Much attention has been given to Janet Hodgson in the years since the Enfield haunting. But what about Bill Wilkins, the deceased who apparently possessed her body? What do we know about Bill Wilkins? Was he really the Enfield poltergeist?
Here is what we know about Bill Wilkins as he relates to Janet Hodgson and to the Enfield haunting of the 1970s.
Enfield Haunting and Bill Wilkins
As you’re aware, Janet Hodgson was an 11 year old girl who claimed to be possessed by the spirit of a deceased man. Witnesses state that Janet Hodgson assumed the voice of a man, and that the girl knew things about this man that it would have otherwise been impossible for her to know had his spirit not resided in her body.
There is little which is known about Bill Wilkins. In fact, learning about the deceased has become a sort of game of Telephone – everything is repeated until the facts gradually change, and eventually very few remain who know the facts.
There are several things we do know about Bill Wilkins, however, and those facts are the basis of both the Enfield haunting and the premise behind The Conjuring 2.
First, we know Bill Wilkins died in the Enfield home where Janet Hodgson and her family lived. He has been portrayed in popular culture as a less than star member of the population – every title from drunkard to child molester has been attached to his name.
Secondly, we know that Janet Hodgson was recorded as speaking in the voice of Bill Wilkins. That recording was played on the radio, and a man, Terry, came forward. He claimed that he recognized the voice as belonging to his late father.
Third, we know that while supposedly possessed by the spirit of Bill Wilkins, Janet Hodgson stated the following: “Just before I died, I went blind, and then I had a hemorrhage and I fell asleep and I died in the chair in the corner downstairs.” Terry Wilkins has confirmed that this is true.
Bill Wilkins Real Voice Recordings of the Enfield Poltergeist
Bill Wilkins was only one of a number of spirits who supposedly spoke through Janet. In interviews, Janet and her sister Margaret report that anywhere between 6 and 300 spirits spoke directly through the girl, but Bill Wilkins is the only who has been identified.
Countless investigations were conducted during and after the Enfield haunting; as a result the recordings were played on radio and Terry came forward. But Bill’s voice is seemingly the only ever to have been captured on tape. The others manifested solely for eyewitnesses. In other words, the spirits performed when there was no audience.
In tape recordings in which Bill Wilkins is speaking through Janet, the voice is very deep, gruff, and carries a heavy accent. However, video recordings of “Bill Wilkins via Janet” also exist. In these instances, the voice is more high pitched and raspy – much like an 11 year old impersonating a man.
Many have investigated both the video and the recordings, and it’s unclear as to whether the voice changes because a different spirit is manifesting or because Janet faked the whole thing. Critics note that in the videos, Janet can be seen covering her mouth as she speaks. Janet, however, claims that investigator Maurice Grosse proved naysayers wrong. He filled her mouth with water and covered her mouth with tape, yet the voice still spoke through her. There is no video record of this having occurred.
Are the “Bill Recordings” Real?
In short, it’s impossible to tell whether the Bill Recordings are real. The most reliable evidence we have today is that Terry Wilkins came forward to identify the voice as that of his father. However, the same can be said for Terry Wilkins as can be said for Janet Hodgson: the publicity may have been enough to prompt him to do so.
Believers in the paranormal have questioned how Janet would have known the exact way in which Bill Wilkins died, and where his body was found. But those skeptical of the Enfield haunting argue that Janet could have simply overheard a neighbor.
However, in addition to unexplained knowledge about the death of Bill Wilkins, Janet’s vocabulary comes into question. Janet sometimes uses vocabulary which is atypical for an 11 year old girl. Though sometimes the words she uses are quite juvenile – for example, spelling out the word g-h-o-s-t – at other times her choice of words and her crude language sound very adult.
Are the Bill Recordings real? There are few reliable witnesses to the events of Enfield in the 1970s, and those who were there have very differing opinions. Janet Hodgson, now Janet Winter, still claims that these events did occur. She maintains that Bill Wilkins spoke through her, and that she was possessed by the spirit of the former tenant of 284 Green Street, the Enfield Haunting house.
What Happened to Bill Wilkins Afterwards?
It seems to be true that Bill Wilkins did go blind, suffer a hemorrhage, and die in his sleep in an armchair. Terry Wilkins claims this to be true, and there are public records implying that this was the case.
But what happened to the spirit of Bill Wilkins – the demon who apparently possessed Janet Hodgson? No one knows for sure.
Janet underwent several religious rites, but none so dramatic as movie portrayals of the Enfield haunting may imply. In short, the haunting just stopped. In 1979, Janet and her family claimed that they were still terrorized by the ghost of Bill Wilkins, but “to a lesser degree.”
It’s possible that the spirit of Bill Wilkins finally found peace. Perhaps he was successfully driven out by the efforts of religious leaders. Or, possibly, the spirit of Bill Wilkins died with the imagination of Janet Hodgson. No one will ever know for sure.
Peggy Hodgson, Janet Hodgson’s mother, lived the rest of her life in the same home that the family claimed was haunted. She eventually died in the same armchair as did Bill Wilkins. There is no record of either Peggy Hodgson nor Bill Wilkins ever having returned to the home.