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Poltergeist Phenomenon: Levels of Activity

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Learn more about poltergeist, or "noisy ghosts" in the original German.

Learn more about poltergeist, or "noisy ghosts" in the original German.

What Are Poltergeist?

In the world we live in, much of what was known to our ancestors is now considered to be either a myth or fantasy. Magic is no longer revered despite being very real, but not in a way most would think. Gods and goddesses of the old world have been rendered obsolete, as fiction, as creations of a primitive people, and are now seen as nothing more than myths in the eyes of many. There are some who would go as far as saying spiritual matters, such as ghosts and spirits, do not truly exist.

Some would argue that the belief in ghosts and spirits is madness.

The truth, I have found, isn't so simple. It isn't black and white. Our world, as we know it, is only one of many. It's the physical world. Lying between the mental realm and spiritual realms of existence, the physical world is a place where the way we perceive the world and the true nature of life combine to form a state of being that is, truly, unique to every individual soul.

Ghosts and Spirits

Ghosts and spirits exist. The two are not, however, the same thing. There are forces in this world beyond our understanding—such as God and what God truly is, which is, in essence, a conversation that has no finite answer. There have been sightings of UFOs for many long years, and, just recently, there have been reports of unidentified objects spotted in the sky on the news. With all that in mind, the concept of there being ghosts and spirits in the world isn't so difficult to grasp. In many cases, having some understanding of the spiritual world is vital to obtain.

In the case of poltergeists, German for 'noisy ghosts,' this is the most true.

There are so many movies in the world where poltergeist activity is seen. There are countless books and articles on the Internet. Yet few I have spoken to know what a poltergeist is beyond what they've seen through Hollywood blockbusters. Few movies actually delve into the nature of a "noisy ghost," what they are, what they feed off of, or the stages in a typical haunting with this sort of entity.

Defining the Poltergeist

So, what, exactly, is a poltergeist?

First off, a poltergeist is a spirit. By spirit, I'm referring to a non-human entity. These are spirits that typically find their way into homes with children or teens or, in other cases, in homes where there is sufficient trauma that allows them to establish a connection in the home. These traumas could be anything, though the most easily noted would be ones such as attempted/successful rape, abuse, divorce, or the death of a loved one.

In some cases, the poltergeist manifests due to the trauma an individual is experiencing. It isn't entirely known how a person can induce poltergeistic activity, only that it happens. In most cases, however, the 'poltergeist' is simply a spirit that picks up on the negative emotions and infiltrates the home, targeting the one who is "emitting" a strong enough signal for it to latch onto.

When it comes to a haunting of any kind, precautions have to be taken. Rule out every possibility before saying it is, indeed, a haunting. Bangs on the walls, steps in the hallway, and doors that open and close can be attributed to natural causes such as settling foundations, wind, loose hinges, or even pipes in the walls. There could even be areas in the home where a lot of electric power is centralized, which can, as a result, cause the hair on the body to stand up or induce a sense of paranoia. Humans are, by nature, sensitive to energy by default.

The Stages of a Haunting

However, if the activity persists and there isn't a known cause, there are stages in a haunting that can point out a poltergeistic activity. Below, I will detail the nine stages. At the end, there will also be a section going over how to rid oneself of a spirit or ghost: by your own efforts or by getting help from outside sources.

  1. Level Zero: Dormancy
  2. Level One: Beginnings
  3. Level Two: Noises
  4. Level Three: Moving Objects
  5. Level Four: Apporting and Disapporting
  6. Level Five: Communications
  7. Level Six: Climax
  8. Level Seven: Decline
  9. Level Eight: Endings

Level Zero: Dormancy

The first stage isn't so much a stage as it is a period of incubation. The "arrival" of the spirit and the period where it rests, gathering strength, is known as Dormancy. The ghost is there. It just hasn't announced itself.

In most cases, the spirit isn't quiet for long. Not unless it has already made itself known and the cycle of its attacks has reached its ending. If the ghost has just arrived, knowing it's there is the last thing it will want.

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There may be a feeling of being watched. There could be cold spots. These can be used as indicators that you and your family aren't alone in the house. Especially if you've lived there for many years and have never encountered these feelings in the home.

The following stage, beginnings, is where the first hint comes into play. The poltergeist is now ready to start playing.

Level One: Beginnings

While 'Dormancy' is considered an incubation period, Beginnings is where everything truly starts. In the first stage of Poltergeist Hauntings, the 'beginnings' of the haunting are generally marked by faint sounds and echoes. These sounds are often thought to be scratch-like, like a rodent in the walls. There can be distant tapping-like noises, a sort of sound that's like the whisper of a knock.

A gentle, easy-to-dismiss sound. These softer sounds can also be chalked up to faulty pipes, a breeze that results in a tree brushing up against the house, or even the shifting of a home on its foundation. In these cases, the sounds are easy to ignore and be swept aside, as most homes, especially the older ones, tend to make sounds and adjust (especially after dramatic shifts in weather).

A point of interest here, however, is that these sounds typically happen at night.

Level Two: Noises

Once the first stage of the haunting kicks in, which could last a few days to a few months (if not longer), the activity will steadily rise. The soft, easily-dismissed noises won't be easily overlooked at this point in time. The spirit in question is now in the process of making itself known on a larger scale, though its work is only started.

In the second phase of poltergeistic activity, the noises are increasing and becoming louder. The soft, gentle tappings are now loud knocks that could be heard on doors, on walls, or on windows. There could be the ringing of glass, like how someone might tap a metal knife or spoon to a crystal cup to gain the attention of a room for a toast. These are the more notable sounds.

Loud banging can also be heard, in some cases. This isn't as readily obvious, nor is it as common, but it does happen. This would be the instance where, when you know you're home alone, and you're relaxing in bed or on the couch, you hear a loud and echoing bang from somewhere else in the house. When investigated, there isn't anything amiss. This is done to unnerve the people in the home.

Unlike the first stage, the second phase in the hauntings can take place during the day as well as the night. At this point, the spirit has gained enough energy, enough power, to be active during various parts of the days. This could also be attributed to the hours' someone works or when someone is home the most so that the sounds will be most effective. This also will shift and change depending on who is the target of the poltergeist.

Level Three: Moving Objects

In movies, when objects move, everyone knows there's a ghost involved.

In the iconic 'Paranormal Activity' series, there's this one scene when the wife is in the kitchen and the knife snaps up into the ceiling when the wife isn't looking. It remains in the ceiling the entire movie. We know it's there. The ghost knows it's there. The wife is a bit perplexed that the knife she was using is gone, but doesn't really seemed all that concerned about the fact the knife she was just using vanished.

This is a classic move done in movies. People in real life aren't going to be so chill, especially when the knife in question is suddenly MIA when we know, for certain, that the knife was on the counter seconds ago. The act of the ghost taking the knife away is a stage in a haunting where the ghost's, or the spirit's, power has spiked.

  • When a cup slide across the table without anyone touching it, that's trouble.
  • When a glass flings itself off a shelf, that's trouble.
  • If a candle happens to light itself on fire, that's trouble.

The third happened to my sister, actually. She had a massive, wood table. In the center was a layered, stacked island of candles. The one at the top, in the middle, lit itself on fire. That candle, needless to say, was tossed in the trash the very next day. When objects start moving around, it isn't a good thing.

And by 'moving around,' I am not referring to someone forgetting where they put their keys or their lunch or their favorite pair of socks. When something moves, it is generally a moment when you set something down on the table, leave the room to do something, and come back to find it gone. Then it generally reappears in a different part of the house for no apparent reason.

Another common factor in this sort of activity is how stones, or small rocks, are tossed about. In most cases, an actual object being moved isn't actually witnessed. Which is what makes it so frustrating, because, in many cases, this stage can also start at the same time, or shortly after, the second stage commences.

There have been some cases where, if the object is found shortly after it appears, it can be warm. It might have a slight vibration to it. Like the last stage, objects moving about the house, or disappearing, can happen at day or night. In most cases, the objects that move tend to be fixed. The ghost often will fixate on an object, like the keys to the car, or maybe some jewelry often used, because it is the most notable thing people don't often misplace.

Level Four: Apporting and Disapporting

Tying into the last stage is level four, which is where an object or item will suddenly vanish or appear as if from nowhere. This is rare, but there are many cases that have stated this does occur. A case I am well aware of is the fact that, at a family reunion, a set of keys vanished. My sister's keys, to be exact.

She had gotten home late, kept her keys in her pocket, and fell asleep on the bed with them on her. She woke up the next day and they were gone. They stayed gone. She had to get a new set of keys made for her car, which was inconvenient because she had four kids at the time and no way to get out of her house because her keys were literally missing.

Which, ironically enough, I had a similar situation. The only difference is the fact my wallet went missing. It had rested in the drawer at my desk, where I had put it before going to bed. Like I always do. Come morning, the wallet was gone.

I had to renew my Social Security cards, my debit cards, and get a new license.

This sort of "disappearing" is calling disapporting. When sometime disapports, the object in question vanishes and isn't generally seen again. Or if it is, it randomly appears in a very obvious location at some random moment. The moment an object appears, as if from nowhere, it is known as apporting.

While situations likes these are rare, they do happen. And it is always infuriating.

Level Five: Communications

Of all the stages, the real danger kicks in after things start moving around.

Communications with a spirit or a ghost are when things get tricky. In many cases, it is difficult to determine if a spirit is truly friendly or if it's hiding behind a wall of deceit (a common occurrence). In the beginning, this will generally be recognized as faint whispers or unintelligible mutterings. They come and go, often appearing to stop the moment someone enters the room.

In some cases, it might sound like there's a conversation going on in another room, but once the door is open—no one's there. These ghostly whispers can often be chalked up to exhaustion, which is understandable because, by this point, there is a good chance the person has worn themselves down with the noises and moving objects in the house. The stress builds, making it easier for the spirit in question to gain a bit of extra power.

Other sounds that could be heard would be humming, whistling, low groans or growls, or even knocking that has a pattern. In some cases, they could be direct answers to whatever question is asked. As the spirit gets stronger, it will start talking. First, it might be a word or a name, but then it will gain momentum. The voice is often depicted as "robotic," in the beginning. Then, as time passes, it starts to sound like an actual person and short sentences may be used.

The entity may try and establish a "name" for itself, or some kind of identity. It may say it was someone who recently died or it's lost. It might try to pose itself as someone else who might have vanished years ago. When this stage kicks in, the danger is escalating and preparing for something far more deadly and dangerous to all in the home.

Level Six: Climax

Activity has reached its peak.

The haunting itself is much like a war, all the previous stages meshed together. Activity during the climax of a poltergeist haunting can be drawn out for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days. The spirit itself is more chaotic than it has been up to this point.

In some instances, the spirit will talk. It can be said that the spirit will state that it's leaving soon. Unlike other times, this is often true. As the spirit has reached such power, it cannot hold it for long and will push towards the next phase.

Level Seven: Decline

Once the poltergeist has used up its energy, it will then begin to weaken. Activity will reverse, the phases seemingly in a state of reverse. When this occurs, all activity will gradually weaken until nothing remains.

Level Eight: Endings

Poltergeist activity has reached its end, and this happens, on occasion, with a dramatic flair such as sudden silence after a great deal of noise. At this point, the spirit is returning to a state of dormancy. In many cases, this may end the haunting altogether or be a break in the chaos.

During this period, both the people and the spirit are recovering. House blessings and exorcisms often are drawn in here, as the energy has been expended. Activity may also end if the person being haunted leaves the grounds.

At this point, the activity could be over.

Or it could be starting anew.

Poltergeist Hauntings: Extras

When it comes to any kind of haunting, doing the proper research is a must. Having a basic understanding of different kinds of hauntings and entities is key. One cannot solve a problem if they don't know what they are dealing with.

There are countless means to dealing with a spiritual attack. The greatest defense any person can have is a strong sense of will. Courage in the face of fear. Faith. All of this helps.

There are a great many books out in the world which can also act as resources and most cities have Paranormal Research Teams who investigate claims and deal with them properly.

The information found here is a combination of studies done over many years (countless articles online, documentaries through various channels, and a book I read, once, some time ago).

There are plenty who may disregarde all of this, but the information is here for those willing to read it. There is plenty of other theories and thoughts on paranormal phenomenon, this being only a small star in a sea of millions.

No matter how we look at the situation, the truth is simple: we aren't, and never have been, alone.


Jennet Humphrey on January 05, 2020:

I am Christian so for me the best way to deal with this kind of perturbations is to call a priest. I believe that exorcists regardless of religion are professionals. I think that as people who are constantly visiting 'the other world' through meditations and prayers they know what to do when the evil entity strikes.

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