A true story of one of the strangest hauntings ever: reinvestigate a paranormal cold case from 1956 with ‘The Battersea Poltergeist’

History May 7, 2022
The Battersea Poltergeist podcast art
Listen to ‘The Battersea Poltergeist’

Described as a blend of drama and documentary, “The Battersea Poltergeist” tells the true story of the strangest hauntings Britain has ever seen. At 63 Wycliffe Road, the Hitchings family lived in fear of a poltergeist that seemed to target their 15-year-old daughter, Shirley.

Beginning in January of 1956, Shirley and her family would fall victim to a violent poltergeist for years. The story caught the attention of the public, and the Hitchings’ story spread in newspapers throughout the country, even going on to be discussed in the halls of Parliament.

This strange happening is widely considered a paranormal cold case, and plenty of people are still questioning the validity of the Hitchings family’s claims. Danny Robins, writer, broadcaster, and journalist of all things horrifying, delves back into this case originally examined by paranormal investigator Harold Chibbett.

Along with Chibbett’s original notes and evidence from his time at 63 Wycliffe Road, Danny digs in. He speaks with Shirley Hitchings herself, who happens to be the only surviving witness of the hauntings, dives into similar poltergeist cases, and assesses his evidence with experts as he hunts for answers.

This podcast is a BBC Radio 4 production that premiered in early 2021. “The Battersea Poltergeist” is made up of eight, 30-minute episodes, plus a final 60-minute bonus episode, and three case updates featuring theories and questions from fans interspersed throughout the show.

“The Battersea Poltergeist” was an instant hit at the time of its release. Danny’s flair for the dramatic paired with present-day interviews and research had people hooked. It quickly became the #1 Drama Podcast in the world, and its episodes have racked up over 4 million downloads. A bidding war between television production studios quickly ensued, and this series is currently being made into a television series with Blumhouse.

Much like another of Danny’s podcasts we’ve previously covered and discussed on Podsauce, “Uncanny,” “The Battersea Poltergeist” is uniquely terrifying in the podcasting sphere. This podcast jumps from past to present: actors Dafne Keen and Toby Jones portraying actual interviews and experiences between Chibbett and the Hitchings while Danny speaks with the now-80-year-old Shirley, paranormal experts, and other journalists who have documented similar cases.

The poltergeist, which the Hitchings eventually named Donald, terrorized Shirley for years. He would throw objects around the house, set fires, carve messages into the walls, and even drag Shirley from her bed. But the question on everyone’s mind both in 1956 and today was simple: was this a true haunting, or an elaborate hoax? Follow Danny’s daring re-investigation into this terrifying case in “The Battersea Poltergeist.”

Listen to ‘The Battersea Poltergeist’

New shows we love...

Join Our Newsletter

The best podcasts to listen to next, delivered right to your inbox every week.

By clicking Submit, you acknowledge you have read and agree to our Website and Digital Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.