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Parapsychology – Poltergeists

1. Defining Poltergeists

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In this lecture, we think about how to define a poltergeist, focusing in particular on: i) a definition of parapsychology and the elements which make up the areas of research; (ii) the nature of poltergeists instances to encompass all three of the main areas of parapsychology; (iii) the definition of a poltergeist being a German translation of ‘noisy ghost’; (iv) instances of poltergeist activity, which can include moving objects, loud noises, disappearing objects, spontaneous floods, electrical disturbances and spontaneous fires; (v) a definition of poltergeist activity; (vi) key differentiators between hauntings and poltergeist activity, with hauntings being location-focused and poltergeist activity being person-focused, as well as the increased longevity of hauntings when compared to poltergeist activity.


In this course, Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe (Buckinghamshire New University) explores poltergeists. In the first lecture, we think about how to define a poltergeist and the characteristics of its activities. In the second lecture, we think about a history of recorded poltergeist cases, starting in the first century. In the third lecture, we think about some alternative, paranormal theories of poltergeists. Next, we think about the story of the Enfield poltergeist and the diversity of witnesses of its activity. In the fifth lecture, we think about the story of the Battersea poltergeist and its unprecedented twelve year duration of activity. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about some key research into poltergeist activity.


Professor Ciarán O’Keeffe is associate professor of education and research and head of the School of Human and Social Sciences at Buckinghamshire New University. Professor O’Keeffe’s research interests include investigative psychology and parapsychology, and has made numerous television and radio appearances alongside an array of celebrities. Some of Professor O’Keeffe’s recent publications include 'Things That Go Bump In The Literature: An Environmental Appraisal of 'Haunted Houses'' (2020) and 'Restorative Justice and Recidivism: Investigating the impact of victim-preference for level of engagement' (2014).

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APA style

O'Keeffe, C. (2022, July 20). Parapsychology – Poltergeists - Defining Poltergeists [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

O'Keeffe, C. "Parapsychology – Poltergeists – Defining Poltergeists." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 20 Jul 2022,

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