What Causes Poltergeist Activity?

Karen Frazier
Sunshine through and open door

Poltergeist activity, also known as "noisy ghosts," is a type of paranormal activity where physical manifestations occur, and it likely has a specific cause. Many people are surprised to learn that the main cause of poltergeist activity often doesn't actually come from ghosts; rather, it comes from a living agent.

Types of Poltergeist Activity

In poltergeist activity, something unseen (a paranormal force) affects physical objects. Some ways this may manifest include:

  • Doors opening and closing on their own
  • Objects falling from tables or shelves or flying across a room
  • Objects seemingly moving on their own
  • Moisture or puddles forming from no apparent physical source
  • Objects going missing and reappearing elsewhere
  • Objects levitating
  • Electrical anomalies, such as lights turning off and on or power fading and surging
  • Plumbing anomalies, such as faucets turning on and off
  • Noises like knocks and raps
  • Injuries to people in the space from no known source, such as scratching or bruising

Psychokinesis Causes All Poltergeist Activity

In an interview with LoveToKnow, parapsychologist and paranormal expert Loyd Auerbach pointed out that while there is a misconception poltergeists are noisy ghosts or evil entities, they are in fact manifestations of psychokinetic energy (a type of psychic ability also known as PK or telekinesis). The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) further explains that while the activity can be attributed to ghosts or paranormal entities, the bursts of psychokinetic energy often come from someone who is alive.

Living Agents

According to Auerbach, someone living or working where the poltergeist manifestations occur may unconsciously be creating bursts of psychokinetic energy that result in what is commonly viewed as poltergeist activity. This person may be undergoing significant unresolved stress or emotional pain and without being aware they are doing so, they relieve the pressure of that stress by emitting bursts of PK energy. These bursts of energy are so strong they affect physical objects. While this type of stress and energy (and much poltergeist activity) is often attributed to teenagers or kids going through puberty, a person of any age experiencing unresolved emotions and stress can cause the manifestations. In many cases when someone is identified as the agent of the telekinetic energy, they are unaware they have been doing it. Likewise, when they are given appropriate intervention, the activity stops.

Ghosts and Hauntings

In a haunting, some spiritual entities may also be able to use telekinetic energy to affect matter. Typically when a spirit is the source of the PK manifestations, they are subtler and less distinct than those coming from a living agent, although this isn't always the case. The SPR notes poltergeist cases are quite a rare form of paranormal phenomena and in many cases, they are relatively short-lived. However, in the case of a ghost or haunting, the PK manifestations may grow stronger over time as a spirit grows more adept at affecting physical objects.

Other Theories of Poltergeist Activity

While people involved in paranormal and parapsychological research theorize psychokinesis causes poltergeist activity, the actual physics behind the manifestations is unknown and remains in the realm of the theoretical. Many skeptics do not believe PK energy is real and advance other theories about the causes of poltergeist manifestations. Theories run the gamut, ranging from fraud to psychological explanations (imagination, wishful thinking, mental illness), to misperception. Chances are, there are examples of each of these occurring in various poltergeist cases.

Noisy Ghosts

Research into these fascinating manifestations remains ongoing. For those in the fields of paranormal and parapsychological research, poltergeist cases represent a rare and unique opportunity to explore the unknown.

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What Causes Poltergeist Activity?