When a poltergeist makes statements about itself, these usually follow a set pattern. Most noticeably the poltergeist will usually make a claim that fits in with how it is being viewed by the humans. Gef said he was a mongoose after the Irvings had become convinced that he was a small animal. The Fox Sister’s poltergeist said it was the ghost of a man after the girls had discussed the idea that the noises were caused by a ghost. The poltergeist at the convent of St Pierre de Lyon claimed to be the spirit of Alix de Telieux only after a nun had suggested that this might be the case.
When asked why it is causing the nuisance that it does, a poltergeist will typically reply that it is doing so for sport, for a joke or for fun. The response is almost universal when the question is put.
Another feature of claims made by poltergeists about themselves is that they are almost uniformly sensational, exciting and frequently salacious. The poltergeist claiming to be Alix de Telieux seemed to delight in regaling the nuns with tales of Alix’s debauched sexual escapades, while the Cock Lane poltergeist claimed that it was the spirit of a woman murdered by her husband. Claims of murder are common among poltergeists, as are tales of crimes, immoral behaviour and daring deeds. If poltergeists are to be believed then none of them are humans who have led routine lives of normal activity. They are all either perpetrators or victims of the most appaling and outrageous crimes.
When these claims made by poltergeists are checked out, they usually turn out to be false. When they are true, they are claims relating to events that are generally fairly well known in the area. It is extremely rare, if not unheard of, for a poltergeist to know any information that is not already known to the human witnesses.
from "Poltergeist" by Rupert Matthews.
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