The South Shields Poltergeist, Tyne and Wear, England
The victims were a young couple, Marc and Marianne, and their three-year old son Robert, there full identities have not been revealed for fear of ridicule and press attention.
The haunting started with the couple arriving home, one December evening to find two chairs stacked on top of each other on top of the table. Over the following months the events intensified with objects disappearing and reappearing in different rooms in the house. A chest of drawers was moved from the bedroom out onto the landing and doors would slam shut in the early hours.
Marc and Marianne were getting ready for bed they undressed themselves and quickly slipped under the duvet. Although the heating had been on for many hours, it was unusually cold in their normally snug bedroom. Marianne turned off the lights, seconds later, Marianne was hit on the head by their son's toy dog, she sat bolt upright in bed in shock, and turned the lights back on.
Moments later another stuffed dog hit her on the head. She hardly saw it move. It seemed to have appeared on the edge of vision a fraction of a second before hitting her. Soon the air was thick with flying toys. All seemed to appear in mid flight, apparently from nowhere, and were hurled with great force at the petrified couple. Marc and Marianne hugged the duvet closer to try and protect themselves from the flying toys. An invisible hand grabbed the far corner of the duvet and pulled in the opposite direction, soon they were involved in a tug of war with the poltergeist.
As quickly as it had started, the tugging stopped only to be replaced by something even worse. Marc started screaming and across his back long scratches started to appear, in only a few moments thirteen large scratches had appeared on Marc's back. Marc later described the the painful sensation as being scratched by a large heavy claw. The scratches had mysteriously disappeared by the next morning.
In June the haunting came to the attention of Hallowell and Ritson, two paranormal investigators who staged an investigation over a period of several months. The investigators were present during many of the disturbances, and photographed and filmed many of them. One particularly convincing incident was a plastic water bottle which one of them saw and photographed balancing diagonally on the table, not a natural position.
Repressed emotion in living individuals is quite often thought to be responsible in poltergeist cases, but the investigators soon rejected this. They had a strong sense of an independent entity with a malevolent nature. In fact it soon became obvious that the poltergeist was trying to frighten the couple. On one occasion they found their child's rocking horse hanging by one its reins from the loft hatch in the ceiling. In another particular sinister incident, a large toy bunny was found in a chair placed at the top of the stairs, holding a box cutter blade in one of its paws.
The poltergeist also took to writing threatening messages on a white board in the child's bedroom, and in the later stages sent text messages to Marianne's mobile phone, such as 'I m going to get you bitch' and 'You're Dead'. The phone was given to experts to trace the texts, the texts could not be traced back to another phone or a computer.
As the months went by the phenomena intensified. Big red scratches appeared suddenly on Marc's torso and vanished equally mysteriously, in front of several witnesses. The investigators watched cupboard doors swinging open, light-shades swinging, the quilt on the bed moving. The couple were seriously frightened when the child himself was moved. On the first occasion they found him lying on the floor tightly wrapped in his bed quilt, with a plastic table on top of him. The child himself seemed to be asleep, but his eyes were wide open, as if he was in a trance. Another time the child appeared to have vanished altogether, and was eventually found in a closet, tightly cocooned in a blanket.
In fact no real harm seems to have ever been done, but the couple were terrified, and have since moved out of the area. The authors speculate the poltergeist was trying to create fear in order to generate emotion that it could feed from. They compare the case with the Amherst Incident of 1878 in Nova Scotia, where death threats to the occupants were found scratched on the walls.
The investigators quickly eliminated any possibility of Marianne staging a hoax she was obviously frightened, and in any case was not involved in phenomena they themselves witnessed. They were at first less sure about Marc, largely because he didn't seem to react very much to the incidents, and was the type who might have enjoyed playing pranks. But they were certain he could not have been responsible for incidents they witnessed themselves, and by the end of the investigation had totally abandoned any idea of fraud.
Hallowell an Ritson the investigators have released a book based on their account of the haunting