Supernatural Magazine

Paranormal Review Editorial 79 SPR (Summer 2016)


It was ‘we need the SPR!’ when The Enfield Haunting hit our screens last summer, but this year’s re-visit of the Enfield poltergeist case, The Conjuring 2, takes a very different approach. Focusing on the minimal (to be polite) investigation (to be generous) of Ed and Lorraine Warren, it tells quite another story; one that most members of the SPR will find unfamiliar, if not unfounded.

On behalf of the Paranormal Review, I sent David Saunders to see the film ahead of its worldwide première and ask director James Wan and actor Patrick Wilson (who plays Ed Warren) some pertinent questions. The results are a fascinating interview and film review.

Michael Tymn also takes another look at Guy Lyon Playfair’s classic book on the case, This House is Haunted. First published in 1980, it is just as fresh today as it was then and is still necessary reading.

Poltergeists are not the only thing paranormal lurking in Enfield. Not long ago, I read Consulting Spirit, written by Enfield GP Dr Ian Rubenstein. It is a gripping, true account of how a medical doctor found himself drawn into an extraordinary world of psychic experience and outrageous coincidence. The book ends still in the middle of the story and I simply had to find out more. Dr_Rubenstein generously gave one of the fullest and most interesting interviews I have had the pleasure of publishing. He also told me about the time he met the son of Bill, the putative Enfield poltergeist.

SPR Council Member John Fraser gives us an insight into his recent investigations at The Cage in St Osyth, a reputedly haunted former prison with a connection to the witch trials. We are fortunate to have photographs of supposedly poltergeist-inflicted wounds to print.

The President of the Swedish SPR, Göran Brusewitz, reports on the recent BIAL Foundation symposium in Porto on placebos and healing. We also have an account of the SPR’s Study Day, ‘Raiders of the Lost Archives’, illustrated by Dr Graham Kidd’s pen and ink drawings.

As this edition focuses on the Enfield poltergeist, I must mention that the BBC is showing Ghostbuster: The Real Thing, a 1996 documentary following SPR investigator Maurice Grosse as he returns to the Hodgsons’ house twenty years after Bill the poltergeist made his first appearance. ‘The SPR,’ he says, ‘is the world’s leading centre for the scientific study of the paranormal.’ The film can be seen at Ψ

Dr Leo Ruickbie



8 Conjuring Up Enfield

David Saunders talks to director James Wan and actor Patrick Wilson about their new film The Conjuring 2.

12 The Conjuring 2

David Saunders reviews the film: how far from the truth did they stray?

13 This House is Haunted

Michael Tymn looks at Guy Lyon Playfair’s factual account of the Enfield Poltergeist.

22 Meet the Poltergeist’s Son

Dr Ian Rubenstein tells of the time he met the son of Bill, the Enfield Poltergeist.

4 President’s Letter

The President of the SPR,*Prof. John Poynton, reflects on the recent Study Day on ‘The History and Philosophy of Psychical Research’.

6 Psi Society

Whiteman, Kluski, Transylvania, The Living and the Dead, Millar and the SPR’s 1st conference.

7 Permanent Paranormal Object

Dr Leo Ruickbie reveals the story behind the ‘faked’ Kluski spirit hands at the IMI in Paris.

14 Witness Testimony – The Lost Science?

John Fraser discusses the findings from his investigation of The Cage in St Osyth, a supposedly haunted house.

18 The Enfield Psychic

Dr Leo Ruickbie talks to Dr Ian Rubenstein about the nature of reality, psi and mediumship.

26 Placebos in Porto

Göran Brusewitz reports on the recent BIAL symposium on placebos and healing.

29 Books

Exclusive reader offer.

30 Raiders of the Lost Archives

A report on the SPR’s 70th Study Day, on preserving the archives of psychical research.

32 Ghosts in the Machines

Brandon Hodge looks for the first signs of diabolic influence on spirit devices.

34 Letters

35 Contributors

36 Events

SPR Conference programme.


Paranormal Review is sent free to members of the Society for Psychical Research. It is also available to non-members for a yearly subscription of £20.00, including post and packing in the UK. Contact

Back Issues

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The SPR welcomes members of the general public, as well as students and researchers in all disciplines, to join. Membership does not imply acceptance of any particular opinion concerning the nature or reality of the phenomena examined, and the Society holds no corporate views. The minimum age for joining is 1 6, with reduced subscriptions for students, couples and senior citizens. To renew or apply for membership please visit the website at, telephone the Secretary, Peter Johnson, on 020 7937 8984, or email


Features, articles, letters, experiences, notices, reports and reviews should be sent by email to Dr Leo Ruickbie at Material can also be posted to the editor at 1 Vernon Mews, London W1 4 0RL. Please mark envelopes ‘Paranormal Review’. Full submission guidelines can be found on the SPR website at under ‘publications’.

The Society for Psychical Research

The SPR was the first organisation established to examine allegedly paranormal phenomena using scientific principles. Our aim is to learn more about events and abilities commonly described as ‘psychic’ or ‘paranormal’ by supporting research, sharing information and encouraging debate. The SPR is a Registered Charity, established in 1882.

Leo Ruickbie

Leo Ruickbie

Dr Leo Ruickbie, BA (Hons), MA, PhD, AKC (Associate of King’s College), was awarded a PhD for his thesis on the sociology of contemporary witchcraft. He is the author of four books to date, most recently A Brief Guide to the Supernatural and A Brief Guide to Ghost Hunting. He is a member of the Society for Psychical Research’s Education and Publicity Committee, a member of the Parapsychological Association, and a council member of the Gesellschaft für Anomalistik. He is also the editor of the Paranormal Review, the magazine of the Society for Psychical Research.