He will give his angels charge of you,
To guard you in all your ways.
вторник, 27 ноември 2012 г.
A case of a modern-day POLTERGEIST
named for the city—Baltimore, Maryland—where it
baffl ed its victims, citizens, public offi cials, the media and
NANDOR FODOR, a respected psychoanalyst and researcher
of psychic phenomena. Between January 14 and February
8, 1960, this alleged spirit caused such havoc by
making objects fl y, break, crack and explode that its victims
fi nally just threw everything that could possibly be
undone or broken out of their house and into the backyard.
At the end of a month of terror, the activity suddenly
stopped, leaving numerous speculations about the
mystery but not one indisputable solution.
The head of the affected household was Edgar
G. Jones, a former fi reman who retired after 37 years
of devoted service to Baltimore’s fi re department. Also
involved were his wife, Mrs. Jones; the couple’s son-inlaw
and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Pauls; and the
Pauls’s 17-year old son, Ted Pauls.
Ted was a high school dropout, but he was highly
intelligent, according to his family and former teachers.
Shy and reclusive, Ted spent most of his time in solitary
pursuits, such as reading science fi ction and tales of the
supernatural. In addition, he was a writer and editor of
a newsletter, Fanjack, that he mimeographed in the basement
and sent to a few selected friends. His parents and
grandparents, however, were upset that he was devoting
himself to these activities rather than attending school.
The fi rst indication that something was amiss came
on January 14, 1960, when 15 miniature pottery pitchers
exploded on a dining room shelf. In the ensuing month
of terror, objects jumped off shelves and crashed through
windows, pictures fell to the fl oor, plants leapt out of their
holders, and soda bottles burst open like fi recrackers.
Initially, most of the happenings took place in the late
morning and afternoon. On Sunday, January 17, the noisy
ghost struck at night for the fi rst time. Mr. Jones was the
fi rst victim, when he tried to pick up a can of corn that
had fallen off a shelf and was rewarded with a bang on
the head from a falling can of sauerkraut. This insult was
followed by a small table moving from the living room to
38 Baltimore Poltergeist a stairway landing, where it threw itself down the stairs.
At the other end of the house, a stack of kindling wood
exploded in the basement.
The next day, January 18, came a respite. But the
attacks resumed on the following day with various objects
cracking and fl ying. On January 19, all hell broke loose,
and family members were kept busy running from one
room to another to assess the damage.
The next four days brought another much needed respite.
But once again, as if the spirit had needed to regain its
energy, it renewed its activities. The family was subjected
to a nine-hour barrage of breaking and fl ying objects that
forced Mrs. Jones to fl ee her house and fi nd refuge in the
home of her sister. Mr. Pauls and Mr. Jones took a more
dras tic step: they threw every breakable item and piece of
furniture into the backyard so they could get some sleep.
Within the next week, there were a dozen more occurrences.
But on February 9, the attacks suddenly and mysteriously
By then, word had spread and the Jones family had
become local celebrities. Newspaper and broadcast reporters
were a constant presence in the house as they pressed
the family to make statements for a curious public.
Theories abounded. One theory held that young Ted
was perpetrating a hoax on his family, an allegation that
was vigorously denied by his parents and grandparents.
Other theories had a more scientifi c basis, but each in
its turn was found to be groundless. For example, radio
signals, earth tremors or high-pitched sound waves were
all considered. A high-frequency receiver, an investigation
with a seismograph by city highway workers, an examination
for explosives in objects that had exploded by the
city policy department’s crime lab, and a radio repair man
looking for wind coming from a drainage pipe all failed to
provide substantial proof.
One fi nal theory, offered by a plumber visiting the
house on the night of the last activities, suggested that the
hot air furnace was the culprit. He advised the family to
remove all storm windows and open a dining room window
to equalize pressure. After the Joneses followed his
instructions, the happenings ceased. The family thereafter
credited the plumber as the problem-solver.
Before the happenings had stopped completely, Nandor
Fodor visited the family to investigate. His conclusions
were similar to those he had made in other cases
involving a young household member: he concluded that
Ted was an unconscious agent who unwittingly used his
mental power to create the disturbances.
Fodor theorized that Ted wanted to be esteemed for his
writing talent, and being newsletter editor was one way
he could raise himself above his readers. Ted’s depressed
ego might be hiding behind the poltergeist activity, and
he might be releasing his creative energy into abnormal
Fodor explained that the human body is capable of
releasing energy that could produce such abnormal activities
through brain activity. Ted’s aggression was unconscious
because he perceived himself to be a brilliant,
misunderstood person, underappreciated by family, school
and classmates. He could vent his frustrations by projecting
them into aggressive poltergeist activities.
Fodor theorized that if Ted could feel appreciated and
valued for his talents, his self-esteem would heighten and
there would be no need for his expression in destructive
poltergeist activities. Fodor explained this to Ted, who
seemed relieved. However, Fodor instinctively knew that
he had to do something more to prove what he was saying.
He took an acknowledged risk by announcing during
radio and television interviews that Ted was a gifted
writer, and that recognition of his talent would seal a
breach in his psyche and stop the poltergeist activity once
and for all. Fodor suggested that, as therapy, Ted write his
own account of what had happened, which also would
have scientifi c value.
Fodor expected this statement to have a therapeutic
effect on Ted, and it did. His parents and grandparents
found a new respect for the boy, and Ted seemed to adopt
a new attitude of acceptance about himself. Although the
worst poltergeist outbreaks did continue for a short time
after these statements and Fodor’s departure (part of the
psychological working-through process, Fodor explained),
they gradually came to an end. The reason, said Fodor,
was that Ted no longer needed to protest his frustrations
through poltergeist activity.
In spite of this theory from an esteemed man of science,
the Jones family remained convinced that it was the
plumber’s simple advice that produced the cessation of
their torment. Skeptics contended it was merely a coincidence.
The case was never solved conclusively.
In his writeup of the case in his book Between Two
Worlds (1964), Fodor concluded:
The case is important because accidentally I tumbled on
a novel cure of the Poltergeist psychosis. . . . It is as simple
as the egg of Columbus. Find the frustrated creative
gift, lift up a crushed ego, give love and confi dence and
the Poltergeist will cease to be. After that you can still
proceed with psychoanalysis, release the unconscious
confl icts, but whether you do it or not, a creative selfexpression
will result in a miraculous transformation.