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Lindley Street Poltergeist

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Stagger Lee

Paranormal Adept
This discussion reminds me of a nice Irish family who lived in my neighborhood. I went to school with two of the family members, both pre-teen sisters. Beautiful girls. Apparently, the family started experiencing unusual activity in their house. A new home, recently built on what were swampy wooded land. The sisters weren't allowed to talk about it at school or outside the home, but let it slip. Word got around that they were experiencing a poltergeist. The parents had a priest come in and bless the home. I have no idea if that had any effect, or how long the activity continued. Considering this took place a few years before the film "Poltergeist" had been released, I tend to think something occurred there as I had never heard that word used to describe a haunting before this. Soon after, the family moved from the home and a new family moved in. After some time, I asked one of the new family members if they experienced anything occurring in the home (teen brother and sister) and they reported no activity. I always wondered what type of activity the previous family had to deal with, but the sisters never released any details to us kids.
 

manxman

Paranormal Adept
Lee have you ever had experience of young girls, around 10 is when the little problems start becoming big problems, young girls can be normal in nearly every sense, and totally irrational in other ways, they start forming their own views, lots of them irrational, you go thru phase's with them, and all the mood swings of puberty, they are capable of imagining anything..
 
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manxman

Paranormal Adept
Or even over-hearing adults mock someone in private, one word 'fat' for example, can trigger all kinds of problems for a decade or more to come.

You have to be real careful what you say infront of them.
 

Polterwurst

Paranormal Adept
It's true, I shouldn't lump all cases into my personal critical paradigm of sexual abuse, religious trauma or mental health mislabeled as 'paranormal.' But in the prominent cases I've read about in North America those themes seem to be repeating. I have not read the German figures in the field, but I'd be curious to know the role of those other issues in my questions above in prominent cases from the investigators you cite.
"Poltergeist" may be a german term, but there are actually relatively few prominent cases here in Germany (the actual number is probably much higher, but I'll get to that). Like UFO sightings and other paranormal claims, poltergeist cases are as a rule ridiculed in the media and considered hoaxes or possible mental problems by people who are just imagining things. I guess you might like that about my country. :)

The most prominent german case was the "Rosenheim Poltergeist" which took place in an attorney's office in 1967. I guess it's interesting enough to warrant a thread of its own, so I'll just say that it has never been "solved" although debunkers claimed to have found proof for a hoax. The case was declared genuine by Germany's only official, university-based parapsychologist, Hans Bender.
Hans Bender - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bender was a psychologist who investigated several alleged haunting and poltergeist cases. He would always start by getting psychological profiles first, to exclude schizoid and paranoid delusions. In the Rosenheim case, he identified the focus person, a 19 year old girl. Bender 's psychological profile described her as having an unstable character and low frustration tolerance (she tended to get a temper really fast), but there was no sign of mental illness, religious fanaticism or involvement with the "occult".

The case itself was unuasual in that it consisted mainly of electrical phenomena (phones ringing, numbers being dialled, unexplained high voltage, lightbulbs exploding), no rapping or "direct voices", but a few moving objects. One was even filmed, but I guess I'll expand on that in a thread of its own. What I guess is important here: there never was any religious figure or "alternative worldview" involved, there was no occult interest or strict religious background with the focus person. And the main events only occured in the office. There seem to have been minor events following the girl to her next workplace and even to her spare time activities (a bowling machine is said to have been affected), but it seems those were never as pronounced as the 1967 events.

Another "infamous" case Bender was involved with had happened two years earlier. Unfortunately, I couldn't find much on it, but it seems to have happened around a 14 year old boy who had a job in a porcellain shop (of all places). Like the Rosenheim case, this was later said to have been debunked as a hoax, but it turned out that a news reporter had given the boy a substantial amount of money for his "confession". In any case, there doesn't seem to have been any occult or religious connection there, either. The media would have seized that immediately.

In the 1980s, Germany's only parapsychological department at a University was closed down permanently (Lloyd Auerbach in his recent interview said that the same happened in U.S. universities at about the same time, I guess that's no coincidence). Bender's successor, Walter von Lucadou, continues his work to this day, by heading the now privately funded Institute for fringe areas of psychology and psychohygienics (the latter word meaning "mental health theory"), which is concerned with people who seek help with problems with the occult and mental problems. It's the go-to institute if your kids have problems following a traumatic ouja-board experience etc.

Von Lucadou, who holds doctorates in psychology and physics, is even more concerned with looking at the possible mental and occult involvements first. He says that they do have many cases like that, where people are having schizophrenic episodes etc., and can't differentiate any more between reality and (religious/occult) delusion. For these, cases, they have associated psychologists and psychiatrists.

But, according to Von Lucadou, there is also the occasional genuine haunting or poltergeist, where no mental health or occultism / religious problem can be found. Nowadays, there is no more nationwide media coverage, though. People tend to try and keep these things secret, probably because of the overly agressive ridicule and debunking that took place in cases like Rosenheim.

Von Lucadou is a very level-headed and much more conscientious scientist than Bender ever was, the latter having become somewhat of a credulous believer type in his later years.
Still, he tells of one case he investigated that revolved around a grown-up landlady, who would get agitated when her husband, who had taken up a job elsewhere but should really have been with her at the pub in the opinion of his wife, had to work late and wasn't there to help her. Whenever she got worked up into that state of mind, glasses and plates would tend to slide from tables or trays, chairs and tables would move on their own, etc., often witnessed by patrons or the landlady herself. He does not mention any history of mental illness, strange worldviews, etc.

In another case, where stones appeared to be thrown at or sometimes seemed to materialize inside a house out of nowhere, he witnessed such an event himself, where a stone landed in a pot of soup. The only one with him was the cook who was just as baffled as he was and proceeded to pour the soup down the kitchen sink, because the event had scared him so much. There was no open window, and the door was closed. If someone had managed to slip into the room and out of it again without being noticed, he or she would have to have been a veritable ninja. I don't know about any occult or religious involvement in this case, or if there was a "focus person", but there is no mention of anything like that.

So much for the german researchers.
Other than that, regarding Poltergeist cases, I have only read William G. Roll's book "The Poltergeist". As a psychologist, Roll basically was of the same persuasion as the above, that in every case it is important to evaluate the psychological situation first. I think both he and Hans Bender might have had the idea from J. B. Rhine of the Duke University.

William G. Roll - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Poltergeist - William G. Roll - Google Books

There's many interesting cases in "The Poltergeist", so maybe I'll make that another post. This one, I guess is already long enough to have lost any attractivity for interested readers:D.
 
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Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
"Poltergeist" may be a german term, but there are relatively few prominent cases here in Germany (the actual number is probably much higher, but I'll get to that). Like UFO sightings and other paranormal claims, poltergeist cases are as a rule ridiculed in the media and considered hoaxes or possible mental problems by people who are just imagining things. I guess you might like that about my country. :)...
There's many interesting cases in "The Poltergeist", so maybe I'll make that another post. This one, I guess is already long enough to have lost any attractivity for interested readers:D.
Of course my intent is never to ridicule, unless what is being brought forth is absolutely ridiculous i.e. the Alien "Boo" video. I've always been fascinated by ghosts, specifically the poltergeist and the early demonic possession cases I read about decades ago. But I have arrived at a different position and am very doubtful about the concept of the demon or the entity. My own ouija investigations taught me that some oaranirmal events have a lot to do with unconscious collaboration.

Thanks for the history piece and the case examples, Polterwurst. I did a bit of reading about the Rosenhim case and look forward to that thread. What's really striking for me is the case you cite about the frustrated woman who experiences the classic poltergeist phenomenon when her husband is away from post. I want to bring some ideas forward pertaining to the Lindley St. case in the "talk about the show" thread will Hall, as it strikes me that between Marcia and her mom, as in the Entity case and the case above, it seems to me that instead of looking for an entity it seems that the psi phenomenon documented in these cases may in fact be originating with the mental stresses expericed by the humans at the centre of these events. In that way issues around one's temper, personal trauma etc. may be producing some psychic effects that are also operating on some kind of unconscious level. But we can treat that in that thread if you are interested.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Establishing that poltergeist phenomena can usually be attached to the presence of an emotionally volatile person, often young, usually female, doesn't begin to answer the question of how such a person can generate the physical effects that take place. It does more than suggest, however, that acute and painful human emotion (arising from personal suffering) attracts invisible, discarnate beings who themselves have retained emotional capacities, and that it is the power of feeling, of emotion, on both sides that is responsible for the psychokinetic effects taking place in the immediate environment in which a 'poltergeist' is judged by psychical and paranormal researchers to be present. To my way of thinking, all of this supports the theory of survival of consciousnesses formerly attached to earth by living on earth and still attached post-mortem. It also supports the theory that all life is entangled with other life across dimensions of being of which we know as yet almost nothing, and that life indeed continues in some form after the death of the body.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I've always been fascinated by ghosts, specifically the poltergeist and the early demonic possession cases I read about decades ago
Can you cite some of the 'demonic possession cases' you read about in the past and say why you believed at the time that they involved 'demons'? Was it because the individuals reporting their experiences thought they were dealing with 'demons'? Why did they draw that conclusion? And do you think it's reasonable that anyone else should draw that conclusion or let it stand unchallenged?
 

Sue

Paranormal Maven
Lee have you ever had experience of young girls, around 10 is when the little problems start becoming big problems, young girls can be normal in nearly every sense, and totally irrational in other ways, they start forming their own views, lots of them irrational, you go thru phase's with them, and all the mood swings of puberty, they are capable of imagining anything..
Thank god young boys never go through anything like that, or we would all really be in trouble.
 

E. L. Wisty

Skilled Investigator
The 1977 Enfield Poltergeist case from England centered around 11-year-old Janet Hodgson, one of four children who were all unhappy because their parents had recently divorced. Although she was caught faking some of the phenomena, and exactly how impressive the poltergeist activity was seemed to depend on how strongly the observer believed in poltergeists in the first place, a major factor in persuading the believers that this was one of the best cases of its kind ever was that Janet was sometimes able to channel the (alleged) spirit of a deceased former occupant of the house. Naturally, Ed Warren proclaimed this to be full-blown demonic possession, though he and his wife were in no way involved in the investigation, being on the other side of the Atlantic at the time.

According to some (though not all) of the investigators, it was absolutely impossible for "The Voice" to have been faked by Janet, given her age. Wanna hear a recording of an 11-year-old girl channelling a discarnate elderly man who might or might not be a demon? Click below! There's a very wide range of opinion as to how convincing it is, but I should warn you that if you really worry about this kind of thing, you might not want to listen to it, especially after dark. Then again, some skeptics will just laugh. Like I said, your mileage may vary. See what you think:

 

Polterwurst

Paranormal Adept
Well, yeah, scary. But if you've seen the footage made when Janet was producing "the voice" (with her sister Margaret sitting beside her), that's much less scary, because the two of them seem to be grinning like fools all the time. It's kind of understandable that people often think they are faking it, because they do indeed look like they're having a laugh at the expense of someone.

On the other hand, it could just have been the camera. Back in the 70s it was even more unusual to have a camera pointed at you, and I know from own experience that for some reason, it's hard to behave normally and not laugh all the time.

According to some (though not all) of the investigators, it was absolutely impossible for "The Voice" to have been faked by Janet, given her age.
Even Maurice Grosse didn't say it was totally out of the question, as far as I know. What he and others thought impossible was the fact that she could keep it up for hours at a time. Maybe she trained herself to do that, but I guess the strain on the vocal chords would have to have been enormous and she ought to have only be able to speak in hoarse whispers afterwards (which never seemed to have been the case).

Highly interesting regarding the voice was the fact that at one point it seems to have stated verifiable facts about the death of the former occupant of the house. It said, speaking as "Bill", the former tenant, that he had been sitting in a chair in a certain room and gone blind before he died. Ostensibly, this had not been known to anybody in the house or in the neighbourhood and could only be verified when the son of the deceased was found and asked about it. I guess he at least confirmed that his father had been found dead in the room and the chair that had been pointed out. I don't know how they would confirm the "going blind" part, but maybe it was because he had had a stroke that could have rendered him blind. I think I've heard it mentioned, so I'll try and look it up.

If it's true that Janet absolutely could not have known about it, that would certainly be compelling evidence. All in all, there is a lot of pros and cons to this case, enough to warrant a thread of its own. Maybe after I get to write my "Rosenheim report", I'll dig up some more Enfield videos and start one.

EDIT: I found a short bit of the footage. Be sure to watch the part around 2:00, that's why I think there was definitely something paranormal to this case. And at 5.17 there seems to be some Poltergeist knockings.
 
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Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
Ok, after watching this video, outside of the claims of levitation, it seems entirely obvious that these two girls are fabricating the voices and characters and barking. The whole "damage to the vocal chords" was also an amusing claim.
 

Polterwurst

Paranormal Adept
The whole "damage to the vocal chords" was also an amusing claim.
Well, I tried producing a voice like that. It's actually not difficult. But after a minute or so, I had to clear my throat to speak normally. Doing it for longer would quite clearly lead to some hoarseness. What Mr. Grosse thought remarkable is that she could keep it up for hours. Not continiously, but off and on, and in the intervals in between her voice seemed totally unaffected (which can be heard on the recordings above). Not even a hint of clearing the throat or hoarseness.

But to be honest, I don't give much credence to the voice either. I think the girls played around with ideas to keep up the media interest (I mean, to me it seems obvious, from the footage above, that they seemed to enjoy the attention), and eventually tried a "scary ghost voice" as a means to do that.

But it's not entirely impossible that while concentrating to make the voice seem sufficiently scary, they didn't pay attention to what they were actually saing, which is IMO a good way to tap into the unconscious mind. I think, most psychic mediums and channels work this way. As Russell Targ says, don't think about it, just say it.

And by doing so, besides coming up with all sorts of characters from their own imagination and subdued instincts, (again, IMO) they might actually have been in contact with a discarnate consciousness lingering in the place, so that at least some of the words that came out were not their own. I don't think that the way and exact place the former tenant had died would have been common knowledge in the house or the neighbourhood.

Again, look at the police officers stating that they investigated the chair, the floor etc. and couldn't find any sign of trickery. To me there's no doubt that there were genuine phenomena, which the girls then tried to play up, when media attention started to wane and the genuine phenomena didn't show up at the right time.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Again, look at the police officers stating that they investigated the chair, the floor etc. and couldn't find any sign of trickery. To me there's no doubt that there were genuine phenomena, which the girls then tried to play up, when media attention started to wane and the genuine phenomena didn't show up at the right time.
That makes eminent sense given what we all understand from experience about the lack of intellectual maturity of adolescents -- and their consequently immature responses in situations such as this one.

As Poltergeist points out.

"it's not entirely impossible that while concentrating to make the voice seem sufficiently scary, they didn't pay attention to what they were actually saying, which is IMO a good way to tap into the unconscious mind. I think, most psychic mediums and channels work this way. As Russell Targ says, don't think about it, just say it.

And by doing so, besides coming up with all sorts of characters from their own imagination and subdued instincts, (again, IMO) they might actually have been in contact with a discarnate consciousness lingering in the place, so that at least some of the words that came out were not their own. I don't think that the way and exact place the former tenant had died would have been common knowledge in the house or the neighbourhood."

Situations like this one demonstrate the complexity of psychical research into paranormal phenomena, which necessarily involves both the conscious and unconscious minds of the persons involved. Immature experiencers further complicate what is already highly complex and subtle in the phenomena. Thus the need for researchers of paranormal phenomena to pursue cases far and wide, and as exhaustively as possible, to produce a database sufficiently large to enable synthesis of data across paranormal events.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I guess what I have difficulty in reconciling is that in so many of the cases the young woman in question always seems to get caught out on one level or another. This points to earthly origins for whatever is taking place, especially when the connections between the supposed entity, or eighth wonder of the world, is tied to the young person: Gef likes the same food as her, Marcia knows what's going to happen ahead of time, or these two who are obviously conspiring for attention.

Attention always seems to be the issue along with a desire to perform, which may be part of this all; perhaps these young people have borderline personality disorders. At least to me it makes more sense, in light of the available evidence, that we shouldn't have to invent a discarnate being, demon, entity or Gef. There is something much more concrete that seems to be claiming a point of origin instead of an invisible or invented 'thing' like slender man.

In fact if we can find any real insistent pattern in these poltergeist cases what I see happening most often is a mix of ingredients similar to the Tina Resch case:a dults who encourage and support the idea of possession, demon or poltergeist, a young person caught out moving the objects, a desire for the attention including performing for the media stage. In fact this pattern has been repeating for so long in the paranormal worls now that I'm surprised there isn't a term for it by now. I'm going to call it the Cottingley Syndrome.

While I still feel there is the possibility for psi phnenomnon to be a consequence of these conflicted pubescent minds I would rather try to rule out the magic tricks that are possible to create the appearance of levitation before I say demons.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
I guess what I have difficulty in reconciling is that in so many of the cases the young woman in question always seems to get caught out on one level or another. This points to earthly origins for whatever is taking place, especially when the connections between the supposed entity, or eighth wonder of the world, is tied to the young person: Gef likes the same food as her, Marcia knows what's going to happen ahead of time, or these two who are obviously conspiring for attention.

Attention always seems to be the issue along with a desire to perform, which may be part of this all; perhaps these young people have borderline personality disorders. At least to me it makes more sense, in light of the available evidence, that we shouldn't have to invent a discarnate being, demon, entity or Gef. There is something much more concrete that seems to be claiming a point of origin instead of an invisible or invented 'thing' like slender man.
How broad is the base of researched paranormal phenomena from which you draw the highlighted conclusions?

I think that psychical research (which has always focused on paranormal experiences and abilities) requires a very broad base of data upon which to postulate that paranormal experiences and abilities have been demonstrated and that they are tied to psychical capacities involving both conscious and subconscious access to the phenomena. Poltergeist phenomena should be (and are) studied alongside mediumship phenomena, veridical instances of precognition and of mind to mind communication, clairvoyance including remote viewing, and other types of psi. I think you are isolating certain poltergeist cases and seeking to interpret (and dismiss) them in prosaic terms, whereas the field of psychical research in general investigates a significant range of paranormal experience to understand what is taking place at the core of these experiences.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
Unfortunately what passes for research in these fields, like the majority of paranormal investigation, is shaky at best, so you're right, my limits are in working with what are known as key or core cases in the field. And the patterns there are self evident. Most of mediumship has been proven historically to be bogus and so with only a handful of people like Radin creating some statistical proof, there is simply not enough data to legitimize real wide scale investigation, just a lot of smoke with very little fire. While different small clusters like Targ and Puthoff also make some hot claims we are still not seeing anyone else getting convinced and so neither remote viewing nor ghosts are experiencing serious study under large scientific bodies, not because that people are afraid or hiding secret truths, but simply for want of evidence. So I remain interested but unconvinced. I can see possibilities for the reality of psi phenomenon but no real breakthrough cases.
 

Polterwurst

Paranormal Adept
Attention always seems to be the issue along with a desire to perform, which may be part of this all; perhaps these young people have borderline personality disorders.
Absolutely. As long as there are no convincing third-party witness reports, that would definitely be what has to be investigated first, besides all possible natural causes for the alleged phenomena.

But you see, I don't think that all the police officers (Enfield, Lindley St), fire fighters (Lindley St), electrical engineers, attorneys, psychologists, physicists (Rosenheim), neighbours, co-workers etc. in these cases, who said that they definitely saw something they couldn't explain, investigated it skeptically but couldn't come up with a normal explanation or find signs of manipulation, might be borderline personalities or attention seekers themselves, part of a mass hallucination or just plain kooks.

I've just seen a relatively recent interview with one of the electrical engineers in the Rosenheim case, who was a young man in 1967. He's heard all the debunker theories and yet to this day he says, what they experienced (heavy furniture moving, pictures turning on the wall, light bulbs exploding) was not explainable with an emotionally instable, mischievous youngster playing tricks on them.
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
Absolutely. As long as there are no convincing third-party witness reports, that would definitely be what has to be investigated first, besides all possible natural causes for the alleged phenomena.

But you see, I don't think that all the police officers (Enfield, Lindley St), fire fighters (Lindley St), electrical engineers, attorneys, psychologists, physicists (Rosenheim), neighbours, co-workers etc. in these cases, who said that they definitely saw something they couldn't explain, investigated it skeptically but couldn't come up with a normal explanation or find signs of manipulation, might be borderline personalities or attention seekers themselves, part of a mass hallucination or just plain kooks.

I've just seen a relatively recent interview with one of the electrical engineers in the Rosenheim case, who was a young man in 1967. He's heard all the debunker theories and yet to this day he says, what they experienced (heavy furniture moving, pictures turning on the wall, light bulbs exploding) was not explainable with an emotionally instable, mischievous youngster playing tricks on them.
The movement of large objects such as fridges and TV sets does seem to be a very curious event and this Rosenheim witness sounds promising. We know that there are a lot of magical methods to create the appearance of object movement, and in the Tina Resch case it certainly seems that she was in charge of all those chairs along with the various times she was recorded moving objects herself.

If I was intent in really hammering into these cases I know that sticking points include: the girls who appear to be performers or are caught doing it, the fact that witness testimony is often subjected to the broken telephone syndrome where what they really said is often displaced by magnified retellings of the event, those family members or friends who support occult claims and the investigators themselves who are quite questionable because they have their own limitations i.e. very much want to believe, or as with the Warrens, are outright hoaxers and fabricators.

Tell me what you think about Roll and his role in the Tina Resch affair. I know I critiqued that elsewhere in the forum regarding his very neglectful approach to pursuing psychological support for Tina and pursued the poltergeist angle instead. This was the case where Randi also inserted himself and effectively claimed everything fom the photos to object movement could be easily replicated.

When I look at the Resch case and how it all ends with her dead daughter, I can't help but think there was another possible trajectory for her life path if Roll and others had not pursued the paranormal angle but pursued a psychological one instead. And then, like with the Warrens, I get very doubtful of any other case he has participated in. What really are the big definitive poltergeist cases? I know earlier I confused the Enfield case with another name for a case involving large quantities of water spouting everywhere in the house - that one i'm still very confused by. I'll look up its name and post it either here or in the poltergeist thread.

Do you think demons actually exist and that discarnate entities play a role in these cases or that these are constructions of those who are an the centre of these events?
 

Burnt State

Paranormal Adept
I was thinking of the Rochdale case 1995 in the home of Jim and Vera Gardner - more young girls there, lots of object movement, startling appearances of objects, voices and copious amounts of water. This is one account of the case: Ghosts-UK - Ghosts - Paranormal News - Poltergeist - Ouija - Haunted Rochdale [Forum - Stories] - Welcome to the Paranormal - Ghosts - Spirits - Paranormal News - Investigations

As I was searching through different cases I noticed nother recurring theme amongst the young girls at the heart of the poltergeist phnenomnon - many cases involve a child that is adopted.
 

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