Poltergeist, or "noisy ghost" activity, is relatively rare, but there are examples of it that occur in hauntings. In all poltergeist cases, this activity is caused by a form of psychic energy called telekinesis (also known as psychokinesis), a paranormal phenomenon in which mental, emotional, or spiritual energy affects physical matter.
In poltergeist cases, often one of the first manifestations of the activity is via sounds. These are actual physical sounds that create sound waves that physically move through the air and bounce off of the eardrum as opposed to sounds or ghostly voices people may hear psychically or later on a recording medium, as in electronic voice phenomenon (EVP).
Poltergeist Sound Versus Traditional Haunting
With a poltergeist generates sound, everyone in the area will hear the noises at the same time and recognize them as physical sounds. This is different from psychically generated sounds that occur in non-poltergeist hauntings. In a non-poltergeist traditional haunting, the sound isn't actually physical; no sound waves are created, so people don't hear them via sound waves bouncing off the eardrum. Likewise, while in a poltergeist case everyone will hear the noise and recognize it as a specific sound; however, in a traditional haunting, only one or a few people may hear the noise, and they may not agree on what they heard. For example, when I (the author) was on a hike in a haunted location with three other people, two of us heard a voice call out very clearly and the other two with us did not because it was a psychic sound. Similarly, in a non-poltergeist haunting, nobody may hear a sound at the time, but they later hear it recorded on electronic media as an EVP.
Types of Sounds
There are various types of sounds people may notice in poltergeist cases. These include:
- Knocks or raps
- Objects making sounds without an apparent physical cause, such as a telephone ringing
- Sounds of banging or cracking
In poltergeist cases, witnesses observe objects moving on their own with no apparent physical cause. These movements may be subtle or they may be significant.
Small or large objects might vibrate. For example, in the San Pedro poltergeist case, investigators observed objects such as an air horn vibrating slightly, and the children living in the house felt their beds vibrating significantly as they lay in them at night.
Likewise, in poltergeist cases, witnesses might observe objects levitating with no known cause. Objects that levitate might be something small, such as a pot lid, or they may be large, like a piece of furniture or even a person. In fact, in the Enfield Poltergeist case (depicted in the movie The Conjuring 2), witnesses saw the levitation of one of the children living in the home.
Objects Flying or Moving on Their Own
Objects may also fly or move on their own in poltergeist manifestations. These may be small objects, such as a building block seen flying through the air, or even large objects like furniture apparently being lifted or moving. Movement may also be much more subtle. For example, a lamp might move an inch or two along a tabletop or a ball may roll less than a foot. One of my personal experiences with this type of energy involved hearing a desk chair roll across the room (which has hardwood floors) above me. As I heard the chair start to roll back towards the desk, I yelled, "Knock it off!" and the chair stopped. Later I went upstairs, and the chair was sitting in the middle of the room and not at the desk where it usually sits.
Doors and Drawers Opening
Another manifestation of physical movement involves doors or drawers opening and closing on their own. These may be large doors, or they might be cupboards or drawers. Sometimes, witnesses see this first hand and in other cases, they may enter the room after the doors have already been opened or closed.
Changes in Temperature
Another type of activity that may occur in poltergeist cases is temperature changes of objects without any obvious outside intervention. For example, an object sitting at room temperature may suddenly feel hot or very cold to the touch for no apparent reason.
In poltergeist cases, physical matter may appear or disappear, as well. This is known as an apport. These can be small objects, such as crystals or jewelry, or it may be non-solid physical matter such as puddles of water or indoor precipitation.
In buildings with reported poltergeist activity, witnesses sometimes report disturbances with systems such as electricity or plumbing. For example, televisions or radios may turn on and off without human intervention, or faucets may turn water on and off.
Physical Effects on Humans
One of the scariest but rarest types of poltergeist activity is the creation of actual physical effects on humans. For example, someone might feel as if they are being pushed, punched, or strangled, and they may display bruises, scratches, or other marks they cannot explain.
Signs of a Poltergeist
Poltergeist activity can be subtle or significant. Its hallmark is that the psychokinetic energy in poltergeist manifestations creates actual physical phenomena witnesses can observe or experience with their five senses.