Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Taming the Ghost Within: An Approach toward Addressing Apparent Electronic Poltergeist activity/Domando Al Fantasma Interior: Un Acercamiento a la Resolucion De Actividad Poltergeist aparente/Apprivoiser le Fantome Interieur : Une Approche De L'apparente Activite Electrique Des poltergeists/Die Zahmung Des Geistes Im Innern: Eine Annaherung Zum Umgang Mit Anscheinenden Elektronischen Spukphanomenen

Academic journal article The Journal of Parapsychology

Taming the Ghost Within: An Approach toward Addressing Apparent Electronic Poltergeist activity/Domando Al Fantasma Interior: Un Acercamiento a la Resolucion De Actividad Poltergeist aparente/Apprivoiser le Fantome Interieur : Une Approche De L'apparente Activite Electrique Des poltergeists/Die Zahmung Des Geistes Im Innern: Eine Annaherung Zum Umgang Mit Anscheinenden Elektronischen Spukphanomenen

Article excerpt

Poltergeist activity has always been a disturbing and frightening experience for the people involved in the cases. From stones that rain from the sky (Holder, 2012) to broken crockery and glassware (Pratt & Roll, 1958) to bite marks and scratches (Roll, 1976), the poltergeist has terrorized children, parents, and visitors to "haunted locations." The popular media representation of these mischievous and noisy events has been couched in a terrorizing cloak that emphasizes the vengeful and damaging nature of the poltergeist (Craven, 1976; Spielberg, 1982) and stigmatizes any locations or people that are experiencing poltergeist-type effects.

Despite the terrifying and disturbing nature of these events, with very few exceptions (Carpenter, 1993; Carrington & Fodor, 1951; Roll, 1977; Roll & Storey, 2004), very little research has been done into the effects that these activities have on the agents and their families. The majority of parapsychological research has been focused on the nature of the phenomena and the observation of poltergeist activity. With a keen scientific eye, researchers have watched for fraud and examined the psyche of individuals expressing RSPK in an attempt to uncover the origins and nature of the poltergeist activities (e.g., Palmer, 1974; Roll, 1976). When unexplained RSPK is directly observed by a researcher with an inquiring scientific mind, it is natural for him or her to search for a physical explanation of the phenomena, and when one cannot be found, it is also natural for her or him to try to understand how the phenomena occurred. Though there is no clear explanation of how the phenomena occur, poltergeist activity has been well documented by numerous researchers in the past, and further scientific evidence of its existence is necessary only for those among us who are most skeptical (Palmer, 1974). It is important for researchers to understand these events and how they occur, but the overriding theme in nearly every poltergeist story is the terror, disturbances, and discomfort experienced by the people closest to the poltergeist activity.

In the context of an investigation of a reported poltergeist situation, the nature of a possible electronic poltergeist disturbance (EPD) is presented as a subtle phenomenon that affects electronic devices. More importantly, this study is focused on the effects of the events on the agent and the family of the agent, and a general approach is proposed for assisting the poltergeist agents and their families in alleviating the poltergeist activities or managing the reactions to the unexpected and potentially unwanted phenomena. This methodology is presented as a starting point for future investigators who wish to address the needs of the agent and the people most affected by this type of unwanted experience.

A Very Brief History of the Poltergeist

The modern image of the poltergeist is derived from ancient reports of mischievous and harmful spirits who chased families from their homes and caused significant disturbances in the lives of parents and children. Reports as early as 530 A.D. discuss stone-throwing demons and demonic possession (Holder, 2012), and reports from the 17th century describe the movement of household objects and banging noises (Gauld & Cornell, 1979). Little has done more to influence the popular image of this noisy spirit phenomenon (Shepard, 1978) than the Poltergeist films that were first produced in 1982 depicting the horrors of hauntings and possessions that originated in homes that were built on top of cemeteries (Spielberg, 1982). In many recent film depictions, an enraged or disturbed spirit plagues an individual or a number of people who are recognized as the victims of the tormenting discarnate spirit.

Despite the popular depiction of these events, poltergeist activity is elusive and typically difficult to observe (Carrington & Fodor, 1951). Researchers have had some success in observing poltergeist activities, and the famous Seaford Case, which was documented by J. …

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