By Jay Lederman
BRIDGEPORT-It was received by police as an “unknown help call” one of many made in 1974 by a Bridgeport family who claimed their Lindley Street home was haunted.
Four-decades later, the Bridgeport case is being brought to light once again, this time following the release of the instantly popular horror movie “The Conjuring” the tale of a Rhode Island family who is being tormented by evil entities and eventually seeks the help of two paranormal researchers, Ed and Lorraine Warren.
The movie has been a box office hit for about a month and was received so well that the possibility of a sequel is already being discussed. The events acted out on the big screen are similar in nature to what some said occurred throughout the 1970’s inside one Bridgeport, Connecticut home. Gerard and Kaura Goodin were an average American blue collar family, but tragically lost their 7-year-old son to a fatal illness, and so recently decided to adopt a young girl named Marcia.
Shortly after the adoption, the couple began to experience unusual behavior in both their newly adopted child, and their home. The couple claimed there was an evil presence inside the house that would knock items around and leave their home disheveled. One police officer compared the scene to that of a burglary that left each room ransacked with opened drawers and items thrown about the floor carelessly.
The most famous of these occurrences happened on November 24, 1974, when Goodin called police to his home after he told them strange things were happening inside the house. Police responded along with a media storm of reporters, and local newspapers, all flocking to the scene of the alleged haunted house. Several police reported seeing the kitchen refrigerator rise about a foot off the floor, others said they witnessed a 21-inch portable television-set float above a table then rotate clockwise in the air. Dozens of reports filed that day varied from objects flying through the air to shelves that vibrated and sent contents crashing to the floor.
Allegedly the scene of the house was so popular that traffic was being tied up for blocks and police had to cordon off the street, and even arrested some gawkers who refused to leave. Media around the world wanted to know about Bridgeport’s “demons.”
Ed and Lorraine Warren soon became involved in the case and told reporters they believed the disturbances were centered around 10-year-old Marcia Goodin, a native girl from Canada who had been adopted by the family after their son’s death.
The family said they had not started to experience any problems until December, 1973, when Marcia was 9-years-old. They told the Warrens that Marcia had been home for six weeks from school because of a back injury suffered at the hands of a boy who allegedly beat her up at school.
John Gleason, Fire Chief at the time, said his men had seen dinner plates rattling, pictures jumping off the wall, a television set falling over, and a heavy leather chair jumping at least six inches off the floor. A 22 page report prepared a year later by a seminary student who performed the rituals of exorcism at the house quoted Bridgeport police records as saying a lounge chair Marcia was sitting in moved rapidly backwards and overturned, a plastic crucifix exploded from a wall in front of witnesses, the family cat sang jingle bells in a frightening inhuman voice, and continual pounding noises on the walls were all occurring at the home. Demons, the warrens said were believed to be behind the activity.
“It was something inhuman,” Ed Warren told reporters. “As far as we are concerned, there were evil spirits in that house.”
“Things were flying around in the front room when we went in there.” Gerald Goodin told a radio station, describing events of that day. “Whatever it was, it was acting like a demented person and I felt I had to get my family out of the house.”
Some would later describe Marcia as a deceitful girl with an unhealthy interest in the occult. Researchers noted years later, that the events began shortly after the release of the movie “The Exorcist,” which excited the public’s imagination with its tale of a demonically possessed girl.
Among paranormal investigators, the Lindley Street case intimately remains one of the most documented poltergeist cases in history. Today, the house on Lindley Street sits next to a condominium complex. Its weathered brown and yellow paint is peeling and the lawn unkempt. Mr. Goodin lived in the house until the late 1990s, where he died. Mrs Goodin died in a car crash in Monroe in 1994. Marcia Goodin has been unreachable thus far.