Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you have to admit that the phenomena is interesting on a certain level, whether it’s a real phenomenon or just some sub-conscious human affect. Because whether they exist or not, people see them and experience them. For me, I’ve always felt the more interesting common thread in poltergeist reports was the presence of a pubescent girl in the family, but the economic slant is interesting as well, even if I don’t necessarily see the same correlation.
In the late 1970s, an item was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 that caught the attention of Today Programme’s guest editor, Al Murray.
The report, about a bizarre poltergeist incident in north London left him wondering why the supernatural seems to have become suburbanised.
Three decades on, our reporter Tom Bateman has been trying to find out… with the help of one or two ghost-hunters.
“Poltergeists seem to occur and concentrate in cramped domestic situations,” the Society for Psychical Research’s Alan Murdie told the Today programme. “One factor which always seems to be present – it’s a family under stress.”
But author Roger Clarke believes there is a more practical explanation for so-called sightings: “I feel personally that you can associate ghost beliefs with periods of economic downturn… People get a bit more fearful.”
My day job takes me into lots of homes where families live in cramped, tight quarters where they are experiencing lots of stressors. And rarely are any of those stressors paranormal in nature. The economy may have an impact on occurences of the paranormal, but honestly, factors such as culture, class, and race have far more impact on who reports having experienced the paranormal.