Perhaps not as well-known outside of paranormal circles as other hauntings, the events at a small home in Bridgeport Connecticut in the mid-1970s is one of the best-documented cases of poltergeist-like activity, perhaps of all time. Not only were the events played out over a considerable amount of time, but they were also witnessed regularly by multiple people, including police officers, members of the fire department, and at least one radio reporter.
Described by William J. Hall as the “world’s most haunted house” in his book of the same name, The World’s Most Haunted House: The True Story of the Bridgeport Poltergeist on Lindley Street, the incidents of late 1974 lasting into early 1975 are without a doubt some of the most intriguing and terrifying on record.
What is perhaps also interesting, Hall approached the case as a skeptic, even believing it to be a hoax, when he re-investigated it in 2013, a mindset that the evidence he uncovered caused him to completely shift from.
To quickly set the background, Jerry and Laura Goodin had lost their son, who had been born with cerebral palsy in September 1967. The following year, the Goodin family looked to adopt a child, and in 1968 they adopted Marcia from Canada. It was several years after Marcia’s arrival, coincidentally or not, when things began to turn strange.
Much of what follows is based on the extensive research of William Hall in the previously mentioned book. We highly recommend that you read it in full as it is highly detailed and perhaps one of the most complete documentation of the case.
A Slow Burn To A Paranormal Onslaught
In reality, the strange goings-on at a modest three-roomed house on Lindley Street in Bridgeport, Connecticut began several years prior to the surge of paranormal activity that announced itself in November 1974.
In fact, according to William Hall, “peculiar events began happening very soon after Marcia was adopted in 1968” when items around the home appeared to have been moved purposely “out of place”. The following year in 1969, while Marcia was sat on the sofa with her friend, Rosemarie, it suddenly began to shake and even began to lift off the floor.
Perhaps another strange incident involving Rosemarie was when she walked into Marcia’s bedroom to find her sat on the floor “rocking back and forth with her eyes closed, talking softly in a strange language”. When Rosemarie asked her what she was doing, Marica replied that she was talking to her deceased grandfather, a “respected chief on the reservation” (Marcia was of Native American heritage). What’s more, he was “extremely unhappy” that she had been adopted. This happened, according to Hall, on several occasions. Might this have been a brief glimpse into the possible paranormal abilities of the young girl?
It was, though, in November 1971 when signs of more ominous activity began to present itself. The Goodins would begin hearing a strange, rhythmic booming sound that almost seemed to emanate from within the property itself. At first, they tried to ignore them in the hope they would stop, which for a time they did. However, in November 1972, they began once more. Jerry would describe it as “like the house was being stoned”.
In fact, the bizarre banging sounds became so bad that the Goodins made a report to the local police.
To Begin With “They Were Not Frightened – Just Annoyed!”
When that first call went in to the police, it wasn’t out of a fear that something supernatural was taking place. The Goodin family expected there to be a perfectly reasonable explanation – they just wanted the banging to stop. As Hall writes, “they were not frightened – just annoyed”.
The family’s initial thoughts were that the sounds might be some kind of prank, or even that they might be connected to some kind of construction project (the St. Vincent’s Hospital was undergoing a building extension, for example). However, neither of these seemed likely. Jerry would recall that there was a “definite pattern” to the sounds and that they “occurred at all hours of the day and night”.
The Goodins would turn to their neighbor, John Holsworth, who happened to be a police officer with the Bridgeport Police Department. It was his suggestion to the Goodins that they attempt to capture the strange banging sounds on tape, something they successfully did, even managing to capture the noises moving around the house into different rooms.
However, despite this apparent proof, no one could decipher where the strange sounds were coming from. Between city officials, the police department, and the fire department, no reason for or source of the noises could be established. Of more importance to the Goodins, they were continuing.
By the summer of 1974, it appeared things had taken an even more alarming turn when Jerry and Laura thought they saw a “disembodied hand” at their window. When they went to see who was there, however, they found nobody or nothing there. Several weeks later, three very pronounced knocks came at the front door. However, when Laura went to see who it was, once more, there was nobody there. There were, though, “wet footprints” where a person might have stood. However, the night was dry with no rain or dampness anywhere else.
The bizarre events continued, with furniture regularly moving of its own accord, doors opening and closing by themselves, and, of course, the strange and persistent noises. However, it was during the month of November in the run-up to Thanksgiving 1974 when the intensity of the strange goings-on increased considerably.
An Unnerving Increase In Intensity
Perhaps the first of these intense paranormal happenings took place on the evening of 21st November, when the Goodins were eating dinner with two guests, the wife and daughter of John Holsworth, Jamie and Janet respectively.
Suddenly, the sound of breaking glass rang out, causing everyone to leave their meals and go and investigate. When they entered the bedroom, they discovered the window was broken. However, it was also apparent that the window had been, according to Hall, “shattered from the inside”.
The following night, though, things would turn even more disturbing, and concerning.
After eating dinner and going over last-minute preparations for a planned trip the following day to see Jerry’s cousin, the family was sat in the living room enjoying the evening and watching the television. Then, a cacophony of sound came from the bedroom. Upon investigation, they discovered the curtains on the floor and the window shade rolled all the way up.
Laura would put the curtains back up and return the window shade to how it had been and went to leave the room. However, before she could step outside of the door, the curtains once more fell to the floor and the window shade rolled back up. This time, the Goodins left the curtains and window shade where they were and returned to the living room, perhaps hoping if they ignored whatever had caused the curtains to fall it would simply go away.
However, within several moments of their return to the living, the “maddening knocking” began to permeate the entire house. This knocking continued to grow louder and louder, seeming to come from the walls themselves. Then, as suddenly as it had started, it ceased.
The rest of the evening was without incident. However, the events the Goodins would experience were only just beginning.
A Most Eventful, And Terrifying Evening
The planned trip out the following day went by without incident. That was until they arrived home. William Hall describes the scene as Jerry opened to door to the home at around 4:30 pm that afternoon. He writes that “Marcia’s television, which normally sat on a high shelf, was lying on her bed, screen down, with the TV cord and antenna wires hanging from the back”. A little confused, Jerry put the television back the way it should be and began to make his way to the kitchen.
Once there, things became even stranger.
As he walked into the kitchen he discovered “dishes rising out of the sink and flying around the room”. He watched as one by one they smashed onto the floor. Things turned even more chilling a moment later when a set of knives lifted themselves from a knife block and “flew across the kitchen” causing Jerry to duck down on the floor. As this was happening, Laura stepped into the doorway watching her husband, who was luckily not injured.
Then, things went quiet once more. Thinking, or perhaps hoping, that this would be the only strange activity of the evening, the Goodins began to go about their business. However, as Laura put away groceries they had purchased earlier, she heard something happening behind her. When she turned around, she could see the kitchen table lifting off the floor as if being lifted from one side by a pair of invisible hands. It continued to rise upwards until it was finally flipped, sending groceries flying across the kitchen.
By the time the table had come crashing back to the floor, Laura simply stood, surveying the scene before her. As she did so, the refrigerator began to rise from the floor and moved slightly, and then dropped back down. Moments later, the television set toppled forward, landing on Laura’s toes.
There were sporadic incidents throughout the rest of the evening, including the kitchen table flipping itself over while the family was in the living room watching television. When the family prepared for bed, Marcia’s television also dropped from where it normally sat, causing them to return to the living room. Shortly after, Marcia went to use the bathroom when Jerry and Laura suddenly heard a commotion coming from the room. They would discover the young girl covering her head with her hands while all manner of items from the bathroom flew into the air around her.
Eventually, a little after 3 am, things appeared to quieten down, and the family returned to their beds. The next day, though, would bring more unsettlement to the Goodin house.
A Need For Direct Action
Upon waking Jerry would head to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. However, when he entered the room, he could see straight away that the table he had turned the right way up only hours earlier had been turned over once more. Even stranger, the refrigerator had been moved and was now blocking the kitchen door.
He would head straight back to the bedroom to inform his wife of the overnight happenings. However, before he could say anything, a crucifix and picture on their bedroom wall flung themselves to the floor, as if a pair of invisible hands had ripped them away. Before they could react, a loud bang sounded through the house, appearing to come from Marcia’s bedroom. When the two distressed parents entered the girl’s room, they were shocked to see the large wooden dresser had seemingly been tipped forward to the floor. Of more concern, though, was that the heavy piece of furniture was only a short distance away from where Marcia had been sleeping.
Once more, before the family could fully react to what had just happened, they heard further crashing sounds, this time coming from the living room. When they made their way there, they discovered that all three chairs were moving of their own accord – both back and forth and off the floor and back again. Even stranger, the sound of a doorbell was seemingly coming from the television.
It was obvious to all the family that things were not going to get better. In fact, they were rapidly getting much worse.
It was then they decided to contact their neighbors, Harold and Mary Hoffman. They were becoming desperate for help.
“There’s Some Kind Of Evil Force In Our Home!”
While awaiting the arrival of Harold Hoffman, the Goodins ventured outside to wait on the porch of the house. However, as they stood on the porch Laura suddenly began screaming. Jerry turned to see what was taking place and saw, along with Laura and Marcia, the sofa on the porch was hovering around four feet into the air. It remained there for several moments before it came crashing down to the floor.
Also witnessing these events was the daughter of Officer Holsworth. Jerry immediately asked her to go and get her father as they “we’re in trouble here”. She did so immediately. As soon as he arrived, Jerry turned to him and stated:
There’s some kind of evil force inside wrecking our home!
John Holsworth entered the property, examining the carnage for himself. Perhaps even more importantly, he witnessed the three reclining chairs in the living room rise and move of their own accord, as well the refrigerator moving along the kitchen floor. It was at this point that Holsworth contacted his station to send more officers.
According to William Hall’s research of the call records, it was a little after 10 am that Sunday morning when Officer Carl Leonzi and Officer Joe Tomek arrived at the Goodins’ property. As they looked over the destruction inside the property, they at first thought the Goodins were the victims of burglary. However, when Tomek witnessed the television floating in midair he realized that something altogether out of the ordinary was taking place.
Shortly after Leonzi and Tomek’s arrival, two more police officers arrived – those called by Mary Hoffman – officers George Wilson and Leroy Lawson. As the four police officers briefed each other on the goings-on, they all witnessed the refrigerator rise into the air before settling itself back on the floor.
Although the officers were still somewhat skeptical of what was taking place, they were beginning to wonder if they had become involved in something paranormal.
“Evil Spirits Are Trying To Kill Us!”
If any doubt remained as to the authenticity of the events taking place inside the Goodin home, the events of the next couple of hours would all but change that.
As Tomek was making a report of the incident, he suddenly heard a loud crash coming from Marcia’s bedroom (which was at the time empty). When the officers looked in to see what had happened, they saw the heavy-duty drawers had been tipped forward. Before they could gather their thoughts, each of them witnessed a wooden cross begin to swing where it hung on the wall before it appeared to be ripped away by invisible hands, striking Officer Lawson in the chest. He immediately left the property and refused to go back.
During this time, the police, due to the bizarre events, also requested the fire service dispatch a unit to the property. One of those who attended was fireman, Jack Messina. During his time in the property, he also witnessed the TV seemingly pull itself to the floor completely by itself.
As the strange events continued to unfold around the house, which was now full of people and all of whom witnessed them, one of the firemen contacted Father Doyle, informing him of the poltergeist-like activity and requesting that he too attend the property.
As the furniture continued to move, as well as various household items, Laura exclaimed to anyone who was listening that “evil spirits are trying to kill us”. This was seemingly corroborated by the arrival of Father Doyle, who after looking around the home and being told of what had been taking place, asserted to the family that “there is an evil spirit in this place”.
He would then begin to perform a blessing on the property. What happened next further chilled all those who witnessed it.
“It’s Coming From The Cat, I Heard It Say ‘Bye-Bye!’”
According to the book, The World’s Most Haunted House, Father Doyle began arranging “rosary beads, holy water, and a small Bible” ready to perform the blessing. After placing the holy water on a table near which he was sat and reaching for his Bible, he went to pick up the water.
However, when his hand was a short distance away “it tipped over”. Father Doyle then repositioned the Holy Water again and once more went to reach for it. Once more, it tipped over before he had a chance to touch it.
At this point, Father Doyle said a prayer and made the decision to contact a fellow priest – one experienced in exorcisms.
With the house full of people, including a paramedic who had arrived after the police had contacted them in order to have Laura’s foot checked out, as well as Jerry’s brother Edmund, the disturbing activity continued.
Perhaps one of the most intriguing, and truly unnerving of these, was alleged voices that came from the family’s pet cat. Edmund claimed that he heard one of the police officers state, “it’s coming from the cat! I heard it say, ‘Bye Bye’”. Following this, the police officer in question went outside to speak with a superior officer. Although he couldn’t hear the entire conversation, he did ascertain that the officer had refused to go back inside the property.
Following the morning of intense activity, Edmund offered to take Marcia out for some lunch so as to get her out of the house for a little while. The strange incidents, though, were far from over.
The Arrival Of Ed And Lorraine Warren
One of the people who had ventured into the house that morning was Mary Pascarella, a neighbor and a member of the Psychic Research Center. She would eventually contact paranormal researchers, Ed and Lorraine Warren and inform them of the strange events in the small house on Lindley Street. They would ultimately agree to attend the property and would also contact another priest, Father Charbonneau, asking him to attend also.
Ed arrived first and went about introducing himself to Jerry Goodin. Although he didn’t know anything about the Warrens, he knew that he required help from someone with experience in such strange matters and agreed to let him in. He would carry out some interviews with the police and others who had been at the house that morning, asking what they had seen and experienced. He would then leave, promising to return with his wife and Father Charbonneau. They would also have with them a young seminary student with an intense interest in the paranormal, Paul Eno, whose personal reflections of the case we will examine shortly.
By the time they all arrived back at the property, the activity outside had seemingly increased somewhat. Not only were police “going in and out of the house”, but a small crowd of onlookers was beginning to gather outside.
They entered the property and began going to work. According to The World’s Most Haunted House, before they did so, Ed took Paul to one side and asked him to stay close to Marcia as much as he could, elaborating that “it is common in hoax cases for the child to be the perpetrator, and is also frequently a contributor in legitimate paranormal cases”. The statement would prove to be, at least in part, highly accurate.
However, a little later that afternoon, the young girl was in the middle of another bizarre happening, one which, once more, had multiple witnesses.
“Keep Your Mouth Shut About What You Just Saw!”
As the young girl was sat talking to the police officers, the chair in which she was sitting suddenly began to rise into the air. It remained there for several moments before it “completely flipped” and sent Marcia crashing to the ground followed by the chair itself. What’s more, when the officers went to put the chair back in place, it took the considerable effort of two of them to do so.
The surge of bizarre activity continued throughout the day. As the Warrens went about their business, the police contacted electric and plumbing inspectors to see if they could discover what might be behind the truly remarkable events. Ultimately, they couldn’t. When they left, though, according to William Hall, they were told to “keep your mouth shut about what you just saw” and that it was a “police matter”.
By mid-afternoon, and with the onslaught of activity seemingly stopped, the police made the decision to leave the property, ultimately unable to offer any explanation to the truly strange incidents they had witnessed. They informed the family to report any further activity to them, although, in reality, there appeared to be little they could do.
Within hours, though, not only would the strange activity indeed begin again, the family were presented with another problem.
The Quickly Gathering Crowds Of Thousands
Perhaps what compounded the happenings somewhat were the gathering crowds outside the Goodins’ home, which according to William Hall “had grown to more than 2,000 people” by 4 pm. Furthermore, many of the crowd were reporters from radio and television stations. None of the reporters were granted permission to enter the property or speak with the family.
When the Warrens, along with Father Charbonneau and Paul Eno, left the property, they did so under the watchful gaze of the masses outside the small home. Needless to say, rumors and hearsay chat of what was going on inside the house swirled around the crowd.
As stated by William Hall:
In just a day, the Goodins’ home became the most popular attraction in the state – and soon, the country!
The police would return when the activity began later in the afternoon, and ultimately, they would set up a barrier which they would stand at so as to control the ever-growing crowd outside the Goodins’ house. And on occasion, even some of those in the crowd would witness statues outside the property moving of their own accord, with some even hearing a demonic-like voice uttering unheard words coming from the house itself.
The strange moving of household objects, the tipping over of furniture, and strange, booming noises continued throughout much of the evening. The Goodins simply did their best to ignore it.
An Incident Of Physical Harm
When the Warrens, Father Charbonneau, and Paul Eno returned to the property the crowds outside remained, with reporters from much further afield than the local area also arriving. Although they were largely ignored, some of them did manage to get small snippets of information from police as they left or entered the building, as well as brief words from some members of the Goodin family. These snippets of information slowly began to form a basic picture for their viewers and listeners, consequently attracting even more attention.
The scene the investigators walked into was one of utter chaos. Ed Warren had instructed the family to leave anything that was moved where it was so they could see for themselves what had happened, something they had indeed done.
As the investigators interviewed and spoke with the family, the strange events continued to occur around them, including curtain rails falling down and even the lights all going out for several minutes throughout the house.
However, perhaps the strangest incident occurred around an hour after the investigators’ arrival, at a little after 9 am. As the family and the investigators sat at the kitchen table and discussed the events of the day, as written about by William Hall, Paul Eno noticed that a “second-degree burn mark” was forming on Lorraine Warren’s arm, right in front of his eyes.
At around the same time, Paul noticed a smell of sulfur. This is perhaps particularly interesting, as not only does this detail appear in other paranormal accounts, but also in accounts of UFO and close contact alien encounters. As we will examine a little later, might this be evidence that there is a connection between these otherwise unconnected unexplained phenomena?
In the house on Lindley Street, though, all those present were deeply concerned at how events were playing out. What’s more, according to William Hall, when Paul Eno and Lorraine Warren were discussing the events at the Warrens’ home later that evening, they suddenly felt a “presence there with them”. Almost as if something had followed them from the Goodins’ home. Ultimately, whatever it was, it appeared to disappear within a few moments.
The Bizarre Appearance Of “Four Entities!”
The bizarre events continued throughout the following morning and afternoon. The investigators discussed the possibility of arranging an exorcism in the house.
Perhaps one of the strangest incidents, though, took place while Paul Eno was resting his hand on the kitchen chair where Marcia was sat. Suddenly, he felt the chair begin to rise into the air, seemingly pushing against the pressure of his hand. Instinctively, he began to push back down on the chair and was amazed to suddenly feel whatever was pushing up suddenly relinquish their attempt to lift the chair into the air.
Paul Eno remained at the house into the early evening, and while the activity had seemed to die down somewhat, it hadn’t not completely stopped. Outside, the crowds remained hoping to see something out of the ordinary for themselves. However, later in the afternoon as the rain beat down on the Goodins’ home, something truly strange and menacing occurred.
As the family and the investigators played a game of Monopoly during a particular quiet spell, a strange “force” began to be noticed by all in the room. Something was about to appear to them. Writing in The World’s Most Haunted House, William Hall states that, whatever it was, “it resembled a large, cohesive, assemblage of smoky yellowish-white gauzy mist”. What’s more, although the form was somewhat transparent, everyone present could see the outline of four bodies – essentially, “four entities”.
Furthermore, the sulfur-type smell had also returned, as well as a “constant hum” that all present could hear.
Even stranger was the fact that Jerry began to suddenly to chant a prayer in fluent Latin, and he did so in a voice that was “clearly not his own”. Seemingly in response to this, the figures began to move around the room “as if in an organized pack” and “followed Jerry from room to room”.
At this point, Marcia was stood near Paul Eno, clearly frightened by what was taking place. However, when one of the entities began approaching the young girl, Eno stood in front of Marcia in an attempt to block its path. Then, things turned even stranger when Eno clearly felt the entity push against him, allowing him to clearly feel the physicalness of the apparition. He would later describe this frame of the entity as “bird-like”.
Despite his efforts, though, the entity managed to get around Eno and all of a sudden, Marcia was lifted into the air and thrown to the floor. Unsure what to do but sensing they had to leave, Eno asked everyone to step outside the property, which they duly did. When they did so, the swelling crowd looked on at the events. Even so, with the cacophony of noise coming from inside the house, Eno insisted the family stay outside while he contacted the Warrens.
The On-Going Concerns Of The Crowds Outside
By the time the Warrens arrived, the strange and disturbing events were continuing in abundance. On this occasion, two members of the local WNAB radio station convinced the Goodins to allow them entry into the property, upon which, they witnessed the incidents for themselves, including moving furniture, the tipping over of the televisions, as well as general and unnerving noises. To them, it must have been like walking on to the set of a horror movie.
Of more concern to the police, however, were the still gathered crowd and the permanent police presence required to keep them under control. It became apparent to the police that they had to do something to get the crowds to disperse. And this wouldn’t happen as long as they believed that something out of the ordinary was taking place.
Ultimately, the Warrens and Paul Eno left the Goodin house expecting to return the following day to continue their investigation and attempt to find a way to combat the bizarre activity. However, things were about to change, dramatically, and not in a way any of them had foreseen.
The Apparent Confession Of A Hoax
As the police officers changed shifts on the evening of the 25th going into the 26th November, the events were about to change course. As the officers were going about their business in the home, Marcia appeared to pretend the recliner chair she was sitting in suddenly flung itself back (she had done this on previous days). Once more, Laura scolded her for “fooling around”. However, it was something that one of the policemen – Officer Costello – witnessed for himself that would alter the course of the case.
As the adults were talking, Officer Costello noticed Marcia stretch her leg out slightly and nudge the television, forcing it to make contact with Jerry. However, before she could move her leg back, she realized that Costello had seen her. Costello would quickly inform the other officers present. Shortly after, according to Officer DelToro, Marcia had confessed to being behind the bizarre happenings at the house.
Although, at least in retrospect, it appeared that Marcia was only confessing to some of the more recent incidents, it soon snowballed – perhaps helped along by the police – into giving them a reason to ultimately close the case as a complete hoax. And they would waste little time in making their decision public (something, incidentally, which helped in dispersing the crowd outside the house). The police would also recommend that Marcia was taken for counseling, something that her parents agreed to.
What’s more, several theories began to emerge that the Warrens themselves had perhaps “aided” in the events after becoming involved and ultimately, the Goodins (who were not suspected of any involvement in the “hoax”) would cease working with them.
Of course, a large part of the reason that the Goodins stopped working with the Warrens was down to the apparent confession of Marcia, in particular, that she had seen Lorraine Warren purposely scold herself under the hot water tap to bring out the “burn mark”. The other was the revelation that Ed Warren had used their phone to contact members of the press, alerting them to the strange goings-on.
It would later come to light from the interviews done by Hall with some of the police officers involved that the police essentially knew that something out of the ordinary was taking place but wished to make out to the wider world that it was nothing but a hoax. This was, in part, to deter the crowds from gathering outside the property, and perhaps indirectly to take the focus and pressure away from the family. We will examine some of these statements a little later.
Case “Officially Closed!”
The Warrens, as well as Paul Eno, would learn of the apparent confession – as well as the suspicions voiced that they were, in part, encouraging the hoax – through the radio reports later that morning. According to the report, Marcia had confessed to being “the one who had done the banging on the walls and the floor”. She was, the report continued, responsible for the furniture moving and household items crashing to the floor, as well as the strange voices, even demonstrating how she achieved this.
Ed would immediately call the Goodin home but was promptly informed that the family no longer needed their help. Paul Eno would drive to the property and was told to “leave and not come back”. He, like the others involved, knew that what they had seen was not the result of a hoax, and certainly not a hoax by a single 10-year-old child.
However, the police department issued a statement claiming the incident was “officially classified as a hoax” and that there were “no ghosts in Bridgeport”. Individual police officers would even offer their own statements to the media, further adding credibility – at least to the wider public – that the events were not genuine.
However, some officers appeared to reject the hoax theory. Officer Tomek, for example, would state that he did see some bizarre things, but he didn’t have an explanation for them, further saying that he “doubted the Goodins could have caused these things to move” and that they “typically weren’t even near” items that seemingly moved of their own accord. Another officer would state that it wasn’t merely one or two moving items but “many different things happening all at once”.
Regardless of these voices of descent, though, the case, at least as far as the police were concerned, was closed and no longer required their presence (although small units were left for several weeks to control the crowd outside).
A False Sense Of Things Being Over
The crowd, albeit diminished, would remain outside the home for several days following the announcement of the case being closed by the police. Inside the home, despite the Goodins apparent belief that their daughter had caused the strange incidents, at least in part, the bizarre happenings continued, although they were further apart than they had been over the weekend of activity.
However, they now appeared to face a new threat. After returning home from a Thanksgiving meal and beginning to settle down for the evening, Jerry noticed the smell of smoke. Along with one of the police officers outside, they soon discovered a small fire at the back of the property. Although it was quickly killed, it appeared obvious that the fire had been purposely started.
Ultimately three people were arrested and charged with the arson attack. However, it was confirmation for the family that they were now targets from the outside of their home, as well as the strange forces inside.
Over the days that followed, though, and much to the Goodins relief, it appeared the strange events inside the family home was dying down. And by the time December had rolled around, they appeared to have stopped altogether.
However, after a little over a week of no strange activity at all, things would suddenly flare up once more.
A Restarting Of Activity
The unnerving activity was much the same as before when it began once more on the evening of 10th December 1974. Furniture would move by itself, the television would topple over, and all manner of household items would seemingly fling themselves from shelves or walls.
As the days went by following the sudden restart of activity, the family did their best to carry on with their lives. However, it would increase seemingly daily in intensity. At this point, any notion that Marcia was behind the activity in the minds of her parents was pretty much dispersed. Not only did they witness the events themselves, but police officers (still positioned outside) witnessed them again also.
Whenever they did leave their home, upon returning they would find it in a complete ruin, with all manner of items strewn around each room as if someone had entered the property and simply ransacked it. A dog they had recently acquired also appeared to sense something “wrong” in the house, routinely pacing and barking at what seemed to be an invisible presence.
They even turned back to Father Doyle in an attempt to have an exorcism authorized by the church – something he assured them he was attempting to do.
Once more becoming distraught at the prolonged chilling activity taking place in their home, the Goodins didn’t know where to turn for help. Then, just short of a week after the incidents had restarted, on 16th December, the Goodins received a phone call.
Upon answering the phone Jerry was introduced to an apparent poltergeist investigator from the American Society for Psychical Research named Boyce Batey. What’s more, he claimed he might be able to assist the family. Of even more importance, and likely why the Goodins would agree to work with him, he wished to keep his investigation private and out of the media. They ultimately agreed to meet at the house two days later on 18th December. In the meantime, the activity continued, even appearing to increase in strength and intention.
Pathological Environment “Set The Stage For The Poltergeist Disturbances!”
As promised, Boyce Batey arrived at the Goodin house on 18th December. With him were investigators from the Psychical Research Foundation, Blue Harary, and Jerry Solfvin. Unbeknown to the family, the team had met with Ed Warren beforehand, who, while disappointed at how his involvement in the case had ended, fully briefed them of everything he knew of the case.
They also managed to speak to the police department who were seemingly happy to assist in the team’s investigation, although they wished to do so “quietly”. This, of course, suited Batey, who very much wished to work away from the glare of the media and onlookers.
Their investigation would continue throughout the month of December and was witness to as much if not more paranormal activity as was witnessed by the Warrens and Paul Eno.
However, as much as they believed they were witnessing genuine paranormal events, they also believed that the Goodins overbearing parenting style of Marcia was a cause of her, at least partly, genuine unhappiness. Batey would ultimately conclude that this parenting style, unhappiness (of all members of the family) had resulted in a “pathological” environment and that this, ultimately “set the stage for the poltergeist disturbances”.
This is interesting as it has been noticed in many poltergeist cases that a young child is very often both the focus and potentially, in ways of tapping into energies we don’t understand, may be the source of it.
There are also many who believe that such negative energy not only feeds such ghostly apparitions but may even attract it. With this in mind, a wide-spread study of such poltergeist-like hauntings could possibly be quite revealing.
A “Genuine Poltergeist Case!”
Batey also noticed that events appeared to take place following a “psychological change introduced into the home”. He would state that this occurred when someone new entered the house, or a certain room, as well as the constant coming and going of the police and investigators. In short, the more people the Goodins introduced into their home in an effort to combat the incidents, the worse it perhaps made it.
Batey would ultimately conclude that the goings on at Lindley Street were a “genuine poltergeist case” with “genuine paranormal psychokinetic effects”, although they also concluded that at least some of the events were solely the responsibility of Marcia.
The incidents themselves began to settle somewhat as 1975 unfolded. And while the Goodins did attempt to sell their home in order to move, they would remain there for the rest of their lives.
For a time, Marcia would seemingly disappear into anonymity. Laura Goodin, on the other hand, was killed in a traffic accident in June 1993. Her husband remained in the family home after his wife’s death, passing away from natural causes in September 1997.
It appears that Marcia at some point after 1980 went back to Canada. It would eventually come to light that she had passed away from natural causes at the age of 51 in February 2015 in Ohio MedCentral Shelby Hospital.
Author William Hall would state that he was “looking for her during the writing of the book” but that he didn’t manage to track her down by the time of the book’s release. Not much was known of the journey Marcia took following the incident. Hall would state in a 2015 interview that she had “left home mad at them”, although he wasn’t sure if this was a consequence of the poltergeist encounters of the mid-1970s.
Criticism (And Defense) Of Ed And Lorraine Warren
The case was, as we know, initially investigated by (even then) experienced paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren. And it is probably fair to address some of the accusations thrown at the pair in the fallout of the case.
For example, some claimed the pair had manufactured and embellished the goings-on themselves in order to “make their money”. In their defense, however, even in the mid-1970s the couple were experienced and respected in their fields. Furthermore, they did not charge the Goodins, nor any family with which they investigated such strange happenings, a single dollar. They made their money from their written work and public speaking.
It is perhaps interesting, though, that the couple were accused of making more out of the incidents than there actually was a decade and a half later when investigating the haunting in Connecticut of Carmen and Al Snedeker in 1986. Specifically, that they were not concerned so much with getting to the bottom of the apparent hauntings as much as the promoting the most outlandish aspects of the happenings, with Ray Garton claiming Ed Warren had said to him to “just use what works and make up the rest”.
Whatever the realities of the situation, the Warrens are certainly respected paranormal investigators. And we might consider how the accusations levied against them in the fall out of the Lindley Street case may have damaged them perhaps more than they deserved later down the line. After all, even if the Warrens wished for publicity, and even if they did use what was most palatable to their audience, it doesn’t suggest or endorse claims that they manipulated the events of the cases they worked on.
The Reflective Witness Statements Collected By William Hall
We have relied heavily for the more intricate details of this case on the book, The World’s Most Haunted House by William Hall – and with good reason. It is arguably one of the most comprehensive and indeed reflective publications on the strange incidents on Lindley Street, and it goes without saying that we recommend once more you obtain a copy and read the events in Bridgeport in full.
What he managed to do was collect statements from almost all of those involved or who had witnessed the incidents for themselves. And those statements indeed contribute to a fuller picture.
For example, elaborating that he seriously doubted that the family could have caused all of the incidents that took place in the house, Officer Tomek would state that the case “is a serious story that has to come out”. He would further contemplate how many people lived their lives not realizing that “these kinds of incidents are happening to their neighbors just several feet away”.
Another policeman who witnessed the events, Officer George Wilson would also state that “there is no way a little girl could have done all of that”. It was his belief that she may have “got carried away” with the excitement of the situation and activity and consequently “did some things herself”, but many of the incidents were simply beyond her control.
Assistant Chief William Parks would echo this belief, stating that “there were so many people” in the house at any one time that “it would be extremely difficult for a small girl to move something without being noticed”. We should perhaps note that on the several occasions she did attempt to fake an event (the reclining chair and the television, for example), she was “caught” each time.
Fire Chief Jack Messina, who witnessed much of the initial activity, would later state when it was announced that the whole thing had been a hoax that they “can’t convince me it was her. It’s physically impossible”.
The WNAB Radio reporter, Tim Quinn – one of the few media people allowed in the property – claimed that it was “too damn convenient” for the police to dismiss the entire case as a hoax, elaborating that after the initial genuine events had died down, Marcia was “just trying to keep herself in the limelight”. We have to remind ourselves that what had previously been a pedestrian home was now full of life and new people. Ultimately, Quinn would conclude that he couldn’t “rationalize what I saw”, but it was, all the same, very real.
From the police department’s perspective, Quinn would continue that this apparent confession from Marcia “gave them an out” to declare the case a hoax and shut it down. And the prime reason for this was so as to disperse the gathered crowd that was not only a problem for the Goodins, but residents and motorists all over the city.
Investigator, Paul Eno, would state to Hall that, from his personal perspective the case was “not only traumatic but also ironic”. He would explain that even his involvement in the paranormal was at odds with him being a student for the priesthood, at least in the eyes of the Church (incidentally, Eno was ultimately thrown out of the seminary due to his involvement in paranormal investigations – an interesting note here is that many writers often make the error of assuming Eno was thrown out of the priesthood – including myself initially – however, in Eno’s words he was “expelled from the seminary long before ordination”).
Eno would also reveal that he was “flattened” by the case in terms of the sheer amount of paranormal poltergeist-like activity. However, instead of finding an explanation to the incidents in such things as demons or distressed spirits of the dead, Eno believed that the Lindley Street case and others similar to it, “might reach into the core of what reality is, and of our disconcerting place in it”.
Eno believes that our very existence might reside within a “multiverse” – a reality where all possibilities and levels of consciousness exist. And occasionally, these levels of consciousness and different realms (or dimensions) of existence crash into each other and overlap.
In fact, it is to Paul Eno, who we will turn our attention to next. He very recently was kind enough to speak with us about the case and offered some recent reflections.
Recent Reflections From Paul Eno
We might recall, Eno was a young paranormal investigator at the time, working on the case with Ed and Lorraine Warren. And he was witness to some of the most intriguing and intense activity that took place.
For example, regarding the incident with the burn mark appearing on Lorraine Warren’s arm and that Marcia allegedly “confessed” that Lorraine caused this using the hot water tap, Eno has no doubt that it was genuine. “I saw it” he would state recently, adding that he personally was not aware of any such confession from Marcia, elaborating that such a notion “would be typical of the urban myths that have surrounded this case”.
Eno reminds us that he was sitting at the kitchen table when Lorraine “suddenly yelped”. What’s more, he watched as “a second-degree burn blister developed on her right hand”. He would add that he was barely two feet away at the time, and “there was no heat source”. Eno also states that the whole incident was captured on audiotape (which is in the possession of William Hall) and he (Eno) can clearly be heard saying “there’s a blister forming!”
Eno would conclude, that “unless she (Lorraine) had developed some way to physically burn herself, it was what it was”.
Eno also states that many of the actions attributed to Marcia simply could not have been accurate. He recalled that the very first time he met her she was “in the cellar with a huge police officer who was trying to get her to admit that she was moving the objects around”. This, of course, suggests a pressure being discreetly put on her by at least some of the police at the house.
He further states that he stood right next to Marcia on several occasions when “heavy objects moved in other rooms”, adding that many of these objects and pieces of furniture were so heavy he couldn’t have moved them himself.
Of course, one of Eno’s main tasks was to observe Marcia, and he would make some intriguing observations indeed, not least as they echo those of Boyce Batey. He would state recently that Marcia struck him “as a very deep child, highly intelligent, but very lonely”.
Eno would recall that “she seemed very pleased with all the attention she was getting”, although this, according to the veteran paranormal researcher, is something that is “common in poltergeist cases for the alleged agent”.
Ultimately, although he did once see her “push a lamp, it was clear that she just wanted to see if it would do anything dramatic”, adding that “any child would do that”. He also noted, though, that a neighbor told him at the time of the investigation that she did “sneaky things when her mother isn’t looking”. Marcia, however, and the events that unfolded were in Eno’s opinion, very genuine.
“The Best-Witnessed Poltergeist Case Of The Twentieth Century!”
Without a doubt, one of the most intriguing happenings at the house on Lindley Street was when the kitchen chair Marcia was sitting in began rising into the air as Eno rested his hand on it. As he pushed back down, he could feel whatever force was lifting it letting go. Even stranger, he felt a strange presence at the time. He elaborated that this was strange in that usually when he felt such presences, it was almost always when objects weren’t moving.
He would further contemplate whether he himself might have moved the chair “unconsciously”, recalling the “paranormal weight loss party game” where people manage to lift a person with only their fingers. It is certainly an interesting notion.
In his recent discussion with us, Eno stated that the Bridgeport Poltergeist case is likely the “best-witnessed poltergeist case of the twentieth century, if not of modern times”.
He would further state that what he witnessed on Lindley Street “smashed my belief system”. Initially, Eno believed, like the Warrens, that they were likely “dealing with demons”. However, the attack of the 25th November “was not only terrifyingly physical but was carried out by entities I can only describe as completely alien”.
He did state, though, of his confusion as to why Ed Warren “didn’t bring a camera and a tape recorder” when they first went to investigate the case, further stating that “if anything, this hurts the credibility of the case”. He would continue that “if I had to do it over again, things would be different… (there would be) plenty of documentation” and he would employ “the theories and methods Ben (Eno’s son) and I use today”.
Reflections On The Multiverse Theory
As we mentioned earlier, a theory ultimately arrived at by Paul Eno was that of the multiverse theory. It was, in part, while working on the Bridgeport Poltergeist case that Eno began to question the (then) usual theories of the paranormal. He would state to us recently that:
Starting with exorcisms I assisted at 1973-1975, through this case, and into the late 1970s, when I was running into time displacements, people seeing ghosts of themselves, and ghosts of people who were still alive, I became convinced that the classical ideas about demons and dead people being behind the paranormal simply weren’t good enough!
As Eno began to research quantum mechanics during the 1980s and beyond, he began to consider the notion of multiple universes where there was a “concrete reality of all possible outcomes”. When he considered there might be “different versions of ourselves” as well as “Einstein’s ideas from special relativity of the simultaneity of all time, everything began to fall into place”. These ideas that Eno has explored, and now continues to explore with his son, Ben, have “paved new roads into understanding our own spirituality”.
Ultimately, Eno would state, that with the multiverse theory in mind, he doesn’t accept “classic parapsychological explanation that Marcy was an agent who created a thought-form or just projected energy”. This, he would state, was simply “not good enough”. What he does believe, however, is that they were dealing with “four textbook, multiversal parasites who were “farming” the Goodin family because of the negative energy ‘food’ they provided”.
This is an interesting take. And one that has been used to describe anything from hauntings to apparent attacks from astral beings and even reptilian entities. Eno would further state that “you could feel these entities coming and going, especially before and after the attack. All the recognition just gave them more energy”.
Eno’s perspective is perhaps right on the money. If we accept there is a connection between many seemingly different aspects of the paranormal, then this way of thinking resonates very nicely.
The video below features Paul Eno speaking about the Bridgeport case a little further.
A Few Things To Consider
If we accept that the multiverse theory, or something similar to it, is potentially accurate, then what might that mean for the Bridgeport Poltergeist case, and others similar to it?
Might the negative energy highlighted by Batey, and Eno, have contributed significantly to the incidents? Might this build-up of energy – perhaps a combination of Marcia and Laura Goodin being in the same close quarters of their home – have allowed entities from another realm or dimension to enter into ours? If so, what does this tell us of the power of such energy – both negative and positive – and if we could learn to control it?
Batey also noted that there were some apparent effects of the happenings on the family. For example, Jerry appeared to develop a keen sense of premonition as to when things were going to happen. He would often note that the atmosphere had changed or became “heavy”. Was this merely a result of him adapting to his environment? Or might the build-up of energy that potentially opened whatever doorway the menacing presence came from have also affected the mind of Jerry, perhaps opening it up to whatever resonation it required to pick up on such upcoming events?
It might also be interesting to contemplate why the paranormal activity suddenly began to stop. Might this have been a result of the energies of Marcia and Laura changing to a more positive and serene outlook, and consequently depriving what these strange forces required to exist? It is perhaps worth noting that some paranormal investigators have noted that hauntings and strange incidents often occur while the witness is under a certain amount of stress and also cease once this stress is gone. That is not to say that the incidents are imagined, but that the potential power and energy of human emotion is perhaps underestimated and little understood.
And what might the case mean for other aspects of the paranormal? Might it suggest that a connection between energy and apparitions exists, in whatever form those apparitions reveal themselves? Just what might be taking place all around us that we are simply not aware of?
One Of The Most Credible Cases Or Nothing But A Hoax?
That the Bridgeport Poltergeist incident was nothing but a hoax is clearly wide of the mark. And while at least some of the activity was undoubtedly fabricated or even manufactured by Marcia, the vast majority – witnessed by multiple people on multiple occasions – could simply not have been orchestrated.
And while it might be unfortunate that such behavior could potentially damage the credibility of the case, we should remember that these were the actions of a 10-year-old child, a child with a somewhat traumatic past and in the middle of traumatic, if exciting events. In short, when the legitimate events began to quieten, it is perhaps understandable that a young child would want to encourage them again so as to maintain the uniqueness of the event rather than returning to normality.
Furthermore, for the several incidents that possibly could be attributed to Marcia, there were many more strange events that were witnessed by multiple people that simply could not have been a result of her manipulation or orchestration.
Essentially, as expressed by the Warrens, Paul Eno, and even Officer Tomek, it appeared simply impossible that even a team of people, much less a single person of such a young age, could have orchestrated the strange happenings for a prolonged period of time. That something strange and monstrous had taken place at the small home on Lindley Street – and quite possibly in others on the same road – appears to be without a doubt.
When we further take into account the wealth of witness statements collected by William Hall, as well as the recent views from Paul Eno, it appears overwhelmingly the case that the goings-on at the house on Lindley Street was, for the most part, genuine examples of real paranormal activity. The real question should perhaps be what that paranormal activity represents, and what an eventual understanding of them might mean for our collective reality.
Perhaps the best words to leave with are those of Jerry Solfvin, who was part of the investigative team of the second batch of incidents. He would state that “it was definitely a poltergeist, but what is that?” He would then go on to ask whether we as a collective have “lost our sense of wonder” and consequently attach misshapen explanations to things we don’t understand. He would conclude “it’s nothing but phenomena. Unexplained phenomena”.
The video below looks at this intriguing case a little further.
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