6 Terrifying Signs of a Poltergeist Haunting

How to Tell If You Have a Poltergeist

Approx. reading time 7 min.

What Signs Indicate Poltergeist Activity?

Some people are curious as to what signs indicate poltergeist activity. In this post, you’ll find six terrifying signs indicating a genuine poltergeist haunting. 

Specifically, poltergeist activity is the physical movement of objects, bangs, crashing noises, or just about anything that goes bumpnot necessarily in the night. In short, poltergeists are traditionally behind alarming and unexplainable disturbances that begin suddenly and end just as mysteriously

Poltergeist is a German word which means “noisy ghost or spirit,” ‘poltern’ meaning “to make noise” and ‘Geist’ meaning “a ghost or spirit.” In a word, poltergeists cause physical disturbances and wreak havoc. Yet, as a rule, no one actually sees them.

Often confused with other kinds of ghosts, poltergeists are something entirely different. And unlike ghosts, more specifically, poltergeists aren’t typically connected to a deceased person.

Poltergeists Activity is Often Confused with Other Paranormal Phenomena

More often, poltergeists are confused with other ghostly phenomena such as bogeys, ‘familiar’ spirits, phantasms, shades, shadows, specters, ghouls, spooks, visitants, and wraiths. Most definitely, a poltergeist is none of these things.

What a Poltergeist Is According to Parapsychologists

Essentially, poltergeists are considered a formless energy that has some sort of intelligence behind it. Furthermore, they have power to manipulate objects and even the environment.

Although many poltergeist-related hauntings can be dismissed as hoaxes, they are a real phenomenon that causes fear and a stressful environment for those genuinely experiencing the disruptive activity.

Mainly, poltergeist activity is not confined to any particular area. Instead, it often points to one particular person and not necessarily a place. However, some claim that poltergeists can be linked to numerous objects and multiple people. 

Are Poltergeists Ghosts?

Poltergeists are not ghosts in the usual sense. Even though there seem to be many similarities between a ghost and a poltergeist, there are distinct differences. Moreover, we can see how they differ in their origins. While a poltergeist shows its presence by moving or influencing physical objects, a ghost usually appears visually. 

In a nutshell, ghosts are earthbound spirits of the dead who refuse to cross to the spirit world at death. In other words, they either ignore the crossing-over event or are too dazed by a sudden-death experience to realize it’s time to leave the realm of the living. They often appear in varied forms like full-bodied figures that are solid, transparent, semi-transparent, or a foggy undulating mist.  

Notably, like poltergeists, ghosts can move objects and cause loud noises as well. The difference is, while poltergeist activity can happen at any time and often in the presence of someone, ghosts like to be nocturnal, and disturbances are usually noticed after the fact. Therefore overall, ghostly activity is considered a ‘haunting’ while some label a poltergeist-like commotions as a ‘disturbance.”

Are People the Real Poltergeists?

First and foremost, poltergeist activity can occur in a home or just about any location. In recent decades, however, paranormal and ghost hunters alike now speculate that the poltergeist phenomenon is caused by *psychokinetic activity or PK emanating from a person.

Arguably, no one knows for sure whether it’s a person subconsciously creating the upheaval, as some parapsychologists claim, or simply an invisible paranormal force behind the mayhem.

Skeptics Claim Poltergeists Are Misunderstood Phenomenon

Take the case of the woman claiming to be haunted by a ticking clock. Upon investigation, it was discovered that the noise was created by a tiny insect. In the UK, an ancient Egyptian statue in the UK’s Manchester Museum sparked fear that it was actively haunted when it seemed to be turning on its own. Upon examination, it was determined that vibrations such as the busy road caused the statue to slowly turn a little at a time.

How Do Poltergeist Hauntings Begin and End?

Poltergeist disturbances can begin suddenly without warning and last anywhere from a few months to a few years. Then the activity mysteriously ceases as quickly as it began.

Many in the paranormal community feel that hoaxes or explainable causes probably account for a majority of reported poltergeists cases. For instance, poltergeists may be a simple case of absent-mindedness, a playful cat, loud neighbors, oversized vehicles driving by, aircraft flying overhead, or even seismic activity.

Pretty soon, however, the phenomenon can’t be ignored, and the victims of a poltergeist haunting can no longer dismiss the activity as being something explainable. 

As many hauntings are nocturnal, poltergeist activity can happen at any time during the day and night.

Experts Weigh In on What Signs Indicate Poltergeist Activity

Respected Parapsychologist, Nandor Fodor (1885 – 1964), spent much of his life studying poltergeist phenomena. He concluded that in almost all the poltergeist cases he investigated, the happenings resulted from an unhealthy psychological atmosphere. This kind of negative atmosphere resulted in strange activity erupting.

William G. Roll (July 3, 1926 – January 9, 2012), also a noted parapsychologist, coined the term “recurrent spontaneous *psychokinesis” (RSPK) to explain poltergeist cases. However, RSPK is considered a pseudo-science by mainstream authorities. 


Six Signs of a Poltergeist Haunting:

1. Your Pets Begin to Act Strangely

Pets may be your first indication of a poltergeist haunting. Animals see into spectrums of light that humans can’t, and can see something we don’t. They may stare fixedly at the ceiling or a wall. or refuse to enter a room. Even more chilling, they’ll growl or hiss at something that’s not there, and their hackles rise for no apparent reason. This is enough to alarm any pet owner!

2. Poltergeists Love to Throw and Move Things

Poltergeist activity is best known for the manipulation of objects. Things such as dishes or other household objects shake, move, or fly off counters. Pictures and other reasonably secured items fall to the floor. Mirrors get broken and even more frightening, furniture moves by itself, often in full view of witnesses. Loud banging and similar noises occur frequently. Such was the case of the Enfield Poltergeist, where countless people, including police called to the scene, witnessed objects levitating and heavy furniture sliding across rooms.

3. Doors and Windows Open and Close by Themselves

Another common phenomenon indicating possible poltergeist activity is that you notice doors open and close by themselves. Sometimes doors slam shut when there’s no breeze to account for it.

4. Items Go Missing or are Found in Weird Places

Items such as eyeglasses, keys, or other items go missing, and are discovered in weird random places. Sometimes they disappear never to be found. Don’t always assume it’s your kids pranking you. If you mysteriously can’t find something, perhaps check your freezer compartment.

5. Electronic Devices Start Malfunctioning

Standard devices such as computers, telephones, answering machines (who has these anymore), televisions, or cell phones act weird. For instance, you receive phone calls that seem to come from nowhere, and there’s static or strange noises on the other end. In short, if you’re having chronic problems with electronic equipment and can’t determine a cause, it could be that a poltergeist is messing with your stuff.

6. Physical Attacks

The most frightening of any poltergeist cases is where people suffer physical attacks. Although rare, it can happen. Alarmingly, the poltergeist acts as if it’s targeting one or more persons. Objects that were once aimlessly thrown become missiles directed at someone. Even more alarming, sharp objects like knives hurl near individuals, just narrowly missing them. Doors and windows open and close suddenly, often striking some hapless person.

Adding to this, bedclothes are frequently yanked off. Moreover, spontaneous fires may start in things like wastebaskets. However, fires are usually small. And in the most severe cases, people are bitten, slapped, or have their hair pulled. Although physical attacks are scary, rarely are people seriously harmed.

What Can You Do if You Have a Poltergeist?

  • Some claim poltergeists will cease activity if asked politely. Others maintain that the talking to needs to be stern. In any case, doing this may or may not work.
  • Get a house cleansing done by an expert. Some individuals that do house cleansings can do it remotely. Or, try saging the location with ‘California White Sage’ or a ‘White Sage Smudge Stick.’ If you’re not sure what sage to get, ask your supplier.
  • If you have clutter, clean it up! Hoarding and a dirty house invites negative influences.
  • A few suggest an exorcism. However, exorcisms are extreme and are hard to arrange, especially if the Catholic Church is involved.
  • Vacate the home or location. Although extreme, some victims of poltergeists have done just that. Hopefully, the poltergeist didn’t follow. Or, just wait the poltergeist out until the energy fades.
  • “There is usually very little you can do on this style of a haunting except make the family who is having these problems understand what is going on and explain to them that they are in no danger due to the energy not being controlled by the person who left it behind.” ~Jason Hawes, Ghost Hunters

In conclusion:

So, what signs indicate poltergeist activity? Poltergeist phenomenon baffles paranormal researchers and ghost hunters. But for sure, poltergeists can manipulate just about any tangible thing to create havoc. Because poltergeists are invisible to the physical eyes, many experts believe that Poltergeist activity results from PK or psychokinetic energy produced by someone in the area.

Are poltergeists ghosts? Some parapsychologists and ghost hunters propose that poltergeists are actually the emotions of troubled individuals that cause a build-up of stress in a location. If you think you have a poltergeist in your home, look to see if anyone is experiencing emotional stress. If so, try to help that person by understanding them and initiate removing stressors in their lives. In many cases, if poltergeist indicators are mild, victims can wait them out and disturbances should dissipate.

*Psychokinesis: The ability to move objects by the mind only rather than by physical means.


»Poltergeists – Everything You Need to Know (paranormalauthority.com)
»Differences Between a Ghost and a Poltergeist
»Psychokinesis Powers

Have you ever experienced a Poltergeist Haunting? Let me know in the comments below. Please, however, keep your narration short. So, 


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Carol Nicholson is thirty-five years a professional Psychic Medium and author of numerous Psychic and Spiritual courses since 2001.
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