The Thornton Heath Poltergeist

The Thornton Heath Poltergeist

During the 1970’s, in Thornton Heath, England, a happy family unit became the target of an angry entity residing in their home. The Thornton Heath poltergeist is now one of the most famous real life hauntings to come out of the UK…

The Beginning

One hot summer night in August the family were awoken by a bedside radio blasting out a strange foreign station. The family had no idea where the radio station was transmitted from and had never tuned into it before.

Little did they know that this strange incident was the catalyst of a four year trip into the realm of the paranormal.

The following nights saw bedside lamps and ornaments tampered with by unseen hands.

The Beginning of The Haunting

The following Christmas ( 1972 ) things started to get physical when the husband was assaulted by a flying figurine in the living room. It hit him so hard on the forehead that he collapsed giddy into a nearby chair.

As the family struggled to get the husband back to his feet the nearby Christmas tree began to rise and shake violently.

The New Year

The New year brought with it a mass of new paranormal activity. The family would constantly hear the footsteps of an unseen visitor walking though the bedrooms upstairs.

Several days after the New Year celebrations were over their young son was awoken by what he later described as a tall angry looking man.

The man hovered over him as he lay there with an incredibly evil look on his face. The son later claimed that this man was dressed in ‘old fashioned clothes’.

Before long visitors to the family home started experiencing the paranormal events. One evening the family was in the process of holding a dinner party for some close friends when the door began to shake and knock violently.

It seemed as though the front door was being knocked first then the living room was targeted. As the party members cautiously stood up the living room door flung open and every light in the house started switching on and off.

The family realized that things were steadily getting out of control – they needed help.

The Church

The family managed to get hold of a representative from their local church who sent a priest around to their home. Unfortunately the blessing the priest gave only seemed to make matters worse.

The family were then put in touch with a medium who visited their home to find out the cause of the haunting.

The medium was able to deduce that the entity was actually a dead farmer by the name of Chatterton. This Chatterton character was angry with the family because he considered them to be trespassers in his home.

After a little digging they did find out that a farmer named Chatterton owned their home during the mid-18th century.

The Farmer’s Wife

For some reason Chatterton’s wife began to make an appearance after the medium’s visit. She seemed to have a bit of a problem with the mother of the household.

Whenever the tenant’s wife would walk up the stairs she would become aware of someone following her. She would often turn around to see Chatterton’s grey haired wife following her.

Chatterton's wife

As soon as the old lady’s specter noticed she had been spotted she would disappear into the nearby shadows.

Things eventually got so bad that Chatterton would frequently pop up on the family’s television screen – interrupting whatever program they were watching.

The End

After nearly four long years of paranormal activity the family decided to throw in the towel and purchase a new home. Once out of the house in Thornton Heath the strange happenings ceased immediately.

There have been no further reports of poltergeist activity in the house they left behind…

If you have any thoughts or opinions on the article you have read here today please leave them in the comment section below.

31 thoughts on “The Thornton Heath Poltergeist

  1. I have never heard of the Thornton Health Poltergeist. And I can’t believe that the family stayed in the house for that long. I would have been out of that house in a flash!

    The video sent shivers up my spine with the creepy music. I think I am creeped out for the day.

    Thanks for sharing (I think).

    1. My family and I stayed at a haunted property called Gladstone villa in Wales for nine years solid so it’s quite possible.

  2. This probably was not the best article to read right before going to bed. If I have nightmares, I am going to blame you. 🙂

    I had not heard of the Thornton Heath haunting, but I have heard of similar stories. Do you know if the Thornton Heath was sold to another family after the four year strength with the one family from the early 1970s? Was it just that family that was targeted or were other families also victimized by the Chattertons?

    Thank you for sharing this story. Now, let;s hope I do not have nightmares tonight. 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie,

      The house was sold on and no further paranormal reports were made. It seems as though the entities were only linked to the one family.

  3. Creepy story! I often wonder why it would take people so long to move out. In my mind I would be gone, but I have not lived through this type of experience so maybe I shouldn’t say what I think I would do. But if things are flying in my home at me I think that would be enough! What in the world made them stay? I wonder……

  4. I grew up not too far from Thornton Heath, used to have friends who loved there when I was a kid! I had not idea the place had any paranormal events in its past though!

    Have you heard of the old mental hospital/asylum called Cane Hill? It’s in Coulsdon (south of Croydon).
    Anyway I firmly believe Cane Hill to be haunted. I have not done any research online or anything but I have hear d plenty of first hand stories of people having very strange experiences there!
    I wouldn’t be surprised as that place has a dark past!

  5. I was brought up in Thornton Heath and am doing some research into the Chattertons and the whole issue of the poltergeist. I know where the house is, but had not heard of it when I was a kid living there – just as well, as I was petrified of ghosts when I was little!

    Funny thing is, now I am living in Chiswick, on the same street as another famous poltergeist! I’m researching that one, as well, and hope to get to talk to people who were in on it, although the family sold the house, infuriatingly, not too long before I found out about it.

    1. Hey Tracy!
      Thanks for taking the time to leave your opinion on our article – sounds like you follow the more famous incidents around! If you find anything you would like to add to this article through your research please feel free to pop back here and use the comment section. 🙂

    2. Hi Tracey,
      Very interested in your 2016 response. As a resident of Thornton Heath and a writer about the paranormal , I am trying to discover whether this story is actually sourced and based on fact . Would be fascinated to heard about its location and what you seem to have discovered . More than happy to treat specific location in confidence if you think best. Happy new year to you John Fraser Council member Society for Psychical Research

  6. I have always been interested in the paranormal and the supernatural, so this post was quite interesting. Some people feel that ghosts just don’t exist. But they don’t have an explanation either to the funny occurrences.

    This sounds like a chilling story. I have seen many quite like this on TV shows. It must have been so frightening for the family. I feel that the only way out is by leaving the home. The only thing though is that by doing so they have lost their money. But at the end of the day your own life, and sanity, is more important than money.

    Sorry if I went astray with my post, just thought I would say what I thought.

    1. No problem Owain – the more diverse the comment the better! 🙂

      Thanks for taking the time to visit us and leave your opinion!

  7. Have the family asked for anonymity as I have seen no stories of this case with any details. I’d be interested to read about this case in more detail if you could direct me to more detailed accounts. (My daughter is auditioning for a part in a film based on this story)

    1. I think so Rachel, there is a lot of mention of this incident online but webmasters (like myself) struggle to get all the info needed for a complete article. I first came across this story years ago but the direct family name never seems to pop up that often (if at all!).
      What is the name of the film your daughter is auditioning for out of interest?

  8. So sorry for the late reply, you can email me directly if you wish.

    It is being released this Halloween,

    I can then send you some trailers.

    Anyone with any further information please get in touch

  9. The only famous Thornton Heath Poltergeist I know of is that investigated by Nandor Fodor in 1938 involving the Forbes family which I have just started looking into in depths for possible article /book . I am most interested in what your sources are and who investigated the case you refer to in the 1970s. ? Best Regards John Fraser Society
    for Psychical Research – and current resident of yes …. Thornton Heath .

    1. Hi John sorry for the late reply. One of my associates wrote the article (if I remember correctly) but I’m unsure about his sources. We are in contact every week so I can definitely put your question forward to him. We get through a lot of articles on this site and it’s parent site – remembering all the sources gets pretty hard at times! 🙂
      Stay in touch.

      1. Hi Chris – Happy new year . just wondering if your source got back with any details of this Poltergeist incident or his original source. Very much wish to possibly used this case in a future publication . All the best John Fraser SPR

        1. Hi John, Happy New Year! The guy in question hasn’t wrote for us for some time now – finding his contact details has proven near enough impossible! I heard he was also writing for the ‘Before It’s News’ website some time ago but I haven’t been able to locate any recent articles of his there! His name is Glyn Jones – he used to spend a lot of time researching various paranormal subjects, but as I say – he’s done a bit of a disappearing act over the last 12 months or so!

          1. So sorry about that John – we get to meet so many people through the two sites we run! Most of them come and go in quick-time and we never hear from them again! If I find out any further info on the ‘Heath’ incident I will pass it on to you through the email you have commented with.

  10. You know you can easily get rid of a ghost or poltergiest by salting and burning their remains. If they have been creamated then you need to find whatever it is their spirit is attached to like an object that once belonged to them. If you want to keep them away from you make a circle of salt. The reason for salt is because it’s very pure. Same goes for iron.

    1. Good points Avery – cheers for taking the time to include them with our article (and thanks for stopping by and reading!) 🙂

  11. I’ve just watched the movie “Unholy” supposedly based on this haunting. I’m fascinated with the paranormal, but have yet to be convinced. My mother and grandmother had a gift or a curse, (depending on how you look at it) with seeing departed souls, and premonitions of an impending death.. Though not specifically who was going to pass. But neither was ever wrong.. My sister when filming clips on her phone is swamped with orbs evert time.. I would love to get in touch with anyone who is really into this. Retired Paramedic with too much time on my hands…

    1. Hmmm, The Unholy sounds interesting Thomas – did you watch it online by any chance? (it’s one I haven’t yet seen!!!).

      1. Hey there Chris. I was looking for a horror movie to watch and on Ebay I saw the film Unholy and as I live in Thornton Heath I just had to buy it. I love watching Ghost Adventures with Zak Bagins also unexplained caught on camera. So I thought I would get to know where this property is but no where in the movie does it mention T Heath I’m going to go to the Croydon Library to try and get some more information ( if I can that is ) It was great to stumble across this web site and read everyone’s opinions If anyone knows what Road this house was on maybe I could take a walk down it in the day time of course.

        1. Hi Charmaine!

          I’m afraid I don’t have any more info on the exact location etc, but I’m sure someone else will pop up in this comment section with an answer! 🙂

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