Occult Week TV (4 stars)


Channel 4, starts Tue 6 Mar, 10pm


It’s long been believed that with the death of mass popular religion in Britain the paranormal plays a much larger part in people’s belief systems. But if the double-bill opener to this short season is anything to go by, debunking the scary and the sinister is an industry in itself. Or maybe in this post-Blair Witch world, we just think that there are as many hoaxers as ghouls all around us.

First on is Interview with a Poltergeist, which catches up with the Hodgson family from Enfield who were embroiled in a paranormal nightmare in 1977 when the spirit of a dead cockney became trapped in 11-year-old Janet’s body. Their testimony and the eye witness reports from police and press is brutally convincing but there are sceptics who reckon this was just a girl having a laugh, growling out an OAP’s voice for weeks on end. Setting aside the fact that her vocal chords would have been damaged beyond repair after an hour of such impersonation, you can tell by the shattered look in the 41-year-old Janet’s eyes that fun didn’t play much part in her experience. There’s not much fun to report in the story within Sex, Magick and Murder but the death of Pagan Peter Solheim which was plotted by his spurned lover is simply made to look like the work of malign satanic forces. Though, when you see what they did to his toes you’ll be glad of a sickbag.

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