Everybody has been told a good spooky story that the teller claims to be true about Poltergeists and Supernatural Manifestations. But what good proof do we have?
We explore the legends, sightings and evidence to see if Poltergeists and Supernatural Manifestations really exist.
One of the world’s most famous haunted house cases was actually a case of where a haunted location assisted a human agent in creating her own activity. There seems to be no question that Borley Rectory was actually haunted… whether you choose to believe researcher Harry Price (and I do) or not. The long history of independent accounts leads us to believe the haunting went on for many years before Price ever got involved.
Briefly, Borley Rectory was a deteriorating old manor house in the English county of Essex. Harry Price got involved in the case in 1929 when a newspaper report told of some of the strange things that had gone on there for many years. He would later write two books about the house and it would go on to be known as ‘the Most Haunted House in England’.
Price was asked by the paper to investigate and he was told about the history of reported there, like phantom footsteps; strange lights; ghostly whispers; a headless man; a girl in white; the sounds of a phantom coach outside; the apparition of the home’s builder, Henry Bull; and the spirit of the nun who walked in the garden.
Local legend had it that a monastery had once been located on the site and that a 13th century monk and a beautiful young novice were killed while trying to elope from the place. The monk was hanged and his would-be bride was bricked up alive within the walls of her convent.
The stories had been told for many years by scores of reliable and independent witnesses. Price interviewed many of the former tenants and investigated the house thoroughly, even leasing the place for one year for a 24 hour a day vigil. Many of Price’s accounts from Borley would be first-hand, as he claimed to see and hear much of the reported phenomena like hearing bells ring, rapping noises and seeing objects that has been moved from one place to another.
Although troublesome, the ghosts at the rectory had been relatively peaceful until October 1930 when Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife, Marianne moved into the house. Their time in residence would see a marked increase in the paranormal activity. People were locked out of rooms, household items vanished, windows were broken, furniture was moved, odd sounds were heard and much more.
However, the worst of the incidents seemed to involve Mrs. Foyster, as she was thrown from her bed at night, slapped by invisible hands, forced to dodge heavy objects which flew at her day and night, and was once almost suffocated with a mattress. Soon after, there began to appear a series of scrawled messages on the walls of the house, written by an unknown hand. They seemed to be pleading with Mrs. Foyster, using phrases like “Marianne, please help get” and “Marianne light mass prayers”.
Because nearly all of the poltergeist-like activity occurred when Mrs. Foyster was present, Price was inclined to attribute it to her unknowing manipulations. However, he did believe in the possibility of the ghostly nun and some of the other reported phenomena. The rectory did not fit into pre-conceived notions of a haunted house, which was one of the reasons that it would go on to gain such a reputation. Despite the implications of the phenomena centering around Marianne, Price maintained that at least one of the spirits in the house had found the rector’s wife to be sympathetic to its plight. This was the only explanation he could find for the mysterious messages.
To Price, and to my own thinking, Borley Rectory was actually a catalyst for paranormal activity. There was something about the location itself that seemed to invite energy in and also to act as a storage battery that Marianne Foyster could somehow tap into. The house boasted three different types of phenomena… the ghosts that interacted with the investigators, the possible residual haunting the nun… and the poltergeist-like activity produced by Mrs. Foyster.
The San Pedro Haunting
Another case that brought together two types of activity seems to be the San Pedro Haunting or the Jackie Hernandez case, that was investigated by Barry Taff, who also investigated the famous ‘Entity’ case.
Taff got involved in the case, along with cameraman Barry Conrad, in 1989 when he was asked to look into a house in San Pedro, California that was allegedly being haunted. The owner of the house was Jackie Hernandez, a young woman with a number of emotional problems.
The investigators were told of strange smells, unexplained sounds, moving objects, apparitions, a glowing cloud that tried to suffocate her (and which had appeared in front of other witnesses) and actually witnessed a peculiar, dripping substance dripping from the kitchen cabinets.
The events in the house grew stronger and even followed Jackie from place to place. Taff began to believe that she was creating the phenomena unconsciously because of her emotional problems and what became a strong romantic attachment to Barry Conrad. It seemed that anyone who might be perceived as threat to Jackie’s relationship with Barry ended up on the end of a violent attack by the ‘ghosts’.
However, there are problems with the theory that this was strictly a ‘human agent’ haunting. The unexplained lights are certainly odd… and so would be the reports of male apparitions from witnesses and the fact that (as Barry Taff found out later) Jackie’s house continued to be reported as haunted long after she moved out. According to the owners, no subsequent tenants stayed there for longer than 6 months. Could this be merely some left-over ‘after effect’ from Jackie’s presence there? Or something else?
Poltergeist activity is probably the most misunderstood form of paranormal activity, at least in conjunction with haunted houses. The word poltergeist actually means “noisy ghost” when translated from German and for many years, researchers believed that noisy ghosts were causing the phenomena reported in these cases. It was assumed that the things which occurred in a house that was “haunted” by a poltergeist were caused by an outside force. While some cases of real-like ‘poltergeists’ have turned out to be both ‘intelligent’ spirits and the work of human agents, some cases exist that lead researchers to believe that they may actually be combination of the two. I believe it is possible that some locations actually attract both kinds of phenomena!
Poltergeist cases are the work of actual, intelligent spirits…. while poltergeist-like cases are the work of human agents. What makes this so hard to define is the fact that some cases are a combination of the two…. where haunted locations carry such a charge of energy that they make it possible for ghosts to exist there and for the unconscious energy of the human agent to manifest.
In both kinds of cases, similar phenomena takes places, including: knocking and tapping sounds; noises with no visible cause; disturbance of stationary objects like household items and furniture; doors slamming; lights turning on and off; fires breaking out; rock and dirt throwing; physical and sexual assaults and much more. In some cases, these events can be tangible evidence of ghosts, but in other cases, while the activity is paranormal, it has nothing to do with the spirits.
Leaving out the actual cases involving negative and violent spirits, the current and widely accepted theory behind poltergeist phenomena is that the activity is usually caused by a person in the household.