3 Real Poltergeist Stories to Chill You to the Bone

Updated July 16, 2021
Woman floating in midair

When poltergeist activity happens, it's often terrifying. Objects levitate or fly through the air, strange and frightening sounds emerge out of nowhere, lights flicker, and doors loudly bang open and closed. True poltergeist stories show just how disturbing this paranormal phenomenon can be.

Poltergeist in the Museum

The Lewis County Historical Museum in Chehalis, Washington is a well-known haunt that has been featured on the television show My Ghost Story. Over the years, the museum has been the site of a lot of paranormal phenomena, including some poltergeist activity.

The historical society in Lewis County uses the attic of the museum as a storage space for items not on display. Many visitors, investigators, and volunteers have experienced objects moving on their own there. For example, people frequently encounter a chair in one aisle, and when they turn the corner to go down the next aisle, the same chair has moved to that one.

The museum offers ghost tours, and guests often wind up with interesting experiences such as having objects thrown at them. For example, one paranormal tour group had a book fly from the other side of the attic and land at their feet. The book's title was Natural Law in the Spiritual World. Another tour group had a pencil appear from nowhere and land at their feet.

During an investigation, one paranormal team also experienced a pen fly from the sign-in desk, thrown so forcefully that when it hit a glass case, it sounded like someone had shot a gun in the room. The image below shows a collection of some of these objects that have been tossed by an unseen hand in the museum.

book pen and pencil

The Enfield Poltergeist

One of the most famous real-life poltergeist cases is the Enfield Poltergeist, which occurred in Brimsdown, Enfield, England. It has been the subject of several television shows and movies, the most recent of which was The Conjuring 2. One of the most respected parapsychological organizations in the world, the Society for Psychical Research (SPR), investigated the claims in the case, and it also attracted the attention of American investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.

A family of five, a mother and four children, rented the home on Green Street in Enfield in the late 1970s. At first, activity was frightening but not over the top and included knocking on the walls and beds being jostled during the night. Then, two of the children also reported furniture moving by itself, something police investigating the claims saw, as well. As the activity ramped up, heavier pieces of furniture moved and were pushed down the stairs, objects were thrown by an unseen hand, and witnesses saw two of the daughters levitating. The daughters also spoke in men's voices offering disturbing messages, and toys that had been thrown across the room felt hot to the touch.

Investigators did discover evidence of family members faking some activity. However, one of the main investigators from the SPR, Guy Lyon Playfair, believed that while some of the activity was likely faked, other activity appeared to be genuine and generated by supernatural causes. Other skeptics argue that if some activity was faked, it was likely all was. The case remains controversial, with both sides still debating its merits more than four decades later.

The San Pedro Poltergeist

In the United States, one of the more well-known cases of a poltergeist haunting occurred in San Pedro, California. It is commonly referred to as either the San Pedro Poltergeist or the Haunting of Jackie Hernandez. The haunting occurred back in 1989 and 1990, and it was connected directly to a single person as opposed to a location. Hernandez was recently separated from her husband and had moved into a new rental home with her two children. Seeing a scary entity in her children's room, Hernandez contacted parapsychologist Dr. Bary Taff, who brought a team to investigate. Dr. Taff has frequently spoken in interviews about San Pedro case, including in an episode of Paranormal Underground Radio (starts at 26:19).

Hernandez contacted investigators Dr. Barry Taff and his associates, Barry Conrad and Jeff Wheatcraft, after seeing an entity in her children's bedroom. The first thing the investigative team noticed on entering the house was a foul smell. The team observed a number of poltergeist-type of activities including objects being thrown and hearing loud bangs and knocks from the attic space above. Wheatcraft went into the attic to investigate the activity and while he was there, a cord mysteriously wrapped itself around his neck, nearly strangling him. Conrad shot a video of the San Pedro poltergeist, including the attempted strangulation of Wheatcraft. The activity is extensively documented in Barry Conrad's book, An Unknown Encounter, in a documentary of the same name, and in Taff's book Aliens Above, Ghosts Below.

According to Dr. Taff in his interview with Paranormal Underground Radio, the San Pedro poltergeist is an example of a case where the poltergeist activity is caused by a living agent who is unaware he or she is the source of the activity. After researching the case extensively as it occurred, Taff concluded Jackie Hernandez, who was experiencing a period of intense psychological distress, was the cause of the activity. Taff points out that the disturbing poltergeist activity was most commonly directed towards one of the investigators on the case, Jeff Wheatcraft, whom Hernandez disliked.

True Poltergeist Stories

While real poltergeist cases are rare, they do exist. Many are extensively documented and include disturbing events that are either attributed to spirits or to living agents. This has caused investigators to conclude the poltergeist phenomenon is real in spite of some cases where it is evidence hoaxing is present.

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3 Real Poltergeist Stories to Chill You to the Bone