Lindley Street, Bridgeport

August, 2014 by Ray Bendici
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Image courtesy of Bill HallThe Damned Story: In November 1974, Lindley Street in Bridgeport became the epicenter for one of most-documented hauntings in Connecticut history. A small bungalow-style home owned by Gerard and Laura Goodin was reported to be under attack by otherworldly forces that were allegedly responsible for moving furniture, breaking windows, levitating objects, making a cat talk and generally perplexing and terrifying everyone who stepped foot in the house.

As the situation seemingly increased in intensity, police and firefighters were called in, as were news reporters, priests, paranormal investigators and of course, Ed and Lorraine Warren. Thousands gathered in the street to try and glimpse the unexplained phenomena that was supposedly besieging the house, and an international haunting sensation was born.

What made this case was so compelling and drew so much attention as compared to other "hauntings" was the high number of reputedly reliable witnesses who reported experiencing the unusual activities firsthand. Beyond the Goodins and their friends, more than two dozen firefighters, police officers and other investigators on the scene saw all sorts of bizarre happenings, including couches and chairs spontaneously moving across the floor, tables and a refrigerator levitating, paintings and crucifixes falling off walls and even knives flying through the air. They also recounted hearing a range of audio phenomena, from inexplicable knocks and bangings to disembodied voices; Sam the family cat was alleged to have said a number of things (including "Jingle Bells!" and "Bye bye"), while the decorative swans in the front yard were also accused of making unearthly sounds.

The majority of the weird activity seemed to be centered around the Goodin's 10-year-old adopted daughter Marcia, which is typical of many classic "poltergeist" hauntings. Witnesses reported that although many of the odd events happened when the young girl was around, a large number also occurred when she was either in another room or not even in the house.

Although events came to a head in 1974, odd things had been happening since the Goodins adopted Marcia in 1968, increasing in frequency and intensity in 1971. A year later was the first time the family officially called authorities, initially to help find the source of rhythmic pounding they had heard in the house at night. After that, more unusual events started happening—doors opening and closing themselves as well as items being found in random places around the house. The family repeatedly called in the police to search for a cause to it all, but despite thorough investigations, nothing definitive was discovered.

Activity reached a peak in November 1974, and by that time a number of investigators—including the Warrens, members of the American Society for Psychichal Research and the Psychical Research Foundation—in addition to the police, had staked out the house. They conducted interviews with family members, including Marcia, and detailed a number of seemingly inexplicable happenings. In addition to the aforementioned activities, TVs were tipping over, dressers were moving around, window shades were rolling up and wall shelves were pulling out of the wall, all without seeming provocation. The Goodins, who claimed to not believe in the paranormal, were increasingly stressed and vexed by what was going on in their home.

Meanwhile, with the local and national press covering the case, large and curious crowds were regularly gathering outside the house. At one point, a few zealous neighbors tried to dispell the dark spirits in their own fashion, attempting to set the house on fire. They were quickly stopped.

The situation seemed to be getting more intense when, a few weeks into the investigation, a police officer witnessed the young girl Marcia attempting to tip over a TV with her foot when she thought no one was watching. Being caught in the act, she soon confessed that she was responsible for all the activities in the house, and explained how she had done it all. The event was soon declared a hoax by the relieved police, who ended the official investigation, although questions remained as to how Marcia had been able to perpetrate some of the witnessed events when she wasn't in the house or those when she had been in another room. The majority of the investigators, press and curious crowds all soon went away.

Interestingly, even though Marcia had admitted to being the cause of events and apologized for her role in all of it, strange happenings puportedly continued to occur in the house for weeks to come. Eventually, the activities did stop and life went back to normal.

More than 40 years later what exactly happened at Lindley Street is still disputed. Some say it was all a hoax perpetrated by a young girl; others who were there and allegedly saw unusual things happen when that young girl wasn't around weren't so convinced it had all been faked. One thing is for sure: It's one of the most interesting and famous "hauntings" in Connecticut history.

Our Damned Experience: We were too young to witness the event in person, but remember the news reports from the time. And of course, there's our exclusive interview with Bill Hall, author of The World's Most Haunted House: The True Story of the Bridgeport Poltergeist on Lindley Street, which is a terrific chronicle of the entire event as it includes original police reports, photographs and witness interviews taken at the time.

If You Go: Although the house at the center of the Lindley Street event is still standing, we discourage anyone from bothering the people who live there now and strongly ask that everyone respects their privacy. The current owners have no interest in discussing the house's history and, of course, there's no trespassing on the property.

If you really need to see the house, you can find it via Google maps, which offers a street view—that way you can "visit" without disturbing anyone . . . or anything!

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Comments

Submitted by Bpt Fran (not verified) on
I drive down Lindley Street all of the time. We have stopped and parked across the street from the house just to take a look at it. I don't know what we were expecting to see or feel, but now it's just the normal multi family house in Bridgeport. It's pretty cool though. Knowing that a piece of paranormal history is so close to me every single day

Submitted by Nelson P. (not verified) on
Worked in City Hall in 1974 in the data processing center managing the automated system of the records room of the Bpt. Police Dept. By that association we gained a copy of a written report by an officer who was present when the paranormal s*it hit the fan on Lindley St.. The most chilling account was when in his writing 'and the cat said to the officer "How's your brother Bill doing?, and the officer looked down and replied "My brother's dead." The cat then scowled "I know" swearing repeatedly at the officer then ran off. Other visual events in the report include a levitating refrigerator and an armchair that flipped over and could not be lifted back into place by the officers. One officer who witnessed it all took an immediate leave of absence having been that shaken by the experience. I today firmly believe these events took place in the home.

Submitted by Bonnie (not verified) on
I am so creeped out at the thought of a talking cat! Thanks for sharing ^_^

Submitted by MAC (not verified) on
Proof would be nice.. Police reports don't mean anything. A cat was talking and an officer just sat there talking to it? What a load.

Submitted by Darcy (not verified) on
Demons can make cats talk.

Submitted by JOHN B (not verified) on
A friend of mine lived a few houses away. The crowds were so large the police cordoned off a large area. I had to get police permission to get to my friend's house and he had to verify who I was. Pretty crazy. Not many people believed the "official" explanation. Firefighters and police officers would not report what they saw and expose themselves to criticism and endanger their jobs. The official word was issued to tone down the crowds and stop the expense of maintaining order. As an aside: one night, we opened the front window and put our stereo speakers facing outside--and played "Sympathy for the Devil" full blast. The police were not amused.

I happened to catch a news story recently about Marcia, the girl from the story, having passed. http://whatliesbeyond.boards.net/thread/3692/woman-center-bridgeport-poltergeist-haunting

Submitted by Maria Castillo (not verified) on
No one else wanted to live the house and was eventually destroyed. Today what you can see is the empty building.

Submitted by William Legere (not verified) on
My father was a close friend of the police officer. This man was affected for many years after. I remember as a child when these events occurred the impact it had on all of us. The hoax story was simply for crowd control!!!!!!