The word poltergeist is a German word, which literally translated means “noisy spirit.” The earliest reports of poltergeists date back to the ancient Romans. The stories depict unseen entities throwing stones at travelers. Other poltergeist records can be found in medieval China and Germany. The reports indicate unexplainable incidents such as flying dirt, flying stones, awful smells, loud noises, unexplained lights and ghostly manifestations. The characteristics are similar to ongoing reports of modern-day poltergeists.

Poltergeists are difficult to comprehend since poltergeists are different from the classic haunting and do not necessarily revolve around a ghost. Unlike a ghost, the poltergeist is a form of malevolent psychokinetic energy. The malevolent energy builds up across different stages as the poltergeist progresses in power and influence. Poltergeists can be emotionally stressful and physically dangerous. Poltergeists are among the most dangerous cases a ghost hunter can encounter so precede with extreme caution.

Poltergeists advance through five developmental stages. Each stage allows the poltergeist more energy and influence. The differences between a poltergeist and a ghost can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to determine in the first three stages of poltergeist progression.

Mannerisms that distinguish a haunting from poltergeists include the following:

Haunting: Involves the manifestation of ghosts.
Poltergeist: Poltergeists are forms of PK energy that a living person is unknowingly controlling.

Haunting: Ghosts manifest in locations known to the deceased before death.
Poltergeist: Manifestations are triggered in indiscriminate locations at any time.

Haunting: Paranormal activities are continuous and centered in the same general area.
Poltergeist: Paranormal activities accumulate over time and are not fixed to a general location.

Haunting: Not harmful or threatening by nature.
Poltergeist: Poltergeist will become dangerous and life threatening.

The Five Levels of a Poltergeist
Each individual stage of a poltergeist will last a given amount of time. The length of time for each stage will vary depending on the strength of the particular poltergeist. The stages of a poltergeist might last days, months or years. At the end of the poltergeist’s fifth and final stage, the poltergeist will become dormant for a short period of time before activating the entire cycle over again. The stages of a poltergeist advance collectively. This means a stage-three poltergeist will have stage-three characteristics as well as characteristics from stages one and two.

There is no escape from a poltergeist. Unlike a haunting, running away from a poltergeist will not work because it will simply follow. In the poltergeist’s fifth stage, it will become terrifying and dangerous. Poltergeists use paranormal powers to inflict harm on the living.

Note: Trent Brandon, the author of this book, developed this poltergeist chart. It may need to be updated or altered in the future when new poltergeist research becomes available.

Stage 1: Attacking the Senses

In the first stage of a poltergeist, the paranormal activity will be basic and simple. Common effects are strange noises, abnormal smells, unexplained cold spots and moving shadows. Characteristics: Cold or Hot Spots; Strange Noises (knocking sounds, etc.); Odd Smells or Offensive Odors; Unusual Animal Activity (dogs/cats running from rooms, etc.); Feelings of Being Watched.

Stage 2: Communication

In stage two, the poltergeist’s energy will advance and it will begin to communicate. Individuals will hear unexplainable whispering. People report hearing unidentifiable laughing, giggling and moaning. Small objects propelled by unseen forces are thrown at people. Cold spots and cold breezes whip through rooms. Static electricity increases to abnormally high levels. Odd marks begin to appear on walls. Cloud-like apparitions manifest. The poltergeist is using paranormal activity to make its presence known. The unseen forces want attention and for the living to react to its presence.

Characteristics: Whispers, Laughs, Giggles, Moans or Shrieking; Moving Shadows; Breezes in Closed Areas; Visible Clouds (base apparition); Stronger than Normal Static Electricity; Marks on the Floors or Wall; Objects that have Moved or are Thrown.

Stage 3: Controlling the Environment

The third stage is where a poltergeist takes control over electrical devices and the natural environment. Lights will turn off and on, electrical appliances will short out, telephones ring but no one will be on the line. The static electricity will be so bad that touching anything results in a painful shock. The power of a poltergeist has advanced enough to push and grab with unseen hands. Bizarre writings appear on walls and household objects. Unexplainable voices will shout and scream loudly in the middle of the night. Shadowy apparitions appear and disappear randomly. Large heavy objects slide effortlessly over the floor.

This is the stage where individuals begin to fear for their safety. The poltergeist utilizes fear as a fuel to increase powers. This stage is nearly undistinguishable from a classed haunting and it is a common mistake to believe ghosts are causing this activity. The poltergeist begins to target the living by hiding personal objects, holding doors closed and turning off the lights in occupied rooms.

Characteristics: Lights and other Electrical Appliances Turning On/Off; Unseen Hands Grabbing and/or Touching People; Writings on Walls or Pattern Markings; Doors and Windows that Open/Close or Lock/Unlock; Hearing Voices; Full Apparitions/Dark Figures; Direct Communication with Apparitions; Strange Phone Calls; Falling Objects; Moving Furniture.

Stage 4: Malicious Trickster

In theĀ fourth stage of the poltergeist, its power quickly gains momentum literally becoming stronger by the day. Furniture and beds shake violently. Scary voices shout out obscenities and commanding orders. Unseen physical energies push people down stairs and shake individuals violently. Putrid smells fill rooms. Spontaneous fires erupt. Glass windows and mirrors shatter unexpectedly. People feel nauseous and dizzy without reason. The poltergeist uses this stage to gain knowledge of what its victims find frightening. It will use this valuable knowledge in the final stage to create an atmosphere of absolute terror and control.

Characteristics: Flying/Moving Objects; Objects Disappearing / Reappearing; Violently Shaking Furniture; Spontaneous Fires; Apparitions Appearing as Frightening Entities; Unseen Forces Pushing or Shaking People; Visions or Illusions; Voices Speaking in Ordering Tones/Foul Language; People Feeling Dizzy or Nauseated; Windows, Mirrors or Other Household Objects Shatter for No Reason; Levitation; Physical Attacks.

Stage 5: Immediate Danger

The fifth and final stage of a poltergeist is the most perilous stage. Serious violent and life-threatening attacks occur at this stage. People involved in poltergeist cases are terrified beyond rational thought. The poltergeist will bite, scratch, punch, pull hair and aggressively attack people at random. Fires break out in the middle of the night while people are asleep. Electrical systems burn people. Heavy objects fall with the intention of crushing people to death. Cases of human possession are rare but can happen. Sexual assaults and rape also occur during this stage of the poltergeist. The poltergeist will do everything in its power to lash out at the living.

Anyone linked to a poltergeist should seek professional help. It is vital that people realize that they cannot run away from a poltergeist. Experienced parapsychologists should be brought in to deal with poltergeists.

Characteristics: Dangerous Activity; Biting, Slapping, Punching or Hair Pulling; Animated Objects (jewelry, dolls, furniture); Human Possession; Use of Household Electrical Systems to Cause Harm; Fires; Blood on Walls, Floors, Ceiling; Vicious Attacks by Unseen Forces; Being Held Down; Sexual Assaults; Flying Knives or Other Sharp Objects; Heavy Objects Falling Over with the Intent to Kill; Threatening Writings and Marks; Threatening Voices.

The Story of a Poltergeist

Steve lives in a house where two unrelated people committed suicide. He was unaware of the home’s history until after he moved into the house. Up until this point, he lived a normal life. The family settled into their new home and the children, two teenage daughters, were enrolled at the local schools. The family loved the house until strange events started happening.

The paranormal events began after a car accident. The family was coming home from dinner at a local restaurant when another car ran a red light and hit them broadside. The crash was a violent collision but luckily no one was seriously hurt. When the family got home many hours later, they noticed right away that the lights inside the house were turned on. They were sure that the lights were off before leaving. The doors were still locked and everything else seemed fine so no one put too much thought into it.

Later that same night, after the family had gone to bed, they heard a loud boom coming from somewhere inside the house. Steve investigated but could not find an explanation for the noise. A couple of nights passed and the family was awakened again in the middle of the night by a series of loud banging noises that seemed to be coming from behind the walls. The family noticed that previously closed doors would be found open and lights would turn off by themselves. Steve called in an electrician believing that something was wrong with the house’s electrical systems but the electrician did not find anything out of the ordinary. The noises continued to get louder and more frequent.

One Saturday morning while the family was waking up, they experienced something that made them consider ghosts were to blame for the problems. There was a crash from downstairs. The whole family rushed down to the kitchen and found the cupboard doors wide open. Everything inside the cupboards was dumped out and broken on the floor. This was not something that could have happened by accident or something that could have been done by anyone in the seconds that it took the family to get downstairs.

Steve began to believe that his house was haunted. Furniture moved and the beds would occasionally shake. The girls started to hear strange voices in their rooms. On several occasions, the girls would return to their rooms to find that their stuffed animals had been stacked in the middle of the room. The poltergeist was picking up momentum and getting stronger but the family was not aware that this was a poltergeist.

The family was living in terror. Unseen forces pushed family members and visitors. The oldest daughter was attacked and slapped numerous times. The oldest daughter seemed to be the main target for the physical attacks so she was sent to live across town with her grandparents. The attacks stopped for almost a week, but when the attacks picked up the daughters were the target again.

Steve scoured the Internet for information on haunted houses. He started checking the history of his house. That is when he discovered that two different people had committed suicide inside the house. Steve also studied poltergeists. He became certain that his family was dealing with a poltergeist entity. Both of his daughters were staying at their grandparent’s house but the poltergeist had followed. The girls were attacked several times and loud noises were coming from inside the walls of their grandparent’s house. Steve and his wife were also experiencing problems at their workplaces with electrical shocks, moving objects and dimming lights.

The daughters moved back home and the experiences at their grandparents’ house stopped. There was no way for this family to escape. Steve brought in several different people who claimed to be able to cast out malevolent spirits but nothing worked. The paranormal activity continued to escalate until the situation was completely out of control. Dangerous fires broke out in the home without explanation. The girls were having trouble at school. The girls were seeing a therapist to deal with the trauma. Then, when the family was at their ultimate breaking point, the poltergeist activity abruptly stopped.

Both of the teenage daughters later admitted that life was so bad in that home that they had considered committing suicide. Steve wonders if the poltergeist experience pushed the other previous residents to commit suicide or if one of their ghosts was responsible for the terrible events his family endured. Steve is worried that the poltergeist will return. The house has been put up for sale. Steve makes a point of revealing the house’s suicide history to potential buyers. The house has not sold.