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POLTERGEISTS
Explained

Ghost Stories
Man in the Doorway (USA)

Lady in White (USA)
Ghost with the Red Eyes(USA)
 Jenny Dixon (AUS)
The disappearing Hitch hiker (AUS)

 

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Poltergeist

This is a spirit, usually mischievous and occasionally malevolent, which manifests its presence by making noises, moving objects, and assaulting people and animals. The term "poltergeist" comes from the German postern, "to knock," and geist, "spirit." Some cases of poltergeists that remain unexplained and may involve actual spirits. In other cases the phenomena may be produced by subconscious psychokinesis (PK) on the part of an individual.

Included in the most common types of poltergeist activities are the rains of stones, dirt, and other small objects; moving or throwing of objects, including large pieces of furniture; loud noises and shrieks; and vile smells. It seems that poltergeists have adapted to the development of technology. They are known to have caused interference in telephones and electronic equipment, and turning lights and appliances on and off. Some poltergeists are said to pinch, bite, hit, and sexually attack the living.

Generally poltergeist activity starts and stops abruptly. The duration of it may extend over several hours to several months; however, some cases have been reported to last over several years. The activity almost always occurs at night when someone is presence. Typically this is the "agent," an individual who seems to serve as a focus or magnet for the activity. In most cases the agent is a factor, both those that seem paranormal or that may be caused by human PK. The agent is usually female and under the age of twenty.

Poltergeist disturbances have occurred globally since ancient times. In the late 1970s parapsychologists Alan Gauld and A. D. Cornell did a computer analysis of those cases collected since 1800 to that time. They identified sixty-three general characteristics, which include the following: 64 percent involved the movement of small objects; 58 percent were most active at night; 48 percent featured raps; 36 percent involved movement of large objects; 24 percent lasted longer than one year; 16 percent featured communication between the poltergeist and agent; 12 percent involved the opening and shutting of doors and windows.

Before the 19th century, poltergeist activity was blamed on the Devil, demons, witches, and ghosts of the dead. The Gauld-Cornell analysis found only 9 percent of the cases attributed to demons, 7 percent to witches, and 2 percent to spirits of the dead. Most of the demon and witches attributions occurred in non-Western countries. Poltergeist activity at séances was attributed to spirits of the dead.

The development and increase of psychical research during the late 19th and early 20th centuries helped confirm the conviction that poltergeist activity was genuine. Among the early investigators were two founders of the Society for Psychical Research, Sir William Barrett and Fredric W. H. Meyers. Meyers believed in the genuineness of poltergeist activity and that it was distinguishable from ghost hauntings.

In the 1930s the psychologist and parapsychologist Nandor Fodor advanced the theory that some poltergeist disturbances were caused not by spirits but by human agents suffering from intense repressed anger, hostility, and sexual tension. Fodor successfully demonstrated his theory in several cases, including the most famous "Thormton Heath Poltergeist" in England, which he investigated in 1938. The case involved a woman whose repressions caused a poltergeist outbreak and apparently a vampire attack. The Spiritualists severely criticized Fodor, but he won a libel suit against a Spiritualist newspaper.

William Roll, project director of the Psychical Research Foundation in Durham, North Carolina, further explored this psychological dysfunction theory. Starting in the 1960s, Roll studied 116 written reports of poltergeist cases spanning over four centuries in more one hundred countries. Roll identified patterns that he labeled "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis" (RSPK), which are inexplicable, spontaneous physical effects. Generally, he discovered, the most common agent was a child or teenager whose unwitting PK was a way of expressing hostility without the fear of punishment. The individual was not aware of being the cause of such disturbances, but was, at the same time, secretly or openly please that they occurred.

Other investigators have also investigated agents finding that those in poor mental and physical health are vulnerable to stress. Patient having unresolved emotional tensions have been associated with houses where poltergeist activity occurred. When studying the personalities of agents psychologists found anxiety reactions, conversion hysteria, phobias, mania, obsessions, dissociative reactions, and schizophrenia. In some cases therapy eliminated the poltergeist activity.

However, the psychological dysfunction theory has been disputed by other researchers, including Gauld and Cornell who said the psychological tests employed were invalid. Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson proposed that spirits of the dead may account for more poltergeist activity than realized. In his study of a number of cases attributed to agents and to spirits of the dead, Stevenson noted significance differences. The phenomena in living agent cases was without purpose and often violent, while cases involving spirits of the dead featured intelligent communication, purposeful movement of objects, and little violence.

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MAN IN THE DOORWAY
from Liz
Hailing From:Indian Trail, NC
Where it Happened: Apartment in Charlotte, NC

I was 10 years old at the time (now 27) and my mother, sister (8 at the time), and I had just moved into a basement level apartment. The place was very dark and gloomy (as most basements are, I imagine!). It had only two bedrooms, a small eat-in kitchen that adjoined the living area, a small hallway that led to the bedrooms and bath. I can still remember the fact that it had only three windows and one set of sliding glass doors (in the dining area) that allowed any natural light in. One window was in the living room, one in the room that my sister and I shared, and one small window in our mom's room. Like I said, very dark and gloomy. We had only lived there a few weeks when at first, only my sister was noticing weird things.

Since our mother worked full-time, and I was bussed across town to a different school than my sister, she would arrive at the apartment first in the afternoons. She would later tell me about the noises she heard and the strange shadows she saw darting around from the corner of her eyes. I clearly remember one afternoon when I had arrived home (which was about an hour after she did), only to discover my sister huddled on the top of the steps that led down to our front door. She had her arms wrapped around her drawn up legs, her head lowered to her knees, and she was shaking and rocking back and forth. It was obvious that she was terrified. I asked her what was wrong and all she did was point down the stairs.

Curiously, I walked down and started toward our door. I noticed absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. I marched back up the steps to ask her what was wrong with her. She finally related this to me:

When she came home from school, she walked down to our door, only to find it standing wide open. She knew I wasn't home yet, and neither was our mom (she would have seen her car out front). She walked slowly to the open doorway and peered into the living room. At which time she says the chairs at the dining room table all flew away from it simultaneously, and what sounded like all the kitchen cabinets and drawers slammed shut, their contents rattling from the force. She said she SAW the chairs move, but nobody was in the apartment. She then said she was so scared that she dropped her books, left the door standing wide open, and ran up the stairs and sat there until I arrived.

I explained that she must have imagined it all, as the door was closed and I saw no books on the walkway. She SWORE it happened exactly like she said, but I was still skeptical. So, me being the older, wiser, and therefore fearless one, I pressured her into going back down there with me.

I mean, we had to go in sooner or later, right?

I unlocked the door and slowly opened it while my sister hid behind me, clinging to me like a cheap sweater. Lo and behold! Gasp! Everything was as it should be, with the exception of my sister's school books all piled neatly on the coffee table. The chairs were where they should be and nothing was amiss in the kitchen. Needless to say, I didn't believe a word my sister told me. Until I saw ... The Shadow Man.

A few weeks after finding my sister cowering on the steps, I bought a walk-man radio and some cassettes (we're talking early 80's here) to go with it. That night, I decided to listen to my walkman after my sister and my mom went to bed. I believe it was around 11 p.m. when I started getting the distinct feeling that I was being "watched" from the open doorway to our room. I don't know why, but I was instantly afraid. I just knew it wasn't my mom. Since I was lying on my back, all I had to do was turn my head in the direction of the doorway and find out if there was anyone there or not. I turned the walkman off and waited, lying stiff as a board and holding my breath, just waiting to hear anything unusual. I was still getting the impression that someone was in the doorway staring at me, but I was too terrified to look. I just knew that I wouldn't like seeing who was there, and now I was certain that there WAS somebody there. Finally, I got the nerve to slowly turn my head toward the door.

To my absolute horror, there was a man standing there! I had never been so scared in all my life! I didn't dare move or make a sound, or even breathe for that matter. I just kept my eyes glued to the doorway. That's when I noticed that I could see through it! Before I could really panic, it occurred to me that it must be a shadow of someone that was standing out at street level. I rationalized that the street lights were casting the shadow into the hallway, through the window that was in our room. I was starting to calm myself down and decided to prove my theory by turning around and looking at the window that was behind me.

As soon as I did, panic assailed me all over again. There was no shadow on the sheer curtains. Nothing but the soft glow of the streetlight in the parking lot. I immediately looked back to the doorway, hoping and praying desperately that the figure would be gone. It was still there! Only now it appeared darker, but I could still make out the thermostat for the heating and air on the wall THROUGH "it". It also seemed to be projecting a seriously negative feeling. I don't understand why I felt that, but I did, and I was definitely terrified. It made no movement whatsoever and I was able to really look at it. It appeared to be a man wearing a long trench coat and a fedora style hat(Reminded me of a Dick Tracey kind of character, if you know what I mean). All of this was in outline with no other distinguishing features. No face, hands, or feet for that matter, and it seemed to "hover" in one spot.

I didn't know what to do at this point and it seemed an eternity had passed since I noticed it's presence. It occurred to me then that I didn't hear my sister snoring, which was a usual thing for her to be doing (hence, the reason I had bought the walkman). I figured she had to be awake, so I whispered her name. Imagine my disbelief when she responded, and I could tell she was terrified too. I couldn't blame her one bit. After all, the foot of her bed was only 3 feet from the doorway, and "it"!

I whispered to her, "Do you see it?"

"YES!" she hissed and then started whimpering.

"We have to get out of here. On the count of three ... we run as fast as we can to mom's room!"

So much for me being the fearless one! She didn't want to, but I wasn't staying, that was for sure! Our escape would mean running THROUGH the thing, but at that point I didn't see any other options. I counted to three, bounded off the bed, grabbed my sister from her bed, and we were both screaming and running hell-bent for leather for my mom's room down the hall. We jumped into the bed with her. She was already sitting up, having heard us screaming. I don't recall what she said, or what we even told her. It seems I just passed out from the fright. My mom didn't ask us about what had happened the next day, and my sister, nor myself brought it up then. Maybe my mom didn't need to ask, who knows.

We never saw The Shadow Man after that, thank God. As it happened, we moved out shortly thereafter. I don't think it was coincidence, either. Our lease wasn't up until 6 more months. I didn't complain and neither did my sister. We never spoke of it until I brought it up to her during a phone conversation in 1996 when I was telling her about my new haunted house (I'll send some of THOSE stories later!) We were both surprised that the other remembered the incident so clearly. After all those years, the details of that night were still very clear to the both of us.

This was my very first "ghostly" encounter, I hope you enjoyed it! It's exactly how I remember it, and of course, I could never forget The Shadow Man!

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Lady In White
from Mark L.
Hailing From: Upland, California
Where it Happened: Mt. Baldy, California (Mt. San Antonio)
This is a true story my friend and I encountered late one night. It took place in Upland, California in the same general area where I currently live. Three miles away is a popular skiing area named Mt. Baldy. A small two lane road winds it's way up the mountain and dead ends at the top. It was on this winding road where our encounter occurred.

My friend John and I were bored, so he suggested we go for a drive. Since I'd been on this road many times, I replied, "Sure, let's go!"

After driving around the San Antonio Dam, we proceeded up toward the village on the old and winding Mt. Baldy road. After 4 miles of driving it began to drizzle, not very much, but enough to make me turn on the windshield wipers. We weren't talking, and I didn't have the radio on (which is rare), and we were the only car on the road for about the past fifteen minutes.

I was approaching a right turn when I suddenly saw some one standing on the side of the road. I thought I was seeing things, because this person looked so out of place. Right when I was thinking this, my friend said, "Hey, did you see that?"

"Yeah!, a person, a girl, right?" I replied.

"Yeah, yeah!, stop the car!" he said. "She might need help!"

And he insisted, "Stop the car, stop the car!"

"Okay, okay!" I yelled back, applying the brakes which were now lighting up her reflection in red so I knew for sure that she was still standing there when we were trying to come to a stop.

She was about 6 feet tall with long brown or black hair that looked as if it were wet. She was wearing some sort of formal dress that was white or light pink in colour. Her eyes were as wide as saucers, staring at us as we past.

I brought the car to a stop, and John turned around to look out of the back window. She wasn't there!

"Where did she go?" I said.

"Huh? What do you mean, Mark?" he said. "Let's get out and check."

We both got out of the car and walked to the back of it. From our vantage point at the trunk of my car we stood in amazement staring down the now deserted two-lane mountain road. At that moment I expected we might have seen a broken down car we had missed seeing when we first noticed her, or even a group of cars pulled over some way down the road filled with teenagers drinking and partying, but there was nothing. Just my car sitting in the middle of the road with the engine running, doors open and the two of us staring in bewilderment.

The chill that went up my spine was something I will never forget. At that moment John must have experienced something similar to me, because he looked over and said, "Hey, let's get out of here!"

In agreement we got back in the car, turned around and floored it down the mountain. Some years later I saw John again at his house. After a couple of beers he asked me, "What do think we saw that night in the mountains?"

I laughed, "How did you know I was thinking about that?" I asked him because we hadn't spoke about it since the night it happened.

"Well, I think we saw a ghost!"

"Me too!," he said. "That was the only explanation I could think of."

Sometime after that I gave a guy a ride whose Moped had broken down. He lived in Mt.Baldy Village and he told me that he too had seen her. He told me that she appears only on a certain night of the year and is called by the people that live up in the mountain, "The Lady in White."

He then told me that she was killed and walks the mountain looking for her children. This is a true story which I tell almost everyone I know.

I now believe in ghosts and after reading this and I hope you do too!
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Ghost with the red eyes

It was evening, the sky blackened by the jagged height of the mountains, covered the world in a cold blanket. The wind blew softly, weaving through the trees and stealing the breath of the single traveller who trudged along the road. His burden was heavy and he was tired. Yet step by step he walked forth till the weariness grew excruciating.

In the distance, hazily shining through the depths of the forest a light emanated. It brought hope to the traveller and rest. He soon approached the small shack and when he called a small bald man answered the door. He welcomed the traveller, yet looked pale and tired. He lent the traveller a room in which to spend the night and before leaving left him with a strange warning.
"You may hear noises in the night that might rouse your curiosity, but do not make a hole through that paper filmed door. Do not look outside."

Without much thought the traveller lay down and immediately succumbed to the waves of a deep sleep. Outside the crickets chirped and the night grew dark and deep. Suddenly a rough howl began to pitch and wane. "ooooOOOOooo" The traveller woke up and wondered at the sound but weariness closed his eyes once more. Several times in the night he woke thus but went back to sleep. Then during the darkest hour of night he woke and could not suppress his curiosity. He tiptoed to the door, felt the paper, thin and cold. Quickly he warmed his chilled fingers and screwed a little hole in the door. When his eyes looked through all he saw was red. Startled by what he saw he peeped again but again a crimson world met his eyes. His body began to shiver so he went back to sleep.

He woke up late at dawn, and thanked the owner of the house and prepared for his departure. Just before he left, the owner looked at him and asked, "Did you heed my warning not to make a hole in the door?"
"I am sorry but I could not, it bothered me too much. But when I looked through all I saw was red anyway."
The owner face grew even paler than before and the fleshy chin began to tremble.
His Eyes became as Red as Fire and he said " I told you not to look out the hole, however I knew you couldn't resist, the redness you saw was my eye staring back at you, don't you know that GHOSTS have red eyes"?
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The Disappearing Hitch Hiker.
This is a story of a young woman named Jenny Dixon.
 It happens on the Central Coast of NSW,Australia and there have been MANY stories of this "Appearance".
It starts with People seeing a teenage Girl hitch hiking along Wilfred Barret Dr which is the stretch of Road between The Entrance and Toukley/Norah head. The girl walks this stretch at night and the story goes that she was once (When alive) walking along and was picked up by a truck driver. This was the wrong lift though as he stopped a little further along the road and raped and murdered the poor girl. She now walks the road hoping to get even with her attacker from all those years ago. I don't exactly know when this occurred but I remember the story from when I was young and have heard it Re-told many a time by different groups of People. Most recently(2001) I heard a story from a Bus driver who claims he was doing the last late run out of the Entrance to Toukley and picked a girl up near the Cemetery at Norah head. Upon arrival at Toukley he opened the door to let her out and he had no passenger on his bus!

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The disappearing Walker  
One night when I was driving home in the wee hours of the Morning,2 -3am, I was driving down a long descent. I had my high beam lights on and could make out a figure walking along by the side of the road ahead of me. It was in the gully of the hill I was driving down and I was watching it in case it was somebody drunk walking home from a night out, as I didn't need an accident at that time of the Morning. Anyway, as I was approaching the figure it started to "Fade" right before my eyes! I wasn't drunk and wasn't overtired. It was disappearing/vaporizing on my approach. I was overcome with Goosebumps and floored the accelerator as I went by the spot it should've been at! All the way home I was freaking out and didn't want to look in my rearview or beside me in case it were there! I got home 10 mins later and RAN into the house as quick as I possibly could! I've never heard this story from anyone else but I "Swear" its true.
(name supplied)

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