Story of Europe’s ‘most violent haunting’ is re-examined in BBC podcast

It was just a normal semi-detached house on a quiet street in West Yorkshire. 

But in the late 1960s 30 East Drive in Pontefract became the site of what was known as ‘Europe’s most violent haunting’ after the family living there reported being shoved, dragged and slapped by a spirit they named ‘Fred’.

And now there are suggestions the home is still inhabited by the supernatural presence – also dubbed the ‘Black Monk of Pontefract’ – more than 50 years later.  

Broadcaster Danny Robins visited the property with a group of ghost hunters for the most recent episode of his podcast Battersea Poltergeist, which is re-examining the case of another ghost that reportedly terrorised a family in south London

One of the ghost hunters, a woman identified as Jess, reported feeling a presence while sitting blindfolded in a room with Danny. 

In the late 1960s 30 East Drive in Pontefract (pictured) was dubbed the location of Europe's 'most violent haunting' and now the infamous story has been re-examined in a new BBC podcast the Battersea Poltergeist

In the late 1960s 30 East Drive in Pontefract (pictured) was dubbed the location of Europe's 'most violent haunting' and now the infamous story has been re-examined in a new BBC podcast the Battersea Poltergeist

In the late 1960s 30 East Drive in Pontefract (pictured) was dubbed the location of Europe’s ‘most violent haunting’ and now the infamous story has been re-examined in a new BBC podcast the Battersea Poltergeist

Jean (pictured) and Joe Pritchard moved into the house with their two children Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, in August 1966 and allegedly began experiencing paranormal occurrences almost immediately

Jean (pictured) and Joe Pritchard moved into the house with their two children Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, in August 1966 and allegedly began experiencing paranormal occurrences almost immediately

Jean (pictured) and Joe Pritchard moved into the house with their two children Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, in August 1966 and allegedly began experiencing paranormal occurrences almost immediately

‘That has to be the weirdest experience I’ve ever had,’ she says on the podcast. ‘I can’t explain it, the feeling I had on my left side, there was someone there. I felt it.’ 

The strange happenings at 30 East Drive started in August 1966 when Jean and Joe Pritchard moved in with their two children Phillip, then 15, and Diane, then 12. 

Almost immediately they claimed to be experiencing paranormal occurrences.

Inexplicable events were said to include green foam appearing from the taps, objects being thrown around and levitating, photographs being slashed and even family members being slapped and shoved down the stairs. 

It is said that later on in their occupation of the haunted house, Diane’s hair stood on end and she was dragged upstairs.

It is said that later on in their occupation of the haunted house (pictured inside), Diane's hair stood on end and she was dragged upstairs

It is said that later on in their occupation of the haunted house (pictured inside), Diane's hair stood on end and she was dragged upstairs

 It is said that later on in their occupation of the haunted house (pictured inside), Diane’s hair stood on end and she was dragged upstairs

Current owner, film producer Bil Bungay, has also reported unexplained and surreal happenings. 

‘I know the stories are extraordinary, but the world is extraordinary,’ he says on the podcast. ‘This is real, this is not made up. 

Bil Bungay (pictured) bought the house to promote his movie When the Lights Went Out go out which is based on the hauntings

Bil Bungay (pictured) bought the house to promote his movie When the Lights Went Out go out which is based on the hauntings

Bil Bungay (pictured) bought the house to promote his movie When the Lights Went Out go out which is based on the hauntings

‘There are hundreds of people, if not thousands that have experienced things in this house. Are they all making it up?’

He continues: ‘I’m at the sink here, just washing the cups and I just felt the instinct to turn and in that corner this object just materialised in thin air, just popped into existence and it went pop out, bounced off the window and landed on the floor and I looked down and it was a domino. And I just said, what the f***.

‘It was a Sunday, I’ll never forget it, I spent the next two hours being bombarded by objects. When it hit the window it was a proper clack. I kept it because it’s the reality of the object that gives what occurred purchase.

‘It’s a real object it genuinely just materialised there. My experience, and bearing in mind I have never been scratched, I’ve never been burned or shoved, I’ve never been attacked, but there are people who have been carried out of this house and people that have given up ghost hunting as a direct result.’

Also during the trip, Danny spoke to psychic medium Barry John who spent some time in Joe and Jean’s daughter Diane’s room, who is said to have experienced the majority of the attacks back in the 1960s.  

While standing in Diane’s room, Barry says: ‘Being in here I wouldn’t have felt safe in this room at all. 

‘I think this poor girl didn’t get a moment of rest, wherever she went in this house there was always something bothering her.’ 

The most haunted house in Britain: The history of 30 East Drive 

Jean and Joe Pritchard moved into 30 East Drive with their two children Phillip, 15, and Diane, 12, in August 1966 and allegedly began experiencing paranormal occurrences almost immediately.

Inexplicable events were said to include green foam appearing the taps, objects being thrown around and levitating, photographs being slashed and even family members being slapped and shoved downstairs.

Other events also occurred such as the tea dispenser being activated resulting in all the dried tea cascading onto the work surface, lights being turned off and on, plants leaping out of their pots and cupboards shaking violently. 

It is said that later on in their occupation of the haunted house, Diane’s hair stood on end and she was dragged upstairs.

The haunting at the house was the subject of the 2012 horror movie When The Lights Went Out and was investigated for the Halloween special of Most Haunted Live in 2015.

The house remains open for bookings – though Ouija boards and exorcisms are banned on the property. 

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The Battersea Poltergeist is available on BBC Sounds   

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