Poltergeist/RSPK Quantitative and Qualitative Study from Antiquity Until Now
Psychophysics and Cognitive Dissonance Laboratory, Poitiers, France
Many studies/books have been published about poltergeists, presenting cases and their characteristics — Flammarion (1923), Thurston (1953), Roll (1972), Gauld and Cornell (1979), Huesmann and Schriver (1989), Biondi and Garatelli (2011), and Healy and Cropper (2014), to name a few. Main quantitative studies have been done at a time where the computer was in its 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 are filed in different databases and formats. However, the information available is huge, and with enough aggregation it could help detect some trends over the different periods or by geographics and help qualify the credibility/authenticity of the cases and their different characteristics. At the end, this could give some important insight into the anomalistic arena and the research on the nature of reality.
In order to conduct a quantitative and qualitative study on poltergeists, 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 (e.g., presence of raps, object movement, incendiary effects, poltergeist agent detected, materialization, apparition, etc.).
The more advanced study on this is the one conducted in Gauld and 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).
More than a 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 and 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 (the better the level of testimony, the more these characteristics are represented)
● The evolution of the interpretation of the phenomena per period
The progression of the number of cases per year in this sample has been evaluated (e.g., 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.
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, and South America to be more representative.
One question today is how the collect of poltergeist/RSPK cases in different areas of the world could be improved (for example, in France and Italy we have an estimate that 2 documented cases per year could be identified in each country, a 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) and in which format it will be stored in order to be able to share it without privacy problem.
The Parapsychological Association is an international professional organization of scientists and scholars engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition. The primary objective of the PA is to achieve a scientific understanding of these experiences.
Twitter – https://twitter.com/parapsych
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/parapsychologicalassociation/
Donations to support the mission of the PA, including the funding of research initiatives, can be made by reaching email@example.com or the Paypal Giving Fund: paypal.com/us/fundraiser/charity/153733
Published on May 19, 2022