Poltergeists – Everything You Need to Know

When people think of a typical ghost, it’s usually a strange figure of a deceased person who just vanishes from sight. Some of us might think of shadow people who flit from place to place. What we usually don’t think of, though, is a being that is capable of throwing objects, banging on walls, or pushing others around.

And yet, it is actually fairly common among a specific type of ghosts. A ghost known for causing physical chaos in its area is known as a poltergeist, the German word for “noisy ghost.’ Throughout history, cultures of all kinds had stories of ghosts capable of lifting items, pounding against walls, opening doors, and even attacking others.

This unique type of ghost has been discussed around the world and even made its way into pop culture via movies like Poltergeist and The Haunting. That being said, there’s a lot more to poltergeists that just noise and bangs. Here’s what every would-be ghost hunter needs to know…

What Are Poltergeists, Really?

These “noisy ghosts” are a specific category of haunting that can interact with matter and make noise by hitting or throwing objects nearby. For the most part, poltergeists seem to be fairly cognizant and capable of understanding that they’re interacting with people.

Unlike typical ghosts, poltergeists generally appear to be malevolent, with the intent of frightening or even harming people around them. Their actions are generally not understood but tend to involve loud bangs, objects being thrown, and similar behavior.

What Are Poltergeists Capable Of?

It’s worth pointing out that poltergeists are really only known for moving around objects and making noise. As far as other abilities go, things are pretty variable. Poltergeists can vary greatly from one haunting to another.

Poltergeists can be both weak and strong, and how they eIn many cases, the bangs, crashes, and scratches poltergeists make don’t actually involve any damage to the items in a home. Other times, that racket is actually coming from things being flung off shelves.

Light poltergeist activity might include things like pulling the sheets off sleeping people, heavy footsteps in hallways, or making tapping noises on doors. Heavy poltergeist activity involves things like pushing people off stairs, pictures being ripped off walls, doors slamming shut, and similar things

Another, stranger, aspect of poltergeist actvity involves missing items. Homes haunted by poltergeists have a strange tendency of having items go missing. When (or if) they turn up they’re often placed in a place where they couldn’t possibly be placed.

What Do Poltergeists Look Like?

Unlike with other types of ghosts, poltergeist appearances are totally random. Many poltergeists are totally invisible to people, but seem to be noticeable by animals. Some poltergeists can also be visibly seen walking through hallways just like a typical person would, while others may appear like dark mists.

It all seems to depend on what kind of power the ghost has. Stronger ghosts are more likely to be visible than weaker ones. However, some of the most powerful poltergeists in the world have never been seen.

What Causes Poltergeist Hauntings To Happen?

Poltergeists are considered to be a different type of haunting than most others. With most ghosts, there is an understanding that a person died and what’s left is their spirit. This isn’t always the consensus when it comes to poltergeist hauntings.

Believe it or not, there are multiple schools of thought when it comes to the origins of poltergeists. These below are the most common:

Angry Spirits

Much like with many other haunts, one of the leading beliefs behind poltergeist origins deals with a person who died and had unfinished business on Earth. Many people believe that poltergeists are simply ghosts of people who want to cause a little chaos or who want to let their rage loose on the living.

Since most hauntings are ascribed to the deceased, this concept makes a lot of sense. This is especially true when you look at the types of places that tend to attract poltergeist activity. Homes that are known for being places of violence are especially prone to attacks.

The Enfield Poltergeist is an excellent example of a poltergeist believed to be the spirit of an angry soul. A home in Enfield, England became the focal point of a major paranormal investigation after tenants saw chairs moving by themselves and heard loud bangs echo through the walls. Many investigators believed this to be a spirit who hadn’t passed on.

Demonic Activity

Many Christians and religious groups believe that poltergeist activity, particularly when it’s very intense, could be the work of demonic entities that are trying to attack people. There’s a common belief that human spirits can’t move objects or attack other people, which infers that a non-human entity could be at fault.

Borley Rectory, once known as “the most haunted house of England” was known for full-bodied apparitions of nuns, spectral horses, and monks. Terrifying as the phantoms were, the poltergeist activity was worse.

Rectors and family members who stayed in the house were regularly attacked by unseen forces, forced to watch in terror as cooking utensils flew across the kitchen, and were repeatedly hit by levitating stones.

Multiple exorcisms were performed at the rectory, but none were successful due to priests being hit with heavy rocks as they recited passages from the bible. The rectory eventually burned down, possibly sparked by the demons themselves.

Psychic Phenomena

One of the stranger aspects of poltergeist hauntings is its tendency to focus on children and teenagers going through puberty, as well as people who lead very troubled lives. In many cases, hauntings occur in locations where people haven’t died and no history of violence occurs.

Parapsychologists often believe that the poltergeist activity isn’t caused by a ghost. Instead, they believe that a person who may be too stressed may unlock paranormal abilities that they don’t have control of.

One of the biggest proponents of this theory was psychologist Carl Jung, who blamed a woman’s trance on a table and a knife suddenly splitting in two.

Natural Phenomena

Along with psychic phenomena and ghosts, another subset of theories involve natural phenomena. Scientists have suggested that underwater currents might be the cause of some of the bangs and squeaks associated with poltergeists.

Other suggestions that fit under the “natural phenomena” umbrella include electrical interference, ball lightning, and seismic activity. That being said, this explanation doesn’t explain the intelligent behavior of poltergeist activity.

Is The Movie Poltergeist Realistic?

Well, yes and no.

Poltergeist was based on a true story about a haunting that took place in Long Island. The haunting did include objects moving on their own, people being attacked, and children seeing strange figures in the house.

However, the “Hollywood effect” is very real and it was sensationalized to be a more terrifying tale onscreen. So, while the real haunting may not have involved children being dragged into voids, it was still fairly terrifying for the people involved.

How Can You Get Rid Of A Poltergeist?

If you are unlucky enough to end up with a poltergeist in your home, your options are fairly limited on what you can do. Poltergeists are very different from standard hauntings and are unpredictable when it comes to dispelling them. Here’s what we know about them:

  • Some poltergeists will cease activity if asked politely. This is rare, but it does happen.
  • Doing an exorcism or cleansing tends to help. This seems to put a kibosh on most hauntings, including poltergeist activity. A house blessing, a cleansing with sage, or even an exorcism can work.
  • Some won’t respond to exorcisms. Though most poltergeists will cease behavior if an exorcism is performed, not all do. The Bell Witch haunting, which eventually culminated in the death of a person, was a poltergeist haunting that didn’t respond to exorcisms. Borley Rectory’s ghosts, too, are a good example.
  • Many suddenly stop acting out, or fade out their activity over time. A common trend among poltergeists is to have their energy decrease after major bursts. One might even say they “grow out of it.”

Generally speaking, the best way to get rid of a poltergeist is to just get away from them, and hope they don’t follow you!

About Brandon Hall

Hi! I am Brandon. Writer and content creator for PA, specializing in phenomena that is sometimes beyond normal scientific understanding. My mission is to help guide people seeking answers in a positive and enlightening way.

4 thoughts on “Poltergeists – Everything You Need to Know”

  1. Hi Brandon, I suggest you do more research on the subject. Today’s scientists believe that poltergeist have a human “Agent”. They are not ghosts or demons. The Agent can be anyone, and any age although mostly limited to younger folks especially kids going through puberty. The agent is usually under great stress from shame, anxiety hatred or any unresolved personal issues. Look up The Rhine Research Center and take some time to research J.B. Rhine’s work on psi. Read articles by William Roll and his book “The Poltergeist” (which was actually the basis for the 1st poltergeist movie. Unfortunately they took to many liberties in writing the script.
    J.B. Rhine sent researchers J.B.Pratt & and William Roll to investigate the Seaford Case.
    Roll was the primary investigator in a poltergeist case in California and wrote the book which was made into the movie ‘The Entity” (many liberties were also taken writing the screen play) Great movie but the real observations will scare the heck out of you. Drop me a note at PortCityParanormal@ yahoo.com for further resources on this topic if you are interested.

  2. On 11-9-2021 somewhere around 9:00 pm I was sitting at my computer when about four or five loud bangs came from about ten feet away from me. The only light that was on was a desk lamp so I didn’t see anything. When I turned the light on I saw my old cell phone on the floor. That phone was on the top shelf of an antique secretary, about five foot high. I know where that phone was because I placed it there about two weeks ago, and I placed a pair of gloves on top of it. The phone flew seven feet across the room and hit a book cabinet, and bounced on the floor and ended up six feet from the secretary. I was a witness to this event. Last year at Christmas time I left the house for about an hour. Upon returning home I had one of my Christmas decorations all twisted up in the strings it was hanging from. I did not witness this event.

    Is this a haunting? Is this a poltergeist? Over the years I have heard someone calling my name from the same area of the house or just outside the front door but no one was there. Right now the curser on my computer is not where it should be as I am typing, it is one space behind. Please let me know what you think.

  3. poltergeists feed off fear,give them love they fade away.

    Lived with a poltergeist for years,it was getting stronger all the time.
    Getting angry with it gives it more power,
    I had a cross that had been given to me,it disappeared for about two years,then reappeared were I Ieft it.

    The feeling you get of being watched,
    Things moving,and the buzzing sound in the room.
    Taps,bangs are the norm.
    And then the dark shapes that float around the room.

    Don’t fear it,I did for years,

    Get Love in your heart,and it will be gone.

  4. I have had some poltergeists for the past 2 years. The amount of damage was unreal. It spilled things out of cabinets. It started throwing knives and scissors. We put all the knives and scissors in the garage. Out of bathroom drawers toothpaste squirted all over towels and rugs. Unlocked key locks on the dog cage. Shook the cage while the dog was in it. Pulled rods out of the dog cage and threw the. Squired creams all over the dogs back. The dogs do not seem to be bothered by this thing.Opened the gate and let the dog out of the yard. I put screw drivers, wrenches, locks in the gate hole to keep the gate locked and it got them out and some of the things I put in the gate I have never found other things were behind the air conditioner against the house. Threw sod all over the side yard. Broke things it threw. I had paranormal investigators here. It would not do anything while they were here. The spirit box they used the growl type voice would say for us to leave that this was its house. Orbs were flying everywhere seemed to be coming in through the roof. The alarms they had would go off. They saged my house said prayers and it was quiet for a couple of days. My sister- in law in another state from me that does Angel healing tuned in while the paranormal people were here and said it was just watching. It would lay low to the floor then grow big but would not make its presence known.The paranormal would not do anything else to help me because it did not do anything that there cameras could capture.i relied in my sister- in- law and her mentors for help. They discovered a portal somewhere outside and after a lot of help from angels, Jesus and her mentors they were able to trap it and send it away, It was gone for a few months and then came back. We put up cameras and as long as the cameras were on nothing happened. It would not let me get any video evidence of it actually doing things. It came back the beginning of November for 2 days and my sister- in – law once again cleansed my house and was able with the help of angels and Jesus to send it away. Now this week of January it came back. I was sleeping in my human dog bed on the family room floor, my granddaughters on the love seat, when something slammed into the wall.( Since it had been quiet for a while I did not have the cameras on which though I usually only plug them in at night but the other night I didn’t plug them in) We all awoke and git up to see what it was. It was a phone. I went to pick it up and then the tv remote came flying at me. I told my granddaughter to plug in the camera and the wire was cut. Checked the other cameras and all of them were cut. Then a vase went flying off the counter and broke on the floor. I had an extra camera in the cupboard and set it on the kitchen counter plugged it in but hadn’t downloaded it yet to my I pad. My granddaughter started calling me from the laundry room I went to check on her and it had emptied detergent all over the floor. I went back into the kitchen and the camera that I had set out had the wire cut. Then the dog food bowls flipped over and spilled out. I went in the master bedroom where my disabled husband sleeps to get a cord off the camera in the bathroom that was not activated and his tv remote came flying off the bed and onto the floor. I spent yesterday splicing wires together from the cameras so that I could get them working again. All are up now and nothing happened last night. I am at a loss of what to do already. It stresses my sister-in- law out to keep having to help me and after it cutting the camera wires she said that she was scared and stressed and for me to look into other avenues. Without getting it on video of doing something I cannot get any help and do not know where to ask for help.


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