Thursday, 24 January 2013

Poltergeists Ghosts and Morphic Resonance

Poltergeists (noisy ghosts) have been reported for thousands of years in almost every country in the world.They can be highly distressing and investigators have sometimes had to alter their focus from finding out what is going on to stopping it. If they cannot stop the phenomenon the victims may move, but sometimes the phenomena may move with them.

Poltergeist infestations are hauntings that include physical phenomena: objects may fly through the air, furniture may move on its own, electrical devices may fail, fires may start spontaneously and pools of water may appear. If fraud (always a possibility but may occur together with a genuine infestation), and mundane explanations have been investigated and ruled out, some hauntings behave like malevolent spirits and some just seem mischievous. A lot of cases are associated with a teenager, though almost all households with teenagers are poltergeist free. Other cases occur in dysfunctional households and certain forms of stress may result in Poltergeist Phenomena. There are also suggestions that electrical fields may give rise to poltergeist like phenomena.

The Poltergeist Phenomenon

A poltergeist is more than an apparition, more than a multi-sensory hallucination involving sight, sound, touch, hearing and even taste. A poltergeist is not purely subjective. Clearly if only one person is involved distinguishing a poltergeist from a convincing hallucination will be hard. If two people agree that something moved spontaneously this can be taken as a suggestion it really moved although the case of the moving Statues of Ballinspittle where hundreds of people saw a statue move but there was no evidence of actual movement, means that observation by more than one person can only be a hint.

Poltergeist phenomena have parallels in physical mediumship, common in the 19th century but rare now, and recorded cases of ecstatic levitation for example by St Joseph of Copertino and certain miracles attributed to saints of all religions. Folklore gives stories of people beaten by fairies or other inhabitants of the spirit world and Batcheldor's experiments in induced Psychokinesis [5].

Genuine poltergeist Phenomena have to involve some form of Psychokinesis, either by a spirit, or a human agent unconsciously causing the manifestation. In the latter case there is usually some form of stress involved, and it seems likely that stress can result in the uncontrolled release of psychic powers in the minority of people who are open to this possibility and have such powers.

A genuine poltergeist manifestation that cannot be attributed to mundane causes, fraud or other non-paranormal causes will either involve a “spirit” or the unconscious use of psychic abilities by someone involved.In either case the energy needed to move objects must come from somewhere, though where it comes from is not certain.

Poltergeists versus Ghosts

Ghosts often behaves like video recordings giving no indication of awareness of the observer, A poltergeist differs from such a ghost in that an element of choice as to when and where something happens seems to be present: pools of water and spontaneous fires do not seem to occur together, but can happen anywhere in an infected house, and poltergeists sometimes respond to the words or actions of the people involved, like the pair of floating gloves that responded to a skeptic singing “Onward Christian Soldiers” by beating time to the tune [1].

An experiment reported in Paranthropology raised the intriguing possibility ghosts and poltergeists can be created by ritual activity and reeneactment and that this can be explained by the controversial notion of Morphic resonance [6].

Mundane Explanations

Any candidate poltergeist infestation needs to pass a few hurdles. One is physical causes. Vibrations from say underground trains or passing traffic can cause things to move unexpectedly and slow movement of a poorly balanced pile of paper may cause it to topple over. Some cases are explained by static electricity, fraud, or even Ball Lightning. Physicist John Hutchinson claimed to have observed poltergeist like effects when generating intense magnetic fields, and this may account for some cases [7], though this has not apparently been repeated, and some researchers have postulated the quantum mechanical zero point field as the origin of poltergeist activity.

Autosuggestion is another common cause of misinterpretation: people who enter a house knowing it is alleged to be haunted will attribute strange sounds from plumbing or neighbours as paranormal and a shadow will be interpreted as a ghost. On the other hand the possibilities of Morphic Resonance creating the phenomenon leave the possibility that the expectation creates genuine phenomena.

All these explanations are speculative, need more research and do not account for the cases where the phenomenon apparently responds to events in the vicinity, where voices are heard and recorded and conversations with an apparent spirit as in the case of the Enfield Poltergeist. [8].

Dealing with poltergeists

If you are (un)fortunate enough to experience poltergeist phenomena DONT PANIC. The notion that poltergeists do not harm people is a myth but cases of poltergeists harming people are not all that common. In any case step up safety measures like checking whether the gas and electricity are off though with a serious manifestation this will not be enough

Eliminate mundane causes like the neighbours drumming practice as far as possible. If you find no mundane cause look at the household or, if the case occurs on business premises, staff, and possible interpersonal tensions. Try and check whether any one person is the focus of the disturbances and to resolve their problems.

Next contact a good psychic investigation group. In the UK this would be a branch of ASSAP, the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena. If they find no mundane explanation they may be able to advise on how to contact the authorities, insurance companies etc without being labelled insane. In a recent case builders tools kept vanishing but the victim made the mistake of mentioning ghosts to the Insurance company and had their claim refused. Equally some claimants have managed to get paid despite mentioning ghosts. It is best to mention a mundane cause however.

If the manifestation is likely to prove dangerous or over stressful the investigators may be able to recommend measures to take. These could include getting a priest to bless the house though this usually brings only temporary relief calling in a medium to talk to the spirits or, if the problem is limited to a single room, repurposing that room for storage.


Poltergeists have been around for a long time and are unlikely to go away. It is likely there are classes of poltergeists, each with a different origin. If you suffer a poltergeist eliminat mundane explanations and contact a psychic investigation group.

Further Reading

[1] Poltergeist: Colin Wilson , New English Library Ltd; First Edition edition (1 Nov 1981) ISBN-10: 0450048802 ISBN-13: 978-0450048807

[5] Kenneth Batcheldor  conducted experiments in inducing psyhokiniesis by recreating the table tipping common in 19th century spiritualist seances.

[6] [2] Soundscape and the Culture of War on an American Civil War Battlefield: An Ethnography of Communication with Past Presences John G. Sabol Paranthropology Volume 3 Number 2 April 2012

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