It was ‘we need the SPR!’ when The Enfield Haunting hit our screens last summer, but this year’s re-visit of the Enfield poltergeist case, The Conjuring 2, takes a very different approach. Focusing on the minimal (to be polite) investigation (to be generous) of Ed and Lorraine Warren, it tells quite another story; one that most members of the Society for Psychical Research will find unfamiliar, if not unfounded.
On behalf of the Paranormal Review, I sent David Saunders to see the film ahead of its worldwide première and ask director James Wan and actor Patrick Wilson (who plays Ed Warren) some pertinent questions. The results are a fascinating interview and film review.
Michael Tymn also takes another look at Guy Lyon Playfair’s classic book on the case, This House is Haunted. First published in 1980, it is just as fresh today as it was then and is still necessary reading.
Poltergeists are not the only thing paranormal lurking in Enfield. Not long ago, I read Consulting Spirit, written by Enfield GP Dr Ian Rubenstein. It is a gripping, true account of how a medical doctor found himself drawn into an extraordinary world of psychic experience and outrageous coincidence. The book ends still in the middle of the story and I simply had to find out more. Dr Rubenstein generously gave one of the fullest and most interesting interviews I have had the pleasure of publishing. He also told me about the time he met the son of Bill, the putative Enfield poltergeist.
SPR Council Member John Fraser gives us an insight into his recent investigations at The Cage in St Osyth, a reputedly haunted former prison with a connection to the witch trials. We are fortunate to have photographs of supposedly poltergeist-inflicted wounds to print.
The President of the Swedish SPR, Göran Brusewitz, reports on the recent BIAL Foundation symposium in Porto on placebos and healing. We also have an account of the SPR’s Study Day, ‘Raiders of the Lost Archives’, illustrated by Dr Graham Kidd’s pen and ink drawings.
As this edition focuses on the Enfield poltergeist, I must mention that the BBC is showing Ghostbuster: The Real Thing, a 1996 documentary following SPR investigator Maurice Grosse as he returns to the Hodgsons’ house twenty years after Bill the poltergeist made his first appearance. ‘The SPR,’ he says, ‘is the world’s leading centre for the scientific study of the paranormal.’ The film can be seen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00mrv35. Ψ
Dr Leo Ruickbie
Contents Listing for Paranormal Review, 79 (Summer 2016)
Conjuring Up Enfield Feature
8 Conjuring Up Enfield
David Saunders talks to director James Wan and actor Patrick Wilson about their new film The Conjuring 2.
12 The Conjuring 2
David Saunders reviews the film: how far from the truth did they stray?
13 This House is Haunted
Michael Tymn looks at Guy Lyon Playfair’s factual account of the Enfield Poltergeist.
22 Meet the Poltergeist’s Son
Dr Ian Rubenstein tells of the time he met the son of Bill, the Enfield Poltergeist.
Regular Features and Other Articles
4 President’s Letter
The President of the SPR, Prof. John Poynton, reflects on the recent Study Day on ‘The History and Philosophy of Psychical Research’.
6 Psi Society
Whiteman, Kluski, Transylvania, The Living and the Dead, Millar and the SPR’s 1st conference.
7 Permanent Paranormal Object
Dr Leo Ruickbie reveals the story behind the ‘faked’ Kluski spirit hands at the IMI in Paris.
14 Witness Testimony – The Lost Science?
John Fraser discusses the findings from his investigation of The Cage in St Osyth, a supposedly haunted house.
18 The Enfield Psychic
Dr Leo Ruickbie talks to Dr Ian Rubenstein about the nature of reality, psi and mediumship.
26 Placebos in Porto
Göran Brusewitz reports on the recent BIAL symposium on placebos and healing.
Exclusive reader offer.
30 Raiders of the Lost Archives
A report on the SPR’s 70th Study Day, on preserving the archives of psychical research.
32 Ghosts in the Machines
Brandon Hodge looks for the first signs of diabolic influence on spirit devices.
SPR Conference programme.