A poltergeist (from the German ''polter'', meaning "to rumble", "to make a noise" and ''geist'', meaning "ghost" or "spirit") is a type of ghost or other supernatural entity that manifests by creating noise or moving objects.

While the term itself comes from German, poltergeist activity has been reported in nearly every culture, becoming part of the folklore in India, the United States, Japan, Brazil, and other countries. Several scientific theories regarding poltergeist activity have been proposed, including tremors, air currents, ultra-infra sound waves or unexplained losses of gravity, though true believers maintain that there is no stable scientific explanation for poltergeists. The, uh, ''not so scientific'' theories vary between ghosts and [[PowerIncontinence nonconscious, uncontrolled]] [[MindOverMatter telekinesis]].

For the movie of the same name, go [[Film/{{Poltergeist}} here]].
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!! Examples of poltergeists in fiction:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/GhostHunt'', one character's desire to be noticed ends up manifesting a poltergeist that injures several characters.
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[[folder:Film]]
* The ''Film/{{Poltergeist}}'' movies feature (naturally) a manifestation of poltergeists that seem fixated on Carol Anne Freeling. The first movie posited that the haunting was caused by an improperly relocated cemetary, while the second suggested that a dark ritual opened a gateway between the afterlife and the living world.
* In ''Film/TheSixthSense'', Cole Sear is often the target of poltergeist-like activity from the ghosts who are trying to get his attention.
* The title character of ''Film/{{Beetlejuice}}'', most likely.
* The initial premise of ''Film/ParanormalActivity'' centers around a haunting by one of these. This theory turns out to be slightly inaccurate.
* ''Film/{{Ghostwatch}}'' follows a fictional reality program documenting poltergeist activity surrounding a woman's two daughters while the hosts debate the actual cause. At one point it appears that one of the girls is actually causing the banging and crashing because that's what people expect, but then the spirit gets mad...
%%* ''Film/ATaleOfTwoSisters''.
* "The Bell Witch" from ''Film/AnAmericanHaunting'' at first appears to be a poltergeist, though one violently obsessed with the teenage daughter of the house it's haunting.
* In ''Film/{{Ghost}}'', most dead spirits can't touch things by default, but with enough practice, a sufficiently determined (or angry) spectre can beat the crap out of you with ordinary household objects.
* In ''Film/{{Ghostbusters}}'' naturally their first cases are basically catching ghosts that act in a typical poltergeist manner
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/DragonBones'' castle Hurog is haunted by one of those ... or so it seems. When Ward encounters said entity he finds out that Oreg can take the form of a human being, but is the soul of all the castle. This is the result of dark magic that was done to him, and he is not too happy with the situation. It is hinted that, if he doesn't like someone, he can act like a regular poltergeist. However, if he does like someone, he's more the opposite, protecting Ward's younger sister from bullies and her abusive father by showing her secret doors and the like.
* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, a poltergeist named Peeves inhabits Hogwarts Castle. Unlike the other ghosts, he's a spirit of chaos rather than the echo of a person - it's AllThereInTheManual that he "came with the building". The CrustyCaretaker considers him a mortal enemy, while everyone else just thinks he's a bit of a nuisance. The only people who can control him to any extent are Dumbledore and the Bloody Baron (Slytherin House's ghost).
** Peeves is fairly unique among poltergeists in that he has a physical form. Rowling [[AllThereInTheManual states]] that Peeves is an extremely powerful and ancient poltergeist, since a poltergeist is born from adolescent angst and uncontrolled magic and Hogwarts is a thousand-year-old school containing young wizards.
* In the ''OddThomas'' series, a very few particularly strong ghosts have been observed to cause poltergeist activity when they get riled up enough. One notable example is FrankSinatra.
* In ''Discworld/ReaperMan'' Death is forced into retirement, causing a whole lot of spirit activity to start manifesting through out Ankh-Morpork (and probably elsewhere as well).
* Poltergeists are classified under Type Two (aka the more violent, dangerous type) ghosts in ''Literature/LockwoodAndCo''.
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[[folder:Live Action Television]]
* Many "ghost hunting" programs request such behavior in their living-impaired quarry, in an effort to record proof of their presence.
* In one episode of ''Series/TheWaltons'', a poltergeist invades the family home, [[BizarroEpisode for no damn reason whatsoever]].
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[[folder:Pinball]]
* During [[SpookySeance the Seance]] in ''Pinball/TheAddamsFamily,'' The Power disrupts the movement of the ball.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/WraithTheOblivion'' gives us poltergeist powers in the form of the Outrage Arcanos, which allows a wraith to affect physical objects, often through brute force, and the Pandemonium Arcanos, which produces creepy reality-warping effects ranging from cold spots to blood on the walls to altered perception of time. The semi-sequel, ''TabletopGame/{{Orpheus}}'', gives us the Poltergeist, a Shade (or class of ghost/projector) with a talent for throwing about objects with telekinetic force and boosting the physical capacities of their ectoplasmic bodies.
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has had several versions of poltergeists as monsters, including in the [=AD&D=] ''Fiend Folio'' and the Basic D&D Companion rules.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/BeyondTwoSouls'', protagonist Jodie has been connected her entire life to an "entity" called Aiden. Aiden can [[MindOverMatter move objects]], [[WalkingTechBane short out electronics]], protect Jodie with a [[BarrierWarrior magical shield]], [[GrandTheftMe possess people]] and more. Jodie can [[KidWithTheLeash exercise some degree of control over him]] - thankfully - though doing this for too long will give her a PsychicNosebleed.
* In the first ''{{Splatterhouse}}'' game, a poltergeist boss attempts to drop a chandelier on your head.
* In ''VideoGame/MegamanBattleNetwork'', you can get a chip called "Poltergeist" that replicates a poltergeist's common traits by picking every item on the battlefield and flinging them at enemies. It's very deadly if you have enough items on field at once.
* The Prismriver sisters of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' are poltergeists. Something of a cross between the 'ghost' and 'uncontrolled psychokinesis' theories; they're artificial ghosts created by an unstable girl.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'' has the Spectral Sword causing this, as well as the Ouija board. Once you get the perk that lets you see the enemy's name, you'll occasionally find an actual Poltergeist in the game.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Geist}}'', ''you'' play as a poltergeist. You can cause objects to bang around and break in order to scare guards and animals, and once they're scared enough you can [[DemonicPossession possess]] them and use them to accomplish physical tasks.
* Many of the early manifestations in ''VideoGame/{{Paranormal}}'' consist of poltergeist activity.
* The Dark Presence in VideoGame/{{Alan Wake}} sometimes uses possessed items against you that you must defend against with your flashlight. This can range from barrels or wheel to entire vehicles, the latter serving as a boss battle.
* ''[[{{VideoGame/Shiver}} Shiver: Poltergeist]]'' features a female poltergeist who uses pyrokinesis in addition to throwing stuff around.
* The Genesis/Mega Drive features ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haunting_%28video_game%29 Haunting]],'' a comedy-horror game where you play as a poltergeist named Polterguy. You're actually the ghost of a punk teen killed by a defective skateboard and your objective is to terrify the negligent CEO (and his family) until he learns his lesson, mostly by possessing objects in the house and making them do grotesque things, or sometimes simply making them fly around.
* ''[[http://armorgames.com/play/7195/haunt-the-house Haunt The House]]'' is an indie computer/mobile title which has the players take on the role of a cute little ghost, whose objective is to scare noisy partygoers out of his house so he can get some rest, which he does by possessing objects and making them move or perform a 'scary' action such as belching black ichor or popping skeletons out of drawers.
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[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'', BJ meets his match in a ''poultrygeist'' (manifesting as a spectral chicken) who is preventing him from sleeping. The Neitherworld medium ([[MST3KMantra just roll with it]]) he and Lydia recruit to get rid of it gets really excited, because poultrygeists can answer any question. [[spoiler: They ultimately get rid of it by asking questions that have no answer... and then 400 more show up.]].
* Most of the ghost and spirits hunted in ''TheRealGhostbusters'' are the typical poltergeist.
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