Poltergeist is a German translation meaning “noisy ghost.” Poltergeist activity usually involves an object or unexplained sounds. It is common to refer to poltergeist activity in a haunting context. However, in most academic research poltergeist cases mean something different. It applies explicitly to situations where there is poltergeist activity (things being thrown etc.) that is time-limited and usually involves a central person.
There are thousands of poltergeist cases in the paranormal literature. Some documented over 500 years ago. There have been many cases where independent witnesses viewed poltergeist phenomena. These situations are difficult to dismiss. Therefore, suggestive of some real phenomena that are difficult to explain.
A typical poltergeist investigation usually follows a similar pattern. Firstly, a family notices some poltergeist phenomena taking place within the house, for example banging, things moving, etc. The family or researchers might try and collect evidence so the phenomena can be independently verified. In a typical case, these are pieces of research that are independently verified. Later on in the case, often fraud is detected when the phenomena starts reducing. Poltergeist cases only tend to last from eight weeks to three months.
What I find most interesting with poltergeist cases is the commonalities of the cases. In most poltergeist cases there is a central person within the case. These people have a range of common features such as their age (usually a teenager), similar psychological profile (high levels of suppressed frustration, and neurological profile (temporal lobe damage, epilepsy). The commonalities indicate some human influence rather than spirit. The evidence fits in with the idea of human’s being able to influence their environment around them.