The photographer behind the defining poltergeist image of the 20th century reportedly said that the levitating girl in the picture “just jumped” — before later denying the claim.
In the late 1970s, the Hodgson family became the center of international attention after reports that they were being haunted at their home at 284 Green Street in Enfield, London.
The series of ghostly incidents became known as the Enfield Poltergeist — the events of which inspired an upcoming Apple TV documentary-drama of the same name as well as The Conjuring 2 movie.
Photographer Graham Morris visited 284 Green Street regularly between 1977 and 1979 and spent months trying to capture the poltergeist at the Hodgson family’s home.
Morris eventually captured the iconic image of 11-year-old Janet Hodgson levitating through the air as her siblings screamed in bed in the background. At the same time, an audio recording was taken of a raspy voice claiming to be the ghost of a man who had previously died at the property.
‘It Looked to Me That Someone was Jumping Across The Room’
For many years, the photograph was viewed as key evidence of the haunting. However, in an interview with The Times of London this weekend, Morris reportedly said that the image may have simply showed Janet jumping.
“No. But then I’m in a house with members of the Society for Psychical Research,” Morris tells The Times of London after the publication asked him if Janet was levitating in the photo.
“They went: ‘Oh, she’s levitating.’ I just stared back. I wasn’t there to make any claims. It looked to me that someone was jumping across the room.
“She frightened herself to death and almost broke her neck. She endangered her own life every time so I don’t see why she would want to do that.”
According to The Times of London, Morris, who was operating his camera remotely from downstairs, said his equipment took one frame every second and did not support claims that Janet floated up from a horizontal position
‘This Girl Has Some Sort of Force’
However, since the interview, Morris has denied saying that Janet “just jumped” in the image. Speaking to the Mail Online today, the photographer insists that he believes the 11-year-old girl “had some sort of force” four decades on.
At the time of taking the photo, Morris recalled hearing a scream or a shout and then nothing for a second before a huge crash.
“There is no way she was doing this for fun,” the photographer tells the Mail Online.
“You have got to be mad to actually want to do something like that. It was a completely darkened room.
“If it were the case she were jumping she’d be launching herself at a brick wall or a door in pitch black.”
Morris tells the publication that they all ran upstairs to find Janet in a “mess,” crumpled on the floor on the other side of the bedroom.
The photographer denied that he ever said Janet was jumping and said he left it to the experts at the Society for Psychical Research to decide whether she was levitating or not.
Morris openly admits that he does not believe in ghosts. However, according to the Mail Online, the photographer has theorized that Janet had some powers — which he compared to Stephen King’s titular character in Carrie who can move things with her mind through harnessing her telekinesis powers.
“I think this girl has some sort of force,” Morris says.
“And she is desperate to get this.. whatever it is. This energy, this power, whatever she has, across and out to communicate with people.
“And it’s coming out in different ways in a sort of force. Like a kinetic energy where things are shifting around.”
The documentary-drama The Enfield Poltergeist is streaming on Apple TV+ on October 27 and will explore the true story of the world’s most famous poltergeist case through original audio recordings made inside the house as the events unfolded.