~Written By Pattyhap1863~

The word poltergeist means ‘noisy ghost’ in German, and that is exactly how this entity manifests, by making noises or throwing objects. Many scientists believe that living human beings can produce this kind of activity. The explanation behind this suggests that pent-up energy that comes from stress, repressed anger, emotional trauma or the transition during puberty is what actually is witnessed during a poltergeist manifestation. However, some accounts show that a haunting can also begin with poltergeist activity and later progress until actual apparitions are glimpsed or photographed. How to tell, therefore, if it is a real ghost or if it can be rationally explained?

Poltergeists have been known to exist for centuries. In ancient times, however, most of this activity was blamed on witches and demons. How else could the ‘Bell Witch’ have come to existence? What frightened and tormented the Bell family could have indeed been the daughter’s suppressed emotional stress or anger while going through the stages of puberty. It’s curious that the ‘witch attacks’ were clearly centered on her most of the times. In those days, magic and demons were said to be the cause of anything unexplainable, and therefore the family did believe that they were under a curse that had turned their lives into a living nightmare. This ‘entity’ even promised to return seven years later and it then appeared to John Bell Jr. However, it failed to appear 107 years later as it had promised him, and the ‘witch’ has not been seen or heard of since. Nevertheless, there are reports of ‘ghosts’ haunting the area where the Bells used to live. This mystery lives on, and continues to fascinate hundreds of people.

An Artist’s rendition of Betsy Bell, originally published in 1894 (Wikimedia Commons)

Other famous poltergeist cases include the haunting of Borley rectory, and the famous Fox sisters. In both cases, one cannot help but wonder whether the poltergeist activity is indeed an indicator of a real haunting or that of a troubled family. In the case of the Fox sisters, for example, Margaret confessed to an audience of 2,000 people to having been the one who caused the rappings by cracking her toe! The story behind Borely Rectory, however, is more complicated. It was known to have been one of the most haunted places in England before it burned to the ground in 1939. Many people suspect that Reverend Bull’s children living in the rectory at the time probably invented what they witnessed or Reverend Guy Smith’s adopted child subconsciously produced the poltergeist attacks on her mother, Marianne. Whatever the case, there was a great deal of controversy surrounding Borley Rectory then and the place continues to be visited by people in hopes of catching a glimpse or photograph of the famous ghostly nun.

There is one case that also caused a lot of stir in the UK, and this is the case of the Enfield Poltergeist. This happened in the seventies, and there are photographs of the girls (especially the oldest, Janet) being thrown around the room or levitating. Also to note is the huge amount of evidence collected at the time. You can find all the evidence and read everything that was done to keep track of the phenomena at


This is to date, one of the most documented cases in the history of poltergeists. Even though people truly believe that the girls were haunted, there are many others who think that they were hoaxing it all. On the other hand, this just may be another case of the girls subconsciously producing the attacks on themselves, which could be the most likely logical explanation of the phenomena. One example of this is the case of the Rosenheim Polgergeist, where it was discovered later that Annemarie Schneider was going through a severe personal relationship trauma and suffered from neuroses. This only confirms that poltergeists may indeed be directly related to a person’s suppressed anxieties and emotional stress. What also must be noted here is that they could be ghosts, but ghosts that find it easier to focus on and manifest through emotionally disturbed people. In any case, poltergeists are truly an interesting journey into the unknown and should be researched in order to better understand the paranormal.

Noisy and aggressive ghosts that focus on certain young people, objects mysteriously appearing and disappearing, violent attacks and even shadowy apparitions all seem to point to poltergeist activity. And, even though poltergeists may be disproved, explained away or ‘buried’, they will continue to manifest and frighten us for many years to come.

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