This Morning: Guest says she was ‘traumatised’ by poltergeist
In January 1956, the then 15-year-old Shirley Hitchens returned to her south London home to discover an ornate silver key lying on her pillow. Nobody recognised the object and the key reportedly did not fit a single lock in the entire house. But although the discovery appeared insignificant at first, this is now considered only the beginning of 15 years of “torment” at the hands of the “Battersea Poltergeist”.
Ms Hitchens shared her eerie tale on ITV’s This Morning today, saying: “Since the book came out, we have found out so much more about [the poltergeist] ‘Donald’ and it was giving up its secrets.”
The noises would pound, pound, pound
Shirley proceeded to recount exactly how the Battersea poltergeist terrorised her family.
She said: “It was horrendous. It started with the key and the noises began that night.
“They seemed to come from the walls and the ceiling, the floors. And both neighbours on either side – as it was a terraced house – heard it.
“And the police, who were called out at 3am also heard it from the street.
Ghost stories: A woman has recounted the real-life poltergeist who tormented her for decades
Ghost sceptics were served a frightful first-hand account of what was like to live with one of the UK’s most notorious hauntings
“It went on until daylight and we were all traumatised and, as I was [then] a little girl, I climbed on to my dad and said ‘please make it stop.’ But it didn’t and daylight came and it went on from there.”
This intense time of their lives apparently lasted for weeks and the eyewitness recounted how every night the noises would “pound, pound, pound”.
Ms Hitchens said: “Things such as pots and pans would start to be thrown and we would have to dodge them in case they hit.
“And at one time the clock would come off the mantlepiece and floated across the room and landed on the dining room table.
Ghost stories: The Battersea Poltergeist is one of the UK’s most notorious host tales
“At night, when all this was going on, we would just sit in the kitchen and wait it all out.”
This reportedly continued for a decade and resulted in Shirley’s father, Wally, losing his job through illness.
Responding to presenter Holly Willoughby’s questions as to why her family did not move, she said: “My parents were happy.
“We rented the property and … my mother was an invalid and it was all good for her to move about in a wheelchair.
Elvis Presley GHOST ‘appears’ to King’s cousin ‘I freaked out!’ WATCH [ELVIS GHOST]
Elvis Presley’s 86th birthday celebrated by Linda Thompson [ELVIS BIRTHDAY]
Elvis Presley’s ex-girlfriend believes he is in ‘another dimension’ [ELVIS DEATH]
“They didn’t want to move and I had a wonderful childhood.”
The apparent “haunting” lasted for such a long period, Shirley’s mother bizarrely became so accustomed to the apparition’s presence she eventually “missed” Donald.
There were even allegations made in the media at the time the family had actually fabricated the entire incident.
Confronting these claims, Shirley said: “The finger was pointed at me.
Ghost stories: The Battersea poltergeist terrorised Shirley Hitchens’ family for 15 years
“After the [paranormal] investigator Mr [Harold] Chibbett turned-up, he told us we had a poltergeist, which we had never heard of one before.
“He was a lovely man who stuck with us and camped-out in out kitchen diner and it was through him I am lucky enough to have all the day-to-day files detailing what happened.
“And he did tame Donald in the end – he was the one who got through to him.”
The case of the Battersea Poltergeist has been re-examined writer and by broadcaster Danny Robin.
This investigative series dubs the incident as “Britain’s strangest haunting”.