What Are Poltergeists?

Young woman trapped in her room with poltergeists

Poltergeists… the mischievous spirits that stir up both curiosity and chills.

According to experts in paranormal and parapsychology, a poltergeist is neither a spirit nor a ghost. We’ll unravel their secrets to reveal all there is to know about this fascinating enigma in the world of the paranormal.

So, keep your flashlight handy and join us as we explore the seven things you need to know about these elusive entities and their paranormal activity.

7 Things You Should Know About Poltergeists

A poltergeist is one of the most spine-chilling supernatural phenomena. In the movie, Poltergeist, the character Dr Lesch says, “Poltergeists are usually associated with an individual. Hauntings seem to be connected with an area.”

They are synonymous with trouble and disruptions in the physical world. The word “poltergeist” is derived from the German words ‘poltern’ (meaning crash) and ‘geist’ (meaning spirit or ghost).

Contrary to an association with ghosts, poltergeists often have more ominous hauntings and cause unsettling events. They can even prompt seasoned professionals, like ghost hunters, investigators, and experts, to fear ghosts when describing these entities. The term ‘noisy ghost’ barely scratches the surface.

1. Manipulating energy and electricity

Have you ever had those moments when your gadgets or household items seem to go haywire for no apparent reason? Your antique clock, a cherished family heirloom, decides to chime away after years of silence. Or perhaps your kid’s toy train starts its journey across the living room floor without any batteries.

These noisy ghosts have a knack for interfering with energy. They make your electronics dance to their unseen tunes. No remote controls, no batteries – just a sprinkle of supernatural mischief that leaves you scratching your head.

So, next time your stereo cranks up in the wee hours or that clock decides it’s time to tick again, don’t be too quick to blame faulty wiring. Poltergeists might just be adding a touch of spectral flair to your household electronics.

2. Smells and scents

It’s important to consider that different smells can come into your home from outside. A passing car or a neighbour’s activities might be the unexpected source of such phenomena. However, in the realm of ghostly encounters, these fragrances could be a sign of poltergeist activity.

You might catch a whiff of a cigarette or even a familiar perfume. Keep your senses sharp; there might be more to these scents than meets the nose.

3. Poltergeists are drawn to females

Poltergeists are known to target female adolescents dealing with emotional turmoil. That’s when poltergeists decide to make their presence known. Now, here’s the twist, not every “focal agent” (their go-to person) in these spooky scenarios is a teenager.

According to findings from the famous poltergeist researcher William G. Roll, these ghostly disturbances can target anyone from an 8-year-old to a 78-year-old. So, it seems poltergeists are quite picky about who they torment, regardless of age.

4. The mischief-makers

Poltergeists are known for their mischievous and disruptive behaviour and often create trouble and disturbances in the physical world. Unlike your typical ghost with a defined form, these entities are more like a burst of energy that can stir up all sorts of commotion.

Picture this: loud and strange noises, objects mysteriously moving, and things being flung across the room. These mischievous entities can turn a peaceful setting into a spine-chilling spectacle. Some reports even mention physical attacks, such as biting, scratching, and pushing, caused by these unseen forces.

5. Spirits of the departed

Some people believe that poltergeist activity is caused by the spirits of the deceased. Those who believe this idea argue that people who encounter poltergeists can sense certain intelligence. They also believe that there is meaningful communication with entities from the afterlife.

This notion aligns with the idea that consciousness or the soul persists beyond physical death. Many religions suggest that there is an afterlife where our consciousness or soul continues to exist even after our body dies. This can involve concepts like judgement, reincarnation, or eternal life in a different place.

6. Emotional stress

Ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts believe poltergeists could be the manifestations of emotions from troubled individuals. This is especially true during stressful times. This theory, called Spontaneous Recurrent Psychokinesis, suggests that pent-up stress can be projected as mental energy.

This phenomenon can impact the physical environment and cause the phenomena associated with poltergeists. However, it’s essential to note that there’s limited evidence supporting this concept. This leaves it open to debate among researchers and sceptics.

7. Rational sceptics

Parapsychologists, who study paranormal phenomena, can’t come to a unanimous agreement on what poltergeists are. They believe in physical theory; some think they are a type of ghost causing both psychological and physical disturbances. Others believe the activity is linked to “unknown energy” connected to a living person or place.

Sceptics, however, prefer simpler explanations like attention-seeking behaviour, pranks, or trickery. The diverse psychical research contributes to the ongoing debate about the nature of poltergeists.

How Can I Get Rid Of Poltergeist Activity?

Are you dealing with poltergeist disturbances? While seeking professional help is crucial, here are some tips to create a more harmonious home:

  1. Identify the cause: Understand and address the stressors triggering the activity.
  2. Positive energy: Take note of where the poltergeist was most active, and counter the negative energy with laughter, music, and joyful activities. Positive energy can help counteract negative disturbances.
  3. Cleansing rituals: Consider rituals like smudging with sage or using protective crystals. These practices are believed to cleanse negative energy.
  4. Seek professional assistance: Reach out to paranormal experts or mediums experienced in dealing with poltergeists. They can provide guidance and perform rituals to alleviate the disturbances.
  5. Encourage open communication: If the poltergeist is linked to a specific person, expressing your feelings can ease the psychic tension.


How long does poltergeist activity last?

You might get tired of unexplained noises, spontaneous fires, or your objects disappearing. Thankfully, poltergeist incidents are usually short-lived, lasting a few days or weeks. Long-term cases are rare, and most of the time, things settle down on their own.

However, if these troublesome spirits are overstaying their welcome, you might want to get in touch with a professional. Connect with a skilled paranormal investigator or parapsychologist to figure out if it’s a poltergeist, a haunting, or something less otherworldly.

What popular poltergeist cases are there?

While there are numerous poltergeist cases, a few stands out prominently. One of the most well-known poltergeist cases is the Enfield case. The Enfield poltergeist is known for its intensity and is a classic in poltergeist lore.

Which tools can help me identify a poltergeist?

Paranormal investigators often use a variety of tools to track down a poltergeist. They also use tools to detect unusual activity and document their findings. Here are some commonly used paranormal tools:

Is the movie Poltergeist based on a true story?

Steven Spielberg’s classic is based in part on true events. The film was inspired by activities in the Herrmann House in Long Island, where a young family was endlessly tortured by a supposed poltergeist in their haunted house in the 1950s. The film did take some creative liberties, though.

Do ghosts have teeth?

Whether ghosts have teeth largely depends on cultural, psychological interpretations, and personal beliefs regarding the physical manifestation of spirits.

Final Thoughts

From their mischievous antics to the debate among parapsychologists about their origins and abilities, we’ve unravelled some of the mysteries surrounding poltergeist phenomena. While these entities play tricks with your belongings and cause a stir in the emotional realm, poltergeist activity remains an intriguing piece of the paranormal puzzle.

So, the next time you hear an unexplained noise or spot something mysteriously moving, you might just be in the presence of these spirited troublemakers. Stay curious, stay spooked, stay wary (they can bite!) and embrace the mystery of the unseen.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!