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| Poltergeist |
Initially meaning “noisy ghosts” (from the German poltern "to knock" and geist "spirit"), the term in its modern definition is now
associated with physical paranormal activity inside homes such as mysterious noisy disturbances or moving, misplacing of objects.
Included in the most common types of poltergeist activities are the rains of stones and other small objects; moving or throwing of
objects, including large pieces of furniture; voices, loud noises and shrieks; odors which sources cannot be found (i.e. pipe tobacco
when no one smokes). Poltergeists are known to have caused interference in telephones and electronic equipment, and turning lights and
appliances on and off. The poltergeist might even become a full bodied or partial bodied apparition. Some poltergeists are said to
pinch, bite, hit, and sexually attack the living.
In the late 1970s parapsychologists Alan Gauld and A. D. Cornell did a computer analysis of those cases collected since 1800 to that
time. They identified sixty-three general characteristics, which include the following: 64 percent involved the movement of small
objects; 58 percent were most active at night; 48 percent featured raps; 36 percent involved movement of large objects; 24 percent
lasted longer than one year; 16 percent featured communication between the poltergeist and agent; 12 percent involved the opening and
shutting of doors and windows. The Gauld-Cornell analysis found only 9 percent of the cases attributed to demons, 7 percent to witches,
and 2 percent to spirits of the dead.
Anytime but paranormal activity usually increases at dusk. Generally poltergeist activity starts and stops abruptly. The duration of it
may extend over several hours to several months; however, some cases have been reported to last over several years. The activity almost
always occurs at night when someone is presence. Typically this is the "agent," an individual who seems to serve as a focus or magnet
for the activity. The agent is usually female and under the age of twenty.
Poltergeist activity has occurred globally since ancient times and was blamed on the Devil, demons, witches, and ghosts of the dead.
The development and increase of psychical research during the late 19th and early 20th centuries helped confirm the conviction that
poltergeist activity was genuine. Among the early investigators were two founders of the Society for Psychical Research, Sir William
Barrett and Fredric W. H. Meyers. Meyers believed in the genuineness of poltergeist activity and that it was distinguishable from ghost
In the 1930s the psychologist and parapsychologist Nandor Fodor advanced the theory that some poltergeist disturbances were caused not
by spirits but by human agents suffering from intense repressed anger, hostility, and sexual tension. Fodor successfully demonstrated
his theory in several cases, including the most famous "Thormton Heath Poltergeist" in England, which he investigated in 1938. The case
involved a woman whose repressions caused a poltergeist outbreak and apparently a vampire attack. The Spiritualists severely criticized
Fodor, but he won a libel suit against a Spiritualist newspaper.
William Roll, project director of the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham, North Carolina, further explored this psychological
dysfunction theory. Starting in the 1960s, Roll studied 116 written reports of poltergeist cases spanning over four centuries in more
one hundred countries. Roll identified patterns that he labeled "recurrent spontaneous psycho kinesis" (RSPK), which are inexplicable,
spontaneous physical effects. Generally, he discovered, the most common agent was a child or teenager whose unwitting PK was a way of
expressing hostility without the fear of punishment. In this case, those subjects are mainly in puberty and girls rather than boys. The
individual was not aware of being the cause of such disturbances, but was, at the same time, secretly or openly please that they
Other investigators have also investigated agents finding that those in poor mental and physical health are vulnerable to stress.
Patient having unresolved emotional tensions have been associated with houses where poltergeist activity occurred. When studying the
personalities of agents psychologists found anxiety reactions, conversion hysteria, phobias, mania, obsessions, dissociative reactions,
and schizophrenia. In some cases therapy eliminated the poltergeist activity.
However, the psychological dysfunction theory has been disputed by other researchers, including Gauld and Cornell who said the
psychological tests employed were invalid. Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson proposed that spirits of the dead may account for more
poltergeist activity than realized. In his study of a number of cases attributed to agents and to spirits of the dead, Stevenson noted
significance differences. The phenomena in living agent cases was without purpose and often violent, while cases involving spirits of
the dead featured intelligent communication, purposeful movement of objects, and little violence.
Poltergeist activity is often found in correlation with psychic adolescent children who are finding their journey into adulthood
difficult or fearing the responsibilities expected of them. The more sensitive the child, the more adverse is the spirit's reaction to
the fear being transferred, often leading to objects being moved or hurled across the room or ectoplasm being ejected by the spirit.
The spirit rejecting or de-toxing itself of the fear it's been presented with causes such activity.
Information collected by Tammy Wood.
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