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The Conjuring 2 (2016)

Starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Frances O'Connor, Franka Potente | based on the Enfield Poltergeist haunting investigated by Ed & Lorraine Warren

Madison Wolfe
Janet Hodgson
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Lauren Esposito
Born: September 12
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Margaret Hodgson
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Patrick McAuley
Johnny Hodgson
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Benjamin Haigh
Billy Hodgson
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Frances O'Connor
Born: June 12, 1967
Wantage, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Peggy Hodgson
Vera Farmiga
Born: August 6, 1973
Passaic County, New Jersey, USA
Lorraine Warren
Born: January 31, 1927
Birthplace: Connecticut, USA
Patrick Wilson
Born: July 3, 1973
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Ed Warren
Born: September 7, 1926
Birthplace: Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
Death: August 23, 2006 (complications from a stroke)
Simon McBurney
Born: August 25, 1957
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, UK
Maurice Grosse
Born: March 6, 1919
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Death: October 14, 2006
Simon Delaney
Born: September 2, 1970
Raheny, Dublin, Ireland
Vic Nottingham
It lived off me, off my energy. Call me mad if you like. Those events did happen. The poltergeist was with me and I feel that in a sense he always will be. -Janet Hodgson, Daily Mail Online

Questioning the Story:

When did the Enfield haunting begin?

The Conjuring 2 true story reveals that according to the mother, Peggy Hodgson, the haunting of her Enfield home began on the evening of August 30, 1977. It was on that night that her daughter Janet told her that her brothers' beds were wobbling. The next evening, Mrs. Hodgson heard a loud noise from upstairs. She entered her children's bedroom and saw a chest of drawers moving. She tried to stop the heavy oak chest as it moved toward the door, concluding that an invisible force was trying to trap them in the room.

"It started in a back bedroom, the chest of drawers moved, and you could hear shuffling," recalled the real Janet Hodgson many years later in a Channel 4 Enfield Poltergeist documentary. Thinking that it was Janet and her siblings making the noise, she said that her mother told them to go to sleep. "We told her what was going on, and she came to see it for herself. She saw the chest of drawers moving. When she tried to push it back, she couldn't." -Daily Mail Online

The real Janet Hodgson (left) and actress Madison Wolfe (right) as Janet in The Conjuring 2 movie.

Did they hear a strange knocking coming from the walls?

Yes. The knocking would fade in and out as it ran down the wall, supposedly frightening the family so much that they all slept in the same room with the light on. Vic Nottingham, a neighbor, claims that when he went into the home to investigate at the family's request, he heard a knocking on the wall and on the ceiling, leaving him somewhat frightened. The knocking can be heard during this Janet Hodgson interview that was conducted in the home. -Daily Mail Online

Did dozens of crosses turn upside down?

No. In fact-checking The Conjuring 2 by comparing it to the real Enfield Poltergeist case, we found no evidence that crosses turned upside down on the walls of the Hodgson home. In fact, the upside down cross has not traditionally been a symbol of evil. It is the Cross of St. Peter, who was crucified upside down because he felt that he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way as Jesus.

Unlike the movie, crosses did not turn upside down in real life, nor is it traditionally a symbol of evil.

Did the mother, Peggy, go to the neighbor's house for help?

Yes. While exploring The Conjuring 2 true story, we learned that single mother Peggy Hodgson took the family next door and pleaded for help. The neighbors, Vic and Peggy Nottingham, offered to go into the home to investigate. "I went in there and I couldn't make out these noises — there was a knocking on the wall, in the bedroom, on the ceiling," said Vic. "I was beginning to get a bit frightened." -Daily Mail Online

The Conjuring 2 is available for instant streaming and on DVD/Blu-ray.

Did Janet Hodgson really levitate?

In The Conjuring 2 movie, Peggy's daughter Janet (Madison Wolfe) rises high in the air and finds herself pinned against the ceiling. This is a complete exaggeration of what allegedly happened in real life during the Enfield haunting. Photographs of the real Janet Hodgson "levitating" only show her a short distance above her bed (see below). This, coupled with the way her body is positioned in the air, has led many people to believe that she simply jumped from her bed. The questionable photos were taken by Daily Mirror photographer Graham Morris after the family contacted the press (it should be noted that the Daily Mirror is a UK tabloid newspaper whose stories have often proven less than credible). "The levitation was scary," recalled Janet, "because you didn't know where you were going to land."

Supporting the family's claims were two witnesses, a baker and a lollipop lady, who were passing by outside and claimed to have seen Janet hovering above her bed as they looked through an upstairs window. "The lady saw me spinning around and banging against the window," recalls Janet. "I thought I might actually break the window and go through it." -Daily Mail Online

These combined photographs appear to show the real Janet jumping from the bed on two separate occasions. The 1st and 3rd photographs appear to be one instance, while the 2nd and 4th are another. Photos by Graham Morris.

Did demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren really investigate the Enfield Poltergeist case?

Yes, but to a far lesser degree than portrayed in the movie, which is somewhat misleadingly billed as being "based on the true case files of the Warrens." Paranormal researchers Ed and Lorraine Warren briefly investigated the Enfield Poltergeist in the summer of 1978 and were just two of the many investigators to visit the Hodgson's North London home on Green Street. Most articles about the Enfield Poltergeist case don't even mention the Warrens, leading one to conclude that their role in the case was significantly dramatized for The Conjuring 2. In fact, Guy Lyon Playfair, one of the original paranormal investigators on the Enfield Poltergeist case, came forward prior to the movie's release and said that the Warrens had showed up "uninvited" and only stayed for a day. He also said that Ed Warren told him he could make him a lot of money off the case (Darkness Radio).

Ed Warren touched on the case and its skeptics in Gerald Brittle's book The Demonologist, stating, "...inhuman spirit phenomena were in progress. Now, you couldn't record the dangerous, threatening atmosphere inside that little house. But you could film the levitations, teleportations, and dematerialisations of people and objects that were happening there - not to mention the many hundreds of hours of tape recordings made of these spirit voices speaking out loud in the rooms." As the case became widely viewed as a hoax, some saw it as proof that the Warrens themselves were frauds.

Unlike the movie, the Warrens (pictured) were not heavily involved in the Enfield Poltergeist case.

Was 11-year-old Janet Hodgson really possessed by a dead man named Bill Wilkins?

While fact-checking The Conjuring 2, we discovered that this part of the movie was to some degree inspired by audio tapes of the real Janet Hodgson. In the recordings, she can be heard conveying a message via an eerie voice, which is supposedly that of Bill Wilkins, a man who had died in the living room of the house several years earlier. "Just before I died, I went blind," said the voice, "and then I had a hemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs."

An interview with Janet Hodgson at the time suggests that the idea of talking in a possessed voice may have been encouraged and planted in Janet's mind by paranormal investigator Maurice Grosse. When asked when the voices started, Janet said that one night Maurice Grosse told them, "All we need now is the voices to talk." Almost immediately following this suggestion, they did (the voices had mainly growled, barked and made similar noises prior to this).

"I felt used by a force that nobody understands," the real Janet Hodgson told the UK's Channel 4 years later. "I really don't like to think about it too much. I'm not sure the poltergeist was truly 'evil'. It was almost as if it wanted to be part of our family. It didn't want to hurt us. It had died there and wanted to be at rest. The only way it could communicate was through me and my sister." -Daily Mail Online

Did the man who allegedly possessed Janet die in the downstairs living room years earlier?

Yes. In exploring the Enfield haunting, we learned that Bill Wilkins' son Terry confirmed that he had died in a manner similar to what Janet described when she was possessed (Wilkins had passed away in an armchair downstairs after suffering a brain hemorrhage). -Daily Mail Online

Like in The Conjuring 2 movie (pictured), the real Bill Wilkins (who allegedly possessed Janet) went blind as he died of a brain hemorrhage in his armchair.

Did the paranormal activity begin after they played with a Ouija board?

Yes, at least according to the real Janet Hodgson, who says that she and her sister Margaret played with a Ouija board just prior to the start of the supernatural activity. -Daily Mail Online

How many children did the real Peggy Hodgson have?

In researching the Enfield Poltergeist true story, we learned that, like in The Conjuring 2 movie (available to watch here), the real Peggy Hodgson was a single mother with four children: Margaret, 12, Janet, 11, Johnny, 10, and Billy, 7.

Siblings Johnny, Janet and Margaret attempt to convey their fear while posing for photographer Graham Morris.

Were Janet and her siblings bullied at school?

Yes, and according to Janet, the other kids called her "Ghost Girl" and put crane flies down her back. Her brother was tormented in similar ways. -Daily Mail Online

Did furniture really move?

Perhaps the most credible claim of furniture moving in the Hodgson home at 284 Green Street involved a policewoman, WPC Carolyn Heeps (pictured below), who signed an affidavit to the effect that she had witnessed an armchair levitate approximately half an inch and move close to four feet across the floor. In all, there were more than 30 witnesses to similar strange incidents in the home. In addition to furniture moving, they had supposedly witnessed objects flying around, cold breezes, physical assaults, pools of water appearing on the floor, graffiti, and perhaps most incredibly, matches spontaneously igniting. -Daily Mail Online

Police constable Carolyn Heeps (right) said that she saw an armchair appear to levitate slightly and move three to four feet across the floor.

Did the police do anything to help?

No. During our investigation into the real story behind the Enfield Poltergeist haunting, we learned that despite a female police officer witnessing a chair move, the police left after determining that it wasn't a police matter since no one was breaking the law. -Daily Mail Online

What caused the Enfield Poltergeist events to quiet down?

The real Janet Hodgson believes that it was a priest's 1978 visit to the family's Enfield home in North London that caused the haunting to calm down (not the Warrens), though the occurrences did not end completely. Peggy still heard noises in the house from time to time, and Janet's younger brother Billy, who lived there until his mother passed, remarked that you always felt like you were being watched. -Daily Mail Online

Janet Hodgson is supposedly photographed while possessed (left). Actress Madison Wolfe (right) takes things to another level in The Conjuring 2 movie.

Is it possible that the whole thing was a hoax?

Yes. Two experts from the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) caught the children bending spoons themselves. They also found it strange why no one was allowed in the room when Janet was talking in her possessed voice, which was supposedly that of Bill Wilkins (among others). Janet herself admitted that some of the Enfield haunting events were fabricated. In 1980, she told ITV News, "Oh yeah, once or twice (we faked things), just to see if Mr. Grosse and Mr. Playfair would catch us. They always did." In an article that was published in the year before the release of The Conjuring 2, Janet said that roughly two percent of the paranormal activity in their Green Street home had been faked. -Daily Mail Online

During a Margaret and Janet Hodgson interview that aired as part of a TV special in 1980, Janet is asked how it feels to be haunted by a poltergeist. "It's not haunted," Janet replies smiling. Her sister smiles in astonishment, as if Janet just gave up a secret, and whispers, "Shut up!" through muted giggles. Janet later said she didn't feel that the poltergeist was evil, meaning that the house wasn't necessarily "haunted."

Like the Enfield Poltergeist story, a slew of similar accounts emerged in the years following the 1973 release of The Exorcist. Some argue that the film gave birth to a culture of paranormal hoaxes carried out by those seeking money and fame. Others believe that the William Friedkin film allowed impressionable minds to become easily influenced by its demonic plot. In any case, similar alleged true stories emerged, such as the ones chronicled in The Amityville Horror, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, the original Conjuring, and its spin-off Annabelle.

The real Janet Hodgson (left) admitted that paranormal investigator Maurice Grosse (right) caught them faking things on at least one or two occasions. Photo by Graham Morris.

What happened to the Hodgson family after the paranormal activity subsided?

When the Enfield Poltergeist events subsided and the press attention faded, the family faced various challenges. Janet married young after leaving home at age 16. Her younger brother Johnny died of cancer at age 14. The family's claims of something paranormal being present in the house lasted all the way up until Peggy's death, at which time Janet's brother Billy moved out of the home. Janet, who will be 46 at the time of The Conjuring 2's release in 2016, lost a child herself, a son who died in his sleep at 18. She says that she didn't want to resurrect the painful memories of the Enfield Poltergeist events when her mother was alive, but that she is now ready to tell her story. -Daily Mail Online

How does the real Janet Hodgson feel about the movie?

The real Janet Hodgson during a 2016 interview about the Enfield Poltergeist.
In researching The Conjuring 2 true story, we learned that the real Janet, now 45, was less than thrilled when she heard about the movie. "I wasn't very happy to hear about the film," she said. "I didn't know anything about it. My dad has just died, and it really upset me to think of all this being raked over again." She can be seen as an adult in this 2012 Janet Hodgson interview. -Daily Mail Online

Do any of the families who've lived in the home since believe that it's haunted?

After the real Peggy Hodgson passed away, Clare Bennett and her four sons moved into the Enfield home. Like Janet's younger brother Billy, Clare claimed that she always felt as if someone was watching her. During the night, her children would get woken up by voices coming from downstairs. She then learned about the Enfield Poltergeist that had supposedly haunted the home. The final straw came when her son Shaka, 15, woke up and saw a man enter his room. They moved out the next day after being in the house for only two months. -Daily Mail Online

The Enfield Poltergeist Interviews & Related Videos

Expand your knowledge of the Enfield Poltergeist true story by watching the Janet Hodgson interviews below. Also, listen to the recording that those involved claim is the Enfield Poltergeist's voice.

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