Sorry this post is a few days late; this week seems to have eaten my brain. I went to a CLE (continuing education for lawyers) yesterday and met my husband in town for dinner. We then drove home (I take the bus to work). This morning I go to the garage to go to work and there’s no car. We forgot to swing by the park and ride and pick up my car last night. This did not start my day off as I had hoped. Ah well.
So, last weekend I finally went to the Seattle Metaphysical Library. I’d passed the sign on the sidewalk many times but had never managed to be there when it was open. On Saturday Rae and I were enjoying an afternoon in Ballard and it happened to be open so we went on in. It’s really quite nifty. It’s a decent sized room in a building basement, reached by a long, sparse hallway. If you happen to be in the area when they’re open (2-6pm most day) I recommend popping in. We were the only people there other than the volunteer working that day so we decided to sit down and have a chat on metaphysics (what else would we do?).
Eventually we got talking about ghosts and hauntings and the gal working at the library asked for my opinion on Poltergeists. Poltergeist activity consists of things like objects being moved by unseen hands, knocking heard in the walls or on floors, doors slamming, or lights turning on and off on their own. Poltergeist activity is not subtle and can also be scary; it is one of the only kinds of hauntings that can actually cause physical harm (usually from flying objects).
These types of haunting are quite rare and have caused a lot of controversy as to just what causes them – ghosts or people. Some people say that all “poltergeist” activity is caused by people with latent psychokinetic abilities (they can move things with their minds but don’t realize it). This theory tends to look to adolescents (particularly pubescent girls) or people who are emotionally disturbed for the cause of the activity. It’s true that extreme emotions (often caused by trauma or stress) can cause latent psychic abilities to manifest, so I believe that in some cases poltergeist activity can be caused by people. I know from personal experience that poltergeist-like things often happen around people who are first learning to use magick. Something about opening up new areas of the brain and flexing psychic muscles causes things to go a bit haywire for a while. I once accidentally made a terra cotta pot explode because I was having a bad day and hadn’t yet mastered grounding – I’ve long since fixed that little issue.
However, I do not believe that all poltergeist activity is caused by people. There are instances of poltergeist activity that do not involve a particular person being present, don’t match up to emotional states in the location, or otherwise don’t appear to have anything to do with a particular person. In these cases a spirit, often that of a mischievous child, is a possible cause. It’s also possible to get poltergeist activity that’s caused by non-human entities. There are lots of things out there that want to get people’s attention, from goblins to faeries to infernals, that can potentially cause poltergeist activity.
The only way to know what’s actually causing poltergeist activity is to really pay attention to what’s going on. Keep a log of all activity. Record what happens, when, to whom, and under what conditions. The more information you have the better. If the activity only happens when your 13 year old nephew is over – and then happens consistently, then he is the likely cause. If the activity happens at dawn and you always see sparkling lights when it happens then you might have a faery issue (or brain issues if you’re the only one experiencing things – never discount the mundane!). If the activity happens all throughout the day, is accompanied by a horrid smell, is extremely frightening or even physically harmful…well…then you might have a very big problem. In any case, pay attention to what’s going on and do your best not to jump to conclusions. It’s a big world out there and there are lots of potential explanations.