by Anna Olvera
A poltergeist (German for ‘Noisy Ghost’) is a type of ghost responsible for physical disturbances, loud noises, objects being thrown or destroyed for no reason and they can even cause harm by biting, pinching, shoving and even slapping people. They usually haunt a particular person rather than a location, and it has been said that a person with such a magnitude of anger can also make these occurrences manifest. Poltergeist history has been reported around the world since the early 1st century. Some famously known cases include ‘The Enfield Poltergeist,” “The Bell Witch,” and “The Borley Rectory.”
The next set of cases aren’t very well known and you probably haven’t heard of them, but they are incredibly disturbing. The people who witnessed them were forever changed.
1. The Rosenheim Poltergeist
In the fall of 1967, known German parapsychologist, Hans Bender, was called into the law offices of Sigmund Adam to investigate and account of a possible poltergeist disturbance. The activity was centered around the offices during the weekends and witnessed by several employees of the firm, including that of 19-year-old secretary Annemarie Schaberl. Upon further investigation, Bender came to the conclusion that Schaberl was to blame for the activity, accusing her of being telekinetic due to her anger of not being happy with her job and a recent breakup with her fiance. Every time she would pass thru a hallway phones would start ringing off the hook with no caller at the other end. Picture frames hanging around the office would turn a complete 360 along with heavy file cabinets and furniture misplacement.
Some of the activity was recorded but was never proven to be authentic or that Annemarie was to blame. Critics and skeptics ran articles around Bender accusing him of “fraudulent accounts” while he maintained that his findings were authentic. A pair of investigators from a German newspaper claimed that they had visited the offices and had found nylon threads attached to office fixtures and a false output on the electric current meter making the phones and lighting fixtures go crazy. We may never know if the Rosenheim Poltergeist was indeed true or just a figment of someone trying to get attention.
2. Epworth Rectory, Aka The Wesley Poltergeist
This was an unusual case that tormented the family of Reverend Samuel Wesley in Lincolnshire, England on December of 1716. Reverend Samuel Wesley was bestowed the rectory in 1709 by Queen Mary to whom he had dedicated a poem in her honor. In return for his kindness, he was given a Queen Anne style building known as the Epworth Rectory. The disturbing events that ensued included furniture moving, sounds of dancing and footsteps, chain clanking and abrupt knocking and rapping through the house. The reverend, who was skeptical of paranormal phenomena, wasn’t told about the activity; and his wife blamed the situation on rats in the walls.
However, when the activity grew out of control, the family finally decided to let Samuel in on the situation. According to the tale, after he found out, he and his wife searched the whole house, turning every nook and cranny, but nothing was found out of the ordinary. The activity continued to the point where the Wesley’s eldest daughter, “Hetty,” nicknamed the disturbance as “Old Jeffrey”. The activity ceased on January of 1720.
A few years later, a professor by the name of Addington Bruce, proposed that the activity was a case of psychokinesis. He ruled that it was created by the troubled Hattie or perhaps it was Mrs. Wesley’s fault due to her suppressed years of anger towards her husband, since she had never been able to fully resolve her marital issues.
3. The Seaford aka Popper The Poltergeist
The first ever televised poltergeist, the “Popper,” has been the center of controversy due to the high similarities with another infamous case, The Amityville Haunting. The typical 1950s era home had nothing unusual about it. Located in Seaford, New York (a suburb of Long Island), the household was a white and green ranch-style home with three bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, a small dining room, a living room and a basement that was divided between a utility room and a playroom. On February 3rd, 1958, just an ordinary day at the Hermann household, things started to turn into chaos when several bottles containing liquids started popping losing their caps and spilling the contents all around the house.
On February 3rd, 1958, just an ordinary day at the Hermann household, things started to turn into chaos when several bottles containing liquids started popping losing their caps and spilling the contents all around the house.
James Herrmann, the patriarch of the household, arrived home from work a short time after and ruled out the incident as perhaps the humidity. But that still didn’t accurately explain how the caps popped, especially the ones that had the screw top lids. Two days passed and everyone seemed to have forgotten about the incident until it happened again around the same time. James started to suspect his science-loving son who had somehow rigged the bottles to pop to scare his family. He kept a close eye on his son for the next few days, until he tried “surprising” him in the bathroom and charged in only to find the kid brushing his teeth. Suddenly, right in front of him, several bottles of shampoo and other contents popped opened and slimed him.
After searching the house for any rigged wires or any suspicious items, Mr. Hermann called the cops to assist him with his problem. Skeptical at first, the police thought he was hallucinating, but since he was known as a respected member of the community, they decided to check it out for themselves, sending Detective Joseph Tozzi to investigate the case. Over the next several days Tozzi kept track record of all the incidents in the house. More bottles popped, porcelain figures moved and other phenomena increased. They assisted the aid of Father William McLeod of the Church of St. William the Abbott, as news was breaking out about the incidents thru newspapers, radio, and television.
This went on a little over a month, when the popper finally decided to leave the household. After tumultuous events, press and weirdos approaching the family from all around the world, the “Popper” decided to leave and never come back. What was the reason for these strange occurrences? Was one of the members of the family causing this? We might never know. Until this day, no one has a clue why or how it happened.
4. The Islandmagee Witch Trial Poltergeist
Believed to be the last witch trial in Ireland, the case took place in Islandmagee (Northern Ireland today) between 1710 and 1711. The case revolved around an older woman known as Ms. Haltridge who had been tormented by poltergeists for quite a while and also had been the victim of possessions, according to records. She had not been able to sleep for days, items and clothing were thrown about around her house and she had even witnessed the apparition of a young boy. She made comments about the occurrences to some of her closest friends, but no one believed her.
A few nights later, she was heard screaming that someone was attacking her with a knife. When people got there, she was found dead of multiple stab wounds, but no one to be seen around. A year later, her youngest daughter in law, was visited by a woman by the name of Mary Dunbar. She claimed that the same poltergeist that had been tormenting Mrs. Haltridge, had also been after her; the only difference is that Dunbar had also witnessed apparitions of a woman attacking her while sleeping.
Surprisingly Dunbar was able to wake up and identify the woman, having to find out that in reality she was being tormented by 8 women in total. She later accused the women in front of a tribunal and the women were put on trial and accused of witchcraft. They were each given a sentence of a year each for their crimes and four times of “Pillorying”. No one ever found out who killed Mrs. Haltridge and the rest of the records containing more information about the case were lost in a fire, during the Irish Civil War.
5. Canneto di Caronia Case
This is the first case to have EVER involved not a person or a family but a whole town in the winter of 2004 in Caronia, a town north of Sicily, Italy. Reports and claims started pouring in as early as January 4th while others claim it started on the 21st. Appliances such as televisions, vacuums, cookers and even wedding presents suddenly caught on fire with no explanation. At least one person in the small town, a police officer claimed to have been witness to some of the occurrences.
Newspaper articles started to circulate and different stories started to spread like wildfire. All sorts of explanations were offered: it was nothing but a mere coincidence, demonic forces, the railroad system and even a magnifying transmitter. The mayor of the town thought it was just a natural cause. The phenomenon decreased but started up again in April of the same year. The causes till this day remain unknown but just to be on the safe side and avoid any future issues, the village power systems had a full improvement over the old one.
In conclusion, they determined that the fires were caused by static electric charges, and were not man-made since the charges reached a power between 12 and 15 gigawatts. Scientist and investigators from The National Research Institute and NASA prompted and investigation and came to determine this. In the summer of 2014, mysterious fires started up again and we haven’t heard much since.
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Sources: The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits Book