Ghost Activity vs. Poltergeist Activity
Ghost and haunting phenomena are harmless. As much as they may unnerve and mystify us, there is really nothing to fear. In general, haunting phenomena seem to be recordings of past events that took place in a particular environment. This is why haunted houses can “play back” the recordings of footsteps on a stairway, for example, or even the voices of an argument that took place many years ago. Apparitions can sometimes be seen performing the same task over and over again.
In neither case do the phenomena pose any real threat. Voices captured through electronic voice phenomena (EVP) techniques can at times be rude or even downright abusive, but again there is no real threat of physical harm.
How do we explain those rare cases where a person is apparently scratched, slapped, or even bitten by some unseen entity? Such instances have been documented in the famous Bell Witch case, the Esther Cox case in Amherst, Nova Scotia, and the terrifying “The Entity” case, on which the film of the same name was based.
These cases, and others in which people are “attacked” and objects are thrown around, are considered by most researchers today to be examples of poltergeist activity. Although poltergeist means “noisy spirit,” current parapsychology theory suggests that poltergeists are not spirits or ghosts at all. Rather, poltergeist activity is psychokinetic activity caused by a living person. Usually that person is a teenager undergoing hormonal changes or someone under extreme emotional or psychological stress.
In other words, what we generally consider the scariest aspects of ghosts—objects moving by themselves, TVs turning on, pounding on walls, and, very rarely, a person being injured—are most likely caused by the unconscious activity of a living human mind. We can’t blame ghosts.
For those of us researching ghost and haunting phenomena, we must resist our fearful instincts in the face of the unknown. Fear can only inhibit our examination and understanding of one of the most intriguing aspects of the human experience.