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Parapsychology – Poltergeists

3. Paranormal Theories of Poltergeists

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In this lecture, we think about some alternative, paranormal theories of poltergeists, focusing in particular on: (i) Adolphe D’Assier’s Posthumous Humanity, which suggested that inanimate objects possess a phantasmal element, and it is that which is moved in the case of objects moving under the influence of a poltergeist; (ii) stone tape theory, which proposes that the fabric of a building records previous information, which can be triggered to replay when under certain influences; (iii) William Roll’s development of the theory that poltergeist activity is caused by a person who is unknowingly using paranormal powers to produce the phenomena via psychokinesis (RSPK); (iv) Nandor Fodor’s testing of his original theory with the Thornton Heath poltergeist; (v) criticisms of the theory that children entering puberty, and the adolescent turmoil associated with that, are responsible for the paranormal activities associated with poltergeists; (vi) the relative rarity of poltergeist cases, when compared to hauntings.


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

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

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