Tag Archives: psychokinesis

P is for Poltergeist: Not Just For Teenagers Anymore

Although I have respected colleagues in paranormal investigation who immediately dismiss all poltergeists cases as fraud, to a student of history, this approach seems limited and unreasonable. So many poltergeist cases pop up throughout history and across cultures that such casual dismissals don’t make sense. These eerily similar accounts of blatantly nonsensical manifestations are reported by very different populations dating back to antiquity and differ greatly from the usual ghost story narrative. This strongly suggests something is actually happening that goes far beyond mere imagination.

The German word “poltergeist” means “noisy ghost” and refers to the chaotic, cacophonous, house-wrecking phenomena that have been reported for centuries all over the world. These include, but are not limited to mysterious raps and other loud noises, untraceable fires and water damage, and the reckless hurling around of anything not nailed down by unseen forces. The word was first coined to describe such manifestations in 1638. Later Martin Luther would popularize the term in his religious writings. In 1948, the OG ghost hunter Catherine Crowe introduced the term to English usage in her groundbreaking catalog of the strange, The Night-Side of Nature.

The first recorded poltergeist case was in the 4th Century, according to Christopher Laursen, who wrote his PhD dissertation on the history of poltergeist phenomena at the University of British Columbia. Other sources attest such accounts date back to Ancient Greece.

The prevailing hypothesis maintains these violent outbursts may not be due to ghosts or any external forces at all, but to the power of the mind alone. Today poltergeists are mainly viewed as uncontrolled tantrums of telekinesis perpetrated most commonly by adolescent females. The modern study of the unexplained, parapsychology, has largely reclassified poltergeist activity as a human-centric phenomenon with the new label Recurrent Spontaneous Psychokinesis (RSPK). However, fashionable this current explanation, such activity has not always been blamed on the unconscious psychic machinations of disturbed teenage girls, but to many other monsters including ghosts, demons, fairies, and vampires.

My favorite podcast discussion about poltergeists was with Fortean author Geoff Holder. He spoke with us about his masterpiece of research, Poltergeist Over Scotland for which he examined 134 poltergeist cases documented in the historical record. Many different cultural contexts have been imposed upon poltergeist manifestations over the ages. However, in his opinion, no one explanation applies to all cases, even our modern interpretation. He has found that only 1/4 to 1/3 of poltergeists center on an adolescent human agent. To Holder, poltergeist activity usually has no obvious purpose and may just be the work of feckless entities, essentially the “numpties” of the supernatural.

Whereas most hauntings function as memento mori or cold comfort for mortality, poltergeist activity, on the other hand is often so chaotic it’s more likely to remind us that humans are not the center of the universe. Holder asserts that it may represent a non-human intelligence which is almost entirely indifferent to us.

Although Holder admits hoaxes and pranks do account for some poltergeist cases, as they do for any reported phenomena, he maintains that they cannot explain away the literally thousands of poltergeist cases reported by multitudes of reliable witnesses and the consistency of their accounts over centuries. In his study of 134 cases, he found that only 4.5% involved hoaxing. The analyses of other researchers indicate these numbers are between 3% and 15%.

Holder also hopes that the physical nature of poltergeist cases will open up the possibility for the scientific study of this phenomena. He cites one 2010 study of the unique audio signature of poltergeist raps as a step in the right direction. Conceivably studies such as these could some day lead to the scientific breakthrough for which every psychical researcher has been waiting.

For more fascinating poltergeist cases, listen to the following:

194 – Real Magic: The Secret Power of the Universe with Dean Radin, PhD

When it comes to psi research and bravely holding the torch against the encroaching darkness of materialism, Dean Radin, PhD is the man who has stood at the forefront. His work as a scientist researching psychic phenomena in the lab while being a spokesperson for approaching psychic phenomena from a scientific perspective is inspiring. Since 2001, he has been the chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (founded by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, who we profiled when he passed away in 2016.) His latest book is Real Magic: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Science, and a Guide to the Secret Power of the Universe deserves a spot in your library because it shows how magic might actually work.

real magic
The Audible version of Dean’s new book, Real Magic is narrated by the same guy that does the Dan Brown novels, so it’s about as exciting as non-fiction gets!

In this interview, Allison from Milwaukee Ghosts and I cover these topics with Dean and if you’re interested in any of the following, then you’re going to go bananas about our conversation.

  • What is the best scientific evidence proving psychic powers like psychokinesis and telepathy?
  • Are magic rituals necessary?
  • What is the gnosis state and how do you get there?
  • How can people use magic in their everyday life?
  • What level of data do you think is needed to prove psi to the mainstream scientific community?

In the lab, psychic powers aren’t measured like in The X-Men, it’s tiny things, like influencing a random number generator or being able to change a photon particle that happens. But that’s what really made me think about how magic can be real. Sure, we might not be able to manifest a car out of thin air or with magic words, but we can certainly influence small things every day that will eventually have big results. Our thoughts can have physical effects and we’re not quite sure why that is, yet. So we need to align our thoughts with what we want, because it will have a real affect on us. Roald Dahl might have said it best in The Twits:

“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”

One of the most interesting things in our conversation that I found was the discussion of how fragile belief can be. As Dean says when he talks about keeping your magic to yourself, “Just an arched eyebrow can ruin it”.  In a world where nothing feels sacred anymore, we have to create that sense of sanctity on our own, free from ridicule. I mean that’s why religions have heresy and have punished it so severely, because they want to create that sense of sanctity and make it so important that you fear breaking it. What does it mean for things to be sacred and how can we create that in our lives?

We laugh along with Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character, but why do affirmations work? When you just say the words it just seems silly. It’s more than just the words, it’s the power that you can give them by making them sacred to you. That’s the potential of belief and using the strength of your will, the secret power of the universe, to make real magic happen

That’s the idea behind this week’s song, that just saying some words and just going through the motions isn’t going to cut it. You need to believe, you need to have a sense of the sacred, no matter what it is. You need more than just “Magic Words”.

Sacrifice a virgin
or tear a beast apart
it’s all just a fool’s errand
if you don’t have the heart
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
open sesame
In the lab Abracadab
I create as I speak
Somethings strangeo presto changeo
synchronicity
and the hocus pocus where you focus
is no guarantee
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me
It takes more than magic words oh you need to believe
Talk is cheap, promises free
If you want to change reality
It takes more than  magic words to cast a spell on me
Kiss your rabbit’s foot
say the sacred rite
don’t you know it’s just for show
if you don’t trust your mind.
Bubble bubble toil and trouble
open sesame
In the lab Abracadab
I create as I speak
Somethings strangeo presto changeo
synchronicity
and the hocus pocus where you focus
is no guarantee
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me
It takes more than magic words oh you need to believe
Talk is cheap, promises free
If you want to change reality
It takes more than magic words to cast a spell on me