by Alexander Imich*
Poltergeist is a German language term composed of
two words: "poltern" meaning "to knock," and geist," meaning "spirit."
As such it is the name of a paranormal event that involves movements of
objects and other physical disturbances, usually of mischievou s
character. The term poltergeist is most often connected with teenagers
reaching puberty. The other term for this type of phenomenon is
Repetitive Spontaneous Psychokinesis, or RSPK.
The physical disturbances caused by poltergeists can be of great
variety. Most frequent are movements, or flight of objects--a sort of
bombardment--that often break or shatter to pieces by striking walls,
furniture, or people. Less frequent is spontaneous combustion.
Rarest of all are events involving water. In their book The Return
of the Elusive Power (Powrot Nieuchwytnej Sily, Warsaw,
Phenomen, 1994), Anna Ostrzycka and Marek Rymuszko describe a RSPK that
took place in 1993 in Piotrkow, Poland. The main phenomenon involved a
frequent and sudden gushing of water and other not identified liquids
from the ceiling, walls, door bays, and furniture. Water splashed out
of glasses, pots, and other containers, besprinkling the family members
or wh oever was present at that time. Inspectors from the city water
department came, but did not find anything wrong with the plumbing and
could not explain the disturbances. I do not know how, or if, this
poltergeist case has ended, but I intend to write to the authors and
Last year, a friend from Poland informed me of another "liquid"
poltergeist where water was running not only from the ceiling of the
apartment inhabited by the family with a young son, but also from the
ceiling of buses which the boy was riding.
Such cases are worth serious study. Unfortunately, parapsychology is so
inadequately funded by government institutions that these rare cases
come and go without being studied by competent scientists.
*Editor of Incredible
Tales of the Paranormal (Bramble, 1995)