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Poltergeist

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PS C7
Poltergeist
Species information
Sentience

Sentient

Eye colour

Varies

Skin colour

Varies

Hair colour

Varies

Feather colour

Spirit

Native range

Worldwide

Distinction(s)
  • Causes chaos
  • Similar to a ghost, but solid, and can move objects
  • Was never a living human
Status

Spirit

"The name 'poltergeist' is German in origin, and roughly translates as 'noisy ghost', although it is not, strictly speaking, a ghost at all. The poltergeist is an invisible entity that moves objects, slams doors and creates other audible, kinetic disturbances. It has been reported in many cultures and there is a strong association with the places where young people, especially adolescents, are living. Explanations for the phenomenon vary all the way from supernatural to scientific."
—Description.[src]

A poltergeist is an "indestructible spirit of chaos."[1]. They haunt one specific location at time, generally those inhabited by a large number of adolescents[2], and either "[came] with the building,"[3] or chose to enter it at some point.[4]

Poltergeists generally do not have a physical form, with one notable exception being Peeves, the poltergeist that haunts Hogwarts Castle.[2]

Nature

Abilities

Poltergeists can fly and delight in vandalism, malicious mischief, and the general aggravation and embarrassment of living persons. They could unscrew chandeliers,[5] write rude words on chalkboards,[6] throw water balloons at people,[7] throw walking sticks at people,[8] stuff keyholes with chewing gum[9] and other such acts, simply for their amusement.

Behaviour

Poltergeists are notably unruly - there was no way to get rid of a poltergeist once it had moved into a location.[3][4] Some people could get it to settle down for a while, though it would inevitably start acting up again.[3] Dolores Umbridge claimed that the Minister of Magic could sign an order banning a poltergeist, and once threatened Peeves with this action. However, her statement may reflect her belief in the superiority of wizards in general and the Ministry of Magic in particular, rather than specific knowledge of the nature of poltergeists.

Comparison to ghosts

Whilst similar, poltergeists differ from ghosts in a number of ways. Firstly, ghosts are incorporeal, whereas the poltergeist, despite not normally having a physical form[2], is solid enough to move objects with physical force. Poltergeists have never once been living humans either.[1] The latter trait may indicate amortality, the condition of never having died and being unable to die, as one was never alive to start.[10] Poltergeists with form have enough physicality that they can have gum fly up their noses[11], and they are vulnerable to some of the same hexes as humans, including Langlock.[12]

Known Poltergeists

Etymology

"Poltergeist" comes from the German, poltern, meaning "to make (loud) noise" and geist, meaning "ghost" or "spirit."[13]

Behind the scenes

  • It may be possible that poltergeists form from (and consequently feed on) the chaos of an area. If so then it may also be possible that - if their home were to be left desolate for long enough - a poltergeist would not die but simply cease to exist, at least until the locale became more active again.
  • Fleur Delacour once stated that if a poltergeist was ever discovered in the Palace of Beauxbatons, it would be immediately expelled. This is impossible, however, as J. K. Rowling has stated a poltergeist cannot be driven from a location it has decided to haunt by any means.

See also

External links

Appearances

Notes and references

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