Do Poltergeists Exist?

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At one point or another, you’ve probably been woken up in the middle of the night to a loud bang or the sound of furniture being moved. Fortunately, you likely end up finding the family cat knocking your prized possessions on the ground.

However, there might be a moment when you are sure something else, perhaps a poltergeist, is in the room with you. Do poltergeists exist? We’ll start by saying this, there are many unsettling events recorded that could even convert non-believers. Let’s find out what they are.

Do Poltergeists Exist? 

You might have wondered at some point in your life if poltergeists truly exist. To some, poltergeists are a horrifying reality that can truly disrupt their entire lives.

However, for others, they are simply a myth and a source of entertainment. The question might be simple, but the answer is actually quite complicated.

What is a Poltergeist?

Let’s start by understanding what a poltergeist truly is. The word poltergeist means noisy ghost or spirit. They are often responsible for disturbing people and homes by making loud noises, knocking on doors, moving objects, pinching, hitting, biting, tripping, and levitating furniture and objects. 

Poltergeists are typically described as being troubled spirits who haunt specific people rather than specific locations. This makes it very hard to escape a poltergeist if you happen to be haunted by one. 

Poltergeists are one of the most common paranormal occurrences, and they’ve been documented in countries all over the world. They have been written about since the early 1600s in the United States, Pakistan, India, Japan, Brazil, Australian, and all over Europe. 

Every myth, along with every bump in the night, usually comes with some sort of rational explanation, like the cat. However, there are many stories, many situations, where there just isn’t an explanation—and even more terrifying, no cat. 

So, do poltergeists exist? That is entirely up to you to decide. There are certainly enough explanations out there to explain the activity people have experienced. However, there are still many unsolved events that can make even the non-believers think twice. Let’s dive deeper. 

Common Explanations  

Natural phenomena, psychology, and paranormal activity are just a few of the explanations that have been tossed around to explain poltergeist activity. However, there are always a handful of situations where these explanations are simply not enough. 

Poltergeist activity has been documented for hundreds of years. For that reason alone, we feel it’s unfair to write them off as natural phenomena and psychology.

Let’s dive into some of the most compelling cases of poltergeists that weren’t able to be described as any natural phenomena.

The Most Compelling Cases of Poltergeists 

1. The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror might be one of the most famous poltergeist cases in the world. It has been recreated for years in movies, books, and other sources of entertainment. However, for the people involved, it was anything but entertaining. 

This case involves the Lutz family and the DeFeo family. On November 13, 1974, the oldest DeFeo son shot his parents, brothers, and sisters with a .35 caliber rifle while they were asleep. 

Ronald DeFeo claimed to hear voices that told him to murder his family. However, he took back his testimony in prison stating that his parents were abusive and he murdered them while he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. 

When the Lutz family moved into the home on December 18, 1975, a catholic priest allegedly came by to bless the home at the request of the wife and mother, Kathy Lutz. The priest was later interviewed but wanted to remain anonymous. 

He stated that the room he was in was very cold even though it was a beautiful day outside. He recalled hearing a voice telling him to ‘Get Out’ and even felt a slap on the face at one point. 

The family only lasted 28 days in the home before they fled on January 14, 1976. While there isn’t much evidence to prove the Lutz families claims, there was a photo taken in 1976. The photo shows eyes peering out of a doorway which some have been led to believe is a demon or one of the murdered DeFeo boys. Skeptics claim that it is most likely one of the investigators. 

One of the major events that took place in the home was the imaginary friend of Missy’s, named Jodie. Jodie was seen by his daughter in different forms including angels, and pigs. Another serious event was when the son, Daniel Lutz, had his hand smashed by a window. 

The evidence supporting the families claims isn’t much, and the families have all contradicted each other at some point during an interview.

Many of the family members have been accused of trying to profit from their experience in the home, which doesn’t necessarily make what they experienced a lie, but it is suspicious. 

2. Enfield Poltergeist

The Enfield Poltergeist made headlines, and for a good reason. During 1977 in Enfield, North London, a woman named Peggy Harper claimed that strange activity was happening to her daughter. 

Janet and her brother, Pete, complained that their beds were moving during the night. Following that event, the family would hear shuffling noises, knocking on the wall, even dressers moving around the room.

Eventually, Mrs. Harper moved her children out of the home and searched the home with the help of a neighbor. The knocks and moving furniture continued, even with a police officer present. 

Over time, many witnesses watched as kid’s toys including marbles and lego were thrown around the home. When picked up, they were almost too hot to touch. 

The house was later investigated and studied for two years by Maurice Gross and writer Guy Lyon Playfair. The two consistently heard knocking on the walls, banging on the floors,  furniture moving, toys being thrown, and mysterious outbreaks of fire and puddles on the floor. 

The case became more serious when a spirit announced himself through Janet. The spirit said in a deep voice that his name was Bill and he died in the house. Janet was eventually taken into the hospital for several days to be tested for physical and mental abnormalities. 

This case shook the town of Enfield, and yet some still believe it was just the actions of a young girl looking for attention. 

Natural Phenomena Involving a Perpetrator 

There are various explanations for poltergeists, which as we know, means “noisy ghost”. One of the most common explanations for suspected poltergeist activity is a natural phenomenon involving a hoax or perpetrator. 

Many investigators have found that most poltergeist outbreaks usually involve a very gullible witness, along with a perpetrator looking to cause some mischief. We all have a pesky cousin or two who are more than capable of pulling a poltergeist hoax on some of us. 

Natural Phenomena Involving the Environment

There are other areas of natural phenomena that could be used to explain poltergeist activity including environmental factors. Maybe your house was built on uneven structure, maybe it has been damaged, or maybe moving water or seismic activity is happening underneath. 

All of these environmental aspects can cause many of the symptoms that a poltergeist would also cause. Seismic activity and general damage to a structure can certainly cause loud bangs and cracks throughout the night.

However, if you start to see your cutlery levitating or your television randomly turns on, that type of repair is probably out of an electrician’s control.


Psychology is another method used to explain poltergeist activity. Many Psychologists will claim that poltergeist activist is simply the result of illusions, memory lapses, and wishful thinking.

The mind is a powerful thing, and waking up in the night in a state of panic or fear can cause all kinds of responses such as illusions. 

Hypnopompic hallucinations are hallucinations that occur when you are transitioning from deep sleep to a state of wakefulness. If you are already concerned about a poltergeist and you wake up to loud noises, it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to believe that your mind might be playing tricks on you. 

One of the most well-known psychoanalysts, Carl Jung, was interested in the topic of poltergeists and did some investigating into the subject. Carl Jung was responsible for introducing spirituality into psychology which at the time, was considered revolutionary. 

During medical school, he believed to experience poltergeist activity in his own home. In 1909, he claimed to have heard an explosive crackling sound during a meeting with Sigmund Freud. 

Related Questions 

Can Poltergeists Cause Real Harm or Death?

Poltergeists are considered noisy ghosts and are not necessarily known to be all that harmful. 

They have been said to pinch, trip, bite, and hit which can definitely be unnerving. However, it is unlikely that they could cause you any real harm, and certainly not death. 

How Do You Know if You Truly Have a Poltergeist or Not?

The best way to find out if you truly have a poltergeist is through the process of elimination. Start by remaining calm, and don’t jump to any conclusions. Staying calm and thinking rationally is the best place to start. 

The next step is to eliminate any potential factors that could be causing these poltergeist-like events. If you live near any utility facilities such as hazardous waste disposal, power stations, gas stations or a landfill, the noises you hear might be explained by that. 

However, If you don’t live near anything that could be causing strange and unusual activity in your home, you can try a cleanse. 

The most common way to cleanse your home is by smudging and praying. Seek out a trusted professional to bless the home and help you choose appropriate herbs and phrases to cleanse your home. 

The worst thing you can do in a poltergeist situation is to reach out. Don’t communicate with them, don’t set up cameras, and don’t use ouija boards. Inviting them in when they might not be there, can be dangerous.

Finally, if all of the above fails, it never hurts to visit a mental health professional to make sure you’re not dealing with anything! 

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