. Dedicated to bringing the reading public the best in celebrity scandal - as well as flag waving, chest pounding, beer swilling nationalism - it takes the meaning of "lowest common denominator" to a brand new level.

By it's nature however The Sun is a fabulous research tool for blogs such as this. Seriously anything with even a whiff of the spooky about it is eagerly pounced upon by the hacks there. For example, remember the creepy gnome business a couple of years back, where a group of Argentinean teenagers videoed, well, this:

Well that was brought to the world's attention largely by The Sun screeching about how an "Evil Gnome was TERRORIZING a small Argentinean village". Sadly it was discovered that this video was a fake when the teenagers Youtube account was unearthed with two very different "takes" of the footage.

Still you can't keep a bad news rag down, and The Sun has continued to bravely ply us with half baked paranormal stories every other week or so. The 8th Jan 2009 report that a UFO had ploughed in to a wind turbine in Lincolnshire, being no exception. So excited by this event were the journalists at this esteemed organ that they lead with "A WIND turbine stood wrecked yesterday with one of its giant 65ft blades torn off - after it was hit by a UFO." even though there was actually no evidence to support a collision with anything and that the likely cause was water retention and freezing cold temperatures.

Anyway, on the 15th Feb this year The Sun out did themselves yet again with the following "exclusive".

SCREAMY WINDOW (Gee Note: Yuk yuk yuk)

A PALE young woman appears at the window of a ruined castle - in a photo said to show a GHOST.

The spooky snap was taken at a building hailed as one of Britain's most haunted.

And the shadowy girl appears to be on the first floor, in what used to be a magnificent banquet hall.

The floor in that room crumbled away years ago, meaning there is nothing for a person to stand on.

Company boss Kevin Horkin took the photo at Gwrych Castle in Abergele, North Wales, but only saw the ghostly figure when he downloaded his pictures later.

Kevin, 48, said: "I did feel a presence there. It was a cold day when I visited, but it seemed warm near the building.

"There seems to be a sense of tragedy there."

Kevin, believes the figure is someone who once lived at the castle. He plans to investigate further with a ghost-hunting team.

The North Wales Paranormal Research Group says many sightings have already been recorded at Gwrych.

And, like that, off to the races we went.

Basically here's the hook up on the downlow. Gwrych Castle was built in 1819 by Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh (Gee Note: A man who obviously believed that the more surnames he had the better). In it's topsy turvey existence it changed hands many times. In 1989 the Castle was sold to an American businessman, who in 1996 allowed it to be used as a location for the film Prince Valiant, starring Ron Perlman and Warwick Davis. No, I don't remember it either. After that point however the American businessman apparently lost interest in his building (Gee Note: I blame that MTV. Kids today. So easily distracted) and since then it has become derelict, having been abused by travellers, vandals, and the weather.

In 2006 the site was purchased by hoteliers Clayton Homes. With a ton of fan fair they announced that the ruined structure was to be given a £6,000,000 make-over and turned in to a five star luxury hotel. Except this didn't happen, mainly because when the global economic crisis turned up it kicked Clayton Homes's ass harder than one of those Kung Fu monks who break bricks with their eye lashes. So in August 2009 Clayton Homes went in to administration and Gwrych Castle began being pimped around as an asset to be sold.

Which is where we come in. You see The Sun mentioned that Kevin Horkin was a "company boss", but didn't really go in to too much detail as to which line of business exactly. With good reason too, as according to the North Wales Daily Post Kevin Horkin's line of business appears to be, well, psychics.

You see this Kevin Horkin is also the same Kevin Horkin who is the managing director of “Parallel Management”, a management service for psychics doing the rounds on the television and stage circuits. Horkin has recently been touring around the country looking for a suitable spot to set up an academy for psychics, which was what brought him to Gwrych to begin with.

Now I’m not saying that Kevin Horkin faked the photo of Emma Watson a ghostly figure peering out the window of Gwrych Castle. But the man’s own website claims that his “wealth of experience encompasses expertise in artist management, events management, sponsorships, public relations, media relations, marketing and artist liaison.”. And, you know, nothing boosts the profile of someone who makes money out of those that contact the dead more than proving ghosts exist.

So the lesson for today kids is that while Horkin may, for all we know, be on the level as far as the Gwrych Ghost goes the truth is it's pretty tough to believe him when he has a vested interest in the publicity it generates.

That and the next time you try reading The Sun, you may want to get drunk first.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Rebecca, I want you back on shore now. Get dressed immediately.

You know, I have a soft spot for things that are just a bit crap

For example, yesterday the Welsh rugby team defeated their Scottish counterparts in what was one of the most dramatic matches in living memory. Trailing with five minutes to go and with no hope of recovery the men in red, er, recovered and managed to win the damn thing with the very last play of the game. Which in turn led to me getting very very drunk and singing songs about beer and women until the early hours of the morning.

So today I’m stationed on my sofa with a bottle of Lucozade, trying to fend off a hangover  like John Mayer and a crowd of exceedingly angry black people (Gee Note: By the way, earlier this week John Mayer broke down during a concert and tearfully apologised for his comments in that now infamous Playboy interview. Amazingly his heartfelt words somehow managed to make him seem like an even bigger douche bag than he did before. Even more amazingly, ten days ago I had absolutely no idea who John Mayer was. Now thanks to some intensive research I know that John Mayer is… a bit of a dick. Knowledge is power my friends. Knowledge is power). In an effort to create a calming and peaceful environment I’ve decided to raid my DVR for something soothing to watch. Valiantly stepping up to the mark is “Curse of The Komodo”.

“Curse of The Komodo” is the latest in a long line of schlock low budget horror movies presented to us by the wonder that is Zone Horror. Zone Horror has quickly established itself as my favourite cable channel, even more so than the insanely named “Discovery Shed” station (Gee Note: Seriously how great is that? What’s better is that the entire schedule of Discovery Shed today is seemingly dedicated to “Record Breaking Fish”. Now I have no idea what this means, but if it involves a tuna trying to see how much it can deadlift it might turn out to be my favourite television event of the year). Really it all started a couple of nights ago when they aired the triumph that was MOSQUITO. A creature feature of the highest order, Mosquito warns us of the dangers of allowing cheap oversized insect puppets to run amuck in a small Midwestern town. It also features ol’ Leatherface himself Gunnar Hansen as a comedic militant hillbilly (Gee Note: Because nothing, and I mean nothing, is funnier than a crazy redneck. The only thing that comes close is when a man dresses up in women’s clothing. Oh tee hee hee. I can feel my sides splitting already). Spewing out such Oscar worthy lines as “You’re the animal expert. You tell me.” and “If I wasn’t having such a bad day I’d kill you myself!”, it’s a veritable tour de force of a performance.

This success was followed up the next night by THEY CRAWL. A cross between a really weak episode of CSI: Miami and a feature length version of The X Files, They Crawl manages to be fantastically useless on almost every front. It also features a cameo from Mickey Rourke, during his “wilderness” years, where he manages to chew the scenery for five minutes before throwing a wardrobe at the head of a woman and running away (Gee Note: I swear I’m not making this up). All in all They Crawl is worth it for the scene where a bus driver is attacked by some obviously irritated cockroaches, only for the rabid insects to never appear on screen. Instead the poor sod has to pretend that his leg is being stripped to the bone off camera, while writhing around the floor in agony and grimacing for all he’s worth. And despite what it might lack in execution, to be fair you can’t help but give the dude an “A” for effort.

Anyway I’m now about 20 minutes in to Curse of The Komodo, and so far it hasn’t disappointed one bit. We’ve had a poorly CGI’d giant lizard, a bunch of marines getting chomped on one by one, and an astonishingly macho conversation along the lines of  “You sent those men in not knowing what we had down there? You sonofabitch!”. Excellent isn’t the word.

Strangely my love of all things a tad rubbish isn’t just confined to horrible movies. Take my favourite alien contactee story for example. Now contactee tales generally fall in to two separate categories. Either the subject is somehow kidnapped by a bunch of extra terrestrials, who then proceed to prod and probe the unfortunate human in some kind of backwards medical experiment. Or the contactee is minding their own business when all of a sudden an alien turns up and proceeds to help them elevate to a higher state of consciousness. You know, like our good friend Ultimate Thor.

But the story of Buck Nelson is neither of those things, hence the reason why I love it so much. Basically Nelson, born in 1894, was an American farmer who in 1954 claimed that a flying saucer had landed on his farm. Two humanoid “friendly spacemen” stepped out of it, and naturally Nelson offered them a drink. So over some biscuits and a nice cup of tea, the visitors explained they were here to spread the “Twelve Laws of God” (Gee Note: You know, like those Jehovah Witnesses who go door to door. Except they’re from Venus. And the travel around in a woovy bezerk spaceship instead of a beat-up hatchback. So, you know, not really like Jehovah Witnesses at all when you think about it). They then convinced Nelson to go with them to Mars, where he was given a 385 lb Venusian dog named Bo.

Alas on the trip back to Earth, Bo lost all his hair due to “cosmic rays” somehow, and Nelson would go on to claim that it was too shy to be publicly exhibited (Gee Note: And to be honest if I was an overweight alien mutt suffering from premature baldness, I’d have confidence issues as well). And that’s why this account of them gosh darned extra terrestrials arriving on our planet unannounced is so unique. No abductions, no getting strapped to a table, no finding oneself spiritually. Instead it revolves around a pamphlet entitled “Why God’s love is the best love of all”, and an animal that might well be a cow with above average intelligence for all we know (Gee Note: Although really it's debatable if a dog is more intelligent than a cow. For example throw a stick for a dog and it will go through all the effort of charging after it at rate of knots and bringing it back to you. Throw a stick for a cow and it will just stand there and moo. Which one is smarter?)

Anyway the reason I bring all this up is that you can imagine my delight when two days ago the Independent Newspaper published a story about a geographical “triangle”, in which all kinds of strange disturbances are causing undue concern for travellers. However this triangle isn’t located in Bermuda. Nuh uh daddio, this one is in the exotic location of, um, Windermere.

Now Windermere is a small town in Cumbria, approximately 1 km from the picturesque lake it shares it’s name with. It has numerous museums, but really it’s main tourist attraction is that it’s near a pretty body of water. When it comes to sleepy towns, Windermere is as docile as they come.

But wait. According to the Independent there’s something very strange going on in them there hills. In a small section of the town it appears that electronic car fobs are, well, failing miserably. People are finding themselves unable to lock or unlock their cars successfully. In one instance a security van was forced to release a distress signal after it became apparent that the cash it had collected wasn’t being safeguarded by it’s electronic security system.

So what’s to blame? Well Anthony Dean, manager of an off licence caught slap bang in the middle of all this chaos, has a theory. It’s the traffic lights, recently installed by the local council. Says Anthony, "One driver was really panicking about it as she couldn't open her car and she was in a rush, so I said 'Don't worry about it, I'll help you,' and after about 10 minutes of trying, I said, 'Just go and press the crossing button at the traffic lights.' When they changed back from red to flashing amber the car door opened. It just seems to pick a car at random and there's no logic to it, no particular type of car or time of day."

Now, excluding the fact that the above hypothesis doesn’t make a blind bit of sense, that all seems reasonable enough. Others disagree however. One such person is the town centre manager Paul Holdsworth. "My guess is that it's some piece of cordless technology that's not working properly in one of the buildings around here and that is causing interference, but I just don't know. Other theories being put forward in the town are interference from CB radios and even the presence of a malevolent ghost." (Gee Note: I love the fact that they mention it could be a ghost as if it’s a completely rational explanation. I’m going to start doing stuff like that myself from now on. “So, um, yeah my fence fell over. Now it could have been that I did a really piss poor job in putting it up and a strong gust of wind blew it down. Or, on the other hand, it could have been Bigfoot. It really is a mystery.”). 

Yet another theory comes from The Society of Motor Manufacturers, who (Gee Note: Weirdly sound like a sinister organization?) issued to following statement.

"These short-range radio frequencies are shared with other industries such as the toy industry, so it could be that those are interfering with the fobs."

So it’s either traffic lights. Or CB radios. Or GI Joe. Or something much more sinister. According to local resident Judith Ainsworth "Either you can't unlock it, or you can't lock it in the first place. The other day I tried to lock the car with the fob and all four windows came down. We're calling it the Windermere Triangle after the Bermuda Triangle." (Gee Note: Oh I see what you did there. Wordplay. Nice).

Either way it’s nice to know that the British version of the Bermuda Triangle isn’t killing people, but rather annoying them slightly. I don’t know why but I find that kind of ineptitude rather charming.

Anyway I gotta go. In Curse of The Komodo they’ve decided to send even more marines to fight those great big lizards. I can’t wait to see how this turns out.


Sunday, 7 February 2010

Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I'll most likely kill you in the morning.

I'm a simple person who enjoys a quiet life. No drama. No hysterics. No white water rafting or jumping out of a plane with only a piece of cloth standing between you and certain doom (Gee Note: By the way I met a guy the other day who tried to cure his vertigo by skydiving. Which is a wee bit extreme if you ask me. I mean couldn't you just stand on a chair or something? Also during the jump the main parachute failed and he had to scramble to use the back up before he became a form of human pâté. Strangely enough this did nothing to help his condition). In fact give me a nice comfy seat, a cup of tea, and a magazine article about how I can get better results switching to a new shampoo and I'm quite content. You can have your chaotic situations and your loud noises Jack. Just leave me be.

Anyway last Thursday I was sitting on my sofa minding my own business when all of a sudden someone stabbed me in my back with a searing hot knife (Gee Note: To be honest with you I had it coming. The future ex-Mrs Davies does put up with an awful lot). Except they didn't. I deduced this after realising that I was the only person in the room at the time, and that there was a distinct lack of blood spurting from me. Still it hurt like hell, prompting me to make a sound not unlike a young lamb getting it's hoof run over by a monster truck driven by a very fat man.

So after about two solid hours of me bravely gritting my teeth and fighting through the pain (Gee Note: Not crying like a small child you understand. Oh gosh no. Why? Who's saying I was? You know, I don't even know how these rumours start up to begin with. Next they'll be saying I like reading articles in women's magazines about which shampoo to use.) I was bundled in to the back of a car and taken to the nearest hospital.

Checking myself in to the local casualty I tried to explain my symptoms to the flunky behind the glass screen. Well that was after some insanely tortuous questions.

"Can I have your full name please?"

"Yes….it's Gareth… ahhh… Rhys… Davies."

"Is that double barrelled?"

"No it's not fuc… No it's not."

"And your address?"

"Umm…. Jesus I don't know! I live in a house! It has a front door. Is this relevant?"

Mercifully this ended after I mumbled my street name and held up a handful of numbers. I was then led to a back room where I was left and promptly ignored for four hours, all while my internal organs felt like they were trying to fight their way out of my back.

And then finally, sweet rapture finally, Doctor Suresh walked in to my life.

Doctor Suresh sat next to me and apologised for the long wait. After asking some probing questions (Gee Note: Vital Statistics 36-24-36. Likes long walks in the park, eating out, and going to the cinema. Dislikes smokers. Unless they're hot of course. In which case they could be a serial killer for all I care) the good Doc gave me his verdict. With a polite smile Suresh informed me that I'd gone and got myself a kidney stone.

No really.

Not to worry though, Suresh had a remedy. "You'll need to take a pain pill" said he. "Awesome." said I. "Yes. A pain pill in the form of a suppository." said he. "Oh f***. Really?" said I. "I can do it for you if you want?" said he. "Umm… if it's all the same to you Doc I'd rather give it a bash myself." said I. "Very well" said he, producing a sachet of petroleum jelly and a pill the size of an assault rifle bullet. "Is… wait… is that it?" said I. "Yes. Yes it is. Good luck sir." said he, and with a hearty slap on my shoulder he left never to return.

Now it should be noted that this was a completely brand new experience for me. And so it surprised me that applying said medicine wasn't as bad as I'd expected. Oh sure it's not the most pleasant feeling in the world. In fact if I never had to do it again, not once in my life time ever, I'd be quite a happy chappy. But here's the thing. It was no where near as bad as I thought it was going to be. In fact considering all that happened that evening the suppository could be viewed as a positive experience. Maybe. I don't know.

Anyway speaking of things inside you that shouldn't be (Gee Note: Smooth), as part of my recovery I've taken to sitting on my sofa and watching a lot of TV. So, you know, business as usual really. The good news is it's allowed me to catch up on the million and one things on my DVR gathering dust. You know like "When Aborigines Attack", and that episode of Law And Order where Fred Savage is a serial rapist (Gee Note: You know, there‘s something odd about Fred Savage playing a serial rapist. It‘s like discovering Barney the Dinosaur spends his downtime hacking up kittens with a meat cleaver. I mean the dude was in The Princess Bride for Chrissakes. Nobody from that movie could really be evil right? Right?). One of those was an thoroughly interesting documentary on the Enfield Poltergeist.

Here's the skinny. On August 31 1977 divorcee Peggy Hodgson and her four children were settling down in their semi- detached council house in Enfield, North London when all sorts of woovy bezerk stuff started happening. Janet aged 11 and her brother Pete aged 10 awoke their mother in hysterics, claiming that their beds where "jolting up and down and going all funny". Believing that her kids were being, well, kids Ms Hodgson rounded them up and sent them back to their beds where the movement had seemingly stopped (Gee Note: By the way, the other day I was listening to Coast to Coast AM's open lines show and George Noory asked a question along the lines of "Was there a monster in your closet? Did it ever come out? Call us now!". Sadly this didn’t lead to what would have been a very entertaining discussion about Bogeymen struggling to confront their own sexuality. "Well I was staying at Grandma's when a monster appeared at the end of my bed crying and saying it was tired of living a lie. Then it asked me if I fancied going with it to the revival of Cats. Freaked me the f*** out let me tell you").

So fast forward to the following evening. The Hodgson’s are chilling out max and relaxing all cool until about 9.30 when a weird sound starts up in children's bedroom, as if someone was "shuffling across the floor in their slippers". As Peggy turned on the lights to investigate the noise stopped, only for a heavy chest of drawers to move 18 inches across the room. Peggy moved the furniture back to it's original place only for it to go walkabout a second time. A tad worried by this, Ms Hodgson marched her children downstairs before putting in a call to police at 11pm.

According to a television news report from the time, the investigating officer claimed to have heard “unexplainable” knocks coming from the walls of the house, and saw a stationary chair levitate. Said WPC Carolyn Heeps, "It came off the floor nearly half an inch. I saw it slide off to the right about four feet before it came to rest. I checked to see if it could have slid along the floor by itself. I even placed a marble on the floor to see whether it would roll in the same direction as the chair. It didn't. I checked for wires under the cushions and chairs and I could not see any. I couldn't find any explanation at all.". Still rather than take the sensible step of burning the building to the ground, the police shrugged their shoulders and left, claiming that as there was no actual crime committed they were unable to assist any further. (Gee Note: And to be honest I’d have done the same thing. No really if a chair starts being moved by an invisible force in the same room that I’m in, you’d need to chain me to the wall to stop me from getting the hell out of there. Even then I’d probably try and chew my way out of it or something.)

Over the coming months more than 30 witnesses experienced odd goings on in the house, usually marbles and Lego bricks flying around willy nilly and loud knocks on the walls. Desperate to find out what the hell was going on, the family contacted the Society for Psychical Research. The SPR sent (Gee Note: Bill Murray? Dan Akroyd? Ernie Hudson? The other guy? Oh what’s his name? You know, he was in Stripes as well. And he wrote and directed Caddyshask. And Groundhog Day. Damn. William something? No don’t tell me. It’ll come…) two investigators called (Gee Note: HAROLD RAMIS!!! That’s the bugger.) Guy Playfair and Maurice Grosse. Over the next 14 months they studied the Hodgson’s and the house intensely, particularly Janet who seemed to be at the very centre of the hullabaloo.

Late one evening Grosse was going through that day’s findings when he heard Janet’s scream cut the air like it was married to OJ Simpson. Approaching the bottom of the stairs Grosse apparently saw the 12 year old being dragged from her bedroom by an unseen force and flung down the stairs, where she ended up at his feet. A couple of days later a lollipop lady saw Janet through her bedroom window supposedly hovering above the ground.

And then, just when it appeared things couldn’t get any stranger Janet started to speak with a different voice. She would hurl insults at those around her and claim her name was “Bill”, the ghost of a man who had died in that house due to a brain haemorrhage. This voice would seemingly resent being questioned, and either gave joke answers or just criticise the interviewer with a wave of profanity. Astonishingly a wee bit of research revealed that a previous tenant of the house by the name of Bill Wilkins had in fact succumbed to a brain haemorrhage whilst sitting on a chair in the living room.

Spooky huh? Well it is if you believe that the Enfield Poltergeist was just that, a narked off spirit tormenting a suburban family. But the thing is, it might not be so simple. See there’s a ton of debate on the involvement of the Hodgson’s as hoaxers, Janet in particular. For a start the kids did play tricks on the investigators, such as one time when they hid a tape recorder and claimed that “The poltergeist made it disappear”. The recorder was still switched on of course, and Janet herself was caught on tape planning the prank.

Secondly after over a year of disturbances, Janet was sent to a mental health hospital. It is now claimed that the reason for this was so that Janet could prove she wasn’t responsible for the strange activities in the house. However, almost as soon as Janet left the house for her stay at the hospital the poltergeist vanished. By the time she returned all ghostly goings on in the house had ceased to be.

Still others are convinced that the curious case of the Enfield Poltergeist was a genuine, honest to goodness haunting. One of those is Grosse himself, who claimed that the pranks played by the Hodgson children wouldn’t account for the 5 billion other odd things that happened in that house during his time there.

So, was it a disembodied spirit, or the work of a bored girl seeking attention? Well the answer depends on who you believe. There’s really enough evidence to argue it both ways, and it would take someone a lot smarter than yours truly to wade through it all and come to a definitive answer, if that’s even possible.

But I’ll tell you this. I’d rather have a kidney stone in me than a poltergeist. Suppository or no suppository.