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Archive for Thursday 5th December 2002 - The Restless Spirit of the Poltergeist

You often hear of people or houses that are troubled by a poltergeist. That is the German name for a noisy, disruptive “geist” or spirit. But what actually IS it? Traditionally, the poltergeist is only known by what it does. Often it behaves like a naughty child, throwing things around, making sudden noises or playing all sorts of tricks. But sometimes it is nasty and dangerous. Sharp objects are thrown, fires break out and there is damage to people and property.

There was a case about 20 years ago, in Italy, that almost ended in tragedy. A young Scottish girl, Carole Compton, was working for an Italian family, looking after their child. Weird things happened around her. Things moved about and pictures fell down. There were several small fires, and the child was nearly burnt in its cot. Carole was accused of arson and attempted murder. She was brought to court but the locals decided she was a witch, and there was a move to lynch her. She was found guilty but released immediately and sent back home. It is often like that. An adolescent girl or youth, lonely or passionate, attracts poltergeist phenomena. Many examples have been recorded through the centuries.

The Society for Psychical Research has investigated hundreds of cases. They agree that many turn out to be attached to a disturbed young person but say there are more where no such link seems to exist. They say the Poltergeist is best seen as “a form of uncontrolled energy” and if we want to learn more about what truly causes it, we should keep an open mind.

John Michell

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Unexplained Phenomena, A Rough Guide Special
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Who Wrote Shakespeare?
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