The Devil's Playthings: The South Shields Poltergeist Tormented This Family Using Their Son’s Toys

The Devil’s Playthings: The South Shields Poltergeist Tormented This Family Using Their Son’s Toys

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Poltergeist activity is often a crippling experience for the families going through the often-misunderstood phenomena, and none understand that better than the couple associated with the South Shields Poltergeist. In December of 2005, “Marc and Marianne” (pseudonyms used to protect their identities)  began to experience some of the most violent and diabolical poltergeist activity ever been documented, and most of it revolved around their three-year-old son’s toys.

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The family home, located in South Shields – just a short distance away from the infamous Ponterfract Poltergeist, was always a relatively quiet place. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2005 when the family began noticing strange things. What began as an occasional door closing on its own soon escalated to chairs mysteriously stacking by themselves and chests of drawers being pushed across the floors by an unseen force. But it was what began happening next that took the haunting to a whole new level.

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One evening Marianne was hit in the back of the head with one of her son Robert’s toys. With her husband beside her, no one was in the room to have thrown the object, and it seemed to appear out of nowhere. Petrified, the couple cowered in their bed while a pair of phantom hands tried to wrestle the bedcovers away from them. The encounter abruptly ended when Marc felt a searing burning on his back, only to discover 13 red scratches that appeared out of nowhere.

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It was at this point that the South Shields Poltergeist activity began to turn violent, and for some strange reason, seemed to revolve around their child’s toys. One particularly frightening incident involved the couple discovering a rocking horse hanging from the ceiling fan. Another time, the entity placed one of the child’s stuffed rabbits at the top of the stairs in a chair.. and included a very sharp box cutter in the toy’s arms.

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Shortly thereafter, the family would begin receiving text messages that read “You’re Dead” or “Go Die”. These messages couldn’t be traced back to any operational phone. Often times the entity would take to scribbling things on the Robert’s doodle board, spewing frightening phrases like “Just go Now”, “Die bitch”, “RIP”, and “Go bitch now to your mam”.

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Photo credit: Mike Hollowell

Sometimes Robert would even go missing, only to be found hiding in strange areas of the house, including closets, under beds, and in cupboards. Paranormal researchers Mike Hollowell and Darren Ritson were invited to the home to investigate some of the activity that the couple claimed was occurring, and documented objects balancing on their own in impossible angles, as well as strange phrases sketched onto paper and toys.

Quite often the investigators would actually witness the entity manifest as a large black shadow skulking around the house at night. They described it as being a midnight-black, three-dimensional silhouette that “radiated sheer evil,” though they were never actually able to capture the image on camera.

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Then, just as quickly as the terrifying activity began, it stopped altogether, and according the couple, has continued to be fairly quiet. For pretty obvious reasons, both Marc and Marianne were keen to sell the house in case the poltergeist of South Shields decides to come back out of hiding.

“We were absolutely terrified,’ Marianne told reporters. ‘I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again. If I hear a noise that I cannot explain, or something goes missing, then it always makes us wonder whether it has come back again. But right now, we are just glad that it seems to have left us alone.”

Of course, there are always those who claimed that Marc and Marianne were just making the entire story up for a little public attention, however, the investigators who spent time documenting the activity were quick to defend the couple, saying that they would simply not be able to fake some of the activity they witnessed.

Though some of the reported experiences seem like they could have happened in a horror movie, both the family and the investigators involved continue to argue it was all a real life nightmare.


Let us know what you think of the South Shields Poltergeist in the comments below. Looking for even more weird news? Follow us on Twitter at @WeirdHQ or like us on Facebook.


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4 Comments

  1. lacey

    08/03/2016 at 12:46 PM

    Where’s all the footage? I Googled and all I can find (from the investigation) is a photo of a leaning water bottle (yawn), a grainy image of a cap on the floor (extra yawn) and the magnet-tablet “just go now” image. Apparently there are hours, if not days of footage somewhere. The investigator’s site has a link to a documentary but it’s not available to U.S. viewers.

    • Friar Onion

      08/05/2016 at 1:20 AM

      I am with you on this one. I am especially interested in the text messages… even in 2005 the technology to quickly trace text messages existed and was available to law enforcement agencies. If this couple had been receiving death threats I am pretty sure the local police department would have been keen to help and could have traced the text messages back to a number… assuming these messages truly existed.

      I haven’t been unable to find any pictures as well… I know I’ll sound cynical but faking a picture by stacking chairs or putting a boxcutter near a stuffed toy is not exactly hard and would have lent a bit more weight to the whole case.

      This case strongly reminds me of the Skinwalker Ranch: incredible claims, a well written book purpoting to tell the truth but nothing more, albeit manufacturing evidence wouldn’t have been that hard.

  2. Richard Morgan

    08/05/2016 at 9:51 AM

    After experiencing similar things in an old house we bought, that was built in 1897, I can easily believe these things occurred.

  3. Paul Tergeist

    08/26/2016 at 4:30 AM

    It’s very surprising and unusual that the real identity of the family and address hasn’t leaked out anywhere on this day and age, which made me very sceptical after initial interest. Most similar cases in the UK it’s possible to find out exactly where and who in the age of social media. (I have however seen Awnless Court given as the real street name on a Facebook page).

    That said, Alan Murdie who is a London barrister and was chairman of the Ghost Club says he has seen the evidence and can vouch for the authenticity of the case, at least as far that it did take place.

    The authors’ more recent follow-up book “Contagion – In The Shadow Of The South Shields Poltergeist” is worth a read for students of poltergeists, detailing a similar, possibly linked case in Jarrow (which IS a short distance from South Shields) and possible contagion experiences of the investigators.

    Mike Hallowell has since become a Muslim and a link made between the Islamic belief in Djinn and poltergeists made in the book.

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