Are poltergeists dangerous? Everything you need to know

Of course, it is a terrifying experience encountering poltergeist activity. Things might be thrown, cabinets open and close, doors slamming, walls are banging… but are they dangerous?

As a general rule, poltergeists are not dangerous, but the wreak havoc they cause might be. You might get hurt by moving or throwing objects. Most poltergeist activity is not demonic but derives from a human agent.

Poltergeist activity is a terrifying experience. It is one of the most potent manifestations of the supernatural world. It is easy to think it must be demonic. The truth is that in most cases, it is believed to derive from the living.

Poltergeist activity

Poltergeist activity is a paranormal activity where objects move without explanation. The haunting is often very forceful and can be very scary to witness. This kind of activity is rare, though. Many have claimed negative energies and demons for causing the phenomena. This is not always the case. In most cases, it derives from the living – a human agent.

It is thought that strong emotions and psychic powers might cause poltergeist-like hauntings.

It is thought that a distressed and emotional person might cause the poltergeist activity. Emotions are projected into objects which in turn make them move. Often the person is unaware of their psychokinetic and psychic abilities. This is called PK activity – psychokinetic activity. When an entity or spirit causes the movement of objects, it is called a poltergeist.

Poltergeist activity rarely takes place when there is no one at home. In these instances, the movement might be caused by an intelligent haunting or demonic entity.

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Characteristics of poltergeist activity

The phenomenon is a popular theme in paranormal TV shows as they are scary. In reality, though, it is not common to experience poltergeists. In most cases, they blame a demon without further and deeper investigations (seen on the show at least).

Demons might cause poltergeist-like activity. You might see levitation of large objects or psychic attacks targeting a specific person in the household. It is not uncommon that demonic hauntings cause scratches and burns. This seldom occurs with traditional poltergeist activity. Another difference is that demon attacks often start slowly and build as the person gets worn down. Poltergeist activity often starts forcefully and disappears as suddenly as it emerges.

Common signs of a poltergeist or PK activity

The most common sign of a poltergeist is the unexplained movement of smaller to larger objects. There are examples where furniture such as bookshelves and couches have been slammed into the wall or thrown.

Keys can turn by themselves during poltergeist hauntings.

You find the most common signs of poltergeist activity in the list below.

  • Tapping and banging
  • Slamming doors and cabinets
  • Flying objects that is thrown
  • Levitation of funiture
  • Light turning off and on
  • Fires breaking out
  • Easily mininturperted as demonic
  • Smells
  • Lightbulb spinning
  • Keys turning
  • Telephones dialing the same number over and over
  • Start and stop suddenly

Below you find the research of Alan Gauld and A.D Cornell. The analysis was made in the late 1970s and included 500 poltergeist hauntings collected since 1800 (The Encyclopedia of Spirits and Ghosts).

24%Activity longer than one year
58%Activity during the dark hours
48%Rapping sounds
64%Movement or displacement of smaller objects
36%Movement or displacement of larger objects
12%Opening and closing of doors
16%Human-agent as the trigger
Cred: Encyclopedia of Ghosts and SpiritsOpens in a new tab., p 386. (Paid link – Amazon)

Is poltergeist activity dangerous?

Depending on the origin of the poltergeist activity, it can be more or less dangerous. If a person with psychokinetic powers causes the haunting, it might not be as dangerous as a full-blown demonic attack or possession.

There is always a danger of getting hit by a flying object or getting pushed. If a human agent is the cause of the activity, the risk for a full-blown demonic possession or attachment is slim. With this said, it is less dangerous.

But as with all poltergeist haunting, there is a danger of getting hurt. The activity can be very forceful and impact you mentally as they are terrifying. It is nothing like a slight movement of a smaller object as you see with human-derived ghost hauntings.

According to Ian Stevenson, a renowned parapsychologist, some hauntings might be caused by spirits or entities. The most common sign is the movement of larger objects and rappings that are focused on one person or seem “planned.” In PK activity, the actions are often centered around lighter things and are not concentrated on one person.

If the activity is powerful and includes moving larger objects, like furniture, a spirit or entity might be at play. During exorcisms, it is not uncommon for displays of powers to occur. In these cases, the activity is hazardous.

Remember, though, that poltergeist activity overall is rare. In most cases, it is more terrifying than dangerous even if the paranormal TV shows want us to believe otherwise.


Most poltergeist or poltergeist-like activity is not dangerous, but you can get hurt by moving objects. The movement often derives from a living person and not a demon. However, there are occasions with intelligent and demonic hauntings that display similarities with poltergeists.

Generally, it is not demonic if the movement is centered around lighter objects. These hauntings are horrifying but don’t usually pose dangers for demonic attachment. If there are movements of larger objects, like furniture, it can be caused by more sinister energies.

If you experience poltergeist activity, it is always recommended to contact a professional in the field. Never interact or try to communicate with a possible spirit or demonic entity. You can always reach out to clergy, a trusted psychic medium, or a paranormal investigator if you need help to figure out if the haunting is dangerous or not.

Reference and cites

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Claudette Beaulieu

A certified paranormal investigator, accredited demonologist, and psychic stuck in the Victorian era.

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