What Is A Poltergeist?

What is a poltergeist?

What Exactly Is a Poltergeist?

A poltergeist is one of the most terrifying types of supernatural phenomena. These mischievous entities are typically associated with all kinds of trouble and disturbances in the physical environment. In fact, the word ‘poltergeist’ actually means ‘noisy ghost.’

Unsurprisingly, poltergeists are known for various unsettling events and actions. And, although some people may associate poltergeists with ghosts, they are responsible for much more serious hauntings. You may even find that professional ghost hunters and paranormal experts themselves are afraid of these spirits.

Do poltergeists have a physical form?

Unlike traditional ghosts or spirits, poltergeists don’t usually have a physical form. However, this belief may change among different cultures and belief systems.

Most paranormal enthusiasts agree that there is a big difference between ghosts and poltergeists. One of the main differences is that ghosts have a physical form and can be seen by people in the natural world. On the other hand, poltergeists don’t have a physical form. Instead, they’re believed to be manifestations of energy that can cause changes in the environment.

What causes poltergeists?

The cause of poltergeist activity is largely unknown yet very widely debated. Some supernatural enthusiasts believe that there are certain stages of poltergeist hauntings, with author Rupert Matthews suggesting that there are eight specific stages of “idealized poltergeist visitation” in his book Poltergeists and Other Hauntings. However, not everyone is sold on this theory.

While the real reason behind poltergeist incidents has been speculated for years, one specific cause seems to be a recurring theme among many debates. And it all boils down to one thing – Powerful emotions.

Some researchers have proposed the theory that poltergeist activity could be a result of intense or repressed emotions in individuals, particularly young children and teenagers who haven’t yet learned to regulate their emotional state. The idea behind this theory is that the subconscious mind can influence the physical environment as a form of expression when individuals can’t communicate their feelings.

Signs of Poltergeist Activity

If you’re experiencing strange happenings around your home, your first thought may be that your home is haunted. When you’ve ruled out natural phenomena as the cause for these unexplained experiences in your home, then you may not be wrong!

But how can you really tell if you’re experiencing poltergeist activity that is not a result of a ghost in your home? As well as using professional ghost-hunting equipment, there are a few more ways to confirm that you’re dealing with a mischievous spirit, including:

Strange smells

Have you ever got a whiff of cigar smoke or a strong perfume and not known where it was coming from? Then you’re not alone! While pleasant smells may be associated with the ghost of a deceased loved one, unpleasant smells or very strong and unusual smells are more often associated with poltergeists.

Of course, you’ll first want to make sure that the smell isn’t coming from a living person inside your home. Otherwise, you may be freaking yourself out for nothing!

Moving objects

Poltergeists are known for being troublesome and causing chaos around your home. This type of spirit may knock things down, or move objects right in front of your eyes. When this happens, it may feel like a scene from a horror movie! In some more frightening cases, poltergeists may muster enough energy to fling objects around a room.

Rather than running for the hills, though, there are ways to stop this activity from happening (but more on this later…).

Missing objects

Where did I put my wallet?

I was sure that I left my sunglasses right here.”

Does this sound familiar? Then you know the frustration of having objects disappear and reappear within your home all too well. Of course, some of these missing objects can be explained by poor memory. But when there’s absolutely no explanation for your things going missing, it can feel like you’re going crazy.

While your mind may not automatically jump to the conclusion that this is the work of spirits in your house, you may want to consider the possibility of poltergeist activity the next time it happens. Especially if it’s coupled with some of the other signs on this list!

Unusual noises

Poltergeists are known for making unusual and often loud noises that can make you jump right out of your skin. From knocking and tapping to banging and even disembodied voices, it’s believed that poltergeists are responsible for these bone-chilling sounds.

Physical attacks

Most paranormal enthusiasts agree that poltergeist activity usually ebbs and flows. But when it’s happening, it starts off slowly and builds in intensity until BOOM – something big and terrifying happens.

In some cases, people have reported physical attacks from these spirits. There have been reports of biting, ghost scratches, and pushing that come from an unseen force, often resulting in physical injuries. Yikes!

How to Get Rid of a Poltergeist

Are you worried that your home is haunted by a poltergeist? Then you may want to try and get rid of these malevolent spirits before the activity becomes too much to live with…

You can rid your home of poltergeist activity using these steps:

  1. Rule out any natural phenomena that may be causing spooky experiences around your home.
  2. Cleanse your home using sage or by placing salt around your home.
  3. If you want to get rid of the sucker for good, you can call out paranormal investigators or ghost hunters to help you.
  4. Tell the spirit (out loud) to leave your home. Be confident and firm and be clear on the fact that it is not welcome in your home.
  5. If you’re religious, you may want to ask a priest or any other religious leader to bless your home. This can banish negative energies and spirits and boost the positive energy in your space.


What’s the difference between a ghost and a poltergeist?

The difference between ghosts and poltergeists is that ghosts are believed to be the souls of people who have passed. On the other hand, poltergeists are mischievous entities who have never had a physical body.

Are there any famous poltergeist cases?

There are hundreds of cases and stories about these noisy spirits. However, there are some that are more well-known than others. Some of the most famous cases include:

Final Thoughts

When things are going bump in the night within your home, it’s only natural to want to get to the bottom of what’s causing them. Although having a poltergeist can seem horrifying at best, it’s important to remember that this activity usually dies down after a while and can even stop spontaneously without any reason.

Luckily, if you’re armed with the knowledge of what exactly a poltergeist is, you may be better equipped to handle yourself in the event that one of these naughty spirits wreaks havoc on your home.


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!