Poltergeist, A Noisy Spirit

posted: 08/02/16
by: Kelly McClure
Ghost in a Barn
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Ghost in a Barn

You've probably seen the classic 1982 horror film Poltergeist, or even the less than classic 2015 remake, but what exactly is a poltergeist? A german word meaning "noisy spirit," a poltergeist has less to do with ghosts or spirits than you may presume. Believed to center around an individual, rather than a location, a poltergeist is thought to be caused by the psychokinetic activity of someone under emotional or physical stress. A young person currently going through puberty would be a prime candidate because both their bodies and minds are in a constant state of flux.

In historian R.C. Finucane's book Ghosts: Appearances of the Dead & Cultural Transformation he dates the first use of the word back to the 1600s but its change in meaning began leaning more towards "ghosts' in more modern times. Although a poltergeist has more to do with a person's inner and outer turmoil than a traditional haunting, a poltergeist is said to often trigger hauntings in the homes of troubled people because the restless spirits of the dead are attracted to the energy being put out.

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