There is no shortage of 'amazing ghost footage' on the internet. It usually starts off with an empty lounge room or kitchen and for whatever reason, the author just 'happens' to be filming. They leave a nice clean room and walk back in to find chairs stacked upon one another, draws open, cupboards open and everything in disarray. While to most we know and can usually prove that this has been faked, it is supposedly the typical signs of a 'Poltergeist'. What is a poltergeist? ......... Really.
I first started researching poltergeists very early on when I starting investigating. The location we were investigating seemed to have 'mysterious' puddles of water appearing a long with a lot of banging noises. They were things that we were able to debunk at the time, but I found it quite interesting looking into the possible 'supernatural' explanation as well. It seemed these were 'classic' signs of a poltergeist. The word poltergeist is German and dates back to the mid 1800's. The word 'polter' refers to noisy' and geist refers to 'ghost' and effectively means noisy ghost. While the term dates back to this time, the phenomenon itself has been reported since the middle ages.
Classic Poltergeist Stories
I have visited 2 very old stories within this blog The Devil of Glenluce and The Drummer of Tedworth which tell what are thought to be the first documented accounts of poltergeist activity back in the mid 1600's. It was a very different time back then and religion was very treasured. Such activity was considered demonic and the work of the devil himself and even witches. Have a read and it will give you a very good insight not only into how we used to think back in the middle ages, but also how the activity was interpreted.
What is a Poltergeist haunting?
A 'classic' poltergeist haunting consists of things like knocking, objects being moved, open and closing of doors, bed shaking, putrid smells, objects being thrown, stone and rocks being thrown at windows, puddles of water appearing mysteriously on the floor, fires starting from nowhere, scratching and physical assault. It usually starts slowly with knocking or stones being thrown and seems to amplify over a period of time. It is quite common in these accounts and stories for the activity to occur at night when the individual is in bed causing them to lose sleep.
Is it faked?
Obviously, as we can see on YouTube today, it is very easy to 'fake' these kinds of hauntings. It is even thought by some that some of the older cases such as the Devil in Glenluce was the children playing tricks on the adults. Some fishing wire and creativeness are very effective ways to fake a haunting. Some are not so obvious to begin with. A famous example is the Enfield Haunting a very famous case where young Janet was supposedly tormented and overtaken by a poltergeist. It had all of the common elements such as items being moved, knocking and physical assault. There are the famous pictures of Janet supposedly being thrown across the room. She even spoke in a very deep voice without moving her mouth - on command. While the case was very intriguing especially back then, the more and more people looked into it, the more they believed that foul play was involved. While there has never been a definite public admission of fakery, it has certainly been alluded to. I can guarantee that the majority of the poltergeist claims and activity you see on the internet today have been faked. There are however guarantee cases out this activity out there that have not been faked.
Can the activity be attributed to psychokinesis
While quite a lot of cases are faked or can essentially be debunked, there are people that feel genuinely threatened in their homes and have witnessed this activity. So what could be causing it? A popular belief in parapsychology circles is that it is actually caused by a form of psychokinesis in pre teens (usually females). It is put down to a physical expression of trauma and who has more trauma than a hormonal pre teen. I am going to extend this further to look at the people that are usually reporting this kind of activity and asking for help from investigators. Usually when you are dealing with a private case, there is always more to story and more that meets the eye. Sometimes there has been some sort of break down in the family, a death, someone is depressed, the house is in disarray - the list goes on but they all have one thing in common. They are all suffering from some kind of trauma. So is it possible that being in this negative head space is projecting the energy outward and causing these things to happen through an unintended act of psychokinesis? It is definitely something to think about
Is activity exaggerated
We all know there are 3 sides to a story. Her side, his side and the truth. The same applies to 'hauntings'. It is quite possible that with excitement and fear that things are grossly exaggerated. Suddenly an item falling over on a table has changed into it being hurled across the room. As a story is retold, it is also exaggerated more and more. When dealing with a potential poltergeist case, don't speak to the person's sisters's cousin's best friend. Speak to the source and the actual witness. It is also a form of how you interpret things too. For example, at Black Rock House I have been in a room where a door opened on it's own. Does this mean that Black Rock House is being haunted by a poltergeist? No as it is an isolated incident but some would jump to the conclusion.
Like anything with the paranormal, we will never truly know what a poltergeist is and what is causing the phenomena. We do know it is something that has been around for centuries and the number of true poltergeist hauntings I would say is pretty low. We are in a technological age and people are going to continue making these fake videos and claims. There is a lot we can do about that. What we can do is put our investigator's hats on and look at everything as a whole. Do poltergeist's aka noisy ghosts actually exist? This I do not know, but I do enjoy trying to find out.
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