The Poltergeist Effect: Key to All Paranormal?

Poltergeist Effect
Poltergeist Effect. Stephen Wagner

If a stressed individual can cause poltergeist activity, can a stressed society unconsciously create such phenomena as ghosts, UFOs, and monsters?

OF ALL PHENOMENA that are considered paranormal, poltergeist activity has been the most fascinating to me because there are physical manifestations. These are not fleeting apparitions or elusive shadow people glimpsed in one's peripheral vision, these are physical acts:

  • Objects fly from tabletops
  • Doors and cabinets slam open and shut
  • Furniture is moved or even thrown about
  • Stuff breaks and people are pushed and pinched
  • Water drips inexplicably from ceilings
  • Stones rain down from clear skies
  • Objects - apports - appear out of thin air

In addition to these, there are unexplained crashing sounds, wall pounding, music, and odors from unidentifiable sources. Not all of these things happen in every poltergeist case, but these things (and much more) do happen and have been documented in case after case for centuries. There are multiple witnesses to these events, including scientists and police officers, and many volumes have been written about them.

I have witnessed first-hand a highly stressed person who caused sparks to shoot out of wall sockets and thick glass to shatter.

While for a long time these effects were attributed to ghosts and demons, most (not all) paranormal researchers think that these amazing phenomena are not caused by the spirit world, but by the minds of the person or people involved (called agents), who are usually under some physical, emotional or psychological stress.


Think of it: the most spectacular - and arguably best documented - of all phenomena is caused by consciousness, usually working on a subconscious level. Consciousness manipulating matter. We do not yet understand how this works. Perhaps it has something to do with quantum mechanics, or perhaps some other mysterious effect we cannot yet comprehend.

We don't have the mathematics for it.

Anyone who has seriously and open-mindedly investigated the phenomena, however, cannot deny that they occur. We don't yet know how to fit them into our rationalist, scientific view of the world. That is why the skeptics deny their existence: "It can't be real, therefore it isn't." But this is a very limited view of the world (and of reality), and history has shown time and again that those who deny the "impossible" ("space flight is impossible") have been proved wrong.

So, if consciousness, working on some level that we do not understand, can generate the amazing range of physical phenomena recorded in poltergeist cases, of what else is it capable?

A possible answer to that question may be that it is capable of almost anything. Perhaps it is capable of manifesting a wide array of phenomena that have proved unexplained and elusive, including:

  • Ghosts and apparitions
  • UFOs and aliens, including abductions
  • Creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and Mothman
  • Bizarre cases of missing time and slips in time
  • Miracles and religious apparitions
  • "Demonic" manifestations and possession


Perhaps all of these things that elude and frustrate researchers are not things outside of ourselves; perhaps they are generated and brought into the physical world - if only for a short time - by our own consciousness.

They are all in our heads; or maybe more accurately, out of our heads (or wherever our consciousness lies).

In Tibetan Buddhism, such thought forms or creations are called "tulpas". As anthropologist Walter Evans-Wentz describes it , "The process consists of giving palpable being to a visualization, in very much the same manner as an architect gives concrete expression in three dimensions to his abstract concepts after first having given them expression in the two-dimensions of his blue-print."

The difference with the paranormal phenomena described above is that we might be creating them on an unconscious level rather than consciously. But the intention for them exists in the deepest fears and highest desires of an individual or large groups (even entire cultures) of people.

Let me emphasize that because these phenomena might be brought about by consciousness does not make them any less real.

What is reality, after all, other than all that we perceive with our senses? And that reality might only be temporary, which accounts for the elusive nature of these phenomena.

It has been rightly argued that it is not helpful to explain an unexplained phenomenon by offering another unexplained phenomenon. And I suppose that's what I am doing here. But it is a way, perhaps, to think about these phenomena in a different way and to consider that they all might have a common genesis.

Next page: A Closer Look, Ghosts, UFOs and more


If the unconscious mind can cause a heavy piece of furniture to slide across a room on its own, could it not just as easily create an apparition of recently deceased grandma, or a shadow person, or any of the other variety of ghostly entities reported? Could it not even relay a message of comfort the living witness needs to hear? Perhaps it could even relate knowledge unknown to the witness by tapping into the greater "collective unconscious."

Such a power could cause the manifestation of a "residual haunting" by triggering the repeating event that is somehow recorded on the environment (again, by consciousness). "Intelligent hauntings" could be created by the desire of the individual(s) to encounter them. Let me say again, this does not mean they are imaginary.

If you don't think this is possible, read about the Philip Experiment, in which the Toronto Society for Psychical Research "created" a ghost along with all of its ghostly phenomena.

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) perhaps are not the voices of spiritual entities at all, but the creations of the subconscious minds of the paranormal investigators - unconscious thought physically encoded in the voice recorder.


In his 1958 book Flying Saucers, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung famously speculated on the psychic impact of the "modern myth" of UFOs. "In the threatening situation of the world today," Jung wrote, "when people are beginning to see that everything is at stake, the projection-creating fantasy soars beyond the realm of earthly organizations and powers into the heavens, into interstellar space, where the rulers of human fate, the gods, once had their abode in the planets."

Jung wasn't necessarily saying that UFOs are the physical manifestations of the unconscious mind... but could they be? This would account for the improbable appearance of extraterrestrial craft in our skies that can maneuver at impossible angles and zoom away at impossible speeds.

Look into the bizarre high strangeness of many UFO and alien encounters and you may be looking into the "projection-creating fantasy" generated by the complicated psychology of mankind - and fully capable of radar hits, landing impressions, and even scoop marks on the skins of abductees.


Could Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and the rest of the fantastic menagerie of crypto-creatures be tulpas? They have been seen, smelled, tracked and even photographed, yet they remain frustratingly out of reach.

If they are physical creations of our collective imaginations, this would explain why they are elusive... why Bigfoot tracks sometimes seem to just end, as if the creature vanished into this air. And if a poltergeist can make it rain in a house, then the Bigfoot manifestation could leave footprints in mud and strands of hair on tree bark.


You get the idea - from time slips to religious phenomena to so-called demonic activity - they all could be the most far-out creations of consciousness.

Just as a deeply stressed agent can cause all manner of science-defying havoc in a poltergeist case, so might a profoundly stressed, psychologically complex society generate ghosts, UFOs, monsters and other phenomena into our reality, yet do not allow examination with laboratory instruments.

The older I get and the more I read not only about paranormal phenomena but about mainstream science as well, the more it becomes obvious to me that we know next to nothing about the true nature of reality, our place in the universe, and our improbable existence on this tiny planet in the unimaginable vastness of the cosmos.

All is mystery.

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Your Citation
Wagner, Stephen. "The Poltergeist Effect: Key to All Paranormal?" ThoughtCo, Oct. 26, 2015, Wagner, Stephen. (2015, October 26). The Poltergeist Effect: Key to All Paranormal? Retrieved from Wagner, Stephen. "The Poltergeist Effect: Key to All Paranormal?" ThoughtCo. (accessed November 18, 2017).