Blumhouse Television will work with the BBC to bring the story of the Battersea Poltergeist to the screen. The Hollywood Reporter says they are going to adapt a famous podcast – The Battersea Poltergeist – as an ongoing and scripted drama series to be called Blumhouse’s Ghost Story. The rights to the book The Poltergeist Prince Of London by Shirley Hitchings, the victim of the haunting, and James Clark have also been acquired.
The original podcast, which snagged more than three million downloads per month, documents the strange events focused around Hitchings in 1956 that were investigated over a twelve-year period – the longest documented poltergeist haunting in history.
The Battersea poltergeist incident spanned a staggering 12 year period and made national headlines, was the subject of a BBC investigation, and even had questions about it in the House of Commons at Westminster. Tales of strange noises, flying pans, exorcisms, and ghostly interactions gripped the nation and an attempt was even made to contact the poltergeist by the BBC on prime-time TV.
One night the family was awakened by deafening bangs reverberating through the house, shaking the walls and floor. The sound was so loud the neighbors came round to complain, imagining that Wally was hammering or tearing up floorboards in the middle of the night.
Soon the banging escalated to become a daily occurrence both day and night. Sleep-deprived and terrified, the family called in various surveyors, but no one could identify what caused the noise.
Things escalated. A scratching sound started to come from inside furniture. The bed headboard would make a scratching sound as the residents tried to sleep. Soon objects began moving by themselves. Evelyn Hollow, a Scottish writer, and parapsychologist witnessed some of these events herself.
“We’re talking about a clock floating through the air. We’re talking about pots and pans being thrown from a room that nobody was in.”
Multiple other witnesses claimed to have seen bedsheets flying off beds, slippers walking around of their own accord, and chairs moving across the room. And still, things escalated and became sinister. Evelyn says:
“Rooms are trashed, the house looked like a bloody warzone. It’s a truly wild case.”
Spontaneous fires would break out, disembodied voices appeared and writing appeared on the wall and even on paper.
The incidents seemed to center on Shirley, the family’s fifteen-year-old daughter. Incidents would even follow Shirley to work. When she and her father went on the BBC to speak about the haunting, the poltergeist appeared to follow them. There was a mysterious series of noises and tapping on the bus en route to the studio. The BBC presenter Cliff Michelmore, who went on to report on the assassination of JFK and the moon landings, even mentioned in a memoir two years later that he heard the poltergeist during the incident at the BBC.
The case was never truly solved and only stopped when the house was completely demolished. The site still stands vacant to this day.
Blumhouse and the BBC aim to launch a franchise and potentially expand to an anthology of other famous ghost stories.
Speaking of ghost stories, check out our report on Hollywood hauntings right here.