Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Sampling of Eyewitnesses, Excerpted from Poltergeist Phenomenon

“You stay around here, you get hit by a lot of stuff.”

—Mrs. Charles Daughtery, to a police officer who had been struck in the leg by a flying “poltergeist object” in her home in Portsmouth, Virginia

It’s quite abnormal for the paranormal to come to investigators, and yet that is what happened in the fall of 2007 in Ahmedabad, India. There, at the Ramol police station, about a dozen officers claimed that they saw the effects of a poltergeist, and some officers claimed they were victims of it.

According to Constable Batuksinh Darbar, an unseen force terrorized the police station for more than a month, overturning furniture, moving chairs, and even assaulting police officers. “It pushed police officials off tables and chairs,” Darbar said. “Some police officials even complained of chest pain in the middle of the night. They felt as if someone had jumped on their chests. Then there were others who felt someone was strangling them.”1

Usually confident and skeptical police were even timid about working inside the station, where the poltergeist was said to wreak most of its havoc. “Almost all the cops working in the night shift noticed strange activity inside the police station. We were all so scared that we decided to park ourselves near the entrance after sundown,” Darbar said. Some of the officers prayed to Meldi Mata, a Hindu goddess, when entering the station.2

Strangely, the poltergeist seemed to target police officers sitting on tables and chairs.

A team of paranormal investigators did some limited investigating and theorized that it was the work of a female poltergeist, perhaps the ghost of a girl who had died while working in a mill that had been on the site of the police station. A religious tantric, similar to an exorcist, was summoned to perform some rituals at the station, and the poltergeist activity gradually ceased. But questions remained whether the genesis was really a spirit related to someone in the building or an elaborate prank.

—Police testifying to invisible ghosts and poltergeists? Afraid of poltergeists? What is going on here? Actually, although this story is unusual, it is not unheard of. In fact, at least 51 police officers around the world—in 17 cases since 1952—claim to have seen poltergeist activity up close. More than a dozen of them were assaulted by what they said was a poltergeist, butnone were seriously injured, and no one was charged. One officer even pulled a gun on an “unseen force.” Although there is no scientific proof that poltergeists exist, the eyewitness accounts of these officers, taken from published reports and from interviews I conducted, seem compelling. Gathering scientific proof is difficult because of the fleeting nature of poltergeists’ alleged existence—by the time a family suspects that they may have something paranormal on their hands, it is often too late for anyone to study it, or the family may suppress it for fear of appearing crazy.

But if we go simply by eyewitness accounts of first-line responders, the police officers, even some skeptics may start to suspect there is something paranormal at work here; at least something that science cannot digest. Generally, police tend to be solid witnesses, trained and experienced in focusing when something is happening fast. As witnesses, they should be more accurate than the average person because they are trained to be observant, tend to be skeptical, and are sometimes cynical when a trickster is potentially at work. And if they are wrong about such a contentious subject, they have much to lose in credibility among their peers as well as the general public.

Having been a police reporter for daily newspapers for 13 years, I tend to listen when police officers speak. I think I know how to read them and how to interpret what they say. In this book, we have at least 51 cops who believe they saw—and had the courage to report to their superiors—what they believed to be poltergeist, or at least unexplained activity, right in front of their eyes.

Examples to be fully examined later this book include:

· In a middle-class home on Long Island, New York, in 1958, Detective Joseph Tozzi, one of the brightest gumshoes in the Nassau County Police Department, said he was hit in the back of the legs by a flying bronze horse, weighing nearly 100 pounds, while he was walking down basement steps with a 13-year-old boy. Many other witnesses claimed to see startling events, which lasted more than four weeks.

· In a Miami warehouse in 1967, police officers, newspaper reporters, television crews, and insurance agents claimed they saw cowbells, ashtrays, key chains, and rubber daggers fly or fall off shelves, sometimes at unusual angles, and always while a 19-year-old shipping clerk was nearby.

· An entire shift of police officers said they believed in poltergeists after watching furniture move strangely around an 11-year-old boy in his apartment in 1970 in St. Catharines, Ontario.

· In 1974 in the home of a factory worker in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Officer John Holsworth swore he saw a heavy refrigerator lift slowly off the floor, turn, and then set down again.

· In a house in London, England, in 1977, Constable Carolyn Keeps said she became a witness to a chair moving 3 or 4 feet, apparently without the help of human hands.

· Also in England, in 1952, police say they were witnesses, and also the victims, of strange incidents in Runcorn, in which a quiet, 17-year-old apprentice draftsman was said to cause dressing tables and other things to move with his mind throughout a 10-week period.

· In the Netherlands in 1995, two police officers investigating poltergeist-like activities in a house say they had sand thrown in their faces.

As well as police officers, teachers, doctors, and parapsychologists are often good witnesses. Examples of these that will be studied later on in this book include:

· At her home in Scotland and at primary school in 1960, 11-year-old Virginia Campbell was said to move objects with her mind, including a heavy desk. During class, her teacher said she observed Virginia trying to hold down her desk lid, which several times raised itself to an angle of 45 to 50 degrees.

· Late in the 19th century in Amherst, Nova Scotia, physician Dr. Gene Carritte said he saw potatoes hurl themselves across a room and a thundering noise come from the roof of a house.

· There are numerous accounts of parapsychologists claiming to see poltergeist activity. Dr. William Roll, then at Duke University, and psychology student/paranormal researcher John P. Stump say they both saw amazing occurrences at a home in Olive Hill, Kentucky, in 1968, while in the presence of a 12-year-old boy.

Of course, most scientists will not accept eyewitness accounts or anecdotal evidence as proof that poltergeists exist. Why should they? People sometimes can be fooled, or can hallucinate.

Although it is hard to prove that poltergeists are part of our universe, a respected scientist, Professor Robert Jahn, Dean Emeritus of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Princeton University, believes they do. He says he has proven in laboratory experiments that psychokinesis exists, at least on a small scale. Professor Jahn told me, “The [poltergeist] cases are so rare and happen under such awkward circumstances, it is hard to set up research to investigate them. There’s no doubt, however, that they do exist. William Roll has investigated them and I trust his work. The effects seen in his cases are substantial. You can’t dismiss it.”

One piece of evidence that poltergeists may exist is the fact that cases around the world share many common features (such as moving objects, rappings, and youthful agents), despite the fact that they are reported independently of each other.


The Poltergeist Phenomenon by Michael Clarkson has just released into stores this week. Look for a copy at your favorite bookstore.

1 comment:

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