Monday, 23 January 2017

Harry Price in Battersea

Yesterday, as I was in the vicinity, I managed to get to Eland Road in Battersea, south west London, to take a photograph of the house which in 1928 was home to the mysterious 'Battersea Poltergeist', which garnered considerable publicity at the time and drew large crowds to the street.  It was investigated by Harry Price and his account appears in his book Poltergeist Over England - it's available online here, so I don't have to go into further detail.  A photo of the house in 1928 and in 2005 can be found here.  Interesting that the poltergeist appeared keen on throwing soap, a feature of the Borley 'poltergeist' sixteen months later, in which Price also played a major role.

The remarkable activity that greeted the arrival of Price at an investigation is also commented on in an extract from SPR files about the Battersea case, written by Dr V J Woolley assisted by a  Mrs Brackenbury, reproduced in The Haunting of Borley Rectory (1956) pp.73-4:

'Mr Price accompanied by two reporters had paid them another visit ... Their story is that he and his friends were shown into the front sitting room to wait.  There was not much furniture in this room but on the mantel shelf there were two metal figures of children.  Mr Price and his friends were taken all over the house and finally into the kitchen.  The two reporters turned to leave, Mr Price was behind them with Lilla and Mrs Perkins standing near him, when suddenly something dropped to the floor, they say it fell with a heavy thud.  They all hunted but could find nothing until Mr Price picked up a shoe and found inside it one of the two little metal figures that had been in the front room on his arrival ... After he left they asked me if I thought he was a medium and attracted things to him.  I said it was not probable.  They complained things always seemed to happen when he was there.'

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