What is a Poltergeist?
A poltergeist is a non-natural disturbance in a house that causes loud noises, sudden gusts of wind, throwing and breaking of objects and/or other violent actions. It is often associated with the presence of a specific person, often an adolescent girl.n The literal meaning of the word in German is "noisy ghost".
Explanations vary as to what might be the exact cause of poltergeists. They are generally considered to be hostile, and that their underlying nature is that of non-sentient energy, a ghost or even a demon. Some credit the mysterious activities to a mischievous creature but not necessarily evil such as a 'boggart' (United Kingdom).
Others believe the poltergeist is not an individual or conscious being, just some kind of build up of "negative energy". They are thought to be particularly associated with unhappy children or adolescents.
The Skeptic's Perspective
Poltergeist activity is rarely, arguably never, objectively recorded. As such it is generally put down to a either fraud or natural phenomena such as winds, earthquakes or settling in old houses.
There is some data suggesting that people who have a low tolerant for ambiguous situations and like clear explanations are more likely to believe they have had a poltergeist experience. So perhaps it is a matter of explaining phenomena, natural or possibly even supernatural, according to a reassuring, named, schema?
While there cannot be said to be conclusive proof that any entity that could be called a 'poltergeist' actually exists, the persistence of phenomena of this sort is somewhat compelling.
Since the 1930's there has been a theory that poltergeists are actually manifestation of metal illness in young people. The idea is that this occurs paranormally but perhaps it is often more direct.
The ability of children to simulate ghostly activity is apparent in stories such as that of the confessed fake mediums, the Fox sisters. Indeed girls and young women often seem to be involved in instigating paranormal fads and hoaxes, but are they also involved in more real manifestations during the turbulent adolescent period?
So while there is no compelling evidence, there is enough suggestive data to keep this as an open issue.
A number of hotels promote themselves as having 'friendly poltergeists', including the Royal George hotel (UK, below) and the Oatman Hotel (AZ)
- History of Poltergeist Activity
The 'paranormal' activity associated with the Poltergeist and its history.