Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poltergeist Haunts Former Police Station

The word "poltergeist" means "noisy spirit" in German, but there is a common belief among paranormal researchers that most poltergeists are not spirits at all, but rather the result of latent psychic powers. As evidence, researchers point out that a disproportionate number of these cases involve teenagers who are under some sort of extreme stress and that the activity seems to center on those particular individuals. In such cases once the stress drops down to a more normal level the activity usually ends.

This latest report from Pemberton Wigan, just outside Manchester in the United Kingdom, seems to have the right sort of activity to be classified as a poltergeist, but is atypical in that no troubled teen is present and the activity seems centered on a building rather than a person.

Terrified mother Holly Taylor is calling in an exorcist after fearing she is sharing her home with a poltergeist.

The 22-year-old student midwife and her two-year-old daughter, Willow, refuse to sleep at their home after a series of spooky happenings.

Plates have flown off shelves and smashed on the floor, ornaments have moved while they are out, the flat’s lights have been switched on after they have gone to bed and the front door has been opened despite Holly having the only key.

At 22, Taylor is too old to fit the usual pattern, and at 2, her daughter is far too young. Furthermore, the activity does not seem to have followed the two to any other location. The fact is that I've always been a little suspicious of the "psychic powers" explanation. If those powers are so easy to access that they can be used in an uncontrolled manner without any volition at all, why is it that so few trained magicians can do anything even similar? The explanation may simply be that spirits can haunt people as well as places, and that environmental stress may act as a catalyst for this sort of haunting.

According to the history surrounding Taylor's home, built on the site of a former police station, there is some reason to think that a spirit may have haunted the place for years, starting long before the private residence was built there. Some officers who worked at the station also reported paranormal activity.

An officer who used to work there today confirmed the station was notorious for unexplained footsteps and doors banging, and that the culprit was believed to be the ghost of an inspector who hanged himself in a cell.

Remodeling a structure is thought by paranormal investigators to stir up and intensify activity, and it makes sense to think that if a spirit were to survive the demolition of the building that it inhabits the result could be similar to what Taylor has experienced. Hopefully the exorcism will succeed in driving out the spirit, but if it fails maybe a magician should have a go at it.

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Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to where the idea of teenage hormones being responsible for poltergeist activity came from. I do know that uncontrolled magical abilities tend to manifest at puberty, but these are usually things like precognition, casting glamours, and spontaneous astral projection, not telekinesis, and it's usually coupled with severe bouts of depression and/or mania. Not to mention that poltergeist activity is usually so generalized that it could be dozens of different things. I mean I know I couldn't say for sure what would move plates off of walls and open doors without more information.

But it does bring up one of the problems I've noticed with the paranormal community. They come up with ideas of things and how they work, usually without evidence, then they use that as their evidence and believe anyone who doubts them is wrong. It's like if I just decided that the symptoms of chicken pox were a runny nose, lethargy, and coughing, and then whenever anyone complained of those things I insisted they had chicken pox without any further investigation (or even realization that those are the wrong symptoms).

For example I know a medium who signed up for a test given by paranormal researchers to study telepathic abilities. A guy looked at fifty different cards with symbols and asked him to say what was on the cards. He guessed 49 of 50.

They said he was highly telepathic and wanted to do more studies with him. He informed them that he was not telepathic, that he found a fae creature in their laboratory and had it look at the cards and tell him what was on them (the one miss being due to a misunderstanding between the two).

The paranormal researchers told him this couldn't be true and what was happening was that he was telepathic and created the delusion of this fae creature to explain his subconcious abilities to himself.

I've had very similar experiences myself. If you want someone who has never practiced magic and has no psychic ability to tell you how you're wrong about everything you think you know about magic and psychic abilities, go find a paranormal researcher :) They seem to do it to me every time.

I also think a lot of paranormal investigators have put too much faith in demonologists and sham psychics, which I suspect is the origin of a lot of the misinformation out there.

Unknown said...

Perhaps there's something to the idea of high-stress, high-emotion states attracting these sorts of "restless" spirits, as well. With all the energy a teenager throws off, the three combined would create a rather homey atmosphere for the type of spirit we're talking about, I imagine.

Undercrypt said...

While I'd love a solid, verifiable, get-it-on-film poltergeist (with or without teenagers), my initial suspicion is that Holly is mistaken in thinking she has the only key.

I'd recommend surveillance before exorcism. You'll either get evidence of a nefarious prankster, or evidence of otherworldly influence. Win/win.

Scott Stenwick said...

@Rob & Pallas:

To me the spirit explanation makes more sense as well if the paranormal activity is indeed happening as described. I think that parapsychologists are trying to be more "scientific" in the sense that they see a tangible source of the activity (a person) as a simpler explanation than hypothesizing the existence of a separate entity. The only problem with this line of reasoning is that if they would listen to magicians, they would realize that the most effective magical operations generally do work with the power of a spirit or spirits in addition to that of the magician.


I've suspected as well that these cases may involve a statistically higher percentage of troubled teens because in at least some percentage of the cases said teenager is messing with his or her parents. If those cases could be identified and removed from the sample set, I wonder if the correlation between poltergeists and teenagers would remain.