As a Jerry Rothwell-directed documentary series living up to its title in every way conceivable, Apple TV+’s ‘The Enfield Poltergeist’ can only be described as equal parts bewildering and haunting. That’s because it delves deep into those infamous claims of paranormal activity at 284 Green Street, England, from 1977 to 1979, most of which primarily centered around young Janet Hodgson. So now, if you simply wish to learn more about this then-11-year-old — with a particular focus on her background, experiences, as well as current standing — we’ve got the essential details for you.
Who is Janet Hodgson?
Although born in Enfield, Middlesex, on November 10, 1965, as the second eldest of four to Margaret “Peggy” Hodgson and her then-husband Janet’s childhood was unfortunately not at all happy. The truth is her parents had decided to divorce before she’d even turned 10, plus her 1-year younger brother Johnny was later sent to a school for troubled kids, quickly slashing her family of 6 to 4. Every sense of her being was thus affected by such emotional stress, apparently making her unable to live up to her potential despite having been deemed bright both academically and otherwise.
“It did really affect me,” Janet candidly expressed in the original production. “I mean, my dad, he was a hotheaded. He had no patience. But I cried when he left. It was like there was an absence. Something was missing. It did hit me hard, actually.” And when this got combined with her brother going away, she felt as if she couldn’t really open up to anyone anymore, resulting in her bottling up her emotions until things took a turn with the beginning of some alleged supernatural incidents in August 1977.
It reportedly began with strange knocks coming from within the walls, ceilings, and floors of their council house, followed by furniture suddenly moving around as well as random objects flying through the air, just to soon evolve into spirit noises plus possession. In fact, per the docuseries, there were even happenings of Janet being strangled with curtains, a metal rod thrown right near her brother Billy’s head, her levitating mid-bedroom, plus the voice of a dead Bill Wilkinson coming through her.
Nevertheless, many genuinely believe Janet was simply making all this up for attention, only for witnesses and experts alike to have since indicated there was no way she could’ve handled everything herself, no matter how imaginative she was. Moreover, a speech therapist confirmed it would have been nearly impossible for this young girl to consistently speak in a gruff voice to imitate the late 61-year-old male without causing real damage to her throat, and it was perfectly fine when they examined it.
Janet was ultimately moved to a children’s home run by nuns when things became too much for her family to bear, just to then be admitted into The Maudsley Hospital in London around July 1978. According to reports, things had grown worse in the weeks she’d spent in the former institution owing to personal stress, which is why she was subsequently placed under the care of a neuropsychiatrist. This was when she was finally able to calm down, and the paranormal energy wavered, resulting in specialists to ascertain there was a connection between her feelings and the phenomenon.
But alas, things didn’t pan out in the way Janet had hoped because Peggy practically disowned her for bringing such eerie trouble to their doorstep, even if it all came to an end sometime in 1979. She was actually scheduled to join a children’s home again following her medical discharge, but a lack of space anywhere left officials with no choice but to return her home, to her mother’s chagrin. “She didn’t really want me because I was trouble,” Janet said. “I was part of the problem, why it was happening… I think she was really fearful that it would all really start back up again because I was there.”
Where is Janet Hodgson Now?
Considering everything Janet endured, including bullying in school with the nickname “ghost girl,” plus a near-death experience with the alleged ghost, it’s honestly no surprise she left home at the age of 16 and married young too. “I was glad to get out of it, I left home as soon as I could,” she stated in the four-part original. “It’s something not many people experience and I’ve had to get strong from a pretty early age and build on that. It used to upset me when they used to say, ‘Oh she’s faking it.’ I know what I experienced and I know what was real. It had such a devastating effect on me.”
As for Janet’s current standing, from what we can tell, she has since managed to build an entirely new life for herself in the wondrous seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea (or just Clacton) in Essex. She’s also seemingly surrounded by a lot of her loved ones, yet the past sadly continues to haunt her — it’s why she still often looks over her shoulder because that’s where Bill Wilkinson’s energy used to come from, and she fears it to this day even nearly 45 years later.
“I’ve never really said this to anyone, but you never really feel completely yourself,” Janet somberly concluded in the Apple TV+ original. “What is myself, you know? It’s something you never forget. It’s something that you’ll just think of, and it’ll come flowing back, you know? You never feel like you’re free of it. I don’t like to say this, but I feel it even now. It’s never left me.”