Peggy Hodgson was a primary character at the heart of the Enfield Haunting story, but not a lot is known about her and very little is spoken about her. She was quiet and unassuming by all accounts, playing second fiddle to other characters in a story that pretty much dominated the headlines of the time.
Peggy was the mother of Janet Hodgson, who was the one allegedly possessed by the ghost of Bill Wilkins. At the time of the poltergeist activity, Peggy was in her late forties. She was said to be quiet, reserved and conscientious, unlike her child, who was considerably livelier and a little less shy of the spotlight.
Who Was Peggy Hodgson
Peggy was divorced and separated from her husband. Her maiden name was Burcombe and she lived just a stone’s throw from her bother, who worked at a local hospital. According to reports at the time, Peggy was very close to her brother and the families helped to support each other. The brother is actually mentioned in many reports and was apparently in the house during the time of the first incident.
Peggy was also close with her neighbors, the Nottinghams, who were brought in to inspect the scene after the first incident had taken place. As we have discussed elsewhere, it was actually the neighbors who helped to involve the press and the police, making this more of a national story than it might have been if the quiet and unassuming Peggy had been left in charge.
Peggy Hodgson’s Life
The single mother was devoted to her family throughout her life and it seemed to take its toil. She clearly was not a woman who enjoyed the limelight and would have no doubt been very happy with a simple, uneventful existence. The Enfield Haunting changed that and would have an impact on how Peggy and her family spent the rest of their days, but it wasn’t the only major thing that came between Peggy and her family.
Just 4 years after the first Enfield Haunting incident, Peggy lost her son, John, who was just 14 when he died. She would also lose her grandchild when, after leaving home aged 16 and marrying young, Janet had a baby boy who would later die aged just 18.
While Janet made a few television appearances after the incidents had taken place, Peggy did not. In one of the interviews Janet had said that while her mother was alive there was always a presence hanging over her.
After Peggy Hodgson Death
Peggy Hodgson would live in the house of the Enfield Haunting until she passed in 2003.
After the death of Peggy Hodgson, another family moved into the house where the incidents had taken place. There had been no talk of hauntings and other paranormal events in the interim years and if anything did happen then Peggy kept it underwraps. When she passed, things continued as normal and the new owners were said to have not experienced anything out of the ordinary, although they didn’t feel entirely comfortable.
As it happens, the new owner was a mother of four, Clare Bennett, someone in a very similar position to the one that Peggy Hodgson had been in at the time the first hauntings had taken place. Bennett and her family reported feeling uneasy in the house, saying that she sensed she was being watched and that her sons would wake in the night and hear people talking downstairs, even though everyone else was asleep in bed.
According to Bennet, she only found out about the history of the house after these events had taken place. With so much information out there on the Enfield Haunting (even in 2003) it seems unlikely that they would have not known this in advance, especially if they were living in or near the area. You would have also thought that the house’s owner, the neighbors or even the kid’s schoolmates would have warned them. However, there was no push for publicity from Bennett and her family and there was no other incentive for them to lie, so we’re inclined to believe them.
As discussed elsewhere on this site, another family have since taken up tenancy in the house, another mother with children. She’s keen not to let her children find out about the house as she doesn’t want to scare them, but as of yet there have been no suggestions of Peggy Hodgson’s story repeating itself.
How is Peggy Hodgson Depicted?
On TV and in films, Peggy is usually portrayed as the quiet and timid person that contemporary reports have made her out to be. There have been other films about hauntings that have been based on this story and on the earlier documentaries that portrayed it and these have also borrowed from Peggy’s character. The timid yet resilient single mother character has been a regular feature in all of these films and it’s something you will find everywhere from Poltergeist to The Conjuring.
There is usually an element of strength there, typically borne out of a love of her children. She is also portrayed as someone who is easily swayed and is quick to side with her children, while perhaps deep down wondering if she is being had. On the one hand, she is a frustrating character for the audience as they want to drill some sense into her and waken her up to what is really happening. But on the other, she proves to be an unshakeable force against the evil that tries to consume her children and, in many Hollywood hauntings, against the antagonist who tries to convince her that everything is fake.
Many elements are borrowed from the real story, of course, but there are also many liberties taken here, even with the stories that are based directly on the Enfield Haunting. That’s because Peggy just wasn’t as prominent in the story at the time the haunting was taking place. She assumed more of a backseat role and didn’t seem happy with the media attention. When something like that happens, the media will inevitably paint their own picture, filling in the gaps until they get the character that they want to see and the character that they believe will best suit their readers.