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Psychophysics and Cognitive Dissonance Laboratory, Poitiers, France
Introduction: Many studies/books have been published about Poltergeist presenting cases and their characteristics as (Flammarion, 1923), (Thurston, 1953), (Roll, 1972), (Gauld & Cornell 1979), (Huesmann & Schriver 1989), (Biondi & Garatelli 2011), (Healy & Cropper 2014) to name a few. Main quantitative studies have been done at a time where the computer was in infancy and so with only printed material. Today it seems that very few consolidated databases are available, and the new cases are not filed or filed in different databases and formats. However, the information available is huge and with enough aggregation, it could help to detect some trends over the different periods or by geographics and help to qualify the credibility/authenticity of the cases and their different characteristics. At the end, this could give some important insight on the anomalistic arena and the research on the nature of reality.
Method: In order to conduct a quantitative and qualitative study on poltergeist a set of representative cases has to be found (a sample with enough cases and with a diversity on period and geographics).
To characterize each case a set of parameters has to be defined (ex: presence of raps, objects movement, incendiary effects, poltergeist agent detected, materialization, apparition, etc.).
The more advanced study on this is the one conducted in (Gauld & Cornell 1979), as it provides a study counting 500 cases with 63 parameters for each, from year 500 to 1975 and with an international view (46 countries, even if there is a tropism on English cases). Interestingly each case has attached a level of testimony and a level of detail. So, starting from this book a database has been built, completed with cross references of other books and articles.
Using these data, a study of the evolution of the different characteristics of the Poltergeist/RSPK cases through time and geographics has been made. We also did an estimated counting of the different cases documented through the different countries (Europe, USA and Australia mainly).
Results: More than thousand cases have been referenced from which more than 700 seem to have serious documentation (reference to a paper, a book, some articles in newspaper/magazine with enough details).
With the 500 Gauld & Cornell cases, the analysis per geographic/ period shows:
- The homogeneity of the characteristics through period and geographics area, even if some differences appear (which could be explained by belief/cultural evolution on time, cultural difference between countries)
- The strength of some “strange characteristics” if we compare them with the level of testimony (better is the level of testimony, more these characteristics are represented)
- The evolution of the interpretation of the phenomenon per period
The progression of the number of cases per year in this sample has been evaluated (ex: 2 per year on the 1940-1975 period).
Then, deeper research has been conducted to analyze strange characteristics across different cases, using the detail description/story of the cases.
Figure 1: Phenomenon components ratio associated with each historical period.
Discussion: Moving from there, it would be interesting to complement this database with cases from 1975 until today. From our evaluation, 60 documented cases which represented 1,3 cases per year could be added on this period. It has also to be completed with more cases on Asia, Africa, South America to be more representative.
One question today is how the collect of Poltergeist/RSPK cases in the different areas of the world could be improved (for example, in France and Italy an estimate let think that 2 documented cases per year could be identified in each country, number from which we are far today).Also it could be useful to define which information should be collected for each case (on both psychological and physical events information) and in which format it will be stored in order to be able to share it without privacy problem.
Flammarion C. (1923) Les maisons hantées Paris: Edition Flammarion
Biondi M. & Garatelli J. (2011) La natura del poltergeist Quaderni di Parapsicologica 2011, 43, 44-56
Gauld, A. & Cornell A.D. (1979). Poltergeists. Hove:White Crow Books
Healy T. & Cropper P. (2014) Australian Poltergeist Sydney: Strange Nation
Huesmann, M.& Schriever, F. (1989) Steckbrief des Spuks. Zeilschrift für Parapsychologie und Grenzgebiete der Psychologie 31, 52-107
Roll, W. G. (1972) The Poltergeist. New York: Paraview.
Thurston H. (1953), Ghosts and Poltergeists. London: Burn Oates
Focus on Macro-pk research with 2 directions: An experimental one working with PsychoKinesis practitioners in order to detect macro-Pk effect, validate them through detailed measurement, and study them to better understand the phenomenon. A non-experimental one by conducting a documentary and database work around mediumship, poltergeist, and human levitation from antiquity until now.