Ghosts & Poltergeists: Obscure Cases

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,174
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
I have a cracking poltergeist case in a book from Oaxaca, Mexico, that I bought over 20 years ago, the case dates from the time of the Mexican Revolution, if I remember correctly, complete with gunslingers! I must dig it out and translate it one of these days, I remember it was highly entertaining.
 

JamesWhitehead

Piffle Prospector
Joined
Aug 2, 2001
Messages
13,894
nightclub ghost from Yorkshire

That's not the only Yorkshire nightclub ghost that turned out to haunt the BBC.

Was that club determined to have a laugh at the BBC's then-staunch policy of forbidding advertising?

The short film manages to put over a lot of the selling-points of the joint, without conveying one ounce of atmosphere! :ghunt:
 

NomDeGuerre

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Jul 29, 2020
Messages
117

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,174
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
I have a cracking poltergeist case in a book from Oaxaca, Mexico
OK as promised, my translation, somewhat polished with a lot of tortuous prose stripped out or simplified, overlong sentences broken up etc. What really stood out when I read this chapter all those years ago were the classic poltergeist characteristics. The events were said to have happened about seven years after the end of the Mexican Revolution, so picture the wild west and you won't be too far wrong. Now, pull up a chair, sit back, and read the only account of a gun-slinging exorcism attempt you are ever likely to come across....

Leyendas y tradiciones oaxaqueñas by José María Bradomín, 3rd ed. 1998

p. 393

The Bedevilled House

All the gruesomeness of one of those shadowy legends of the Middle Ages darken this tale that is not a fantasy nor a fable, nor yet another fiction, but actually relatively recent and true event, which happened in Miahuatlan, and which caused a great commotion among the local populace, to such a degree that a local newspaper correspondent, even though he considered the phenomenon to be the result of a tiresome joke, had to report the peculiar event; the report is contained on the second page of the Mercurio newspaper, no. 3075 of 3rd July 1927, the headline of which reads: “Demonic apparitions are reported in a house”; this corroborates the events even though it really did not involve an apparition, and the testimony of many serious and responsible people can confirm this event whose circumstances present a violent contrast, with its anachronistic character in the current (20th) century.

The extraordinary event that is summarised here happened at house no. 209 of Calle 2 de Abril, the property of Miss Susana Ortega Ramos who, for two years, had to put up with the undesirable company of an infernal entity that occupied her residence to torment her in various ways and to disturb her deep religiosity. Around that time Miss Ortega had promised to become a nun, but had not yet taken her vows. The torments of that strange being started with the theft of some of her belongings, such as maize or beans that she had stored away, or items of clothing or domestic utensils. In the beginning, the responsibility for those thefts was blamed upon her closest neighbour, a Mr Guillermo Lagunas (?) [Question mark in original text], who was imprisoned in spite of his protestations of innocence, though afterwards he had to be released because the thefts continued during his detention. The doubts and suspicions that continued to be cast against other people were finally dispelled when that vulgar spirit began to manifest directly in the presence of Miss Ortega by hiding the items that she most needed, on occasions the key to the house that it finally threw on the floor when she took her rosary and began to pray. Other times it perfectly blocked the keyhole with grit or wood shavings, which Miss Ortega patiently unblocked. Sometimes when she woke in the morning the plant pots had been turned over, showing the roots in the bottom, and finally the rage of that entity against its victim manifested by it hurling earth and filth in her food, because of which she was obliged to eat away from the house, in the house of her brother, or in that of another of her family members. Then things became even worse with the apparition of the entity, in all its terrible and repugnant character. According to Miss Ortega, who was the only one who could see it, it had the appearance of a monster that was half horse, from the waist down, and half human, and covered with coarse, matted hair. It manifested itself to her family and neighbours only with its voice, a strange-sounding inhuman voice, with which it responded to the demands of the curious who arrived at the front door. They engaged the invisible being in conversation to which it generally responded with rude allusions; sometimes it even threw stones at the gathered neighbours. The mysterious being claimed that all those who did not like to go to church were its friends, they were “its own kind”. When asked it immediately and accurately identified each neighbour by their name and occupation.

That voice then, and the dialogue with that strange being, was the object of neighbourhood curiosity in Miahuatlán for two years. In order to defend herself against the continuous stalking of the strange being, Miss Ortega’s only recourse was prayer. In prayer she found the necessary force to resist her tormentor, and some moments of relief from the unsettling, unremitting nightmare. She gave herself over to prayer with utter fervour and devotion; but that diabolical entity continued its tricks, torturing her spiritual sensibility and peace with horrifying predictions that invariably came true:

“Look, Susanita, tomorrow there will be a “barbecue” in the market. I will see if I can take two souls at once…”

And effectively, in accordance with this pronouncement, the following day one or two deaths would happen in the plaza, generally on market day.

After that, given the unusual circumstances of the phenomenon, there was no lack of people intervening in the events, trying to help Miss Ortega and looking for a way to confront the invisible entity, even though these interventions did nothing to change that terrifying situation. Gritty men, well known for their mettle, heartless men used to risking their hides at a moment’s notice and for whatever reason, confronted the being and in the end left the house terrified, confused, dismayed by having all their misdemeanours flung back in their faces, and above all by the announcement of their impending violent death, committed by the infernal being that rudely insulted them. One of these cases, actually one among various, is a good example, that of Octavio Joaquín, the nephew of Miss Ortega, who asked the imp to leave his aunt in peace, and received as an answer the announcement of his imminent death:

“Don’t stick your nose in this, Octavio, because you are one of mine, and because of that I will come for you within a few days. I myself will carry you off in my arms…”

Two days later, the horrifying prediction came true, since Joaquín was murdered in the house of a certain woman with whom he was having an affair. But that vulgar spirit did not just respond to events in a tragic manner, it also manifested a certain sense of humour, and this happened when the being was rashly rebuked with scathing remarks issued under the influence of alcohol by Mr Nabor Aldrete, a local horseman, who with bad words and rude adjectives demanded that the being stop bothering Susana, challenging it to match itself against him. He did a half-turn on his spirited horse and charged into the courtyard of the house and rode it to the corner from which the voice invariably spoke, repeating this action several times. But the expectant crowd did not have to wait long for a reply.

“Look here, you half-rate horseman. Don’t come here like that, because you are also one of mine. And don’t presume that you know how to ride because everything that your mount is doing can be done better by any pig, as you can see.”

And, at that moment, a pig that was kept there in the yard jumped over the bars of the pigsty and began to frolic and prance in the courtyard, among grunts that made the scene even more outlandish, making a half turn, standing on its front hooves or charging suddenly across the courtyard, all of which looked so funny that instead of producing fear, it produced laughter among those gathered there, so much so that Mr Alderete fled the scene of his painful humiliation.

After much time, and as a last resort to frighten off that malign spirit, the priests Alfonso López Arenas, Francisco López and Federico Castañeda intervened in the case, with all the required solemnity and according to the prescribed rituals established for such circumstances, they invoked exorcism and demanded that the obstinate entity once and for all leave the house and stop bothering the inhabitants forever. But even that extreme measure was completely ineffective, since that demonic being did not just mock the ceremony, it even mocked the priests with all kind of tricks, for which reason Father Castañeda, beside himself with rage before the ineffectiveness of the exorcism and the scathing insults of that entity, whose invisibility exasperated him even more. He drew the revolver that he carried and emptied it in the direction of the voice, receiving as a reply to his impulsive action a chilling laugh from the entity. It showed off in an incredible and terrible manner by returning the revolver’s bullets, still hot, which fell at the feet of Father Castañeda.

“Pick up your bullets, relapsed priest, they are useless, just like your rituals and your holy water.”

This put a stop to all attempts to evict the infernal intruder from the house. Since all the methods that had been tried resulted ineffective, Miss Ortega continued to pray and put her absolute trust in God, her only refuge from the demonic entity’s implacable siege, which she bore with extraordinary strength of spirit. It was precisely that blind trust in divine protection and total devotion to prayer – and it can be supposed also to penitence – the powerful shield that the diabolical entity never could damage which was the only defence against its attentions, which ended after exactly two years. At the end of these two years, Miss Ortega was required by the bishop, who intervened in the matter, and she left for Oaxaca. But still in Ejutla she had one last contact with that terrible monster, even though this time it was to tell her that she was now free from its terrible attacks, since the time given for it to tempt her had ended, without it attaining its goal.

That was how, finally, the horrifying episode related here ended, after which Miss Ortega took her vows as previously promised during the days of her terrible trials. She took up the nun’s habit and entered the community of the Divine Shepherd, in Huamantla, where she finally became the Mother Superior and where was revealed her exceptional destiny, since her pleas and petitions were answered by the All Powerful. When she was deep in prayer, she was given to see the tombs of her deceased friends and family opening for them to ask her that she remember them in her prayers. The prayers Miss Ortega made in favour of the souls of so many people that found themselves at the point of death, were the counterweight against the attempts of the evil one, which caused the terrible and tenacious siege of which she was a victim in Miahuatlán, and from which she emerged unscathed with her pure faith and complete trust in divine power. And it is regrettable that we cannot continue enquiring anything more in relation to Mother Susana during her residence in the religious community, but dealing with the extraordinary circumstance that caused her to enter the community, in other words the terrible test to which she had been submitted and the gift of vision with which she was blessed afterwards, manifestations that undoubtedly reveal her destiny. We are almost sure that Sister Susana, if she has not been already, is at the point of being beatified. So that it is probable that, although with another name, a Oaxacan saint will take her place in the saints’ calendar.
 

Marsha Klein

Junior Acolyte
Joined
May 14, 2010
Messages
64
Ghosts are not my field (very interesting though). There are a couple of cases i stumbled upon online that i'd not heard of. Maybe you guys know more.

The Vallecas Haunting.


The San Pedro Haunting


Bedtime Stories and The Paranormal Scholar. Two of my favourite YouTube channels. I've just been listening to a rather good podcast on the BBC Sounds channel called The Battersea Poltergeist which was rather good. Not quite sure what I made of it but it was interesting
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
14,504
Location
An Eochair
I've just been listening to a rather good podcast on the BBC Sounds channel called The Battersea Poltergeist which was rather good. Not quite sure what I made of it but it was interesting

I've just finished that and find myself with the same questions. I can't judge if it's total fiction or a real case and I'm unwilling to search!
 

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,174
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
I've just finished that and find myself with the same questions. I can't judge if it's total fiction or a real case and I'm unwilling to search!
Apparently a real case... I bought the Kindle book by one of the people involved but haven't got around to reading it yet.
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
14,504
Location
An Eochair
Apparently a real case... I bought the Kindle book by one of the people involved but haven't got around to reading it yet.

excellent! I didn't want to find out that something I had invested so much time and thought into was fiction. Would have been well done and enjoyable fiction but not the same.
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
33,526
The FT mag did a major feature on the Battersea Poltergeist recently, by the same people who did the podcast. Very strange, didn't know what to make of it.
 

Quercus

Devoted Cultist
Joined
Feb 4, 2021
Messages
158
Location
Back of beyond
I bought and read James Clark's book on which the BBC series was based (The Poltergeist Prince of London) only the other week, as I was inclined to look at it again from a slightly different angle after listening to the series.

While I felt the Radio 4 dramatisation of the Battersea Poltergeist was nicely done, I did find it a bit hard to follow the chronology sometimes due to all the forward and backwards between the dramatised story, the narrator (Danny Robins), and interjections from the experts. I like podcasts, but I find I take things in more readily and remember them better if I've read them.

There's already a thread elsewhere for this particular topic, if anyone fancies adding to it:
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/the-battersea-poltergeist.56251

The book's a pretty good read, as it happens, and I'd recommend it - Clark is barely able to contain his excitement at making real that literary device which kicks off so many Victorian ghost stories - an old notebook coming his way containing a very, very strange story from sixty years before...

The case begins like so many others, with bangings and crashing in the night, tapping on the walls, and ornaments being broken... neighbours are worried, the press get involved, amateur mediums and spiritualists jump on the bandwagon to banish the polt, and a local psychical investigator decides to make enquiries... but as it goes on long past the expected timeframe and the supposed poltergeist's personality becomes more defined, the communication methods appear to become more sophisticated, and things start to get exceedingly weird. Everyone has their own 'boggle threshold', and mine started to be breached about halfway through, and yet... in best Fortean manner, "discount what you will, something remains, all the same".

So was it all true, or was it just the combined fantasies of a teenage girl trapped in a difficult home situation, combined with a middle-aged paranormal investigator willing to bend reality to finally obtain his long-sought proof of the hereafter?

Like the podcast, the book can't really say for certain one way or the other so long after the event - even though the main focus of the polt, Shirley Hitchings, was able to contribute significantly to the book and to the radio series. Ultimately, it's left for the reader to decide if the story is just too barmy to be true, or if the cosmic joker really knows no bounds...

What's stuck with me more, though, is the sad fact that the story of the Battersea Polt at 63 Wycliffe Rd is the only surviving case from what must have been a great many investigated by Harold Chibbett over nearly fifty years, starting not long after he returned from the trenches of WW1 until his death in the early 1970s.

The Battersea papers were only preserved because Shirley Hitchings was able to be contacted and drive over immediately to collect the documents relating to her own case, as per a note left by Harold on the box - otherwise they would also have been dumped along with the rest of his extensive archive, following his widow's death in the 1980s. What an absolute crying shame that a life's work in paranormal investigation was lost forever - who knows what else was in there?

Oddly enough, the book was published in 2013 but I recently found a clipping from FT back in 2006 which referenced the case. Must look that one out again.

[Edit for weird spacing, again]
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
32,393
The haunted picnic table at Griffith Park, October the 31st, '76 and a young couple sitting at park bench #29 were killed when a tree fell on them .. the bench crushed with the tree still on it remains. Skip to the 5:30 point for the bench stuff. Their spirits are said to still haunt the place.

Visiting The Haunted Picnic Table #29 in Griffith Park - YouTube
 
Last edited:

SimonBurchell

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Sep 15, 2001
Messages
1,174
Location
Somewhere in the labyrinth
Apparently a real case... I bought the Kindle book by one of the people involved but haven't got around to reading it yet.

I just finished reading The Poltergeist Prince. Very interesting, although as with other accounts of individual poltergeist cases, it tends to get a bit repetitive. I don't believe for a moment that the communicator was a French prince, certainly in the earlier stages it came across more as an alcoholic bully barfly type (I could almost imagine it in my mind as such). And all the mixed French detail and unverifiable claims put me very much in mind of The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts by Joe Fisher, with apparently intriguing evidence not standing up to close investigation... In fact the parallels were too close for comfort.
 

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,213
I just finished reading The Poltergeist Prince. Very interesting, although as with other accounts of individual poltergeist cases, it tends to get a bit repetitive. I don't believe for a moment that the communicator was a French prince, certainly in the earlier stages it came across more as an alcoholic bully barfly type (I could almost imagine it in my mind as such). And all the mixed French detail and unverifiable claims put me very much in mind of The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts by Joe Fisher, with apparently intriguing evidence not standing up to close investigation... In fact the parallels were too close for comfort.
It's interesting that both the Enfield and Battersea poltergeist cases start as often multiple-witness classic polt behaviour i.e. things being moved and thrown, items materialising from thin air etc. and then descend into almost farcical voices and claims. The film of the girl who is apparently being 'manipulated' to speak on behalf of the old man in the Enfield case is seen grinning and almost giggling as it takes place. Also the story about the old man dying in the chair would surely have been common knowledge in a terraced community in the 1950s/60s. Then you have the Battersea case, which turns into a lot of old tosh about the French prince.

To my mind it can only be one of two things; either the entity is playing games with us or the child concerned it.
 
Last edited:

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
38,631
Location
HM The Tower of London
Also the story about the old man dying in the chair would surely have been common knowledge in a terraced community in the 1950s/60s.
Not to nit-pick, but it might not. An elderly man passing quietly at home isn't a big event to people who didn't know him.

People die, new families move in, they move out, the neighbours move away or die, and there's soon a new generation who're not bothered about what went on before.

This struck me some years ago when I spent an afternoon looking for something on the town's newspaper microfiche collection.
Highly enjoyable and edifying, with many surprises. Time and again I'd read about some awful tragedy that you'd think would have passed into local legend but that I'd never heard of.

An example is a double suicide by gas in a ground floor flat, in the early '60s. The victims were a young married couple with money problems. It must have been a big talking-point at the time but I'd never heard it mentioned once.
When I cycle or drive past the end of that street several times a week I think of them. I bet nobody else does. They are forgotten.
 

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,213
Not to nit-pick, but it might not. An elderly man passing quietly at home isn't a big event to people who didn't know him.

People die, new families move in, they move out, the neighbours move away or die, and there's soon a new generation who're not bothered about what went on before.

This struck me some years ago when I spent an afternoon looking for something on the town's newspaper microfiche collection.
Highly enjoyable and edifying, with many surprises. Time and again I'd read about some awful tragedy that you'd think would have passed into local legend but that I'd never heard of.

An example is a double suicide by gas in a ground floor flat, in the early '60s. The victims were a young married couple with money problems. It must have been a big talking-point at the time but I'd never heard it mentioned once.
When I cycle or drive past the end of that street several times a week I think of them. I bet nobody else does. They are forgotten.
Point taken...! However, if for example you actually lived in the house where the double suicide had happened then its possible someone might mention it to you as it is specific to your address.

Just another 'maybe' in this perplexing case.
 

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
38,631
Location
HM The Tower of London
Point taken...! However, if for example you actually lived in the house where the double suicide had happened then its possible someone might mention it to you as it is specific to your address.

Just another 'maybe' in this perplexing case.
For sure. I've thought of that and asked a couple of local history experts about some of the incidents that I could recall from the microfiche, and they had no idea either.

At the time I learned the names of the couple and their full address but that's gone now.

Anyway, you've got me thinking now. A recluse died in the next house to ours years ago and I've never mentioned this to the people who moved in later. I wonder if anyone else has?
 

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,213
For sure. I've thought of that and asked a couple of local history experts about some of the incidents that I could recall from the microfiche, and they had no idea either.

At the time I learned the names of the couple and their full address but that's gone now.

Anyway, you've got me thinking now. A recluse died in the next house to ours years ago and I've never mentioned this to the people who moved in later. I wonder if anyone else has?
I think adults would be perhaps more sensitive than to say anything. But I could see children being teased at school about the old man that died in their house. I remember as children we knew all sorts of goings-on in our village that our parents probably had no idea we were aware of. So its possible the girls knew but not mum.
 

catseye

Old lady trouser-smell with yesterday's knickers
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
5,254
Location
York
Point taken...! However, if for example you actually lived in the house where the double suicide had happened then its possible someone might mention it to you as it is specific to your address.

Just another 'maybe' in this perplexing case.
Both my dad and then later my mum, died in our old house. My brother and I sold the house and it's now a student house in Exeter (the builder who bought it did very little other than stick on a small extension and redecorate). I bet not ONE of the students that occupies that house knows that at least two people died in there in the last ten years. Prior to that, in the days when more people died at home and that terrace of houses being Edwardian, I'd take bets that lots of people died there.

The house next door used to be a B&B and I remember the girls who lived there telling me that a man had died in one of the bedrooms during a stay. These deaths don't show up anywhere on any media, being natural.
 

Paul_Exeter

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 9, 2012
Messages
1,213
Both my dad and then later my mum, died in our old house. My brother and I sold the house and it's now a student house in Exeter (the builder who bought it did very little other than stick on a small extension and redecorate). I bet not ONE of the students that occupies that house knows that at least two people died in there in the last ten years. Prior to that, in the days when more people died at home and that terrace of houses being Edwardian, I'd take bets that lots of people died there.

The house next door used to be a B&B and I remember the girls who lived there telling me that a man had died in one of the bedrooms during a stay. These deaths don't show up anywhere on any media, being natural.

However, the researchers state they were able to corroborate the death of the old man in the house that the poltergeist voice told them about via the girl (if that's what we are to believe). Thus there must have been a record of his death or someone related/local must have provided this information. So if Maurice or whoever was able to access this information, why not the girls...?
 

catseye

Old lady trouser-smell with yesterday's knickers
Joined
Feb 1, 2010
Messages
5,254
Location
York
However, the researchers state they were able to corroborate the death of the old man in the house that the poltergeist voice told them about via the girl (if that's what we are to believe). Thus there must have been a record of his death or someone related/local must have provided this information. So if Maurice or whoever was able to access this information, why not the girls...?
Depends how Maurice corroborated the evidence. If it was through local hearsay, back issues of local papers, etc, then yes, the girls could have found this out - particularly if it was local gossip (even if adults thought 'the girls couldn't possibly have known, it was never talked about in front of them, etc etc).

If it was from some obscure journal lodged in a filing cabinet in a basement with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard', then maybe not.
 

escargot

Disciple of Marduk
Joined
Aug 24, 2001
Messages
38,631
Location
HM The Tower of London
This is like what I call the Speaking In Tongues Conundrum: if there are people speaking a language nobody recognises, of which there is no written trace or current speakers, how do we know it is really a language and not some made-up gibberish?
The answer is that we don't.

If the language can be identified even in a very obscure way, then the speakers might have accessed that information too in which case there is nothing supernatural about their practice of glossolalia.

It's the same with the information about who has died in a house, or any other details a person faking a haunting might need to know.
If it's checkable it's out there for anyone to find.
 

IbisNibs

Exotic animal, sort of . . .
Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
2,607
Location
Outside my comfort zone.
if there are people speaking a language nobody recognises, of which there is no written trace or current speakers, how do we know it is really a language and not some made-up gibberish?
I'm not exactly a linguist, but I think there would be some kind of discernible structure to the sound of a real language that would be lacking in just gibberish. A more complex structure indicating grammar and word forms.
 
Top