by Virginia Carraway Stark
Poltergeists are some of the most commonly known phenomenon in the paranormal field. The name ‘poltergeist’ is German and can be translated as either ‘noisy ghost’ or ‘rumble ghost’ (Poltern meaing to make a sound or to rumble, geist meaning ghost or spirit). Poltergeists are most commonly noise makers. They may cause knocking sounds at inopportune or strange times or cause very loud sounds that are startling or frightening.
More malevolent and powerful poltergeists cause objects to move or to be destroyed and love to cause confusion and discord by doing so. Electrical problems and bad odors start to infiltrate homes where poltergeists are afflicting a home. They may also cause objects to levitate, even beds or tables and chairs with people in them! They may advance these tactics to physical altercations and attacks. Biting, pinching, hitting and tripping people, sometimes near fires, ovens or stairs. These attacks can cause injury or death and that is part of the reason that poltergeists are feared.
The concept of a malevolent ghost is an old one and there are accounts of them clearly commented on for hundreds of years. Samuel Pepys recorded on Christmas day of 1667 that wife read to him about ‘The Drummer of Tepworth’- an early account of poltergeist activity. The Drummer of Tepworth is a classic poltergeist story of dubious origins. The story tells of a drummer who was charged with fraud by someone who claimed that his drumming wasn’t adequate. The man won a case against the drummer and his drums were confiscated. After he lost his drums the plaintiff was haunted by late night drumming.
In the 17th century allegations of poltergeist behavior weren’t investigated but accepted as paranormal without question but most poltergeist activity today is debunked. A lot of alleged poltergeist behavior is discovered with neutral investigation to be pranks. Children and teenagers have been known to find a sense of power over adults in their lives by causing them to become afraid. To further complicate authenticating claims of poltergeist activity, reports are often embellished or fabricated from smaller events in order to create a more compelling story of the supernatural.
Still other cases of malevolent ghostly behavior has also been debunked as caused by natural phenomenon, most commonly downdrafts that can create eerie effects. Other natural causes have even been uncovered as underground water that creates creaking and shifting of a house and seismic activity as well.
Noted paranormal investigators Nandor Fodor and William Roll felt that while poltergeist activity was very real, the source of the energies emitted was not coming from the spirit realm, but rather from gifted individuals with uncontrolled psychokinesis. These people, they suggested, especially when under stress, could be capable of causing objects to fly across the room, or knocking sounds, or even the physical attacks in more extreme cases.
This phenomenon has been separated from classical evil spirit hauntings with the title of “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis” or RSPK and is defined as being caused by an ‘agent’ who uncosciously generates the energy that causes disturbances in the physical plain. These agents may or may not be evil in their intentions but their uncontrolled energy can allegedly cause mishaps and mayhem.
Objectivity, relentless observance of details and documentation and recordings are amongst the most credible methods of proving poltergeist in a scientific manner. While they are far from being accepted as a reality by mainstream science, poltergeists are some of the most well researched and credible of paranormal phenomenon. Our continued diligence is required to create a database of irrefutable information to prove or disprove that poltergeists are real.