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poltergeist (pōlˈtərgĪst) [key] [Ger., = knocking ghost], in spiritism, certain phenomena, such as rapping, movement of furniture, and breaking of crockery, for which there is no apparent scientific explanation. Believers in spiritism interpret these phenomena, particularly common during séances, as evidence of the presence of supernatural spirits.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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