The term “Poltergeist” is translated Hobgoblin in our German dictionaries, but that is not the equivalent, nor have we any English equivalent to the German word. It is derived from polter, a rumbling noise, or poltern, to make a row, to rattle; a polterer is a boisterous fellow, a poltergeist therefore a boisterous ghost. It is a convenient term to describe those apparently meaningless noises, disturbances and movements of objects, for which we can discover no assignable cause. The phenomena are especially sporadic, breaking out suddenly and unexpectedly, and disappearing as suddenly after a few days, or weeks, or months of annoyance to those concerned. They differ from hauntings, inasmuch as they appear to be attached to an individual, usually a young person, more than to a place, or rather to a person in a particular place. Moreover, ghostly forms (except, if we may trust one or two witnesses, a hand and arm) are not seen. They appear to have some intelligence behind them, for they frequently respond to requests made for a given number of raps; the intelligence is therefore in some way related to our intelligence, and moreover is occasionally in telepathic rapport with our minds. For in one case, which I submitted to a long and searching enquiry, I found that when I mentally asked for a given number of raps, no word being spoken, the response was given promptly and correctly, and this four times in succession, a different number being silently asked for in each case. There are other characteristics which bring the subject of poltergeists into close connection with the physical phenomena of spiritualism. The movement of objects is usually quite unlike that due to gravitational or other attraction. They slide about, rise in the air, move in eccentric paths, sometimes in a leisurely manner, often turn round in their career, and usually descend quietly without hurting the observers. At other times an immense weight is lifted, often in daylight, no one being near, crockery is thrown about and broken, bedclothes are dragged off, the occupants sometimes lifted gently to the ground, and the bedstead tilted up or dragged about the room. The phenomena occur both in broad daylight and at night. Sometimes bells are continuously rung, even if all the bell wires are removed. Stones are frequently thrown, but no one is hurt; I myself have seen a large pebble drop apparently from space in a room where the only culprit could have been myself, and certainly I did not throw it. Loud scratchings on the bedclothes, walls and furniture are a frequent characteristic; sometimes a sound like whispering or panting is heard, and footsteps are often heard without any visible cause. More frequently than otherwise the disturbances are associated with the presence of children or young people, and cease when they are taken from the place where the disturbance originated, only to be renewed on their return, and then abruptly the annoyance ends.
– Poltergeists Old and New, Professor W.F. Barrett
A boisterous scent – scratching, clanging, banging, pounding, crashing: cacao-stained mahogany, blackcurrant and tobacco, cranberry and peppercorn, bubbles of champagne grape and cognac.
There are no reviews yet.