I’m choosing to discuss poltergeists as my first entry because of the psychological trauma that the movie caused me as a child. Steven Spielberg’s “Poltergeist” was my introduction to the horror genre. Even though I was used to dealing with paranormal occurrences I enjoyed being scared from things that WEREN’T real. I read countless scary stories and would sneak books from the adult section of the library about ghosts & serial killers (yes, I know. Weirdo.) When I didn’t have my nose in a book, my mom would take me to blockbuster and I’d immediately run over to the horror section, absolutely fascinated with the creepy covers. My little hands would grab each one and I’d run to my mom and say, “What about this one?!” I was always met with a hard no. Eventually my mom said she knew a scary movie that I would be allowed to watch and I was overjoyed! I was probably around 9 years old and the film had a “PG” rating so it was perfect for an intro movie. What my mom didn’t anticipate was that Carol Anne gets sucked into…wherever she goes…through her walk in closet. And guess who else had a walk in closet? That’s right! Me! I spent years and years being absolutely terrified of my closet, and even still get uneasy being in one. It’s funny how things from our childhood haunt us.
Okay, here’s my take on everything. Keep in mind this is a condensed version, but I’d love to discuss.
- Many poltergeist cases report that the activity comes on strong and ends in a relatively short amount of time.
- The history of poltergeists can be traced as far back as ancient Roman times.
- Poltergeist phenomena is a focus of study within parapsychology.
- Lots of famous “poltergeist” cases are thought to be fraudulent (I tend to agree).
- Poltergeist activity often happens around a single person called an agent or a focus.
One of my favorite occult/supernatural writers is Colin Wilson. His books are a bit dense and difficult to sit down and ready for long periods, but all are packed with loads of valuable information.
In his book, Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings, he goes on to discuss many cases and theories of these “noisy ghosts”. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants a pretty solid case study. There are many cases discussed, some that Wilson even investigated himself. Please, do yourself a favor and read it.
Over the years I’ve heard many different theories. One of my favorites is that poltergeists are a manifestation of the minds of troubled or sexually frustrated adolescents. That it is simply their angst taking on a physical form and making the plates fly across the room or the light bulbs combust. In the 1930’s Nandor Fodor was the first to popularize this theory. I hadn’t heard this name until reading Colin Wilson’s book and it doesn’t seem Fodor was some half wit who claimed to have all the answers. He researched many cases including the infamous “Bell Witch” case which is been written about countless times and had multiple films made based on the story. According to The Guinness Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, “Poltergeist expert Nandor Fodor called the Bell Witch ‘the greatest American ghost story’ and believed it could be explained naturally as poltergeist activity generated by the youthful Betsy, a likely focal point. But other ghost investigators find that explanation unsatisfactory”. There were many people at this time who disagreed with the theory of RSPK (Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis), but it seems that after some time, people came to give it more credit. People began to widely accept this belief up through the 90’s. But, Wilson’s introduction to “Poltergeist: A Classic Study in Destructive Hauntings, ” says that in the early 90’s, things began to shift back in the direction that poltergeists were spirits and not some form of RSPK. There is still a division in belief today.
As a practicing witch, I can get behind the theory of RSPK & manifestation, simply because I do believe we manifest our energy into reality. All of us do, and there are some that it comes to very naturally. Some may even be doing so without really knowing that they are doing it. So yes, I believe that this can happen, but I don’t think that this is the sole answer to what a poltergeist is.
So, the other option is that a poltergeist is a spirit. What makes them different from other spirits then? Why do they have enough energy that they are able to cause so many things to happen in the physical world? If they are NOT cases of RSPK maybe they can be spirits who have a very strong energy, possibly someone who died with a lot of hatred and anger. Spirits are attracted to energy, yeah? Perhaps instead of the activity being caused through RSPK, the energy has simply drawn spirits to it. Like a beacon of light in the darkness (I always like to picture Patrick Wilson standing with his lantern stuck in the further in the Insidious movies). Anger, sadness & stress are all strong emotions that can provide a spirit energy to feed off of. Still the question stands, though, what makes it a poltergeist and not just an angry ghost?
Maybe, just maybe both are completely valid. Could there be be cases of “mistaken identity” in the supernatural world? I think so. In my humble opinion, poltergeists are the “ADD” of the spirit world. The term is thrown around pretty loosely. If some sort of physical manifestation takes place like a glass being knocked over or doors slamming many people tend to just throw out the term “poltergeist activity”. Possibly because it grabs people’s attention. True cases of poltergeists, I believe, are far and few between. I could sit here and reference tons and tons of cases but I don’t want to make this blog sound like a college paper I threw together the night before it was due.
This being said, I’d love to witness a true and proven case of RSPK. As any paranormal buff, I would LIVE for it. I love seeing, feeling & hearing paranormal things because then I know! Most people look at me strange when I say I want to be bitten or scratched while I’m on an investigation. It will never be enough to convince someone else, but I’m clinically sane (mostly) and know what my experiences have been. Anyways, every case is different. I believe that it is completely possible that there are circumstances where someone who has abilities but may not know is projecting their angst into reality. Or possibly on rare occasions, some who may be able to do it on purpose.
As an investigator, I once came across a case of a possible poltergeist. I was skeptical, but hoping with every bone in my body that it would have been the real deal. The people seemed genuinely terrified and the pictures they sent of the “evidence” would be absolutely insane if it were real. As we pulled up to the house, my heart sank a little, and in my gut I knew it was going to be an interesting night…but for the wrong reasons. As it turns out, it was the filthiest place I think I have seen in my entire life, on top of an admittedly tumultuous household. Sounds like the perfect ground for a poltergeist, right? But in this case we were able to deduce that the live-in girlfriend of 6 months was causing all the activity herself, on purpose. Needless to say I was pretty bummed I didn’t get to watch some clothes spontaneously catch on fire or kitchenware combust.
In the end, always look for logical explanations. Try and document everything you can, and always know people will not believe you. It isn’t your job to convince them. I think that both of these theories have merit, and that maybe there are cases that were causes from one or the other…and probably many other explanations too.
Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Maybe a part 2 will come later down the road.