DO YOU HAVE A POLTERGEIST?
How about you? Are you experiencing poltergeist activity in your home? If so, what can you do about it?
First, you must be as certain as you can be that the poltergeist activity is genuine. Don't look for paranormal drama where there is none. Perhaps there was a logical reason the picture fell off the wall when Billy stormed into his room: he slammed the door pretty hard. Try as best you can to find reasonable explanations for the activity. If reason and logic fail, and especially if the activity is consistent and persistent, you may have a case.
In the past and even today, people react to poltergeist activity by calling the clergy, an exorcist, a psychic or a paranormal investigator. Can you blame them? After all, some unseen force is pounding on their walls and throwing their hardcover copy of The Secret around the living room. They do so because the movies and spooky novels have told them that ghosts or demons must be responsible.
If we realize that the activity arises out of a family member's unconscious, however, and could very well have a stress-induced psychological genesis, then the priests or ministers, exorcists and ghost hunters probably are not the right folks to call.
It may well be true that clergy, exorcists and ghost hunters have been helpful to poltergeist victims. After their visits and subsequent rituals, the unexplained activity might have lessened or disappeared. But why? Because the ghosts were banished or the demons exorcised? More likely, it's because the comfort brought by these people alleviated the stress the agent was feeling. In other words, it worked because the agent believed it would work.
In other cases, however, bringing in these types of people can backfire. A well-meaning clergyperson who blames the devil for everything or a bumbling "exorcist" could only add to the stress of the agent, especially if the agent is an impressionable child who is ill-equipped to handle the idea that there is a malevolent spirit in the house or that a demon is lurking about - or that they themselves are possessed! Such irresponsible suggestions could elevate the stress and therefore the poltergeist activity.
SURVIVING A POLTERGEIST
If poltergeist phenomena are stress-induced, there are better courses of action.
People get stressed out over all kinds of things; sometimes serious, sometimes trivial things. If the activity seems mild and harmless, it might be best to wait it out. Research has shown that most recurring poltergeist activity lasts only a few weeks. In rare cases it can last a year to 18 months or so. And in the vast majority of instances the phenomena are harmless: lights going on and off, toilets flushing, things being moved around the house, etc.
If the activity is severe, annoying or you just want it to stop, the first thing to do is try to determine who the agent might be. Who in the household is exhibiting signs of stress? There are many causes of stress, of course, and there's no reason to assume that anything as serious as the Betsy and John Bell case is taking place. But stress from any source is a serious matter, as it can lead to loss of sleep and health problems, among other negative effects; recurring poltergeist activity is a relatively rare and extreme effect.
Professional counseling or therapy for the stressed individual could be the answer. The person might be experiencing something that is causing extreme emotional stress, or they might not know how to cope with the common stresses we all face with school, jobs and relationships. A trained therapist can help talk through any issues with which the agent is struggling.
Again, recurring poltergeist phenomena are relatively rare, and we don't really know how our deep emotions can work through the unconscious to produce psychokinetic effects. And we don't know why it happens to some people and not others when all are under identical forms of stress. However, this is one from of unexplained phenomena that is more prudently examined and treated by a conventional therapist rather than a psychic or exorcist.