Poltergeists

Eponastill

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Looks interesting, thank you for the tip. Although I must curb my book buying :) I've just bought a copy of 'Blithe Spirits' by S D Tucker (he writes for the FT) - it looks to be a really interesting analysis of the themes of poltergeist cases. The sort of book I wish my mushy brain could write.
 

Eponastill

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Ah, just to say to anyone wanting to choose between the two - I think Blithe Spirits is a lot more readable. It really covers the topic from new angles. I am really enjoying it.

I've just started John Fraser's book too. It could have done with a bit more editing. It reads a bit like a first draft. I keep coming across sentences that I have to read more than once, and sometimes even then I'm a bit confused.
For example, here he's talking about a piece of equipment (I can't really tell which one, as the previous paragraph is muddled as well): "Paradoxically the only theory there is in fact reverses their use as 'ghost detectors' - and finds through their readings a plausible natural explanation."

I will persist though. And no I haven't written a book myself, so am not saying I could do better :)
 

gattino

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On the matter of poltergeist activity, I found this account fascinating (starts at 16:59):
A great account. I always wonder though about his not untypical assumption that the unconscious mind of the girlfriend was the cause of the activity. It's a conclusion its sometimes hard to resist. Even in my own far less dramatic experiences of the uncanny the option that the hidden part of my own mind - or that of another in the room - may have been the agent of things is always there. Yet does it really make that much sense or explain things better than "spirits"? It can feel more logical, closer to physical everyday realities, but im not sure it is.

Because when you think about it that "unconscious"of the individual has to have not only left the physical confines of her head and had effects upon the material world, it would appear to also be making independent choices about what to do and when. What precisely is deciding to bang on a wall or open a door as opposed to levitating a teddy bear? If she has no conscious thoughts or awareness of wanting it to be done, then what is *deciding* on, and designing, such a bizarre and precise display as arranging empty ferrero roche foils into a stacked pyramid with a sock balanced upon it? Her unconscious would have to have some kind of "intelligent" decision making consciousness of its own, so to speak.

An invisible "self" detached from the body, working physical effects upon the world and maintaining some kind of decision making intelligence...is that really any different in conception from a "ghost"? Surely then its just a debate between ghost of the living and ghost of the dead, not between more or less credible options.
 

PeteS

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A little off-topic, but this reminds me of a radio programme I heard recently about a seaside town in Cornwall where the locals don't use the beach. They think it's for the tourists and not them.
What I found astonishing from a recent radio interview with parents who live within a couple of miles of the sea in Cornwall was that a very significant proportion of children had never seen the sea or been on the beach.
 

kamalktk

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What I found astonishing from a recent radio interview with parents who live within a couple of miles of the sea in Cornwall was that a very significant proportion of children had never seen the sea or been on the beach.
After all, it is pretty hard to see or get to when there is a giant wall of corn in the way.
 

Vardoger

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Blaming the nearest teenage girl seems to be easy, and is the standard in the UK. If I should put myself in the "believe position" for the sake of it, I'd rather go for the paranormal entities/spirits version.
 
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escargot

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What I found astonishing from a recent radio interview with parents who live within a couple of miles of the sea in Cornwall was that a very significant proportion of children had never seen the sea or been on the beach.
Public transport is expensive there. Families without a car can't afford it.
 

escargot

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What I found astonishing from a recent radio interview with parents who live within a couple of miles of the sea in Cornwall was that a very significant proportion of children had never seen the sea or been on the beach.
That was most likely the programme I heard. Locals see the beaches as a tourist/business resource, not a place for themselves to enjoy.
They probably also worry about strangers lurking around where children play.
 

Robbrent

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That was most likely the programme I heard. Locals see the beaches as a tourist/business resource, not a place for themselves to enjoy.
They probably also worry about strangers lurking around where children play.
As I live in a coastal town, all I can say is the sea does not hold the allure to people that live here as it does to people living in the inland cities, people do go to the beach but it's very much taken for granted
 

Frideswide

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Naughty_Felid

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Blaming the nearest teenage girl seems to be easy, and is the standard in the UK. If I should put myself in the "believe position" for the sake of it, I'd rather go for the paranormal entities/spirits version.

The massive increase in teenage girls heading into psychiatric inpatient units recently hasn't resulted in an increase in reported poltergeist cases as far as I'm aware.

They display/cope with their very real distress by other methods these days. Self-harm, aggression, eating disorders.

Perhaps Poltergeist activity was a cultural thing and its time has passed?

Back in the day, you could not externalize your distress, (children were seen but not heard), now you can. Maybe that's why poltergeist activity has died out?

Perhaps all that internalized emotion resulted in the poltergeist phenomenon?
 
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gattino

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How can I tell you? I'm not in a position to know. I was just curious what information you had to base your assertion on. I thought you meant there was some study or survey suggesting it was so.

If you mean only that you hear less about them "these days", I'm not sure when one heard more about them. The general public can probably only name one case by name -Enfield - and those who take an interest in the paranormal may be aware of two or 3 others. But they were never a regular fad or flap in the media like UFOs. At least not in my perception.

I certainly have a sense of people still quite often - including on these boards - talking about poltergeist activity in their homes.

The full on Hollywood style months long big ticket infestation causing a media scrum, as Enfield seems in retrospect, is no doubt notable by its absence, but I suspect it always was a great rarity. If it happens now I wonder if - again like UFOs - the chance of mainstream UK media reporting on it as serious news would be very unlikely.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Krepostnoi

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“...within a couple of miles of the sea...” Can’t they afford legs?

maximus otter
Another characteristically compassionate response there, Max. Believe it or not, physical disability is not the sole domain of the financially secure. Also, even if a person is generally mobile, they might well not have safe traffic-free routes to get to the sea.
 

gattino

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So why aren't the tens of thousands of kids who are in crisis displaying poltergeist activity?
Again im confused why you're asking ME that since ive not proposed the "kids in crisis" theory. If you're just being rhetorical its still an odd question within the perameters of your original assertion/assumption that poltergeist activity had "died out". It would suggest that "tens of thousands " of angry adolescents had been displaying such phenomena previously but had only stopped doing so recently. But they never were.

Adolescent pk isn't my theory but if i were to play devils advocate and answer the underlying question - why is something rare not more common? - well presumably because more than one factor is at play. Its not really different from asking if some people can talk to the dead why can't everyone talk to the dead. Or, more commonly the odd argument ive heard several times on comedy panel shows like QI - if ghosts were real we'd be surrounded by ghosts of cows, dinosaurs and cavemen. Why would we? No one has ever been of the belief that everything that lives becomes a ghost when its dead. In the same way i don't think the proponents of spontaneous PK in the case of poltergeists have ever suggested being either adolescent or in possession of repressed feelings are sufficient to guarantee paranormal phenomena. They merely say that those factors are indeed frequently (but not universally) present.

My sense (no evidence - though none of the three printed news stories i posted above involve teenagers) is that the adolescent girl aspect is exaggerated and promoted by people who use it to insinuate childish mischief is a more likely explanation. To the extent girls going through puberty are disproportionately at the centre of events I'd guess a solution to the mystery may involve some combination of discarnate entity AND a person of the appropriate psychological (or neurological ) traits for it to manifest through.
 

Sharon Hill

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I'm not on Facebook anymore but following Paul Cropper, who sought out polt episodes around the world, there seemed to be some still occurring in other countries in the past decade. Often they involved fires. But these would not make the mainstream news feeds. That the pattern has changed does suggest something. Just not sure exactly what.
 

gattino

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Another thing worth pondering is whether there is a meaningful distinction, beyond one of degree, between a poltergeist and mere "poltergeist phenomena".

What i mean by that is something invisible moving objects or making sounds is a feature of most, or at least a great many, claims of a ghost or haunting to which the the term poltergeist is however not applied. The name poltergeist only tends to get used when the physical effects are dramatic and repetitive and there is no obvious back story to identify the "spirit" behind it. The effects themselves however, on a less theatrical scale, are reported in all manner of cases.

Maybe the troubled teen is merely a high volume speaker for something that would have been broadcasting anyway in that particular time and place.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Again im confused why you're asking ME that since ive not proposed the "kids in crisis" theory. If you're just being rhetorical its still an odd question within the perameters of your original assertion/assumption that poltergeist activity had "died out". It would suggest that "tens of thousands " of angry adolescents had been displaying such phenomena previously but had only stopped doing so recently. But they never were.

My sense (no evidence - though none of the three printed news stories i posted above involve teenagers) is that the adolescent girl aspect is exaggerated and promoted by people who use it to insinuate childish mischief is a more likely explanation. To the extent girls going through puberty are disproportionately at the centre of events I'd guess a solution to the mystery may involve some combination of discarnate entity AND a person of the appropriate psychological (or neurological ) traits for it to manifest through.
And that's been the accepted Skeptic view since the Fox sisters started doing their stuff. My point is Poltergeist activity has long been linked with disturbed adolescents or young women in a residence who are either plagued by an entity or displaying some form of RSPK ability.

https://www.rhine.org/images/jp/JPv80n1.pdf#page=70 page 71 Journal of Parapsychology.

My point is that during a time that has seen an unprecedented number of emotionally disturbed children you would think that if poltergeists are a result of this emotional distress then we should be seeing more families reporting poltergeist activity.

I'm not seeing it or hearing about it.

I also wonder that as we get better at the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders we are seeing diminished reports about poltergeists. Didn't WG Roll put it down to micro-seizures?
 

escargot

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I also wonder that as we get better at the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders we are seeing diminished reports about poltergeists. Didn't WG Roll put it down to micro-seizures?
Variations of epilepsy can cause effects like deja vu, sudden heightened emotions and feelings of knowing, short visual and aural hallucinations, etc. Don't we have a thread on it?
 

WeirdExeter

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Going back to the Cornish children who have never Ben to the sea, I am at present based in Redruth and listened to this particular BBC Radio documentary. The location In question was Camborne, and it is true that you can safely cycle or walk along a footpath on an old railway line to the sea at Portreath a couple of miles away.

Indeed, here in the eastern half of Redruth we enjoy a fantastic view of the Atlantic Ocean from St Ives bay, along to Porthreath bay and right over to St Agnes. If you walk a mile and a half up to Carn Marth you can see both coasts of Cornwall and as far as Newquay and the china clay workings at St Austell (the Cornish Alps). On a pleasant day it’s heavenly.

But when you take a walk around Camborne or Redruth town centres you are immediately aware of the abject poverty (by Western standards) of families who have gone for generations without a wage earner, and the resultant all too frequent substance abuse and lack of passed-down parenting skills.

The BBC naturally focused on the lack of multicultural diversity in Cornwall, but there has never been a barrier to immigration other than an historical lack of the sort of manufacturing industry that is attractive to immigrants. That said, the hospitality industry has always attracted Western Europeans (Spanish and Italian) and since 2003 a good number of Polish, too.

So, overall I felt the London-centric BBC put their own spin on the story, and I’m sure there are plenty of children in the poorer parts of London who have never visited London landmarks such as St Paul’s or Big Ben
 
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