Updated: Jul 1, 2022
I have been absorbing as many publications on the icky topic of poltergeists for some time now, for having now experienced mild to concerning poltergeist-esque activity at our two bed semi, the poltergeist and the history of it, them, however you word it, both astounds staggers and scares the bejeezus out of me. How better than to tackle fear then to face it head on? I have managed to purchase a now out-of-print book called The Poltergeist Phenomenon, by John and Anne Spencer.
The bond I feel to the authors and how they relate their own investigations and theories of exactly what a poltergeist is, is on the mark. Sometimes you'll read something about 'the paranormal' and agree with some of what the author is saying, but largely it'll be hit and miss. Mainly miss. But with these authours, it was as if they're copying my thoughts verbatim! Some of the activity they experienced at home was almost identical to mine, and I felt the desperate need to get in touch with them. At the back of the book was an email, but as this was written in 1997, I was not really surprised when Mailer Demon threw it back at me. I tried to find more of their wherabouts online, via ASSAP and The Ghost Club, but sadly according to sources, they gave up the ghosting game a while ago due to 'politics'. Always behind I am. I once tried to contact Peter Bander, author of The Voices on the Tapes. He had died a few years previously. See my problem? I'm always last out of the gate.
My musings and brain flumping concern many things to with the poltergeist or poltergeist activity - let's refer to it as PA for the sake of my typing fingers.
My activity at home was definitely poltergeisty, if this is an actual term, probably not, but let's go with it for now. Yet, of the approximately 14 most widely recognised shared (for the most part) 'symptoms' of genuine PA, I experienced 7. Let me just note these symptoms down. These are the forms of activity present in recorded poltergeist cases from across the globe, and from as long ago as events have been recorded, which is a heck of a long time ago! Don't get the idea that the poltergeist only cropped up in the sixties or seventies, oh no. Last week I actually read on the internet, that someone said that poltergeist cases just stopped in the 70s, implying that 'they' are a product of pre-internet and smartphone backup, because back then people were naieve and less worldly-wise. What nonsense!
Before I list the traits of PA, briefly let's define a few other terms.
ENTITY: A being, whether the spirit of a deceased person, non-human entity not of our phyiscal plane, or an appartition intelligent or residual. A being, capable of being seen, heard, of moving things, or some or all of these things.
FOCUS: In true poltergeist cases activity tends to gravitate to one person, the focus. Not always a teenage girl as the movie would have it either. Often the person is of a nervous or anxious nature, perhaps experiencing something emotional or going through some sort of crisis. POLTERGEIST CASES ARE PERSON-CENTRED, not location centered.
A HAUNT: A location known to 'be haunted'. This means that it is a place at which haunt-type phenomena is experienced. I'm talking apparitions, moving objects, electrical malfunctions, electromagnetic fluctuations, disembodied voices - your run of the mill 'ghostly' activity! Often a haunt will come alive if a focus, or a partially charged focus, comes into the location. Imagine a small spark (focus) walking into a latent waiting haunt, a pool of petrol... boom. HAUNT-TYPE PHENOMENA IS NOT NECESSARILY POLTERGEIST PHENOMENA. Some traits may cross, but the manner of PA is not the often residual activity of a haunting. Haunts may be residual, moments replaying for a focus who is charging it. Poltergeist cases are charged by the focus (often draining it) like a battery charging a device.
A haunting and poltergeist can coincide (like at my house) where a genuine entity who has perhaps resided at that house for example and died, comes into crossplay with the charged battery of an entity of something that perhaps has never been alive - a non-human entity if you will. With the battery power of the focus, the ghostly activity can then go into overdrive. Haunt phenomena can escalate if the focus is charged, and then activity may well get poltergeisty.
The 'thing' I had at mine was non-human. My medium friend Carolyn who cleansed the house was reluctant to use the 'D' word, but she said it was not human, was low intelligence, and was not of the physical. It was this thing that, in bouncing off my charge and likely with the charge of my resident grumpy male entity (I have recorded him several times, the latest in June saying "You're getting FAT!"). So, with the poltergeist activity I experienced, I was also interacting with my 'regular' entity whose voice I know. My non-human uninvited guest did not have a voice thankfully, but it should not be confused with my regular guest. I had two of them here - now blessedly, it's just me, my husband, and... the ghost!
In The Poltergeist Phenomenon, the authors note that we may all have in us the ability to 'host' PA. We are all charged. They ask what happens when a focus isn't quite as charged enough to make all-out PA occur. I would like to offer up my own experiences here (see my other blogs). They ask if public places that have seen much emotion, footfall, angst and life over the years such as pubs, hospitals, churches, you know - your classic ghost hunt locations, offer a base charge, and that it only takes a semi charged focus person to walk in, and activity will happen. An interesting thought indeed. Would this explain why things tend to happen to 'believers' first and foremost?
So, these 'symptoms' are those that are regulars in the poltergeist hall of fame. Every case of poltergeistery can tick some of if not all of these, of the to-do and has-done list:
1) Noise: Usually beginning with rappings, tappings and scrapings, often upto levels where neighbours can hear from across the road. We're not talking about a few taps as the hot water pipe gets going here. Noise is usually the first sign. (Note - not in my case. I have experienced horrible scraping sounds like a brick being dragged over the walls and ceiling, but this came later, at the end actually).
2) Moving objects: Usually household items, personal objects, day-to-day things lying about the house. Objects may be seen to have moved, but very rarely seen in motion. In many cases, these objects may move inexplicably from one room to another, from a locked cupboard to a table for example, through solid walls. I have experienced this myself, one such instance when coasters in our spare bedroom on the windowledge were in the morning, outside on the otherside of the glass where they could not be reached. Pillows on my bed stacked themselves up in the corner of the room so that when I turned around the other half of the bed was empty. This sort of activity implies the doings of a mischievous, attention-seeking entity.
3) Levitating objects: Objects as above, but will be seen hovering or in mid-air. In many cases people living in a house with PA will be hit by objects, but oddly, most reports state that the objects although travelling at considerable speed, barely leave a sensation on making contact. Our Henry Hoover lifted up and down in our front room, a hanged picture smashed into our bedroom door after leaving its hook and turning around two corners to do so. And and only last week (October 2021) our fully loaded washing basket decided to rock left, stop, rock right, stop, coming back to the centre each time before rocking off again.
4) Apporting objects: Apports are objects that have seemingly come from nowhere. The Battersea case began with an apport, an ornate silver key was found on young Shirley's pillow. She moved it to the mantlepiece, where it vanished, only to reappear again on the pillow. After that it was never seen again.
5) Lithobolia/stone throwing: Seen endless times in the TV ghost shows, showering stones or being pelted by one, is a bit of a cliche. I have experienced it twice at HMP Shepton Mallet, and kept the offending articles. But generally, we're not talking about a small pebble being tossed about, but in the full-on poltergeist cases, the big guns, I mean they literally rain down from nowhere, from a foot below the ceiling, from the walls, like hail stones. Luckily this was one of the symptoms that I didn't have at our house!
6: Human levitation: An horrific trait, this has been recorded only a small number of times, most notably in the original 'exorcist case' (a genuine case affecting a young boy, not a girl called Regan), the Enfield case, and the Battersea case. Validated by witnesses, the person may be fully aware of what is happening but has no power to do anything to stop it. Shirley from the Battersea case said that there was a large force in the small of her back pushing her up. Pre-levitation signs have been known to include drastic arching of the back.
7: Scratches: These I have experienced. Scratches and bite marks may appear not only on the body of 'the focus', but on others in the household or who have visited the location.
8: Voices: As in the Enfield case, the essence of the poltergeist, in this case most likely a genuine spirit of a deceased person, can affect 'the focus' and manipulate. This is where there is a dangerous and critical crossover from poltergeist to posession, if indeed this exists - which personally I do. I don't however think that it has anything at all to do with the Bible, Jesus, or 'The Devil'. Young Janet in the Enfield case was famously a victim of the voice of the poltergeist, in her case Bill. Bill, the deceased late resident of the house that she shared with her siblings and Mother, claimed to be the poltergeist, and a G-H-O-S-T. Listen to the YouTube recordings. If they don't scare you nothing will. Hours and hours of recordings of Bill have been made, and these are intelligent conversations between Maurice Grosse who was the lead investigator. The sounds began as barking noises, emanating from the back of Janet's neck. It was scientifically proven not to be Janet faking or using her false vocal cords. If she were to have spoken like this in that manner for that amount of time, she'd never speak again with the damage that would have been done. I'll place some links shortly so you can hear for yourself.
9: Throwing of objects: (See moving objects as for type) These items are not just moved or as a result of apporting, but will be quite often hurled around a property with intelligence.
10: Fires: Spontaneously errupting fires are disturbingly commonplace. They are often localised and not occurring in places that you would naturally expect. This is normally later stage activity when the entity really means business, and is probably the most frightening and dangerous of phenomena.
11: Apparitions: Whether fully formed or whispy mists, black plumes or vague humanoid shapes, the witnessing of appartions in a location with PA is not unlikely, and has been documented many times.
12: Blood or Water: The random placement of blood or water in places unexpected. I experienced thick congealing dark blood spots, large ones, on my kitchen floor. Some cases note shoes being filled with water, or water puddles forming on surfaces with no connection to plumbing of any sort. In some cases green gunge has been reported overflowing from places that it has no place to be. A crack in the wall, taps, the sink...
13: Electrical problems: Faulty electrics is a big symptom, one experienced by all poltergeist victims, myself included. Odd things too like TVs turning on when not even plugged in, shattering bulbs, and bizarre behaviour of computers, radios, and phones.
14: 'Perfect Placement': The placement of objects so darned perfectly, it is almost beautiful! And rather creepy. Bottles in a perfect arc with the labels facing the same way, a china duck in the dead centre of a circular rug, and in my case, two coins standing proud on the polished surface of a coffee table....
I am still reading The Poltergeist Phenomenon, and if you can get hold of a copy I guarantee that it will not let you down. It is available from abebooks.com/co.uk, and on eBay, likely other sources too. It covers not only many MANY cases on PA, cases that often the authors investigated themselves, but goes into detail about theories and connections, anomalies within the field of poltergeist investigation. Such as contagion. The ability of activity to leak from the focus, so that often people who have witnessed the activity will experience a little weaker version of it themselves in their own homes. The strength and longevity of such activity is not long lived, but it is a fascinating addition to the power and exhausting majesty of the poltergeist. On that note, a new book is due at the end of October 2021 on the contagion effect. It is called simply, Contagion, and is by Darren W Ritson. I have mine ordered.... what a surprise!
So I'll leave it there for now.